COAST GUARD OFFICIAL ON LEAVE PENDING PROBE

COAST GUARD OFFICIAL ON LEAVE PENDING PROBE

Rear Adm. Peter Rots, the Gulf Coast commander of the U.S. Coast Guard, has given up his command pending an investigation into allegations involving irregularities in the use of government vehicles and travel expense claims.

Rear Adm. Rots, who requested the leave, could not be reached for comment Tuesday. His wife said he wasn't available to come to the phone.U.S. Attorney John Volz of New Orleans said his office will await the results of the Department of Transportation's probe before considering any action.

Rear Adm. Rots was slated for a promotion to chief of operations of the Coast Guard next month. Adm. Paul A. Yost, commandant of the Coast Guard who accepted Rear Adm. Rots' request for leave, supported the commander.

I have full faith and confidence in Rear Adm. Rots and look forward to the conclusion of this investigation. I fully expect the investigation to clear Rear Adm. Rots of any wrongdoing, Adm. Yost said in a prepared statement released by the Coast Guard.

Capt. Joel Sipes, district chief of staff and second in command to Rear Adm. Rots, has temporarily taken over the duties of commander.

Rear Adm. Rots, a 53-year-old Pittsburgh native, took over command of the 8th District in April 1986. The commander supervises 3,200 personnel in the district, which stretches from Florida to Texas and includes parts of New Mexico.

Rear Adm. Rots' assignment in New Orleans was to end May 6 when he was scheduled to be transferred to Washington.