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Top Indiana Guard general resigns after being accused of having an affair with a subordinate
The Adjutant General of the Indiana National Guard is retiring from the Army and resigning as head of the Guard after a lawsuit was filed claiming that he retaliated against a military contractor for reporting an alleged affair with a subordinate.
Shari McLaughlin was hired as a Family Assistance Specialist in May 2017 with Skyline Unlimited — a government contractor that works with the Indiana National Guard. According to McLaughlin's lawsuit, Maj. Gen. Courtney Carr had a "vendetta" against her after she revealed the sexual relationship he was allegedly having with her in-house mentor, Colleen Nicholson.
Nicholson was reportedly married to a retired active-duty soldier at the time of the alleged relationship.
According to publicly available court documents, Nicholson and Carr's relationship began in July 2017, just months after McLaughlin came on board. Nicholson reportedly shared things about her relationship with Carr with McLaughlin, the court documents allege, including "sexual images, videos, texting, rendezvous times and locations, and plans to add a third male party to their liaisons."
In September 2017, the documents allege, Nicholson asked McLaughlin to monitor a storage room door at a hotel during a mental health convention, from which she and Carr eventually emerged "smoothing their clothing and straightening their hair."
Nicholson later told McLaughlin that they had sex, the documents say.
McLaughlin also reportedly learned of an affair that her direct supervisor, Noelle Butler, was having with Lt. Col. William Poag — the J9 Officer in Charge. According to the documents, Butler, Poag's subordinate, was "bragging" about the affair. McLaughlin met with Poag and told him as much, to which he allegedly admitted to having the affair.
In May 2018, McLaughlin was reportedly brought in by Col. DeRue from the Indiana National Guard's Inspector General, who was investigating the alleged affair between Butler and Poag — as well as a second affair, between Butler and a member of the J9 staff, Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Ledbetter.
The documents explain that Butler, at the time of the alleged affairs, was married to then-Master Sgt. Joshua Butler, who has since been promoted to Sgt. Maj.
While speaking with DeRue, McLaughlin reportedly "confirmed that she was aware" of the two affairs, and then "disclosed information" about the relationship between Carr and Nicholson, which DeRue allegedly was not aware of.
"Upon hearing this information, Colonel DeRue appeared stunned and told McLaughlin that her information was beyond the scope of his investigation and that he would have to report it to his higher-ups," the court documents say.
All of the concerned parties — Carr, Nicholson, Butler, Ledbetter, and Poag — found out about McLaughlin's comments to DeRue about their sexual relationships, according to the documents.
They then "embarked on a program of retaliation," according to the documents, which allegedly included surveillance of McLaughlin and "demanding that McLaughlin notify her supervisor" when she wasn't going to be in the office. She also received a write-up at one point "based on false accusations" which accused her of being rude to coworkers and customers, tardiness, and more, the documents said.
McLaughlin resigned on July 6, 2018 "because the work environment had become too unsafe and toxic," the documents said. She then accepted another job as the Indiana State Coordinator for the Building Healthy Military Communities (BHMC) program with Alutiiq Global Solutions and Professional Training. The BHMC program was meant to work with the Indiana National Guard's Personnel Directorate.
However, on September 10, 2018, the documents say, Carr allegedly called Alutiiq and said that the Indiana National Guard would not work with BHMC if McLaughlin was the state coordinator, and that she was "unfit to represent the state."
McLaughlin was fired soon after.
The issues with Carr caused McLaughlin to suffer from "lost income, lost benefits, insomnia, anxiety," and more, according to the court documents.
Carr said in a press release on Monday that he would be resigning, effective this Friday, August 16th. Brig. Gen. Timothy J. Winslow will be taking over as interim adjutant general until Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb appoints a permanent replacement.
"I want thank Governor Holcomb for the distinct opportunity to serve as the adjutant general," Carr said in a statement. "It has been my honor to lead the exceptional soldiers and airmen of the Indiana National Guard."
A Minnesota Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with three Guardsmen aboard crashed south of St. Cloud on Thursday, said National Guard spokeswoman Army Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens.
At this time, the National Guard is not releasing any information about the status of the three people aboard the helicopter, Heusdens told Task & Purpose on Thursday.
The Pentagon's latest attempt to twist itself in knots to deny that it is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East has a big caveat.
Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said there are no plans to send that many troops to the region "at this time."
Farah's statement does not rule out the possibility that the Defense Department could initially announce a smaller deployment to the region and subsequently announce that more troops are headed downrange.
The Navy could deploy a second carrier to the Middle East if Trump orders an Iran surge, top admiral says
The Navy could send a second aircraft carrier to the Middle East if President Donald Trump orders a surge of forces to the region, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said on Thursday.
Gordon Lubold and Nancy Youssef of the Wall Street Journal first reported the United States is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to deter Iran from attacking U.S. forces and regional allies. The surge forces could include several ships.
I didn't think a movie about World War I would, or even could, remind me of Afghanistan.
Somehow 1917 did, and that's probably the highest praise I can give Sam Mendes' newest war drama: It took a century-old conflict and made it relatable.
An internal investigation spurred by a nude photo scandal shows just how deep sexism runs in the Marine Corps
"I will still have to work harder to get the perception away from peers and seniors that women can't do the job."
Some years ago, a 20-year-old female Marine, a military police officer, was working at a guard shack screening service members and civilians before they entered the base. As a lance corporal, she was new to the job and the duty station, her first in the Marine Corps.
At some point during her shift, a male sergeant on duty drove up. Get in the car, he said, the platoon sergeant needs to see you. She opened the door and got in, believing she was headed to see the enlisted supervisor of her platoon.
Instead, the sergeant drove her to a dark, wooded area on base. It was deserted, no other Marines were around. "Hey, I want a blowjob," the sergeant told her.
"What am I supposed, what do you do as a lance corporal?" she would later recall. "I'm 20 years old ... I'm new at this. You're the only leadership I've ever known, and this is what happens."
She looked at him, then got out of the car and walked away. The sergeant drove up next to her and tried to play it off as a prank. "I'm just fucking with you," he said. "It's not a big deal."
It was one story among hundreds of others shared by Marines for a study initiated in July 2017 by the Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (CAOCL). Finalized in March 2018, the center's report was quietly published to its website in September 2019 with little fanfare.
The culture of the Marine Corps is ripe for analysis. A 2015 Rand Corporation study found that women felt far more isolated among men in the Corps, while the Pentagon's Office of People Analytics noted in 2018 that female Marines rated hostility toward them as "significantly higher" than their male counterparts.
But the center's report, Marines' Perspectives on Various Aspects of Marine Corps Organizational Culture, offers a proverbial wakeup call to leaders, particularly when paired alongside previous studies, since it was commissioned by the Marine Corps itself in the wake of a nude photo sharing scandal that rocked the service in 2017.
The scandal, researchers found, was merely a symptom of a much larger problem.