An Army investigation has uncovered a shocking incident involving an Apache helicopter unit and a major being drugged during a trip to Poland.
The 101st Combat Aviation Brigade’s ‘No Mercy’ battalion, based out of Kentucky, was deployed to the country in September to visit sites linked to World War II.
While in Poland, however, a celebration turned problematic after one major claimed to have been drugged at a strip club before going missing overnight, forcing a search party to come find him.
The major was also scammed out of tens of thousands of dollars during his strip club visit.
An Army investigation is now threatening the careers of that major, along with a commanding officer and other members of the battalion.
Maj. Matthew Conner (left), who described himself as being ‘drugged’ and Lt. Col. Matthew Fix (right), who has retired following a reprimand from the incident
The 101st Combat Aviation Brigade (pictured) was in the midst of a nine-month Europe rotation
The 101st’s nine-month European rotation, which didn’t end until this month, involved providing airpower for NATO.
The trip was supposed to improve morale and cohesion within the battalion, but only caused problems after rumors began to spread of what took place.
Approximately 40 members of the 1st Battalion traveled to the city of Gdansk for a two-day excursion in September, according to Stars and Stripes.
According to the Army investigation, the team went to The Legendary White Rabbit Saloon at the end of the first day in Gdansk to celebrate the 40th birthday of their sergeant major, in addition to hitting up other local establishments.
Some of the officers returned to their hotel, the IBB Hotel Dlugi Targ, around midnight and were said to be ‘heavily intoxicated.’
The first of two nights in Gdansk began at the Legendary White Rabbit Saloon (pictured)
Then, some officers went to Club Obsession, where the alleged drugging took place
Other members of the battalion, however, continued their night at a strip club deemed to be off-limits called Club Obsession, including executive officer Maj. Matthew Conner.
A warrant officer told the Army’s investigation that Conner claimed to receive multiple lap dances while at the club at the end of the two-day trip.
At one point, a stripper also ‘bit his nipples to keep him awake,’ Conner claimed during a car ride at the end of the trip, for which Lt. Col. Matthew Fix was the driver. Additionally, Conner shared his credit card was allegedly swiped multiple times.
Conner, a pilot, ended the night with receipts that showed 50,000 of a currency being spent, although it was unclear if that was US Dollars or Polish zloty, which would come to around $13,000.
The investigation also said that Conner ‘expressed a belief that the champagne he had been given at the club had been laced/drugged.’
Fix, who led the trip to Gdansk, did not report the potential drugging of Conner to headquarters after learning of the incident.
The next morning, nobody within the battalion could locate or contact Conner. He was not in his hotel room.
Fix and Sgt. Maj. Ronnie Winberry formed a search party with everyone involved from the previous night to retrace their steps through the city center to find Conner.
Fix and Winberry were ultimately able to find Conner at another hotel and the battalion finished a shortened version of the World War II tour.
The 101st Combat Aviation Brigade (pictured) was providing airpower to NATO
Rumors about what happened with the battalion spread on social media after the incident
Conner, meanwhile, remained sick through the next day and was ‘so severely impaired by the incident that he cancelled all of his flights for the next week because he ‘just did not feel right’ and it took days for him to feel normal again,’ the Army report said.
Rumors persisted over social media following the trip, including a rumor that the unit visited an ‘alleged sex dungeon.’
The Army launched a 15-6 investigation into the trip, which can sometimes lead to administrative punishment or even a court-martial.
‘The command took immediate and appropriate adverse action against the leaders involved,’ said Col. Joseph Buccino, spokesman for the 18th Airborne Corps.
‘Some officers are facing further administrative actions to determine whether they will continue to serve in the Army.’
The investigation also criticized the poor leadership demonstrated on the trip.
‘Not only is it questionable whether the purpose and intent of a [battalion staff ride] was met, but during the trip, multiple individuals exhibited lapses in judgment and leadership that are not expected of senior leaders in the Army,’ the investigation said.
The 15-6 investigation recommended disciplinary action for Conner, Fix, a first sergeant, and several junior officers.
Fix received a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand and chose to retire in the aftermath of that reprimand.
Conner is still set to face a separation review board. Conner and Fox both have not commented on the investigation.
The 15-6 investigation recommended disciplinary action for Conner, Fix, and other officers
This is not the first troubling incident involving the Army and a trip to Europe in recent weeks.
Earlier this month, the Army fired Col. Michael Schoenfeldt after he was accused of bullying and providing toxic leadership the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division’s trip to Europe.
The spokesman for U.S. Army Europe and Africa referred to the incidents as ‘isolated cases’ in a statement.
‘The same standards of conduct and leadership apply here in Europe as they do in the United States,’ Col. Joe Scrocca said, according to Stars and Stripes.
‘Our permanently stationed and rotational forces are expected to live by the same Army Values.’
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