WASHINGTON – The Army is sending back to Iraq early next year the same war-fighting command headquarters that was in charge of U.S. land forces there in 2003, but without its commander.
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez (search), the 5th Corps commander who came under fire last year for the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal that happened while he was in charge in Iraq, remains in his job but will not deploy to Iraq. The Pentagon did not say why Sanchez will not be deploying with 5th Corps headquarters.
Instead, the overall command in Iraq will be headed by Peter W. Chiarelli (search), a two-star general whom President Bush has nominated for a third star. He currently is commander of the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.
Chiarelli's war-fighting command in Iraq -- known as Multi-National Corps Iraq (search) -- will be comprised of 5th Corps headquarters staff as well as staff members from other U.S. units, the Pentagon said Tuesday in announcing Chiarelli's nomination for appointment to lieutenant general.
In previous rotations of U.S. forces in Iraq, the Multi-National Corps Iraq commander has deployed with his own corps headquarters, as Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz did with 3rd Corps in 2004 and Lt. Gen. John Vines did with 18th Airborne Corps early in 2005.
Last February the Pentagon announced that 5th Corps would be the next war-fighting headquarters to rotate to Iraq in early 2006, and it said other 5th Corps elements would go as well, including members of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, whose commander, Col. Thomas M. Pappas, was held partly responsible for the Abu Ghraib problems in an Army investigation.