THE NATIONAL GUARD
"DIRTY TRICKS" HANDBOOK
The place where a lot of corruption can take place is the medical facility. In our first two installments of this series, we related how crooked personnel officials in the National Guard can undermine and prevent a qualified and deserving member, officer or enlisted, from being promoted. Also, in part two, we showed you how members who transfer between units are often stuck with "charges" for equipment they were never issued.
In this article, we will outline the many tricks and deceptions that take place in a medical exam facility with the full knowledge of the brass at headquarters. All sorts of misconduct occurred, but as long as it stayed out of the media, the bloated "Pillsbury-Dough man" adjutant general who ruled his fiefdom with an iron fist was content to "look the other way." The setting for this story is a certain northeastern state located on the Atlantic Ocean.
FEAR AND FAVORITISM
A CHIEF NURSE OUT-OF-CONTROL
Beth Backwoods (not her real name) was the chief nurse who wielded more power than many colonels. She had the ability to rig a physical exam in such a way that officers or senior NCO's were put on "profile" - and thus made ineligible for promotion - or slated for separation due to various health "problems" that could be conjured up with the flick of a pen or a jiggered EKG machine.
She also could ignore the rules in cases of overweight officers or failure of the PT (physical training) test. In fact, Beth - with apologies to our much more sweet "significant other" Elizabeth - made sure she gathered IOU's from those the boss nurse wanted favors from.
One "good ole boy" fat colonel (who wasn't going to get another promotion anyway) wished to stay on duty, but his expanding girth and lack of physical stamina kept him from even completing the two-mile run, much less do the required push ups and sit ups. So obese that his head sat on his sausage-like torso like a pumpkin atop a sack of wheat, this guy should have been retired a long time ago. But Beth placed him on "profile" so he stayed on the job, racking up full-time pay and benefits while unconnected officers and enlisted troops sweated out the PT requirements.
Sources up at the "head shed" told us that Backwoods "owned" the colonel and could make him do anything she wished. He knew it, and came down with both combat boots on the neck of anyone who displeased the imperious top nurse.
Her power extended to every corner of the installation she ruled from. One of her fellow officers, a senior colonel, had a tough-looking lesbian gal pal and sometimes preferred to party late rather than show up for drill weekends. Yet, that officer expected to be paid even for non-duty.
Backwoods would mark the lazy colonel "present" and her check was cut anyway. The "pay back" for such accommodations was unlimited power and total control of the medical unit, even though Backwoods - then only a captain - was outranked by many of her medical professional colleagues.
One of her favorite tricks was to "adjust" the EKG (heart-diagnostic machine) so some "problem" would crop up and an opportunity present itself to eliminate an actually-healthy individual from further Guard service. It didn't matter how close one was to reaching retirement qualification, if that person was "targeted" to get the boot, a way would be found to medically discharge them.
A WAY TO OVERCOME HER UGLINESS
Beth was anything but a beauty. In fact, her profile resembled that of a toothless mountain-woman from Appalachia. Sexy-looking nurses, like one Italian-American dark-haired babe in the unit we knew, was perceived as an "enemy" and harassed by Backwoods. Flat-chested, cigarette-smoking, and with a pointy chin that made her look like something you might encounter on Halloween night, she still cheated on her hapless husband, also a member of the National Guard.
Backwoods would do anything to increase her power and control, and perfected her "Monica Lewinsky" talents long before Bill Clinton's onetime squeeze made headlines. Guard personnel weren't exactly shocked when she carried on an open affair with the deputy commander of her installation. He was married, too. But that never stopped him from fooling around on his attractive wife and five kids at home.
That he would lower himself to get together with Backwoods did surprise many observers. He was often seen with and used to far more attractive gal pals, but if the handsome field-grade had a weakness, it was flattery and fawning by the scheming sycophant. And Backwoods could "suck-up" with the best of them.
"TALES" FROM THE INSIDE
One of our best sources was a popular and multi-talented nurse lieutenant who kept us well-informed on the latest intrigue in her office. She related how straight nurses (the majority) were held back in promotions so like-minded lesbian officers with less experience were quickly promoted to captain after becoming a certain colonel's new "playmate."
The nurse with integrity was horrified at how the names of Guard members who failed the HIV test were "leaked out" to unauthorized personnel. She told tales of back-stabbing and betrayal that would make Machiavelli smile. We even learned of the "love nest" that a Guard general maintained in the back of the medical building.
That same flag officer, a flunkie for the fat adjutant general, was spotted on the beach with a female not his wife. When a frightened captain came back and related to us what he'd seen, we counseled him to just "keep cool" and not make too much of what could turn out to be a career opportunity.
"Don't avoid him in the elevator at headquarters, and whatever you do, make sure he knows you can keep your mouth shut and pose no threat to him," we said. Sure enough, the company-grade followed our advice and all went well for him in regard to his full-time Guard job from then on.
LIKE THE POP SONG SAYS: "ANYTHING GOES"
Just about everything you can imagine went on at that medical facility. One time we walked in on a NCO "med tech" giving an attractive young sergeant a "back rub." What really caught our attention was she was lying on the examining table in her "birthday suit." The senior noncom smiled like it was an everyday - or night - occurrence.
Then there was the story about the lecherous middle-aged female doctor who liked to give prostate tests to young, good-looking troopers while the door to the examination room was locked. In violation of regulations, no nurse or other personnel were present.
No one that we know of, ever complained.
Missing and purloined supplies, faked exams, drugs and booze, it all happened there.
WE DO A GOOD DEED AND PREVENT THE COLONEL FROM BEING SHOT
We remember the night Beth's then-hubby called us down to his office in the med facility from our duty station in the headquarters building.
"I'm going to kill the bastard," the staff sergeant said. He meant the deputy commander. Sadly, the slow-witted sarge was the last to know about his wife's daily dalliances and was determined to get revenge. He should have gotten a psych exam to find out why he was dumb enough to marry her in the first place.
"It's not worth a trip to Leavenworth just to get a piece of him," we counseled the irate husband. "All you need do is contact the colonel's wife - we were able to supply the phone number - and file an "alienation of affections" lawsuit against your worthless wife. After you've done that, then go to the IG and lodge an official complaint. You'll be on more solid footing, then."
He did as we suggested. However, the crooked IG had already been briefed that Backwoods was just too powerful to let go down for the count. Plus, she had dirt on many in the top ranks. It was impossible to discipline or discharge her.
NO HELP FROM THE CORRUPT INSPECTOR GENERAL
"Please come in sergeant," cooed the IG, on the irate hubby's first visit to his office. "Tell me, now, what actual proof do you have of your wife's infidelity?"
Invited back for a second meeting a few days later, the atmosphere was decidedly more chilly.
"Well, sergeant," the IG imperiously intoned, "are you still drinking to excess and beating your wife? You've got a promotion to SFC on the line, and retirement not far down the road. You don't want to lose all that, do you?"
The cheated husband got the message.
And ironically, we may have prevented at least one light colonel from being shot on duty.