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7 NCO's Punished


Army.ca Legend
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Seven NCO's were given letters of reprimimand including it would seem the Sgt Major of the Academy.I suspect that the now deceased soldier probably contributed to his own death in some manner. However, the staff is responsible for their students, hence the punishment.


7 suspended after NCO training death at Hood

By Gina Cavallaro - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Aug 23, 2007 22:20:56 EDT

At least seven noncommissioned officers at Fort Hood, Texas, were suspended and given letters of reprimand in the case of a supply sergeant who died during a land-navigation exercise.

Judicial action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice is also possible, said Fort Hood officials, who would not identify the disciplined NCOs, all of whom worked at the post’s NCO Academy.

Sgt. Lawrence Sprader Jr., 24, died after becoming lost and suffering dehydration and hyperthermia during the Warrior Leader Course test in June.

His death and the resulting investigations have rocked the NCO Academy, where the Warrior Leader Course has been temporarily discontinued and its leadership suspended.

An attorney representing the seven NCOs pro bono said he is concerned with the way the investigations were conducted and will request more time to read the 1,900-page report.

“It appears that mass punishment is being undertaken against targeted NCOs in an effort to appease the outspoken concerns of the decedent’s family,” said the attorney, retired Army judge Col. John Galligan.

Regarding the possibility of further action under the UCMJ, he said he had “grave doubts whether a fair procedure could be conducted here at Fort Hood.”

Officials at Fort Hood would not disclose the total number of soldiers disciplined. According to Galligan, the soldiers, who rank from sergeant to sergeant major, were assembled at 5 p.m. Aug. 20 and handed letters of reprimand as a group.

“They were all totally surprised by the action,” Galligan said.

“I love the UCMJ and the military justice system, but I hate to see these soldiers treated unfairly. These are dedicated, highly motivated, well-trained NCOs. They are the cream of the crop.”

During the four separate investigations that began in June, the NCO Academy’s leadership was suspended, but the administrative actions meted out Aug. 20 could not be initiated until the Sprader family was briefed on the results and recommendations.

Sprader’s parents, Lee and Larry Sprader of Prince George County, Va., were briefed on the investigations Aug. 18 by Col. Mack Huey, III Corps rear detachment commander.

“We’re not releasing details of the investigation because we have ongoing administrative actions,” Fort Hood spokeswoman Col. Diane Battaglia said, adding only that it involves “several members of the NCO Academy leadership.”

The only Article 15 letter of reprimand, a nonjudicial punishment, was given to a soldier “for a very specific allegation that took place during the course of the investigation into Sprader’s death,” Battaglia said, confirming that the soldier is in the process of separating from the Army.

Galligan is representing that soldier, who declined to be identified.

The NCO Academy is still operating, but the course has been suspended for now and may not resume for at least 60 days, according to Battaglia, who said about 315 soldiers go through the course there each year.

“The leadership will have to be reinstated. The administrative and possible judicial actions will take about 60 days to resolve,” Battaglia said.

The independent investigations concluded that a combination of factors led to the soldier’s death. Sprader’s parents were provided all the details of the investigations’ findings, Battaglia said.

“I feel angry, but it’s not at the Army. It’s at the individuals they’re going to hold accountable,” Larry Sprader told The Associated Press.

He said Army officials gave him a copy of Fort Hood’s 2,000-page investigative report and discussed it with him over the weekend.

Larry Sprader, a Vietnam veteran with 24 years of military service, said he was satisfied after talking to Army officials and did not plan to file a lawsuit or otherwise pursue the matter further.

“Will there ever be closure? There’s never going to be closure, but at least we have some answers,” Sprader said.

Two parallel 15-6 administrative investigations were ordered by Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Hammond, commanding general of 4th Infantry Division and senior mission commander for III Corps and Fort Hood’s rear echelon.

One was “narrowly focused” on actual training, the conduct of the land navigation course and all the procedures that are in place for it, Battaglia said.

The second 15-6 focused on the circumstances surrounding Sprader’s death.

One investigation each was conducted by the Criminal Investigation Command and the Combat Readiness Center.

Sprader, 24, was a supply sergeant with 11th Military Police Battalion. He went missing June 8.

After a search that included 3,000 soldiers, helicopters, search dogs, mounted personnel and infrared sensors, Sprader’s body was found June 12 under thick brush a mile south of Gray Army Airfield.

Preliminary autopsy findings showed he died from dehydration and hyperthermia.

Sprader had been dropped off at noon in a remote, wooded area on a day when temperatures reached the mid-90s.

According to the Army, he had two water canteens and a water backpack, two compasses, two Meals Ready to Eat, a protractor, a map of Fort Hood and his personal cell phone.

Following the incident, III Corps canceled the academy’s 15-day Warrior Leader Course, which remains shut down while the actions against the school’s leadership are fleshed out and procedures are revised.

Galligan said he will request more time to review the lengthy report, ensure that each soldier has access to Trial Defense Service counsel, request copies of all press releases and e-mails that may have been exchanged among Hammond, his staff and Sprader’s parents, the CID report and the autopsy report.

“Sadly, the command elements at Fort Hood have not been forthcoming with much of the information related to the case and have precipitously initiated adverse administrative action against several senior NCOs with unblemished military records,” Galligan said.

“We operate 26 NCO academies all over the world. We pick these people because we believe as leaders they are the best equipped, the best trained, best motivated to train future leaders for the Army of tomorrow,” he said.


Jr. Member
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While this is sad - i don't see what was done wrong by these NCO's that resulted in his death.  The course is designed to be grueling and prepare you for war.  Accidents *may* happen.  Nobody wants to see another soldier die, definately 'not on their clock'.

btw: Letter of reprimand = a stern talking to and 20 minutes in the corner.



Army.ca Legend
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Field Grade Art 15 LOC's are career killers if they stay in their perm file.


Army.ca Legend
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Everything else aside, he had a cell phone. Why did he not use it?


Army.ca Legend
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Here is some additional information.From the Army Times.

Fatal factors
Posted : September 10, 2007

Here’s a look at some of the factors that contributed to the death of Army Sgt. Lawrence Sprader, according to a Fort Hood investigative report.

Leaders failed to adequately monitor the heat index before and during the exercise.

Soldiers did not have enough time to eat lunch and refill canteens before the exercise began.

Not enough water was available for soldiers.

Leaders did not adequately patrol the course.

Delays and disorganization hampered the search.

Countdown to tragedy
Posted : September 10, 2007

Here is a timeline of events surrounding the death of Army Sgt. Lawrence Sprader, who became lost during a June training exercise at Fort Hood:
June 8

4:30-5:30 a.m.: Soldiers wake up, eat breakfast.

8:30 a.m.: After soldiers arrive at training area, they are instructed during safety briefing to drink plenty of water and avoid dangerous animals.

9 a.m.: Practice drill begins on the training course.

Noon: Solo navigation exercise begins, an hour earlier than scheduled, in part due to 90-plus degree temperatures.

1 p.m.: Sprader spotted on the course by at least three soldiers within 30 minutes.

2:08 p.m.: Sprader makes the first of about half-a-dozen calls over the next hour from his cell phone to superiors, saying he is lost. Someone goes looking for him. During a subsequent phone conversation, Sprader says he can hear the vehicle’s horn.

3:08 p.m.: A call to Sprader’s phone goes unanswered. That was the last incoming call to the phone.

3:15 p.m.: The exercise ends, and medics are busy treating about two dozen soldiers for heat-related injuries. Six soldiers are sent to the emergency room.

3:30 p.m.: Sprader is the only soldier who has not returned. Training leaders start searching for him, although they do not form search parties.

6 p.m.: Leader of the Noncommissioned Officers Academy, which ran the exercise, is notified that Sprader is missing. Army policy requires such notice within the first hour a soldier is lost.

8 p.m.: More soldiers, some still recovering from heat exhaustion themselves, join the search.
June 9

1:30 a.m.: Search efforts end for the night.

7:30 a.m.: Search resumes.
June 12

2:50 p.m.: U.S. Marshal’s Office pinpoints the last area Sprader’s cell phone was used.

5:27 p.m.: Some 400 troops are dispatched to the area and focus search efforts there.

8:30 p.m.: Sprader’s body found under thick brush.

Source: Fort Hood investigative report

Lost, alone — and doomed
Everything went wrong in soldier’s training death
By Angela K. Brown - The Associated Press
Posted : September 10, 2007

FORT HOOD, Texas — Sgt. Lawrence Sprader set out under the searing Texas sun on a map-reading exercise, carrying a cell phone in case he got hopelessly lost or fell ill in the hills and ravines of this remote area.

He survived two tours in Iraq, but he wouldn’t make it out of the Fort Hood countryside alive.

For more than an hour, a lost and dehydrated Sprader used his phone to repeatedly call superiors and tell them of his plight before he finally collapsed in the thick underbrush, where his decomposing body was discovered four days later. He was two weeks shy of his 25th birthday.

How could this tragedy have happened? A 1,700-page Army investigative report, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, details a multitude of procedural violations, judgment errors and alleged acts of misconduct by Army trainers that not only contributed to Sprader’s death in June but put some 300 other soldiers in danger that day, including about two dozen who required medical attention.

Among other things:

• The exercise was poorly planned and supervised, with trainers failing to patrol the area as required for soldiers in distress.

• Participants were not given enough time to fill their canteens.

• Trainers did not keep a close enough watch on the mid-90s heat and humidity.

• The Army made little effort to find Sprader until the training exercise was over.

“It’s just something that shouldn’t have happened, but it did,” said his father, Larry Sprader, of Prince George, Va. “They should have been out there checking on the soldiers, but they weren’t.”

Army officials announced they have suspended the soldiers in charge of the NCO Academy that ran the exercise. Their lawyer said seven soldiers were reprimanded and another was demoted for lying about the timing of his last phone communication with Sprader. The eight could still face criminal charges.

Their lawyer, John P. Galligan, said the Army is trying to make scapegoats out of them.

“This is a tragic accident,” said Galligan, who, like the Army, declined to release the soldiers’ names. “I don’t know why people are trying to find some crime here.”

Sprader first deployed to Iraq in 2003 with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. In October 2005, he went for another year, this time with the 49th Quartermaster Group out of Fort Lee, Va.

“His first sergeant told him he could get his orders changed to stay at Lee, but he said he wanted to move on and he ended up at Fort Hood,” said his father.

The elder Sprader was an aircraft armament repairman for Huey and Cobra helicopters in Vietnam, then spent 20 years in the JAG Corps before retiring as a sergeant first class 15 years ago.

His son disappeared June 8 on a rugged, 1�-square-mile expanse of scrub, tall grasses and cedar and juniper trees during an exercise designed to test his map-reading and navigation skills. It was conducted as part of the academy’s 15-day Warrior Leader Course.

He was wearing a T-shirt, camouflage pants and a jacket, and was equipped with a compass, map, knife and an M16. He and some of the other soldiers also had cell phones. (According to the report, some did not know they could bring phones.) At some point Sprader lost his score sheet, on which he was supposed to check off certain landmarks he had to find. Knowing he would probably have to retake the course, Sprader evidently panicked and got himself badly lost, according to investigators.

Exactly how many calls he made is not specified in the report, but his father said there were 16 — about half outgoing, half incoming. The last seven, he said, were incoming.

Many were one-minute calls; according to the report, calls are frequently dropped in the remote area. The report indicates Sprader talked to someone at least twice and that he said he could hear a vehicle’s horn. But the documents contain few details on what he said, or how lucid he might have been.

Typically, lost soldiers are rescued by trainers who honk their horns and rely on the trainees to listen for the sound and guide them in the right direction. Cell phone signals cannot be used to pinpoint a person’s location; they can only establish the general area where someone is believed to be.

Investigators found that Sprader and the 320 other soldiers participating had already been exposed to the heat for hours before starting the course around noon. They had done some practice drills beginning at 9 a.m.

The exercise was moved up from 1 p.m. because of the heat. As a result, the soldiers were rushed through a lunch break. Investigators believe Sprader did not have a chance to refill his two one-quart canteens before being sent out on the timed exercise.

Temperatures were in the low to mid-90s, and the heat index, the combined effect of heat and humidity, was measured at Category 5, the highest possible, at 11 a.m. at a nearby airport. Some soldiers were overcome by heat before the exercise even began.

Army policy requires those in charge to monitor the heat index before and during such exercises. If the index is high, they are supposed to warn soldiers to avoid overexertion and dehydration and, if conditions are deemed dangerous, to call off the exercise.

The Army report said that leaders of the group that included Sprader did not adequately monitor those conditions. But the report stops short of saying the leaders should have called off the exercise.

More than a dozen soldiers ran out of water before completing the course and called to be picked up, some complaining of dizziness, vomiting or severe leg cramps.

A medic told investigators he suggested the exercise be stopped because of the mounting casualties. But he said he was told that only 10 minutes remained in the exercise, that only one soldier was missing and that such a decision would result in too much paperwork.

All names except Sprader’s were blacked out in the released report.

In statements to investigators, soldiers who participated in the training described chaotic, almost battlefield, conditions. Some appeared to have passed out after completing the exercise; others received fluids intravenously.

“I start to see other soldiers just as I am. They are drenched in sweat and red in the face,” one soldier said in a handwritten statement. “I don’t have water. I notice many people laying in the shade looking passed out ... many calls for a medic.”

By the time the exercise ended at about 3:15 p.m., at least 20 soldiers were treated in the field for heat-related illnesses. Six others were taken to an Army hospital emergency room, including one who lost consciousness on the way.

According to the report, training leaders failed to ensure soldiers were drinking enough water and refilling their canteens.

Also, investigators found there were too few water vehicles and leaders patrolling the course. Some trainers said they went out only after getting calls to help dehydrated or lost students, although they were supposed to patrol continuously on foot and in vehicles.

Sprader made his first call at 2:08 p.m., and not long after that, three people went looking for him in a vehicle, according to the report. But the Army did not begin to mount a larger search until about 3:30 p.m., after the exercise was over and he was the only person still missing.

Training leaders are required to notify their superiors within an hour after a soldier is lost. But investigators said that wasn’t done until about 6 p.m.

One soldier said that during the search, leaders “thought that it was a joke and were laughing and telling jokes throughout the day and didn’t take it seriously.” Another soldier said there were rumors that Sprader had gone AWOL or claimed he was bitten by a snake.

The soldier demoted for lying told investigators Sprader called at 3:15 and 4:45 p.m., but Sprader’s cell phone records show the last outgoing call was at 2:56 and the last incoming call at 3:08. Both calls went unanswered.

Late on June 12, after finally receiving information about the location of Sprader’s phone calls based on cell towers, hundreds of soldiers went to that area. After a few smelled a strong odor, Sprader’s body was discovered.

His empty canteens and a cap were found about 100 yards away.