So Who are the Leaders on the Ground? Meet the Generals Responsible for Afghanistan

Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr., US Marine Corps. Current CENTCOM commander.

I’m going to give both Generals Austin S. Miller (U.S. Army) and Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr. (U.S. Marine Corps) the benefit of the doubt.

So far, the biographical info of the higher-ups in regards to the Afghanistan debacle is simply unknown to most of us.

Granted, there have been many rumors and unverified news reports… but nothing set in stone.

However, I certainly would like to know that both had figuratively jumped up and down on their desks warning the politicians in D.C. that the cut-and-run strategy would end up as a disaster.

All that aside, I will tell you who they are, a bit of a mini-bio on both men, then just a touch of personal take.

First is the man who was the commander of all U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, Army General Austin S. Miller.

As noted by ABC News, Miller was the top dog in-country from 2018 until early last month.

With the scheduled complete U.S. withdrawal as of Aug. 31, 2021, Miller was curiously yanked six-weeks before America’s end-date. Hmm… kinda strange, huh?

If anyone has any certifiable info as to why Miller was relieved a month-and-a-half early, please leave note in the  comment section. I simply can’t find any solid reasoning why.

Gen. Austin S. Miller, US Army. former commander of all US and Allied forces in Afghanistan.

According to his biography on, in his almost 40-years in service, Miller has been especially heavy in the Special Operations field, ranging from a Platoon Leader in the 75th Ranger Regiment, to Delta Force (Battle of Mogadishu), to the commanding general of the Joint Special Operations Command.

As evidenced by his Bronze Star with Combat “V” along with two Purple Hearts, to this retired Marine Master Sergeant, Gen. Miller strikes me as a man who leads from the front. Just my impression, but he also strikes me as a man who wouldn’t want it any other way.

Then we come to the Central Command, General Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr., U.S. Marine Corps.

In the ABC News article referenced above, when Gen. Miller relinquished his command in Afghanistan, it was to his senior ranking officer (McKenzie) who became the commander of all allied forces in-country.

Just my opinion, but isn’t that kind of like a regimental C.O. relinquishing his unit to the division  commander?

Anyhow, during the course of his 42-year career, according to his official CENTCOM biography, McKenzie has only spent one year and four months since 2006 in a Marine Corps field command.

It was in 2006 that he became something called the Military Secretary to both the 33rd and 34th Commandants of the Marine Corps.

After searching furiously as to what the hell a Military Secretary is, the closest thing I could find to any definition was **May God forgive me** a Wikipedia entry.

According to the same, the definition of this glorified aide position is (emphasis mine);

The exact duties of the Military Secretary have varied based on the needs and preferences of each Commandant. There are no existing manuals or orders that dictate the exact role of the Military Secretary. He (or she) runs the day-to-day operations of the Office of the Commandant, supervises the schedule of the Commandant, and performs other duties as the Commandant may direct.

I even went as far as to search in the official website for all official Marine Corps Orders. Turns out that any and all organizational directories and charts that hit the streets, the Commandant’s Military Secretary is the first one who gets a copy.

To me this sounds like someone who fills out the Commandant’s day planner, ensures the Commandant’s coffee is fresh, makes sure the Commandant’s dry cleaning is picked up, etc.

With the exception of the 16 month stint (June, 2014- Oct. 2015) serving as the commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Central Command, McKenzie has served since 2006 exclusively in secretarial staff or joint service positions.

Of his 13 personal awards (you read it right… 13), zero are for personal valor.

I kind of miss the old days when the unwritten rule was that one wasn’t even considered for a general’s star unless he had at least one award for personal heroism.

With no small amount of disgust, suffice it to say I’ll just leave it at that.

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