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"You can't do that, I'm his mother!"


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Alpo's question reminded me of another story from way back when.  I was a 2LT at FT Carson, in the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (they lost the "armored" part a few years ago, but they were armored then).  I had a soldier who played a prank on another soldier, but it went very badly for him.  The nature of the prank is not appropriate for this forum, so suffice it to say the NCOs brought the matter to me and recommended we give the offender an Article 15.  I agreed.  For that level of Article 15, the approving authority is the company commander, who, back in those days, was the guy I reported to.  I filed the paperwork.

 

Several weeks later I'm sitting in my office updating something when the phone rang.  

 

Lawnmower mom:  "I heard you're giving Private [name] an Article 15."

Me:  "Yes."

Lawnmower mom:  "You need to explain to me why."

Me:  "No, ma'am, I don't.  This is a military matter and all the right people who need to know already do."

 

Lawnmower mom:  "Well I'm not letting you give him an Article 15."

Me:  "Pardon me?"

 

Lawnmower mom:  "I'm not letting you give him an Article 15.  I'm his mother and I do not approve of this."

Me:  "Ma'am, you're no longer his mother.  I am."  [hangs up phone]

 

Lawnmower mom:  [calls back, irate]  "HOW DARE YOU HANG UP ON ME!  I TOLD YOU I'M HIS MOTHER AND YOU CANNOT GIVE HIM AN ARTICLE 15!"

 

Me:  "Ma'am, let me explain something to you.  Your son is an adult.  He is a soldier in the United States Army.  You no longer have any control over him, his career, or anything else having to do with his life.  Congress has entrusted that to me.  I'm his mommy now.  And I happen to be a commissioned officer in the United States Army, with certain legal authorities and responsibilities over your son.  As a commissioned officer, the law mandates soldiers show a certain degree of respect.  Furthermore, that law does not apply to civilians and I have no legal authority over you, so your son can be legally held accountable for your actions.  In other words, in addition to the Article 15 I'm already giving him, I'm now giving him another one for the way you just disrespected me.  Do not call back or his life will get much, much worse."  [click]

I never filed the second one; everything I said was true, but I just wanted her to shut up.

 

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2 minutes ago, Charlie Harley, #14153 said:

Too funny!  
 

I was fortunate that I never had to do more than counseling sessions with a few of my soldiers. And with no cellphones and such, the concept of a helicopter mom had not come about yet. 

 

This was when cell phones were just starting to proliferate, around 2001 or 2.  It was my desk phone that rang, and I have no idea how she got the number.  I'd wager son-of-soccer-mom gave it to her.

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I was a Company Commander (526th Ordnance Company) on Okinawa for 17 months.  I had selected the worst of two companies in the Battalion because I figure if I screwed up the better one it would be a black mark, but the second from the worst (of 13 Companies) pretty much guaranteed that I couldn't do anything but move up.

 

I had two men AWAL, one for 13 months and one for 9 month.  They had never left the island so we couldn't declare them deserters.  

 

I had been given  of "McNamara's 10,00", (men with IQs from 90 to 98...no battalion was two have more than one and I picked up a second one about half way through that assignment).

 

I had a whole herd of misfits and we did nine Article 15s in the first month, discharged two others as being unfit, transferred four or five back Stateside, and leaned hard on the rest.

 

I had been given an all new staff: XO, First Sergeant, three young Platoon Leaders, a Field First Sergeant (the only one I ever heard of), a solid dozen really good NCOs, and the best CHEF in the Pacific, SFC Letholian Waddles...God bless him where ever he ended up.

 

Over the 17 months I was there we had a total of 31 Article 15s, 11 Courts Martial, and a suicide.

 

In addition I sat on the Court Martial of 51 other soldiers who were not in my command, usually assigned as the second highest ranking officer on the Court, which meant the defense would automatically challenge the President of the Court (a Major in most cases) which left me the President.

 

I had almost no direct contact with families, but I did get a congressional inquiry from two families that thought thatI had selected their child for undue harassment.  Nothing came of either one.

 

Of all of those I remember one above all others, one of my 10,000.  He was a transient apple picker from Okanogan, Washington, had no mother, a married sister, and his dad was a drunk.  (He died a couple of months after I took command.  The kid didn't want to go home for the funeral).  He wasn't a bad kid, but just didn't have all of his mental parts working, including the little voice that says "you had better not do that."

 

Her was a truly good-looking guy and he ended up in trouble over hookers, civilian DOD ladies, and other men's wives.

 

He had been convicted (Article 15) for carrying a knife and threatening another soldier with it...over a girl... and would have been given more punishment except the guy he threatened had attacked him first, and no one was injured.   There was no other punishment, other than reprimands, on his record.  He was always doing extra duty for minor infractions and it didn't much bother him because, for all his faults, he wasn't lazy.  He loved to work.

 

It all came to a head when he got the Battalion XOs under-age daughter pregnant and her daddy wanted him killed.   We got him transferred to the States as a "Persona nongrata" and sent him away under arrest pending a Court Martial.  Before he boarded the plane I asked him what the hell he had been thinking.  He told me that he probably wasn't thinking at all and capped it off by saying, "I thought you knew, Captain, I'm a 'rifle fodder retard'."  

 

His sister wrote to me thanking me for looking out for her brother and said that if he ever got back home that his old job was waiting and he had a home with her and her family.

 

I never heard from or of him again.

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Been in the trucking industry for 20 years, 3 weeks ago we had a drivers mom call and tell his dispatcher that she didn't approve of the load the driver had been given because it would take him to an unsafe area of a major city. 

 

Dude drives a big rig and his mom calls to get his assignment changed. The world is a changin

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Cyprus 

Good thing it happened back then . If it Happened now , you would be the one in trouble too.

The way you talked to her . 

I spent 12 yrs in the Corps . From the early 70s. 

All that time i had one  officer that i felt Cared about his men .

Had officers that flunked out Flight school, so they put him in a Grunt Company .

Need i say more ?

The way everyone is talking sounds like you have contemp for Enlisted . 

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Had a very good friend that was high-level in ATT a while back. He talked to one of his new hires about improving some job performance. Next day, he got a call from the new hire's mother about her son, his performance, and my friend's comments.

 

He responded politely, discussed her issues, thanked her for caring about her son. Then called the son back to his office. The conversation was mostly one-way and quite short:

 

"Do you understand the terms of 'probationary employment'? Yes? Good. Please turn in your access badge to the gentlemen at the front desk on your way out. They're expecting you."

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19 hours ago, Sixgun Sheridan said:

Cool story. Now if only we could give school teachers that level of authority the world would be a better place.

That would be a horrible idea.

 

There's too many that are completely clueless that already overreach as it is.  The good ones would help the kids tremendously- but the the bad ones already think that they can overrule the parents.

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My eldest daughter tells about having to dress down one of her junior officers.
He was quite disrespectful (he was a ring knocker).
She advised him to clean up his act, or "the very short time he has left in this man's Navy will become a living, f***** hell."

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Cyrus.  I was in 3rd ACR in 1996-97 . I was the 2nd Squadron motor Sergeant. I took over when they moved to Fort Carson. I went from being Assistant Commandant of the NCO academy there to 3rd ACR   I hope that they became a better unit over the years. That was absolutely the worst lead unit I ever served in. The officer leadership stayed under investigation up to my retirement for a myriad of charges. Since you were a young officer I’m sure you heard of some of their shenanigans 

 

 

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Here's my sad story of one of my soldiers and his father's response.

 

I was an E-7 Platoon Sergeant at Fort Riley, Kansas, and one of my soldiers was just plain sorry.  Shirked duties every chance he got, slovenly in his dress, nobody wanted to share room in the barracks with him because he was such a slob, and he was a doper.  I tried working with him but he didn't even want to try.  While counseling him one day, I asked him what he wanted to do with is life.  He told me he wanted to get out of the Army as soon as he could, go home, work in his father's business, and smoke dope anytime he wanted.  I told him I'd help him reach his life goal.  He was eventually convicted in a court martial for drugs and was being processed out of the Army with a Dishonorable Discharge.  The First Sergeant told me he got a call from the soldier's father.  Top told the father all the details.  The father told Top to tell his son that if he is kicked out of the Army, he has no place at home or a job with his father business.  Now the soldier was frantic and didn't want to be kicked out because he wouldn't have anywhere to go.  Too late.  He'd already burned his bridges.

 

I've always wondered how his life turned out.  Not well I suspect.

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16 minutes ago, Tennessee Trapper Tom said:

Cyrus.  I was in 3rd ACR in 1996-97 . I was the 2nd Squadron motor Sergeant. I took over when they moved to Fort Carson. I went from being Assistant Commandant of the NCO academy there to 3rd ACR   I hope that they became a better unit over the years. That was absolutely the worst lead unit I ever served in. The officer leadership stayed under investigation up to my retirement for a myriad of charges. Since you were a young officer I’m sure you heard of some of their shenanigans 

 

 

 

I arrived there in early 2001.  By then, all of that garbage had blown over.  1/3 was still pretty poor leadership, and I could regale you with tales of their incompetence (hint:  cavalry officers all think they're Patton, but these guys performed a lot more like Custer).  2/3, 3/3, and Support Squadron were all decently led by then.

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Funny you mentioned Patton. My first year in the army I served under his son with the 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood Texas. My dad served under his Command in Vietnam.  Hell of a leader. Set the tone for my career

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