Army Suspends Battalion Commander, Sergeant Major in Korea Amid Racism Allegations


The Army has suspended a battalion commander and command sergeant major in South Korea while an investigation is conducted into allegations of racism, bigotry and discrimination.

Maj. Gen. Steve Gilland, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division, suspended the command team — Lt. Col. Sean McBride and Command Sgt. Maj. Mario Salomone — of the 602nd Aviation Support Battalion after receiving an anonymous tip alleging racist behavior, according to a Dec. 12 Facebook statement from Lt. Gen. W. M. Burleson III, commander of Eighth Army at Camp Humphreys.

The statement did not release the identities of McBride and Salomone.

“This week, Eighth Army received allegations of racism, bigotry and discrimination in one of our formations via the Eighth Army Anonymous Assistance line,” Burleson wrote. “My intent is to always tackle these challenges head-on.”

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McBride and Salomone will remain suspended for the duration of the investigation, according to the statement.

“These actions do not presuppose any outcome and are intended to ensure a full, fair, and impartial inquiry,” Burleson said in the statement. “Other allegations properly within the authority of Criminal Investigation Division are being addressed by them.”

Army Times first reported this story.

The statement did not release any further details about the nature of the allegations or specific alleged behavior.

Military.com reached out to the Army in South Korea for further details about the case, but did not receive an immediate response.

Burleson said he has identified trust, accountability and transparency as the three major themes crucial to eliminating discrimination.

“Trust is crucial in our formations, and lack of trust erodes and degrades the cohesiveness of our teams, impacts readiness, and our ability to ‘Fight Tonight,'” he wrote.

“Accountability and transparency go hand-in-hand with building trust. We must demonstrate that we are taking an active approach to resolving those issues and concerns and providing candid feedback to our units about the steps we are taking to make our team strong and ready.”

— Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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