FORT MEADE, MD – Sergeant Major Billie Fulbright, a 28-year veteran of the United States Army, assures personnel at the base that he “really want[s] to deploy” in the near future.
Despite serving in the military during a time that saw combat operations in Panama, Somalia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the SGM has yet to find the opportunity to deploy into a combat zone.
“The timing has really never worked out,” SGM Fulbright told The Duffel Blog. “I was in the 82nd [Airborne Division] during Operation Just Cause, but I never got the chance to go to Panama because I had gout and was non-deployable. That effing [sic] killed me. There’s nothing an 11 Bravo [infantryman] wants more than to face the enemy in close-quarters combat and triumph in battle for the sake of American interests abroad.”
“The Persian Gulf War was another shitty deal,” Fulbright continued. “I was going through the pre-deployment screening and it turned out I had a pre-existing thyroid condition that needed treatment. It’s rough for a squad leader to send his soldiers down-range and not be able to go with them, but my men received three bronze stars and two purple hearts, so my training in garrison must have done them some good.”
“I was in Korea during that whole thing in Somalia,” Fulbright added, “but I told my company commander that I really wanted to go where the fight was. There were positions available in Bosnia for staff sergeants at the time, but I’m not into that POG shit; I wanted to go to the big show. Unfortunately, the opportunity never presented itself.”
Regarding the current Global War on Terror, SGM Fulbright has especially choice words for Army leadership.
“Once shit popped off in Afghanistan and Iraq, I really wanted to do my part in the fight. On September 11th, I was in a TDA unit and not in the pool of deployable soldiers. No matter what I tried to do to deploy, they kept rejecting me. Yeah, I’m great at training soldiers to find, fix, and destroy the enemy, but I would appreciate the opportunity to do it myself in a real-world setting. I guess I’m more valuable to the ‘top brass’ in a training position rather than a leadership position in an MTOE unit. That’s the only reason I can think of that I was stuck as an [initial entry training] first sergeant and sergeant major for almost eight years.”
Fellow soldiers at Fort Meade understand SGM Fulbright’s difficulties. LTC John Ambrose, the garrison executive officer, told TDB via e-mail, “This is seriously some bullshit. I’ve been trying to deploy for eight or nine years, but kept getting denied the opportunity because I was a recruiting company commander for two years, then I did training with industry for a year, then I got my master’s degree, then I was a congressional aide. Why doesn’t the Army figure out a way for us to broaden our horizons and still kill the Taliban without it adversely affecting our career?”