KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The commander of U.S. Army Europe has relieved the garrison commander in Vicenza, Italy, of command following an investigation into his conduct at a July 4th celebration.
Col. David Buckingham, who was suspended from command in July after what Italian media reported as a drunken altercation with military police, will not face criminal charges, said Col. Rumi Nielson-Green, chief of public affairs for USAREUR. Buckingham was officially relieved of command Friday.
Nielson-Green said by phone Sunday that USAREUR Commander Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell Jr. had “lost confidence” in Buckingham’s ability to command and described the sacking as “simply administrative.”
There were no allegations of criminal acts, she said.
But his conduct on the evening of July 3, when the Vicenza garrison held its Independence Day celebrations at Caserma Ederle, was a factor in Campbell’s decision to relieve him, Nielson-Green said. There were also concerns about the command climate under Buckingham, she said.
In the course of the investigation, known in military parlance as a 15-6, Buckingham was afforded the opportunity to rebut and explain the allegations against him, according to Nielson-Green.
Campbell, “took a while to look at it [the investigation and Buckingham’s rebuttal] and think about it,” and ultimately lost confidence in colonel's ability to command, Nielson-Green said.
Campbell has already requested a replacement for Buckingham. The garrison’s civilian deputy, James Walls, will continue to serve as acting commander until the replacement arrives.
Buckingham will remain in Vicenza for right now, Nielson-Green said, and will be assigned a position or project commensurate with his rank. Eventually, she said, the Army will move him and his family, possibly to a stateside assignment.