Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fort Wadsworth VI- I join the clerk's mafia, and have some minor interactions with the other mafia too.

Back in this post I told you  little bit about the mafia at Fort Wadsworth back in my time there, I told you about the three  instantaneous staff sergeants, and the orders to Brooklyn and Staten Island GIs to not report for duty. I told you about the mess hall guest book and the loading of GI chow into privately  owned vehicles. And I made mention of the poor combat vets, bereft of rank and money sent by a mysterious force into my purview.

Now, as I think I mentioned, I was the only one on the post trained in the use of maintenance of and creation of US Army personnel documents. I was presented with a dilemma, as every day one to three GIs would arrive in front of my desk carrying orders to report to Fort Wadsworth for transshipment to Germany by way of McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey.

Most of these poor souls had no rank on their sleeves and no cash. They also mainly were under fines and penalties given out under Article XV of the Uniform Code of Military Justice:

  1. Article 15 (Nonjudicial Punishment) - US Military - About.com

    usmilitary.about.com › ... › US Military › Justice, Law & Legislation
    In the Marine Corps, the process is called "office hours," and in the Army and Air Force, it is referred to as "Article 15." Article 15, of the Uniform Code of Military ...

    This offended me on many levels, that these boys had been through hell and were being punished for it by those who had sent them there in the first place. I had more rank and more pay than they did and they had actually fought this war and were now under duress over shaggy haircuts, insolence, marijuana, hiding out with a girlfriend, whatever.  It fell to me to rectify these violations of justice and decency as far as I could do so and this I did. 

I'd ask each one if he wanted to go straight to Germany or spend a week in New York. The typical reply went like this: "Gee I'd like to stay in New York for a while but I don't have any money, and I can't get paid because I got an article fifteen."

"Don't you worry about that article fifteen" is what I said as I removed all evidence of any such degrading situation from the personnel and finance record jackets. I'd then get the soldier a bunk in the transient barracks and direct them to the shuttle bus to Fort Hamilton, where the finance office was, and where they could draw a month's pay. I'd book the soldier a flight out of McGuire seven days later .

There's plenty of fun and gmes to tell about about good old Fort Wadsworth, and I will over the next coming days.