A battalion commander with the 1st Cavalry Division based at Fort Cavazos, Texas, was fired after an investigation found he was unqualified to command, Army officials told Military.com.
Lt. Col. Damasio Davila was relieved from his position commanding the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, at the installation formerly known as Fort Hood on April 26, after being in command since June 2021.
The firing comes after a series of high-profile suspensions and questionable conduct among senior officers across the service, particularly at Fort Cavazos. The base also became the center of a national scandal and spurred the Army to overhaul its criminal investigation divisions following the 2020 murder of Spc. Vanessa Guillén.
Military.com reported in April that a private had died by suicide at the base just a month earlier after telling her family she had been sexually harassed — and a second female soldier died by suicide on the same day, but the Army remained mum.
Davila was relieved due to “loss of trust in his ability to command,” Lt. Col. Jennifer Bocanegra, a division spokesperson, said but declined to provide any additional information about the investigation. The reasons for Davila’s removal could range from general misconduct to criminal action.
Stars and Stripes was the first to report on his firing.
Lt. Col. Patrick Merriss, an armor officer and Iraq war veteran, assumed command of the battalion last week.
Col. Jon Meredith was also fired from his role as commander of 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Cavalry Division in October. The previous commander, Col. Michael Schoenfeldt, was fired for bullying staff in April 2021 during the unit’s deployment in Europe.
Meredith, who faces a court-martial, is charged with two counts of abusive sexual contact and two counts of conduct unbecoming of an officer, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.
His wife, Col. Ann Meredith, was also terminated in January from her role as the commander of the 89th Military Police Brigade, which is also based at Fort Cavazos.
Fort Cavazos was renamed this month as part of a military-wide initiative to scrub Confederate names from bases and property. Since Guillén’s death, the base has struggled with controversy.
In December 2020, after a review sparked by her murder, more than a dozen officials with the base were suspended or fired. The Army’s damning Fort Hood Report found systemic issues with command including failures with guaranteeing the safety of soldiers, particularly women.
In that same year, at least 39 soldiers at the base died or went missing, according to reporting from Vanity Fair.
— Steve Beynon can be reached at Steve.Beynon@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.