commander fired after
altercation in Iraq
The Army has relieved the commander of the 100th Battalion because he got into a fight with a subordinate in Iraq last month over an operations order.
Lt. Col. Alan Ostermiller, 41 was relieved on Tuesday by Brig. Gen. Joseph Chaves, brigade commander. Before he was suspended on Feb. 24, Ostermiller commanded one of the three infantry battalions assigned to Hawaii's 29th Brigade Combat Team.
Ostermiller was replaced by Lt. Col. Colbert Low, who has served as the battalion's executive officer.
Ostermiller faces no further disciplinary action, but Hawaii Army National Guard officials did not immediately say whether he will be kept on active duty until the brigade is released next year. He assumed command on Aug. 2.
Ostermiller, a 1982 Kamehameha Schools graduate, was suspended after he lost his temper and allegedly choked his operations officer, a major.
Military police were called in after Ostermiller reportedly threw a chair during the fight, which occurred shortly after the 100th Battalion arrived at Logistical Support Area Anaconda near Baghdad during the weekend of Feb. 19.
Ostermiller served on active duty from 1988 through 2000 with the 5th Infantry Division and the 25th Infantry Division. He was assigned to the 25th Division when it deployed to Haiti in 1995. In civilian life he is the general manager of Hawaii Linen Supply on Maui.
Ostermiller was commissioned as an Army officer in 1988 through the University of Hawaii ROTC program.
The 29th Brigade is scheduled to be in Iraq for a year.
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The Saint Louis grad assumes
command of the 100th Battalion
Lt. Col. Colbert Low, who unexpectedly became commander of the 100th Battalion in Iraq this week, has been in Kuwait for nearly a year working as a transportation officer.
Low, 42, replaced Lt. Col. Alan Ostermiller, who had been battalion commander since Aug. 2, on Tuesday. Brig. Gen. Joseph Chaves, head of the 29th Brigade Combat Team, ordered the change after Ostermiller allegedly got into a fight with his operations officer, a major.
Colbert Low: Reservist volunteered for active duty and has been on assignment in Kuwait
Low, commissioned into the Army through the University of Washington's ROTC in 1985, received a law degree from the University of California at Davis in 1988. He returned to the islands and was assigned to the Army Reserve in 1989 and served as a platoon leader in the 100th Battalion.
Low, a 1981 Saint Louis High School graduate, served as the battalion's executive officer as a major from 2001 to 2003. He works as a civilian in the Army Reserve's finance and budget section at Fort Shafter.
In September 2004 he volunteered to go on active duty for 18 months and was assigned to the 377th Transportation Command in Kuwait.
Col. Jon Lee, who was 100th Battalion commander when Low served as executive officer, said Low is "well qualified" for his new job. "For many years he served in successive assignments of increasing responsibility from a platoon leader, to company command, to battalion staff, culminating with his assignment as battalion executive officer. He knows the unit from top to bottom," Lee said.
Brig. Gen. John Ma, who commands the 9th Regional Readiness Command, which the 100th Battalion fell under until it was mobilized, is in Iraq this week and met with Chaves. But the Pacific Army Reserve said yesterday the visit was planned a long time ago and not connected with the problems with the battalion.
The 100th Battalion is one of three combat infantry battalions assigned to Chaves' brigade. The other two are the 1st Battalion, 299th Infantry from Hilo, and 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry from California.