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Army 3-star general suspended amid ‘racist and toxic’ leadership allegations

Lt. Gen. Duane A. Gamble speaks at a 9/11 remembrance ceremony at Clemson University, Sept. 14, 2021. (U.S. Army photo by Ken Scar/Released)
February 17, 2022

The three-star general serving as one of the U.S. Army’s top logistics leaders has been suspended from his position this week amid an investigation into allegations he has created a toxic leadership environment.

Lt. Gen. Duane Gamble, the Army’s deputy chief of staff for logistics, who heads an office known as G-4, was suspended this week, according to a statement provided to American Military News by Army spokeswoman Cynthia Smith.

“Lt. Gen. Gamble has been suspended from his position as the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4, pending the final outcome of a Department of the Army Inspector General investigation into allegations of creating or fostering a counterproductive leadership environment,” Smith said. “As the process is ongoing, we cannot comment further at this time.”

Task & Purpose first reported Gamble was suspended amid allegations of a “racist and toxic” work environment within G-4. Three sources, including a recently retired Army colonel, described the complaints from within Gamble’s office. They said he frequently degraded subordinates and peers and often made inappropriate comments during staff meetings.

Gamble, who is white, directed the majority of his degrading comments to black subordinates, the sources alleged.

Gamble also allegedly disparaged black general officers he worked with and knew. Examples reportedly included Gamble saying Lt. Gen. Scott Dingle, the Army surgeon general who is black, “isn’t leading” and “doesn’t know what he’s doing.” Gamble reportedly said his predecessor, another black officer by the name of Lt. Gen. Aundre Piggee, was “flat on his ass” and “allowed the G-4 to become irrelevant.” Gamble reportedly disparaged two at least two other black peers: Lt. Gen. Jason Evans, the deputy chief of staff for installations; and Lt. Gen. Darrell Williams, director of the Defense Logistics Agency. Gamble reportedly said Evans didn’t have “a clue” and Williams would “never get it done.”

“Every Black leader that he came across was ignorant, illiterate, and frankly inept in their abilities to perform their duties,” retired Army Col. Kenneth Williams, who worked in G4, told Task & Purpose. “He made it abundantly clear to everyone in the room that’s how he felt … Every senior caucasian [general officer] ‘gets it.’ But every Black [general officer] is ‘ignorant.’” 

Gamble was also accused of making inappropriate comments following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer pinned his knee to Floyd’s neck for several minutes. At one point when a minority staff member couldn’t be present at a meeting that took place after Floyd’s death, Gamble reportedly commented “I have to keep my foot on his throat all the time, he’s always screwing up.” 

“The connotation of ‘foot on the throat’ in the midst of all the George Floyd stuff — he just did not understand why that was a problem,” one source told Task & Purpose.

Gamble’s alleged behavior was reported to the Army’s Inspector General in September 2020 and the investigation was opened two months later. The Army’s investigation recently concluded and the Defense Department’s Inspector General completed its review of the Army investigation on Feb. 11. Gamble has been suspended, but the investigative process is ongoing.