Smiley relieved as Garrison Grafenwöhr commander
UPDATED NOV. 10, 11:55 A.M. EST.
GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — The Army relieved the commander of its garrison in Grafenwöhr, on Thursday, 10 days after suspending Col. Avanulas R. Smiley pending an unspecified investigation.
Smiley was relieved of command by Maj. Gen. James Boozer, deputy commander for U.S. Army Europe, according to a statement by USAREUR public affairs chief Col. Bryan Hilferty.
The statement cited a loss of confidence in Smiley “as demonstrated by his inappropriate conduct.” It did not elaborate on what that was, nor the nature of the investigation into Smiley.
Smiley was temporarily suspended from command on Oct. 31 by Col. Bryan Rudacille, commander of the 7th U.S. Army Joint Multinational Training Command at Grafenwöhr and the senior mission commander on the post. The decision came after USAREUR senior leadership learned of unspecified allegations against Smiley, according to Hilferty’s email.
The email quoted Boozer as saying, “The U.S. Army is built on trust, and that trust must be re-earned every day through living our values. Without that trust, and without those values, we lose our privilege to lead.”
Kathy Aydt, a civilian who served as Smiley’s deputy commander before his suspension, will continue as acting commander until a new officer is appointed, according to Hilferty’s statement.
A spokesman for the garrison said the command did not have a time line for when a new commander might be named and did not have further information about circumstances surrounding Smiley’s dismissal.
USAG Grafenwöhr, which includes Rose Barracks in Vilseck and oversees installations in Hohenfels and Garmisch, has an estimated population of 42,000, according to garrison officials.
Outgoing, with a direct style of speaking and a strong command of garrison statistics, Smiley has been a visible presence since arriving at Grafenwöhr in July 2010.
His loss of command falls two days before the revival of the DODDS-Europe high school football all-star game in Grafenwöhr, a recent initiative of the colonel and the first game of its kind in 29 years for DODDS-Europe.
Efforts to reach the former commander on Thursday were unsuccessful.
Before coming to the garrison in July 2010, Smiley served as chief of operations of IMCOM in Washington. He has served as commander of the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, and he has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. He is married and has two children.
He is the second commander to be relieved by USAREUR in Grafenwöhr this year. Col. Frank Zachar was removed from command of the 172nd Separate Infantry Brigade in January, after an investigation concluded his command style was hostile to subordinates.
Another commander in Europe was removed in June. USAREUR removed Col. James H. Johnson III from command of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team in June after an investigation found he misused government resources, filed fraudulent travel vouchers and had an “inappropriate relationship” with the wife of his cultural adviser.