About Injured soldier charged $700 for destroyed body armor
|February 9th, 2006||#1|
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Injured soldier charged $700 for destroyed body armor info
Injured soldier charged $700 for destroyed body armor
By ALLISON BARKER / Associated Press
A former U.S. soldier injured in Iraq says he was forced to pay $700 for a blood-soaked Kevlar vest that was destroyed after medics removed it to treat shrapnel wounds to his right arm.
First Lt. William "Eddie" Rebrook IV, 25, of Charleston had to leave the Army because of his injuries. But before he could be discharged last week, he had to scrounge up cash from his buddies to pay for the body armor or face not being discharged for months — all because a supply officer failed to document that the vest had been destroyed more than a year ago as a biohazard.
"I last saw the (body armor) when it was pulled off my bleeding body while I was being evacuated in a helicopter," Rebrook told The Charleston Gazette for Tuesday's edition. "They took it off me and burned it."
Rebrook's story spurred action Tuesday from U.S. Sens. Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va.
"I've been in touch with his family, and I've already written (Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld) to request that they immediately refund his money and review this horrendous policy," said Rockefeller, who is chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. "I'm shocked that he has been treated this way by our military."
Byrd questioned Gen. Peter Schoomaker, chief of staff of the Army, on Tuesday during a Senate Armed Services Committee budget hearing in Washington.
"How can it be that the Defense Department, which is requesting $439 billion in this budget, has to resort to dunning a wounded soldier for $700 to replace a piece of body armor?" Byrd asked.
Schoomaker called Rebrook's story unusual and promised Byrd to "correct it if there's any truth to it."
Rockefeller said he first met Rebrook when he was an ROTC cadet at George Washington High School in Charleston and later nominated him to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., where he graduated with honors. Rebrook then spent four years on active duty, including six months in Iraq.
Rebrook's mother, Beckie Drumheler, said she was angry when she learned about the $700 bill. Soldiers who serve their country, those who put their lives on the line, deserve better, she said.
"He couldn't get out of the Army until he paid it and he had to pay cash," Drumheler said. "My son loved the Army and was proud of serving his country. For any soldier to be treated like this is outrageous."
Rebrook was standing in the turret of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle when a roadside bomb exploded Jan. 11, 2005. The explosion fractured his arm and severed an artery. A Black Hawk helicopter airlifted him to a combat support hospital in Baghdad. He was later flown to a hospital in Germany before being transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.
His arm never completely recovered despite seven operations. He still has range of motion problems and pain.
After eight months at Fort Hood, Texas, he gathered up his gear to leave. Things went smoothly until officers asked him for his missing body armor. In the past, the Army allowed to soldiers to write memos, explaining the loss and destruction of gear but a new policy requires documentation from the field.
Rebrook said he tried to get a battalion commander to sign a waiver, but the officer declined. He was told he would have to supply statements from witnesses to verify the body armor was taken from him and burned.
A Fort Hood spokeswoman said she was aware of the incident but could not immediately comment.
Rebrook's story has prompted donations from residents. A local radio station raised $700 within 90 minutes Tuesday, and one woman dropped off a $200 check by his mother's home, said Rebrook's stepfather, Charles Drumheler.
"I thought that was pretty nice that people care," Charles Drumheler said.
Rebrook's father, Ed Rebrook, a Charleston lawyer, said while the donations were appreciated, his son did not plan to accept them.
"The best form of taking care of troops is first-class training, for this saves unnecessary casualties." Erwin Rommel
|February 9th, 2006||#2|
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He gets no sympathy whatsoever from me.
|February 9th, 2006||#3|
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Totally disagree info
BUNK BUNK BUNK.
I realize that the following was in the article you referenced:
(First Cavalry Division leadership is going to do everything to ensure this issue is brought to a conclusion that is both in line with procedures that apply to all its soldiers and in the best interest of our veterans who have served so proudly and honorably in Iraq, said Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl, the divisions spokesman, noting that soldiers are not held financially responsible for any equipment lost, damaged or destroyed in combat operations).
Whatever happened to compassion and common sense? The explanation should have been sufficient to allow for a special dispensation on the part of the Supply Officer or Battalion Commander (real arse holes). Another case of the 'New Action Army' in action. Run here, run there - paper - paper - paper - paper, etc. (Kind of dates me doesn't it?)
Last edited by Chief Bones; February 9th, 2006 at 05:04..
|February 9th, 2006||#4|
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The more things change, the more they stay the same.
"The purpose of fighting is to win. There is no possible victory in defense. The sword is more important than the shield and skill is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental." - John Steinbeck
|February 9th, 2006||#5|
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I have plenty of compassion, and given that the military has sought to keep me around for so many years, I would assume I have some common sense and yet, he still gets no sympathy from me.
I have had more problems that I can recount with supply, however, when I chose not to take the course of action needed to rectify the matter.... I certainly did not run home and cry to the news media. I have Marines in worse condition dealing with deeper and more expensive problems in the system than this Lt and yet, they are not crying to the news media. They are doing what needs to be done to fix the problem.
We may not like the system as it is, but it is how it is and everyone knows that is has more than its fair share of hiccups and problems. That said, he has no one to blame since he chose to pay the $700 when there were other courses of action.
Last edited by RnderSafe; February 9th, 2006 at 05:29..
|February 9th, 2006||#6|
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Bloody blanket counters!!!
Same in services all around the world.
I know from my experince in the Gulf the equipo's had all the good gear while those doing the hard yards got the crappy kit if any sent out.
|February 9th, 2006||#7|
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I hate that situations like these happen, and they do, all too often. But I think I have to agree with Rndersafe and say I don't feel sorry for the guy. He could have at least tried to do the paperwork shuffle before going to the media. If they still tried to screw him, then I'd say "take it to the mattresses!"
Ut ceteri vivant.
|February 9th, 2006||#8|
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Supply guy here folks. I have to side with Rndersafe here. There are courses of action to be taken. Such as missing gear statements, which is all he had to do, in a timely manner. I supervise and control a USD 39mil dollar gear account. Many times the Supply Officers come thru and say "The gear is a combat loss". My Answer? No big deal, just fill out a loss letter and have your Bn CO sign it.
If I don't do that then my ass gets in a jam because I dropped the gear from his records but have no justification for dropping it from my records. I don't have the gear, he don't have the gear, while the gear would no longer be on his records, it is still on my records. Who gets the blame for the missing gear then? If I get audited (Just like if the IRS audits you) and there are too many discrepancies then I get myself in some serious trouble.
It seems to me that he decided "to hell with it, I don't want to deal with the forms and paperwork so I won't." Now he blames supply.
Last edited by Marinerhodes; February 9th, 2006 at 09:21..
|February 10th, 2006||#9|
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A calculated move on his part and as an officer he has no excuse in my book. He chose to play the political card for whatever reason and now he just looks like an ass to guys who know the way things should be handled but to the average moron reading a paper who has never been in the military who looks like a bloody victim. Piss on him and his little pity party.