View Full Version : Reservist Accused Of Insubordination

01 Dec 03,, 04:15
Reservist Accused Of Insubordination
Associated Press
November 29, 2003

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Capt. Steve McAlpin, a 25-year Army reservist, spent most of last year deployed in Afghanistan and just returned home in January. Now his unit is about to ship out again, and he's facing insubordination charges for criticizing the quick turnaround.

McAlpin questioned the legality of a waiver that his battalion was asked to sign that would put his unit back in a combat zone after just 11 months at home. Under federal law, he pointed out, troops are allowed a 12-month "stabilization period."

On Wednesday, members of his 401st Civil Affairs Battalion are being deployed for duty overseas, but McAlpin likely won't be among them. A memorandum this week notified him that he was being removed from the 401st's battle roster, and he said he could also face other punishment, including a court martial and losing rank.

The commander, Lt. Col. Phillip Carey, charges in the memo that McAlpin had a "negative attitude" and was being "insubordinate towards the leadership" of the 401st.

McAlpin said he questioned the waiver last Saturday during a teleconference with Col. Guy Sands, commander of the McAlpin's parent unit, the 360th Civil Affairs Brigade based in Fort Jackson, S.C.

About a dozen other officers refused to sign the waiver, as well as four enlisted soldiers called to redeploy, McAlpin said.

"Soldiers are proud to serve any time, anywhere. I'd go tomorrow," McAlpin said from his home in Victor, 20 miles southeast of Rochester. "But I have four soldiers that don't want to go."

The memorandum sent Wednesday commands McAlpin to clear up his affairs at the unit by Monday, when it bans him from battalion grounds. It also transfers him to the Individual Ready Reserves, whose soldiers can be called up in the event of a national emergency.

Instead of signing the reprimand document, McAlpin attached a note of protest, stating his performance evaluations have been excellent and that his record shows "no pattern of incompetence." He also plans to meet with a military attorney.

"We signed up to fight our nation's enemies and we are fully prepared to do that. But if they're going to usurp the laws of this country at the expense of our most precious asset, our soldiers, then I will not stand for that, not for a minute."

McAlpin served in Bosnia in 1996. Last year, while stationed at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, he was a liaison to local warlords, coordinated humanitarian relief supplies and organized an English-language teaching program.

"I'm looking at something I love more than just about anything - my service to the Army and my fellow soldiers - and they're trying to stab me in the back," McAlpin said.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, he said, "we need every soldier we can muster," but he said the military should also "honor soldiers that have gone already" by giving them "a break from the hazards of combat."

A spokesman for the 401st, Capt. Brian Earley, said McAlpin's questioning of the waiver was only one reason he was being disciplined. Individual members of the 401st are allowed to refuse to sign the waiver, but Earley said McAlpin was "butting in" for other soldiers.

"People who were on the mission, who wanted to go, he was questioning their orders," Earley said. "He was pursuing a non-issue."

Earley said the military was also taking action because of "an accumulation of things," including difficulties in one of his previous missions to Afghanistan. He declined to elaborate.

"There's a lot of soldiers we're not sending because they have one issue or another," Earley said. "It's important that we put together a solid team. Not all soldiers are ready, even though they think they are, to deploy."


01 Dec 03,, 10:52
In our Army, the Capt would ahve been placed under arrest and disciplinary proceedings initiated. However, I don't know the US law and if what the Capt states he appears to be making it immensely difficult from a moral point of view if the law he states is indeed there.

I sure hope there is some discussion on this thread on the subject since in our here we don't discuss the pros and cons of whether it is correct for an unit to be re-assingned or not.

During the long mobilisation that India went through recently, troops in peace time role were deployed and it was counted against their peace tenure. Some units came from active areas and returned to the same because of that, even though they should have had two years of 'peace'.

In India, the infantry has two year of 'peace' [family station] and two years plus of 'field' or active service.

01 Dec 03,, 15:19
I wonder if his "butting in" wasn't in ralation to trying to take pressure off the 4 enlisted guys. If thats the case then he was doing his job IMO.

01 Dec 03,, 23:15
For him to say something means that while 4 guys didnt want to go, the rest of the unit was going to go with bad morale, and likely be innefective.

To me, he was just standing up for his men.

This is not an all out war. In such a case it would be different. Then it would be "SHUT THE F UP AND GET ON THE PLANE".

Officer of Engineers
02 Dec 03,, 04:03
The Capt is at fault here. It's not his place to speak up for those 4 men unless they happenned to be pltn sgts or LTs. Even here, these are 4 individual cases, not an entire unit.

It's the Company Sgts-Majs and the Reg Sgts-Maj who are responsible for morale of the enlisted. If there's a problem, they'll let you know but they'll be the ones doing the fixing.

If the entire unit's moral is in the dumps, it would have gone all the way up to bn long before this. The CSMs and the RSMs would have seen to that.

I don't buy for one second the Capt's excuse that he was speaking up for those 4 men. His unit must have qualified to even be considered for deployment. If moral was in the dumps, they wouldn't have qualified.

There's a difference between a waiver and an order. It wasn't an order. If he can't tell the difference, he should be GCM for stupidity.

What the Capt is actually doing is that he doesn't want to go (and that I can understand) but doesn't want his promotional changes disappearing either (why should I promote you if you don't want to do the job?)? And he's using legalnese to cover his butt.

Well, it won't work. If you don't want to go, you won't get promoted. It's as simple as that. Knowing the US military's officer credo of upwards or outwards, you should be looking for another job.

Hell, I've been there, done that. Didn't even see home for 2 years straight (but stupidly keep paying rent for the place). But that's the job and the time you do. I wanted that promotion (actually, I wanted the pay raise), I've had to do the job.

And believe me, it wasn't as though going civie didn't occurred to me.

02 Dec 03,, 16:12
I think that the Colonel's explanation is what should be correct.

By becoming a 'leader' or 'spokesman' unless it is your duty, it is insubordination and to a lesser extent collective disobedience.