Calif. Nat’l Guard Chief Resigns After Newspapers Raise Questions

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(AP) The commander of the California National Guard has resigned amid allegations he failed to meet a Pentagon shooting-skills requirement and improperly tried to arrange a military flight for members of a Republican group.

Major Gen. Thomas Eres stepped down late Monday after questions about his conduct and qualifications were raised by the San Jose Mercury News and Contra Costa Times.

In a resignation letter, Eres, 61, said it was an “ideal time” to leave “so that my family and I can start to enjoy a much-anticipated retirement.”

In the letter, the general did not address the allegations. Calls to the National Guard were not immediately returned.

The two newspapers obtained interviews and documents indicating that Eres did not pass a required shooting-skills test before visiting troops in Iraq last fall and that a top aide falsely informed the Pentagon that the general had passed the test.

The newspapers also said Eres attempted to arrange a flight for a Lincoln Club group — a GOP organization — that wanted to travel last month to the North American Aerospace Defense Command center in Colorado. The trip, which was eventually canceled, appeared to violate military rules because of the group’s party affiliation.

Eres was appointed in March 2004 as leader of the nation’s largest National Guard force. The California Guard includes 22,000 troops, 13 bases, and more than 100 armories.

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