Over the last decade I’ve personally trained hundreds of students that have passed through my training program. I’ve trained men from a dozen countries and nationalities, and every level of professional endeavor. Until recently I’d only considered my role to be that of a highly skilled cognitive behavioral scientist, one capable of tinkering with and upgrading my students’ social and relationship skills. But as of the last few years my role has become highly politicized. I’ve come across machinations and global level intrigue that only someone of my background would be capable of engaging with and matching.
But that’s not all. As a “compliment” to these same efforts, over the past several years I’ve faced incessant amateur attempts to smear my work, my training program, my reputation, and my military and academic background. I did not realize how insidious and potentially damaging these efforts were until recently when I found hacked and embedded content on my site as well as in my online hosted files that attempted to embed bizarre deviant behavior and other material that painted me as someone obviously faking an academic and military background.
I am the complete opposite of these baseless and amateur machinations. In essence they picked the exact wrong guy to test their wares on.
In 2007 I was stationed at Ft. Knox. One night I was on duty as OIC when we had a call come in of a violent incident at the barracks. I showed up with the E6 on duty along with me and apprised the situation. There’d been a brutally violent attack on a soldier who was being loaded into the ambulance as we were arriving. His condition was awful. His head looked like a misshappen watermelon, swollen to almost twice its normal size, and split open at the top. The wound had gushed blood and pus and bodily discharges all down his face and neck. I couldn’t believe the guy was still conscious but he kept trying to lick his lips which were apparently dry while the top of his head was a torrent of blood and bodily fluids. I could tell he was Mexican American and that was about it. It was possible he might not even make it with a head injury that bad. But I gave him credit for being lucid. He was looking straight at me.
There were multiple MPs on the scene, and a gaggle of barracks soldiers milling around. I asked around what had happened but no one seemed to know. Then a detective showed up and started his inquiries. But apparently none of the soldiers were fessing up and no witnesses were forthcoming on details of what had occurred. It was a typical military inquiry, all hammer and nails when tact was what was needed. The MPs were dismissive, and the detective began adopting the same tone. Apparently this was going to get chalked up to nobody wanting to rat on their fellow soldier no matter how grievous the assault had been.
The ambulance transporting the wounded soldier left, the MPs started leaving as well, and the detective began wrapping up his “inquiry”. I told the gaggle of soldiers milling around to stand by, went and got the contact information of the detective before he left. Then I got to work.
I’d taken a look at the soldiers as they’d milled around, waiting for something to happen. I didn’t believe for a single instant no one was willing to come clean on what had occurred I could see it plainly in their faces. They knew what had happened and they thought it was appalling. Clearly they would all want someone to come to their aid if they were found in similar circumstances.
I started interviewing soldiers, never threatening, never too abrupt in my line of questioning. I started teasing out details. Within a couple rounds I was able to double back to a few soldiers in particular. The whole sequence of events started becoming clear.
Within 30 minutes I had the entire scenario laid out. A soldier had come back to the barracks drunk, had been stumbling around another soldier’s vehicle who’d been viewing this from an upstairs balcony. The drunk soldier had fallen against the other soldier’s vehicle causing some light cosmetic damage and this had caused the other soldier to absolutely lose it. He’d come down the stairs broken a beer bottle and started beating the shit out of the drunken soldier. One soldier had seen the entire incident, another soldier had viewed the tail end of it. Others had heard the ruckus and come out and seen the end results.
I checked for the cosmetic damage on the vehicle, and also saw the broken beer glass. I called the detective and laid out the entire scenario, gave him the owner’s license plate # and the names of the soldiers who’d witnessed the incident. He was surprised, thanked me.
And that was it. Case closed. I never heard what became of the guilty soldier but I am sure the injured soldier survived as I would certainly have heard of his death.
Within a few months of the above mentioned incident, we were called to the same barracks over an entirely different scenario. Apparently an underage soldier had been spotted with alcohol. And a young female. They’d last been spotted near his room but since then their whereabouts were unknown. We knew the soldier’s room but there was no answer. Now personally I’m of the opinion that if you’re old enough to sign on the line, you’re old enough to drink. But barracks rules are a different story, and this soldier was clearly too young to have alcohol. Or at least be seen with it.
When we showed up there was already a whole group of barracks personnel and MPs roaming the scene. The incident had the extra added allure of including a female, and this had brought out the hounds. Literally. Within ten minutes of our arrival, several more MP vehicles showed up. And they’d brought military K-9 units. The sergeant and I looked at each other incredulously, this was way over the top. The facts of the reported incident were that a young soldier had been seen with alcohol and that he’d been accompanied by a young female. And that was it. But now we had MPs with K-9 units roaming around the barracks. This was beyond ridiculous. And then the MPs started upping the ante. As we stood there watching, the story miraculously morphed to include the synopsis that the young soldier was actually currently IN the process of sexually assaulting the female. Apparently in real-time. This was complete horseshit. But apparently they needed a cover story for their “hero” antics.
Within a couple minutes of the “escalating situation” an MP with a K-9 unit started rapping on the walls and window of the soldier’s room, softly catcalling to whomever might be inside. “We know you’re in there we’re coming in. We’re going to sic the dog on you.”
I stared for a couple moments in shock. But the line that had been crossed. The situation was now clearly escalating beyond all reason and control. I stepped out from the second floor balcony I’d been leaning against watching all of it with increasing incredulity and addressed the offending MP unit. “Hey. You need to stop what you’re doing.. right now.”
It was an awful scene and I was not at all comfortable addressing the situation. But the MP was massively out of line and things were about to get real bad.
Thankfully that’s all it took. The offending MP unit instantly stood down, looking rather embarrassed getting caught in such a bullshit show of force. But his K-9 unit was a totally different story. I am pretty sure that K-9 units do not recognize rank. That dog looked at me with full awareness, like I was meat.
The MPs and their K-9 units left, the gathering crowd dispersed; the situation was left to barracks personnel to handle when the offending soldier presented himself. We left.
Back at battalion HQ the sergeant remarked how proud I was of my “defining moment” at the scene. But that was definitely not the case. I’d been almost sick to my stomach over the whole thing.
But it was an interesting scenario, one that still speaks to the overcompensating nature of male bravado unchecked. And considering what’s transpired since this incident, the nature of this situation has proven massively ironic.
During my time at Fort Knox my typical duties consisted of an XO capacity in whatever unit I happened to be attached to. I’d get assigned a public event, or a training scenario, and be tasked with putting the whole thing together, typically from scratch. I was damn good at it.
Source it, MC it, lock it up after.
I put together a unit’s “Parent/Soldier” night, finding free transportation for guests, and teams of volunteers to lead them around the museum on base and other historical attractions, before getting them back in time to meet with unit personnel. I made the unit look good.
I sourced a huge event for the national infantry association, put the whole thing together from scratch. I scrounged around base for different resources available for free. I happened to find an entire stage up for grabs, along with the trailer and equipment to haul it. I saved thousands. I managed every detail, every portion of the area we were going to hold it at, the personnel involved, the timeline, the activities we’d have for the children, the food and catering and local band we’d hire to play. It went swimmingly. Everything I put together went swimmingly.
I worked with mechanical bays, coordinating between units and vehicular maintenance bays, ensuring timelines and equipment orders. I put together a live fire pistol training exercise, walking the lane, figuring out particulars of our unit’s size while coordinating with range civilian operators, ensuring we had the proper safety personnel on site, had our paperwork correctly filed, and every detail followed through to a t.
My favorite was my time as XO of a recon training unit. We’d put together 10 day field training exercises where we’d train the soldiers passing through in dismounted operations on humvees. Everything from cordon and search, stacking and room clearing and CQC training, to staging QRF scenarios, engaging with “hajis” and paintballing while working through different kinds of scenarios. I’d actually gone through this training myself earlier and had considered particular aspects of it to be lacking. The main factor was the lack of training of our “hajis”. They’d spoken garbled nonsense when I’d gone through it. Nothing made sense. It was very one-dimensional. But when I was XO, the major, my boss, would craft these ridiculous levels of village intrigue that would force the soldiers to actually think on their feet, establish relations with village leaders and actually figure out who was behind the sectarian violence and intrigue. There were plenty of “fire fights” and regular dismounted ops the soldiers engaged in, but the fact the major took the time to concoct these scenarios and build out the village dynamics so thoroughly is really what set the training apart. I believe it was some of the best training in the entire Army. I don’t say that lightly.
(Stay tuned.. for Part II)