Army Fires Black Woman Commander

She had been tasked with overseeing a brigade that provided support to Army units in both Europe and Africa.

The U.S. Army has relieved commander Col. Crystal Hills of the 405th Army Field Support Brigade of her duties citing a “loss of trust and confidence in her ability to command.” Hills had been tasked with overseeing a brigade that provided support to units in both Europe and Africa, the Army Times reports.

The commander’s firing was handed down by Army Sustainment Command boss Maj. Gen. David Wilson and was confirmed by a spokeswoman for the military branch on Dec. 4. Hills was appointed to her role in August 2022. The Army has not confirmed whether any misconduct was alleged prior to Hills’ firing and has not named a predecessor for her position.

The Germany-based brigade that Hills once led is in charge of large amounts of weaponry and supplies, according to Stars and Stripes, and plays a pivotal role in making sure soldiers have the necessary artillery for service in both Europe and Africa. It’s unclear whether Hills will be given a position elsewhere.

Many Black women have risen in the ranks of leadership in the Army.

According to The War Horse, of the more than 400 women serving as sergeants major in this branch of the military, more than half of them identify as Black. That number is meaningful, considering that Black women only account for 36% of the Army. Black female recruits in the Army rank higher than their appearance in the civilian workforce.

“I know for me, as a woman, one of my big things is how am I going to be secured?” said Lynice Thorpe-Noel, a retired command sergeant major. For many women of color in the Army, Thorpe-Noel believes the decision to remain in the armed forces is rooted in the idea that “as long as I’m moving up, I’m staying.” 

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