A former US Army Soldier is being ordered to pick up the tab for some Army-issued equipment that he was ordered to leave in Afghanistan, two years ago after the disastrous Afghanistan pullout in 2021. The American withdrawal was one of the worst failures of American foreign policy action since the ending of our involvement in the Vietnam War.
The report excoriates the way the withdrawal was handled, noting that the Biden team did not sufficiently plan or prepare for “worst case scenarios.”
Incredibly, it said it was “unclear” who was in charge at the State Department. They also made the bad mistake of giving up the Bagram airfield to the Afghans, which would have been much easier to defend to get people out, so they were forced to use the Hamid Karzai Airport.
During our withdrawal, tons of American military equipment was left behind in the rush to leave. Vehicles, aircraft, weapons, ammunition, personal equipment, and more, were left for various reasons, none of them rational or logical. When Soldiers and Marines were leaving, they too were forced to leave stuff behind that was deemed unimportant, which some of it was. When it comes to room and weight on aircraft, food, water, personal gear, and other consumables are left because they are just not critical. Other equipment like weapons and ammo are different, and they should never be left behind, or at the very least left behind in a serviceable or usable condition.
The Soldier, who goes by @the.michael.fam on TikTok, explained that he and his unit were loading onto unspecified aircraft and he was ordered to leave some gear behind that was making the aircraft overweight. He tried to keep it because he feared that he would have to pay for it and it was expensive but was told that he would be taken care of when it came time to turn in the remainder of his gear when he left the unit or got out of the Army. Fast forward two years later when he is getting out of the Army, he goes to turn in his gear and gets the bad news. In an X post on the Libs of TikTok page, he explained exactly what happened.
Wow! Soldier leaving the army blasts the Biden admin and the state of the military. Claims he’s being charged close to $4,000 for gear he was INSTRUCTED to leave in Afghanistan during Biden’s disastrous withdrawal. pic.twitter.com/bzfjYd21EN
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) November 20, 2023
In the video, you can make out a few of the items on the gear list that were missing and they weren’t major items, no weapons, optics, or expensive single pieces of gear. One of the items was an E-tool (entrenching tool), which is basically a compact folding shovel. Those things are arguably one of the best things ever invented and they aren’t expensive either, but I digress. All told he was missing probably a dozen or so pieces of equipment that added up to $500 to $1,000. He was being screwed over for actions he was ordered to do by his superiors and now he’s paying the price for it, literally.
That ladies and gentlemen, is getting what we called in the Marines, screwed by the big green weenie. We actually have an acronym for it, BOHICA. Which stands for Bend Over, Here It Comes Again.
The sad part is that it is a common occurrence, both the green weenie and paying for losses of gear and or other equipment that was lost or destroyed in the course of our duties at no fault of our own. Some examples that I saw of these were both hilarious and infuriating at the same time.
When my unit and I were in Okinawa, Japan during our six-month unit deployment program to the island, we were sent to several other places and countries in that area of the globe for training. During our 30-day stay in Thailand, a Marine got sun burnt pretty badly one weekend on liberty, and the following Monday, he was NJP’d (Non Judicial Punishment, which is an administrative discipline process that isn’t a criminal court proceeding) for “damaging government property,” because his sunburn temporarily prevented him from participating in the training exercises for that week. He was put on two weeks of restriction to the barracks and had a portion of his pay taken away for 30 days.
That was the hilarious one, this next one will infuriate you.
During the Iraq invasion, another Marine from my company lost a pair of NVGs (Night Vision Goggles) during an assault on an Iraq republican Guard position. They were in a pouch that was attached to his gear vest and somehow during the assault, became dislodged from his vest. He immediately reported it when he noticed it was gone to his squad leader, who then told the platoon sergeant and commander. He was told not to worry about it, that “shit happens in combat.” A few months later during a gear inspection while still in Najaf, Iraq, he was told by the company commander that he would have to pay for them, all $3,000.
It is more than just an administration problem, it is a problem within the military as a whole.
Yes, President Biden and his administration thoroughly and completely shit the bed when they left everything but the access codes to nuclear weapons (a slight exaggeration, but still a good point) to the Taliban when we left. But small unit commanders have been screwing over their troops for decades when it came to servicemembers paying for lost or destroyed gear. It is one thing to make someone pay for gear that was intentionally lost/destroyed, by all means, punish them for that.
When people, acting in good faith and in accordance with their training and operational expectations, get charged someone for gear that was lost or destroyed is a total dick move. Service members don’t get paid enough as it is to sustain a family, let alone themselves, yet we are forced to pay huge sums of money for gear the military can replace without a blink of an eye.
RedState detailed exactly how little American service members actually get paid and what they have to pay for in their day-to-day lives while serving their country.
The life of a junior enlisted, especially those from E-1 through E-4, is financially burdensome. We didn’t make enough money to really do much outside of the base, so most of us ran up more credit card debt, and some of us went straight to the payday advance place and borrowed even more money. For those poor souls who wanted to buy a car and didn’t know what to deal with, they got bent over backward by the dealerships. Guys were coming back with brand-new cars and trucks with 25 to 30 percent loans, they didn’t know any better. Most, and I mean the overwhelming majority of junior enlisted has at one point lived paycheck to paycheck at best; I did for some time too.
But sure, let’s tack on an extra $500-$1,000 to repay the government, along with a Defense Department, that has enough resources, money, or credit, to absorb that cost for miscellaneous gear like an e-tool. That is a giant slap in the face to the very people who literally put their lives on the line in some jobs, to defend this Nation. They need to do better, much much better.