Hello! Well, I see that our Fearless Leader has opened another Phase in the War against Islamic Barbarianism. This time he has some “Moderate Arab Help,” and so far, none of our Flyers has Flamed Out or been Shot Down behind Enemy Lines, Knock Wood. Guess the “Strategy” is working to HIS “Military Expertise,” so it’s safe for him to go to the U.N. and announce HIS “Climate Change Plan to help Fundamentally Transform America into a Third-rate Power.”
Don’t get me wrong, you know I think that Islamic Barbarians should be turned into Crispy Critters via Napalm, but at least SOMETHING is being done to those Head Choppers.
But I want to talk about some closer to Home. You see, a good friend of mine is (Finally!) getting out of the Army today. SSGT Christopher Storm ends 25 years and 8+ months of Service to our Republic today. This is “My Buddy the Surplus Dealer” I’ve talked about in the past. And a lot of you have met him, shared Adult Beverages with him, shot Firearms with him, etc. But let me give some Background on WHY he’s getting out.
First, Storm has done most of his Military Career as a MP in the Army Reserve. He joined up before the First Gulf War, and decided to be a Cop. So he went to School, got Qualified, and when the First Gulf War broke out, got sent over there. Did his Job, came Home, decided to stay in the Reserves while he went to the Police Academy, and did his Duty as a Military Cop, and his Duty as a Civilian Cop. But he IS something of a Pack Rat, so he started to collect Used Military gear and Clothing, and did Surplus Dealing on the side. In fact, if you need Gear, go to BattleboySurplus.com. And NO, I’m not getting Paid for this, Gooberment, so Bite me.
Years go on, and 9/11 happens. Bush decides to go to Iraq, and Storm’s Unit goes over again in OIF 1. But this time he’s a SERGEANT, and has learned how things SHOULD be done in the Army, and does his best for his Troops. One “Slight” Problem. His Unit gets assigned to Abu Ghraib Prison.
Yep, THAT Abu Ghraib. Now let’s be clear. Yes, he was there when Shit was being done Deep Inside the Walls to Iraqi Prisoners that frankly, should NEVER been allowed to happen. As we used to say in the Navy, “Totally Unsat!” BUT he and his Unit were Totally Cleared by the Army AND Congress, because they had NOTHING to do with that Horseshit. I’ve seen the Paperwork. Why? Because his Unit was assigned to Guard the Walls and Man the Tower. When Abu Ghraib was the MOST ATTACKED site in Iraq.
For over Six Months, the “Insurgents” did everything they could to get into the Prison and free the Prisoners. Sniping, Mortars, Night Assaults, a couple of Suicide Runs at the Gate, you know, kind of like the Alamo. Oh, our people could get in and out and get resupplied, not an Issue. As long as there were some Bradleys and Abrams nearby. But for some reason, Big Army would NOT allow them to put up even an old M60 in the Tower. They were told that their “Job” was to keep Facing IN, and make sure that no Prisoners Escaped. The “Outside” was someone else’s Responsibility.
Even though there was NO ONE Permanently Assigned to Guard the Outside. The only Perimeter Security they ever got was if a Unit was passing through, and they made a Pit Stop. The rest of the time, they had to sit and take it. In fact, when Rumsfeld showed up, he was asked if the Higher Ups could do something about the “Outside’ on a Permanent Basis, and Rumsfeld told them “Why? You’re not in a Combat Base.” Hell, when they asked if they could at least get an M60 to mount in the Tower so they could have SOMETHING with a More Range and “Ooomph” than an M16, Rumsfeld said “Why? Do need one to stop a Prison Breakout? If you do your Job, there won’t be a Breakout or Riot.”
And you wonder why Iraq just turned into a Meat Grinder while he was running the DOD. Stupid Asshole.
But anyway, Storm does his Job, comes home in (Mostly) One Piece, and goes about his Life. Then his Unit gets called up for OIF 3 a year later, and it’s back to the War. This time, they DON’T go to Abu Ghraib, and are moved around the Country, providing Security to other Bases. He comes back Home again, and goes back to the Civilian World.
Fast Forward a couple of years. He’s made Staff Sgt., is Acting Platoon Sgt., awaiting orders to get some more Schools, and Obama comes into Power. Next thing you know, some “Politically Correct” Personnel get assigned to his Unit, and he’s Stripped of his Platoon, NOT sent to Schools he needs for Advancement, gets Harassed for stuff he had nothing to do with (they tried to write him up for taking Stuff out of the GARBAGE that he could sell on the Surplus Market, for example) and generally trying to drive him out. And they did it to others. All to make room for those Troops whom THIS Admin deemed “Special,” and who should be Advanced, even if they weren’t Qualified for the Job.
Also, by this time, his Service has caught up with him, and he’s not feeling so well. Big Army does little to help with his Medical Concerns, so he goes to the VA, and sure enough, his Accumulated “Wear and Tear” gets him a Small Disability Check. About 30% according to the VA. Little here, a little there, but the Numbers add up. So he decides it’s time to Hang it up, and he starts the Paperwork to Get Out on a Medical.
It took almost FOUR FUCKING YEARS for him to get out.
How do I know this? Simple. Everytime he sent some Paperwork in, I got a Copy for “Safe Keeping.”
And Trust me on this, we went down every road you could think of to try and get him what he needed. Senators, Congressmen, the Media, JAG, Big Army, you name it, we tried it. True Story Time. His Battalion finally got a new Commander, and when he came down to Storm’s Reserve Company, he wanted to know why Storm was still there. Storm told the New Commander what his Situation was. When the Colonel got back to Battalion, he walked over to the PaperPusher Captain and ORDERED HIM to give him everything that Storm had filed.
The Stack was the size of THREE Phone Books. And the Captain’s Excuse? “I’m Too Busy to Deal with his Crap.”
Let’s just say the Colonel wasn’t Too Happy with that Captain and others in the Chain of Command.
So things start to move SLOWLY Forward, and earlier this year, Storm gets an eMail from some Officer in the Pentagon, wondering why he’s still in the Army? Storm tells her, and Boy, does the SHTF! Next thing you know, I’m being asked to “Standby” with the Info I have Backed-Up, the Pentagon TELLS his Unit to put him on Orders and send him down to Arlington, he gets an REGULAR Army Med Board, and he’s told, “Yep, it’s time for you to Retire with a Disability, we’ll send the Paperwork up to your Command. But don’t plan on staying in much longer.”
That was about June, I think. I know OldNFO was kind enough to go to Dinner with Him and another Buddy, Dan the Blown-Up Marine when they were down in DC for the Med Board. Thanks Shipmate! So Storm is waiting and waiting, but he keeps getting SOME Updates from the Pentagon. So Forward Progress IS being made. But at his Unit? “Well, keep us informed about what they say.” Absolutely ZERO help with his Process. Zip. Nada. Big Fat Nothing.
But a little over two weeks ago, he comes home from his Surplus Business, and there’s a Mailing Tube waiting for him. He opens it up, there’s a Fancy Honorable Discharge Certificate and a Form Check List telling him that as of Midnight TONIGHT, he will be Honorably Discharged from the United States Army Reserve for Medical Reasons, and he is to Inform his Command of the Boards Decision. Also, about 20 years from now, (IF the Gooberment keeps its Word) he’ll start to draw his Pension with some extra Cash for his Disabilities.
So he calls his Command and Informs them of what’s happening. Now he has one more Drill Weekend to go to before then. You know what his Command told him?
“Make sure you bring your TA-50 gear” with you to Drill.”
So he goes to Drill last weekend. He gets told by Supply that he should have Informed THEM when he was getting out MONTHS ago, and if there’s any “Discrepancies”, he’s to bring the Stuff back to the Unit. He told THEM, “Hey, I just got the Word two weeks ago, so take it up with the Pentagon. Also, I’ll be a Civilian by then, so if you want it, YOU come get it. On MY Schedule.”
And that was that.
No Ceremony. No Out-Processing Paperwork. No Kegger. Not even a “We”ll meet at the Bar Tonight for a Fair-Well Drink.” They just mentioned at the first Morning Formation that SSGT. Storm will be OUT by next week, so say your Goodbyes this Weekend. And a lot of His Troops did come up, shake his hand, exchanged eMails and Phones, etc. But NOTHING Formal. NO acknowledgement by his OWN Command that he did more than being carried on the Rolls.
After 25 years and 8 months plus of Honorable Service to the Republic, not even a “Don’t let the Door hit your Ass on the way out.”
Friends, if this was Unusual, I wouldn’t be telling this Story. But Storm’s Case is NOT Unusual. It’s happening every day to someone in the U.S. Military. And with the Cut-Backs happening AGAIN due to “Sequestration,” they’ll be lot more Good Service Members who get the same treatment over the next few months.
So, all of those Vets out there, no matter WHAT Branch of Service you belong to who are getting treated/ were treated like SSGT. Storm, all I can say is “Welcome Home, Warrior. Take your Rest. You EARNED IT. And don’t feel Bad that the Gooberment treated your Service like it was Used Toilet Paper. Same thing happened to the Korean War Vets, the ‘Nam Vets, the Cold War Vets, and now it’s your turn. No Parades, No Jobs, No Thank Yous.”
But some of us DO understand what you’re going through, and we DO appreciate what Hell you’ve been through to keep the Republic Safe. In fact, over a hundred years ago, a British Civilian who was one of the Few that “Got It” wrote a Poem about what you’re going through. And his words will always be better than mine. Take it away, Mr. Kipling.
From the Poem “Tommy”:
“Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ their starvation cheap! ….For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an “Chuck him out, the Brute!” But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country’ when the Guns begin to Shoot.”
“When the Guns begin to Shoot.” Like in Syria. Today.
Welcome Home, Soldier. YOUR War is Over. It’s someone else’s turn now. YOUR JOB IS DONE. And with the way our Military is being led, God Helps Us all for this next one. Bubblehead Les Out.