Fort Bliss Sergeant Major Loses Top Enlisted Job Over Alleged 'Misuse of Resources'

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Sgt. Maj. Samuel C. Rapp
Then 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Command Sgt. Maj. Samuel C. Rapp, right, passes the brigade colors during a Relinquishment of Responsibility ceremony at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, March 29, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Jason Koontz)

Fort Bliss, Texas, will not install a noncommissioned officer tapped for the post's senior enlisted position after an investigation supported allegations that he had misused government resources, according to Army officials.

Sgt. Maj. Samuel Rapp was set to replace Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Williams as the top NCO for the 1st Armored Division. A planned ceremony earlier this month meant to mark the change evolved into a retirement ceremony for Williams after the allegations against Rapp came to light.

"Recently, the Commanding General of the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss received notification of a potential concern related to the improper use of government resources by Sgt. Maj. Samuel Rapp and immediately initiated an administrative investigation under Army Regulation 15-6 to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident," said a unit press release provided to Military.com by Bliss officials Monday.

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"The investigation is complete, and the investigation determined the allegations to be founded," it continued. "As a result, Maj. Gen. James P. Isenhower III decided not to install Sgt. Maj. Rapp as the 1st Armored Division command sergeant major."

The announcement came last week and the press release was dated March 16, two weeks after the alleged misconduct was revealed to senior leadership.

Command Sgt. Maj. Steve Devot, the 1st Armored Division artillery command sergeant major, is serving as the interim senior enlisted adviser. A full-time replacement has not been selected, according to a spokesperson at 1st Armored Division.

"We do not have a timeline [for a replacement]," the spokesperson told Military.com on Monday. "We are still looking at potential candidates."

The spokesperson said that Isenhower found out about the alleged misconduct on March 2, the day before the change of responsibility ceremony was supposed to occur.

The alleged misuse of resources did not occur at III Corps, Rapp's previous assignment at Fort Hood, Texas, according to Stars and Stripes. The unit spokesperson did not release further details about the investigation or the alleged misconduct to Military.com due to "Privacy Act considerations."

The 1st Armored Division, or "Old Ironsides," is home to nearly 20,000 soldiers and has the largest training center of all bases in the U.S. It employs three Armored Brigade Combat Teams and their support units.

In 2019, Rapp relinquished responsibility for the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, in Colorado after nearly two years, according to an Army press release. The unit deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Spartan Shield under his leadership.

Rapp joined the Army in 1994 as a soldier in the Armor branch. Since then, he deployed to Macedonia, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan -- among other tours -- according to a biography listed in a military leadership blog where he and another NCO gave tips to staff-level field-grade officers.

"We expect Soldiers to adhere to our Army Values and abide by our ethical obligations under federal law," the press release said. "And senior leaders of the 1st Armored Division are no exception."

-- Drew F. Lawrence can be reached at drew.lawrence@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @df_lawrence.

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