After the mental health meeting that occurred at Staybridge hotel in December 2020, I overheard SFC K_ and Lt. W_ assuring SPC M_, SPC J_, and SPC W_ that they were closely monitoring SSG E_’s situation and planned to address it promptly. That same night, I spoke directly to SPC J_ to understand the situation better. She revealed that they were gathering as many complaints as possible against SSG E_ in an effort to remove her from the team and send her home. SPC J_ mentioned that this course of action was instructed by SFC K_ and Lt. W_. She showed me that she was managing all the complaints on her phone and reporting everything to SFC K_.
On the same night, I heard SPC M_ using disrespectful language towards SSG E_, instead of addressing her by her name. SPC M_ mentioned a situation where she perceived SSG E_ was unhappy with her speeding in a vehicle. SPC M_ believed that SSG E_ said, ‘do…?’ and did not finish the sentence, leading SPC M_ to assume that SSG E_ was asking if she had to speak to her in another language.
I observed SPC M_ consistently showing disrespect towards SSG E_, talking negatively about her behind her back, and encouraging others to defy SSG E_. Additionally, there was an incident where a soldier gave SSG T_ the middle finger.
SPC W_ also complained about SSG E_ in front of me, stating that she believed SSG E_ was sexist and referred to her as a lesbian. When I asked SPC W_ about the incident, she mentioned that SSG E_ said she looked like an actor, leading SPC W_ to assume that SSG E_ was calling her a lesbian.
The group that was complaining about SSG E_ expressed their strong desire not to work with her. They cited reasons such as SSG E_ consistently correcting them about wearing headphones during work hours and not liking the fact that she adhered strictly to the rules and regulations.
It’s worth noting that during this time, SSG E_ was the only one diligently coming to work, checking on all the soldiers in the Garage, Cameras, VMO, and Admin. Despite her dedication and efforts, some E5s in the building shirked their responsibilities, leaving SSG E_ to handle all the issues and problems alone.
During a finance class conducted by Lt. W_, he mentioned that they were keeping track of the situation with SSG E_ and assured that they would take appropriate action.
On a separate occasion, while riding with SSG T_ to perform the ACFT, he discussed with SFC K_ the situation at the hotel, which included a power outage on a cold day. SFC K_ made a joke, stating that it was not his problem and that he didn’t want to threaten anybody, alluding to SSG E_.
In another conversation with his squad after a morning class, SSG T_ informed them about the latest update from SFC K_ regarding SSG E_. It was said that she would be stripped of her C2 position upon her return from leave, and SSG T_ would take over as the NCOIC of the building after completing his ALC training.
During a discussion between SPC M_, SPC G_, and myself about SSG E_, they expressed doubts about her being sick and believed she was pretending to avoid work. However, I defended SSG E_, mentioning that she was genuinely dealing with medical issues and seeking proper treatment.
On April 7th, 2019, during the last day of Annual Training for the 207th EUD, ____________ issued coveralls to our squad in the first week of AT. However, she wasn’t present with us during the last two weeks of AT, so SGT Taitano instructed us to return the coveralls for washing at a laundry facility. I followed his instructions and turned them in, but at that time, being new to the unit, I didn’t realize I should have received a hand receipt and confirmation of getting them back.
On January 12, 2018, at 1300 hours, my squad and I, along with LTC. Cook and an interpreter, patrolled the streets of Kirkek, Iraq. Our primary objective was to deny insurgents a safe haven for building improvised explosive devices. During the patrol, we encountered a sign that read “ALBARAKA” with some cars aligned, appearing to be a business. We set up a perimeter around LTC Cook while he engaged in a conversation with a man who seemed to be of Iraqi descent and was dressed in a black suit. The man held keys in his hand and discussed various topics with LTC Cook, including store operations. The conversation seemed cordial, with no escalation of force needed.
On June 2, 2013, around 0630, I was informed by SGT Lazoes to report to BDOC due to an incident where one of my soldiers had a negligent discharge (ND) while on ECP strong point duty around 0245hrs. After discussing the matter with the Sergeant of the Guard and learning that an CCIR was being filled out, I reached out to the 198th commander to inform him of the situation. Prior to my call, SPC Thomas had tried to contact Operations and other personnel without success.
On September 11, at a late morning to early evening time, my squad, along with an interpreter, patrolled the streets of Kirkuk, Iraq, to deny insurgents a safe haven for building improvised explosive devices. The patrol included three or more military vehicles. During the patrol, we encountered a large bulletin board displaying “AL-BARAKA” and a white van, as well as a red-roofed carport with aligned cars, seemingly for sale. As we provided security, LT Cook engaged in a conversation with an Iraqi citizen wearing a black suit. The conversation appeared to be respectful, with no signs of escalation.
Since meeting J, I have felt that our working relationship lacks effectiveness, not only in terms of our professional rapport but also due to personal issues he has projected onto me. Throughout my time in the Travel Assistant position, I’ve encountered and endured the following issues:
- Personal character defamation
- Belittling, badgering, and harassment
- Racial Discrimination (EEO)
- Discrimination based on medical disabilities (HIPPA, EEO)
- Creation of a hostile work environment
- Lack of communication
- Baiting/instigation of negative responses
- Setting me up for failure by intentionally withholding training and resources
- Establishing requirements that go beyond the scope of my job
- Unethical work practices, defying inspection guidelines (I.G)
- Fear of reprisal and retaliation
Prior to accepting the promotion, I was already aware of J’s unfavorable opinion of me, as evidenced by derogatory remarks regarding my skin color such as “white boy” and “I’m all about that black money.” This indicates that he treated me differently based on my race. Additionally, there’s a stark contrast in J’s interactions with female African American employees compared to white male employees, which has been observed by several witnesses at Denver MEPS.
Shortly after assuming the position, I learned that J had held a two-hour meeting with two operational leads (Mr. R and Ms. B) specifically discussing me. The meeting centered around creating unnecessary stipulations for my new job that were based on personal preferences rather than related to the job description, effectively constituting premeditated harassment with the aim of creating a hostile work environment.
During an unprofessional meeting the next day, J expressed frustration because I provided accurate information about the DD Form 93, which contradicted the inaccurate information he had given to our operational section. He retaliated with offensive statements like, “Ask anyone in the MEPS about what they think about M, and they will say M is lazy, M doesn’t do shit, M doesn’t do a fucking thing.” He even threatened to micromanage me, citing a probationary period, and implied that any mistake on my part could lead to termination. He also made discriminatory remarks about my medical disability, disregarding my need to take FMLA for medical reasons.
Subsequent interactions with J escalated into aggressive behavior, with him interrupting and belittling me during discussions, using aggressive body language, and making hostile comments. He intentionally made my job more difficult by denying training, access to resources, and essential working essentials. Furthermore, he purposefully delayed providing critical documents, causing unnecessary stress and harassment.
J’s derogatory behavior has had a detrimental impact on the Denver MEPS as a whole, leading to the reutilization of the previous Travel Assistant for training due to his refusal to effectively train and his personal vendettas.
On November 11th, 2012, during rappel tower training with Task Force X, I made a mistake by not following instructions, resulting in an injury. I fell about 50 feet and hit the ground, causing dizziness and back pain. I was examined by the medic on duty and was sent to Carroll County Hospital for further evaluation.
On June 2nd, 2013, around 06:30, I was informed by SGT Lazoes to report to BDOC because one of my soldiers had an ND (negligent discharge) while on ECP strong point duty. After discussing the incident with the Sergeant of the Guard, I informed the 198th commander about the situation, as attempts to contact Operations and other personnel were unsuccessful.
On March 11, 2009, LTC Cook engaged in a cordial conversation with a local automobile salesman through an interpreter at Al-Baraka, a commercial truck yard. The purpose of the patrol was to deny insurgents a safe haven for constructing improvised explosive devices. The conversation ended positively with LTC Cook saying he would let it be “the Iraqi way” and shaking the local businessman’s hand.
On April 5, 2013, I received the room number for my stay at Camp Santiago and proceeded to take my bags to the room. There, I met SGT R, who was also going to be staying in the same room. As we introduced ourselves and I unloaded my bags, we had a conversation about various topics. SGT R mentioned that she and her battle were going to be doing guard duty at the TOC, and therefore, I would be the only one staying in the room that night. She planned to unpack and take a nap until her duty time.
After leaving the room briefly to ensure I wasn’t needed for any duty, I returned to find the second soldier assigned to our room, SPC G. Just like with SGT R, we introduced ourselves and engaged in conversation. SGT R had informed us that she was waiting for further instructions regarding an NCO meeting she was supposed to attend.
While we were talking, SGT R received a call from her NCO, questioning why she wasn’t at the meeting. It seemed there was a disagreement between SGT R and her NCO, leading to confusion about the meeting timing and instructions.
Later, as I was preparing to take a shower, SGT R returned to the room visibly upset and had packed all her belongings while I was showering. SPC G urgently called me to come out of the shower to address the situation. I found SGT R sitting in her car, crying and frantic. I tried to calm her down and convince her to come back into the room, but she refused. She expressed feeling blamed and misunderstood, but when I offered to help or talk to someone on her behalf, she declined, saying nothing would help.
Throughout the conversation, SGT R continued to text on her phone instead of calling, and I suggested contacting her chain of command or her 1SG to resolve the issue. She refused to stay, stating she had an emergency, but didn’t specify what it was. Despite my attempts to dissuade her, she left abruptly.
In another incident, during August of 2011, Sgt Flournoy issued me equipment without conducting a proper check, and I later discovered that many items, including winter weather gear, were missing. After making several requests to receive the rest of my issued items, Sgt Flournoy ETS’d without returning the missing gear.
On July 19, 2011, I enlisted in the New Mexico Army National Guard and was promised a bonus of $20,000, which was to be paid in two installments. I received the first $10,000 after completing AIT, but the remaining amount, including a signing bonus, off-peak bonus, and quick ship bonus, was not paid as promised. I filed an ETP to request that my enlistment contract be honored and the bonus processed.
On March 23, 2012, I was serving as the Staff Duty NCO for Building 12001, conducting routine security checks. I found Room 511 unsecured with music playing inside. The room appeared to be unused for living purposes and contained unsecured alcohol and drinking supplies. I attempted to contact the responsible NCO and took appropriate measures to secure the unopened alcohol.
On or about August 30 and September 2010, I was assigned to the S4, preparing for deployment to Afghanistan. I cannot verify the specific packing details mentioned in the statement, but I did see a TCAIMS in the Battalion Headquarters.
On June 13, 2011, in North Kaia, Kabul Afghanistan, myself and SPC Bacchus packed items from SGT Campbell’s wall locker, securing the locker with a key lock. Later, we moved the gear into a shipping container along with other items for shipment back to Germany, ensuring that SGT Campbell’s gear was labeled with his name.