Michael's Dispatches

Monkey Business: Our Broken Army

35 Comments

20 August 2013

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The senior sergeant at the Army’s Warrior Adventure Quest (WAQ) at Fort Hood has been fired after allegedly endangering the lives of Boy Scouts.

The accusation comes from a staff member at WAQ who claims that the Army Master Sergeant abused his position while using Army kayaks, without lights or permission, on a lake with Boy Scouts on the night of 13 August.

Lights are important safety measures to prevent collisions with speedboats.

According to Texas law, “All vessels including motorboats, sailboats, canoes, kayaks, punts, rowboats, rubber rafts, or other vessels when not at dock must have and exhibit at least one bright light, lantern or flashlight visible all around the horizon from sunset to sunrise in all weather and during restricted visibility.” http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishboat/boat/safety/vessel_requirements/

Fatalities involving unlighted boats are common.  At another Texas lake in 2011, a boat crashed into three unlighted kayaks killing a man.  Unlighted boating accidents are so frequent that some attorneys specialize in those and related cases.

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Email from Army WAQ staff:

From: ###
Sent: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 1:36 PM
To: ###
Subject: MSG Grisham Incident (UNCLASSIFIED)
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

Mr. ###,

Today I received a phone call from ### ###, stating that last night around 2030 MSG Grisham, the WAQ NCOIC [Non-commissioned Officer in Charge], was on the lake in the dark with a group of boy scouts in the kayaks. When ### approached him about this he explained that this was dangerous because the kayaks have no lights on them and they cannot be seen by boats, MSG Grisham said that I gave him permission to be on the lake in the kayaks. I was not even aware of this and he stated last week that he would be on leave this week and out of town. I am afraid that someone is going to get hurt and then the WAQ is going to suffer because of this. I will be getting the set of keys back from him and changing out the locks. I have my set of keys and he, being the NCOIC, has a set for WAQ purposes only, not for personal use.  The other kayak cage key is locked up in a lock box and signed out to the team leader when we have a kayak group. We have had issues in the past with him that have been addressed. He is currently bringing attention to himself with his gun control case and the YouTube video that is currently being streamed. As for being a leader here, he is never around to assist. SFC Hall has been our acting NCOIC because we cannot depend on him to be here to help with facilitating activities.

Here is the information you asked for:  ### [Personal information redacted by Michael Yon]

Let me know if you need any more information.

###

img003-1000Master Sergeant CJ Grisham at a Texas McDonald’s.

Unauthorized use of government property is illegal.  If the allegations are accurate, and someone had been killed, liability could have fallen to the Army, to Grisham’s chain of command, and to the Boy Scouts if the event was sanctioned.

img004-1000US Army Master Sergeant CJ Grisham arrested and disarmed during alleged Boy Scout hike.

Earlier in 2013, in Temple, Texas, the same Master Sergeant was engaged in an alleged Boy Scout activity with his son when he was arrested on a weapons-related charge.  Grisham made his 15 year-old son videotape his arrest.  His son began crying while taping.  Trial is pending.

During his arrest, Grisham bragged about being an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran.

In fact, he was unable to complete an Afghanistan tour in 2011.  He was sent home early after publicly complaining on his blog about mental health issues and fear of enemy attacks.  He never left the sprawling base of Kandahar Airfield, and saw no combat.

At the same time, just nearby, the unit I was covering was taking many wounded and killed.  Grisham was in his safe, air-conditioned office, with his intelligence unit, blogging.

It would have been healthier for the Soldiers I was covering if Grisham’s commander had stuffed the monkey business and made his staff labor on figuring out who was blowing us up and shooting and killing US troops just nearby.   Some of our dead and crippled Soldiers might be healthy today if 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade (BfSB) was more focused on its mission.

The chain of command of Grisham’s outfit, the 504th BfSB, was too weak and broken to discipline their outfit.  While Grisham was busy playing up war theatrics on his blog, we were in firefights.  The closest Grisham came to Taliban is on the History Channel.

img005-1000Ever vigilant: Master Sergeant Grisham of 504th BfSB found no zombies in this Texas Starbucks.

At one point, Grisham published a strange photo of himself with a pistol attached with a bayonet, saying he was preparing for the zombie apocalypse.  He published another image buying anti-zombie ammunition.

While facing fresh allegations of misuse of government property, Grisham is today parading around Texas with a rifle over his back, which is legal in Texas, but when considered in light of his other behaviors, even the staunchest gun advocates increasingly find his conduct objectionable.

Grisham is not a Second Amendment icon, despite his efforts.  He is setting us back.

img006-1000Master Sergeant CJ Grisham of the US Army 504th BfSB found no zombies in this Texas department store.

After the alleged dangerous kayaking and misuse of government property, Grisham has been fired as NCOIC of WAQ, and returned to his unit, the 504th BfSB.

img007-1000Bradley Manning severely damaged US national security.

Remember Bradley Manning?  Manning radiated signs of instability that many people pointed out in advance.  He struck a female officer and personally warned people about his mental health.

That we put a mentally unstable soldier into a position to harm us is our fault.

After Manning severely harmed the United States, we tantamount tortured him with prolonged solitary confinement and a long delayed trial.  The kid is not all there.  That we put him into a position where failure should have been expected, then he failed, and we locked him into a veritable hole, is a disgrace.  Manning’s chain of command should be on trial with him.

The Manning debacle is like recruiting a monkey as a helicopter pilot, then punishing the monkey for stealing and crashing the helicopter.  Who put a monkey into the cockpit?  Only a Monkey Commander would do that.  Who put the Monkey Commander there?  It had to be yet another Monkey Commander.

Manning is hardly to blame.  He is mentally astray and weaker than noodles.  These issues were not discovered post facto.  They were known before the crime.  We hired a weakling, he was bullied, and he got his revenge in a massive way, and so we beat him, all while suffering national-level damage.

Today, many people see Manning as a hero.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Heath · 5 years ago
    Grisham is a disgrace to both the Boy Scouts & The U.S. Army. * smh * Where are the good & stable and tactically sound soldiers & leaders we need for the U.S. Army. If I was not Deaf and use American Sign Language everyday. Would I enlist in the U.S. Army under these clown class acts ? Hell No !!! The U.S. Army needs formidable & strong men able to wage war against a very deadly serious enemy. Arabic government troops & Arabic Terrorists. I will be very happy the day the U.S. Army kicks out these clown class acts and hires deadly serious fighting American Soldiers & Leaders and Generals. 8)
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Nick · 5 years ago
      We're not allowed to talk at night. Its all hand signals. Ask them if you can join only at night.
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      Jimmy · 5 years ago
      The army is doing what the army always does. Chews them up, leaves them a mental wreck, and kicks them out. I've given the army 19 years with 5 deployments. My body is completely broken and they want to seperate me for being over weight even though I can no longer do pt. The only option I had was a med board because AR 600-9 does not allow exceptions for wounds or brokenness caused by the army. The generals don't care about joe until joe does something wrong to make general and his unit look bad.
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        Heath · 5 years ago
        The U.S. Army is throwing away extremely experienced people that should be staying in the service. There has to be some way an Army man can transition to civilian employee within the DoD family. The U.S. Army's obsession with fresh bodies pressed into service is completely understandable but the Army needs to look at the quality of people that they can keep and transition to civilian employee within the five or six branches of the DoD family.
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    LSwierat · 5 years ago
    Every soldier mentioned in this dispatch, and others like them, detract from those who serve/served honorably. Many of my family members have served in the Army , going back to WWII. They do not deserve to have their services demeaned because of these pogs. Thank you MY for standing up for them.
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    chris higgins · 5 years ago
    Grisham's actions violate quite a few Scout Safety requirements. This is troubling. Scouting establishes a lot of safety standards for a reason. Scouting provides a lot of outdoors activities many of which are classified as High Adventure activities. Failure to comply with the safety guidelines puts the scouts and adult leaders at risk. I would think the scout chartering organization would chime in here.
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      Gospace · 5 years ago
      Yep. Like the rule that Scout leaders CANNOT be armed when taking Scouts out.

      Completely unlike the rule in Israel where anyone taking any youth group out MUST be armed. But, the situation there is a bit different then here.
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    CJ · 5 years ago
    It legitimately must be asked what it will take for Grisham's chain of command to finally discharge him dishonorably and revoke his security clearance.

    For a jackass like Grisham to hold a Top Secret clearance makes a mockery of Army standards. When you look at the other examples cited in this article, you realize that the Army is asleep at the switch.

    Hold someone responsible for once and fire the clueless Sergeant Major of the Army, a damned fool who hid out at the academy for most of the last ten years. Fire the Army Chief of Staff, a weak Armor commander with no combat experience.

    Are there no better leaders to shepherd the Army? Take any Regimental Sergeant Major if the Ranger Regiment and put him in charge.

    The Army needs new leadership. Responsible leadership.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Deidre · 5 years ago
      MICHAEL,
      Re the moniker for C Jones, though we do, indeed, have free speech as our right, I think you will understand how offensive this is. I'm not speaking of his comment, just his moniker. He thinks it's clever, of course. What it is is hatred in print. Would you allow F..k Jones? How about P.ss Jones? HIV Jones? Of course you wouldn't allow such references as those. This moniker is disgusting and should be called out!
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    Pete · 5 years ago
    Not Grisham AGAIN!
    The local Boy Scout organization ought to be SACKED for associating with this maniac! They are so paranoid about gays - this idiot is a clear and present danger to EVERYONE around him.
    And yes, Texas lakes are quite dangerous at night - even WITH lights from drunken idiots motoring around at speed.
    Where were the parents???
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      Gospace · 5 years ago
      The local council performs background checks on all volunteers. IF he's not been convicted of anything, nothing will show up. SO- the troop leaders have to perform their own due diligence. The Scoutmaster, Committee Chair, or Charter Rep can bounce any adult out of the troop. Been there, done that. And I'm pretty sure the Charter Rep can bounce the SM or Committee Chair. The chartering organization has to bounce the charter rep.

      Bouncing an adult volunteer out is not a pleasant experience. And if the troop he is associated with has other military members in Scouting leadership positions who might be junior to Grisham in military terms- um- they might hesitate. Don't know the situation there, and don't know if anyone reading this would know.
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    Heather · 5 years ago
    "A simpler reality is that we stuffed too much sausage into Army uniforms and called the result “Soldiers.” We too often allow monkey business to pass as professionalism, but when monkeys are the graders, all grades pass."

    Exactly. Standards were lowered to deal with the large scope of work in Iraq and Afghanistan. Standards for previous crimes, ASVAB testing, etc. And this is what you get, that addresses PART of the problem.

    Why it's so hard for them to get rid of people that show obvious signs of trouble, is beyond me. I've seen it in every aspect of the Army, starting in boot camp. I'll never understand this mentality. We needed a fit, physically and mentally healthy fighting force. It was so far from that. I can't wrap my mind around it.

    The higher ranking officers have always covered for one another, I've seen it first hand, it's like some unwritten code and they call it "discretion."

    Very true statements, it starts at the top. What the Air Force just went through, the black eye they received from losing commanders over the boot camp sexual assaults, the Army needs to be next. Thank you for bringing attention to this, it's been an ongoing issue since I joined (2002) and I'm sure way before then.

    They continue to do it because they can get away with it. And they know that. And our taxes will still pay for them to retire. That's crap.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Lynn West · 5 years ago
      :sigh: Poor form. Questionable mental instability. No self esteem.
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    11B · 5 years ago
    Why are people still surprised when POGs are weak, stupid, and sham out of hard work? Every Infantryman knows you can't count on POGs to get anything done in the Army. Whether it's admin, out-processing, supply or medical.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Heather · 5 years ago
      Easy killer, I'm a "POG" An intel weenie at that, but have never been accused of being "stupid, weak or afraid of hard work." Quite the opposite actually. Don't group all of us in one category. It would be like me saying all 11Bs are dumb, that's just simply not true.
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        11B · 5 years ago
        It's a different culture, Infantry guys have a brotherhood. I left out Intel, CAS, and many others just in case someone was actually reading the comments.
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    11B · 5 years ago
    Pogue is pejorative military slang for non-combat, staff, and other rear-echelon or support units.[1] "Pogue" frequently includes those who don't have to undergo the stresses that the infantry does.

    This term is thematically similar to the newer word Fobbit which refers to non-combat arms soldiers who never leave their Forward Operating Base. Fobbit is a combination of the acronym FOB and term Hobbit from Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings series. Hobbits never leave the Shire, while Fobbits never leave the FOB. However, the terms are not synonymous because a functionary at the Pentagon might be termed a pogue or REMF (Rear Echelon Mother-Fucker) but could never be termed a Fobbit.
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      A1C · 5 years ago
      SoOoOoO.....in this grand scheme of un-official designations, where would you put the airman who makes sure that the aircraft that are capable of dropping ordnance on top of bad guys are able to drop the ordnance on top of the bad guys when they are shooting at the grunts? How about the "REMFS" who make it possible for the Airman to do his job on those aircraft? What about the Artillery and supply folks? I can't say I'm criticizing the grunts but their lives would be a whole lot worse if it were not for a lot of these folks derogatorily referred to as "REMFS", "POGS" and etcetera - we do it for you.
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        11B · 5 years ago
        I didn't make up the term. It was manifested by a collective of experiences of many.
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    Daniel Ward · 5 years ago
    Although I can't think of specifics, this whole account reminds me of the US Army of the 70s, post-Vietnam, as it transitioned to a hand-to-mouth existence and the volunteer only force. I wonder if -- when all these major deployments end -- if there will be another Peers type commission to do a top to bottom review of Army leadership. From my viewpoint, it seemed that the Army really started to cook chicken in the 1980s as pride in the profession of arms seemed to be reinvigorated and our mission focus was well defined: Fight outnumbered and WIN!
    • This commment is unpublished.
      larry · 5 years ago
      sure as hell won't happen with our present Sec. of Defense
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    Tom D · 5 years ago
    The article raises many valid issues, but the emphasis on shootings as an index of bad leadership makes it appear that the Army is alone in this problem. In the Navy bad leadership has been manifested in the rise of the number of ship collisions and groundings in recent years, plus the firing of the captain of the Enterprise for show lewd videos of himself to the crew. The Air Force has had problems with the accountability of nuclear weapons and with aircraft sabotage (the majority of which is done by airmen trying to look good by finding the damaged part). The Marines are not immune either - recall the rapes overseas - but their smaller number of incidents does seem to demonstrate that their discipline model does work.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dashui · 5 years ago
    Now theres no doubt hes a danger to himself. He is eating at McDonald's !
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    RobSmith · 5 years ago
    This guy is an idiot. Just because you can carry a rifle on your back in public doen't mean you should. On the bright side it looks like he's lost some weight since his youtube arrest video.
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    EODGhost · 5 years ago
    This NCO is continually showing poor judgement, as a Non-comm, and as a soldier in general.
    Seems Grisham cannot be trusted to make sound decisions as simple as ensuring the safety of Boy Scout under his care, thus he has no business with a security clearance. The AR-15 incident should have been a clear indication. Prior to that, the picture he posted of himself with the pistol with the bayonet on it speaks volumes as to his lack of judgement and mental instability.
    His chain of command needs to revoke all clearances he has and out-process him for patterns of misconduct. (dishonorably)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Toaster · 5 years ago
    I agree with your assessment of Bradley Manning's situation. Unfortunately the press more or less rubber stamped the government's PR, not a lot of critical thinking in the press core these days. In most cases because chasing after WikiLeaks made a more gripping (and simpler) story than faulting the Army, among other reasons.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Grant Bennett · 5 years ago
    Michael, the truth oftens hits hard. There is a systemic issue. It does begin at the top. Much further up the chain of command than just theatre level Brigadier and Major Generals. I wonder if there is a direct correlation between the number of Army Generals that have been promoted into their positions under the current administrations one and a half terms as opposed to the other branches? I'm not trying to make excuses. After retiring with 28 years of service (active and reserve), it pains me greatly to see my beloved branch of service drug through the mud. I agree that there are definitely negative command climate influences and prejudices for these cases before they get to trial. I think your dispatch nailed it head on. After numerous generations of my family members serving in the Army, this is embarrassing. These events cause me to choke at the Army Values we hold all our Soldiers to observe (LDRSHIP) knowing certain classes of "leaders" demean them all. What we have is a moral crisis that is causing a morale crisis.
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    David Parsons · 5 years ago
    When an organization's "leader" is a grinning arrogant liar (Obama), the organization has no incentive to weed out the misfits. The organization (and the entire country) rots. You get what you vote for.
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    Mary · 5 years ago
    WHY don't you expose the drugging of troops with Percocet while in the field, making them addicts and lessening their battle readiness in order to discredit their testimony and classify them as domestic threats as an excuse to take away their civil rights?
    • This commment is unpublished.
      EODGhost · 5 years ago
      Huh? Explain your rambling nonsense, and don't use Alex Jones as a reference since he has no credibility whatsoever
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    Andy · 5 years ago
    U.S. Army Professionals in the top echolens of leadership will not hate you for writing this article.
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    Chuck Jumper · 5 years ago
    Mike, you've done it. You're the only one with an audience who's been calling out the Army for its "shenanigans" and "antics." Thank you for being a voice for those who actually believe in and practice the Army values.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rudy · 5 years ago
    The ARMY can always count on the NAVY :-)
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    Andrew · 5 years ago
    If my memory serves me correctly, didn't you, Mike, have a run-in with this oxygen thief while you were on the rockpile? I seem to remember one of your posts that showed his photo and details. My brothers in the Crotch call this guy, one of the 10%.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Barry Sheridan · 5 years ago
    This article is overly pessimistic Michael. US forces have plenty of capable leaders and decent people, they are certainly not all like Manning or Grisham. In fact by concentrating on these two you do a disservice to the many who have given their best during recent deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. (English reader)
    • This commment is unpublished.
      LSwierat · 5 years ago
      Barry I disagree. There are many capable leaders and decent people in the Army, but many are leaving in droves because of this decay in leadership. Many have been political casualties. At some point only those like MY mentioned in this dispatch are left. Not bringing this to light disrespects all those who have served honorably and upheld Army values.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        chris higgins · 5 years ago
        Barry and LSw You two probably agree on more than you realize. My take on the exodus of good leaders is that the cream of the junior officer corps is leaving as soon as they fulfill their commitment. I've seen too many of these young people look at what is going on with the general officers and what is trickling down behavior wise to field grade officers and they say 'I would rather enter the civilian job market.' The consensus seems to be that those capable of succeeding in the private sector leave.

        The enlisted personnel I have met seem to act the same way. Those that feel they can make it in the civilian world are leaving. Most of the competent ones staying are those close to vesting their retirement.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        larry · 5 years ago
        That's just not true, go to a ranger or SF graduation to see the fallacy in your statements
  • This commment is unpublished.
    USMC1811 · 5 years ago
    Thanks, Michael for encapsulating a scumbag's gallery of worthless MFers who sully the name of Soldier. I guess you ran out of space and couldn't mention the stealth-jihadi murderer who rolled a grenade into the 101st's TOC right before OIF (1 KIA, 13 WIA), and right at the very top of the monkey house, Gen Casey "And as horrific as this tragedy was (Ft Hood TERROR attack), if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse,” Casey said. WHAT!!!????
    Please, Mike, and all of us who love this "last, best hope of earth",...call Hal Moore, Pace, Blaber, McKnight and Luttrell, invoke the Spirit of Hack, eject the Perfumed Princes, the ticket-punchers, the feather-merchants, the pogues, and put the shooters and scooters, the snake-eaters, the "rough men", the "sheepdogs" in charge, restore the standards and fix our broken army.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Denn7is · 5 years ago
    Wish I could use a different tittle, but it is the truth.

    5,000 years ago the Chinese wrote a book called The Art of War. In it they devote an entire chapter to the use of spies.

    If men have understood the uses of spies, for 5000 years, evil too knows how to use spies.

    The only thing evil needs to win, is for good people to do nothing.

    Wish it wasn't true...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mykellee · 5 years ago
    Michael,

    The manner in which the Military Leadership is not addressing these individuals is reminiscent of the Catholic Church shuffling around their Peodophiles. No one is left who can stand up and make a sound moral decision.
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    Phillip McKreviss · 5 years ago
    Has Grisham ever been chastised? Has he ever been punished? Has he ever been so much as formally counseled?

    Where are his commanders?

    Surely they know that he is engaged in questionable 2d Amendment activism?

    Soldiers do not surrender their rights when they swear an oath, but it should not be permissible for soldiers to parade around with rifles on their back while they go about their daily business in town.

    I understand that this is not technically illegal. I am not suggesting that it should be.

    I do think that it is rude, very inconsiderate, very insensitive, to rub the collective faces of civilians into the mud of his public displays.

    Grisham is making soldiers look like idiots. Grisham is making 2d Amendment advocates look stupid--much like that moron Adam Kokesh.

    Where are Grisham's commanders?

    Do we have to wait until this damaged soldier snaps and commits horrific crimes of violence before he is reined in?

    Phillip McKreviss
  • This commment is unpublished.
    kathi mcdermott · 5 years ago
    Grisham is a wack job and it is really beneath you Michael to continue on fighting with him. You are so above him in intelligence and common sense I don't get this never ending fight.
    Please let him go by the wayside and disappear, don't give him the attention that he is seeking so desperately. He has every right to carry the gun you see him with, but just because he is trying to make a point, IN OF ALL PLACES TEXAS, where the gun laws are pro gun, is asinine and immature shows that, you Michael, have the upper hand in intelligence and this isn't worthy of your time.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Michael Yon author · 5 years ago
      Grisham was just one of many in the article. I know about him so when I write about the broken Army, naturally he is going to be featured. Information about Grisham falls into my lap with little effort. He is surrounded by people who dime him out regularly.

      The same happened with Brigadier General Daniel Menard. Many people thought I spent too much time on Menard, when in reality I was being fed information like Niagara Falls. I was focused on other things but people were flooding me with verifiable information that I was not asking for. And that is Grisham's problem. So many people hate the guy that he cannot sneeze without someone telling me. I publish a small fraction. The allegation that he endangered the lives of Boy Scouts needs to be investigated by the Army and the Boy Scouts, if not law enforcement. I went live with that one due to the seriousness of the allegations including Boy Scouts.

      Due to Grisham being surrounded by people who report his every move, I know more about his life than I care to. The information flows whether or not I ask.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    JDow · 5 years ago
    Erm, somehow this does not make me feel safer now knowing that for the US Army the lunatics are running the asylum. (And I am not at all sure about the Air Force, either. Now, Marines I trust. Those I've met are worth knowing. High ranking AF officers - well, some have set off my "watch out for him" radar. Army almost always sets off the potential abuser warning bells. Navy of most any rank seems to be OK if remarkably often wasted efforts (i.e. I found out they're gay when it looked like dating them might be fun,) (Of course, the married fellows are not wastes in any sense. Seems they all had the good sense to let it be known they were married up front.)

    {^_^}
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Deidre · 5 years ago
    Thanks, Michael.

    I know several Army officers who have left active service because they could not take the ineptitude and BS anymore...one a Lt. Col.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rudy · 5 years ago
    Isn't the bigger question WHO manufactured the chemical (nerve gas?) weapons fiasco in Syria??? How about why flag-level officers were relieved by OBLAMO immediately after rescue calls were initiated by the Consulate (i.e.,the CIA head shed) staff???

    This nation (including our command structure in DoD) is run by idiots.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    chris higgins · 5 years ago
    So what sort of person is afraid to buy a big mac without a gun!!
    :lol:
  • This commment is unpublished.
    irebukeu · 5 years ago
    Look close at the second photo. It looks like Chris Matthews getting arrested by Ed Shultz from MSNBC.
    Seriously though, great post and very thought provoking. Thank you for posting this
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Melinda · 5 years ago
    When you put ridiculous recruitment quotas out on recruiters, you are going to be recruiting whackos. Recruiters should get bonuses for getting non-whack-job recruits and stringent mental health testing should be done as part of the recruitment process.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Antonia · 2 years ago
    Thanks for finally talking about >Monkey Business:
    Our Broken Army
  • This commment is unpublished.
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