October 14, 1997 in Nation/World

Army Brass Fills Vacancy In Its Top Enlisted Post

Associated Press
 

The Army named Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Hall as its new sergeant major of the Army on Monday, acting several days after removing Gene McKinney from the top enlisted post.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Dennis Reimer said he acted because “the soldiers of the U.S. Army deserve a full-time sergeant major … who can serve as an advocate for their interests and advise the Army leadership on all matters pertaining to enlisted soldiers.”

The Army announced last week that it had removed McKinney from the post, one day after it was announced that he would face a courtmartial on sexual misconduct charges. McKinney has denied the charges against him. No trial date has been set.

McKinney’s civilian attorney, Charles Gittins, has complained that Reimer’s removal of McKinney has hurt his client’s case in advance of the court-martial.

But at a news conference Monday, Reimer denied he is influencing the legal process.

“We made no determination concerning Sgt. Maj. McKinney’s case,” Reimer said. “My view was: What was right for our soldiers was to provide them with a permanent representative, somebody who I could turn to on a daily basis.

“This has nothing to do with losing confidence or anything else concerning McKinney,” Reimer added.

He also said he was “very careful to check with the lawyers” to be assured he could remove McKinney without improperly influencing the legal case.

At a news conference at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual convention, Reimer introduced Hall, 50, of Gaffney, S.C., and congratulated him. Hall did not address reporters and Reimer excused him from taking questions.

McKinney was suspended from his post in February when the first sexual misconduct charges were aired.

McKinney remains in uniform and working on his legal defense at an office near the Pentagon.

A public affairs adviser who worked on his staff accused McKinney of making improper sexual advances toward her at a hotel.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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