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Marine lieutenant colonel disputes that he was relieved of command

The Marine Corps says he was relieved of command, but Lt. Col Bron Roeder insists he had already retired before his superiors told him he was fired.

Roeder said he submitted his retirement papers on Sept. 23, and four days later his regimental commander informed him that he was being relieved as Combat Logistics Battalion 23.

Despite what Roeder has been told, he insists that he was never relieved of command because his retirement package was being processed at the time.

“I did retire,” he told Marine Corps Times on Tuesday. “I submitted my paperwork and I have all of the emails and everything supporting that I elected to retire and I was not relieved. I’m not quite sure if this is: ‘You can’t quit because we fired you!’”

A spokesman for Marine Forces Reserve said that the commanding officer of Combat Logistics Battalion 23 was relieved of command but did not identify Roeder by name.

“The circumstances surrounding his relief are currently under investigation, but what we can tell you is that this officer was relieved for loss of trust and confidence, failing to uphold the standards we expect from our leaders,” Capt. Andrew Chrestman told Marine Corps Times.

In November, Roeder assumed command of the reserve unit, which is located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, according to his Linkedin profile. But on Sept. 23, he submitted his retirement package, even though he had not completed his two-year commitment as a battalion commander, he said.

Roeder wanted to leave the job early because he was being overwhelmed with administrative tasks that took him away from his family and his civilian job, while his active-duty superiors were in charge of running the battalion, he said.

“I felt that I was not able to actually be a battalion commander because any time I wanted to do something, which was within keeping of budget, safety and all the little wickets that should be within my purview – something as simple as battalion conference – I felt that if it was not favorable to some of the active duty that I worked with or worked for, it didn’t happen,” Roeder said.

His superiors were upset at his decision to retire halfway into his tenure as battalion commander and they “chewed my ass,” Roeder said. So far, he has not been provided with the specific reasons for his dismissal, but his regimental commander indicated he would receive a bad fitness report.

He said he has not heard from his regimental commander since being told he was being relieved and he is still waiting to be reimbursed for travel expenses.

“I have personal belongings at the unit, including a brand-new Keurig machine in my office,” Roeder said. “He [the colonel] told me I cannot go back and get it, that I’m not allowed to talk to anybody in the unit, that everybody in the unit is not allowed to talk to me and that they’re going to ship me my personal effects, which I am still waiting for.”

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