A former brigade commander at Fort Gordon, Georgia, was removed from his post last week because an investigation found he interacted inappropriately with a junior officer, who was a woman, according to an Army official with direct knowledge of the situation and a soldier in the unit.
Col. Matthew Foulk, who led the 35th Signal Brigade, faces additional administrative action and may be forced to retire at a lower rank, said the Army official, who spoke on background to discuss personnel matters.
“It didn’t get to the [sexual harassment] component in a legal sense,” the official said. “But in a colloquial sense, it was trending towards that area.”
An investigation found “inappropriate texts,” though Foulk “did not proposition any subordinates,” the official added. The contents of those texts were not shared with Army Times.
A leader within the brigade corroborated that narrative of events, though he asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak with media.
Foulk was suspended by Lt. Gen. Michael Kurilla, the 18th Airborne Corps commander, while the investigation unfolded.
Foulk did not respond to requests for comment sent via email and through his chain-of-command.
When Foulk was fired last week, Army officials declined to provide details on the incident, saying in a press release that it was “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command after an investigation stemming from allegations of personal misconduct.”
Military officials have been publicly criticized in recent months for their over-reliance on terms like “loss of confidence” in press releases, which can be viewed as a way to obscure misconduct of senior personnel.
Certain interactions between superiors and lower ranking troops are prohibited in the armed forces and strictly policed through the Uniform Code of Military Justice, as well as Army policy.
Sexual harassment also remains an issue across the military branches. However, one potential solution could see progress after a Pentagon review commission made the controversial recommendation this spring to strip commanders of their authority to oversee sexual misconduct cases.
Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the Army, specializing in accountability reporting, personnel issues and military justice. He joined Military Times in 2020. Davis studied history at Vanderbilt University and UNC-Chapel Hill, writing a master's thesis about how the Cold War-era Defense Department influenced Hollywood's WWII movies.