Guardsmen accused of taking donations for wildfire victims
A call seeking comment from the American Red Cross was not immediately returned. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger deployed 1,500 members of the California National Guard on Oct. 21. In all, 2,500 guardsmen assisted in disaster relief.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Jon Siepmann confirmed that the Guard is investigating complaints that soldiers “were in possession of relief supplies beyond those they were authorized to use as part of their mission.” All the supplies have been identified and returned to the relief agency, Siepmann said in a statement. The unit had been providing security in Potrero, about 40 miles east of San Diego. Its troops had been sleeping in tents near a fire station being used by the American Red Cross, according to an official close to the investigation who was not authorized to speak on the record. Volunteers offered to let the soldiers shower and get a snack at the fire station. Some of the soldiers then took more than volunteers thought was acceptable. “The California National Guard takes all allegations of improper conduct seriously and will take action, to include disciplinary measures, against any soldiers who may have acted inappropriately,” Siepmann said. SACRAMENTO – A military police company from the California National Guard has been sequestered pending an investigation into whether troops took donations intended for Southern California wildfire victims, Guard officials confirmed Monday. Thirty-six soldiers from the 330th Military Police Co. are being bused from the National City Armory near San Diego to their home base in Ontario, east of Los Angeles. National Guard officials said they were expected to be released Monday night. One guardsman has been relieved of duty. The Guard launched the investigation last week after volunteers called the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department to report guardsmen taking supplies intended for displaced fire victims near the U.S.-Mexico border.