An 18th Airborne Corps investigation has cleared leaders from the 101st Airborne Division’s Combat Aviation Brigade of misconduct allegations after a months-long investigation, Army Times has learned.
“An exhaustive, months-long follow-on investigation led by a brigadier general identified no adverse findings against Colonel Travis Habhab or his subordinate leaders,” said 18th Airborne Corps spokesperson Capt. Javon Starnes in a statement to Army Times.
Habhab and other brigade leaders came under scrutiny in the wake of a subordinate battalion’s ill-fated September trip to an off-limits strip club in the Polish city of Gdansk. The episode occurred during the Fort Campbell, Tennessee brigade’s nine-month rotation to Europe supporting NATO’s Atlantic Resolve deterrence mission. The unit returned in April.
Senior soldiers from the brigade’s 1st Battalion went to the club after a birthday dinner for their command sergeant major, Stars and Stripes reported. The group lost their battalion executive officer, a major, who later told colleagues that dancers there had drugged him and “bit his nipples” to keep him awake while they continued to charge his credit card.
An initial investigation into the battalion’s leaders resulted in reprimands for its commander and executive officer, among others. The commander retired, and the major who was drugged is pending separation from the Army.
Stars and Stripes also first reported the follow-up investigation into the brigade’s leadership, which came after a command climate survey of the brigade headquarters company that indicated pervasive suicidal thoughts and potential bullying problems during their rotation to Europe.
The brigade investigation began in May, and “encompasse[d] a series of allegations,” 18th Airborne Corps spokesperson Col. Joe Buccino told Army Times in May. Habhab and other brigade leaders were not suspended during the investigation’s course, Buccino said at the time.
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.