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fat.soldier
12-01-2009, 06:04 AM
I've been in the Army Active Duty for almost six years (it will be six this March, on my ETS date). I've served overseas in Iraq and Korea, each for fifteen months. I was with 1st Cav and now I'm with 2ID in Korea. I am in aviation.

Pretty blunt, right? My real name is Jim and I think I'm a pretty likable guy. Apparently I can't even stand outside the barracks here in Korea without people I don't recognize coming up to me and asking me how I am and saying thanks for some Army Regulation I gave them regarding their issues, or just advice, or just to joke with me about the state of affairs of our unit.

My platoon sergeant is a good friend whom I have had the pleasure of working with. I say 'with' because, first of all, he's new in the position and needs help, and secondly, as I actually have almost two whole years of service time more, he treats me as an equal. He knows I know the way of the Army game, and he is never disappointed in me.

I like to think my work ethic inspires the rest of my platoon to work harder, and I see that when I always have somebody asking me if they can help me do something. I have been fortunate here in Korea to have a group of soldiers who I can always remember as what every leader could want.

I am a Private First Class. Yes, I've been in almost six years and I've served overseas in combat and Korea, and I am a PFC. I'm overweight, and I have been for quite some time. I was a Specialist, back when I wasn't overweight or flagged for any reason. I lost my rank due to an administrative reduction for "inefficiency." The "inefficiency" was my weight issues, regardless of how many times I sought medical advice for my incessant heartburn, vomiting, and overall depressive state. Our company got a new first sergeant, new commander, and suddenly I lost my rank and made myself walk the eight miles home instead of drive because, well, I was worried I might have just gone AWOL that day.

Anyone here ever lose rank? When I did, I could barely breathe, much less speak. It was the worst day of my military career. Keep in mind, I have not been home for one birthday of my three children or of my wife, I have been successful to spend one anniversary with my wife - out of almost four years of marriage - and I have not spent Christmas with my family since I joined the Army. But I kept plugging along, being as good of a soldier as I knew how, but my body weight maintained an unhealthy fifty pounds over my limit, and my body fat increased, because a part of me just couldn't cope.

I PCS'ed to Korea, where I instantly gained recognition for not only my technical proficiency but also my shall we say NEED to help improve my platoon and therefore my company in every way possible. Anyone who has been stationed in Korea knows the differences between the two of them. So, I'll point out some facts real quick:

Since I've been in country, the number of alcohol related incidents in my platoon has been 0. Before I showed up, there was usually 1 incident every month or two months, and two people had just left ASAP when I got there.
The number of article 15's even THREATENED to anyone in my platoon is 0. Nobody has stepped over any line, real or imaginary, even though the platoon had six in the past year before I got there.

At this point I stop being modest, because I know that I have been great help in preventing a lot of problems within the platoon. There are three people in the platoon (all of them outrank me) who have more time in than I do, out of 25 people total.

I am eighteen days from departing on my terminal leave. I final out in sixteen days, receive my DD 214 and enjoy 80 days of leave, leave I believe I've earned.

Tonight, during a health and welfare, I happened to have been in the crosshairs of our battalion's new Sergeant Major. Literally, he'd been in charge for six hours at this point. This was the conversation:

SGM. How much do you weigh, soldier?
ME. I'm not sure, SGM.
SGM. How much are you supposed to weigh, soldier? Or are you not sure?
ME. One-eighty, SGM.
SGM. You got a family? Children?
ME. Yes, SGM.
SGM. You support them?
ME. Yes, SGM.
SGM. Not anymore. I'm gonna chapter you. You're getting out of the Army.
ME. I'm getting out of the Army soon anyway, SGM.
SGM. When?
ME. Eighteen days, SGM.
SGM. We're gonna stop that. I want you to see me.

I am quite sure there are plenty of people on this website who don't know me and therefore either do or possibly will see me as a failure and not adaptable to Army life. Believe me, I do already. Not only can I not re-enlist, but I will have the hardest time finding one of the most open jobs in the aviation market, aside from pilot, because of my rank and the fact that I have never received an award for the jobs I've done, for the leadership positions I HAVE held.

But my heart is crushed. There have been times, believe me, when I have used the Army's name in vain. I have had days of darkness where I have told my leadership to chapter me instead of making me deal with certain aspects of Army life that made no sense to me. But in the past year, I have not only seen the bigger picture, I have helped to paint an entire corner. I have gone above and beyond anything I've ever done and anything that has ever been asked of me before. I have officers coming to the platoon office for me personally, because they know my work and they appreciate it. I have a friend-base the likes of which I've never known before. I have an entire battalion of friends, people I may never see again but who believe their lives are better because I was in them, if only for a short while.

I understand this was probably not supposed to be a diatribe, but I needed to share a piece of myself and get this out, and I do appreciate anyone who gets this far. I just needed to let someone know. I mean, six years in the Army, proving to myself and everyone around me that I am much more valuable as who I am now than as a soldier whose sole purpose is to be a PT stud. I've trained leaders, I've taught soldiers who now teach in AIT, I've helped so many people, if only to see the errors of my ways.

And now, because of one fateful encounter with a new Sergeant Major, my career, my family's future, is in jeopardy. If I can get to sleep tonight, it will be a miracle.

Thank you for reading this. If anything, I hope this message reaches other soldiers like me who are overweight - it might give them the boost needed to get back on track, before they hit the wall as I have.

MPclk2006
12-06-2009, 05:54 AM
pushing it a little bit arent you there buddy? you with 6 years have more time in service than lets say 80% of the Platoon, even the PSG? haha yeah right buddy. I am a SGT(P) with 7 years in and I have more time in service than only two people in my section right now...I believe you have been a good Soldier but the extremes you push it to, as to claim you have stopped the alcohol related incidents, ART 15s, etc...yeah ok...but I do feel for you, I think they should just let you get out, but even if you get chaptered or ETS, the problem you encounter will be the same as you stated....also did you not ever get counseled? you dont need an award to show what you have done if you got counseled also if you "held" leadership positions it should be on the counselings...if not you only thought you "held" such positions....

CWO Sharkey
12-06-2009, 09:45 AM
I agree with MP. Anyway, you are lucky to serve out your enlistment being flagged and overweight. I been in for 20 years and in the years before the war; if you got placed on weight control and didnt lose weight, you were discharged.

You are commended and respected for your service regardless and I believe that you tried to drop the weight. But I know there are always more sides to the story. Perhaps other people will say you are a POS and had more issues. I dont know but I been where you at.

When I say where you at, I received Article 15s and got my promotions suspended and drove on. Perhaps my past issues were immaturity or individuals out to get me. I dont care nor dwell on it. Its the past. I just focused on me and taking care of me. I became an NCO and served many years as one (till Staff-Sergeant) and then got accepted to be a Warrant based on my work ethic, excellent evals and obviously doing well on PT.

I been taped since the late 90s but always made tape.

You vented and you deserve it because combat vets need to bi tch.

Just remember to take care of number 1 and good luck. Dont worry about the SGM.

But like a former platoon sergeant told me. There are great soldiers and there are great PFCs/Privates (that will only be great at the rank and not higher) Also, you said the highest grade you held was specialist so you shouldnt havent been more than a team-leader unless there were no NCOs around to be one or a squad leader. So I dont know what you meant by "leadership positions"

SGM_Chode_Lick
12-07-2009, 11:34 PM
Fat Soldier,

I also doubt your claims of leadership positions. While having six years in the Army is commendable, there is something to be said that you are still a PFC. Obviously the work ethic you claim to have didnt bleed over in to your PT. Like im sure you have heard a million times before you get what you put in. It wouldnt have been said a million times if it wasnt true. Also, being chaptered out due to weight and or APFT failure is virtually non existent in the Army of today. Many CGs have withheld authority for these type of actions to their levels and have all but stopped the practice of chaptering soldiers because they are overweight and or can not pass a PT test. You should look in AR 635-200 to see what the requirements are for a chapter 18. I know that they have to initially counsel you and give you the chance to see a nutritionist and a certain amount of time (90 or 180 days) to make progress with your body fat%/weight. If you are ETS'ing in 18 days then you should be fine. I dont think that it is possible for them to accomplish all of this within the time allotted. There is always the slight chance they could involuntarily extend you but that is only used for court-martial proceedings. Good luck chubster.

CWO Sharkey
12-08-2009, 02:14 AM
lol chubster. He is a one post wonder. We shall never hear from him again.

SGM_Chode_Lick
12-08-2009, 05:39 AM
My Warrant Officer Friend,

That is where you are wrong. I find this army forums thing to be quite enjoyable. It only reassures me that not every S#$%-bag soldier is in my company, but quite the opposite, they are all over the army. That makes me smile when i go to bed at night.