Brig. Gen. Wayne T. Adams, removed from his post here amid a Marine Corps investigation into his use of base planes, said Wednesday that he does not plan to retire but may take some time off before reporting for his new duties in Virginia.
"There is no thought of that," Adams said when asked about retirement in a brief interview, his first since relinquishing the Marines' western air command last week.
Based since last September at the Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro, Adams was removed from his post and reassigned to Quantico, Va., as the Marines continued an investigation into whether the general violated a military ban against using planes for personal trips.
The probe was prompted last month by a report in The Times that detailed five questionable flights taken by Adams--in one case he flew a base plan to Florida to sign divorce papers--even as he was disciplining two of his top aides over their own alleged use of planes for golf trips.
One of the aides, Col. James E. Sabow, killed himself in January, five days after Adams suspended him over the plane-use allegations. Adams also fired his chief of staff, Col. Joseph Underwood, over the same issue and later barred him from the base altogether.
Adams, who gave up his office Friday to interim commander Brig. Gen. Harold W. Blot, said Wednesday that he and his wife are now packing up their belongings in their El Toro base home and plan to leave town next week.
But the 51-year-old general added that his plans beyond that are indefinite.
Adams said he is "not sure yet" when he will be reporting for his new and unspecified duties at the Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va., a training center. He and his wife are now discussing that issue, Adams said, adding that before reporting he may take some time off to "rake leaves" and "do some things that I want to do for a change."
A southern Florida native who served in Vietnam, Adams declined to discuss his feelings about the move.
He was, however, quick to dispute speculation from some military observers that the Marine Corps plans to put Adams into a position of little responsibility in Virginia so as to remove him from the spotlight of the controversy.
"I don't have any fears of that," Adams said. The general added that he has been briefed on his duties in Virginia, but said: "I'm not at liberty to discuss it." There are already five generals at Quantico, and Adams will be taking a newly created slot.
Asked about Adams' duties in Quantico, base spokesman Chief Warrant Officer Eric Carlson said that officials "don't have an answer yet. We just don't know."
The military may still decide to take formal disciplinary action against Adams--such as fines, a forced retirement or a court-martial--or may clear him of wrongdoing.
In past interviews, Adams has defended his use of base planes as legal and proper, saying that all of his flights came in the course of his official duties as a commanding officer. But he declined Wednesday to discuss his week of meetings earlier this month in Washington with Marine Corps Inspector General Hollis Davison or any aspect of that office's probe.