An executive officer in the US Army aviation battalion reportedly went AWOL for two days after saying he was “drugged” and bitten on the nipples by strippers at an off-limits club, resulting in his commander’s resignation.
The inebriated hijinks pertaining to the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade’s “No Mercy” battalion happened during a nine-month rotation in Poland when nearly 40 members of the Apache chopper unit took a trip to Gdansk to visit World War II battlefields, according to Stars and Stripes.
According to the Army’s investigation report on the awkward situation, Lt. Col. Matthew Fix was the unit leader, part of the renowned 101st Airborne Division based in Fort Campbell, Ky., which had been charged with providing air support for NATO.
The unit capped off the first day by eating dinner at The Legendary White Rabbit Saloon, where they were having a bash for their sergeant major’s fortieth birthday, but a few unit members kept the party going at other bars and became “heavily intoxicated” before going back to their hotels, according to the military news outlet.
A few of the soldiers, notably the battalion’s XO, Maj. Matthew Conner, were said to have wandered into the off-limits Club Obsession, where the guests are reported to have been fleeced out of thousands of dollars after drinking refreshments laced with drugs.
One officer explained to investigators that during the trip back to Powidz after the disastrous outing, Conner told the others that he paid for several lap dances and that strippers “bit his nipples to keep him awake, and repeatedly had his credit card swiped,” the report states.
The pilot showed the soldiers in the vehicle driven by Fix and multiple receipts totaling 50,000; however, it is not clear if the money was in American dollars or local currency, which would come out to roughly $13,000.
Conner “also expressed a belief that the champagne he had been given at the club had been laced/drugged,” the report noted, according to Stars and Stripes.
The soldier was “so severely impaired by the incident that he canceled all of his flights for the next week because he ‘just did not feel right’ and it took days for him to feel normal again,” the report says.
Fix failed to report the alleged drugging of Conner to his commanders, and there weren’t any witnesses mentioned by the battalion commander among the strip club patrons, the investigators say.
After bar-hopping until sunup, no one could locate Conner, who was absent from his room at the IBB Hotel Dlugi Targ. Fix and Sgt. Maj. Ronnie Winberry put together a team to look for Conner, backtracking where they were the night before, in a scene reminiscent of the film The Hangover. The search party was said at the time to be about improving “unit cohesion and morale.”
“The group ultimately met up outside the Obsession Club, where Maj. Conner was allegedly last seen, to begin the re-tracing process,” according to the report. They eventually found Conner at another hotel.
The probe advised that Fix and Conner face administrative or disciplinary action along with various other partygoers from the unit. Fix was given a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand and has begun the procedure for retiring, while Conner will stand before a separation review board, according to Stars and Stripes.
“The command took immediate and appropriate adverse action against the leaders involved,” military spokesman Col. Joseph Buccino said to the outlet in a statement.
“Some officers are facing further administrative actions to determine whether they will continue to serve in the Army,” he continued.
The investigation ruled that “not only is it questionable whether the purpose and intent of a (battalion staff ride) was met, but during the trip, multiple individuals exhibited lapses in judgment and leadership that are not expected of senior leaders in the Army.”