Anyone who has served time in the National Guard knows that organization contains some of the most dedicated - and corrupt - individuals who ever put on a uniform.

Because the various state Guards come under the control of the governor, "politics" and favoritism is a common occurrence. And few "bloodlettings" are as painful and dramatic as when one party ousts the other in a general election. Then you are treated to a spectacle of lieutenants sent in to colonel's offices to tell them to "pack their bags" and "get out" before security is called to throw them out.

It has been our experience to have known many fine officers and enlisted people who dedicated their all to serving in the Guard. We have also known disgusting thieves and obnoxious prima donnas - to say nothing of the sycophantic suck-ups who "fed off' and were protected by the top brass. In the words of one old master sergeant, "they aren't worth the powder to blow them to hell." These losers are basically incompetents and bullies who would never last a month in any top-line active Army unit.


We recall one adjutant general of an Eastern state who was nicknamed the "Pillsbury Doughman" for obvious reasons. This short, fat (three chins) little egomaniac loved to wear a white uniform, and thus was dubbed, behind his back of course, "(Gen.) Juan Peron."

Actually that was an insult to the late Argentine dictator and top brass hat. Old Juan was far better looking than the pasty little man who liked to chomp on a long unlit cigar in a pathetic effort to emulate a real general, such as Curtis LeMay.

This pudgy two-star with reptilian eyes and stubby little fingers was so short his feet dangled off the chair. His belly was so big, we took bets on when he'd "pop" a button, hopefully, just as the governor was at the podium and about to speak.

In that state, the governor was a nerd-like guy, over six feet tall, who never made it past the rank of corporal in the 50th Armored Division. The AG liked to "suck up" to him in the most blatant ways, and to the politician's discredit, he welcomed the obsequious attention. He was too dumb to recognize the fact the little fat man would grovel at anyone's feet, if it would be to his advantage to do so.


The adjutant general of this state had as his chief lackey a no-talent officer called "Corky." That dim-wit was one of the most hated men in the Guard. He used his influence with his boss to brutalize others and was openly disrespectful to officers, even in the grade of full colonel.

Once, when the creep almost set off a battle in the general's staff car by "mouthing off" to a senior officer, the Doughman indulgently patted his pet on the shoulder and said, "Now, now, Corky. We must be nice." The sputtering full bird in the backseat, who wanted to throttle the arrogant punk riding up front, had to swallow his rage and hope someday he could "get even" with the general's flunkie.

This new series of articles, which will appear periodically here on, will detail the various "dirty tricks" corrupt members of the Guard still use to this day to torment those under them and scam money and power in their full-time positions.


For example, one way of "getting rid" of a troublesome officer was to sabotage his paperwork that went forward to the promotion board. Just "accidentally, on purpose," leave off the officer's APFT score. Sounds like a small thing, but it made the file "incomplete." The busy promotion board had no time to check why the information wasn't there. The result - an automatic "pass over."

In those days, the rule was you get two shots at promotion. If you aren't selected the second time, you're out the door. "Close but no cigar," commiserating colleagues would say in their dark humor. Even if you're close to retirement, you can still lose out, or revert back to your old enlisted rank with a big loss in pay and prestige. Few men could stomach it.

MILPO always did the bidding of the brass, so whenever the "old man" wanted someone "set up" or the skids greased under them, the word would come down from above, and the dirty deed done.


We recall one former NCO, a much-decorated combat veteran and highly competent company-grade officer. He was long overdue for promotion to major. The first time, inexplicably, he'd been passed over for 0-4 despite being fully qualified for advancement. This time, he took precautions that saved his pension and career.

Knowing most everyone and everything that went on "behind the scenes," he'd learned that his paperwork had been sent "incomplete" to the board in full knowledge that would "disqualify" the captain from getting his well-deserved oak leaf.

So the officer, an award-winning investigative reporter for a major news organization, showed up one day at the MILPO office in civilian clothes with his press card hanging around his neck.

"Good morning, colonel," he said to the startled officer sitting behind the desk. "I believe regulations allow me to not only look at my complete file, but also make a copy of it. I hope you don't mind if I use your photocopy machine to make one to send up to the board."

Then the longtime captain proceeded to copy every scrap of paper in the jacket. Just before leaving the office, and with a big grin on his face, he showed the colonel a "cover letter'" typewritten on the news agency's letterhead and addressed to the president of the promotion board.

It said if the file arrived again with something "missing," know that it was a deliberate act, not an oversight, and that an IG investigation would follow.


A few months later, when the results of the board were released and published on the pages of ARMY TIMES, the colonel who'd been part of the plot to undercut him, telephoned the officer at his workplace to announce: "Congratulations, major, your name is on the list."

The new field-grade took a deep breath, then said to himself: "Yeah, you bastard. I made it. But with no thanks to you."

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Do you have National Guard "horror stories" to share? Write us at Next time in the National Guard "Dirty Tricks" series, we'll show you how "full timer" admin types routinely stick transferring personnel with false charges for equipment not "turned in" and then pocket the money for themselves. Be watching. It's coming soon.]