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Army Charges Wounded Soldier For Lost Body Armor

U.S. Army Lt. William "Eddie" Rebrook of Charleston West Virginia, who was honorably discharged last week because of an arm injury sustained in battle, was forced to pay $700 for the body armor that was destroyed when he was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

Get the rest of the story in the Charleston Gazette.

Readers at Americablog, while hurling insults at Bush, raised $5,000 to pay the fine. Of course it's all Bush's fault, not the Army bureaucracy at his base in Fort Hood, Texas that bungled his records. As a commenter there noted, while raising the money to reimburse Lt. Rebrook for the $700 out of his (and his buddies) pockets is a nice gesture, getting the Army to give back the $700 is probably a better crusade.


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Comments (28)

Yeah, because we all know B... (Below threshold)

Yeah, because we all know Bush personally ordered that the $700 be paid. Because he completely knows about this. This was the focus of his day.

*rolls eyes*

As much as I like our mili... (Below threshold)
Charles Bannerman:

As much as I like our military, the Army Supply Corps and the Navy Quartemasters are without a doubt some of the most pennypinching people I have ever seen.
People complain about $500.00 toilet seats and other seeming extravegances but that toilet seat will last forever and if someone breaks it after 20 years of use, he will pay $500.00 dollars for it. The military does not depreciate property.
The taxpayer gets his moneys worth when the military buys something just look at the B 52 bomber, still in service after 50 years.
Given the above comments, however, it used to be that when a person was wounded and evacuated his issue was written off. That should be the case now.
Chuck

Charles, I don... (Below threshold)

Charles,

I don't know what your military background is but you seem confused about Navy Quartermasters. Among other duties (log keeping, etc) QM's assist the navigator in plotting the ships course they have nothing to do with pay or supply stuff.

As far as this situation goes, stuff happens. Without regulations covering issuance and return of government property stealing would be rampant. There are procedures to follow if government equipment issued to you is lost or destroyed. Not sure about the Army but in the Navy there is a form 200 used to survey lost or destroyed equipment which needs to be approved by your commanding officer. My guess is he didn't report it destroyed because he was too busy being medevaced. They probably need to put a system in place to resolve these situations. Obviously the Army doesn't intend for a soldier to pay for getting injured. However, the payroll clerk only has the form showing it was issued without a corresponding document to show why it wasn't returned. Got to have the dots in order to connect the dots.

"...getting the Army to ... (Below threshold)
Oh, FTLOG:

"...getting the Army to give back the $700 is probably a better crusade.

And the chances of that would be:
A. Slim
B. None
C. All of the Above

Just a minor note. It is no... (Below threshold)
Art:

Just a minor note. It is not a $700 fine. It is a $700 reimbursement. Having lost (really) a piece of body armor (much cheaper, but MUCH thinner), you simply are paying back the Army for the equipment that you lost. In the good LT's situation above, obviously, he slipped through the cracks. His commander should have been able to deal with this with a simple statement.

Why o why does the left hat... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Why o why does the left hate the troops?

Serious kudos to Americablog.

(I've been out of the Army ... (Below threshold)
Mark A. Flacy:

(I've been out of the Army since 1992.)

OK. He's lost a $700 piece of equipment that he's signed for. There's no record of it being lost.

The good LT has two choices from the article. He can get out of the service *now* and pay $700 OR he can stay in the service (at full pay IIRC) until the report of survey is completed (which would entail some officer back in his old unit investigating the loss). That's how I read the article and that jives with what memory tells me.

Maybe his mom should have called her congresscritter up and pushed from that end to expedite the report of survey.

LargeBill:You are ri... (Below threshold)
Charles Bannerman:

LargeBill:
You are right. I had a brain fart. I was in the Navy 1965-1969 and in the Army 1962(Berlin Crisis).
Chuck

This is indeed a supply iss... (Below threshold)
Mike:

This is indeed a supply issue. He was issued IBA. Now that he is outprocessing, he either has to turn it in or a Report of Survey needs to be done indicating why it does not have to be turned in. Obviously, he has a pretty good excuse. His unit screwed up by either not doing the RoS or not completing the paperwork and getting the item off of his hand receipt. All he has to do is contact the IG or, if he wants to be nastier about it, his congressional rep.

I didn't turn in my IBA, what with it being blown up and all, but my unit took care of me and made sure the report was done and it came off my receipt.

Bottom line, he wont have to pay for it, especially after the publicity, unless he doesn't want to bother contesting it.

I wish I could say that thi... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I wish I could say that this type of mistake is unique to the current military, but my husband was in the Navy back in the early 90's (some Bush, but mostly Clinton years), and this kind of stuff was common.

It was always telling how the Navy was quick to take any money they thought you owed them out of your check, but they could drag their feet for months, when they owed you money.

Part of the problem is just the bureaucracy-some guy in Iraq didn't file the right paperwork, and the guy stateside outproccessing somebody can't do anything about it from his end. Nobody did anything out of malice, its just the whole "every i dotted and every t crossed" thing at work.

Huh, funny thing. Just fol... (Below threshold)
Mike:

Huh, funny thing. Just followed the links and realized I shared a room with this guy at Walter Reed.

Mike,Are you trying ... (Below threshold)
dc:

Mike,
Are you trying to say the LT owes you some money, too?

On the $700.00, some posters above have id'd the reason the Army wants $700.00. You have to complete all paperwork before you process out, and the LT is probably angry that the bill came up as he was leaving. So he leaked this out to vent some frustration.

I know the feeling.....! The admin pogues should have had a better attitude, like: "let's cut this wounded vet some slack, and get on with it!"

This does not surprise me a... (Below threshold)
Pam:

This does not surprise me at all. They already have to pay for every bit of clothes and gear they have. I read an article saying that soldiers finally were going to be reminbursed for body armor, implying they had already had it deducted out of their small salary. My question is, why did this soldier have to pay more? Was it his balance due? What is going on here? I don't know all the answers, but would like to see people start taking a look at the real situation. Being a mother of a soldier, I know the recruiter waves big bucks in front of our neive young peoples eyes, they bite and off they go, to risk their lives for our country. But before leaving and while abroad, their pay is whittled away at by the military, to pay for the clothes on their backs and body armor and all kinds of things...extremely misleading and I don't think most of our citizens are aware, that these soldiers, get no free rides. The article sure proves that! I would love to hear a good explaination for any of this. A Peeved Mother in NY

Pam,Soldiers are not... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

Pam,
Soldiers are not charged for their own body armor. That's an out and out lie. If that were the case, then this LT wouldn't have had to pay the Army for it because he would ahve already owned it.

Let's use a little logic here.

Pam,Do you know of... (Below threshold)
Mark A. Flacy:

Pam,

Do you know of any company that buys all of your cloths for you? I don't.

As for gear (TA-50 in particular), a lot of soldiers buy the stuff so they don't have to deal with the civilians that run the post's central processing (I think that's who issues the stuff) when they outprocess. (TA-50 is your helmet, web gear, entrenching tool and other field gear. The name comes from the publication that describes it, http://www.army.mil/usapa/doctrine/50_Series_Collection_1.html) Those people at central processing want the stuff to be in absolutely perfect and clean shape when you turn it back in. It's common to have them not accept items several times because they aren't clean enough. If you've got the cash and have been in for a while, you might just buy the stuff that you need and use it to skip the hassle.

The bottom line, though, is that you're issued this stuff and the Army expects to get it back or for you to have a good, documented reason to not turn it in.

"We know now there were no ... (Below threshold)
nick:

"We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there. [Standing Ovation] But Coretta knew and we know that there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war billions more but no more for the poor."
Dr. Joseph Lowery yesterday at Coretta Scott King's Funeral

How true, how true. Boy, it was fun watchinig Bush squirm at that one.

Of course, all the conservatives will tell you that the poor are poor because of their "values". Right.

Nick- try to stay on subjec... (Below threshold)
LJD:

Nick- try to stay on subject. If you want to be a communist, move to Cuba. We like capitalism here. Look at the 'poor' countries in the world (or for that matter, cities in this country), and I'll show you gobs and gobs of aid dumped, without lasting results. In America especially, being poor IS a mentality.

The folks at CIF have EARNED a reputation for being a huge pain in the ass. IMO, these civilians shouldn't be hassling soldiers, THEY should be scrubbing the gear. However, they operate on paperwork. Some one in this guy's unit dropped the ball.

Pam- Soldiers are issued their TA-50 for free. They are issued initial uniforms (in this case the DCUs or the new ACUs). They are paid an annual uniform replacement allowance. When deployed overseas, they are allowed to trade unserviceable uniforms for new ones, free.

The 'story' about soldiers buying body armor was not about the issued flack vest. It was soldiers buying additional, civilian vests on their own. The Army didn't have to reimburse them, but they did.

Your son is fine. He is being paid well, and if deployed, he is not paying taxes. You should listen to him more, not mother Sheehan.

LJD,Staying on mes... (Below threshold)
nick:

LJD,

Staying on message is that old Bush phrase for "disagreeing makes you unpatriotic". Sorry, don't buy it.

But let's discuss something you imply to Pam: are you claiming that the Pentagon has supplied the armed services with all of the (basic) equipment they need in Iraq? Hardly. Yet billions have been "dumped" (your word) on the Pentagon with"little results" (your words again). So what's the difference between the poor still being poor with all that aid, and the Pentagon not being able to supply basic support to our soldiers with all those billions?

I find it very funny (in a sad way) that right-wingers claim to support the troops, but then defend the absymal record of this administration in properly equipping these heroes in Iraq. A bit hypocritical I'd say.

When you sign for any gear ... (Below threshold)
armynurseboy:

When you sign for any gear the Army issues, you are responsible for it. They aren't giving it to you, they are loaning it to you and they are going to want it back. If the gear becomes unservicable or lost through your own negligence (or non-duty related reasosn), then you are responsible for replacing it. If equipment becomes unservicable due to duty related reasons (getting blown up by an IED for example) there are ways to 'write it off'. It sounds like this guy's unit failed to submit the proper paperwork. Is it being anal? Yeah, but with sensitive items that needs to be accounted for, like body armor, it's the right thing to do. You don't want PVT Snuffy going down to the local Surplus store and hocking his IBV with SAPI plates for just anyone to buy up.....

BTW, one of my unit's PA's ... (Below threshold)
armynurseboy:

BTW, one of my unit's PA's had his IBV stolen out of his ruck in the marshalling area at CP Wolf in Kuwait. They made him pay for it.....

Nick, I mean asshat, stayin... (Below threshold)
LJD:

Nick, I mean asshat, staying on subject means when there's a post about a soldier and his gear, you talk about THAT. Not WMD. Not Coretta King.
Understand?

My 'hypocrisy' is based in actual BEING a soldier and having experienced CIF gear issue.

The statement you made about soldiers not having gear is absoutely false. Lame, unfounded, election year crap from your leftward representatives. Bush bashing, and nothing more.

Of course, in your socialist utopia, we redistribute wealth to the masses so every one's 'the same'. I guess then there would be no need for a military either, right?

So answer this, genius. What do you do after the 'redistribution', when your welfare cases blow everything on crap they don't need? Just GIVE 'em some MORE money?

Nick, I mean asshat, stayin... (Below threshold)
LJD:

Nick, I mean asshat, staying on subject means when there's a post about a soldier and his gear, you talk about THAT. Not WMD. Not Coretta King.
Understand?

My 'hypocrisy' is based in actual BEING a soldier and having experienced CIF gear issue.

The statement you made about soldiers not having gear is absoutely false. Lame, unfounded, election year crap from your leftward representatives. Bush bashing, and nothing more.

Of course, in your socialist utopia, we redistribute wealth to the masses so every one's 'the same'. I guess then there would be no need for a military either, right?

So answer this, genius. What do you do after the 'redistribution', when your welfare cases blow everything on crap they don't need? Just GIVE 'em some MORE money?

Poor Nick. Between the Ali... (Below threshold)
Jo:

Poor Nick. Between the Alito fiasco and the memorial fiasco yesterday, he's really trying hard to defend his disgusting party. You gotta feel for the guy.

BTW, one of my uni... (Below threshold)
Mark A. Flacy:
BTW, one of my unit's PA's had his IBV stolen out of his ruck in the marshalling area at CP Wolf in Kuwait. They made him pay for it.....

He didn't secure it, right? Did they do a report of survey? Sheesh.

Of course, all the conse... (Below threshold)

Of course, all the conservatives will tell you that the poor are poor because of their "values".

Nick, in your case it's because you're an idiot. Then again, you do seem to place a high value on being an idiot, so...

"He didn't secure it, right... (Below threshold)
armynurseboy:

"He didn't secure it, right? Did they do a report of survey? Sheesh."

It was in his rucksack. The problem was that IBV's weren't issued to everyone in the beginning (there weren't enough to go aound in early '03), so some folks were essentially going through other people's gear that just got pulled off the plane and stealing crap out of them.

Report of survery was done, but because of the nature of the equipment they still made him pay for it.

Report of survery ... (Below threshold)
Mark A. Flacy:
Report of survery was done, but because of the nature of the equipment they still made him pay for it.

Unless things have changed an incredible amount since I got out, that doesn't track. He should have only paid if he had been negligent for losing the equipment; what he lost really shouldn't matter. If he wasn't found negligent and was forced to pay, he should have gone to the IG or his congresscritter. The regulations can screw you but they can also cover your butt.

This has all the earmarks o... (Below threshold)
jumbo:

This has all the earmarks of a :jump to conclusion" story. The US miltary does not require its fighters to pay for equipment lost due to enemy action. This is going to turn out to be somebidy's mistake somewhere.




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