An Army of One

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Thanks to 1st Lt. William "Eddie" Rebrook IV for kicking in $700.00 to reduce the federal deficit. After being injured in January 2005 by a roadside bomb that fractured his arm and severed an artery, Rebrook was evacuated to a military hospital, then underwent seven operations and eight months of therapy. Due to continuing range of motion problems with his arm, he got a medical discharge, and a last favor from a grateful nation: He had to pay the Army back for the body armor that got destroyed in the attack.

Update: Mission Accomplished—Army reimburses Rebrook.

NEXT: Off With Their Heads!

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  1. from a greatful nation…

  2. Yes we are a greatful nation…

    $5000 already collected to cover soldier’s fees:
    http://americablog.blogspot.com/2006/02/we-raised-5000-for-body-armor-we-more.html

  3. yeah yeah yeah weather it is an army at peace or an army at war a miltary as large as the US’s will have to be a huge inept bureaucracy…it is the nature of the beast…but then again if our senators, congressmen and president didn’t have to watch 100s of other huge inept bureaucracies perhaps they could do a better job at watching the military.

    *disclaimer: It sucks for 1st Lt. William “Eddie” Rebrook IV, and that should not be the way our country treats those who protect and serve it.

  4. I thought we already paid the purchase price of the body armor when, you know, we paid our federal income and other federal taxes

  5. I know a Vietnam veteran with a similar story. He stepped on a land mine and was later honorably dischaged after being treated for his injuries. He had a $160 deduction from his final paycheck. When he asked why, he was told, “It’s for the rifle that was destroyed.” His reply was only, “Thank God I wasn’t driving a tank!”

  6. Holy crap! Body armor for military personel is one of the few things I don’t feel pissed about paying for with my taxes!

  7. Boy has this county gone to hell. My dear departed buddy Dale Falcon (RIP) told me about getting out of Vietnam in ’68. He said he looked at all the grunts carrying these big old duffel bags full of socks and crappy clothes that the Army would just throw away and he felt it was really pathetic. Besides, since he was in real combat in a real hot-zone there was a higher code that applied. The buddy code. So that big canvas bag that was what a Claymore mine came in? The one he had FULL of loaded M16 magazines? Well that he gave to one of his buddies. Other buddies got all his dry socks and mosquito netting and every other stitch of clothes as well as the duffel bag he had them in. Same for locks or toiletries or anything of of any conceivable value. He said he walked off the boat with his M16 (with out a magazine) and that was it. I asked if the Army freaked out. He said sure they did, and they gave him some form to fill out. But he knew the magic initials: “LIC” Lost In Combat. He said he just scribbled LIC in every blank and turned it in. They made some noise about court marshal’s and everything but when he just smiled and said “Great, as long as the prison is in America, that’s fine with me!” Well they backed right off and Dale got his Honorable and came back to Sunnyvale to live life to the fullest. I really miss that dude.

  8. I hereby suggest that Reason chip in to help this brave soldier by sending over the Pillow Girl to assist in his recovery. Anyone object?

  9. Boy has this county gone to hell. My dear departed buddy Dale Falcon (RIP) told me about getting out of Vietnam in ’68. He said he looked at all the grunts carrying these big old duffel bags full of socks and crappy clothes that the Army would just throw away and he felt it was really pathetic. Besides, since he was in real combat in a real hot-zone there was a higher code that applied. The buddy code. So that big canvas bag that was what a Claymore mine came in? The one he had FULL of loaded M16 magazines? Well that he gave to one of his buddies. Other buddies got all his dry socks and mosquito netting and every other stitch of clothes as well as the duffel bag he had them in. Same for locks or toiletries or anything of of any conceivable value. He said he walked off the boat with his M16 (with out a magazine) and that was it. I asked if the Army freaked out. He said sure they did, and they gave him some form to fill out. But he knew the magic initials: “LIC” Lost In Combat. He said he just scribbled LIC in every blank and turned it in. They made some noise about court marshal’s and everything but when he just smiled and said “Great, as long as the prison is in America, that’s fine with me!” Well they backed right off and Dale got his Honorable and came back to Sunnyvale to live life to the fullest. I really miss that dude.

  10. Huh, it was the old antiquated 700 buck (200 on ebay) armor that most likely agravated his injuries?

    Had the latest modern ceramic armor been provided, according to a military study on soldier’s wounds, 80% of the casualties could have been avoided.

    Just this once could the person who wrote the letter be offered immunity to rat out the person that told them to write the letter asking for the 700…and so forth..until the ultimate group responsible for that policy is finally rounded up?

    Then could they be sentenced for life to a cell where various people, the more obnoxious the better, explain to them on endlessly repeating taped messages 24/7, exactly why it was wrong to ask the soldier to pay for the body armor?

    Then could public service teevee spots be issued of how they are doing in prison, updated say once per month?

    I think this is an effort that all sides of the political spectrum could support.

  11. Deus ex: Just make sure you don’t tell him that “she” is a tranny…

  12. All he needs to do is write to his congressman.

    The Pentagon has a huge staff to deal with complaints that come from congressional referrals. He shouldn’t have paid it, and I’m sure he can still get the money back.

    -jcr

  13. I wouldn’t be so sure about this one. At first I just chalked it up as a regular bureaucratic screwup, the kind of crap that happens (and gets fixed eventually) in a large organization such as the US Army. Then I read that his battalion commander refused to vouch that the vest was lost because of his injuries. Now, that’s that guy’s job, to do that sort of thing — so why did he refuse? There’s just something fishy here. I’m not talking huge government conspiracy or anything, just why exactly the officer ran first to the press, and never tried sending it up the chain of command instead…

  14. Sean:

    My thoughts exactly. If anyone is to blame, it is the battalion commander. Seems easier for people to spout their prejudices about the system than actually look at where the real problem is.

    Unless people prefer a system where there is no accountability at all for a soldier’s equipment, thus creating the opportunity for a soldier to sell it to the highest bidder at the end of his tour.

  15. The only logical reasons I could muster would be if Lt. Rebook was either misusing the armor somehow or willfully ignored warnings of the IED. Not that I think either is actually the case, but somewhat possible. Just playing Devil’s Advocate on this one.

  16. Um, Sean/jf? Going to the Battalion Commander is running it up the chain of command.
    Let’s turn the question to all the posters who have been in the military: profane as this is, does it really strike anyone as implausible?
    It also appears that several commenters missed the sentence pointing out that the Army’s policy about equipment lost in combat has changed. A report of survey, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a pain-in-the-ass statement meant to determine who pays for the gear. The answer, in every case I ever saw, was the service member.

  17. Yow is the internet suddenly becoming really really dumb? Wait, I get it.

    Must be military intelligence.

  18. And jf-You’re familiar with the term ‘false dichotomy,’ right? If not, review your last post. The alternative is not between screwing an injured solider and allowing soliders to sell off their equipment on e-bay, and your statement reveals either demagoguery or stupidity.
    The LT was injured in combat. There was a record of that. Step one in dealing with a traumatic injury is to remove anything that prevents you from seeing/accessing all the wounds. If that fact isn’t known, it’s easy to look up. In other words, his claim is documented and consistent. He is not just saying “Uh, it disappeared.”

  19. Maybe those on a budget can fashion some armor out of faded support the troops stickers and remaindered Toby Keith CDs.

  20. If anyone is to blame, it is the battalion commander. Seems easier for people to spout their prejudices about the system than actually look at where the real problem is.

    Isn’t the battalion commander PART of “the system?”

  21. Jennifer-It’s easy for people who clearly don’t know thing one about the military to spout off.
    Oh, and I mispoke above. Removing the clothes is step 2, after ensuring that the patient is breathing and stopping any visible life-threatening bleeds. Ensuring ABCs, for the medical folks out there.

  22. Actually, Number 6, Jf’s thought processes could be used to absolve pretty much any government agency of any sort of guilt. LAPD keeps railroading innocent people? That’s a few corrupt cops, not a fault with “the system.” IRS railroading innocent taxpayers? Blame the individual IRS agents, “the system” is fine. SWAT teams kill people after bursting down the wrong door? Blame the SWAT team members; “the system” isn’t the problem. Communism results in poverty wherever it is implemented? Blame the individual Communists, not “the system.” American public education is the laughingstock of the industrialized world? It’s the teachers’ fault, not the system.

  23. Col Dubois,
    This a new page in the annals of RPG speculation… could it actually be the RPTG? What makes you suspect this, and what made you ruin all our beautiful pillow girl dreams?

  24. Jeez, Jennifer, there you go again with that pesky logic. Sounds to me like you just want to take shots at the system.

  25. Number 6:

    Before you accuse me of running a “false dichotomy”, you may want to go back to school and learn what the term means. I did not present an either/or situation, merely a hypothetical.

  26. This sounds like urban myth to me. But if not, let’s also charge GI’s for each expended round that doesn’t hit its target.

  27. man, i hope they billed john mccain for that plane..

  28. And I retract my statement about “the system”, as it was mistaken. In return,can you please retract being such an asshole?

  29. For the record, “Unless people prefer a system where there is no accountability at all for a soldier’s equipment, thus creating the opportunity for a soldier to sell it to the highest bidder at the end of his tour,” sounds like a false dichotomy and an either/or choice to me. Perhaps it was some flaw in my schooling, eh?

  30. In 1989, I had a parachute malfuntion that left me disabled. My kevlar helmet was lost/destroyed. When I got out of the hospital 5 months later, I was charged ~$200 for the helmet. Knowing this was bullshit, MY company commander “found” a kevlar to turn in.
    I never realized the favor he was doing me.

  31. Col DuBois

    I won’t have you disparage the Pillow Girl that way!

  32. The story, as I just read it a moment ago, was he could be discharged now after paying $700 for the missing body armor, or he could wait for the investigation of its loss. Apparently it was removed at the hospital or aid station and its inceneration was not documented at that time. Apparently there was a request for statements about its final disposition.

  33. As an aside, my dad has a story about a air force supply sergeant in the Korean war telling a crash boat gunner that he had to pay for a part on the .50 machine gun because, well, it was the gunners gun. ‘Its my gun?’said the gunner. Yes, said the supply sergeant. So the gunner went and tossed it over the seawall into the ocean and walked away. The sergeant ran out and asked him what the hell he was doing. ‘You said it was my gun, so I got rid of it’.

  34. I hereby suggest that Reason chip in to help this brave soldier by sending over the Pillow Girl to assist in his recovery. Anyone object?

    No, but make sure he’s not married first. If he is then it could be worse than almost getting blown up…

  35. Back in the days when we used the steel pots for helmets I lost mine. Instead of even trying to get another one from the Marines I just went to the local surplus store and bought a replacement for $5. The supply sergeant was none the wiser (or more likely he didn’t care).

  36. It sucks that he was asked to pay $700. However, this appears to be a convenience fee. Absent a report, there needed to be an investigation. This takes time, and he didn’t want to wait.

    Why didn’t the commander sign a waiver? That piece of reporting is sadly missing, and points to a flawed article.

  37. It sucks that he was asked to pay $700. However, this appears to be a convenience fee. Absent a report, there needed to be an investigation. This takes time, and he didn’t want to wait.

    Why didn’t the commander sign a waiver? That piece of reporting is sadly missing, and points to a flawed article.

  38. For the record, “Unless people prefer a system where there is no accountability at all for a soldier’s equipment, thus creating the opportunity for a soldier to sell it to the highest bidder at the end of his tour,” sounds like a false dichotomy and an either/or choice to me. Perhaps it was some flaw in my schooling, eh?

    It’s as much a false dichotomy as “If I leave my wallet laying on the sidewalk, someone may be tempted to pick it up and spend the money inside.” Apologies for insulting your schooling, that was uncalled for, but a false dichotomy is more along the lines of “If it’s not Monday, it must be Tuesday” or “If I don’t eat vegetables all the time, I must eat nothing but meat.”

    I was merely stating why these rules are in place. If my wording was inelegant, then I am at fault, but I thought it was more of an explanation than assertion of what would happen.

  39. Probably to late for anyone to read this, but it was reported today that when the LT’s senator heard about this he got hold of somebody and he will be reimbursed.

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