Col. David W. Buckingham (Army)
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The Army relieved the commander of U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza, Italy, amid allegations he argued publicly with a military policeman during the garrison’s Independence Day celebration.
Col. David W. Buckingham was relieved Sept. 6 after Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell, the U.S. Army Europe commander, “lost confidence” in his ability to lead, said Col. Rumi Nielson-Green, chief of public affairs for U.S. Army Europe.
“There were allegations of a verbal altercation, there was specific language that was used [by Buckingham], and it was boorish behavior in a very public place,” Nielson-Green told Army Times.
The investigation did not find any criminal or unethical behavior, Nielson-Green said, calling the decision to relieve him “administrative.”
The investigation also delved into the command climate under Buckingham, which was a factor in Campbell’s decision, she said.
Campbell suspended Buckingham July 4 while the Army investigated .
“Lt. Gen. Campbell’s decision came after careful consideration of the investigation and of Col. Buckingham’s subsequent rebuttal,” Nielson-Green said.
The Italian press suggested Buckingham was intoxicated during the argument with a military policeman during the July 3 celebration at Caserma Ederle, the headquarters of U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza.
Asked for comment following his suspension, Buckingham emailed a brief statement to Army Times, which said he was leaving the festivities with his family when he “stopped to correct a deficiency that I observed.”
Campbell has already requested a replacement for Buckingham, Nielson-Green said. James Walls, the garrison’s civilian deputy commander will continue to serve as acting commander until the replacement arrives.