Investigation Clears 101st Combat Aviation Brigade Leadership of Misconduct

STUTTGART, Germany — The leadership of an Army aviation brigade has been cleared of wrongdoing following a lengthy investigation into misconduct complaints, the 18th Airborne Corps said this week.

The 101st Airborne Division’s Combat Aviation Brigade, which came under scrutiny in April after soldiers on an official trip visited a Polish strip club where a senior battalion officer went missing, was probed after various complaints were filed against the command.

“An exhaustive, months-long follow-on investigation led by a brigadier general identified no adverse findings against Colonel Travis Habhab or his subordinate leaders,” Capt. Javon Starnes, a spokesman for 18th Airborne Corps, said in a statement.

Habhab is the commander of the Fort Campbell, Ky.-based brigade, which in April completed a nine-month rotation to Europe in support of the military’s Atlantic Resolve campaign, focused on deterring Russian aggression.

Bullying, instances of suicidal thoughts at the brigade’s headquarters company and drunken carousing by officers were among the problems reported within the unit, according to internal command documents and Inspector General complaints obtained by Stars and Stripes.

In May, the Fort Bragg, N.C.-based 18th Airborne Corps sent a senior officer to Fort Campbell to investigate allegations of wrongdoing, the nature of which were not disclosed by the command.

But during the brigade’s Europe rotation, there were indications of a morale problem. A command climate survey of the brigade’s headquarters company conducted during the Europe deployment found that 44% of those polled “reported knowledge” of suicidal thoughts and 25% reported some type of bullying behavior in the unit.

And in April, the brigade was embroiled in scandal after revelations emerged about a battalion trip approved as a tour of World War II sites.

On the first night of the trip, soldiers drank heavily and went to the off-limits Club Obsession in the seaside city of Gdansk, according to an Army investigation report obtained by Stars and Stripes.

The battalion’s executive officer went missing for a day after he was likely drugged and was charged thousands of dollars on his credit card, the investigation report said.

The battalion commander who organized the September staff ride was issued a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand and will retire, while the executive officer faces separation, Army officials said last month. Other members of the unit also were punished.

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