MPs handcuff, detain National Guard chaplain in Kuwait … for wearing headphones

| November 18, 2020 | 106 Comments

Chaplain rule breaker

When Jeff LPH 3 sent me this one I was ready to make a joke like, “There’s a sergeant major somewhere very happy.” Turns out I didn’t need to, because of course this whole thing started with the fucking sergeant major.

In a perfect encapsulation of 21st century life on Kuwait’s Camp Buehring, a Pennsylvania Army National Guard chaplain was handcuffed and hauled off by military police after a dispute with the installation command sergeant major.

What crime was committed by Capt. Justin Thomas, a chaplain who ministers to the 628th Aviation Support Battalion? Why, the unforgivable act of wearing headphones while walking, of course.

Rumors about the harrowing incident were first circulated by U.S. Army W.T.F! moments, which shared a screenshot Friday of a related conversation.

Thomas, as described, was casually strolling through the camp with his headphones in his ears when the sergeant major, eager to enforce installation policy, attempted to flag him down.

“I first want to say that I don’t harbor any hard feelings about this misunderstanding,” Thomas told Military Times. “The Camp Buehring sergeant major was trying to do his job and enforce a policy about walking with headphones. … [He] was trying to get my attention, but I couldn’t hear him.”

Perhaps exhaustion factored in the chaplain zoning out. Officials didn’t specify whether Thomas was on a run at the time of the infraction, but previous Pennsylvania National Guard news articles paint a picture of an elite marathon runner and member of the All-Guard marathon team.

Whatever the reason, Thomas was subsequently handcuffed before the camp’s military police transported him to the station, where he was instructed to wait for his command to pick him up.

The chaplain characterized the behavior of his captors as “very professional,” adding that he was allowed to leave shortly after sorting out the miscommunication.

“The incident involving the 28th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade Chaplain was the result of a misunderstanding,” said Capt. Jessica-Maria Jackson, Task Force Spartan’s director of public affairs.

“The Chaplain is taking this opportunity to work with [the] Camp Buehring Sergeant Major to help raise awareness on safety during physical fitness training.”

A defense official told Military Times that one soldier who went to retrieve Thomas jokingly brought along a nail file tucked away inside a Bible, presumably to aid the holy man’s escape.

Officials could not say for certain whether the chaplain has called in an eternal favor against the sergeant major. Those odds are slim, according to Thomas, who has maintained a sense of humor about the incident.

“How can I be a Chaplain and a leader to my Soldiers if I cannot demonstrate mercy, grace, and love, especially in a situation where the base [sergeant major] was trying to enforce a standard designed to keep our Soldiers safe?”

So many E-9s with so little to do. We really need to evaluate just why we need so many sergeants major if they’ve got the time to go around post and look for petty violations.

Source; Army Times

Category: "Teh Stoopid", "The Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves", Army, Guest Link

Comments (106)

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  1. OlafTheTanker says:

    All I want to know is if the Padre was listening to an audio Bible and can counter-complain the SGM was interfering with practicing his religious beliefs..

    Well that and if the SGM bothered saluting the Chaplain before, or after he started chewing his ass out like a rabid West Highland Terrier

    How would you like to be on CQ that day??

    “Hello, Command? PMO here, come pick up your Chaplain!”

  2. Sapper3307 says:

    Camp Boring,, good times. Anybody remember Camp N.Y?

  3. 5JC says:

    Camp Buehring is dangerous. The lighting in hours of darkness is horrible and if you are anywhere near where vehicles are being driven you have a good shot at getting run over. Go ahead and Google soldiers killed in non-combat incidents there. It will be several per year. So yeah, walking around wearing headphones tuning out your environment is a really bad idea.

    Arrested? Seems harsh and maybe been resolved differently, but isn’t this the website that gets indignant with different spanks for different ranks every single time?

    • USMC Steve says:

      I don’t know about that, but common fucking sense should come into play. The head REMF aka SgtMaj, was apparently simply being a dick, probably just because he could. Too bad fragging went out of style.

      The chaplain wasn’t getting away with murder or any other felonious behavior, just irritating the head REMF’s sensibilities. There also was no basis for arrest and handcuff restraints on the chaplain.

    • Anonymous says:

      Then there’s Bagram… thank heavens for Bagram Batman! [/sarc]

  4. Ret_25X says:

    A CSM with nothing better to do than worry about headphones….

    Well, not really. This CSM had many, many things to do, but chose to eff with people.

    Why? Because they can.

    I fart in this CSM’s general direction.

  5. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    A CSM with LPS… at least the Chaplain is a forgiving (and professional) person.

  6. OWB says:

    If the SgtMaj got this excited about some ear buds, he would have become apoplectic over an exercise of civil disobedience among those tired of a petty tyrant dictating silly “rules” in Desert Storm.

    Some vendor sent along a bunch of sunglasses for eye protection which were distributed among us. Problem was that they had fluorescent stems. Of course they became the most popular item on base when they were declared “illegal” by…someone. Kind of hard to enforce when everyone, including the base commander, was suddenly sporting them. In uniform.

    Only lasted about a day and a half, but the point was made.

  7. Wireman611 says:

    I would truly love to see the chaplain”s High Command come to pick him up. Something on the order of the skies parting and a powerful command to “Go forth and sin no more”.

  8. Hack Stone says:

    Let he who is without an Article 15 cast the first stone.

    UCMJ 8:7

  9. Hack Stone says:

    Capt. Justin Thomas: This is an outrage, I should not be here!

    Military Police Officer Guarding Cell: Tell it to the Chaplain.

    Capt. Justin Thomas: I am the Chaplain.

    Military Police Officer Guarding Cell: Then tell it to yourself.

    Capt. Justin Thomas: I shouldn’t be here.

    Military Police Officer Guarding Cell: (Picks up phone) Hello, Mental Ward, I have one over here for you to pick up.

  10. 2banana says:

    Good thing the Chaplin was wearing his PT Safety belt…or he would have been shot.

    • MI Ranger says:

      It was probably the wrong color.

      I heard they had actually been following him for several miles, since he left his NTV without a parking block properly positioned on the passenger side, and a drip pan beneath the vehicle!

  11. FuzeVT says:

    SgtMajs in war zones throughout the years. . .

    1944 SgtMaj – Sir, the men are pretty exhausted. I think if climb up that ridge again the krauts are gonna have an easy time picking us off. I’ll make sure they get some coffee.

    1968 SgtMaj – Sir, this seems like a perfect place for an ambush in this jungle. I’d recommend we slow the movement and send out flankers.

    2020 SgtMaj – Yes, is this the MPs? I got this chaplain here who won’t acknowledge me when I want him to take his headphones out. You better come out.

  12. 5th/77th FA says:

    They left out the REAL reason SgtMaj was hollering at the Padre. Padre was grooving on the Re-Mix of “Jesus Christ, Superstar” and had mistakenly walked on the SgtMaj’s grass.

  13. ninja says:

    A Military Chaplain getting arrested?

    Well, check this out. Happened last Thursday. To an Reserve Air Force Chaplain (Major/O4) on Active Duty with Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

    The Chaplain’s Mugshot is in the article.

    You Be The Judge.

    “Air Force Chaplain Arrested By San Antonio Police In Online Sex Sting. Maj. Jesse Howard Charged With Online Solicitation Of A Minor”

    “An Air Force chaplain stationed at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland was arrested Thursday by San Antonio police during an investigation into online predators.”

    “Maj. Jesse McKee Howard, 41, is the chaplain for the 433rd Airlift Wing, an Air Force reserve unit made up of roughly 3,400 service members stationed at JBSA-Lackland. A spokesperson for the reserve unit confirmed Howard’s arrest and noted he was on active duty at the time of his arrest.”

    “According to San Antonio police, Howard was arrested Thursday afternoon in the 6200 block of State Highway 151.”

    “A detective had been investigating online predators,” according to the police department’s preliminary information. “The investigation led to the booking of (Howard) for the listed offense. The arrest was made without incident.”

    “Police did not provide more specific information about what led to Howard’s arrest, and the 433rd Airlift Wing spokesperson said officials were working on gathering more information about the allegation.”

    “Bexar County Jail records showed Howard posted his $30,000 bail and was released from jail on Thursday night.”

    “Online solicitation of a minor is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.”

  14. 26Limabeans says:

    “So many E-9s with so little to do”
    This is why they got rid of Spec 8’s and 9’s in 1968.

  15. ninja says:

    And another Military Chaplain who was arrested this past October. In Ramstein Air Base/K-Town, Germany.

    You Be The Judge.

    “Army Chaplain Jailed For Drunken Behavior, Shoppette Gas Theft”:

    “A series of bad decisions, from stealing gas to smashing the window of his estranged wife’s car, has landed an Army chaplain assigned to Stuttgart in jail for a month.”

    “Chaplain (Maj.) Donald V. Wood was sentenced Tuesday at a general court-martial, after a military judge found him guilty of larceny, conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, and of damaging nonmilitary property. He pleaded guilty to being absent without leave.”

    “The one-day trial in Kaiserslautern depicted a chaplain struggling with life, who was unable to let go of his marriage of more than 26 years and who had lost the confidence of his supervisors after a string of misconduct over the past 18 months.”

    “The theft occurred when Wood, a Full Gospel chaplain, drove off from the Ramstein Air Base shoppette in May 2019 without paying for $99 in fuel. The next day, on Mother’s Day, military police were called to escort Wood from Macaroni Grill on Ramstein after he drank five blood-orange cosmopolitan cocktails and passed out, according to testimony from the bartender who served him.”

    “The property damage occurred about two months later, when Wood, who has been separated from his wife for years, busted the rear window of her car. He had shown up at her home unannounced one evening, yelled profanities and banged on her apartment door before breaking the car window, his wife testified.”

    “Wood also was found not guilty of stalking his wife, on a charge related to that night and another incident last spring involving text messages.”

    “Wood pleaded guilty to being absent without leave from his job on Panzer Kaserne for U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, where he was a resource manager in the garrison’s religious support office.”

    “Wood admitted in court to ignoring an email from his supervisor in late March 2020 revoking his leave early and ordering him to report back to work. Military police picked him up about two days later at his home in Kaiserslautern.”

    “I was distraught due to life circumstances,” Wood told the military judge, Col. Christopher Fredrikson. “I am so sorry to my supervisors and the Army.”

    “Government prosecutors said that Wood “acted with impunity,” arguing that “his emotional pain” didn’t excuse or justify his misconduct and that as a chaplain, he can’t help others if he can’t handle his own affairs. They asked that Wood be dismissed from the service and sentenced to a combined four months in jail.”

    “The defense, in asking for a reprimand and forfeiture in pay as punishment, noted that Wood stood to lose some $1.2 million in benefits when he becomes eligible to retire in 2024.”

    “This is a time to look at a chaplain as a human being … as a person who doesn’t have all the answers in this world,” defense counsel Capt. Daniel Franco-Santiago said.”

    “Fredrikson gave Wood jail time that added up to three months but made the terms concurrent, so Wood will only have to spend a month at the Army’s regional correctional facility at Sembach.”

      • 5th/77th FA says:

        I’d like to be the Judge in this one too. “…separated from his wife for years…series of misconduct over the past eighteen months…” Phuque Heem! God’s in the forgiving business, I’m not. She’s just not that much into you anymore? Move on! Take responsibility for your own actions and quit blaming life’s happenstances…fecal matter occurs. Pissing away your life and career on something/someone that can be replaced so easily? Dumbass. And if they had been separated for that length of time, something tells me he had been having “issues” for awhile.

    • 26Limabeans says:

      “Army’s regional correctional facility at Sembach”

      I thought they closed the Air Base long ago. Looks like they
      turned it into Stockade. Used to get Dental work there.

      • Quartermaster says:

        It was turned over to the Army after the USAF closed it. Last I looked, they still had an F-86 on a stick there. It was a Mace missile when my father had been stationed there late 50s to the early 60s. I was quite young then.

      • rgr1480 says:

        I was in the civil engineer unit there on the flight line from 1976-78. In addition to heavy equipment, I ran the magnetic sweeper, vacuum sweeper, snow blower on the flight line there.

        After 18 months, I was able to wrangle a slot at AFRC Garmisch on ski patrol … but wound up working at the Olympic Ice Stadium…. and climbing mountains on weekends. I used to ski to the stadium from the old Gebirgsjägerkaserne where I was billeted. Great job.

        Sembach sucked for a lower enlistedman with no vehicle. But the surrounding area was great for hiking.

      • Haywire Angel says:

        We still had units there in 05-09, when I got transferred to Ramstein. That’s when they were talking about the transfer to Army. There’s a restaurant in the main village called “The Wooden Spoon” that had great food!!

  16. Green Thumb says:

    Better be glad there was no grass or he would have been double-fucked.

    • Poetrooper says:

      I actually witnessed one of those apocryphal anecdotes back in the mid-60’s, in the 506th Airborne at Fort Campbell. I was delivering a message to Battalion Sergeant major, “Bull” Gergen, when he casually glanced out his window, did a classic double take, leaped from his chair, rushed to the window and bellowed,

      “Goddamit, lootenant, get your fuckin’ ass off my fuckin’ grass right fuckin’ now! You hear me. SIR!!!???”

      I eased over and looked past the “Bull’s” broad shoulder just in time to see a red-faced young second lieutenant holding up his hands in apology as he backed away.

      “Bull” was a legend in the 101st:

      • USMC Steve says:

        So, by coming unhinged about someone walking on grass that is not his, that would demonstrate inferior coping and anger management skills as well as disrespect for his seniors?

        • Poetrooper says:

          Geez, Steve. I believe I said I WITNESSED it–not that I endorsed it. Every service member hears these stories, thus my term “apocryphal”. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time to actually see one occur.

          I also wouldn’t consider a 22 year old second lieutenant “senior” to an old warhorse like Gergen, especially not in the very unpolitically-correct Army of the 1960’s.

          I doubt too many Gunnies would either…

          • USMC Steve says:

            NO, not you Poe, that Super REMF you were discussing. You good.

            • USMC Steve says:

              As to the rank structure, whether or not it is cool, a 2nd Lt who has been out of the basic school all day is still senior to a SgtMaj with lots of time in grade. At least that was how we swung in the Corps. Not saying we didn’t subtly mindfuck the young O’s though. And I only ever got talked to like that by anyone senior to me once. There were no witnesses to what I responded, but he decided I was serious, and it appeared he wanted to keep living. It is also totally unprofessional for such chickenshit non offenses.

  17. ninja says:

    As always, there are two sides to a coin.

    Could be poor judgment of both sides.

    Don’t know the Installation Commander’s guidelines on wearing headphones at Camp Buehring.

    If I am not mistaken, Camp Buehring falls under ARCENT.

    At the time of the encounter, the Chaplain was wearing Civilian clothes. Don’t know if he showed any ID to the CSM, which in reality, should not matter. Chaplain is a Soldier.

    According to the ARCENT SOP dated 4 September 2019:

    “Earphones/Headphones: Service Members may wear
    earphones/headphones while conducting individual physical training indoors.”

    “Earphones/headphones will NOT be worn while walking, jogging, skating, and bicycling, including operating a motorcycle or moped on USARCENT installation roads and streets. At the Forward Command Post – headphone usage authority is
    with the ASG-Kuwait commander.”

    Does not matter if Thomas is a Chaplain or an Officer. Thomas is a Soldier. Find it odd that Thomas was not aware of the SOP unless the ASG-Kuwait Commander authorized headphones for Soldiers to wear while walking or jogging.

    Which goes back to the CSM who additionally should have been aware of the SOP as well as the ASG-Kuwait Commander’s approval for wear of headphones.

    So sad of the obvious lack of communication on the SOP on both Soldiers (and possible Chain of Command).

    In a way, not surprised this happened. Have seen this situation before. In the same Sandbox. In the same Command (ARCENT). With both Senior NCOs and Senior Officers.

    Sadly, some things never change.

    • rgr1480 says:

      As a captain I was jacked up by the Camp Hialeah CSM for not wearing gloves during the winter time. Well, “jacked up” is not accurate; I was approached by the CSM who conducted himself professionally … albeit … eerrr … sternly.

      I merely explained that I was the commander at Chejudo Training Center and was visiting higher HQ and was not aware of the installation SOP.

      My action: “Sorry Sarnt’majr, was not aware of the SOP. I’ll go to clothing sales right away and buy a pair of gloves.”

      That’s all it took. A bit of professionalism on both sides.

      • SFC D says:

        Somewhere I still have a certificate from Chejudo 1988. That was the most fun I had in Korea with my clothes on.

        I admit nothing. Call my lawer.

        • Milo Mindbender says:

          I have a certificate and t shirt from Chejudo, a momento from my tout with 17th Aviation Brigade back in 93-94.
          Had an absolute ball and didn’t want to go back to Youngsan when I did finished.

      • MSG Eric says:

        Funny, juxtapose that:

        I was wearing gloves once in 35 degrees whilst grading a PT test and a 1SG told me, “Take those gloves off, it ain’t that cold out here.”

        Had another 1SG who told everyone to take their PT jacket and pants off in 40 degree weather because he wasn’t cold. While we were doing PT it was okay to wear them, but he wanted everyone in shorts and a tshirt in his formation.

  18. Andy11M says:

    I know there are a few people here that were part of the Iron Duke Brigade of 1ID during OIF II who remember our BDE CSM. I thought people were blowing smoke up my ass when they told me the man had nothing better to do than to sit in the chow hall on FOB Warhorse and snipe people for uniform violations until I found my self on Warhorse and saw him sitting at the far end of the chow hall with a cup of coffee and a pissed off look on his face. I’m just glad that my units FOB was so far away he only ever came out with the BDE commander when someone died.

    • Hondo says:

      Some SGMs are “salt of the earth” types, like my detachment NCOIC (SGM rank) in the sandbox. I’d gladly serve with him again under any circumstances. Helluva fine NCO.

      Many others? Not so much.

      • Andy11M says:

        Salt of the earth? yeah, that def does not describe CSM “Foreskin” as we called him. The few one on one interactions I had with him, I was stuck in “receive mode only”.
        When I learned about the Armys new screening methods for BN commanders and CSMs, I can say for certain he never would have been selected.

      • A Proud Infidel ®™️ says:

        When I was at Buehring I was blessed with having a CSM who was a “Take no prisoners” type when it came to doing what was right, especially when it came to taking care of us!

        • David says:

          Once in Germany the Army broke one of its cardinal rules and I was blessed with both a great CO and a great SM (CSM McKenna)at the same time. Best years I had in the Army. Usually one or both was a dick.

      • USAFRetired says:

        I’ve only had one encounter with an Army SgtMaj in the field. It was during DESERT STORM and I was a CENTAF augmentee. Most of my days were spent supporting the comm guys in Combat Plans at the TACC, but every couple days I got to go fly aboard the AWACS to work some issues. As ab augmentee I was bedded down in one of the high rises at Eskan Village which seems to be where the Army folks were at as well as transients. I had cobbled together some LBE to make carrying my crap a bit handier than in a laundary bag, and I had my Kevlar helmet with no cover/rank, etc.

        After a 15+ hour sortie and attendant briefs and debriefs, then bus ride back to Eskan I was strolling back to my domicile with the objective of inspecting the insides of my eyelids for light leaks before someone launched a SCUD in our general direction.

        Out of nowhere I was approached/accosted by an Army Sgt Maj who started to dress me down for my slovenly appearance. He went on for maybe 10 seconds before it hit him that a) I was a Captain and b) I was USAF and c) I was a flyer. And he stopped. I then asked him what disappointed him most, my ragbag appearance, or the fact I was Air Force and that his speech was probably wasted on me. I told him if it made him feel better I gave his butt chewing a B minus, but as my father was a Marine I’d had better.

        • OWB says:

          Great story. My vote for best of the day, and maybe the week.

          Beats my opportunity to once dress down an occifer for attempting to ream me out for failure to salute after the shooting started some years back. I, of course, responded by presenting a rather snappy salute with a bit of verbiage attached. “If the Capt really wants me to violate regs and identify the Capt to anyone casually watching as one of the first to be taken out I was happy to oblige.”

        • Mason says:

          Fort Leonard Wood for tech school we could wear black undershirts with the BDU. That was verbotten for the Army. All the drill sergeants running around, it was somewhat common for them to stop their POV and jump out to yell at some privates only to find out on closer inspection the BDUs said US Air Force. 🙂

          I was standing in line at Army sick call once without my blouse, so I stood out like a sore thumb. One drill came storming up to me and, being sick and not in the mood, I just said “I’m Air Force.” He huffed and walked off.

      • Poetrooper says:

        Hondo, as both a battalion and brigade CBR NCO, I was in daily contact with SGM’s and they are definitely a mixed bag. I was fortunate to work for more “salt of the earth types” than tyrants.

        One of them, a good ol’ boy from South Carolina, used to take young bachelor SSGT Poe home to lunch in Fayetteville, prepared by one or another of his cute but chubby little daughters, for whom he was trying to find suitable husbands.

        Fortunately for me, I had recently met the future Miz Poe out in West Texas upon my return from Vietnam, which provided me a graceful “out” or I might otherwise have been in a very tight spot. I can’t imagine the grim fate that might befall a young staff NCO who spurned his sergeant major’s daughter.

        What always amazed me about SGM’s was their “old boy” network that extended worldwide. The manner in which they could pick up the phone and swap favors to help their troops or trade goods (a deuce and a half of coffee for a deuce and a half of of a particular shade of paint) was a life lesson for this young sergeant. It is true that NCO’s really do run the Army.

        Had I not got out to finish college, I likely would have aspired to be a sergeant major myself rather than go to OCS as I was being encouraged to do. CSM’s wield a lot of power that when used properly can really help their troops and that held a lot of appeal for me.

        Unfortunately some SGM’s become petty tyrants as in the extant article, although, in this case, the chaplain was clearly violating safety policy when he should have been setting an example. The CSM could certainly have handled this with more grace and aplomb.

  19. Sparks says:

    When I was in, there were only two types.

    Professional NCOs and,


  20. NHSparky says:

    Holy shit!

    A CSM who actually deployed?

    Yeah, you know there are way too many who haven’t since 9/11.

    Granted, it’s only Kuwait, but better than sitting on his ass in CONUS.

    • Andy11M says:

      Back during OIF II I was on LSA Anaconda looking for someone I knew while I was passing through, I wandered into some building and walked into an office, there were four, FOUR SGMs sitting behind desks staring at their computer screens. Some how I doubt they were really doing much to contribute to anything other than their next NCOER and their end of tour award.

    • MSG Eric says:

      When I was in Baghdad in ’05, the battalion that replaced ours brought TWO CSMs with them. One for their organic companies and one for all the bastard children companies task organized to their battalion HQ.

      Yes, really.

  21. My, My, My says:

    At least the CSM and MPs exercised good judgement by utilizing handcuffs instead of strapping him to a cross. 🙂

  22. Mike B USAF Retired says:

    Army rules confuse me…..In 2002 at Camp Stronghold Freedom, Uzbekistan the Army Commander of the base, a Col Roger King, put out a notice to all personnel, but mainly directed at us Air Force troops.

    “The wear of the boonie hat is not authorized as we are not in a combat zone. The wearing of sleeves rolled up is not authorized as we are in a combat zone”

    I asked which is it, are we in a combat zone or not in a combat zone. I was told to shut up and quit looking for trouble by my Commander.

    A few days later we got our asses chewed for wearing boonie hats, and having our sleeves rolled up stilled. Told them all we had was the boonie hat, and it’s purpose was to keep the sun off our necks and faces. Didn’t help we wore them rolled up like cowboy hats. Finally the Army just left us alone.

    Got some good saluting stories from that deployment, but that’s for another time……

    • Sapper3307 says:

      My gang started yelling “SNIPER CHECK” at the top of our lungs once saluting was started up, saluting stopped by noon.

      • Mike B USAF Retired says:

        Downrange salutes!

        A) We had an Air Force 1 Star that saluted with his left hand…..when I pointed it out to him, he said he could never remember which hand it was.

        B) The Air Force had a no salute policy, the Army had a salute policy. An Army 1st Lt jumped all over an Air Force TSgt (Aircrew type) for failure to salute him, ripped her a new one. So one of our LtCol Aircrew type walked around waiting for said Lt then turned walked right towards him and when the Lt didn’t salutes. Ripped him a new one in front of God and everyone. Then made him salute a pole for 1/2 hour. When word went up the Army chain, they protested until an Air Force officer (Rank unknown) told them to pound sand.

        C) Pitch black, pouring down rain, walking downhill on pudding mud. I see a shadow going up hill and say how you doing tonight. They responded with good, but where I come from we salute officers. It was a damn Army Butter Bar. Apologized, saluted, and went on my way, two seconds later, he went pass me downhill on his face. Poetic Justice.

        Home Station Salutes.

        A) I was a newly promoted Airmen First Class (E-3) walking out the BX, guy stops me and asks don’t you salute officers. I say yes, he asked 2 more times and I gave the same answer 2 more times.

        He then says well I’m waiting! Waiting for what? For you to render me the proper respect and salute me. I go, I don’t salute Airmen Basics (E-1s), he reaches for his coller and hat and goes OH SHIT. He had stripped the rank from all his uniforms as he was now a newly minted 1st Lt, and grabbed a uniform with no rank.

        Bad enough this happened, find out later this was a Lt that worked as a maintenance officer and worked with, of all people my dad. Apparently they changed the name tag on his office door and desk to AB (E-1) Doe and my dad called him that. My dad’s Commander asked a week or so after the incident about the AB thing. When it was explained, the Lt became known as AB Doe by all the leadership.

        Yeap dad and I were stationed at the same base at the same time. It was my first base and his last base.

        • Mason says:

          That’s cool you got to serve together like that.

          • Mike B USAF Retired says:

            Yes it was a blessing in disguise you can say.

            We got there in July 85 after leaving Germany, I left there in Jan 86 for Basic, and came back in Apr 86 assigned there.

            There was this guy that got to my dad’s unit in Jan 86 right after I left for Basic. He would become my Father-In-Law in May 88, right before I went to Germany and my dad retired.

            So my FIL worked for my dad….When he found out who my dad was when I started dating his daughter, he was like oh he’s a hell of a guy. I said bullshit he’s an asshole. He responded with I’m glad you said that and not me, remember that.

            I said, you just have to work for him, I lived with him for 19 years, now I’m in it’s even worse…..

            Dad if you can read this from up there, 19 years under your roof, made me able to deal with any issue thrown my way during my career.

            Also it turned out my TI was a former troop of my dad’s and my dad was reason he was still in and became a TI. Apparently dad straightened him out and the rest is history.

        • USAFRetired says:

          I showed up at my operational unit Columbus Day weekend 1980. On of the things on the inprocessing checklist was to meet the Wing Commander (1 star). So they scheduled about 2 dozen of us to assemble in his conference room the next week for the meet and greet.

          This was in the transition days of short sleeve shirts with no collar brass and the new styly epaulette shirts. Being October most folks are wearing a wind breaker.

          After all the formalities when the General walks in we are seated around his conference table making introductions. It works it way down the table to a buddy of mine.And the General says as he moves from one buddy of mine to the next guy (also a friend) I assume this gentlemen is a second lieutenant as he isn’t wearing any rank. Both statements true and a great way to meet the Wing King.

          Fast forward to the next day and we’re all lined up to meet the training squadron Commander. These are going to be one on one meetings. As we’re waiting our turns. My friend takes off his windbreaker and on his epaulet style shirt he has one installed backwards. He has one gold bar outboard where it should be and the other inboard next to his neck. We managed to fix that before his time came up.

    • MSG Eric says:

      We went to the base in Khazakstan on the way into Afghanistan in 2011. It was considered a “combat zone”, but you couldn’t carry your assigned weapons on the base. Plus, those assigned there could go on “horsie rides” with the USO in the nearby mountains. (In civilian clothes only.)

      • Hondo says:

        Same was true at Al Udeid AB in Qatar in 2008 as I recall.

        Except maybe the off-base “horsie rides” part. Wasn’t there long enough to find out anything about off-base stuff. (smile)

    • Anonymous says:

      That “sleeves down in a combat zone” is only because some dork Bn Cdr didn’t want his unit (and his OER) dinged for sick misconduct stats in Desert Shield/Storm and it stuck… in World War II and ‘Nam our grandfathers and fathers just put sunblock on their arms in hot environments with sleeves up so they wouldn’t get heat injuries.

      Today, we’re just bureaucratic wienies. We’re more afraid of sunburn (sick misconduct as “avoidable) than heat casualties (not sick misconduct) or too dippy to put on sunscreen.

  23. Hondo says:

    Well they came upon a child of God
    He was walkin’ along the road
    And he was wearing’ forbidden earbuds
    So he got handcuffed . . . .

    (With apologies to Joni Mitchell.)

  24. USMCMSgt (Ret) says:

    I heard walking on the grass put this way once:

    The only time Marines are allowed on the grass is to conduct PT or when cutting it – all other times is prohibited.

    Why is this? A few footsteps aren’t going to hurt the grass, right? To be honest, no one really gives a rat’s ass about the grass. It will grow with our without blood on it – anywhere in the world. The prohibition of walking on the grass is symbolic: It’s about not taking shortcuts…

    The logic is that if a Marine takes a shortcut once, he or she will have no problem cutting corners the next time…and the next…and the next.

    Sidewalks are typically strait lines of concrete that intersect at 90 degree angles. A young, unaware Marine may save a second or two by cutting through the grass – but if enough people cut that same corner, then the grass dies and becomes a path – thus destroying the need for the sidewalk to begin with and diminishing its intended purpose in the end.

    The rule requires a level of detail. If someone isn’t capable of noticing that he or she is walking on soft grass instead of concrete, then it’s very likely not the only ass-chewing he or she will receive during their career.

    Stepping on the grass and spending the half second required to stay on the pavement is symbolic of a person’s discipline.

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