Army of One
This is Jonathan W. Jacobsen’s retelling of his career as a U.S. Army officer.
During ROTC program our class was invited to send entrants to a regional event put on by the SD Border Patrol. I was the best in the class so Major Anderson, our military professor, sent myself and a battle buddy. The event was thrown by an SDBP Special Forces Reserves full-bird Colonel, an older guy with silver graying hair he wore long. It was held on the side of Mt. Julian north of the U.S. border. Multiple Marine teams participated, SD firefighters, Navy Masterchiefs, even a survival t.v. personality, either from Nat. Geo. or Disc. Channel I don’t remember which. The course was 6 hours to find 4 points spread several miles across the base of Mt. Julian. Only one team made it back in the allotted time. That was my team, though I had sent my battle buddy up ahead to the finish line while I set off to find the third point. I made it back with 45 minutes to spare and we got 3 out of 4 possible points. No other team made it back in time. Most teams didn’t get any points, only one other team got two points and they were hours late. The t.v. “survival personality” had to get airvac’d off the mountain. Upon my arrival and the checking of our points one of the SDBP personnel asked us how we’d managed us, how we’d cheated. I was a bit incredulous. I do not cheat at anything. I also had the highest pt score in my class, went to the best university in the world (UCSD) and completed all my leadership tasks with ease.
After receiving my commission I was assigned Armor and sent to Ft. Knox to complete OBC.
After leaving HHT/OBC, CPT Gerald New’s training unit was the first unit I was attached to. But after only a few weeks he sent me back to HHT without explanation. Presumably he thought an explanation wouldn’t be needed but they demanded one, at which point he concocted some slanderous bullshit. Though LT Boenert, the unit’s XO, explicitly told LT King, in the hearing of LT Cruz, that I’d “really done nothing wrong”, a response was required and they came up with a negative review to justify sending me back. CPT New claimed that I’d worked to undermine the unit’s relationship with the mechanic bays and civilian offices tasked with maintaining the troop’s vehicles. This was actually opposite of the truth, and I went around and got written/signed statements from personnel stating not only did I work to improve the unit’s standing, but that I also had undertaken tasks that most others had balked at or refused, and in fact it was him that derailed unit relations with the mechanic bays. But upon reading this aloud and presenting it to a review board, CPT New proceeded to start screaming and shouting over me, completely disrespecting and derailing the legal proceedings.
This was apparently enough to actually encourage one of the captains on the board to later start shouting and vehemently contradict me when I mentioned some work I’d done for another unit. I’d gone to one of the ranges to set up a training day on a walking pistol target range. The recruits were to proceed down the lane and fire on targets as they popped up. When I described this, one of the captains on the board shouted that I’d not done this, that he had been the only one to set up this course for the unit. Apparently he was rather proud of this accomplishment and refused to “share the glory” with an LT. This was incredibly stupid and babyish. At this point the civilian in charge of the proceedings, Mr. Maze, had me leave the room while he addressed the board. When I came back he stated that I could have the captain removed from the board as the CPT had clearly demonstrated a lack of candor and inability to act objectively. The captain sat there, red-faced, almost crying, and I literally stood there with what I thought was this captain’s future career in my hands. If I decided to kick this CPT off the board it’d look terrible for him, and so I didn’t do it. I let him remain.
The most absurd part of this situation is that of course I walked the lane and set up the course, but I’d been accompanied by one of the civilian operators the whole time who advised me on everything as he ran the course and knew everything about it. There were only a few instances where based on troop numbers I had to decide particular nuances of the course. Of course the captain had been through the same process as no military personnel were even allowed to walk the course without a civilian operator personally on hand to lead the trip. So it was an utterly absurd and childish outburst, and he deserved to be removed from the board for sheer incompetence. But I had mercy and could not shit on his career in such powerfully adverse fashion. I was not afforded the same mercy however, and the board voted against me.
I still have all the statements I went around base collecting to refute these slanderous claims.
Also, and very importantly, this review board was conducted three days after I’d undergone major surgery on my right shoulder. It was an orthoscopic “Bankart repair” and I’d been fully put under. I’d asked CPT Latham, the HHT commander for a delay on this review board considering the circumstances, but he denied this. This was an incredibly erroneous decision to make. So I stood there before a review board with one arm under a sling presenting evidence.
During an earlier incident, CPT Latham had accused me of being a liar. Which I was not. He apparently didn’t like my subtle response to this comment and he angrily exclaimed that he would jump over his desk and kill me. This was an absurd statement, and not at all how things would have gone down with his overweight bulk attempting to clamber over his desk.
Around this time I was attached to 5-15 Cav. I did work for multiple companies, all competent, some of it excellent. I handled public events for multiple units with total precision and success. I created the standard for multiple events and made the units look excellent in front of the public.
Around this time period I was given a large task to complete. But LT Hamblin, a troop commander out of training rotation, stole my entire coordination and resourcing of the public event for the National Infantry Association when I was assigned to his troop in 5-15 Cav. If I remember correctly the NRA was involved as well. The battalion commander assigned it to him, and he tasked me with it. He did not handle any aspect of it whatsoever but would shoo me away when LTC Quinonez would come around and ask for updates. I did not realize what was going on. LT Hamblin ended up taking all the credit for MY work, and told Quinonez I was a dirtbag. Quinonez ended up writing a disparaging review of my work that I never got to see until months later. I scoured the base for resources, saved 60% of costs, found teams of volunteers, a stage and trailer to haul it. I handled every single detail from the location and timing of events and setup for everything from food to live music to events for the children. The event went spectacularly, even though I was not invited and did not attend. LT Hamblin’s next assignment was as adjutant to a general. That should have been my position. LT Hamblin was an idiot, and incompetent. I still have the documentation of the event proving my claims.
CPT Dominguez attempted to give me an Article 15 for failing to show up for a meeting she’d scheduled with me. I DID show up, and on time. She wasn’t there, she was in another room I wasn’t aware of. Her ego clearly got involved and she wouldn’t listen to anything I said. I believe this was due to the climate of her unit. The previous training cycle her cadre of DS’s had been caught majorly abusing recruits. Multiple recruits had attempted to exit the Army by claiming homosexuality. A couple DS’s had pulled at least one of these recruit’s pants down and told another to have sex with the recruit to prove his homosexuality. These drill sergeants were reported, the recruits were allowed to separate from the Army. The drill sergeants in question were court martialed. I believe this was 5-15 Cav Charlie Company.
I was second in command of a unit at Ft. Knox that I believe put on some of the most advanced urban ops training the military offered. Major Duncan, the commander and my boss, was very intelligent and concocted “investigative scenarios” where even though there was plenty of dismounted ops training (cordon and search, CQC, QRF staging, room clearing), he forced the LT’s to actually think and move on their feet and conduct investigations over the length of the 10-day course to determine who was behind certain “evil” machinations occurring in the “village”. My review from the unit’s First Sergeant was excellent (which I still have), and a month after getting back to SD after separating from the Army, I spoke with Major Duncan who informed me that the next time the unit went into the field to conduct a 10-day course for the LT’s, the unit “fell on their ass the first three days” because I wasn’t there. He said they’d had no idea how much of the course I managed. Not exactly something a professional Army officer wants to hear, but not exactly something a professional Army officer doesn’t want to hear, either.
The details of my separation from the Army are very important and as follows. I was meeting with my previous Black6, SFC Burke, when Major Polizotti/Polizatti, an adjunct cadre, came out with his children and began abusing them ferociously. They were young children, about 7-10 years of age, and both very quiet and mild mannered. Yet he was absolutely ferocious with them. He threatened them with grievous bodily harm, including threatening to knee them in their heads, bash their heads together, and repeatedly called his daughter a whore and a slut and told her to shut her legs. The girl wore a light red checkered dress and was sitting on the steps with her legs tightly closed. The little boy was wearing semi-formal attire. They both sat there acquiescent with red faces while their father stood over them abusing them. SFC Burke was standing right next to me, and got teary-eyed. It was absolutely awful. I stewed on it for a couple of days, then went to base CPS on Fort Knox and reported the Major for the flagrant abuse. I repeated it word for word to the lady who took my report. I also repeated it word for word to our full bird colonel. Within three weeks orders came down for my separation from the Army. I never found out what happened to the Major’s children. I was separated before this could happen. I was clearly and obviously separated from the Army not just in retaliation, but to prevent further address to the crime of child abuse the Major had committed against his own children, witnessed by two different Soldiers.