Army 1st Cavalry Division Brigade Commander Fired for Allegedly Bullying His Subordinates

Army commander relieved of assignment
The Army has relieved Col. Michael Schoenfeldt, the commander of the 1st Cavalry Division's 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team. (U.S. Army)

The Army has relieved the commander of the 1st Cavalry Division's 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, saying an investigation found he bullied his subordinate commanders.

Acting 1st Cavalry Division commander Brig. Gen. Brett Sylvia relieved Col. Michael Schoenfeldt of his command Thursday after an administrative investigation found that Schoenfeldt engaged in "bullying as defined by Army Regulation 600-20 ... and counterproductive leadership as defined by Army Regulation 600-100," according to a news release Thursday from Fort Hood, Texas.

"This behavior was directed at subordinate commanders and staff officers," the release states. "These behaviors were recurrent, and even if they did not have a deleterious impact on 1ABCT's performance, they did have a deleterious impact on the welfare of subordinates."

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The investigation also examined complaints that accused Schoenfeldt of racism and maltreatment, but the allegations were unfounded, according to the release.

Schoenfeldt is the latest officer to be disciplined at Fort Hood after the Army ordered an independent review of the command last year in the wake of the disappearance and murder of Spc. Vanessa Guillen. As a result of the review, the Army relieved or suspended 14 leaders from the Texas post for allowing a culture of sexual harassment to exist.

Among those disciplined was 1st Cavalry commander Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Broadwater and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas C. Kenny, the 1st Cavalry's command sergeant major, who were suspended pending the outcome of a fact-finding investigation into the division's command climate and Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention, or SHARP, program.

Schoenfeldt was leading his brigade on a nine-month rotation in Europe before he departed the continent in February for unspecified health reasons, Stars and Stripes reported.

Soldiers in the 1st Armored Brigade told Stars and Stripes that the unit was plagued by a toxic climate.

"This is the worst I've been treated. That's the bottom line," one brigade officer told Stripes under the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. "I've dealt with some hard leaders before, but this was toxic through and through."

The decision to fire Schoenfeldt is "separate and distinct" from his "ongoing medical issues," according to the release.

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