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Fort Hood brigade commander relieved for bullying and poor judgment

The commander of a brigade deployed to Europe was brought back to his home station of Fort Hood, Texas, and relieved Thursday based on his poor judgment while in command, according to post officials.

An investigation against Col. Michael Schoenfeldt, who led 1st Armored Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, was initiated after allegations arose of counterproductive leadership and violations of COVID-19 mitigation policy while in Europe, division spokesman Lt. Col. Chris Brautigam said in late March.

An administrative investigation determined Schoenfeldt engaged in bullying and counterproductive leadership, though examples were not provided in a 1st Cavalry Division statement announcing his departure.

Brautigam declined to provide a copy of the completed administrative investigation Thursday, and said it would have to be requested through the Freedom of Information Act process.

The behavior was directed at subordinate commanders and staff officers, according to the division statement.

“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,” reads the statement. “Allegations of racism and maltreatment were unfounded.”

The 1st Armored Brigade is currently in Europe as part of the Army’s rotation in support of Atlantic Resolve — a deterrence mission started after the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

Brautigam told Army Times on March 29 that Schoenfeldt returned from Europe to the United States while receiving medical treatment for an undisclosed illness.

The basis for the relief Thursday “is separate and distinct from Col. Schoenfeldt’s ongoing medical issues,” the division’s statement reads.

Schoenfeldt has been reassigned and is currently performing administrative duties for the 1st Cavalry Division chief of staff.

Fort Hood has been under the scrutiny following a scathing review by an independent committee of five civilian investigators, which wrapped up in December.

The review was sparked by the killing of Spc. Vanessa Guillen and the sexual harassment allegations surrounding the case.

After the review’s findings were presented to the Army secretary and chief of staff, the decision was made to relieve leaders ranging from a two-star down to the squad level, including the commander and senior enlisted soldier of 3rd Cavalry Regiment, to which Guillen belonged.

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