Seventy-three soldiers in a special reserve program have defied orders to appear for wartime duty, some for more than a year, yet the Army has quietly chosen not to act against them.That’s sweet. Gee wiz, I am more demanding of my kids than the Army is with folks in the IRR not fulfilling their obligations. I know about the PR problem, but really.
“We just continue to work with them, reminding them of their duty,” says Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, an Army spokesman.
Only one officer is among the 73 soldiers who either ignored their orders or refused to serve. Brischke says Army staffers keep calling and reminding them of “duty, honor, country” and their need to fulfill their obligations.And if they keep shooting you the bird, get the officer first and send him to Kansas.
“It's sensitive because we understand they're different soldiers.”Did they not say “I (state your name)” like everyone else?
The decision to declare these soldiers AWOL or a deserter is up to their commanding officer, Brig. Gen. Rhett Hernandez, the Army's personnel management director. He could not be reached for comment.Lead from the front, sir.
The behavior may be reinforced by peace activist groups operating the GI Rights Hotline, which keeps reservists informed about the Army's failure to act. “What we tell them is that right now, the Army is not doing anything to pursue IRR call-ups,” hotline counselor Dawn Blanken says.They smell weakness – and they’re right.
The Army's failure to act sends the wrong message, says Mike Belter, an IRR lieutenant colonel called up last year.That is who is being wronged. The nut is that everyone that says no forces another to take their place. This is no way to run an army, IMAO. We own it to those who meet their obligations to hold accountable those who won’t. I think General Patton might have something to say on this.
“I didn't think at 48 I was going to be in a war zone,” Belter says. “I could have said no. But it was what we signed up for, what we volunteered for in the first place, a sense of service to country.”