A commander ‘authorized’ leave for hundreds of troops that wasn’t his to grant

Matt Saintsing
December 14, 2018 - 10:56 am

U.S. Army photo by Spc. Matthew J. Marcellus

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For soldiers assigned to the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, Christmas came early when their commander told them they would be allowed to go home on holiday leave. 

But the holiday cheer came to a screeching stop when they learned their leave was not approved by higher command, leaving hundreds of soldiers on the hook to pay for plane tickets they won’t be able to use. 

On Tuesday, U.S. Army W.T.F.! Moments reported that the aviation unit — which has been deployed to Eastern Europe as part of a rotational force to U.S. Army Europe — commander Col. Scott Galloway, 4th CAB, told his soldiers a month ago that they would be allowed to take leave for the holiday season. 

But that changed on Dec. 5, when Galloway broke the news to his troops that they would instead be staying in Europe. 

“The good cheer quickly evaporated when it became apparent that the U.S. Army Europe leadership had never formally approved leave for 4th CAB,” U.S. Army W.T.F.! said in a Facebook post Tuesday. 

“Col. Galloway was forced to tell the Soldiers and Families on 5 December 2018, that not only would they NOT be allowed to go home but that the Soldiers would be out all the money they had spent on travel.” 

According to U.S. Army Europe, deployed troops are not authorized for leave that most soldiers stateside typically take — like during Christmas time — and that an exception to policy is required. 

“Due to mission requirements, an exception was not supportable," U.S. Army Europe spokeswoman Beth Clemons told Stars and Stripes. “Unfortunately, many soldiers purchased tickets before the leave approval process was complete.” 

She added that the Army is assigning refund personnel to contact the brigade in an attempt to help soldiers recoup their money. 

Around 300 soldiers are impacted. 

“The Commander wrote a memo explaining the situation to the travel companies in order to help the Soldiers,” according to the Facebook post. “However, some Soldiers were granted authorization for their travel because of inability to obtain refunds (due to non-US airlines and high cost).

But not all the information is trickling down to all soldiers who are “forced to deal with this situation while conducting training at (the Joint Multinational Readiness Center) and other locations in Europe,” U.S. Army W.TF.! Moments said

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