FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — A soldier in the 101st Airborne Division who claims he's "not racist" during every argument he has about the Confederate flag, has surprisingly negative things to say about his supply NCOs.
After weeks of trying to clear the installation to move on to his next duty station, Spc. Marshall James has failed his inspection with the central issue facility (CIF) and his unit's supply room for the third time. CIF and supply rooms are known to be a nightmare for soldiers who are attempting to clear any base in the Army, regardless of if they are simply changing duty stations, getting out of the Army, or retiring.
"Listen, I'm not racist, I have a lot of black friends, but I can't stand how lazy and worthless every single supply NCO is," said James. "I don't like to stereotype people, because that's not American, but I swear I've never seen a white supply sergeant. Not that it makes a difference of course" James said after his third time being told to go 'clean his gear' again.
"I keep cleaning my body armor and it looks good to me, but those people keep saying it's still dirty. I've even used the pressure washer at the car wash and they still say it's not good enough. I didn't mean to 'those people' in a stereotypical meaning either."
Military gear like body armor and ruck sacks is turned in to supply and CIF so they can be issued to new soldiers arriving to the installation, which means the gear must be thoroughly cleaned, even if the equipment was dirty when it was issued to you.
"It's not my fault if these soldiers accept equipment that is already dirty or damaged, that's their job to inspect it and accept it or not. Besides, everything we issue is in excellent condition, because of our high standards for soldiers turning in their used equipment" said Victoria Hutton, director of Fort Campbell's CIF. "Our motto at CIF is; 'Since we can't make everyone happy, we won't let anyone be happy.'"
"People keep leaving us negative comment cards about how strict our standards are, as well as our hours of operation, but it's not my job to care about how hard clearing the installation is, just clean your shit and stop complaining," said Hutton.
"Me and Marhsall was just talkin' the other day when the supply NCO said told us to take off our confederate flag hats, but they can't make us not wear them because that's against my constitutional rights," James said.
"Just cause I say our supply NCO doesn't never does their job and doesn't deserve their rank, don't mean I'm a racist," said Spc. Nate Browning. "I'd say the same thing if they were the chosen race—I mean, white. It's a coincidence that they're black, that's not my fault" Browning said.
"I don't even remember signing for a compass, but those people keep trying to make me pay for one because they have a hand receipt they say I signed," said James. Soldiers have to physically sign for equipment they are issued to keep track of the unit inventory. If a soldier cannot provide everything they signed for when clearing the unit, they are given a statement of charges for the missing items.
"Between the charges from CIF and my supply room, I'm not going to be able to buy the exhaust I wanted for my diesel truck. My commander already made me take my 'truck nuts' off. This week can't get any worse" said James.