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Army suspends head of Western medical command

  • Associated Press
  • September 4, 2014 - 5:10 PM

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. — The Army said Thursday it has temporarily suspended the head of its Western Regional Medical Command, which is in charge of Army hospitals in 20 Western states.

Brig. Gen. John M. Cho was suspended, effective immediately, pending the outcome of what it calls an "inquiry centered on the command climate of the organization," said Sharon Ayala, a spokeswoman with the Western Regional Medical Command located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.

Cho is a cardiac surgeon who took the job less than a year ago.

He was suspended by the Army surgeon general.

Through Ayala, Cho declined to make a statement or grant an interview.

Cho will be assigned to the office of the Army surgeon general with duty assignment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Ayala said.

She declined to discuss details related to the suspension, citing the ongoing inquiry.

An Army official said that the inquiry in question is an Army inspector general investigation. This official spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to provide details not included in the public announcement.

The Army has named Maj. Gen. Thomas Tempel Jr. as Cho's replacement, Ayala said.

Cho is the first active-duty soldier of Korean descent to achieve the rank of brigadier general, the Army said in a news release last year.

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Associated Press reporter Robert Burns contributed to this report from Washington, D.C.

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