Fat Female Commander Intimidated Subordinates Into Letting Her Pass The Tape Test

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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Col. Glenda Lock, commander of McDonald Army Health Center, was fired in late March. We now know the reason why. Apparently, Lock intimidated subordinates into letting her pass the tape test after she was found overweight.

Initial reports in April indicated Lock was fired for “undue influence” and “command climate problems,” after receiving a suspension in February. Results from the investigation indicate that undue influence took the form of manipulating tape test results, Army Times reports. The tape test is used by all services to measure body fat in the neck and waist.

According to the Army, Lock, who was responsible for 800 employees at Joint Base Langley Eustis in Virginia, did not violate the law or engage in unethical behavior. The decision to remove her was purely administrative and she still remains on active-duty, though she was transferred to San Antonio to work as a Senior Nurse Staff Officer. In January, Lock admitted to investigators that she was, in fact, overweight, but denied that she influenced the tape measuring process. Investigators don’t believe her.

Lock was measured on Nov. 3, 2014, by one civilian and one soldier. When she was informed that she was out of weight bounds, Lock first tried to tell the soldier that “she would re-do the weigh-in later on that week.”

The sergeant responded that re-doing a weigh-in wasn’t his decision. After contacting an officer and receiving further instruction, the sergeant placed a Suspension of Favorable Personnel Actions on Lock’s file. This flag is used when a soldier is under investigation. The same day, Lock called the chief of HR at the McDonald Army Health Center in an attempt to remove the flag. Chief of HR told investigators that while Lock didn’t explicit ask for its removal, the intent behind her call was clear.

“An O6 in my rating chain was asking me to do something unethical and I don’t think I should be put in that position,” the chief of HR stated.

Lock did not show up for subsequent re-weighing Dec. 8. She was next measured Dec. 22 and tried to influence her measurements by saying her numbers out loud.

She also disputed statements saying she was a toxic leader, though Sgt. Maj. Shelia Adams stated in the report that “People are afraid of her. A lot of people feel like the command group is fake. I do not think that COL Lock provides clear guidance to the staff members and as a result she does not get the outcomes she wants.”

Officials have indirectly attributed fewer women in the military to body fat standards. A recent push in the Navy to recruit more women led Secretary Ray Mabus not only to propose a different way of measuring body fat, but to increase the allowable limits. The current limit between the ages of 17-39 is 22 percent for men and 33 percent for women. According to the American Council on Exercise, 32 percent body fat in women counts as being obese. (RELATED: Navy Secretary Wants More Women In The Service, Proposes To Increase Body Fat Limits)

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Jonah Bennett