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Responses: 11
SFC David Xanten
12
12
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I wonder if she had called her unit to inform them that because the snowstorm had caused the airlines to delay her flight back, she would be late. This whole story stinks. I had a member of my Platoon go home to Maine every weekend and in the Winter, he wouldn't return until Tuesday or Wednesday because he had been snowed in. After three times, I told him he couldn't go home again unless he could get back on time. He never missed another return time. He had ALWAYS called ahead to inform me and the orderly room that he couldn't get back on time and the reason.
If she thought the punishment was too severe, she could have asked for a Courts Martial instead of an Article 15.
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SFC David Xanten
SFC David Xanten
2 mo
Sure. She was due back at a certain time. When she knew she would be late she had an obligation to inform her unit of the circumstances
. Not doing so resulted in her being AWOL. I also wonder what kind of soldier she was in general.
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SGT Lab Technican
SGT (Join to see)
2 mo
SFC David Xanten - Ultimately your call. Thanks for the reply.
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MSgt Dale Johnson
MSgt Dale Johnson
2 mo
I don't understand why her supervisor even notified the head shed for Article 15 action, and why she didn't fight the Article15 due to circumstances beyond her control. If they've already dealt with someone who is a problem child then I can see why they went in that direction instead of a Letter of Reprimand or something lesser.

We have no information about her record prior to the incident. Has she always been a problem child as to reporting for duty on time and keeping up with OJT and other job requirements? Has she been involved in other situations that called her actions into the limelight?
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MAJ Gerald Richards
MAJ Gerald Richards
2 mo
It is not possible to draw broad conclusions about a subject as significant as racial bias in the military establishment based on a single instance or even several instances, as SFC Xantan seems to have done. Furthermore, it is quite difficult for those of us who have generally been part of the dominant "race" to see and/or understand how racial bias seems from the subservient person's perspective. In addition to racial bias, both the nation and the US Military have a gender bias. When both are present in the same person it can be a double dose if bias. It is true that some individuals who seem to be unable or unwilling to pull their weight will claim bias just to cloud the issue in the hope that will stop the discipline that was sure to come.
As a platoon leader, I had an African-American Corporal I recommend for Article 15 to the Troop Commander at the behest of his Squad Leader. He claimed that the reason for the discipline was my racial bias. However, his Squad Leader was also an outstanding NCO and an African-American. For me that was an isolated case. My 13 years of service, four+ years as an enlisted man and eight+ years commissioned service, I saw a lot of unequal treatment of soldiers of color by individuals who considered themselves to be "white" and who had never had enough interaction with other people on a personal level or as a subordinate to develop any understanding of other racial groups
My first active duty service was as a student at the Signal School at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey where my Platoon Sergeant was a tall, straight veteran African-American. He was an outstanding NCO and human being. That was in the spring of 1948. Between then and the end of my enlistment in June 1952, I only encountered only one other African-American, a cook that I shared a tent with while training at Grafenwoehr, Germany. Both the cook and me were subjected to insults and some very nasty remarks, him for being black and me for being his friend. I know this open bias has diminished with time for my next service was from 1989 - 1967 and I encountered many more people of color in the army. However, I know that so called White Supremacy has been much more visible and outspoken since Donald J. Trump was elected president, and since the members of the military come from the the population of the USA there must be a subset of the members of like minded men and women. I have developed a whole different way of looking at this black, brown, white human business. I derived it from an elementary school teacher's video presentation. There are no "white" or "black" or "yellow" people. We are all various shades of tan.
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CW2 Micah Ragins
7
7
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Edited 2 mo ago
My experience on Active Duty in the Army between 2002 and 2012 is that there is definitely a racial bias in the military as there is in most of America. I have a lot of memories of seeing prejudice first-hand, but the worst instance happened when I was an E-6 working as Base Defense Operations Center (BDOC) NCOIC during pre-deployment exercises at the National Training Center (NTC), FOB King. My Battalion CSM (Caucasian female) was pushing to give me a Field Grade Article 15 just because she thought that I frowned at her. The reality is that I happened to be in the Command Post updating the ECP guard roster when the CSM busted through the door. Since my Commander and 1SG were not in the CP at the time, I was the highest ranking person in the room, so I did what any NCO would do and proceeded to respond to any questions that she asked. She was angry with me just for having a legitimate answer for every question and at some point she says "You CUT your eyes at me!!" Next thing I know she is screaming at me because she had a problem with my facial appearance. I was working on average 16 hours a day as BDOC NCOIC and by this point in my career I had already been to Afghanistan, so my eyes probably looked perpetually tired, but there is no way that I did what she accused me of-- cutting my eyes at her. If I had that kind of attitude then I wouldn't have made it to Staff Sergeant in the first place and I wouldn't have been selected to manage base defense operations in preparation for our upcoming deployment to Iraq.

Anyway, after a First Sergeant from a different company in the battalion (Caucasian male) gave me a heads-up that the Battalion CSM was planning to give me a Field Grade Article 15, I told my Chain of Command that I would demand a trial by Court-Martial if the CSM pursues UCMJ action against me; it seemed pretty clear that she was targeting me and by the CSM's own admission it had something to do with my facial appearance, which is just ridiculous. I never committed a crime or misconduct in my life and yet the CSM was trying to give me the maximum penalty possible just because she "thought" that I looked at her with a mean face. After the CSM found out that I wasn't going to accept the Field Grade Article 15 and that I was ready to demand a trial, she decided to write me up on a counseling statement instead, I still checked the "I disagree" box on the DA Form 4856 and I wrote that I did not glare or "cut my eyes" at the CSM.

Needless to say, I left that unit as soon as I had the opportunity, I felt like the CSM had a target on my back and I'm sure that my skin color was a factor. At this point in my career, I don't trust people just because they are high-ranking; it turns out that there are a lot of idiots and racists even at the senior levels of the military. There are White Americans who saved my career and there are also White Americans who tried to kill my career for no good reason. Either way, if I ever run into that CSM again, I'm definitely going to confront her about how she tried to ruin my career when I was an E-6 just trying to do my job. I am sure that she is retired by now, but I will never forget how she treated me. Black Americans will always remember the racists who terrorized us; whether in military or civilian life...but we also remember the people who stand up for us when injustice happens.
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MSgt Dale Johnson
MSgt Dale Johnson
2 mo
I have never heard of such a stupid reason to initiate Article 15 action in my life, glad it worked out for you.
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SSG Ada Brooks
SSG Ada Brooks
2 mo
During war time a lot of things that should not happen but do because the only thing commands are concerned about is who is deployable and who is not so people like that escape normal scrutiny and the remote location helped her hide out. Since she is/was a CSM that means she either has or is soon to part of my fraternity, the retirees. She must be exposed to not allow that mentality to infect the DA civilian community or the contracting world and worse using her standing in the military as future platform for a future public office run with a false narrative of painting her as a saint. These types of things should not be in the military and believe me if they are not resolved and these people exposed they will infect the general public to include the extended military civilian community.
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MSgt Dale Johnson
MSgt Dale Johnson
2 mo
SSG Ada Brooks - I was referring to CW2 Micah Ragins post about his Battalion CSM starting Article 15 action because she thought he gave her a "CUT" look, whatever the hell that is.
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CW2 Micah Ragins
CW2 Micah Ragins
2 mo
MSgt Dale Johnson - That's a good point, even if the CSM thought that my eyes were disrespectful, it doesn't make sense to give me a Field Grade Article 14 just for that; especially when I had no record of disrespecting my leaders. She could have smoked me with pushups or other PT exercises if she felt offended and I would have complied, but instead she tried to assassinate my entire career over nothing.

Under normal circumstances, I would have accepted whatever repercussions that I am given by my chain of command, but this particular CSM was out of her mind. Months after the incident, I even had other First Sergeants (E-8) from different companies tell me that the Battalion CSM (E-9) was emotionally unstable. One of the reasons why I demanded a trial by Court-Martial is because the CSM waited until I had a brand new First Sergeant when she tried to pursue disciplinary action against me. When she gave me the counseling statement for disrespect, she literally waited months after the incident until I had a new 1SG that didn't even know who I was or anything about my character. The CSM pulled me along with my 1SG into her office to bring up the NTC conflict, I initially thought that she wanted to me to come to her office for reasons unrelated to NTC because it had been so long. So the new First Sergeant's first impression of me was the Battalion CSM giving me a DA Form 4856 for cutting my eyes at her-- she literally did everything she could to set me up for failure. But in the end, I was still able to become a Warrant Officer since I didn't accept the UCMJ action without a fight.
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Maj Kevin "Mac" McLaughlin
6
6
0
I read the story above and I feel it is missing the other side of the story. I have no idea is she was being treated differently or not, but I have known Airmen who will make that claim when after you look at the facts is untrue. Not only that, the Airmen knew they were untrue at the time the accusations were made.

Here's a problem that must be understood. As a former supervisor to Airmen of all sorts of diverse backgrounds, I have personally seen unwarranted accusations thrown around for various reasons. In one instance I was accused of having racist attitudes from a female SrA who was from what we could tell, seemed to be trying to avoid her duties.

This Airman joined my unit and was assigned to me as one of the Commander's support staff. I was the deputy commander and charged with supervising all the members of our command support staff (three Airmen and 1 civilian). For context, our civilian was a white female and our Airmen included 2 males (1 white, 1 Asian), 1 female (Black). Early on, I sat down with each of them to discuss my expectations (something I enjoy doing). Typically aside from their actual duties, I like to tell them all what helps motivate me to generate awards packages for them when they do well. Essentially I say, do something for the unit, the base, the community, yourself, and more importantly do your job. It's very simple and right off the bat, my female Airmen asked if she could join the African American Heritage Club, to which I enthusiastically said "absolutely". I was excited for her because it appeared she understood what it took to get ahead and stand out as an Airman. And I love recognizing good Airmen and working on their behalf to get them the awards they earn. I've been quite successful too.

After one of her monthly meetings she came to my office and initiated a conversation about her last meeting. I dropped what I was doing, sat across from her at my conference table and listened to what she had to say. I had never been to one of these meetings and I was curious about what they do. She recanted stories of challenges, general examples of racism in the past, and people's perceptions about race. At the time, I though it was a very thought provoking conversation and I even recanted to her many of my observations of racial dynamics, having lived in Latin America for most of my childhood. I gave examples of how people I went to school with would jokingly use racial terms I would never use, how some of my friends (mixed) would tease each other about each other's racial stereotypes and terms used to describe them. At no time did I tell her I did these things or used these words, and in some cases I'd even criticize those friends that would.

A few weeks later this Airman again came to me to report something she observed at the base gym. She described how three Airmen in flight suits, 1 black, 2 white were joking with each other using the N-word. I immediately agreed with her that this is unacceptable behavior and asked her for more details; What unit were they in, did you get their names, do you know any of them, have you seen them before? My goal was to get enough details to be able to contact their Shirt so that disciplinary action could be taken as necessary. She couldn't provide a single detail, other than what I wrote. No names, units, never saw them before, nothing. So, I figured ok, I need you to look out for them again the next time you go to the gym and gather as much information as you can and told her exactly what I would do. She never returned with that information despite following up with her the next week. Her words to me then were, no I really haven't been paying attention for them while I'm at the gym. Ok, I figured I can't help her if she won't help me, so I moved on.

A few months later I noticed her work was getting sloppier and in some case not getting done at all. I noted this to her during a feedback session and explained I did not understand why, since she started out so well. I asked her if there are problems at home, in her life, to which she informed me she's having back issues. So I advised her to go to the clinic and get checked out. Upon her return, she had a profile to take things easy but she reported to me that they did not find anything specific. So, being the easy going kind of supervisor, I told her to take it easy like the profile says, and to let me know if things get worse. Eventually it got to the point where she would constantly go to the clinic on a Thursday and be put on quarters for Friday. This would happen constantly and always for Friday. Still, I am not one to question someone's medical issues and so I allowed it to continue for another month. There were days she was allowed to lay down on the couch in an empty office for hours to rest, and she was constantly getting put on quarters. To make matter worse, none of her work was being done and the other in the office had to take on the additional load. So I decided then to talk to my Commander and ask her if we should look into whether there is a serious medical issue which prevents her from performing her duties. Bear in mind that up to this point I am very concerned for her and I was looking for how to solve her problem. My Commander told me to hold off for now and see if things improve.

Not long after this I was suddenly called into the Commander's office to join the Airman and our senior enlisted advisor (we did not have a Shirt at the time). This Airmen then proceeded to accuse me of being racist toward her and recanted completely false stories to support her claim. To begin with, she spoke of the examples I gave her about my observations of racist conduct and told the Commander I did those things. She also claimed I did not care about her claim about the Airmen in the Gym and did nothing about it. And finally, she brought the other Airmen (of Asian descent) into the discussion to claim I was racist against him too because he was Chinese. This is where her story started to fall apart, as she claimed that my insistence that he undergoes a National Security Check before we grant him a secret clearance was racist. What she didn't know is that the Commander and I discussed his situation at length and we agreed he must have the national security check completed vs a waiver. Was part of the reason because he was literally a Chinese immigrant? Absolutely! Had he been a naturalized citizen (even with Chinese roots), then maybe we could have considered the waiver. The point is, she had no idea what was going on and she tried to use this information against me.

In then end my Commander, also a Black female, assured me that she did not believe a word of what the Airman was saying. She was using the situation in my opinion to avoid her duties. Moving on, she continued to be assigned to me as her supervisor. Imagine this situation if you will and writing her EPR... She's not doing her work, she's on a profile, and she's accused me of being racist toward her. This was literally the hardest EPR I ever wrote, making sure I was objective and fair, and not allowing the false accusations to influence my evaluation. After my Commander and I agreed it was good for final signature, I then approached the Commander one more time to consider looking into a medical evaluation to determine if this Airman is medically fit for duty. She finally agreed. As I was researching what needed to be done, she announced to us that she was pregnant. This essentially means for the next 9+ months, there was nothing we could do with regards to a medical eval and I received my next assignment during that time. I never knew what happened to her since then (I decided not to dwell on it), but I assume she either quit AF or was medically separated. I will also note that this Airman, back problems and all, was observed multiple times by myself and several other squadron members, performing actions she should not possibly be able to do because of her back.

This story unfortunately is why for the rest of my career, I had to be very guarded when discussing racial issues/events/history with anyone. It also affected my trust in people, especially those who come to me with problems I want nothing more than to solve. All I wanted to do for her in the beginning is help her become a great Airman and be a good supervisor. I found that since, inserting race into many issues has actually done more harm than good. This isn't to say we shouldn't ignore these things, I'm just disappointed about how it has in fact been used maliciously.
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