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lionkiller 02-08-2006 12:12 PM

:banghead:
Wounded Soldier Charged For Damaged Body Armor

UPDATED: 8:32 am EST February 8, 2006

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A former U.S. soldier injured in Iraq says he was forced to pay $700 for a blood-soaked Kevlar vest that was destroyed after medics removed it to treat shrapnel wounds to his right arm.

First Lt. William "Eddie" Rebrook IV, 25, of Charleston had to leave the Army because of his injuries. But before he could be discharged last week, he had to scrounge up cash from his buddies to pay for the body armor or face not being discharged for months -- all because a supply officer failed to document that the vest had been destroyed more than a year ago as a biohazard.

"I last saw the (body armor) when it was pulled off my bleeding body while I was being evacuated in a helicopter," Rebrook told The Charleston Gazette for Tuesday's edition. "They took it off me and burned it."

Rebrook's story spurred action Tuesday from U.S. Sens. Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va.

"I've been in touch with his family, and I've already written (Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld) to request that they immediately refund his money and review this horrendous policy," said Rockefeller, who is a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. "I'm shocked that he has been treated this way by our military."

Byrd questioned Gen. Peter Schoomaker, chief of staff of the Army, on Tuesday during a Senate Armed Services Committee budget hearing in Washington.

"How can it be that the Defense Department, which is requesting $439 billion in this budget, has to resort to dunning a wounded soldier for $700 to replace a piece of body armor?" Byrd asked.

Schoomaker called Rebrook's story unusual and promised Byrd to "correct it if there's any truth to it."

Rockefeller said he first met Rebrook when he was an ROTC cadet at George Washington High School in Charleston and later nominated him to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., where he graduated with honors. Rebrook then spent four years on active duty, including six months in Iraq.

Rebrook's mother, Beckie Drumheler, said she was angry when she learned about the $700 bill. Soldiers who serve their country, those who put their lives on the line, deserve better, she said.

"He couldn't get out of the Army until he paid it and he had to pay cash," Drumheler said. "My son loved the Army and was proud of serving his country. For any soldier to be treated like this is outrageous."

Rebrook was standing in the turret of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle when a roadside bomb exploded Jan. 11, 2005. The explosion fractured his arm and severed an artery. A Black Hawk helicopter airlifted him to a combat support hospital in Baghdad. He was later flown to a hospital in Germany before being transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

His arm never completely recovered despite seven operations. He still has range of motion problems and pain.

After eight months at Fort Hood, Texas, he gathered up his gear to leave. Things went smoothly until officers asked him for his missing body armor. In the past, the Army allowed to soldiers to write memos, explaining the loss and destruction of gear but a new policy requires documentation from the field.

Rebrook said he tried to get a battalion commander to sign a waiver, but the officer declined. He was told he would have to supply statements from witnesses to verify the body armor was taken from him and burned.

"First Cavalry Division leadership is going to do everything to ensure this issue is brought to a conclusion that is both in line with procedures that apply to all its soldiers and in the best interest of our veterans who have served so proudly and honorably in Iraq," Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl, the division's spokesman at Fort Hood, told the Killeen (Texas) Daily Herald for Wednesday's edition.

Bleichwehl said soldiers are not held financially responsible for any equipment lost, damaged or destroyed in combat operations.

Rebrook's story has prompted donations from residents. A local radio station raised $700 within 90 minutes Tuesday, and one woman dropped off a $200 check by his mother's home, said Rebrook's stepfather, Charles Drumheler.

"I thought that was pretty nice that people care," Charles Drumheler said.

Rebrook's father, Ed Rebrook, a Charleston lawyer, said while the donations were appreciated, his son did not plan to accept them.

:F-you: bureaucrats!

KShep 02-08-2006 12:31 PM

"Rebrook said he tried to get a battalion commander to sign a waiver, but the officer declined. He was told he would have to supply statements from witnesses to verify the body armor was taken from him and burned."



Send this dolt to find the friggin ashes.

Barabbas 02-08-2006 12:31 PM

Pittiful . . . :headshake:

djkern 02-08-2006 12:37 PM

why am i not surprised??

350zluvr 02-08-2006 03:11 PM

Wouldn't it make more sense to have each soldier just retrieve each bullet fired, embedded or not in a victim? :dunno:

I guess jeopardizing one's own life is insufficient payment :headshake:

smoothz 02-08-2006 03:14 PM

:wtf: Why does DOD get so much money in their budget if they have to go after their employees for spare parts?

jetpilot718 02-08-2006 11:09 PM

Thats sickening.. why anyone would voluntarily serve this country at our present condition puzzles me. There is so much wrong with our military as far as approaches go, it's not even funny. George Washington didn't fight the war from a cozy White House suite, nor from a Boeing 747 at 41,000 feet. He was on a horse right next to his men. I guarantee wars would be over a hell of a lot quicker and with much less bloodshed if the presidents (read: commander in chief) were required to fight on the fronts too. Hell, there would also be less imaginary wars like the one we're currently "fighting".

djkern 02-08-2006 11:26 PM

Quote:

Thats sickening.. why anyone would voluntarily serve this country at our present condition puzzles me. There is so much wrong with our military as far as approaches go, it's not even funny. George Washington didn't fight the war from a cozy White House suite, nor from a Boeing 747 at 41,000 feet. He was on a horse right next to his men. I guarantee wars would be over a hell of a lot quicker and with much less bloodshed if the presidents (read: commander in chief) were required to fight on the fronts too. Hell, there would also be less imaginary wars like the one we're currently "fighting".
exactly. just like "a captain goes down with the ship"....war should be the same way. the president should be over there fighting too. :)

random trivia...do you know why the captain goes down with the ship??

the reason is this. if the ship went down without the captain. someone could have the boat pulled up from the bottom of the ocean....fixed....and then it would belong to that person. if the captain went down with the ship...it was still his...and no one could touch it. :)

IndyZGUY 02-08-2006 11:31 PM

It is very sad what some of our soldiers are forced to go through, and I agree that this war has gone on for way too long. I also think that the media is one of our worst enemies when it comes to war. My wife has a client who just returned from the Middle East. He said the entire time he was there, he never once saw a death or even a fight. He was in the cities that we hear about every day, and never witnessed what we see on the news. He told us that he wishes the media would cover the things that go on most of the time rather than the negative things that happen in spurts all around the area. He would like to see coverage on the playgrounds and schools they built for the children, and the neighborhoods they fixed up. I couldnt agree more. I would love to see some of the positives that are going on over there just to give me a little bit of faith in the American people.

jetpilot718 02-08-2006 11:50 PM

I agree, the media is one of the main problems. Where was the media during WWII? NO WHERE. Thats why we got away with dropping a freakin A-bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. There we go, war's over.

See how that works? They shoulda sent bombers to the suspect area after the FIRST plane hit. None of the bleeding hearts over here would have had a clue. Even those soldiers in prison now for torturing these bastards.. completely the media's fault. Granted, they shouldn't have made a tape of it, but still. If torturing an enemy soldier saves just one American life, it was worth it. There are no rules in war, plain and simple. Terrorists don't follow rules. If they did, they wouldnt have taken down civil airliners.


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