Posted on Jun 30, 2021
CPT Aaron Kletzing
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This is a 100% true story from my time in the Army, and it's as crazy as it is angering. I'm not going to say real names here. My unit while deployed was 1-27 IN, which was part of 2nd Brigade 25th ID out of Schofield Barracks, HI. We would go out on patrols all the time, and obviously had loaded weapons while doing that. When we would return to our JSS (i.e., combat outpost) through the Entry Control Point, all of us would go to the clearing barrels to clear our weapons before entering. At this time, my unit had a very strict policy on what the punishment would be for a negligent discharge, and leaders all made sure that every Soldier was super clear on what they were – it would be an Article 15 and you would get busted down in rank (there may have also been some interim forfeiture of pay, but I don’t remember).

Every month we would have at least 1 person commit a negligent discharge; this was almost always a Junior Enlisted person mainly because they comprise the majority of personnel in a typical battalion to begin with. Each time, my unit would publicly shame those individuals and send storyboards around to all the companies about what happened and how the person got punished. Don’t get me wrong – NDs are really serious and can kill someone, so I was okay with the unit taking them this seriously.

…and then this happened…and I am not kidding. I have like 10 people who were there in the room and witnessed it (and gave sworn statements later).

One afternoon our battalion’s Operations Sergeant Major was twirling his Beretta M9 on his finger while in the battalion TOC. Seriously – he was twirling his pistol on his index finger like a cowboy. Of course he assumed that it wasn’t loaded, but it’s still really inappropriate to do that. And, this Ops SGM had previously deployed with Ranger Regiment (wore the right shoulder scroll) a few times. ***As he was twirling his M9, the weapon fired and shot a round straight into his calf muscle in his leg, messing his leg up pretty badly.*** Thank goodness no one was killed.

Long story short, he ended up needing some complicated surgery and was flown to Germany for a few weeks. When he got back to our unit in Iraq, he got a “rehab transfer” to a sister battalion in our brigade, where he later became their Command Sergeant Major. He wasn’t busted down in rank and wasn’t otherwise punished.

There are many problems with this. One being that it felt like a horrible double-standard and that all the Soldiers in our ranks found out that it all went down like this. No punishment at all for the same offense that they would have gotten destroyed for.

Do you have any stories like this?
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Responses: 64
Sgt Dennis Doty
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I've seen several Marine enlisted men reduced in rank and forfeitures for being involved in a bar fight where the owner claimed damages. On the other hand, when two of our guys were stabbed (non-fatal) at a certain troublesome bar, our very senior SgtMaj held a Battalion recall at 2200 hrs, formed the ranks and marched the entire battalion to the bar. He pointed at the building and announced, "In ten minutes, I don't want to see a stick standing." The local police stood by and watched while the bar was destroyed. Nothing was done about it by either civil or military authorities. This particular incident happened in early 1970 and the SgtMaj in question had been a PFC on Sea Duty in 1939.
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Sgt Dennis Doty
Sgt Dennis Doty
25 d
PO2 Christopher Thompson - Not Okinawa. This happened in Yuma, AZ.
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2LT Special Agent
2LT (Join to see)
21 d
HOOAH! No sense in putting the bar off limits if it ain't gonna be standing in the morning, without arson too! Best story in a while! Thanks for posting this!
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A1C Medrick "Rick" DeVaney
A1C Medrick "Rick" DeVaney
20 d
BINGO...,,Fugem One, Fugem All.
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CPT Aaron Kletzing
CPT Aaron Kletzing
7 d
To this day, this is still one of the most epic stories I have ever read on RallyPoint ;-)
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SFC Casey O'Mally
15
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Edited 8 mo ago
We had a SSG and a MAJ in the same Company get DUIs coming from the same bar on the same night, and appeared on the same blotter report. MAJ got. GOMOR and was required to bike everywhere on post (was also not in compkiance with ABCP, so biking served two purposes). SSG got a GOMOR, FG A15, 45/45, lost a rank and lots of pay. SGT (now) wasn't even allowed to bike on post because "biking is like driving and bikers have to follow the rules of the road, which this SGT proved he cannot do." Had to walk and hitch rides.

SGT was flagged (eventually removed) and barred (never removed). MAJ was already flagged (ABCP) so Commander didn't feel it was "necessary" to flag for DUI.

18 months later, SGT has ETSed (due to bar), MAJ is starting his packet to request early retirement (which was eventually approved).

Oh yeah. SSG blew a 0.09 MAJ blew a 0.17.
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SSG Eric Blue
SSG Eric Blue
5 mo
Sounds about right.
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MSgt Earl King
MSgt Earl King
25 d
I don't believe what you are saying is true!!
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SFC Marc Wagner
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Edited 11 mo ago
While I was in Germany in my platoon we had the two following situations:
SPC got picked up by the Polizei in the morning after he couldn't pay an on the spot driving fine. Turns out he was still drunk from the night before. DUI, maxed out.
SSG gets picked up by the Polizei after our ball (yes leaving the ball) for both DUI and domestic violence. No ART 15, no reduction in rank.
Monday morning after the ball said SSG bragged to his squad about what happened and then said "likely nothing is going to happen".
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SFC Marc Wagner
SFC Marc Wagner
8 mo
1LT Rich Voss Truthfully, that commander was the best I ever had. He did regret helping him out, but he also learned some things much later on that made him feel that way. I believe that O-5 involved was more to be blamed than anyone else, knowing what I know about him.
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1SG Jeffrey Mullett
1SG Jeffrey Mullett
6 mo
I've seen situations like that happen several times.
I understand the need for Junior Enlisted to learn a lesson, but you figure a Senior NCO, Staff or SFC would know the deal by the time they make rank. I would actually give a SSG more slack than an SFC under my command, simply because of their rank and time in service.
Unfortunately, I didn't have the same authority over my Officers. I still had major issues as 1SG, dealing with Officers who abused their positions, and embarrassed the command, but got little to no punishment. The same went for Ratings. I was held to a higher standard than my officers when it came to ratings. (Long stories that are for a different discussion)
Negligent discharges were a serious issue when I was in Iraq in '05, we didn't have serious repercussions for the first few months I was in Balad, (Anaconda) but, about the time the 3rd COSCOM arrived, they started. Interestingly, most of the NGs were officers, and I never heard a single example of officers receiving Art. 15 or anything but a CG dress down.
The most interesting examples had to do with M9 discharges, since most would clear their weapons, but forget to remove the magazine. Of course, that would just chamber another round.
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SFC Marc Wagner
SFC Marc Wagner
6 mo
1SG Jeffrey Mullett I was generally among the school of thought that the higher the rank the stiffer the penalties. Especially for things that they knew they should not do, such as drinking and driving. Clearing a weapon is the most basic of soldier tasks, and is one of the few times that nobody but the weapon holder can get in trouble over.
It's hard to look soldiers in the eye when they ask why things are the way they are, especially when it comes to exactly what you discuss.
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SPC Timothy Marlow
SPC Timothy Marlow
27 d
DUI in Deuchland comes with very stiff and permanent consiquences. Lose DL for life. Being An MP and we had to live by same rules. I never saw a military guy get held to same laws. Drunk on Autobahn never happened to german citizen while i was on Duty. This country is a joke. 4-5 and just a fine with our cheating lawyer system of lies.
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