Army removes colonel from command of Germany-based brigade
Stars and Stripes December 5, 2023
STUTTGART, Germany — The leader of a Germany-based brigade that maintains vast amounts of Army weaponry and supplies has been quietly fired from her position.
Col. Crystal Hills was removed as commander of the 405th Army Field Support Brigade by Maj. Gen. David Wilson, head of Army Sustainment Command, the service said in a statement late Monday.
Wilson fired Hills “due to loss of trust and confidence in her ability to command,” said Kimberly Conrad, a spokeswoman for Army Sustainment Command.
The command refused to say when Hills was fired or who, if anyone, has replaced her at the helm of a unit that plays a key role in ensuring U.S. soldiers are supplied across Europe and Africa. The unit’s mission also involves oversight of a network of pre-positioned weapons depots at locations across Europe. Those sites have played an important role for infantry units rotating in and out of Europe on missions to deter potential Russian aggression against NATO member territory.
The Kaiserslautern-based brigade’s website lists Hills’ former job as vacant. The Army also did not specify where Hills was reassigned.
Hills’ relief is the latest in a string of exits for leaders of brigades, units that serve as the operational backbone of the Army. In the past few years, colonels have been removed from command for reasons varying from toxic leadership to inappropriate relationships and bad judgment in general.
Often, the Army doesn’t announce the removals and keeps the circumstances surrounding them under wraps. In the case of Hills, the Army acknowledged her firing after being asked by Stars and Stripes.
Services differ on transparency when it comes to leaders being removed. The Navy, for example, has a track record of announcing such decisions as a measure of command accountability.
In the majority of command removal announcements, services initially will cite “loss of confidence” in the leader, while the underlying reasons vary considerably.
Hills, a graduate of South Carolina State University, assumed command of the 405th in June 2022. During her career, Hills has been part of various logistics and supply units, with assignments stretching from South Korea and Afghanistan to the Pentagon. She also did a stint teaching cadets at the United States Military Academy as an associate professor in the department of English and philosophy.