Maj. Gen. Batiste's next assignment is uncertain
HEIDELBERG, Germany — A month after leaving the 1st Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. John Batiste has not assumed deputy command of V Corps, the slot to which he was appointed in April.
Instead, as of June 20 — the day after he ceded 1st ID command — Batiste has been assigned to a holding detachment at the Pentagon, according to the General Officer Management Office Web site and Defense Department officials.
Asked on Monday about Batiste’s status, the office said the general was “in transit.”
What’s more, his household goods — all 20,000 pounds — are on their way to Alexandria, Va., not Heidelberg, where V Corps is based. The household goods were picked up from the Batiste home in Würzburg on June 22, according to the Consolidated Personal Property Shipping Office in Grafenwöhr, and are due to be delivered to an Alexandria address no later than Aug. 23, according to the shipping office. Alexandria is in suburban Washington, D.C.
Defense Department officials declined to clarify Batiste’s status, and would not say whether say whether he was still expected at V Corps in the future.
“He is pending an assignment,” said Lt. Col. Pamela Hart, an Army spokeswoman. “There’s been no formal decision what that assignment will be.”
When asked to confirm that Batiste is not assigned to V Corps, Hart said, “That’s true.”
Batiste’s status is coupled with no known decision on who will replace V Corps commander Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez — still Corps commander after more than two years.
The lack of information from Washington comes at an increasingly stressful time. In five months, V Corps headquarters will deploy to Iraq to head up Multi-National Corps Iraq, and be responsible for tactical operations.
Corps headquarters is now undergoing critical training, drills and rehearsals in Grafenwöhr to be certified ready to go to war — presumably without the commanding general who’ll take them to Iraq.
Official spokesmen had little to say on the matter. Lt. Col. Brian McNerney, V Corps spokesman, said, “Until a formal announcement is issued from Department of Defense, we continue to operate under the leadership of our commanding general.”
Col. Roger King, spokesman for U.S. Army Europe, V Corps’ parent command, declined comment. Maj. Bill Coppernall, 1st ID spokesman, said he had no information, either, and last he’d heard, Batiste was assigned to be V Corps deputy.
The Pentagon unexpectedly named Batiste deputy commander of V Corps in April, despite the fact that Brig. Gen. Daniel Hahn had been assigned to the same position just five weeks before and that previously V Corps had had only one deputy commander.
The Pentagon declined to comment on its plans for V Corps leadership. Lt. Cmdr Joe Carpenter, a Defense Department press officer, said the DOD would announce its general officer assignments as usual.
Sanchez planned to take part in the Grafenwöhr training, said V Corps spokeswoman Hilde Patton. He was unavailable for comment, she said.
Batiste was also unavailable for comment.
Stars and Stripes reporter Lisa Burgess contributed to this report.