Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Army Demands Soldier Pay For Armor Lost in Battle

I guess the good thing about being so perpetually disgusted with the Bush administration is that you’re never surprised. As a Veteran, I pay special attention to their mistreatment of Vets and those on active duty, whether it’s in the form of lying them into a pointless war or in their hypocrisy of chanting “support the troops” while they yank most of the funding that would actually do that.

The news reported in the Charleston Gazette yesterday came close to shocking even me.

The Gazette reported that a soldier severely wounded in Iraq and discharged for his injuries, is being forced to pay the government $700 reimbursement for the body armor that he didn’t turn in upon his return to the states – which occurred because the bloody armor was hurriedly stripped off his body and discarded after he was wounded.

The Army officer, 1st Lt. William “Eddie” Rebrook, was told that the military had no record of the disposition of his armor and that, unless he paid for it, his discharge would be delayed for weeks or months.

“I last saw the [body armor] when it was pulled off my bleeding body while I was being evacuated in a helicopter,” Rebrook said. “They took it off me and burned it. They said that I owed them $700. It was like ‘thank you for your service, now here’s the bill for $700.’ I had to pay for it if I wanted to get on with my life.”

Rebrook’s mother, Beckie Drumheler, said she was saddened — and angry — when she learned that the Army discharged her son with a $700 bill. Soldiers who serve their country, those who put their lives on the line, deserve better, she said.

“It’s outrageous, ridiculous and unconscionable,” said Drumheler. “I wanted to stand on a street corner and yell through a megaphone about this.”

But as repulsive as it is to witness yet another reason that the Bush administration does nothing but give lip service to supporting our troops, I have a wonderful twist to this story.

Disgusted Americans are digging into their wallets and Rebrook will have more than enough to pay this extortion. And, in that regard, I’ve got to give some love to John Aravosis of AMERICAblog, who picked this story up immediately and asked readers to kick in some cash for the young soldier. Within two hours, John had raised $5,000, which will more than pay Rebrook’s way back into civilian life.


Thanks to John and his wonderful readers – love those liberals!

I’ll stay on this story and keep you posted on how it plays out.