Patriot battalion CSM faces court-martial on fraternization charges

In this photo released by the Royal Thai Army, a health officer collects a nasal swab sample from Gen. James McConville, chief of staff of the U.S. Army, to test for the coronavirus at the military airport in Bangkok on July 9, 2020.

The former top NCO for a Fort Hood, Texas-based air defense battalion is set to face court-martial in June over allegations that he had an illegal affair with a subordinate and then lied about it in an official statement.

Sgt. Maj. Tomas Barrios is charged with fraternization and adultery after carrying on an affair with a subordinate, according to a charge sheet provided to Army Times by III Corps officials. He was serving as the command sergeant major for the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade’s 4th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Regiment when the alleged sexual relationship occurred.

He is now assigned to the corps’ headquarters support company while awaiting trial. Barrios has pleaded not guilty, according to online court records.

The air defense NCO allegedly made “deliberate and repeated comments and gestures of a sexual nature” towards a soldier beginning in May 2021 and engaged in a physical sexual relationship with an unnamed corporal between July 2021 and mid-September of that year, said the court document. Barrios’ conduct “compromis[ed]…the integrity of supervisory authority” and harmed good order and discipline in the unit, per the charge sheet.

Barrios, who was married throughout the alleged affair, requested and received nude photographs of the corporal and “wrongfully engage[d] in…sexual intercourse” with the junior soldier at his Killeen, Texas home, the charge sheet stated.

Barrios made two false sworn statements about the affair on Sept. 22 and Sept. 25 when he denied having a personal relationship with the corporal, according to the charge sheet. Investigators believe Barrios also lied when he denied their personal communications and their sexual relationship.

A III Corps official who provided the charge sheet cautioned that “all accused soldiers are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in accordance with the law.”

The 69th ADA Brigade public affairs officer, Maj. Montrell Russell, told Army Times that the brigade’s commander moved quickly after learning of the reported affair.

“Col. [Henry] Bennett dealt with [the allegations] swiftly, as soon as they came to his level,” said Russell, who added that he could not provide additional details due to the forthcoming court-martial.

Barrios’ military attorney did not respond to an emailed request for comment from Army Times. His trial is tentatively scheduled to begin June 28 at Fort Hood.

Davis Winkie is a staff reporter covering the Army. He originally joined Military Times as a reporting intern in 2020. Before journalism, Davis worked as a military historian. He is also a human resources officer in the Army National Guard.

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.