It's been a long time coming, but I am going to let the truth be told in a series of blog posts. We have been bullied, harassed and even investigated by the WTB. I have nothing to hide. I haven't done anything wrong and I am not going to be quiet anymore. I have just been pushing it all away and dealing with other things. The time has come. I feel like I am living a version of the Tell-Tale Heart. I smushed all my stories under the floor boards and knew it was there. Now I am pulling up those boards and I am going to start telling the stories.
Finding out that I am by far not the only one who has had problems made me realize it's time to start talking. Even though most of it has been focused on me, but Chaz has been told more than once to "get his wife under control." So I am going to start telling the stories that need to be told so you can see how "out of control" I am. The bottom line is very few of us are out of control. The WTB refuses to see smart, intelligent vocal women when they see them. Because we speak up and challenge the system we are labeled as trouble makers, discredited and even blacklisted. Heaven forbid we talk to someone on the outside. Because if you do that you end up in the principal's office and find out what the "open door" policy is really about.
Before we left for the cruise the Surgeon General came to the hospital to talk to the families. Well I was at my Yellow Ribbon Fund event and in addition I was not invited to this meeting. I must admit I am glad I missed it. I have fought for so long and I have made my voice heard. I have reported the complaints of others, but since it only came from me, the complaints were ignored. Well at that meeting many families stood up and spoke the things I have been saying for a very long time. So now the families are getting the attention they need and deserve. I believe the Surgeon General will make great things happen. But I also know she needs to know our stories so she and her staff know where the issues are so they can address them.
Our relationship with the WTB started out great. Chaz had this awesome squad leader. She sometimes would just come and hang out in our room to get to know us better. We did not have a single issue with WTB when we were under her care. But then she received orders to deploy. I remember the day she came to tell us she was leaving. She flat out told us she was not happy with her replacement. She told me I would have to fight for everything. Do you know she deployed to Afghanistan and she still checks on us to this day? That's how amazing she is.
The new squad leader left a business card in Chaz's room one day while he was in surgery. About two weeks later he finally showed up and Chaz was in surgery again. He claimed that every time he came by Chaz was in surgery. (Here's the kicker, he had access to Chaz's file and could know where Chaz was at all times.) He strutted around the room like a rooster. Then he pointed to the calendar I had on the wall so Chaz could keep up with me and the days. It was marked for when I was TN and DC. This Squad Leader looked at it and said, "What is this BS?" I told him what it was. He told me I needed to "quit leaving my husband and get my ass in DC because they pay me to be here." The conversation quickly went down hill. Luckily one of our LNOs was there and witnessed the whole incident. The LNO told me that at one point he was sure I was going to deck the Squad Leader. He told me my hand was in a fist. Yes, the thought did cross my mind.
That conversation was not very productive. The Squad Leader told me if I loved my husband then I would sell our house and pack up and get my ass in DC. He told me I could just pawn off my children on the school system here. He was horrible. He is a sexist, egotistical pig. I have dealt with some truly ignorant people, but this guy is on my list of the worst.
I later found out that he had treated five other 101st families a similar way. One wife had been ill. She had dropped her husband off at the hospital for his appointments and she went back to bed. Her husband was quite self-sufficient at this time. This same squad leader called her and told her to "Get her ass to the hospital because they pay her to be here." When I found her in the hall she looked horrible. She was so sick and needed to be in bed. When we started talking she told me what the Squad Leader had said. I told her she had to stand up to him the next time he tried to do that again. She seriously believed that since she was receiving per diem that meant that she also had to take orders from these people.
Soon I was hearing story after story about this guy. It all came to a head when we were trying to get housing at 1200. He did not do his job and I caught him on it. He also told lies to our Nurse Case Manager and a few other people. So I was encouraged to take advantage of the "open door" policy at WTB. I took our two LNOs with me and I went to see the CSM (Command Sargent Major) to discuss the issues. I was told by the CSM it would be handle and then he wanted to make sure that I wasn't babying Chaz. That topic was totally irrelevant. I guess since I was standing up for my family that meant I was babying Chaz?! Where was Chaz for this conversation? He was in therapy. If I was babying him, would I have left his side?
You know how the CSM handled the five families who had problems with the Squad Leader? He transferred them to other squad leaders. But his solution for us was to get us into Battle Company as fast as possible so we'd be out of HQ. That Squad Leader stayed on for months and continued to treat people as badly as he treated us and nothing was done. Finally his term ended and he has left the area. But his damage is done and the ignorance continues.
I will confess thanks to this guy, I put up a wall to the squad leaders. I decided that since I was married to a Squad Leader that if I had problem I would go to him or higher. The Squad Leaders here to me are the opposite of everything I have ever learned about Squad Leaders. Of course being married to one and seeing how it's all supposed to work doesn't help at all.
I confess I hold Squad Leaders up to Chaz's standard. Chaz is a great leader and is a squared away soldier. Not one of these guys could compete with Chaz. How do I know this? I know how Chaz's soldiers view him as a leader. I can hear it in Chaz's voice that these guys at WTB are a hot mess.
Well here's to the beginning of the stories. I hope you enjoy the ones that follow.