Mom: How did my favorite lamp get broken? What did you and your friend do?
Kid: Mom, mom, here is what happened. Me and Jimmy were playing the xBox and then I noticed kitty was starting to get sick. Since you asked me to keep an eye on kitty I was doing that.
So I looked over and saw she was about to throw up on your favorite chair. I know you would be so mad if she did that so I jumped up with lightning speed and I know the fastest way to get there in order to save your chair would be to jump over the back of the couch. Even though I knew Jimmy would beat me in the game I knew I had to save your chair. So I jumped over the back of the couch, and somehow my foot caught on the cord to the lamp. I saw the lamp falling but didn’t think out would break plus I saw kitty was about to throw up and I knew I had to get her. So I dove at her, risking myself getting hurt and was able to grab her and take her outside so she didn’t throw up on your chair.
Mom: So when did the lamp actually hit the floor?
Son: Not sure mom, I was so focused on your chair and kitty not messing it up I didn’t hear it. Maybe Jimmy did, Jimmy?
Jimmy: Uhh, I didn’t uhh, notice. He really did try Ms. Mom. Uhh, but I got to go home now so I will see you later. Thanks for inviting me over.
Mom: Well I just looked outside and I don’t see any cat puke.
Son: Oh, uhh, well yeah I cleaned that up too, because I know you don’t like to see that stuff. I do what I can to help you out mom
That is a plausible and probably very common scenario and has been for years, in households across the country if not around the world. Almost any parent in this scenario would roll their eyes and call BS on the son’s story. It holds all the characteristics of a lie; yes I did it, but I did it to help you out and protect your interests, I put myself at risk in doing this for “you”, and no evidence to support it or a valid trustworthy witness.
We now know he was home-schooled, and was very active in the ballet and in fencing. Not exactly the type of person that wants to excel and be part of a high-speed Airborne Infantry Unit, if you ask me. Could it be his fellow soldiers knew of his past and harassed him? Could they have made him feel like an outsider? Who knows, and really it does not matter as what he did (if desertion as PJ implies) is inexcusable. I am confident that as the past comes to light we will see this soldier demonstrated behavior that would be considered outside the norm.
“Outside the norm” has come to light for sure. When I wrote the blog post in July 2009, I was quickly attacked by several in the LGBT community who twisted my words to try and say that I was claiming he was gay and that is why he was “outside the norm” and that was why he deserted. I am still never sure where they made up that info in their heads, but it really didn’t matter at the end of the day. I was also in contact with the family back in 2009 through a intermediary and was getting info from them that was supporting my statements and some that corrected things as per the family. You can check out http://www.bouhammer.com/?s=bergdahl and see all the posts where I talked about this soldier from the moment he went AWOL.
The scenario I made up at the start of this is pretty much the Bergdahl story as told on the first episode of season two of Serial, the podcast (https://serialpodcast.org/season-two/1/dustwun). Apparently the story he told Mark Boal over a series of phone calls. He has had plenty of time to think of the story he told of a young, very inexperienced (one year in the Army) PFC who knew more about the US Army and its operations in Afghanistan then all the senior leaders over him, of which most had multiple combat tours. A soldier who saw himself as a modern-day, real-world Jason Bourne (yes he really said that). A soldier who realized the mistake the second he got outside the wire and thought he could make it better and maybe not get punished as bad as he thought would happen by spying on and capturing taliban emplacing IEDs. His grandiose plan was do to this while walking over some very hard terrain for 18 miles (as the camel walks) without being seen and only with a knife, some water and a notepad.
The pics below show some of the exact terrain he was going to walk. I was in this same area in 2006-2007.
As you can tell from the pics above, there was no way he was going to do this and be successful. But then again, running 18 miles across indian country at night through unknown minefields, IEDs, and who knows what else so he could create a DUSTWUN (Duty Status-Whereabouts Unknown) and get some “attention” so people would listen to him “maybe even a General”. Then he could tell them how his upbringing in Idaho being home-schooled and one year in the Army has given him the ability to identify real problems in the Army and how to fix them.
I have had soldiers like him in my many years as a leader, to include seven years as a 1SG and Rear-D Squadron CSM, but thankfully none of those “experts” were retarded enough to demonstrate how much smarter and knowledgeable they though they were than their entire chain of command. However I guess (if you believe his made-up story) Bergdahl got what he wanted. He was able to get the attention of a lot of people, to include one of the last Soldier’s soldier, FORSCOM Commander, GEN Robert Abrams (disclaimer- a good friend of mine and past wartime company commander) who just referred Bergdahl’s case to a General Court Martial which could net this misguided soul a lifetime in Leavenworth (http://www.armytimes.com/story/military/2015/12/14/sgt-bowe-bergdahl-face-court-martial-desertion-charge/77300686/).
In the case of SFC Martland, it is truly disgusting because in the Army we teach and are taught that we should all do the HARD RIGHT instead of the EASY WRONG. This is what separates the sheepdogs from the sheep. Standing up for what is right and having the courage and intestinal fortitude to do it. Trust me it is not easy and many times, not possible. Our soldiers are put in the middle of a rock and a hard place when they see something as horrific as child rape and abuse happening, or even soldier male on male rape happen. And also know that they are told by all levels “it isn’t our job to install our values into their culture” and to know that if they offend, humiliate and piss off the same Afghans who’s protection our vulnerable soldiers depend on for force protection could cause an American’s death.
It doesn’t take long in country to realize that the time a person has left there won’t make a squat of a difference to how the place turns out or how the people there act. There is an old Afghan saying, “Americans may have the watches, but Afghans have the time”. They know they can wait us out; they know their country has been at war longer than our country has been in existence.
The situations that guys like SFC Martland, LCpl Buckley and countless others have found themselves in, is almost unimaginable. Even though our forces are not there to instill our way of life, our western values, etc., our soldiers are still human beings. It does not matter what political party someone belongs to, what religion they have (if any), or what part of the country they were raised in. Respecting human life and protecting the innocent is a basic characteristic of a sane person. It is against our DNA to take another human life, and for anyone with a conscious whom is not an evil animal, to abuse and molest child is not conceivable. Our warfighters at all ranks and ages from the private to the most senior leaders see this stuff if they are anywhere around Afghan forces or the public. What do you expect a soldier like SFC Martland do when a mother brings her young son to him that has been raped and the mom herself beaten for complaining about it. To make it worse, these horrible acts were done by a public official who is entrusted to protect the innocent people and this is supposed to be a person that a soldier is mentoring.
How do you look evil in the eye like that and not let it affect you? How do you act like it never happened? How cold-hearted do you have to be to ignore this type of evil? If you ask me, this is the type of soldiers we DON’T WANT. I want and I expect our military to have compassion for those that are innocent. That is what keeps them human, that is what keeps them focused on what is important in life. They are not stormtroopers or SS Nazis or robots, they were human beings before they stepped up to defend out country, and they hopefully will be humans after.
Had SFC Martland never taken action and a “investigative” film crew were to go to Afghanistan and film this attack and then film SFC Martland ignoring it, the American people, Mainstream Media, Hollywood and probably the administration would “take action” and do their best to shame any soldier that let something like this happen. Based on history and their actions to date, I can guarantee you that is exactly what would happen. So he was damned if he did or damned if he didn’t.
There are stories from my time in Afghanistan that I could bore you with of American soldiers doing the HARD RIGHT with Afghans security forces that caused the soldiers to be investigated, have marks put on their careers and negative actions taken against them by their superiors. When I talk with people, or do interviews and say “The American People will never be able to comprehend how the Afghans live”, it is these type of incidents I am thinking of at the time.
I belong to several private groups on Facebook and other social media outlets where I have seen multiple comments from people whom have NEVER been there say what they would do and how they would never let this happen. To be honest, they are talking out of their ass and doing nothing more than “Monday-morning quarterbacking”. Until someone is there and dealing with all the factors and issues while being in country, they have no idea what or how they would act. So I ask anyone reading this, before you obtain a “holier than thou” attitude with your “expert” opinion; just take a knee, drink water and STFU.
So the Army is being forced to cut more soldiers from its ranks, combat-hardened and experienced soldiers at that. Which individually are very valuable to their tradecraft than just being a soldier.
Army Announces Force Structure and Stationing Decisions
The Department of the Army announced today force structure decisions and stationing plans for the reduction of the regular Army from 490,000 to 450,000 soldiers. The reduction of force structure will occur in fiscal years 2016 and 2017; the reduction of 40,000 end strength will be completed by the end of fiscal year 2018, and will be accompanied by the reduction of 17,000 Department of the Army civilian employees. These cuts will impact nearly every Army installation, both in the continental United States and overseas.
As part of these reductions, the number of regular Army brigade combat teams, the basic deployable units of maneuver in the Army, will continue to reduce from a wartime high of 45 to 30 by the end of fiscal year 2017. The Army will convert both the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Georgia and the 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska into smaller unitsmaneuver battalion task forcesby the end of fiscal year 2017. While brigade combat teams consist of approximately 4,000 soldiers, these battalion task forces will be comprised of approximately 1,050 soldiers.
Additionally, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division will remain a brigade combat team, but will convert its primary maneuver platform. Currently, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division is a Stryker brigade combat team, however, it will become an infantry brigade combat team without Stryker combat vehicles. Additionally, the Army is analyzing a proposal to use the brigade combat team’s current Stryker equipment to convert an Army National Guard brigade combat team in the Pacific Northwest to a Stryker configuration.
The Army selected these brigade combat teams for reorganization based on a variety of factors including strategic requirements and the inherent military value of the installations where they are based. The force structure decisions announced today best posture a smaller Army to meet global commitments.
“Budget constraints are forcing us to reduce the Total Army,” said Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, Army deputy chief of staff, G-3/5/7. “These were very difficult decisions to make as all of our installations and their communities offer tremendous value to our Army and the nation. In the end, we had to make decisions based on a number of strategic factors, to include readiness impacts, mission command and cost.”
If the fiscal-caps of the 2011 Budget Control Act caps, commonly referred to as sequestration, are not addressed, the Army’s end-strength will be further reduced to 420,000 soldiers by the end of fiscal year 2019. This will result in a cumulative loss of 150,000 soldiers from the regular Army a 26 percent cut over a seven year period. The resulting force would be incapable of simultaneously meeting current deployment requirements and responding to the overseas contingency requirements of the combatant commands.
For more information on this release, please contact Lt. Col. Joe Buccino at 703-697-5662, Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, Office of the Secretary of the Army.
Do you realize the Army wants to cut another 40,000 soldiers and 17,600 DA Civilians by the end of fiscal year 2018 and then another 30,000 a year later? Are you seeing this? Do you realize it is not just 40,000 soldiers but rather 70,000 soldiers by Sept 30, 2019 and 17,600 civilians. So a total of 87,600 on top of all that has been cut.
Did you also pick this line up at the end of that official release, “The resulting force would be incapable of simultaneously meeting current deployment requirements and responding to the overseas contingency requirements of the combatant commands.”?
I am so glad that we are currently living in a Nirvana of a world with no real threats against us as a nation where we would need a defense force to protect our country and our assets and allies. It is nice not having to worry about things like Iran, North Korea, Russian aggression, Cartels, oh and some Junior Varsity team called ISIS or ISIL or whatever you want to call them. I prefer Pure Hate and Evil, but that is all semantics.
So while we as a nation are watching our Stock Exchange go offline, the Chinese markets crash, Greece (and possibly the EU) in mass turmoil, our Government has decided “it’s all good” and we have less need than ever to have a strong and sizable military.
Oh hey look there is a squirrel with a confederate flag, go chase it……
In a first for the Army, Chelsea Manning, the convicted national-security secrets leaker, has been approved for hormone therapy for transition to a woman at the Army’s Fort Leavenworth prison, according to a memo obtained Thursday by USA TODAY.
Manning remains a soldier as well as an inmate.
“After carefully considering the recommendation that (hormone treatment) is medically appropriate and necessary, and weighing all associated safety and security risks presented, I approve adding (hormone treatment) to Inmate Manning’s treatment plan,” Col. Erica Nelson, the commandant of the Fort Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks in Kansas, wrote in a Feb. 5 memo.
Why are our tax dollars being used for a completely elective procedure? Why does someone in prison receive these types of benefits?
Being in prison means a dismal lifestyle with only the bare-essentials to survive and for it to be so terrible that a person will change their ways (now their gender) and not want to perform a crime that would ever put them back there again. Not only is this POS of a soldier and an American guilty of a crime, HE is guilty of a crime against our country.
How about, they take him out of Leavenworth and send him down to Sheriff Joe in Maricopa County, AZ and let him handle Manning. Manning won’t be turned into a girl but I bet you he would be treated like one.
Ok accidents happen, I get that. An unmarked border in the middle of the desert could be hard to identify and a person or helicopter could accidentally cross it.
KVOA-TV reports that Mexican authorities were conducting a drug interdiction operation when the incident happened early Thursday morning on the Tohono O’odham Indian Nation. The Mexican chopper fired at the agents and then flew back into Mexico.
So how about we all agree and understand that and give us our damned US Citizen and Marine back who accidentally crossed over your border with his legal weapons. He did not shoot at your cops or try to harm any Mexican citizen.
Mexico then contacted U.S. authorities and apologized for the incident.
You fired on and tried to kill two of our federal agents, which I think warrants more than a friggen “I’m sorry”. How about you give us our Marine back with that apology, along with all his possessions, and a deep heartfelt apology from the President of Mexico. Otherwise if our administration had a pair, **they might seed the border with Stinger and other Anti-aircraft weapon platforms to shoot down the next “accident” that crosses over the border.
**Oh how I wish President Reagan was still alive and in office because I know that is exactly what he would have done. In the meantime, can our inept and impudent congress stand up as a whole body and DEMAND the President do something about this?
Well I recently stumbled across this trailer for the documentary coming out this summer called The Kill Team. I am curious as to how this documentary will play out to see if there is an agenda in it, or if it is truly just presenting facts.
I have talked about the connection with this film and the incident several times on this blog. One of the main individuals involved in this incident and who was found guilty and sentenced to 24 years in prison was Jeremy Morlock. I knew Jeremy when he was a little boy, long before he joined the Army. I knew his parents very well as I had served with his father for several years. Jeremy has many brothers and sisters and I knew the whole family. I was very proud of him when he joined the Army and had talked to him several times online about his late Father and how much he looked like him and my memories of his Dad.
It broke my heart when all of this happened and Jeremy took these actions that took innocent lives. It broke my heart because I knew him as a innocent little boy and I know it broke his mom’s heart to see the world look at her son as such an inhumane animal capable of doing such things. Even though I look at what he did with disgust, in a weird way only possibly understood by those that have served in combat, I can sort of understand how they did this.
Anyway, here is the trailer and I look forward to seeing a screening of this when it becomes available so I can judge how they are going to present this unit and their actions to the world. Learn more at http://killteammovie.com
After having spent nine years taking care of our war wounded service members, with all its heartbreaks and tragedies, the one thing I value most is opportunities to see how well my former patients have done. For me, to watch these men and women recover, get married, have children, play hockey, basketball, compete in the Para Olympics, graduate from college, is my assurance the care I gave them made a difference.
Recently, I was presented with an opportunity to attend a charity softball game in which the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (http://www.woundedwarrioramputeesoftballteam.org) took on the NFL Players Association Team. As I scrolled through the team’s roster I realized I had taken care of over half of them. It was great for me to be there and watch the smiles and laughter come from men I had last seen pale, thin, scared and in pain. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to see their recoveries. It makes all the sorrow and the emotional turmoil of caring for wounded warriors worth it. Which made what happened on the softball field that much more a travesty.
I walked around the stadium looking at the outfield and saw the wounded warriors warming up next to the NFL players. As the players were introduced, I found a seat and watched the fist bumps and high fives of team members gearing up to play with a smile on my face. As the announcer came to the last NFL player to be identified he prefaced it with “he’s not here yet ladies and gentlemen but he’s on his way”. The name Michael Vick was announced. I have always believed in giving people the benefit of the doubt and this particular person’s claim of “turning his life around” was no different. However actions speak louder than words and what transpired over the next couple of hours was truly appalling.
The game progressed, the wounded warriors trouncing the NFL players; the final score 25-8. The NFL players on the field laughed and joked with the warriors and at one point there was an impromptu “brawl” that cleared the benches and had everyone in the stands laughing.
With the wounded warriors on the field, the NFL players up to bat, a full 30 minutes into the game, the announcer calls everyone’s attention to the fact that Michael Vick has now arrived. Since it seemed to be mandatory everyone acknowledge his presence the entire game was stopped. Mr. Vick walked straight across the field and headed directly for the dugout, never stopping to speak with any of the players. Perhaps he was uncomfortable meeting the amputees, perhaps he didn’t know what to say, or how to shake hands as some of them don’t have hands to shake. Maybe he was self conscious? I was still willing to give the benefit of the doubt, as not everyone loves these wounded warriors as much as I do.
However, not once did Mr. Vick emerge from the dugout, not once did he take the field to actually play softball. Only when the announcer and some in the crowd began chanting “we want Vick” did he bother to come out and take a turn at bat. Once at bat, when he finally managed to hit the softball, he simply dropped the bat at home plate and walked off the field. He didn’t try to run, didn’t acknowledge his team members, didn’t have another NFL player run for him. He walked off the field and back to the dugout.
I don’t know who was more stunned, the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team or the crowd. I could see the looks on the amputees faces as they stood there trying to comprehend what happened. I can only imagine the thoughts running through the minds of these combat veterans. I sat numb with shock at the complete and total disrespect shown to these men. Military service members who have given their limbs in protection of Mr. Vick, his freedoms and his ability to act like an ass. I could only sit and shake my head trying to clear the lump in my throat and the tears from my eyes. The game ended and I’d like to think Mr. Vick came out of the hole and talked with the softball team, he could learn a lot from them. I don’t know if he ever did or not, I have no great hope he did.
One last thing before I end. I gotta tell ya, Mr. Vick, there’s a reason why people don’t like you and you’ve just given me another one. Your callus treatment of these men is appalling, disgusting and disgraceful.
Holding someone accountable and punishing them for doing a bad job or not doing their job is a facet of working in our society and should be natural. It should not take an act of congress to fire people who are not doing their job properly or doing it bad.
Two Florida Republicans want to make it easier to fire senior Veterans Affairs Department employees for serious mistakes,but VA officials say what the plan will really do is scare away top talent.
Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee, and Sen. Marco Rubio introduced legislation in their respective chambers this week that would give the secretary of Veterans Affairs “complete authority” over senior executive service officials in the department, including the ability to demote or fire them.
The move would affect only about 450 of VA’s 300,000-plus employees, but both lawmakers argue it’s a critical change to promote accountability throughout the agency.
That’s been a theme in recent months among Republican lawmakers who have criticized VA leadership for failing to punish mid-level workers and senior executives for the disability claims backlog, poor care at medical centers, and a host of other headaches.
In particular, Miller and Rubio have focused on 31 preventable deaths of veterans in at least five different VA medical centers as a failure of leadership. No administrators have been fired in connection with the incidents, although several have retired.
I was amazed when I read this that it takes two elected representatives time and energy to make this happen. Especially in a Government organization (which is there to serve the citizens of this country) and one that is charged with taking care of those who have stepped forward to serve this country. If there is any organization which should be held accountable for failing to do its job and failing the citizens of this country, it is the VA without question.
What is worse is the person that is accountable for this, is to blame himself. Mr. “Black Beret” himself.
But VA officials, including Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, have pushed back against the idea of firing employees to improve department performance, saying they’re working to solve problems without vilifying VA staff.
How can any level of management in the VA hold anyone accountable when there is a hypocrite at the helm?
If the President cares about Veterans the way he and the First Lady claim they do, he should fire Shineski ASAP to set the example and put someone in charge that can start cleaning house. They need people that want to be there to serve the public, and more importantly, the Veterans and not someone who just care about reaching 20 years of civil service and a retirement check.
Read the whole story at http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20140214/BENEFITS04/302140012/New-bill-would-make-easier-fire-senior-VA-employees