GP...the incident L-188 refers to was the Port Chicago disaster. An ammo ship blew up due to unstable weaponry overloading a cargo ship. The rate at which the ships were being loaded and the fact that the stevedores were black played a part in the inquiry.
This new incident is not the first time in military history this sort of thing has happened, but it is the latest for us. It usually results from a breakdown in the chain of command somewhere. The use of National Guard officers may end up being the cause of this. IMHO, SOME OF the officers who are sent into the Guard straight from college ROTC or the OJT OCS, who did not do well enough to be given an appointment to the regular army, have a larger than usual proportion of underqualified leaders. The regulars who join after a tour or two of service prior to entering the civilian world, and the good officers who come up through the system are not enough to overcome the inadequacies of some of these other officers who advance because of politics (good ole boy network) and due to a lack of qualified people to take the jobs no one else wants. I mean, how many qualified experts want the job of being the supply officer for a National Guard outfit? Training and time will overcome this, but when a situation like this comes up it represents a failure of the leadership to address issues and poor morale effectively.
The unit was a supply unit, and the platoon that refused to show up for the meeting was replaced by another unit in the same company immediately. The chain of command will take the heat for this, as well as the troops. If they had a beef the way to express it was either using the open door policy every CO
has or go to the IG
. Mutiny on the battlefield is probably not what those soldiers realized they were committing, but they are truly in deep, deep shit. The parents and family members will complain, and I am certain it will be used as a bludgeon over the administration, but when you volunteer to join the military you have accepted the risks associated as well as the obligation to go into harms way. The military does not promise it will be safe, or even that you will not be asked to die for your country, it actually tells you that may be the case. These guys were to bring water and fuel to the forward areas, and decided their vehicles did not have enough applique armor to survive any contigency. I can only assume they made this decision thinking it would be treated as a work action back home. That was incorrect.
[Edited 2004-10-16 16:26:05]