An investigation has been launched by the Army’s Office of the Inspector General and the Department of Defense regarding charges levied against high-ranking officers in command of the Missouri National Guard. A Lieutenant Colonel with 47 years of service under his belt is accusing the National Guard brass of “reprisal, retaliation and harassment” for his objection to employment discrimination and unfair treatment in the Guard against gays, women and blacks. The charges were made against both the former Chief of Staff and the Adjutant General, and were later amended to question the propriety of the Chief of Staff’s Pentagon transfer in 2012.
During his tenure as Lt. Col., he had defended soldiers who had experienced discrimination for their skin color, gender and sexual orientation. In July 2012, he sought protection as a whistleblower. Records indicate he was denied promotions and targeted with reprisals by testifying on behalf of subordinates in legal proceedings and he spoke publicly about inequalities and discrimination in the Guard.
The Lt. Col. addressed his complaints through proper channels of the chain of command, only to be stonewalled. While trying to resolve the situation and clear his own name, he was reprimanded by the Assistant Adjutant General and accused of falsely bringing charges to the Missouri Commission on Human Rights. His credibility was questioned. He had already been falsely accused of being AWOL, docked a day’s pay and had his military benefits suspended, a particularly onerous response, as he had suffered injuries from an Iraqi IED explosion in 2005 that left him with lingering effects.
The situation erupted when the Lt. Col. spoke out about unfair treatment received by a young gay woman working in his office. She was deployed to Iraq when a former lover who served as Chief Warrant Officer forged her name to access $3,000 from a fund the warrant officer managed.
The warrant officer was indicted on forgery. Testimony from her former lover helped secure the indictment, but the woman supplying the testimony was then blocked from a job which would involve her being promoted to Major by the Chief of Staff. The Lt. Col. accused him of targeting homosexual officers.
No one should fear speaking up in their workplace against discrimination of subordinates and bigotry. If you are unfairly targeted and retaliated against, speak to an attorney familiar with Missouri labor laws. You may have a legal case against your employer.
Source: columbiatribune.com, “Tarnished reputations: A National Guard officer in Columbia alleges retaliation, discrimination part of Guard culture” Rudi Keller, Jan. 15, 2014