Army Fires Commander of Germany Air Defense Unit Activated After Ukraine Invasion

April 24, 2024
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Eric Ackles

In October, the Army stood up a new key air defense unit in Germany as a reaction to Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. But after only six months, the unit’s commander has been fired.

Lt. Col. Eric Ackles, commander of 1st Battalion, 57th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, was relieved of command Monday, the service confirmed to

“We take all allegations and investigations seriously, ensuring accountability and maintaining a culture of respect and professionalism,” Capt. Alec Watkins, a service spokesman, told in a statement, declining to specify what led to the relief.

Read Next: Toxic Exposure Screenings: Vets Report Spotty Follow-Up on Questionnaire Meant to Boost Health Care and Benefits

Ackles was fired following a monthslong investigation due to “loss of trust and confidence in his ability to command,” a statement the services typically give when officers are terminated, which can include a broad range of conduct ranging from minor infractions to criminal charges, abusing subordinates or subverting military regulations and norms.

It’s unclear what led to his firing. Ackles and his attorney declined to comment when reached by

Ackles is the latest in a seemingly constant string of lieutenant colonels fired, suspended or reprimanded for a range of conduct issues.

Lt. Col. Jacob Sweatland, who formerly led California Polytechnic State University’s ROTC program and served as a senior instructor, was arrested in September 2022 after being caught hiding a camera in a retailer’s changing room. He was handed a reprimand in January. Lt. Col. Nathan Showman was suspended Jan. 26 from his position as commander of the 5th Ranger Training Battalion amid allegations related to his online dating and subsequent consensual relationships, according to his attorney.

Lt. Col. Mark Patterson, who was commander of the New Hampshire National Guard’s 941st Military Police Battalion, was convicted by a military judge in January following a plea deal over specifications related to assault, sexual harassment and maltreatment.

President Joe Biden announced new air defense activations during a NATO summit in Spain in June 2022, just months after Russia invaded Ukraine. The 57th Air Defense Artillery Regiment took center stage as the U.S. sought to bolster NATO’s front lines.

“The United States is doing exactly what I said we would do if Putin invaded, enhancing our force posture in Europe,” Biden said at the time.

The 1st Battalion, 57th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, provides short-range air defense systems. An additional company of the regiment was also recently activated in Vicenza, Italy, to support the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

Air defense units are among the Army’s most overworked and undermanned elements, constantly deployed around the globe amid threats from China, Iran, North Korea and Russia. They’re spread thin, and soldiers in those units are home for less than a year at a time on average, before deploying for another year, reporting from CNN found.

Units with frantic schedules typically see correlations with behavioral and mental health issues. A pace of nonstop missions is among the service’s top challenges, one for which senior leadership has few answers.

Related: Army 4-Star Who Pressured Panel to Help Career of Unfit Officer Suspended, Facing Pentagon Investigation

Story Continues

Please rate this CIBA article

0 / 5 Number Of Votes: 0


Latest News Articles