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Hood Brigade Commander Fired After Sexual Harassment Complaints
The commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team at Fort Bliss has been relieved of his duties after an investigation allegedly found multiple violations of the Army’s sexual harassment and equal opportunity regulations, post officials confirmed Wednesday.
Col. Earl B. Higgins Jr. was relieved of command Tuesday following the investigation, which was initiated several weeks ago, according to a statement issued by Fort Bliss.
The investigation concluded that Higgins had committed “multiple violations of the Army’s sexual harassment and equal opportunity regulations and policies, created a hostile work environment and failed to treat subordinates with dignity and respect,” the statement read.
The alleged instances of sexual harassment cited in the investigation were verbal only, post officials added.
Based on the investigation done by an officer senior to Higgins, Maj. Gen. Robert “Pat” White, commanding general of Fort Bliss and the 1st Armored Division, relieved Higgins of his duties for “lack of trust and confidence in Higgins’ ability to command.”
The dismissal was not due to performance at the recent Iron Focus exercise, post officials said, and it will not impact the brigade’s upcoming rotation to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., this fall.
Higgins led a brigade of about 4,000 soldiers. A brigade is the largest subordinate command under the 1st Armored Division, which has six brigades.
“Our soldiers deserve the best leadership the Army can provide,” White said in a statement. “Based on the findings of the investigation, and in the best interests of the soldiers of the Ready First Brigade, I made the decision to relieve Col. Higgins of duty.”
Lt. Col. Stephen Phillips, commander of the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, will serve as acting brigade commander until the Army appoints a replacement for Higgins.
Higgins is currently performing administrative duties under the supervision of the 1st Armored Division’s chief of staff.
Higgins, a native of Charleston, S.C., took command of the brigade in July 2015. He led it on a rotation to the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., in January of this year and was preparing it for a return trip to NTC.
The brigade went to NTC at Fort Irwin in June 2015 before Higgins took command.
No other details on Higgins’ alleged misconduct were available.
© 2016 the El Paso Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
GENEVA/DUBAI (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said he was prepared to take military action to stop Tehran from getting a nuclear bomb but left open whether he would back the use of force to protect Gulf oil supplies that Washington fears may be under threat by Iran.
Worries about a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since attacks last week on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz shipping lane at the entrance to the Gulf. Washington blamed long-time foe Iran for the incidents.
Tehran denies responsibility but the attacks, and similar ones in May, have further soured relations that have plummeted since Trump pulled the United States out of a landmark international nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018.
Trump has restored and extended U.S. economic sanctions on Iran. That has forced countries around the world to boycott Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.
But in an interview with Time magazine, Trump, striking a different tone from some Republican lawmakers who have urged a military approach to Iran, said last week's tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman had only a "very minor" impact so far.
Asked if he would consider military action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons or to ensure the free flow of oil through the Gulf, Trump said: "I would certainly go over nuclear weapons and I would keep the other a question mark."
Minnesota Democratic Party staffer under fire for calling USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul a 'murder boat'
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday he is appalled by a state DFL Party staff member's tweet referring to the recently-launched USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul as a "murder boat."
"Certainly, the disrespect shown is beyond the pale," said Walz, who served in the Army National Guard.
William Davis, who has been the DFL Party's research director and deputy communications director, made the controversial comment in response to a tweet about the launch of a new Navy combat ship in Wisconsin: "But actually, I think it's gross they're using the name of our fine cities for a murder boat," Davis wrote on Twitter over the weekend.
'We are there to deter aggression' — Pompeo addressed CENTCOM on Iran mere moments before Shanahan announced his departure
TAMPA — Minutes before the Acting Secretary of Defense withdrew Tuesday from his confirmation process, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at MacDill Air Force Base about the need to coordinate "diplomatic and defense efforts'' to address rising tensions with Iran.
Pompeo, who arrived in Tampa on Monday, met with Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. and Army Gen. Richard Clarke, commanders of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command respectively, to align the Government's efforts in the Middle East, according to Central Command.
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — The trial of Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher officially kicked off on Tuesday with the completion of jury selection, opening statements, and witness testimony indicating that drinking alcohol on the front lines of Mosul, Iraq in 2017 seemed to be a common occurrence for members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon.
Government prosecutors characterized Gallagher as a knife-wielding murderer who not only killed a wounded ISIS fighter but shot indiscriminately at innocent civilians, while the defense argued that those allegations were falsehoods spread by Gallagher's angry subordinates, with attorney Tim Parlatore telling the jury that "this trial is not about murder. It's about mutiny."
President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will "not to go forward with his confirmation process."
Trump said that Army Secretary Mark Esper will now serve as acting defense secretary.