The Georgia National Guard has removed the leadership of its 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade at Fort Benning, Georgia, after the conclusion of a command climate investigation, Army Times has confirmed.

Two sources with knowledge of the investigation confirmed that at least three of the brigade’s key leaders were punished and issued a general officer memorandum of reprimand. The GOMORs, which are often considered to be career-killers, remain within their appeal process to determine whether the Guard will permanently include them in their personnel records or destroy them after a set period of time.

Army Times first reported the investigation last month.

Col. Brian Ellis, the brigade commander whose full-time role is as the chief of the state’s planning and strategy directorate, was relieved for cause by Brig. Gen. Dwayne Wilson and issued a GOMOR.

Reassigned and also issued reprimands were Lt. Col. Henry Mullins, the deputy brigade commander and senior full-time officer, and Maj. Keri McGregor, the brigade executive officer who also worked full-time in her role.

Guard officials confirmed that the state had taken administrative action against the three soldiers in a statement to Army Times.

“The initial investigation is complete. The named individuals are no longer assigned to the 648th MEB,” said Air Force Maj. Pamela Stauffer, a spokesperson for the Georgia Guard. “There are additional administrative actions pending. We remain focused on a prompt resolution to this matter while providing all parties the due process to which they are entitled.”

Mullins and McGregor did not respond to a request for comment, but McGregor previously denied “any allegations of misconduct or violation of any rules, regulations or statutes” in an August statement to Army Times.

Ellis disputed the investigator’s findings in a statement made through his attorney.

“While I continue to respectfully dispute the findings and recommendations promulgated as a result of this investigation, I am forever grateful for the opportunity to serve with the Soldiers of the 648th MEB,” Ellis said. “I am particularly proud of the significant growth and development of Soldiers throughout the brigade and the style that empowered young Soldiers to demonstrate their potential.”

The investigations

Ellis was suspended from his command position in mid-May as an investigator from Alabama probed allegations that he, Mullins and McGregor engaged in counterproductive leadership while directing the brigade.

At least a portion of the allegations evaluated in the first investigation concerned the brigade’s operational tempo, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation. Georgia Guard officials did not release more information concerning the investigator’s findings.

Col. Steven Shepherd, the investigating officer, is a former police detective with a law degree, according to his LinkedIn page.

A second investigation underway alleges that the officers took improper actions during the course of the first investigation, according to the source. It was not immediately clear whether the second investigation was complete or not at the time of the relief.

Davis Winkie covers the Army for Military Times. He studied history at Vanderbilt and UNC-Chapel Hill, and served five years in the Army Guard. His investigations earned the Society of Professional Journalists' 2023 Sunshine Award and consecutive Military Reporters and Editors honors, among others. Davis was also a 2022 Livingston Awards finalist.

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