I watched it happen with my own eyes.
When I was stationed in Europe, our unit received a new Sergeant Major. He came before his predecessor retired, so spent a few weeks at loose ends. A small group of us Christian sergeants decided to make him feel as welcome as possible. We found out he was an avid runner, so we introduced him to volksmarching. Shorter distance walks — 10-20 km — were wonderful running experiences. Before he got his own vehicle, we took him with us to several different events. He seemed quite grateful.
We made it plain we expected nothing in return. It turns out he had been recently divorced, and I recall it was because she refused to move again. He seemed to appreciate our efforts and we encountered him out on the trails a few times after he got a car.
After he took up his duties, he also took up with one of the most ambitious, bitter and hateful female sergeants in our community. Once she hooked up with him, she became even more impossible to deal with. Worse, it affected him. And sure enough, our kindness had not influenced him in our favor unfairly, because she had long hated us for various imagined slights.
The atmosphere deteriorated quickly. Men I used to look up to began stabbing me in the back for precisely the same things that they previously applauded. The other sergeants with whom I worked all became distrustful, and all the respect we had developed for each other dissolved in just a few weeks. This Sergeant Major began enforcing the most arbitrary and silly policies. He was just about everyone’s enemy.
This was also about the time my knees became such a serious problem. My physical profile was downgraded to category 4 on one scale, a sure career killer, I was told. Yet the US Army went to some lengths to encourage me to stay. I was slated for two hard-to-get career advancement schools on my next reenlistment. But taking it all together, I decided it was a good time to go do something else.
Granted, there were a lot of other things going down the tubes, but I cannot forget how this good man was turned into a destructive force by marrying such an awful woman. Nobody was surprised that she went after him, but we still shake our heads about him accepting her overtures. Several others left the service at about the same time.