A high-ranking military official was asked to retire after an investigation found that he had been kissing soldiers’ wives on the lips at public events.
An anonymous letter complaining about the behavior of Colonel Chad McRee, former commander of the 16th Military Police Brigade, launched the investigation that ended up forcing his retirement.
According to a report in the New York Daily News, the Fort Bragg commander had made it a practice to give his subordinates’ wives unwelcome kisses on the lips at public events.
The investigation led to his removal from his position as Fort Bragg commander. He stayed in the military and was allowed to retire quietly in April 2015, more than two years after the initial complaint about his conduct.
The result of the investigation was released by the Army to the Fayetteville Observer in June after it was requested under the federal Freedom of Information Act.
In the report, one soldier said that McRee has kissed several spouses, including his wife, on the lips.
The report stated that McRee “made multiple spouses uncomfortable” and that “some of these incidents resulted in spouses leaving in embarrassment and tears.”
In the report, another soldier said that McRee kissed his wife multiple times. “The first time that he kissed my wife, she thought it was an accidental mistake until it happened at the next event that she attended.”
The soldier also said, “She has to purposely turn her head to the side so that he does not kiss her on the mouth. She thought it was not on purpose in the beginning, but thinks that he tries to kiss her on purpose now.”
McRee admitted that he kissed some spouses on the lips. The investigator said McRee’s actions “created a negative organizational command climate.”
When the investigator asked him about his actions, McRee said, “I do kiss spouses depending on our familiarity with one another and depending on the circumstances regarding the event.” He also said, “I am careful to read body language, and I try in all instances to avoid ever making someone feel uncomfortable or vulnerable.”
According to the investigation, McRee violated five of eight core expectations for Army leaders. He made inappropriate remarks toward officers and noncommissioned officers and was unfairly authoritative toward Family Readiness Group members, officers, and noncommissioned officers.
McRee was suspended by the Army amid numerous allegations that year, then reinstated for the purpose of relinquishing command, before retiring in April 2015. No criminal charges were ever filed against McRee.