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    Fort Bliss provides details on investigation into 1-43rd Air Defense Artillery Battalion

    FORT BLISS, TEXAS, UNITED STATES

    02.05.2021

    Story by Lt. Col. Allie Scott 

    1st Armored Division

    FORT BLISS, Texas— On Nov. 17, 2020, Maj. Gen. Sean C. Bernabe, senior commander for Fort Bliss, directed an investigation to gain a better understanding of the leadership, climate, and treatment of Soldiers in 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery. The two-month examination also provided details about the unit prior to the July 2020 disappearance of Pvt. Richard Halliday.

    Taking into account experiencing stressors associated with its training and deployment schedule, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the investigation found that the 1-43 ADA command climate was under substantial strain. The investigators interviewed 52 Soldiers from throughout the command, and included data from four separate command climate surveys, to reach its determination. The four command climate surveys included both the 1-43 ADA and the Delta Battery reports for 2019 and 2020, which included input from nearly 200 respondents.

    The investigation found no evidence of: toxic leadership; maltreatment of Soldiers; criminal activity; or negligence in leadership performance. Moreover, the investigation found that Soldiers were generally open to reporting grievances to and communicating with the Battalion’s leaders.

    The investigation did determine that the pace of its deployment cycle placed remarkable stress on the Soldiers in the unit.

    Threat demand for deploying Air Defense Artillery units in 2019 and early 2020 required an accelerated 1-43 ADA training plan. 1-43 ADA previously redeployed from multiple CENTCOM locations in August 2019. 1-43 ADA received a deployment order to the CENTCOM Area of Responsibility for Dec. 2020. Accordingly, the Battalion experienced a high operational tempo in preparation for deployment. The Battalion ultimately deployed in Dec. 2020, and remains deployed today.

    The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic were significant. The Battalion leaders adjusted their training schedules, implemented preventive measures to reduce transmission of the virus, and restricted Soldiers’ movements. These health precautions conformed to Department of Defense directives, Department of the Army directives, and City of El Paso Ordinances.

    The investigation also found that the confluence of these impacts created a general sentiment of low morale among some 1-43 ADA Soldiers. The following factors contributed to these sentiments: unpredictability in the work schedule; a dispersed formation due to COVID-19; and an unexpected, early deployment overseas.

    The primary function of any administrative investigation is to ascertain facts, document and preserve evidence, and then report the facts and evidence to the approval authority.

    The redacted findings will be published online at the U.S. Army Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Reading Room at: https://www.rmda.army.mil/readingroom/.

    On Jan. 22, Maj. Gen. Bernabe shared the results of this investigation with the Halliday family.

    Fort Bliss continues to make a broad appeal for information from the public to help us find Pvt. Richard Halliday.

    We would like to remind our community and anyone who receives this message that they can help us find Pvt. Halliday. There is a $25,000 reward for credible information. You can report tips, leads, or valuable information anonymously by phone or online. You may call Fort Bliss CID at 915-568-1700 or go online to cid.army.mil.

    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 02.05.2021
    Date Posted: 02.05.2021 18:51
    Story ID: 388518
    Location: FORT BLISS, TEXAS, US

    Web Views: 1,585
    Downloads: 1

    PUBLIC DOMAIN