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Army suspends head of Western medical command

WASHINGTON — The Army has suspended the commander of Western Regional Medical Command, pending the outcome of an inspector general’s inquiry into the command climate there, officials said Thursday.

The suspension of Brig. Gen. John Cho went into effect Thursday.

Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Alayne Conway told Stars and Stripes that the inquiry was initiated due to concerns about “leadership shortfalls.”

Officials would not provide additional details about why the IG probe was launched, citing the fact that it’s still ongoing.

“The Army remains committed to ensuring we have the right leaders in place to lead our organizations which provide high quality medical care to our soldiers, their families, and our retirees,” Conway said in a press release announcing the action taken against Cho.

WRMC is responsible for providing health care in 20 states in the western U.S., and is headquartered at Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Wash.

Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho will assign another officer to take Cho’s place while he is sidelined, officials said.

Cho, the Army’s first active duty general officer of Korean descent, often said his heritage contributed to his decision to become a soldier. His father served in the South Korean military during the Korean War before immigrating to the United States.

“I joined the Army because my parents instilled a great sense of loyalty and appreciation for all that the United States did in support of the people of the Republic of Korea, especially during the Korean War,” the West Point graduate said last year when he received his star, according to an Army press release. “My father always said, ‘someone always has it tougher than you, so you need to take care of others.’”

Horoho praised Cho at his promotion ceremony and said he has “the right balance of character” to be a general officer.

harper.jon@stripes.com
Twitter: @JHarperStripes
 

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