An Army general who was at one time slated to become a III Corps and Fort Hood deputy commander is now a special assistant to the III Corps commander after losing his chance for a third star due to what was considered an “inappropriate” comment to a female congressional staffer.
Maj. Gen. Ryan F. Gonsalves, the former 4th Infantry Division commander at Fort Carson, Colorado, was being considered for a third star and command of U.S. Army Europe, according to a Dec. 29 story published by Stars and Stripes. An investigation report provided to Stars and Stripes determined the “preponderance of the evidence” indicated Gonsalves referred to the staffer as “sweetheart” during an October 2016 meeting.
“Following the completion of the Inspector General’s investigation of (Maj. Gen.) Ryan Gonsalves, appropriate administrative action was taken,” according to Department of the Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Nina Hill in an email to the Herald this week. “He is currently serving as the Special Assistant to the Commanding General, III Corps, at Fort Carson, Colorado. The matter is now closed.”
An anonymous complaint against Gonsalves was made to the IG on July 20, 2017, days after Gonsalves’ nomination for a third star and the European Command, according to the Stars and Stripes story. An angry reaction from a staffer of Rep. Jim Langevin, D-Rhode Island — who accused Gonsalves of calling her “sweetheart” at one point in the October 2016 meeting — put the nomination on hold.
The IG report provided to Stars and Stripes cites another allegation that Gonsalves asked the staffer her age. When she responded, Gonsalves apparently spoke about his time as a young Army officer serving along the Fulda Gap during the Cold War and is then accused of telling the staffer to take notes so her “Democratic boss” would understand the military’s needs, according to the report.
The staffer’s name was redacted from the report, according to the Stars and Stripes. While some of Gonsalves’ staff stated in the report that the general acted professionally and Gonsalves said he did not refer to the young woman as “sweetheart,” the IG decided the evidence did not support that recollection.
Gonsalves has a history with Fort Hood. He commanded 1st Cavalry Division’s 2nd Brigade, including a combat tour in Kirkuk, Iraq, from early 2009 to early 2010. He also worked for former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno when Odierno commanded the 4th Infantry Division and III Corps at Fort Hood.
Gonsalves was originally tapped by the Army in January 2017 to take the deputy commander for maneuver position at III Corps, and as of last June, that was still the plan, according to Army officials at the time. But by August, it was announced Maj. Gen. John C. Thomson III, then-commander of the 1st Cavalry Division, would inherit the III Corps deputy spot.
At the time, Army officials did not say why Gonsalves had been removed from the III Corps plan.
Fort Hood deferred all questions for this report to the Department of the Army.