“I answered the call of duty and served my country — and I got fired for it,”

| January 10, 2020


Sgt. Maj. Richard Erickson returned to work Monday after being fired by the Postal Service in 2000 for “excessive use of military leave.” (Courtesy of Richard Erickson)

It took nearly 20 years, but the Post Office finally was coerced into righting this wrong.

Guardsman fired from the Postal Service in 2000 for military service receives notice to return to work

Dylan Gresik

A nearly two-decadeslong legal battle entered a new phase this week when a soldier received notice to return to his job with the U.S. Postal Service after being fired in 2000.

Retired Sgt. Maj. Richard Erickson, a National Guard Special Forces veteran who was awarded a Purple Heart, was dismissed from his role as distribution clerk in Fort Myers, Florida, due to “excessive use of military leave.” Erickson began working with the Postal Service in 1988 before joining the Guard in 1990.

Following his dismissal, Erickson appealed the decision to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) citing violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), which prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of military service. Court filings show that for nearly four years between 1996 and 2000, Erickson worked at his civilian job for “no more than four days.” USERRA’s provisions, however, maintain a five-year cap for reemployment.

An administrative judge with the MSPB concluded Erickson had failed to prove his military service was the primary motivating factor in his dismissal and denied the appeal. The case was remanded to determine whether Erickson had “abandoned” his civilian career in favor of a military career.


Sgt. Maj. Richard Erickson received a Purple Heart and three distinguished medals for valor in combat through his decades of service. (Courtesy photo)

In 2011, after protracted legal proceedings, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned the board’s decision. Then in 2014, the Merit Systems Protection Board ordered the Postal Service to reinstate Erickson and award him nearly 14 years of lost wages and benefits. “I answered the call of duty and served my country — and I got fired for it,” Erickson told the Los Angeles Times at the time.

I believe I would have told the Post Office to stuff it, and filed a huge lawsuit. Read the entire article here: Military Times

Category: Army, Government Incompetence

Comments (108)

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  1. 5th/77th FA says:

    BZ SgtMaj and to the lawer LTC. Wonder how much his union local rolled over and let Management scratch their belly. I don’t know all of the details of this case but the law is the law. One good thing for sure I can say about Mother Bell is she took care of the troops that were deployed. Any Guard and Reserve members were paid their full pay and benefits while they were on deployments with their units. We even had a coupla temporary employees in the construction gangs that were paid their regular company wages while they were on summer drill.

    • Wilted Willy says:

      I know, I had only worked for Ma Bell for 6 months and when I went on active duty, they paid me my full salary all the time I was gone! They just don’t do that any more??
      I was the richest PFC in the Army!!

      • ninja says:

        WW:

        The guy in the story was gone for over 5 years!

        BIG Difference!

        He joined the National Guard AFTER he was employed by the Post Office.

    • ninja says:

      KoB:

      Since he was deployed AFTER he was terminated in 2000, have no clue WHAT he did in the US Military from 1996-2000 to have him only working 4 days.

      Something is not right about this. We did have troops in Kosovo, but where else? And I doubt he was there for 4 years.

      Sounds as if he took a job as a Full Time AGR and tried to milk the system.

      What a JERK. Sorry. That is my own personal assessment of him. Don’t care what awards he earned, don’t care about his PH. Don’t care about his deployments. Don’t care about his MOS. Don’t care about his Rank. Not impressed. Just disgusted.

      • xyzzy says:

        Agreed. I respect his service, but he’s still an asshole.

      • MCPO USN says:

        Doesn’t matter if he went full-time AGR. The USERRA states he is protected as long as he did not resign his position at the post office.

        My friend works for USERRA, gives the presentation to all the reserve components all the time. It is weird what is covered and what is not, but the 5 year protection is valid and pretty iron-clad. He got screwed by a government organization that is poorly run.

    • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

      The union probably did the “we can’t help you” thing (but took their fair share of “dues” to “represent” him

      • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

        More often then not, local Union higher-ups are often bribed with cushy job assignments as well.

        • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

          I’ve seen it at my workplace… takes brown-nosing to a whole different level.

          • 5th/77th FA says:

            ^word^ Senior and spot on everybody else. We had a local union president that was craft and used his position to avoid doing his job. He was promoted to a FIRST level manager slot. He didn’t realize that he was being set up for a firing fall. In that position he pissed off the craft workers AND upper management. Sissy punk had made a comment, just before he was fired for gross abuse of Company policy, “yeah if I was in a foxhole, there’s nobody I’d rather have than —–(5/77) with me.” I looked at that sissy punk and asked him if the term “frag” meant anything to him. Good times!

            Maybe we need a followup post on ol’SGM here. Be interesting to see what other skeletons he might be a’toting. Besides, all the comments on this thread has taken away some of CW’s Thunder on his 1st FIRST in a long time…Bless his heart.

  2. crucible says:

    I must be missing something here:

    So….was he recalled to AD for this whole time?

    I’m mean, work four real days (!) in civilian job, then go do cool and dangerous shit for ten (or 14???) years, then sue civilian job and get fourteen years of back wages and benefits? ($1.7M!)

  3. ninja says:

    Something just does not sound right about this story.

    He only worked 4 DAYS in 4 YEARS?

    That picture of him with a weapon looks odd as well.

    Was he a National Guard AGR?

    Am going to dig deeper into this story. Something is not right.

    • rgr769 says:

      Well, FOIA him and you will see if he earned all those badges and will get his list of assignments. Based on the courts’ final judgments, he is entitled to get federal pension bennies in addition to military retired pay, if he is over 59 years old. So I bet he won’t spend much time at a post office.

      • ninja says:

        Thank You, rgr769.

        Looks as if he was born in 1963, so we shall see what happens.

        I may do a FOIA on him. Am pondering if he is worth my time and effort to research his Military Background.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Something just does not sound right about this story. He only worked 4 DAYS in 4 YEARS? – ninja

      I’m a bit confused about this, too. The way the narrative is constructed, he was not a full-time employee postal employee. 4 days of work in 4 years don’t constitute anything but part-time labor, if that.

      Something’s not right about this. Info must be missing from it, because if he wants 4 years’ credit for working when he did NOT work full-time for the USPS, per the article, either there is info missing or there is a HUUUUUGE typo in there somewhere.

  4. 26Limabeans says:

    Pretty good smirk on his face eh?

  5. ninja says:

    This is a 2014 STARS and STRIPES article that came out about him.

    2014.

    “Postal Service Ordered To Reinstate GI, Potentially Pay Millions In Back Pay, Fees:

    https://www.stripes.com/news/postal-service-ordered-to-reinstate-gi-potentially-pay-millions-in-back-pay-fees-1.260486

    From the 2014 article:

    “A federal board has again ordered the U.S. Postal Service to reinstate a National Guardsman wrongly fired from his job as a postal worker because he took military leave, telling the agency to pay him what could add up to millions in back pay, benefits and legal fees.”

    “On Monday, the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, which rules on disputed federal personnel actions, reiterated that the decision in 2000 to fire Sgt. Maj. Richard Erickson, now 50, violated federal laws designed to protect troops’ civilian jobs.”

    “The board made a similar ruling in 2012 and ordered the Postal Service to immediately reinstate Erickson, a decorated long-time Special Forces member, even if it planned to appeal. But the Postal Service appealed the ruling without reinstating Erickson.”

    “On Monday, the board also declared that a Postal Service argument that Erickson was not entitled to back pay and benefits because he did not meet a deadline to request reemployment was invalid because he had already been wrongly fired.”

    “Erickson, who served with the 3rd Special Forces Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group at the time of his firing, has been battling for reinstatement for years. He was hired in 1988 by the Postal Service and joined the National Guard in 1990, he said.”

    “He missed several years of work because of military service, but never surpassed the five-year limit established by the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. Nevertheless, the Postal Service argued he had abandoned his job.”

    “Erickson, who is now active duty and works for U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., was on an operation with the Special Forces when he received a letter informing him that he’d been fired.”

    “Erickson, who said he has been fortunate to have the Army to support his family after losing his post office job, isn’t sure he wants to go back to a civilian job working for the agency that threw him out of a job and worked to keep him gone even though he’s entitled to it.”

    • Anonymous says:

      Also, from Coffer vs. Warren County Board of Ed, 10 APR 2019, the “equivalent position” you get back has to be similar in work, pay and responsibility (not to mention raises/promotions you would’ve gotten otherwise) and not a demotion in pay, work and/or responsibility. (I.e., they can’t “eliminate” your operations manager job and re-employ you as a janitor when you get back because they got butthurt you were called-up– court case re-affirmed that.)

      • ninja says:

        I doubt very seriously he was “called up.”

        Still think he became Full Time Guard during 1996-2000. Too much coincidence he got divorced in 1996 and then only worked 4 days out of 4 years.

        He took advantage of a regulation. Bet he had no intentions of wanting to return to work at the Post Office, because if he did, why didnt he apply for reemployment?

        Also, from 1991-1995, he was gone for 22 months, almost 2 years. Doing what in the Army?

  6. ninja says:

    This is the 2014 PDF on his case:

    https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.roa.org/resource/resmgr/LawReviews/2014/14004-LR.pdf

    “Sergeant Major (SGM) Richard Erickson was employed by the United States Postal Service (USPS) from 1988 until he was removed from his position in March 2000. He served in the Army National Guard (ARNG) and the United States Army Reserve (USAR) during the entire time he was employed by the USPS and also before and after his USPS employment. Between 1991 and 1995, he was away from his USPS job for military service for a total of 22 months, and between 1996 and his removal in 2000 he worked at the USPS for only four days, being on military duty the rest of the time.”

    I disagree that he should be reimburse all the money. Someone else could have had that job. Something is not right. If he was serving on Active Duty for that long of a time period, then I don’t understand why he did not quit.

    Sorry. Don’t care if he has a PH. He sounds as if he wanted his Army Pay Check and his Postal Pay as well (have his cake and eat it too). He could not be in two places at the same time. He knew that.

    NO ONE FORCED him to join the National Guard.

    This sounds as if someone is abusing the system even though his Lawyers argued something different (please read the PDF for the rest of the story).

    I have NO sympathy for the guy.

    • OWB says:

      Sympathize or don’t sympathize at your own pleasure, but being a Guardsman who is activated for military service is NOT grounds for dismissal from any job, much less from one with USPS.

      The reality of having a full time job while having a part-time job as a Guardsman is that most of the time you can play nice with both and keep them both happy. Sometimes you can’t. And sometimes the civilian employer simply cannot be pacified no matter what you do.

      Was he a jerk about it? I dunno. Was USPS being unnecessarily uncooperative? Sounds like they were.

      Having served a few decades in that dual capacity, some of it in a military job subject to short notice activation from time to time, it can be very dicey keeping both employers happy. And each time I acquired a new civilian supervisor, they had to be educated about my military obligation.

      • ninja says:

        From 1991-1995, he worked 26 out of 48 months, i.e. out of 4 years, he only worked 2 years.

        Then from 1996-2000, he only worked 4 DAYS out of 4 YEARS.

        This sounds as if he was either Full Time AGR, either Army Reserves or National Guard, NOT Part-Time.

        As a Army Reservist or National Guard, where did he go that he was away for 22 months from 1991-1995? Then where did he go from 1996-2000 that he only worked 4 DAYS?

        He was NOT deployed until AFTER he was fired in 2000. The story makes it sound as if he was fired because of his deployment to Afghsnistan, when in fact, he was on Active Duty AFTER 2000, drawing ACTIVE DUTY Pay.

        • Comm Center Rat says:

          After his military retirement, my father worked for the Postal Service. He told me every day on the job felt like it was a year long!

      • timactual says:

        ” being a Guardsman who is activated for military service”

        It seems that he was activated by his own request; he volunteered. For years at a stretch. Which seems to be rather odd forsomeone who whines about being a single father with three daughters to look out for.
        “I answered the call of duty and served my country — and I got fired for it,” Nope. Duty didn’t call, he volunteered. And as for getting fired for it, any fool knows you cannot do two jobs at once and not expect some consequences and sometimes irreconcilable conflicts.
        https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2020/01/09/guardsman-fired-from-the-postal-service-in-2000-for-military-service-receives-notice-to-return-to-work/?utm_source=clavis

        For more information, the three links available at the following site labeled ” (2008, 2010, 2013) ” are better and more complete in explaining the post office’s position.
        http://www.postal-reporter.com/blog/usps-ordered-to-reinstate-postal-workervet-pay-14-yrs-of-back-pay-fees/

        • ninja says:

          Yep. You are saying the same thing I am saying.

          He was born in 1963, so he was NOT Drafted/FORCED to join the Guard.

          He has alot of different addresses from 1996-2000 in the Florida area.

          And that posed picture of him in front of a cave as well as riding a camel?

          I still hold to my personal opinion that he has taken advantage of a system and has abused it for his own finanancial gain at taxpaper expense (no wonder stamp prices keep rising to mail a letter, card or bill).

          And no, Slow Joe, I do not want to pay my bills via computer. Call me old fashion. 😉😎

  7. ninja says:

    Another discussion about his Case.

    When he left Active Duty in 2005, he did not reapply for employment with the Post Office.

    https://www.fedemploylaw.com/documents/Federal_Employment_Attorney_Ariel_Solomon_USERRA.pdf

    Don’t understand why Military Times is posting this 2014 story in 2010. Did something change?

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, he got fired in 2000 and it took the court system THIS long to produce the ruling on that we’re talking about.

  8. ninja says:

    Now I understand the 2020 article:

    https://www.nbc-2.com/story/41533444/fort-myers-veteran-returns-to-work-20-years-after-being-fired

    He got to return to work after being fired in 2000.

    He got off of Active Duty in 2005-2006.

    Sorry. Reading this story ticks me off. I personally think he abused the system, but that is my own personal perception and opinion.

    And he is quoted in 2014 that he did not want to return to the Post Office. Yeah, right.

    • ninja says:

      He had such a dangerous job that he is riding a camel in the video.

      (sarc)

      I will say it again. NO ONE FORCED HIM TO JOIN THE NATIONAL GUARD OR ARMY RESERVES.

      He should have quit his job with the Post Office if he was going to be on that much Active Duty.

      Sounds as if he was trying to Double Dip the System.

      There goes my Tax Dollars again.

      • Twist says:

        I wouldn’t say that having a video of you riding on a camel means that you have a safe job. I have pictures of me on a donkey and I was an Infantryman in Iraq 05-06. Within the first week of me arriving in Iraq I had already earned my CIB and did not have the same combat load that I had left Kuwait with and it didn’t let up for most of the 16 months that I was there on that tour.

        As for the rest of his story, I just don’t know. I just can’t think of any other reason besides AGR why a Guardsman would be activated between 96-2000. I know that Bosnia/Kosovo was going on around that time, but as far as I know nobody was pulling 4 year tours there.

        • ninja says:

          Thank You, Twist, for providing your insight.

          Was being “sarc” when I made the comment about the camel ride.

          The article and the pictures came across as being misleading. What he did from 1996-2000 is a mystery, but am sure he did not support that ribbon rack during that timeframe.

          Don’t know about National Guard AGR being deployed in Bosnia/Kosovo, but do know some Army AGRs who went there for TDY and not a Full Tour.

          Thank You for your feedback!

  9. AW1Ed says:

    Cry “Havoc” and let slip the ninjas of War!

    Have I mentioned lately we have the best ninjas?
    *grin*

    • ninja says:

      Well, AW1Ed, my Blood Pressure was boiling, but as usual, you put a BIG smile on this ninja’s face with *grin*.

      Thank You.

      P.S. Am still ticked off about this, but again, that is my own personal opinion.

      *grin*

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      It is always good to get “the rest of the story.” Was a lot missing from the original post. And now we know. Buddy of mine just cashed out after 37 years with the PO. Basically the only real job he ever had. Toward the end, (the last 15 years) he hated the BS that they went thru. My personal letter carrier here does a fine job, but they bitch about upper management all the time.

      Thanks ninja for the add ons. I was really scratching my watch and winding my azz for awhile there.

      • ninja says:

        I can understand if he was called on Active Duty or the Guard for a year AFTER 2000, but that is NOT WHAT HAPPENED.

        Have this feeling he became a Full Time AGR thus explaining why he did not go to work at the Post Office.

        This guy ought to be ashame of himself. “Serving My Country…” BS!!!

        He probably cheats on his taxes as well.

        He is just as bad as those who cheat and abuse the VA Disability System.

        What a great example to set for his kids and young folks.

        Be Careful What You Wish For.

        • 5th/77th FA says:

          These extry details helped explain a lot more. Maybe we/you/y’all should look at an FOIA. Inquiring minds might want to know. I didn’t hire on with Ma Bell til Feb of ’99. Was told about employees that were NG/AR that were activated for DS/DS with the 48th Bde. They went to NTC but never made it to the sand box in 90/91. When the Bosnia/Serbia stuff kicked up a number of them did deploy then. After 9/11 a bunch of them were activated and some made several deployments between ’01 and now. Their job was always waiting for them when they came back. I would have to try and dig up a contract book to be sure, but IIRC, the technicians were required to work for the company for at least X# of days during a calendar year to keep their job. There were several that were in critical MOSes that would use their accrued leave to fulfill that requirement. If there was a change in local management it was a non-issue on ‘splaining why Joe or Jill was on the payroll, but not in the shop.

          Be interested in see more on this. Tanks!

          • ninja says:

            KoB:

            I fully support those who are Army Reserves and National Guard who have to leave their Full Time Job to be deployed.

            But…WHERE WAS HE FROM 1996-2000?

          • timactual says:

            The PO also has requirements about notifying them as to time and length of active duty, and applying for reemployment. From my reading of the sources I cite in a previous comment it seems this clown decided he didn’t need to do any of that paperwork crap. Odd for a career senior NCO. It came back to bite him, he got a sympathetic judge, and now he has won the lottery, courtesy of the US taxpayer.

            I am wondering why he didn’t just go active, since it was obviously more fun than the PO. I suspect there was some advantage he would rather not mention.

            • ninja says:

              Amen!

              As shared, one reaps what they sow.

              The media did NOT do a good job covering this story.

              They focused on his service AFTER 2000, NOT BEFORE.

              Again, I’m gonna say it. Because of this stunt he pulled, I am NOT impressed about him having a CIB, BSM and ARCOM with V and PH and being SF.

              He also did not serve for “decades”.

              There are no discussions as to where he was and what he was doing from 1996-2000 with the Military that he could only work for 4 DAYS.

              • MCPO USN says:

                After joining the guard he had to qualify for Special Forces right? And complete all the training? That might explain the 22 months not at work. After all, his uniform shows he is a Ranger and SF.

                Whatever the reason, USERRA states that you are covered for 5 years away from your job. This is not a post office policy, this is federal statute. As long as doesn’t resign his position before going on orders he is covered.

                As to voluntary orders or not, it does not matter:
                (13) The term ‘service in the uniformed services’ means the performance of duty on a voluntary or involuntary basis in a uniformed service under competent authority and includes: active duty, active duty for training, initial active duty for training, inactive duty training, full-time National Guard, a period for which a person is absent from a position of employment for the purpose of an examination to determine the fitness of the employment for the purpose of performing funeral honors duty as authorized by section 12503 of title 10 or section 115 of title 32.

                I guess he could have went on voluntary orders with the AGR for 4 years straight, but under USERRA, he was well within his rights to do so. Who knows, productivity at the post office may have improved with him gone.

      • timactual says:

        I know a guy who worked for the PO for years. They promoted him to management and he started complaining all the time, about both superiors and subordinates. He finally voluntarily gave up the management position and returned to his old position. He is much more content, if not happy, now that he is out of the line of fire.

  10. Skyjumper says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s a “Delta Force” Patch on his left shoulder.

    Might explain the Purple Heart, Bronze Star w/ “V” device, and the active duty time.

    JMHO

    • ninja says:

      Skyjumper:

      Sorry. Am not impressed.

      Between 1996 and 2000, he only worked 4 days.

      He was terminated in 2000.

      The story makes him out to be this big War Hero, when in actuality, it sounds as if he may have been an AGR from 2001-2005 and was deployed.

      AFTER he was terminated.

      No telling what he did in the National Guard BEFORE he was terminated.

      Ticks me off.

      • OWB says:

        What do you have against AGR’s, Ninja??? Worked with quite a few of them over the years and they didn’t seem to smell much different from everyone else.

        • ninja says:

          OWB:

          Have NOTHING against AGRs.

          If he was AGR, that means he had a FULL TIME JOB, drawing a Monthly Check from the Army.

          Now if he was AGR, how could he have worked for the Post Office AND the US Army the SAME Time?

          No wonder he got fired in 2000. How else does it explain that he only worked 4 DAYS in 4 YEARS?

          Would you want to pay someone that did not show up to work because they had another Full Time job?

          The news article was very misleading.

          • Skyjumper says:

            ninja,

            The most pay ANY full-time Postal Service employee that is in the Guards or Reserves or activated can receive, is 15 days of pay per year.

            So, in this case if he was active duty (or on an AGR tour) he would only have received his military pay plus 15 days of Postal Service military leave pay.

            Not picking a fight with you ninja, but I disagree with you comment of “The story makes him out to be this big War Hero….”.

            I (and maybe most here at TAH) will agree that a soldier with a CIB, Purple Heart, three Bronze Stars (at least one with a “V” device), and appears to have 2-3 Army Commendation awards (with at least one bearing a “V” device) has not been sitting in the rear with his gear.

            JMO

              • ninja says:

                Thank You for the link, Sky.

                So back to my question:

                WHAT was he doing from 1996-2000 that he only worked 4 DAYS?

                He HAD to have been either a FULL TIME AGR Soldier or on ACTIVE DUTY.

                His addresses for that time period was all at Fort Myers. Was he working Full Time in an Armory drawing a FULL TIME ARMY CHECK for 4 years?

                • timactual says:

                  Since he is indeed wearing a Delta Force patch on his sleeve in a photo, he had to have had at least 2 1/2 years left on an active duty enlistment to apply. According to what I have read he violated PO regulations by not informing the PO of that fact.

                  Assuming, of course, that he actually earned that patch.

            • ninja says:

              Sky:

              He was deployed as ACTIVE DUTY AFTER 2000, the year he was fired.

              He was NOT working for the Post Office.

              Research shows addresses at Fort Bragg AFTER he was terminated in 2000, NOT before.

              The story was TWISTED.

              Where WAS HE from 1991-1995 and 1996-2000 that he only worked LESS THAN 3 YEARS for the Post Office in 9 years time?

              He wants Back Pay from 2000-2020, plus he got his job back. He failed to reapply for employment in 2005, after he left Active Duty.

              He joined the Guard in 1991, 3 years AFTER working for the Post Office.

              He spent MORE time on Active Duty than working at the Post Office!

              If he loved the Army that much, why didnt he quit?

              • Skyjumper says:

                Ninja, thanks for a better timeline. Yeah, I still have questions my ownself about this, that I haven’t seen on any of the websites I checked on.

                I’m curious if he would receive any retirement pay because of the court ruling and him receiving back pay? I believe postal retirement pay is based on your three consecutive highest pay years (without overtime included) which are usually your last three. Be interesting to find that out.

                Also ninja, I used my limited google-fu (not near as good as yours (grin)) and found this charity he had in 2016.

                https://www.saveourvet.org

                • ninja says:

                  Thank You, Sky, again and with the updated link.

                  I feel the news media may be using his PH and Afghan deployment as well as with his Service with the 3rd SFG as a ploy, when in reality, he was FIRED in 2000, before 9-11.

                  Those equations should have never been factored with this story.

                  Thank You for your honest and forthright feedback. I am not always right and make lots of errors.
                  In this case, I think he may have taken advantage of a loophole and got his job back.

                  We shall see what happens. One reaps what they sow.

                  • Skyjumper says:

                    Thanks for the honest back and forth banter ninja, I enjoyed it. Sometimes my own wires get crossed and another persons views help from getting short circuited too badly. That’s what it’s all about here at TAH…..that’s why I’m still here after about five years (that and for the great recipes from Ex-PH2 and that there feller from Georgia….old what’s his name, 5th/77th FA).
                    (smile)

                    • ninja says:

                      Sky, You ALSO put a BIG grin on my face, especially your comment about Ex’s recipes and also our KoB’s mouth watering Southern Cooking.
                      Our AW1Ed does a great job as well.

                      I really appreciated your input and honesty as with others on TAH posts.
                      All comments give me a new perspective on my assessments, because I am not always correct.

                      It ooks as if this guy was at Bragg with the 3rd SFG, 20th BN in 2000 when he got fired, so am chevking on some historical info on thst unit what he did in 2000.
                      Also that picture of him holding a weapon? Something is not right about that staged picture.
                      Thank You again, Sky. Airborne!

              • timactual says:

                “He was deployed”

                No. Why is everybody using the passive voice? HE actively sought the assignments, they were HIS responsibility, not the Army’s. He wasn’t drafted, he wasn’t forced to go to jump school, he wasn’t forced to join Special Forces or Delta Force. All those problems are a result of HIS decisions and actions/inactions.

              • timactual says:

                Regarding those addresses; Did he actually live there or was that just his “home of record”? Did his daughters live there? Was that his mother’s address (she took care of the daughters)?

            • timactual says:

              Which is 15 days more than he deserve, since that 15 days is more days than he actually worked. And what about seniority? Was he building seniority while he was away?

              No, he may not have been sitting in the rear with his gear, he was a full-time voluntary career NCO, not a real PO employee. He played the system and won.

          • OWB says:

            Ninja: (Responding to your response to my response waaaaay back there somewhere) Thanks for the clarification. I may have misinterpreted your comments re AGR – took them to be snarky/snipy, or something. If so, my apology.

            Anywho – yeah, the original article is confusing, at best. Purposefully misleading would not surprise me, given the source.

            Yes, there are questions which should be answered.

            My personal experience is that there were multiple times that I worked basically full time at both the full time and part time jobs. My employer was very generous with time off for military duties, but when I ran out of military days and was unable to flex my work schedule to accommodate both, I went off the payroll at the fulltime job. Long story short – we made it work because it was to everyone’s advantage to do so, and all parties were willing to do it.

            • ninja says:

              Thank You, OWB!

              Some of the BEST Soldiers I had the honor of serving with were AGRs as well as National Guard and Army Reserves. I admired them that those Guardmen and Reservists for being Duel Hatted.

              I think the guy may have taken advantage of the “5 Year Rule”. Again, I believe Guardsmen and Reservists should be protected when they are called for Active Duty. In this guy’s case, I have a suspicion that he either volunteered assigments or became an AGR.

              Coincidently, he got divorced in 1996, with children involved, so he may had to pay Child Support and realized his Postal Pay was not enough to cover his lifestyle and pay support.

              Thank You for sharing your experiences with your Military Duties and your Employers. Your comment was positive and enlighnting. Sometimes others don’t realize the challenges that our Guardsmen and Reservists face while serving our Country.

              Thank You again!

              🤗

    • Berliner says:

      Special Operations Command patch.

      • timactual says:

        Delta Force patch. A subsidiary unit of SOC whose patch is similar but with more stuff.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_Force

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Army_Special_Operations_Command

        • watcher98 says:

          What are you talking about? I just went through those links and the patches are the same. I’m authorized to wear the SOCOM patch and it’s the same damn patch Delta wears. What the hell does “more stuff” mean? It’s a shield with a knife and an airborne tab.

        • Hate_me says:

          USASOC patch. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything more than that. It’s not the SFC patch (arrowhead w/ triple lightning bolts). A large number of soldiers – to include support soldiers and certain other SO elements – wear the red arrowhead, not just SFOD-D.

          Of particular significance to this discussion – please note that that is the command he is serving with at the time the picture was taken, not at the time the post office fired him.

    • rgr769 says:

      You may be wrong. That red arrowhead patch is the SSI of Army Special Operations Command (SOCOM). It also is the same patch worn by Delta, as Delta operates directly under it, as do a number of other units, including all of the Army Special Forces Groups. He could merely be one of many CSM’s working in SOCOM.

      From the photo, I can’t tell whether that is a V-device or an oak leaf (second award for meritorious service). If he earned all those badges and tabs, he is a very qualified CSM for a 20th SFG ARNG soldier.

    • Ski says:

      He is wearing the U.S. ARMY SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND SSI. It is wore by any assigned to USASOC.
      What is interesting is according to the Institute of Heraldry it should be a black tab with red letters not the black and gold airborne tab.

  11. ninja says:

    Dude is from Lee County, Florida.

    Guess who else was from there.

  12. ninja says:

    Well, heck, if I had known I could have been on Active Duty AND also have a Full Time Job at the Post Office, BUT NOT SHOW UP TO WORK except when I took Military Leave for 4 DAYS out of 4 YEARS, then I made a HUGE Financial error.

    (sarc on)

  13. ninja says:

    Was this guy a DoD contractor for the 4 YEARS (1996-2000) that he said was for Military Service?

    I shared with other folks the article about him and asked for their assessment.

    The folks are Retired National Guard. Retired Army Reservists. Retired AGRs. Retired Active Duty. GS Employees. DoD Contactors.

    They all agreed with me that something is not right about all of this.

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      Sic ’em ninja. We got even more inquiring minds now. And going by Sky’s linky and a quick check with some other decent companies to work for, I have it emphasized now how generous Ma Bell was to our people. AT&T carrying it over from an old negotiated Southern Bell Benefit. I officially came off the payroll in ’19 and a new contract was signed in Oct/Nov. Not sure if that benefit is still as good as it was before. Most places don’t give anything but the right to have your job back when you return from a deployment. Lots of hole here still.

      Tanks. I’m out of homemade ginger snaps and caramel vanilla ice cream, but there is a supply of peanut snicker doodles and a carton of Turkey Hill Brownie Delight in the freezerator. Some Butter Pecan too.

      • ninja says:

        Thank You, KoB for your feedback.

        I fully support our National Guardsmen and Army Reservists on working Full time and then Part Time or being deployed.

        Am trying to figure out if this guy went on Active Duty for a year to attend the SGM Academy even though I could not find a Fort Bliss address for him.

        He failed to reapply for his job after he left Active Duty in 2005. In reading the 2014 Stars and Stripes article, it looks as if he reelisted, because the article said he was Active Duty. Now he is retired from the Army with possibility of serving 20 Full Years (1996-2016) and currently drawing a retirement pay with bennies?

        See where I am going with this?

        The story is misleading. He got fired because he failed to show up and work. Again, WHAT WAS HE DOING FROM 1996-2000?

        P.S. Glad Ma Bell took care of you!

      • ninja says:

        Butter Pecan Ice Cream.

        My Dad’s favorite (RIP).

  14. 5th/77th FA says:

    Gonna be interesting to see what else pops up on this one. All of y’all that’s in the path of the storm, hunker down like a Hairy Dawg and hang on like a demonrat to a ballot box. Looks like a lot of my Brothers and Sisters are dead in the middle of it all. Firebase Magnolia won’t see much more than some more rain from early Sunday thru next week. Temps are the mid 70s for awhile.

    In honor of CW’s FIRSTNESS believe I’ll whip up some cat heads and thick sliced applewood smoked bacon for rations on morning upcoming. Wonder who might have some real good cheese to go in the grits and eggs?

    Skyjumper will be my dog even if he never leaves the porch. GB you and our other Texicans…stay low!

    • ninja says:

      Amen for all who will be caught in that storm scenario.

      Cold Air Meeting Warm/Hot Air is never good.

      As in T-O-R-N-A-D-O.

      Please stay safe and please keep us inform.

      Sky, see what I mean about our KoB’s cooking? Grits with cheese, eggs, THE BACON and THOSE BISCUITS.

      😉

      • David says:

        Here in NE Texas, blew hard this morning, blew extra hard and rained hard for an hour this afternoon, and been calm and cloudy ever since. Except for the tornado watch, it’s a nice albeit overcast evening.

    • Commissioner Wretched says:

      Yeah, my little corner of heaven is in the projected path of this silly storm, so I’ll be battening down the hatches, or whatever it is Navy types do. Thanks for the rations in my honor!

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      It’s been blowing like hell around A Proud Infidel®™ Manor and it’s expected for the weather to get sour in a couple more hours. It’s SO WINDY right now that when I was walking the dogs I swear I thought I saw a Pan Flute flying by playing all by itself, NO SHIT, THERE I WAS…

  15. ninja says:

    From 1996-2001, this guy was living at Lake Geneva, Florida (Clay County).

    He was at Bragg for a very short time in 2000.

    He has moved alot in Florida.

    Interesting.

    • ninja says:

      He also was living in Cape Coral, Florida (Lee County) from 1996-2000.

      I don’t see any Deployable addresses from 1996-2000. He may have attended some SF Schooling at Bragg during this timeframe, but 4 years of training/schooling as a National Guard?

  16. Slow Joe says:

    Quote: “and three distinguished medals for valor in combat through his decades of service.”

    What are they talking about? Distinguished Service Crosses?

  17. ninja says:

    The plot thickens.

    This guy also had numerous addresses in Miami, Florida.

    Well, guess what is in Miami.

    He also was with the 20th Special Forces. Out of Florida. With some time at Bragg.

    Me thinks there is more to this story than we know.

  18. ninja says:

    Wait a second.

    According to this link, he said he served 32 years.

    https://www.saveourvet.org/team-members/rick-erickson/

    How is that possible if he joined the National Guard in 1990?

    What am I missing?

    • watcher98 says:

      Prior active duty time? Most National Guardsmen join after an active duty stint.

      I notice you’ve posted like 40 times here complaining about this guy, but I’m willing to bet his awards are legit. 20th Group has teams all over Florida (Camp Blanding, for instance). I’ve trained with them. That’s a Command Photo posted above, I highly doubt a SGM in 20th Group would wear fake medals in his official Command Photo.

      • ninja says:

        Did you read anywhere on this thread me insinuating he is wearing fake medals?

        Or doubting his Rank, Awards, etc?

        Am very familiar with Camp Blanding.

  19. Just Lurkin says:

    Because I had to deal with my employer over a USERRA issue I think I may understand the law a little better than most here so maybe I can shed some light on this case. USERRA says that an employer cannot discriminate due to an employee’s status as a military reservist. An employee can take five years away from work (per employer) but a great deal of time is exempt from that limit; deployments and schools in particular. So it is possible that this troop had some high speed schools, multiple deployments and five years of ADOS or AGR. Now, the federal government is exempt from USERRA, but the legislation says that even so they are supposed to be “a model” for how employers are supposed to treat their employees. Bear in mind that his appeal was to a government appeals board-not a court. A few years ago there was a case where two VA employees essentially embezzled $450k in “moving expenses”. They were fired but appealed to a similar board and eventually were not even demoted for their shenanigans, so it would appear that such boards bend over backwards on the employee’s behalf.

    • ninja says:

      “So it is possible that this troop had some high speed schools, multiple deployments and five years of ADOS or AGR.”

      Multiple Deployments?

      From 1996-2000?

      Where?

      Research shows he lived in Florida from 1996-2000.

      Multiple Schools?

      Where?

      If he was FULL TIME AGR, then how was he stilled employed by the Post Office?

      That does not compute.

      • Just Lurkin says:

        The multiple schools could be SF assessment and selection, the Q course, his specialty and his language school (that might be two years or more right there. Then a deployment to Kosovo, Bosnia or Kuwait prior to 9/11-.all of that would be potentially exempt. Whatever his mailing address that might have been where he was. Bear in mind he has five years he could take in addition to any of that. Sure, you could say he “gamed the system”, but he did what the law allowed.

        • 5th/77th FA says:

          Hmmmmmm. Somebody might have some ‘splaining to do. Why do I see an FOIA in the SarMaj’s future? I am now more curious about his little charity gig than anything else. Don’t know why I would be suspicious of a Vet Charity in Fluruduh. Wonder what has made me so cynical of late?

          69 degrees and muggy as all hell here in middle Georgia. Coupla years ago we had some record snow, ice, and lowest temps on this date in history.

        • timactual says:

          Those active duty periods may have been exempt, but PO regulations require that he inform them of the time and expected duration of those assignments. And I believe that voluntary assignments are not exempt. I also seem to recall that he needed to submit a request for reemployment (or something) after that extended absence. Whether he “did what the law allowed” is obviously in dispute, and still doesn’t make it “right”.

          There are enough links on this thread to get a pretty good idea of the applicable federal law and postal regulations.

          • Just Lurkin says:

            The courts have ruled in his favor, so I doubt that his actions are still legally in dispute. Voluntary periods on active duty can be exempt-if they are for deployments or schools. My second deployment to Iraq was voluntary and I know for a fact that it was exempt from the five year limit away from work under USERRA.

            Whether or not what he did was “right” is a value judgment, not a legal issue. USERRA puts the presumption in favor of the service member, so the employer has to prove its case, not the other way round. Whether or not he reapplied for reemployment at any point might be covered under another aspect of the case (i.e. he might have already had a suit in progress that could not be brought to any conclusion until after he finished his active duty). I get that people may not like what he did, but having used USERRA in my favor my inclination is to give him the benefit of the doubt.

            • ninja says:

              If you read the PDF I provided, he did not apply for reemployment.

              • just lurkin says:

                This part speaks to whether or not his application for re-employment is germane:

                “SGM Erickson had not exceeded the five-year limit as of March 31, 2000, when the USPS terminated his employment, but that is beside the point. The five-year limit is an eligibility criterion for reemployment—serving beyond the five-year limit must not be characterized as misconduct by any employer, especially a federal agency. 6 On March 31, 2000, SGM Erickson was still on active duty, and he had not applied for reemployment. Unless and until the service member applies for reemployment, no determination should be made as to whether he or she meets the eligibility criteria, including the five-year limit.”

                • ninja says:

                  The bullets under that also state it was unclear as to WHY he did not apply for reemployment when he had the opportunity.

                  Thank You for the info. My mind is already made up about this Dude. Hope he remembers the two sayings “Be Careful What You Wish For” and “You Reap What You Sow.”

      • watcher98 says:

        I’m a reservist deployed to Iraq right now. You think my address online shows Iraq? No, it shows the damn address of my home of record in the U.S., same as every one of my prior deployments since 2005.

        • ninja says:

          Of course it would not show your address in Iraq.

          Alot of folks have APO Adrresses on line.

          The Media should have never used his photo for the article. Very deceiving. Should have never addressed his Service AFTER 2000. Has nothing to do with the 1996-2000 time period where he only worked 4 DAYS.

          Again, WHERE WAS HE from 1996-2000? Addresses shows FLORIDA.

          1996. The same year of his divorce.

        • ninja says:

          Am only addressing his addresses from 1996-2000.

          Don’t care about his life after 2000.

        • ninja says:

          BTW, stay safe where you are. It’s been over 15 years since I was Boots on the Ground in your AO.

    • timactual says:

      “Since 2007, MSPB administrative judges have twice ruled on the case (2007, 2012) and Tuesday’s decision marked the Board’s third ruling (2008, 2010, 2013). Two of those Board decisions were prompted by remands from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (2009, 2011) making this one of the most litigated cases of military discrimination in federal government history.”
      http://www.postal-reporter.com/blog/usps-ordered-to-reinstate-postal-workervet-pay-14-yrs-of-back-pay-fees/

  20. FAEX says:

    USERRA applies to all active duty military service. It doesn’t matter whether he was AGR, mobilized, deployed, in school, in training, etc. You can return to your prior civilian employer as long as your cumulative total absence due to military service is less than 5 years. He was fired for military service prior to reaching 5 years cumulative absences, thus the firing was illegal. Whether or not he is entitled to all the back pay is open for debate. The key point is that it applies to all active military service for any reason.

    • ninja says:

      Yep.

      Have seen folks take advantage of VA Disability Benefits, claiming Florida or Texas as their Home of Record to get out of paying State Taxes with no intention of retiring or moving there after retiring from the Army, cheating on Federal Income Tax returns, on and on and on.

      When the guy was informed he was getting fired, he did not care. Please read the PDF. He said he liked being in the Army better than working for the Post Office.

  21. Berliner says:

    “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.” Adolph Hitler

    “If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves.”
    Joseph Stalin

    “One man with a gun can control 100 without one. … Make mass searches and hold executions for found arms.” Vladimir Lenin

    “Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.” Mahatma Gandhi, Peaceful Revolutionary