Brigade commander responds to “in-the-field stillborn birth” allegations at Fort Polk

3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division Commander COL Brian P. Sullivan. (US ARMY)

The commander of the 10th Mountain Division’s Louisiana-based Brigade Combat Team has spoken out against leaked reports that several pregnant soldiers forced into the field have suffered miscarriages, with brigade spokespeople calling the reports “unfounded.”

According to Fort Polk spokesperson Kim Reischling, the “incident” only involved one soldier who  did not know that she was pregnant until she began participating in the weeks-long training exercise and began receiving treatment for nausea.

“Following medical protocol, the soldier was tested for pregnancy and the test was positive. The soldier was put on light duty as the unit coordinated for her redeployment so she could return home. It was during this time that the soldier suffered a miscarriage,” Reischling stated.

In response to an article published by US Army WTF Moments under the title “Pregnant soldiers forced to train in field, results in stillborns,“ 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division Commander Brian P. Sullivan released the following statement.

“You may be aware of the article posted yesterday on Army WTF Moments alleging 3/10 deploying pregnant Soldiers to the field and those Soldiers subsequently suffering miscarriages,” Sullivan said in a statement picked up by KALB.

“We have provided a response to query statement to local media and will continue to monitor the situation. My intent is that we promulgate the truth to those that matter – the Patriot team. We will never bandy in any public forum, to include social media, the health of any Patriot Soldier or Family member. Rather we will always default to caring for them in private, thereby protecting their privacy.

To the accusation we deployed pregnant Soldiers to the field and those Soldiers had miscarriages, here are the facts:

  1. The 3/10 Command Team will always place the welfare of its Soldiers and Families as its top priority as it accomplishes its mission.
  2. The business rules we used made pregnant and post-partum Soldiers non-deployable. There may have been some initial confusion with some command teams initially applying AR 40-501 which does allow field duty for pregnant Soldiers prior to 20 weeks. But ultimately the business rules and the FORSCOM Regulation regarding no pregnant Soldiers deploying to CTCs proved predominant. We are unable to discount if a pregnant Soldier deployed to JRTC opting to keep her condition private.
  3. Tragically, we had a Soldier who did not deploy to JRTC suffer a miscarriage while the BCT was in rotation. Distraught, she asked for the baby’s father to be with her. We redeployed the baby’s father from JRTC. CSM Bly and I determined that the priority must be the mother’s grief.
  4. We also had a Soldier deploy to JRTC not knowing she was pregnant. When she presented to her PA in the field with nausea, the PA administered a pregnancy test which was positive. The PA placed the Soldier on light duty as we coordinated for her redeployment. It was during this time that the Soldier experienced a threatened miscarriage, not an actual miscarriage. Upon redeployment to Fort Polk, the Soldier has had several follow on medical appointments that confirmed she is still pregnant. The Soldier is doing well.

With regard to the spread of misinformation, we’ve asked our Leaders to take this opportunity to talk about Integrity, an Army Value. We need to acknowledge the difficulty in finding integrity in the vitriol that seemingly defines social media, and by extension our public discourse. We should look to the American Soldier as our nation’s vanguard of Integrity.

I’m blessed to be part of this team, and it is an incredible privilege to lead it alongside CSM Bly.

Patriots, Climb to Glory, In Spite of Hell!”

With that said, not everyone at 3BCT was surprised when the allegations arose, with many claiming that the “toxic” command structure at 3/10 results in the wellbeing of its soldiers being overlooked.

“I know that the Brigade Commander wanted 80% [manpower] no matter what, so it doesn’t surprise me in the least,” one officer told Popular Military affiliates under condition of anonymity.

“I can’t confirm that it happened, but to call the command “toxic” is an understatement,” another source said. “I haven’t seen a worse command from top-down in my decade of soldiering. It’s like they’re running over us just to get political points with [10th Mountain] Division up in New York. 10th Swamp [3/10] needs to be drained, and fast. Low morale is a cold this unit can’t seem to get rid of.”

3/10s Public Affairs Office was not available for comment.

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Author

  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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