The Marine Corps in September will consider whether to promote a one-star general who was reprimanded in 2018 for treating an aide like a personal servant during a deployment to Iraq, the service announced Thursday.
In a service-wide administrative message, Brig. Gen. Rick A. Uribe was announced as one among other brigadier generals up for promotion consideration to major general at a Sept. 10 selection board in Quantico, Virginia.
Marine officials were unable to answer questions by deadline, including whether Uribe's reprimand would be among documents reviewed by the board.
A July 2018 report from the Pentagon Inspector General substantiated allegations against Uribe that during a 2016-17 deployment to Iraq he “requested or permitted” his aide to use official time to pick up his laundry, grab meals, carry around personal items and snacks, write non-official letters, and reserve equipment for him at the gym, among other ethical infractions.
Uribe’s aide, a junior officer not named in the report, told investigators that she “only did personal matters” for the general while in Iraq.
In response, Uribe told investigators it was an incredibly busy assignment that didn't afford him much time to go to the dining facility or drop off his laundry. However, investigators interviewed the aide for Uribe's predecessor, Maj. Gen. William Mullen, who said that Mullen “always carried his own stuff” and “made it a point to always pick up and drop off his own laundry.”
Uribe also made the aide stand by and reserve gym equipment for him when he was called away, sometimes for up to 40 minutes, according to the report. Uribe denied the aide ever waited for that long, but conceded that “more often than not” he would ask his aide to stand by the equipment until he returned. Investigators asked him what purpose this ultimately served, and he replied, “Nothing.”
Uribe previously served as the inspector general of the Marine Corps from Sep. 2015 to May 2016.
“Although I believe that some of the substantiated allegations are not justified, I realize that I improperly employed my aide and that I improperly accepted small convenience loans from my aide,” Uribe wrote in response to the IG report.
“Where I would never think to engage in these activities in garrison, in the fog of the combat zone, it seemed acceptable somehow. I have learned a great deal from this process and will be much more attentive to these issues in the future. At the end of the day as a senior leader, the only thing I am entitled to is to be held accountable for my actions.”
After his Iraq deployment, Uribe went on to serve as second-in-command of the California-based 1st Marine Expeditionary Force before transferring to U.S. Southern Command, where he is currently in charge of the combatant command’s strategy, policy, and plans directorate.
Uribe, who was promoted ahead of his peers to his current rank on June 2, 2017, will be the most senior officer to be reviewed by the major general promotion board. He is considered “above zone,” a promotion category consisting of officers who were previously considered but passed over for promotion.
It remains unclear when Uribe was previously considered for promotion.