As Good as Your Leaders

Yesterday, a soldier was sentenced to 100 years in prison for his part in raping and murdering a 14 year old Iraqi girl. If you ask me, the sentence was too lenient. His actions were unbecoming of a US Soldier and he has now put other soldiers at greater risk for reprisal. Iraqis who might support the US will be more apt to seek reprisal and they will do so against those who are not tucked away in a jail cell.

The actions of soldiers are their own but they often reflect the leadership of the unit and in the rape/murder case a sergeant was involved. That means a leader was right there with his troops helping them break the law instead of making sure they adhered to it. It is their job to stand up for people who can not protect themselves and they should have protected that little girl. The Baltimore Sun is reporting today that 14 soldiers from the Maryland Army National Guard have been disciplined (up to and including relief of command and removal from service) for fraudulent enlistments among other things. The story of the alleged improprieties was first reported back in December by the City Paper. Among the allegations were those involving a recruiter who forged documents, made fraudulent enlistments, hid disqualifying information, and assaulted fellow soldiers as well as a girlfriend. There is also evidence that he fathered a child with a recruit and he was their Recruiter of the Year. In addition to this recruiter and his problems, there were allegations that members of the recruiting command were abusing travel and engaging in inappropriate relationships with other soldiers.

The recruiters of the Maryland Guard were in positions that they could remain in for their entire careers. This practice has been halted in light of these allegations. This unit was full of people who worked closely day in and day out and the leadership had to know what was going on. They let their desire to produce recruits override their professionalism and therefore disregarded the values of the Army. Covering up issues or remaining silent on them is not proper leadership and is not in keeping with Army tradition.

I was in the Maryland Guard and I had great soldiers. I know what it can be like to do the right thing and be skewered for it. I was involved in several investigations because I did the right thing and refused to compromise my principles. In the end, things worked out but not without a cost. I was fortunate to be able to retire and get away from the mess but would have gladly stayed had a position been available. In any event, I now how hard it is to do the right thing but soldiers are expected to do the right thing and soldiers will so long as leaders demand it. The soldier who raped that girl had a choice to make and the one he selected was the wrong one. He is now paying for that decision. In that light, the leaders in the recruiting command who overlooked the things that were going on as well as those who were engaged in improper activities will now have to face the music for their decisions. I don’t expect they will serve 100 years in jail but I expect that, for the good of the service, they would be removed from the Guard.

If not, leadership at the highest level is taking the wrong decision.

City Paper 12/6/06
City Paper 12/27/06
City Paper 1/31/07

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6 Responses to “As Good as Your Leaders”

  1. Soldier gets 100 years in prison for rape, killing of 14-year-old Iraqi girl…

    A U.S. soldier was sentenced to 100 years in prison Thursday for the gang rape and murder of an Iraq…

  2. Cyberray says:

    It sounds as if the morale of our troops is hitting and all time low.

    This sometimes happen when young men are sent to do a job with out the right tools – not enough troops, in-adequate equipment, not proper armor- and are expected to meet un-realistic goals with the tools at their disposal.

    The actions charged these young men are in no means justified under any conditions, but blame should follow the ‘chain of command’ from the top down.

    Perhaps our leaders, should consider ‘war ‘ a serious enough enterprise to warrant a bigger commitment going in, so as to avoid getting our young men mired down in un winnable situations with the troop level and equipment available to them.

  3. Big Dog says:

    No Ray, This problem has been going on since long before the war. It has just gotten some media attention and was investigated.

    I have always said we should go into Iraq with 500,000 troops. But I don’t think it is not winnable. I also know that many units have equipment but we still need to get more there.

    We can and must win.

  4. RealDeal says:

    I agree with you per the troop level and the inheirited responsibilities of those in charge.

    In all assignments I had in the U.S Army and the MD. Army National Guard, I knew what my soldiers were doing, when and where. I knew that I was their leader, and my job was to be involved and more importantly, responsible for their actions in adition to my own.

    I can’t help but wonder why current leaders (at all levels) feel that they can “walk away” from issues in their command and publicly comment or pretend that they “don’t know” what their people are doing.
    I once worked for over 10 years in the MD ARNG Recruiting command under some of the very same Officers, NCO’s and for some of the civilians they have rehired.

    This seems simple to me but for every good guy still employed by the Guard, needs to be asked here.

    Why would the MDARNG Recruiting command, rehire as a civilian, someone relieved of his AGR position for recruiting “issues” and/or alleged malpractice?

    There is a widley available picture of him that once hung on the walls of the 5th Regiment Armory.

    While in uniform, teaching to the Recruiting & Retention command, he is exposing his genitals during a class to male and female soldiers.

    The current RRM Recruiting & Retention Commander knows this, rehired him regardless and has thios man on his staff.

    What does that say about Maryland Army National Guard Professionalism?Recruiting? Hiring? It’s sad…and unprofessional.

    Also, it’s obvious to everyone, Fraud still rules and if you do things the way “they” …you will get hired.

    For the good of the State of Maryland and the United States, we need to start doing what is best for our state and country.

    Not what any of us thinks is best for our careers. The future of our home state or the nation may one day depend on it.


  5. RealDeal says:

    Face it. The RealDeal

    Fellow Guardsmen are being deployed.

    Friends of mine are in country, some getting wounded and dying. The State of Maryland ARNG needs good help. The United States Army needs good help.

    Don’t compromise all that those have sacrificed or those that will someday sacrifice… just to give a 2-bit job? to someone that was fired already from the ARNG for poor judgement and unprofessionalism. It makes us all look bad and scares away good people. Why do that?

    Lets go forward as professionals. Make the MDARNG a proud organization that all people feel good about serving and joining.

    Not an organization that makes people wonder what is going on with the leaders? Why support and hire a former senior NCO with his D**ck in his hand? What does that say about the MD Guard and good old boy-do no wrong we’ll hire you back anyway politics?

    Makes it look to the world like the MD Guard could care less about Army regulations. Like we are a bunch of yokel HillBilly’s and not soldiers.

    Please. For all of us Men and Women that live here, served or still serve. It’s not just training anymore. Forget politics, People are deploying and dying.Time to start being professional if you aren’t already. Hire people that are respected by everyone.

    Let’s do the job the right way and bring everyone home quickly and safely.

  6. Big Dog says:

    I appreciate you folks stopping by. The fact is there are really great and skilled soldiers in the Guard. But the truth is one bad apple does ruin the whole lot. I had a commander who once said it takes 1 oh sh*t to wipe out 10 atta boys.

    People who read the news will remember the bad that was reported, not the great stuff those who are deployed have done.

    While I agree that we need to support our troops, deployed or not, 100% I also believe that part of that support is ensuring that those who are not good for the Guard are sent packing. Bad leaders get soldiers killed. If this recruiter hides a mental problem or some other defect, that recruit could end up rolling a grenade into the tents of his own soldiers (sound familiar).

    This ole boy network has been around for decades. There are people who are forced to retire or are kicked out and they show up later with a full time job making good money. The old crusty soldiers of yesteryear are given jobs all over the state and no one can figure out what they really do. The soldiers who are there in the AGR program are afraid to say anything for fear of losing their jobs. Believe me when I tell you I have seen that happen.

    Get the bad apples out and fully support the good ones and we will a lot better off. It is a shame that it took a war to expose the cancer within.