Lt. Col. Herman Bernard West III, right, poses with his uncle, retired Army Lt. Col. Allen B. West, in this undated photo.

Lt. Col. Herman Bernard West III, right, poses with his uncle, retired Army Lt. Col. Allen B. West, in this undated photo. (Instagram)

A former artillery battalion commander at Joint Base Lewis-McChord pleaded not guilty at a court-martial hearing Thursday to charges of sexual harassment, dereliction of duty, hazing subordinates and conduct unbecoming an officer, according to Army officials.

Lt. Col. Herman Bernard West III, 42, was removed Nov. 20 from command of the 1st Battalion, 94th Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade at the joint Army-Air Force installation north of Tacoma, Wash. At the time, the Army gave no reason other than the standard statement that West had lost the confidence of his superiors in his ability to command.

He now faces seven charges for violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the military’s legal statutes, including two counts of sexual harassment, three counts of abusing command authority by cruel maltreatment of a subordinate, one count of conduct unbecoming an officer and one count of dereliction of duty. The arraignment on Thursday took place at the military justice facilities at Lewis-McChord.

West has a military defense attorney, Capt. Caitlin Quvus. He has also hired Jason Wareham, a Denver-area attorney and former Marine Corps Judge Advocate, to represent him.

The case is being prosecuted by Maj. Ryan Keeter and Capt. Bryanna Beauchamp. Lt. Col. Robert Murdough is the judge.

West comes from a family active in Republican Party politics. His father, Bernard Herman West Jr., is running for Congress in Georgia in 2024. He previously ran for Congress in 2018, losing to incumbent Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr.

West’s uncle is retired Army Lt. Col. Allen B. West, a field artillery officer who served in Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and the U.S. invasion of Iraq after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In 2003, Allen West was relieved as commander of an artillery battalion in the 4th Infantry Division following a use-of-force incident against an Iraqi police officer he had detained under suspicion the man knew about terrorist plans to attack American officials, including West.

He was allowed to accept nonjudicial punishment for the incident, and he was fined $5,000, demoted to lieutenant colonel and retired from the Army.

West became a conservative author, radio host and activist, winning a seat in Congress representing Florida. After one term, he did not run for re-election. He moved to Texas and led an insurgent conservative group seeking to move the state party further to the political right, according to the Dallas Morning News.

West was elected state party chairman for 2020-21. He is now running to be chairman of the Dallas County Republican Party.

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Gary Warner covers the Pacific Northwest for Stars and Stripes. He’s reported from East Germany, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Britain, France and across the U.S. He has a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.

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