The senior enlisted soldier at Fort Hood, Texas, has been suspended pending an investigation into allegations that he used “unprofessional language toward subordinates recently,” according to a brief statement on the matter.
Command Sgt. Maj. Arthur “Cliff” Burgoyne was temporarily suspended on Friday by III Corps and Fort Hood commander, Lt. Gen. Pat White.
The unprofessional language had nothing to do with race, gender, sexual orientation or sexual harassment, according to an Army official familiar with the situation.
The Army official characterized the comments in question as “direct talk” that is sometimes used within light infantry formations, where Burgoyne spent much of his career, but not what is expected of a corps-level command sergeant major.
The investigation will determine whether the comments were at odds with the service’s “people first” policy push, which is intended to foster an environment of dignity and respect, the official added.
The situation is also unrelated to the other inquiries that have scrutinized the central Texas post in recent months, according to an Army Forces Command statement.
Burgoyne’s suspension is a temporary removal until the investigation is completed and is not punitive in nature, the statement cautioned.
“We will wait for a full accounting of the facts and will not presuppose any findings or outcomes,” said Col. Myles B. Caggins III, senior spokesman for III Corps.
Army Forces Command, the major command within the United States overseeing III Corps, is conducting the investigation to determine the facts and an appropriate response, the command said.
Penalties for some Army leaders have been common in December, following the release of an independent committee’s report on the command climate at Fort Hood, Texas.
The committee’s report determined there was an environment at the post that allowed sexual assault and harassment to proliferate, triggering the relief and suspension of 14 leaders, including the post’s acting commander.
The report also found that Army CID special agents at the post were under-experienced and over-assigned — an issue that career special agents told Army Times was not unique to Fort Hood and stemmed from systemic problems within the career-field.
The highest officer relieved at Fort Hood was Maj. Gen. Scott L. Efflandt. He led soldiers there while the post’s top officer, Lt. Gen. Pat White, was deployed to Iraq for much of the past year.
However, the issues raised in the 152-page report on Fort Hood’s command climate issues certainly pre-date Efflandt’s tenure.
“Our report, I think, was very clear that the problems at Fort Hood were not the result of one commander, they were not the result of one administration, but it was really the result of years of benign neglect in the area of sexual harassment and sexual assault,” Jonathan Harmon, a West Point graduate and trial lawyer who served on the independent committee, said during congressional testimony Dec. 9.
Burgoyne first joined the Louisiana National Guard in 1986, but he began his active duty career at Fort Hood in 1992.
Burgoyne has served in a range of roles, from a long-range surveillance halo team leader at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to the 82nd Airborne Division’s senior enlisted soldier at that same post. He has completed six deployments — three to Iraq and three to Afghanistan.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter whose investigations have covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.