Commanding General of US Army Forces in Africa Suspended for Inappropriate Texting

It looks like another senior officer is having a midlife crisis and hitting on a younger married woman:

Maj. Gen. Joseph Harrington, U.S. Army Africa Commanding General, attends a function on July 10, 2017, during a visit to Caserma Ederle, Vicenza, Italy. DAVIDE DALLA MASSARA/U.S. ARMY

Maj. Gen. Joseph Harrington, the commander of U.S. Army Africa, was suspended Friday pending an investigation into flirtatious text messages he is suspected of sending to another man’s wife.

“MG Harrington has been suspended from his duties as the Commander of United States Army Africa’s Southern European Task Force pending the completion of an investigation by the Army’s inspector general,” said a statement from the Army’s chief of public affairs office.

Harrington said in a statement that “I look forward to the completion of the investigation.”  [Stars & Stripes]

Here is what was allegedly texted:

The woman who received the messages — who spoke on condition of anonymity because she fears retaliation against her husband — told USA TODAY the texting began as friendly and related to business. She said she had met Harrington at the gym. She became concerned with the texts, she said, after Harrington’s messages became suggestive. The relationship did not be come physical.

Harrington is married, and adultery is a violation of military law.

The messages, many sent late at night, veer from the mundane to the personal. Harrington oversees the Army’s activities in Africa from a post in northern Italy. In some texts, he complained about travel and getting sick on local food.

In others, he doted on the woman’s appearance, referring to her as “HOTTIE,” and “looking good for sure.” In another series he wrote: “You seem to have a great modeling resume! Truly! Though I hadn’t noticed! Where is your hubby tonight? Work?”

When she replied that she’d fought with her husband, and that he was asleep, Harrington responded: “I’m sorry! Make up se…x is fun”  [US Army WTF Moments]

You can read more at the link.

US Army’s New Transgender Policy Raises Concerns About Transitioning Males Showering with Females

I think there are going to be so few of these situations that this really will not be a problem:

Mandatory Army training materials state that females will have to accept transgender women showering with them.

The Army has been rolling out a series of training materials entitled “Tier Three Transgender Training” to prepare soldiers to accept transgenders in their ranks, and one of the bullet points states that soldiers will have to accept austere, primitive conditions, which entails acceptance of trans women showering with other female soldiers.

The Federalist obtained the materials from an active-duty officer who completed the training last week.

According to the training, soldiers will be allowed to switch their gender markets without undergoing any kind of transition surgeries or physical changes. There are two crucial elements needed for transition.  [Daily Caller]

You can read more at the link.

Article Claims Female US Infantry Troops Not Being Held to Same Standard As Men

I have been a supporter of women in the infantry with the caveat they should be held to the same standard as male troops.  However, this article claims through anonymous sources they were not:

Soldiers-in-training assigned to A Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, start their first day of Infantry One Station Unit Training on Sand Hill, Fort Benning, Ga. The class that started Feb. 10 was the first to include female recruits. [Army Times]

America’s first female Army Infantrymen are here, but not all of them made it through.

In fact, only eighteen of the thirty-two female infantry recruits made it through the One Station Unit Training (OSUT) program at Fort Benning, Georgia.

While the attrition rate doesn’t seem all that alarming, it strikes a more concerning tone when factoring in that the females needed only to meet the much-lower female standards for physical fitness that separate them from their previously all-male counterparts.

That said, there were some women who certainly gave their male colleagues a run for their money.

“There was even one female that did better than 90 percent of the males on the PT test,” said one 22-year-old male trainee, who reportedly had high PT scores. “Speaking as the person who had the second-highest PT score- she had me looking over my soldier the whole cycle. It was something that definitely made me better, and maybe kept me up nights a few times. But certainly by the end of the cycle, I was doing more push-ups, because I had her chasing me.”

However, some sources who graduated from within the unit -whom requested concealed identities to protect their new careers- claimed a clear double-standard between males and females in their training cycle, including lighter rucksacks and lower expectations.

“No way,” one soldier told Popular Military when asked if women were held to the same standards. “Lighter rucks, things like that.”  [Popular Military]

You can read more at the link, but the Army has said the same standards were used so who knows what the truth is.

Army Investigating Allegations of Soldiers Sharing Nude Pictures

It will be interesting to see how the Army investigates this because you would think these posters are not using their real names:

The Army is looking into allegations that some soldiers may be involved in an image-sharing message board where troops from all branches of the service are allegedly crowdsourcing naked pictures of female service members.

“Special agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s specialized Computer Crime Investigative Unit are currently assessing information and photographs on a civilian website that appear to include U.S. Army personnel,” Army spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said in a statement to Army Times.

The special agents are working to “determine if a criminal offense has occurred,” Smith said.

First reported by Business Insider, the Army’s inquiry comes one day after news broke about AnonIB, a website where purported male service members request naked pictures of their female counterparts by name, rank and duty station. The Business Insider report also said the men allegedly were cyber-stalking and sharing nude photos of their female colleagues.   [Army Times]

You can read more at the link.

US Army Announces Project to Develop Biodegradable Mortar Rounds

This will be interesting to see what industry comes up with to develop mortar rounds that are biodegradable after they are fired and impact in the ground:

Marines train with the M203 40mm grenade launcher and the shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon at Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 23, 2015. The U.S. Army recently sought proposals to make biodegradable 40 mm to 120 mm training rounds loaded with specialized indigenous seeds that, when grown, will eliminate ammunition debris and contaminants from ranges around the world.

In a famous photograph from 1967, a Vietnam War protester placed flowers into rifle barrels of National Guardsmen. That role could one day fall to tank commanders and mortarmen.

The U.S. Army recently sought proposals to make biodegradable 40 mm to 120 mm training rounds loaded with specialized indigenous seeds that, when grown, will eliminate ammunition debris and contaminants from ranges around the world.

The three-phase study will test the concept’s viability and look at the potential financial and environmental impact, according to Frank Misurelli, a spokesman for the U.S. Army’s Armament Research Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J. If successful, the winning proposal would become a “Program of Record” and the rounds could make their way into America’s military training arsenal.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link.

Hooker Hill Visit Helps Lead to Army General Losing Two Ranks

This is what happens when you use your government credit card to pay a $1,100 bill at a Hooker Hill club in Seoul:

One of the Army’s most promising generals will be demoted to one star and retired following a scandal that involved sex clubs in Seoul and Rome, high-priced booze and indiscretions with young female troops, the Army announced Thursday.

Ron Lewis, who had been a three-star general and top aide to the then-Defense secretary Ash Carter, will also lose about $10,000 a year in pension payments due to the demotion.

The Pentagon Inspector General “substantiated allegations that Maj. Gen. Lewis misused his government travel charge card for personal expenses, made false official statements regarding his (credit card) misuse, and engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman on multiple occasions,” Cynthia Smith, an Army spokeswoman, said in a statement.  (……)

Army investigators found that Lewis spent more than $1,100 in April 2015 during a visit to the “Candy Bar” in Seoul. The bar, in the city’s red-light district known as “Hooker Hill,” had been deemed off limits to troops. When questioned about the charge, Lewis denied it was his, the Pentagon challenged the expense and got him a new card.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link.

North Korea is US Army Pacific Commander’s Biggest Concern

Here is what General Brown, the US Army Pacific commander had to say about North Korea recently:

Gen. Robert Brown, commander of U.S. Army Pacific, speaks during a discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington on Jan. 25. (Yonhap)

The U.S. Pacific Army commander said Wednesday North Korea is his biggest concern as the unpredictable communist nation has aggressively forged ahead with its nuclear and missile programs.

“The thing that keeps me up at night, though, the thing I worry the most about is North Korea. The most likely threat to all of us sitting here, in my opinion,” Gen. Robert Brown, commander of U.S. Army Pacific, said during a discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Brown said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has conducted many more missile launches since taking power following the death of his late father in 2011 than the late leader did in his 17 years of rule. He also said the North’s leader is the only individual in the 21st century to test a nuclear weapon.

“There’s something going on there and there’s this belligerent aggressiveness,” he said.

The general highlighted the North’s unpredictability, calling its actions a “black swan.”

“I do worry about the most likely threat: North Korea, because obviously, every soldier that I lead, every individual that I am in charge of would be involved, would be there — some within hours, some are already there on the peninsula, and some would move in that direction very quickly,” Brown said.

“I have significant responsibilities. Things like: noncombatant evacuation operations on the peninsula and getting several half a million people out of there, minor and little things that are easy. Those types of challenges. I do worry about that. There’s just so many things,” he said.  [Yonhap]

Hooker Hill Visit Leads to End of Career for Top Military Advisor to US Secretary of Defense

This general officer just committed career suicide.  I just can’t believe how these general officers getting in trouble like this think they can get away with such behavior?:

The former top military adviser to Defense Secretary Ash Carter used his government credit card for almost $2,900 at two strip clubs and behaved inappropriately with DOD female staff while on official travel, according to a Defense Department inspector general’s report released Thursday.

Maj. Gen. Ron Lewis, once considered a fast-rising star and a long-time trusted aide to Carter, was stripped of his position last fall just days after the delegation returned from an international trip that included stops in Malaysia, South Korea and Hawaii.  [Stars & Stripes]

Here is what he did while in South Korea:

The second government charge occurred in spring 2015, in Seoul at the “Candy Bar” club, “an establishment in an area of Itaewon, Seoul, commonly referred to locally as ‘Hooker Hill,’ ” according to the report. Many of the clubs in the area are off limits to U.S. servicemembers due to the illegal activities.

Lewis charged $1,121.25 on his government credit card at the Candy Bar and later told investigators he didn’t know why he had used that card there.

When defense staff processing his expenses noticed the charge, Lewis claimed that it must be fraudulent and had it disputed.

You can read much more on the link.

Family Programs To Face Steep Cuts On US Army Installations

Here is yet another area in the US Army seeing cuts:

Family members visit the sand art table to make colorful creations during the Month of the Military Child event at Thunder Mountain Activity Centre, Fort Huachuca.

Family members visit the sand art table to make colorful creations during the Month of the Military Child event at Thunder Mountain Activity Centre, Fort Huachuca.

After years of warnings that major cuts to Army family programs are coming, officials with the Army’s Installation Management Command announced that the day has finally arrived.

“The bottom line is in fiscal year ’17, beginning in October, we’re going to have a little less money to put into our family Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs than we have in previous years,” Lt. Gen. Kenneth Dahl, head of Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM), which oversees family programs, said in a video posted on the command’s YouTube channel Aug. 30.

Until now, command officials said, Army budget shortfalls have been covered through non-appropriated fund accounts, which are filled by sales and exchange dividends. But that model isn’t sustainable long term, and anything that isn’t covered by taxpayer dollars must now be cut. Last year saw a $105 million overage.

“I can’t afford to keep borrowing money from our IMCOM bank accounts in order to reprogram into these funds,” Dahl said.

Rather than direct which programs to cut, Dahl has told garrison commanders the programs they must keep — and is leaving the rest up to them. Child care centers and child and youth services programs are safe from cuts, he said in the video, but almost everything else is fair game.  [Military.com]

You can read more at the link, but something else to keep in mind is that many military spouses and retirees work in these jobs which now will be lost with the elimination of these MWR programs.

Army General Faces Punishment for Living Swinger’s Lifestyle for 11 Years

What was this guy thinking if he thought this could be kept under wraps:

Maj. Gen. David Haight, Army Ranger, combat veteran and family man, held a key post in Europe this spring and a future with three, maybe four stars.

He also led a double life: an 11-year affair and a “swinger lifestyle” of swapping sexual partners that put him at risk of blackmail and espionage, according to interviews and documents. Jennifer Armstrong, 49, a government employee, said she and Haight had been involved in the torrid love affair that began more than 10 years ago in Baghdad and ended this spring.

Badly.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link, but it will be interesting to see what rank this guy is forced to retire at considering how long we was living this lifestyle.