In yesterday’s blog, I discussed my current problems with my reserve unit. Most of my unit is deployed in Afghanistan, due to return soon. Even with all the chaos around the pitiful ending to what seemed to be a promising career, ironically, if I had the ability to do “Harry Potter” magic and heal myself, I’d be overseas in a combat zone. What motivates me? The people. It’s not patriotism. The flag represents people but even then, it’s not the entire country of them that makes me cry in shame that I failed to go. It’s the Soldiers I trained with and the service members who are there in harm’s way and their families. I suppose that I still feel guilty at a certain level. If I had tried harder, perhaps I could have… but no. That’s emotion speaking. Not fact. Not medical science. Not reality. Not helping. Self therapy.
I connected with a few more Soldiers in my unit deployed on Facebook. They return home soon, safely. I am relieved that there were no serious injuries or deaths. I hope to meet up with a few next month. It will be good to see them.
I spoke to a JAG today. He is actually a member of the Army Guard and I had to hire him as a civilian. I’m supposed to be able to get free JAG representation. But, none of the correspondence I received tells me how. I spoke to this gentleman earlier about the non-promotion and medical board issue and he gave some guidance. I retained him today. He’s going to initiate services and try to connect me with a free JAG at the same time. I tried calling the closest Army post, to be told that JAGs were only for “real” Soldiers. No kidding. There’s still that “only a Reservist” bias after 10 years of war. Nice. He told me that the unit can’t just kick me out without a board proceeding, which I have the right to legal representation during. He’ll be in contact with my unit commander (rear detachment). Maybe she’ll return his phone calls.
Honestly, I’m almost more angry at the unit for making me fight them than I am for the action itself. I don’t like going against people in this manner. I’m not certain why. I think it comes down to a misplaced sense of loyalty to the unit on a whole. But, I have to protect my own interests. I can’t allow a dishonorable or OTH to happen. That’s not justified.
What is sad is all this could have been avoided if the unit had communicated with me. They had a working email address and a working phone number. I have initiated several calls and emails in the past couple of months. It’s stupid. And that makes me angry too.
I am not upset about not getting promoted. I didn’t qualify with my Army education (OBLC). My CO made the correct decision to remove me from training. With my injury, there was no way I could have completed it safely. I wish she had been more helpful afterward. I told her that I had missed the prior year training and already been passed over once. This was due to an issue with my physical not being correctly entered. As a result, I was coded “not qualified.” It took my unit 7 months to correct it. And, I was new and perhaps wasn’t as assertive as I needed to be in hindsight. I asked my CO to help prevent the second non-selection. Could the packet be stopped? Or a medical excuse? She suggested to try calling some places. I tried. I was brain injured less than 4 months. I contacted incorrect people. I soon became frustrated, irritated, and hopeless. I just wasn’t capable at that time of functioning at that level. I still have trouble with similiar situations. Hence, the JAG. I gave up. Honestly, I figured the issue could be corrected later. In a sense, I understand why this removal process happens and why I am being targeted. It does not reflect “what happened.” I did not choose not to train. The medical retirement reflects the true situation.
I spoke to the section in charge of the medical boards today by email. The form did not need my unit signature. There was a block for it, but it was not required. More Army logic. They have the form and the medical board process will start soon.
The same command that does the administrative removal for non-selection also does the medical boards. However, different sections are responsible for the work. I have been impressed with their professionalism and helpfulness so far.
All in all, I think this is a good lesson for me so far. I went to my friends and family for help instead of trying to figure it out alone and getting emotionally wrought. I’m also not obsessively worrying about “…what is the JAG is wrong and I get kicked out…” I’m letting him do his job and the Universe and the Goddess take care of it.
Have a good evening everyone.