Fort Hood brigade combat team commander relieved of duties

Col. Michael Schoenfeldt was relieved of duties on April 8.
Col. Michael Schoenfeldt was relieved of duties on April 8.(Army photo)
Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 12:36 PM CDT
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FORT HOOD, Texas (KWTX) - Col. Michael Schoenfeldt was relieved of duties as commander of Fort Hood’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team effective Thursday “because of a loss of trust and confidence in (his) ability to command” based on the findings of an administrative investigation.

Schoenfeldt was reassigned and is performing administrative duties, Fort Hood said.

He was under investigation after allegations of toxic leadership and violation of COVID-19 quarantine rules were leveled.

“The relief was based on poor judgment demonstrated by Col. Schoenfeldt while in command,” Fort Hood said in a press release.

Findings, approved by the 1st Cavalry Division’s acting commander, included “engaging in bullying,” and “counterproductive leadership.”

“This behavior was directed at subordinate commanders and staff officers. These behaviors were recurrent, and even if they did not have a deleterious impact on 1ABCT’s performance, they did have a deleterious impact on the welfare of subordinates. Allegations of racism and maltreatment were unfounded, Fort Hood said.

Schoenfeldt was relieved of command in February while on rotation to Europe for health reasons.

The action announced Thursday is “separate and distinct” from his medical issues, the post said.

Stripes reported that some soldiers in the brigade, which began arriving in November 2020 in Germany for a nine-month deployment, talked about the toxic climate in the unit.

Stripes quoted an unnamed brigade officer as saying, “This is the worst I’ve ever been treated.”

In December then Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy announced the relief or suspension of 14 officer and enlisted personnel, the creation of a new Army policy on missing personnel and the formation of a task force to address recommendations of the committee that performed an independent review of the climate and culture on post.

The persistent demand for answers from the family of slain Fort Hood Spc. Vanessa Guillen was a major catalyst for the review, McCarthy said.

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