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Opinion: Staff Sergeant Bales Is A War Criminal

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William Calley

2nd Lt. William Calley

I’m writing to you today not just as a fellow combat veteran, but as an American. I understand the legal concept of innocent before proven guilty, but our justice system has no tolerance for those who flagrantly ignore the established rules of international conflict. To deploy to a foreign nation with the express purpose of protecting the local people, only to betray their trust by murdering them in cold blood is completely unacceptable.

I too was a member of the U.S. Army. I had the privilege of serving in Vietnam as an infantry platoon leader, and at no time did I ever sacrifice my personal integrity or sense of honor for nothing more than a personal vendetta against a group of ‘hostile locals’. War isn’t just about killing, it’s about hearts and minds. That’s what I always told my soldiers; always double-tap their hearts and minds. That’s how you win a village over. You have to storm in, arms open, and deliver the sweet release of freedom to those people at a muzzle velocity of 3,110 feet per second.

Instead you just went in there with guns blazing — alone. That should have been your first clue that what you were doing was wrong. At no point did you get orders from your company commander to “kill all combatants and suspects” regardless of your personal thoughts on the matter. You didn’t go into that tiny hamlet supported by a platoon or more of your fellow soldiers, righteous in the knowledge that your decisions were correct because everyone was taking part. For this I condemn you. Your cruel and evil actions have set the war effort back years, and have contributed to an increased negative focus on our war effort overseas, something the troops definitely don’t need at this juncture.

The Geneva Convention is very clear, and states that unarmed civilians should never be targeted for any reason. And yet you seem to have declared yourself above the law. Who the hell do you think you are Staff Sergeant? Some helicopter pilot protecting enemy combatants who decides that he knows more about a situation on the ground than the veteran infantrymen under heavy fire? You think you’re some rogue platoon leader just running through a friendly village, shooting people and burning down huts?

I remember when I was in combat. I told my soldiers to always serve honorably. Never do anything you may regret or become infamous for years from now. I think your platoon leader should have told you that. If he had, maybe this entire tragic situation could have been averted. Men, women, even children close to a year old! What were you thinking? This is a failure in leadership if I’ve ever heard one. And don’t you dare try and claim you were just “following orders”.

No officer would ever consent to the wholesale slaughter of an entire village.

During an operation targeting a little place called Pinkville, I gave my men strict instructions on how to act once we entered the village and led by example, not allowing the troops to do anything until I had done it first. That’s real leadership, Mr. Bales. When the operation was over, there wasn’t a single person alive in the village who opposed our counter-insurgency strategy. That’s how you win a war against a brutal enemy, as we did in southeast Asia.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no left-wing peace lover. I’m a firm believer in the Army, the Constitution, the Bible, in that order. Defending freedom is what we do, and like I’ve always told my men, “have a plan to kill everyone you meet, and be polite and professional when you do it.”

Unfortunately, Staff Sergeant Bales, you have failed to meet the high standards we have set for our officers and NCOs in the most professional Army on earth, and for that I cannot forgive you. I hope that you find peace spending the rest of your life rotting in a military prison, since that is the only recourse for someone who has so blatantly committed mass murder in a war zone.

Don’t you think for a single minute that after you are convicted you’ll receive a presidential pardon down the road. That would absolutely never happen. I’ll pray for you.

2nd Lt. (Ret.) William Calley is a decorated Vietnam veteran. He served with distinction in the famed ‘Americal Division’ and is personally credited with at least 22 confirmed enemy kills. After his time in the army, Calley was influential in brokering a peace deal between Vietnam and the United States, and he now serves on the boards of Amnesty International, the National Association of Second Lieutenants, and the NRA.

Army

Alabama National Guardsman charged after aborting unplanned mission

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GHAZNI, Afghanistan — An Alabama National Guard lieutenant is facing legal action after he aborted a botched mission, sources confirmed today.

1st Lt. Casey Wade attempted to penetrate a Taliban stronghold, but chose to abort the mission when his unprotected platoon took heavy enemy fire. After-action reports revealed the mission was totally unplanned and lacked critical material and emotional support from Wade’s chain of command.

Wade is alleged to have violated an Alabama National Guard policy that prohibits all abortions except on missions that pose a significant risk to the career of a colonel or higher.

“Clearly Wade wasn’t ready for this commitment, but he made his choice to go in, and he needed to see it through,” said Wade’s commander, Capt. Ted Shapiro. “Wade is an abomination, and should be thrown out of the Army immediately.”

Wade’s legal team sees the matter in a very different light. “They were only six weeks into a nine-month deployment, and didn’t even know that area was impregnable,” said Wade’s lawyer, Capt. Ashlynn Torgelson. “Wade was the ground commander, so that mission was his baby. His mission, his choice.”

Local Afghans were also supportive of Wade’s choice to abort.

“Last week, one of their bombs hit our universal preschool. These Alabamans are a bunch of baby killers,” a tribal elder told reporters.

If convicted, Wade could be forced to serve up to 99 years in the Alabama National Guard.

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Chinook catches Army flirting with younger, thinner aircraft

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PENTAGON — Long rumored tensions came to a head as the CH-47 Chinook Helicopter confronted the U.S. Army after discovering suggestive text messages on the Army’s phone, sources confirmed today.

The Chinook referenced an exchange that included a Snapchat video of the CH-53 Super Stallion (a name experts believe is clearly overcompensating for something) loading 55 troops internally and taking a 36,000 pound load. The Army claimed it can’t help what gets sent to their public account and that the Chinook should be flattered that other aircraft are so interested.

While the Army characterized the texts and several direct messages as non-committal and “just seeing what else is out there,” the Chinook expressed disbelief. It appears the Army engaged in detailed conversations with multiple different aircraft and allegedly solicited pictures of several with their ramp down.

“After all I’ve done, after 57 years, you’re going to try to run off with some skinny little skank who is barely off the assembly line?” the Chinook reportedly shouted during an exchange in a Pentagon hallway.

“Do you want me to go seats out? Is that it? Or maybe just fly around doors off like one of your little sluts?” it added.

The Army attempted to explain itself and suggested the Chinook was overreacting.

“Why do you get like this? You’re so paranoid,” the Army said. “The Osprey is already with the Marines. We met on a joint exercise. We’re just friends.”

This isn’t the first time the Army and the Chinook have had trouble in their relationship. The Army got pretty serious with the UH-60 Blackhawk in the ’90s and was ready to end it with the Chinook entirely, according to multiple friends close to the situation. That was until they had a new war together and things settled down.

The whole situation apparently resurfaced after someone mentioned to the Army that it had been in Afghanistan for over 17 years. The Army later stated over beers that it loves Afghanistan but is worried about losing its identity, according to friends.

“Like, what if I want to travel still? Check out Asia? I feel like Russia has been eyeing me since forever, but we were never ready to make a move at the same time,” the Army allegedly stated. “Plus, the Osprey said it can do fixed wing and rotary wing. I’ve never had a bi-functional aircraft, and I feel like that’s something I could totally get into.”

Further statements by the Army now seem to indicate they and the Chinook are “on a break” despite evidence that Chinooks are still carrying the Army’s troops both at home and abroad.

The Chinook was reportedly seen on the flight line binging on ice cream and blasting Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” album while fielding questions from the CH-46 fleet about whether the split is their fault and who they will live with now.

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Ancestry DNA test reveals soldier comes from a long line of POGs

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soldier cleaningshower

FORT HOOD, Texas – One Army specialist experienced a wave of emotions today when his Ancestry DNA test revealed that he hails from a long line of POGs, sources confirmed today.

“I always felt like there was something driving me to serve my country in combat,” said Pfc. Darren Hotchkiss, a laundry and bath specialist in the 157th Quartermaster Company. “Well, not IN combat … but you know, close to the action … but not TOO close.”

Hotchkiss’ mother bought him the DNA test as a birthday present to help him find out who of the 32 men in her AIT platoon was his father. The test results immediately linked Hotchkiss to a number of family trees where he found that serving America’s warriors ran deep in his blood.

“Oh wow. My 6th great-grandfather was an animal husbandry sergeant during the Revolutionary war and his son was a cobbler first class during the War of 1812,” Hotchkiss said, his eyes welling up with tears while he clicked through the results. “And it looks like my dad was one of mom’s drill sergeants. He was a mess kit repair specialist in Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War.”

Hotchkiss found that he had POG relatives in other wars, including an observation balloon operator/maintainer during the Civil War, a farrier during World War I, and a military policeman during the Korean War.

Not all of the news was positive. In an embarrassing turn, Hotchkiss found that his grandfather, the family black sheep, was an infantryman who participated in the D-Day invasion during World War II.

“Not everyone is cut out for the rear I guess. Look here though, it says my 3rd great grandmother was a ‘public woman,’ during the Civil War, whatever that means,” Hotchkiss beamed. “Even some of the women in my family enjoyed serving our nation’s finest.”

Experts say stories like Hotchkiss’ are becoming more prevalent as Americans seek to discover their family histories by purchasing DNA tests through private companies.

Hotchkiss told Duffel Blog that while some soldiers chide him for being a POG, only the most courageous could clean a shower unit after an NFL cheerleader USO show.

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I lived it: I stole the Navy goat, and now I just … have a goat

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We all do some foolish things in our youth when we don’t understand the consequences. For me, a lighthearted prank saddled me with a goat for the rest of my career, and I have to tell you — goats are a lot of fucking work.

It started late one night in Bradley Barracks on a cool autumn night just before the Army-Navy Football game. My roommate and I were rubbing each other’s backs and talking about our dreams, like we always did, when we hatched a fantastical plan to steal the Navy goat. We would be legends.

Still, I wasn’t ready for that moment, deep below Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, when I locked eyes with Adm. Ernst J. King the goat. I didn’t expect him to seem so worldly, so wise, so game for the adventure. There were many goats in the goat dungeon that night, but I knew that Ernest was the goat for me. Ernest stood aside from the common goats, lazily eating “The Bluejacket’s Manual,” and practically leaped into the rucksack I’d brought for him. Our first touch was electric.

The next few days were a haze. While the military world panicked at the loss of Ernest, we spent lazy days on Clinton Field, sharing a secret just the two of us knew. I showed him how to cut a pie properly; he showed me how to eat the pie tin.

I realized, as I boarded the bus for the Army-Navy game, Ernest tucked neatly under my winter cape, that I had devised such an excellent scheme to steal Ernest I had never thought to make a plan to return him.

Time with Ernest flew by. Before I knew it, it was branch night, then graduation. As I threw my cap into the air, Ernest headbutted the chair out from under me, a sign of things to come.

Being a platoon leader is hard for anyone, but it’s harder with a goat. At unit PT, he’d run faster than me and jump higher than me, embarrassing me in front of my men.

I was excited and nervous for my first deployment, a fact lost on Ernest. He was a constant liability. He never wanted to stay on the FOB, which I can respect, but he was always getting confused as a gift, bribe, snack or sex toy when we went out on patrol.

If I thought Ernest was difficult on deployment, I really wasn’t ready for how he was going to handle our next assignment, as an assistant training officer at brigade S3. Ernest had no patience drafting PowerPoint slides for hours. He was clearly the kind of goat that you needed to keep with troops, the kind of goat that needed a mission. He took out his frustrations about the assignment — about the things he’d seen on deployment — by drinking too much. I could never get him enough water, and then he’d pee on the paper shredder. There were times I didn’t think we could keep it together.

Things got a little better when I picked up captain. I had a little more money to spend on Ernest. He got frustrated at the long hours and the midnight phone calls, but by that point, Ernest understood that we’d spent too long together. He couldn’t do better than me.

Sometimes people say to me, “How did you get a goat in the Pentagon?” I’d ask you how I could not have a goat in the Pentagon. Sure, now that I’m chief of staff of the Army, it raises some questions about why I don’t have a mule. It’s a ridiculous question. I’ll enjoy an evening in the company of Traveller or Trooper, but I bear a responsibility to Ernest. Ernest made it through War College, too, and he’s never brought a cell phone into a SCIF, so he’s ahead of most of us.

I never planned this life. Ernest J. King didn’t plan this life. Tradition brought us together. I think sometimes that Ernest needs to go back, but we both know that he can’t go back to naive midshipmen and lush greenery of Annapolis. Not after what he saw in Afghanistan. The VA isn’t ready for his type. He has no marketable skills. He can’t make it on the outside.

I’ll warn you: traditions are fun, cadets, but think through it. Always have an exit plan. Ernest and I didn’t. And I still have a fucking goat.

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Squad leader dies after first sergeant tells soldiers to ‘immolate’ good leaders

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FORT CARSON, Colo. – A 4th Infantry Division squad leader burned to death after his first sergeant told soldiers at morning formation that they should immolate good leaders if they wanted to be successful, sources confirmed today.

Staff Sgt. John D. Arc, a two-time non-commissioned officer of the year, had just returned from mentoring troubled lieutenants when his squad approached him in the motor pool with matches, gasoline, and tears in their eyes.

“When first sergeant tells you to do something, you execute,” Pfc. Doug Malone said as he swept Arc’s ashes into a pile in the motor pool. “Staff Sgt. Arc was a great squad leader — someone you should really try to be like.”

Before meeting his tragic end, Arc patiently tried to explain to the soldiers what the first sergeant actually meant to say at formation. When he realized the troops could not be dissuaded from turning him into a human road flare, Arc provided helpful tips on how to preserve fuel and matches.

1st Sgt. Brandon Moore, who holds a PhD from American Military University and a GED from the state of Texas, called a formation to clear the air and prevent any future misunderstandings.

“Staff Sgt. Arc was a good man and a stagnant leader. This was just a fortunate mistake,” Moore said, shaking his head. “I guess I could have conjugated more clearly, but dwelling on it is just a mute point. Hindsight is 50/50, you know.”

Moore ended the formation after providing tasks for the company to complete before they could be released for the day.

While a few soldiers in the formation appeared to be confused, they all gave a confident “hooah” when Moore asked if they understood.

“Sometimes top has us do some strange things,” said Spc. Alan Balderman. “But the Army wouldn’t continue to promote people and put them in charge of soldiers if they were idiots.”

At press time, soldiers in Moore’s company were seen searching for a lost set of “MVGs” at a “mount” training site.

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Officers with Bronze Star license plates least likely to have left FOB

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Bronze Star

WASHINGTON – A study released today found that officers who purchased non-valor Bronze Star license plates for their vehicles were 98% less likely to have left a forward operating base, or FOB, during a deployment than officers who did not purchase the plates.

The Pentagon spent two months and roughly $17 billion on the study, which was originally intended to determine why some officers were colossal douchebags while others were only slightly less so. A clear pattern emerged, according to the study’s researchers.

“They were all fobbits,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Hill, the study’s manager. “The handful of officers who had left the wire did so either accidentally or purely against their will. In one instance, an officer got lost and wandered onto an MRAP after salsa night. He was fine but the other folks in the S-6 shop never heard the end of it. They’re the real heroes.”

Established during World War II, the Bronze Star Medal was awarded for merit or heroism while engaged against an enemy of the United States. Today, the non-valor version of the medal is a rite-of-passage award for officers and senior non-commissioned officers who complete a deployment without losing property, sleeping with a subordinate or murdering someone.

The study findings shocked some officers, but many soldiers and non-commissioned officers seemed unfazed.

“I think the license plates are great,” said Spc. Robert Larson. “They let me know which officers are most likely to cross the street for a salute or scream at me for their own failures.”

Researchers claim there were other findings, such as the correlation between having the license plates and driving like an asshole, though they say it will take years and “much, much more money” to unpack all of the data.

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ENDGAME SPOILER: Captain America kills himself in VA parking lot post credits

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NEW YORK CITY – A Marvel spokesperson confirmed today that recently released “Avengers: End Game” featured a post-credits scene of Captain America killing himself outside a Department of Veterans Affairs facility in downtown New York.

The popular franchise character had been the center of numerous rumors about his mental state following Thanos’ cull in “Avengers: Infinity War” last year. Fellow Avengers had expressed concerns about their beloved comrade largely based around reported alcoholism and indicators of serious post-traumatic stress in the days and weeks leading up to his apparent suicide.

“Its just so hard to believe” stated philanthropist playboy Tony Stark, aka Iron Man. “The old man survived Nazis, being frozen for 70 years, and The Snap only to go and kill himself in some parking lot? Who DOES that?”

While not much is known at press time, key experts are quick to caution that the investigation is still ongoing, but many suspect the 98-year-old Army veteran suffered massive blunt force trauma to the skull as a result of a self-inflicted shield-throw to the head.

VA officials quickly released a statement commenting that actor Chris Evans is neither dead nor a veteran, but it did little to quell the outrage many people feel about the scene. Protests have erupted across the country outside both VA facilities and movie theaters demanding answers and justice for the fictional character.

“Its outrageous!” screamed some neck-beard in a ridiculously logo’d t-shirt. “He is a hero and did not deserve to die like that. Quite frankly, it’s unjust, unforgivable, un-American, and its not even canon to the comic books!”

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Sergeant major of the Army approves new background for official photos

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Photo Credit: U.S. Army

WASHINGTON — The Army has approved a new background option for portraits and DA photos, Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey announced today.

The background, officially titled “Background, Photographic, #88,  Totally Fly,” features a criss-crossed network of luminescent pink and azure laser beams set against a subdued field of midnight blue.

Dailey conveyed his enthusiasm about the new photo option.

“The chief [of staff] and I decided that we need an inspiring photo backdrop, one that puts the professionalism and honor of the American soldier on full display,” Daily said.

“We’re also at a time where we are looking to the past for inspiration,” he continued. “The early ’90s were a time of great heroism and noble sacrifice in the American Army, from the deserts of Iraq to the streets of Mogadishu. I can think of no better way to honor the legacy of our 1990s military than by this classic backdrop.”

“I think you’ll agree that, as they used to say, it’s ‘all that and a bag of chips,’” he added.

The background will be available for portraits in lieu of the American flag, as well as for DA photos, for any soldiers who want to accent their promotion file with some “visual flair,” the new regulation states.

Some on social media have expressed surprise that the background omits the American flag entirely, but this couldn’t be avoided, Daily said.

“We tried to fit the flags in, but that left us with fewer lasers,” he explained.

The new background is not without controversy. Ned Hazelton, an attorney representing the School and Sports Photographers of America, claims that the background bears a suspicious resemblance to a certain popular school photo background from the early 1990s.

“This background has been in use by school photographers for years,” he said. “This is outright plagiarism like when they ripped off MultiCam and called it OCP [Operational Camouflage Pattern].”

Despite potential legal challenges, the background will be available at all Department of the Army Official Photograph Facilities, Army HRC confirms on their website.

“When scheduling your photo, please select your background from the drop-down menu: ‘Flags,’ or ‘Rad Retro,’” the website instructs.

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