We covered the story of the 172nd Infantry Brigade’s commander being relieved when it happened. The report on the relief is out now. Turns out, the command climate was “toxic.”
It turns out, I was mostly right. The command climate was such that it was sufficient cause for relief.
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Four out of six battalion commanders and four out of five command sergeants major in the 172nd Infantry Brigade believed that ousted commander Col. Frank Zachar had a “negative leadership style,” according to a U.S. Army Europe report obtained Thursday by Stars and Stripes.
The Dec. 27 report authored by Brig. Gen. Jimmie Jaye Wells, which details an “investigation into the command climate within the 172nd Infantry Brigade,” recommended Zachar be relieved of command, an action that was taken Jan. 3. Zachar’s ousting came at a critical time for the 172nd. The unit, with its 3,500 soldiers in Grafenwöhr and Schweinfurt, Germany, is training for deployment to Afghanistan this summer.
Just how bad was it?
In one instance, Zachar is said to have called a soldier into his office and informed him that he would serve as a “directed telescope” to gather intelligence on what other leaders in the brigade were saying about him.
Zachar allegedly stated: “I thought, coming into this job, that I would evaluate Battalion Commanders and Command Sergeant Majors on their potential, however I have discovered that I will have to evaluate them based on their loyalty to me and my command team.”
On another occasion, Zachar is said to have threatened three commanders. “If we were disloyal … then he was going to take an ice pick and shove it in our left eye,” one person recounted.