Army general engages in inappropriate relationship and faces consequences

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Wayne Grigsby has been stripped of one star and forced into retirement after the disgraced former Army division commander was found to have had an inappropriate relationship with a female captain.

The Army fired Grigsby from commanding the First Infantry Division in September 2016. Nine months later, Gen. Daniel Allyn announced in a scathing letter that Grigsby will leave the service as a one-star general, making him the first division commander to be relieved of duty in over 45 years.

Gen. Allyn, the vice chief of the Army, wrote that the “manner and frequency” of Grigsby’s communication with the captain, who was on his staff, compromised the chain of command. Allyn said the captain was perceived to have given her preferential treatment. “In doing so, you placed your personal interests above those of the unit as it prepared for combat,” Allyn wrote.

Allyn writes that Grigsby was warned by top aides about the perception of the relationship, but that Grigsby maintained it.

In September, Grigsby was set to lead the “Big Red One,” a division that had reportedly seen combat in battlefields during conflicts in World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was close to deploying to Iraq when he was recalled by the Army to Washington, where he was relieved from command

After an investigation, Army Spokeswoman Cynthia Smith announced, “Maj. Gen. Wayne Grigsby will retire at the rank of brigadier general after an investigation by the Inspector General of the United States Army determined that he had engaged in an inappropriate relationship and he received a written reprimand that was filed in his official file.”

In the inspector general’s report, multiple incidents were noted when Grigsby was warned about growing concerns over his relationship with the female captain. A witness testified that after warning him about the perceptions that he was “too close” to the captain, “Grigsby got defensive, and said he was close to a lot of officers.”

According to witnesses, Grigsby was often in communication with the captain. “Every time I turned around, he would call her,” said one witness, whose identity was redacted in the report. Grigsby reportedly used a “burner phone” to call the captain, and was even observed calling her during a “live fire” exercise at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, CA, according to inspector general’s report.

Grigsby’s relationship with the captain may not have been physical. He told investigators he was only mentoring the female captain. Investigators felt “the evidence did not support MG Grigsby’s claim that this was part of mentoring junior officers, as other junior officers were rarely included in the correspondence.”

Witnesses reported that Grigsby’s black Dodge Ram pickup truck was parked at the female captain’s home on more than one occasion.

According to investigators, the female captain was exploiting the relationship. They note: “The evidence indicated that the relationship between MG Grigsby and [redacted] was exploitative, in that they both used the situation to gain an advantage or benefit.”

Grigsby released a statement, apologizing for the behavior:

“While I am embarrassed and disappointed in myself, I am more deeply troubled by the pain I know that I have caused my family, the First Infantry Division, the United States Army and all those with whom I have served our nation these past 35 years. To them, I offer my sincerest apologies.”

Grigsby said he’d “volunteered” to be retired at the lower grade.

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