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A New York Democrat who is running for a congressional seat touting her military career and leadership as a U.S. Army officer was twice recommended to be relieved of her command, one of which was acted upon while she was deployed overseas.
In an exclusive report, The Daily Caller said it obtained unredacted and redacted Defense Department documents pertaining to a pair of investigations into the actions of Jackie Gordon, both of which resulted in her being recommended to be relieved of her command.
Citing the documents and two DoD sources with direct knowledge of the probes, one investigation led to her actually being relieved of command while in charge of a battalion in Afghanistan, the Daily Caller reported.
The outlet said that one of the reports said Gordon left her battalion without permission to campaign for local office in 2012. The report said the action “posed a significant threat to the Battalion’s ability to perform an incredibly stressful and sensitive wartime mission.”
“Two sources with direct knowledge of the investigation confirmed the authenticity of the documents outlining the investigations into Gordon to the Daily Caller,” the outlet added.
The first investigation into Gordon was launched after she complained about “four horsemen” serving under her when she was a battalion commander. In the complaint, she alleged that four white soldiers serving under her were creating problems, but the probe found no evidence of any wrongdoing.
Also, investigators found no one on base who had ever heard of any group of white troops referred to as the “four horsemen.” Perhaps concluding that Gordon fabricated her story, investigators recommended that she be relieved of her command.
“LTC Gordon’s relationship with her current command team is becoming increasingly dysfunctional, causing a sensed polarization of her Battalion and impacting the Battalion’s cohesiveness,” the report said.
“It appears that ever since the Battalion’s leadership conducted their Pre-Deployment Site Survey in Afghanistan, the Battalion Commander has increasingly estranged herself from her entire command element,” it added.
“The existing climate involving the Battalion Commander and her staff cannot be described as anything less than toxic and nonconducive to the efficient execution of the Battalion’s wartime mission,” the investigating officer stated in the report.
“Based on the above facts, I recommend that LTC Gordon be removed from the battle roster and relieved from command. I base this recommendation on the leadership deficiencies identified above, as well as the inability of LTC Gordon and… to function effectively as a command team,” the officer added.
Gordon, on her campaign website, describes herself as “a combat veteran” and heavily touts her military career.
“Over her 29-year career in the Armed Forces, Jackie served our country overseas as a platoon leader in Germany during Operation Desert Storm, as an operations officer at Guantanamo Bay during the Global War on Terror, as a battle captain in Baghdad during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and as Commander of the 310th Military Police Battalion in Afghanistan in 2012,” her website says, adding: “She retired from the Army Reserve with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2014.”
While the second investigative report is heavily redacted, sources familiar with it said she was relieved of her command in Afghanistan because she was deemed unfit.
“If you’re looking at the report, the report is 100% valid, an investigation was conducted Lt. Col. Gordon at Fort Bliss while she was at the mobilization station at the direction of the commanding general of the 200th military police command,” one DoD source told the Daily Caller.
“And I can tell you that if you have the actual report, those findings are accurate.”
Due to a bureaucratic technicality, the source noted further, Gordon was not relieved at mobilization station — where troops that are set to deploy into a combat zone are trained in mission-specific tasks.
“While in theater, those problems came to a head again, there was a lack of discipline, a lack of leadership, a lack of mission effectiveness on the part of that commander in theater,” the source continued, The DC reported.
“There was a subsequent investigation by the theater commander. She was relieved of her command while in theater and replaced because of a lack of effectiveness, lack of leadership, and because of the issues that were in theater.”
Another source questioned her “combat veteran” status, saying she had never been issued a rifle while in-theater. The source added that she once refused to go on a mission in Iraq because it was dangerous and that she remained behind in Kuwait, where U.S. military support units are stationed.
“She was part of the unit that was involved in the Abu Ghraib scandal. While she didn’t have great involvement with it, she was actually left behind in Kuwait, because General [Janis L.] Karpinski was moving the group up to Iraq, and she wouldn’t go. She said ‘why won’t you go’ and she said ‘because it’s dangerous up there,’” the second source said.
“So they left her in a cube in Kuwait you know reading magazines serving as a liaison officer to Third Army. I mean that should’ve been a charge for cowardice or something right there. So I was shocked as well as everyone was,” the source added.
According to Timothy Parlatore, a lawyer who specializes in military law, reviewed the reports for The Daily Caller.
“All the stuff going on in this command, it’s crazy,” Parlatore said, “one of the primary functions of a commander is to maintain good order and discipline and unit readiness. So all this stuff is going on under her nose and she’s not really doing anything about it, again, that means she shouldn’t be in command,” he said.
Gordon is running against GOP opponent Andrew Garbarino after incumbent Rep. Peter King, a Republican, announced in November he was retiring.
The DC said Gordon’s campaign failed to respond to multiple requests for comment.
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