Michael's Dispatches

Monkey Business: Our Broken Army

20 August 2013


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.


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.

img008-1000Manning's mental infirmities were no secret.

Before Manning’s crime, the Army removed the bolt from his weapon.  This is a common practice in a war zone with soldiers who are deemed homicidal or suicidal.  On some bases troops are never allowed to be without a weapon.  The commander removes the bolt so that potential enemies do not see the troop is unarmed, yet this disables the weapon.

An odd similarity with Manning and Grisham is their fixation on homosexuality.

As for Grisham, his homophobia is severe to the point of being spooky.  His blog "followers" can be similar in their spontaneous concerns about pedophilia and homosexuality.  Gay bashing is always on their minds, like Mongolia.  Others can be discussing economics when Grisham butts in with an elbow, "Let me tell you about why I hate Mongolia."

img009-1000Russell killed five with a stolen M-16

In Baghdad, Army Sergeant John Russell was unstable.  The commander took his bolt.  Three days later Russell stole an M-16, and opened fire on troops, killing five at the stress clinic.

img010-1000US Army Major and Psychiatrist Nidal Hasan murdered 13 Soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas.

Major Nidal Malik Hasan showed obvious signs of problems, and later killed 13 fellow Soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas.

Hasan wanted to kill as many random American troops as possible.  He was on jihad and admits it, though our monkeys in charge tell a bold lie that it was workplace violence.  He was in direct contact with al Qaeda.

Hasan continues to draw his government pay, about $300,000 since the murders, though he freely admits to committing the murders.  We literally are paying an al Qaeda sympathizer if not operative.   Justice has been twisted into something unrecognizable.  Our “leadership” creates distress among the people by openly lying that this is workplace violence.

Some people believe that the Obama administration calls this “workplace violence” so that it can maintain that no major acts of terrorism have taken place inside the USA during his Presidency.  It clearly was terrorism.  Nothing can spackle over that.

img011-1000Robert Bales

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales walked off his base in Afghanistan and committed mass murder.  He killed sixteen people, including unarmed women and children.  Was this also workplace violence?

All five Soldiers—Hasan, Manning, Russell, Grisham, and Bales—seem to share common traits: all were frustrated and enraged by what they felt was injustice.  All sought vengeance.  All radiated mental issues in advance that others noticed.  As for Grisham, his habit of videotaping and publishing his escapades should be enough alert his command that something is off.

Result so far: 34 dead, dozens wounded, national security compromised, prestige of the Army severely damaged.  Five bad apples pulled this off.  This is the tip of the iceberg for the Army.  The actual list is huge.  The death toll is unknown.

One soldier is running free looking for gay zombies at Starbucks, in between his alleged Boy Scout activities.  His commanders do nothing.  Move along.


Key question: why is the US Army disproportionately represented in these cases?  All other service branches combined do not bring this level lunacy to the table.

Is it combat?  Hasan had no combat deployments.  Manning had no combat experience.

Hasan was an Army psychiatrist with no tough deployments behind him.  His job was in part to spot people like Manning, Bales, Russell, and gay-zombie hunters, and yet he was one.

Hasan was in no position to alert on monkey business while he was swinging from branches himself.  That people above Hasan did not remove him before the mass murder is stark evidence of yet a larger troop of monkeys higher in the tree.

The Army leadership system is broken.  For every Hasan who breaches the CNN threshold there are trees full of quiet monkeys swinging high in the branches, who fiddle around causing problems through mischief or incompetence.  They do not win wars.  They are toxic.  They cause battles within the ranks.  Too often these are real battles with hot bullets.

The Marines and other outfits, such as British combat units, and many of our Coalition partners, have seen tremendous amounts of combat with repeated deployments, yet the only place we see the zombie hunting and mass murder theme is with the US Army.  Abu Ghraib was an “Army thing,” a horrible setback to the war, which cost uncountable American lives.

We do not see this with the Air Force, Marines, Navy, or Coast Guard.  Surely they have events but their events are not a constant backdrop about who will be next to do something spectacularly insane or criminal, or give massively damaging secrets to Julian Assange at WikiLeaks.

Canadians, Aussies, Danish, Dutch, Poles, French, Italians, Spanish, Germans, and others saw significant combat in recent years—and took many KIA—yet their veterans are not committing wholesale slaughters or crushing their own national security.

The British saw great combat over the last decade.  Do you recall a single mass murder by a British Soldier, who then latches onto PTSD as an excuse?  The answer is no, because it has not happened.

I can personally vouch that British troops saw plenty of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.  They were in the thick of battle and doing multiple tours that, in laymen’s terms, sucked.

British food was worse, their living conditions typically were far worse and more animalistic than Americans’, they got far more indirect fire, their gear was not as good, and they took heavy casualties, kept fighting, and did not commit mass murders in theatre or back home.  Nor did the Aussies, nor did our US Marines, nor did anyone else.  Only the US Army has this cultural tic.

img013-1000Colonel David Williams, Canadian Air Force.

It is not as if foreign militaries or other branches are completely sparkling.  Canadian base commander Colonel David Williams turned out to be a torturing serial murderer.  He liked to photograph himself in underwear he stole from women.  Colonial Williams made video while committing torture, rape and murder, and even adjusted the lights to help with taping.  Colonel Williams is serving life in prison.

Colonel Williams had an average career, spent a little cush time overseas, and saw no combat.  Multiple tours are not the genesis of the largest problems.  With few exceptions like Williams, the greatest commonality between military zombies, the ones who truly go berserk and cause massive damage, is the US Army.

Amid all this pearl-clutching about troops’ mental health—and our reflexive nature to blame a sneeze on PTSD—is that many or most of the perpetrators never deployed, and most who did never saw combat, while many US Marines, British, and others saw significant combat over multiple tours yet are not “going postal” on a regular basis.

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.

Everyone gets a medal.  Last year, Army Brigadier General Roger B. Duff was booted out for wearing a chest full of medals and awards he never earned.  Imagine that.  Stolen valor by an Army general.  When is enough, enough?  The Army effectively covered up the trial but some details leaked.

If a soldier cannot be trusted with the bolt to his weapon, a blank CD, a thumb drive, or keys to the kayaks, he should not be trusted with a Top Secret Clearance and computer terminal, and never with an automatic weapon.  When a senior soldier, a gay-zombie hunter, takes young boys out onto a dark lake at night with no lights, using Army property, questions should be asked of the boys, their parents, and the Army.

Yet the Army turns its head, time and again.  Taking bolts from Soldiers and then returning them to duty is common.  Of course they are not sent on combat missions with disabled weapons, but some troops on bases in the wars carried disabled weapons, which was senseless given that the bases in war zones are awash with unimaginable killing tools.

The last tent in which I lived in Afghanistan sometimes contained enough plastic explosives to knock down a small dam.  Grenades were everywhere.  My tent-mates kept rifles and machine guns under their cots.  There was more ammo than several men could carry.  Taking a Soldier’s bolt in those circumstances is irrelevant.  An unstable trooper should not be in those tents or on that base.

Not only should he not be on that base; any Soldier who cannot be trusted with his bolt or keys to the kayaks should not be in the Army, even if it means we have a shortfall in personnel.

Many Soldiers want to see the Army healthy, vibrant, and combat-ready.  If not for them, I would not have all this inside scoop.  They want positive change.  Their heartbeat is strong.  They are tired of the kookiness in their midst.  They are tired of weak and morally repugnant leaders.

img014-1000Big Monkey: What was I thinking?

High-ranking officers are being fired for demonstrable cause at a rate that is difficult to track.

Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair will soon face trial for rape, among other crimes.  Details of his trial are practically X-rated.  While Sinclair should have been focused on winning the Afghanistan war, he was undermining it.  As for subordinates: Monkey see monkey do.

Many other high-ranking officers have been fired for misusing government property and various crimes.  Much of it comes down to simple idiocy, like Brigadier General Roger Duff wearing his chest full of fraudulent awards.  Only a true idiot would do that.  Duff had been a Division Commander, implying that his entire Division would be suspect of monkey business.

Or Sinclair, and his obviously deranged captain-lover who had threatened suicide during their affair; they left a massive text-trail.

On a fine day in Afghanistan, this particular subordinate and lover was reading Sinclair’s emails (OPSEC…).  She found emails to his wife and to other Army lovers.  She went berserk and sent a poison email to another lover.  All this while real Soldiers were in firefights down the road.

On the night of 19 March 2012, the captain lover stormed into the Kandahar office of Sinclair’s commander, Major General James Huggins.  With tears streaming down her crazy cheeks, she put it on the table.  She called an airstrike on Sinclair’s career, and on her own.

While the monkeys were having sex fights in Kandahar, 39 Coalition troops died that month, 40 the next, and 45 the next month, for a total of 402 in 2012.

Did these officers not have bigger things to consider?  Sinclair was booted back to the United States to face trial.

The general has dug in like a tick and is fighting hard.  Too bad he did not fight as hard in Afghanistan.  Sinclair’s wife is sticking with him, possibly because if he gets busted to the slammer, his pension is gone. These cases often wreck families.

Four Generals have been selected for Sinclair’s jury.  Their decision in Sinclair’s trial can affect their own careers.  This is twisted like a tornado, especially since President Obama exercised unlawful command influence to sway the outcomes of military sex trials.

Ironically, Obama’s unlawful interference is making it easier to get away with military sex crimes.  The judge in Sinclair’s case already has ruled that Obama’s statements, that military sex offenders should be, “prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged,” has tainted the cases.  Judges in dozens of other cases have taken similar positions.

This high school drama unfolded in Kandahar while we were being shot at nearby.  Soldiers are sick of the Sinclair and Duff-monkeys in the tree.  The good Generals should declare war on monkey business.  The Taliban is not a threat to US national security.  Bad generals and soldiers are.

Last week, I asked the excellent and renowned author of The Generals, Thomas Ricks, about another 3-star general officer currently being investigated.  Tom replied with the following:

“My biggest concern with this is the lack of transparency. Why are generals given special treatment when it comes to offenses? Arguably, because they are more senior, they should be held to a much higher standard, not a lower one.

“The real problem, I fear, is that generals are acting more like members of a union or guild protecting each other, rather than as stewards of their profession, enforcing standards for their subordinates and for each other.”

This is about a broken Army.  If the Army is not yet broken, it needs to be broken and remade.  It cannot fix itself.


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