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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!
 

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"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.
 

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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:
 

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

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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 **** of a lot quicker and with much less bloodshed if the presidents (read: commander in chief) were required to fight on the fronts too. ****, there would also be less imaginary wars like the one we're currently "fighting".
 

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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 **** of a lot quicker and with much less bloodshed if the presidents (read: commander in chief) were required to fight on the fronts too. ****, 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. :)
 

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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.
 

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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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Officials have already said this is not a conventional war, and when fighting terrorists we will not follow geneva convention, because it is irrelevant to them. Tell me, if your friend just got shot in the head right next to you, and you caught the guy who did it, you wouldnt beat the **** out of him? Of course you would, atleast I would.
I think it would do this country some good to see more of what goes on over there on an every day basis. Quit showing us the bombs, and rock throwing, show me what my money is doing over there. I want to see children playing on their new playgrounds and going to better schools. I think it could really boost the morale of the American people.
 

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Officials have already said this is not a conventional war, and when fighting terrorists we will not follow geneva convention, because it is irrelevant to them. Tell me, if your friend just got shot in the head right next to you, and you caught the guy who did it, you wouldnt beat the **** out of him? Of course you would, atleast I would.
I think it would do this country some good to see more of what goes on over there on an every day basis. Quit showing us the bombs, and rock throwing, show me what my money is doing over there. I want to see children playing on their new playgrounds and going to better schools. I think it could really boost the morale of the American people.

Bombs & rock throwing & an endless hatred for the West is what your $$ is buying. Since the new budget's been signed, you won't even be seeing new playgrounds & better schools AT HOME! You are being fleeced by the carpetbagging Skull & Boners.
 

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My oldest son goes to a new charter school. They rely on the parents to give their free time to help around the school, and also to get involved in fundraising for supplies and what not. It might be the wave of the future.
 

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My oldest son goes to a new charter school. They rely on the parents to give their free time to help around the school, and also to get involved in fundraising for supplies and what not. It might be the wave of the future.
I always went to private school too, and I think in general yo ureceive a better education than the public schools. If I have the means when I have children, they will be going to a private school.
 

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Absolutley disgusting this happened....

My oldest son goes to a new charter school. They rely on the parents to give their free time to help around the school, and also to get involved in fundraising for supplies and what not. It might be the wave of the future.

I always went to private school too, and I think in general yo ureceive a better education than the public schools. If I have the means when I have children, they will be going to a private school.
I have heard that the Charter Schools are great Dave. It is going to be the wave of the future in education! Makes the teachers and staff more in tuned with teaching and less worrying about politics too....:thumbsup:
 

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Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defended, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always, even death itself. The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for?


– William J. Bennett - in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy
 

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That does suck, and I will give an insight to this if i can. It is not the bureaucrats doing this to him, it was the messed up supply system and a supply SGT not doing their frickin job. I see it everyday. As for our defense spending budget, only a certain precentage goes toward equipment and that. some of it is reserved for our pay increase (2.2% proposed, depends on what congress says) for next year, though the prime rate and inflation raises almost 1% higher so we really do not see any difference at all in pay. the rest goes towards base and housing improvements which in some cases are substandard, even the HUD recipients would not want to live in some of the housing that still exists on military posts. Now the guy crying about it, here is the facts. it is only because he is an officer they are making a deal out of it. if this was an enlisted person, we would be told to STFU and pay it. He makes double the money any enlisted soldier makes, $700 is nothing. So in closing, military supply system sucks, congress loves to screw the soldiers out of payraises and funding needed for better quality of life, and officers are nothing but a bunch of whiney bitches. And who's fault is it, the **** media for over glorifying the bad,never commenting on the good.
 

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It shouldn't matter if he was an officer or enlisted, somebody dropped the ball and the person should not have to pay for that vest. I probably make more than that officer, and I would have raised holy **** if I had to pay for a destroyed vest during the course of my duties.
 
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