The suspended top officer and top enlisted soldier of a Colorado-based helicopter battalion returned to work over the past two months despite a report recommending they be fired.
Lt. Col. Tammy Baugh reclaimed command of the "Gunfighters" of 1st Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, on Sept. 26, according to a Fort Carson, Colorado, spokeswoman, less than three months after she and Command Sgt. Maj. Derrick Merriwether were suspended during an investigation into the Apache unit's command climate. Merriwether returned to his position Aug. 27.
The investigation, obtained by The (Colorado Springs) Gazette, reportedly included statements from soldiers within the unit identifying Baugh as an overbearing commander who frequently stormed out of meetings and maintained a "toxic" leadership style.
Earlier this year, a soldier who identified himself as a "battalion officer" told Army Times via email that the command suffered from low morale.
Baugh denied the bulk of the allegations outlined in the report, according to the Gazette, telling investigators that "my passion can sometimes be confused with anger."
The report, prepared by Col. William McDonough, recommended both leaders be fired. Maj. Gen. Paul LaCamera, commanding general of 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, disagreed.
"After a thorough review of the investigation and other submitted information, and implementing measures to ensure appropriate command climate and good order and discipline within the unit, the Commanding General, determining he had not lost faith or confidence in their abilities, returned the command team to their leadership duties," Fort Carson officials said in a Monday statement.
Lt. Col. Armando Hernandez, public affairs officer with 4th ID, did not immediately respond to questions about the specific command-climate changes enacted.
Baugh took command of the unit July 9, 2013, the same day Merriwether took on the job of command sergeant major. Commissioned in 1996, Baugh has served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea and Qatar, as well as several stateside locations, and has earned a Bronze Star with two oak leaf clusters among other awards, according to her online bio.
Merriwether enlisted in 1987 and also has earned a Bronze Star, among other honors.■