Lieutenant who wouldn't sign for billion-dollar power armor facing Court Martial

FORT BLISS, Texas — Army 2nd Lt. James Patterson is facing court-martial after refusing to sign for his platoon’s four experimental powered exoskeletons, totalling $2.3 billion in value.

“They just assumed I’d take responsibility for this gear I can’t afford to replace,” Patterson complained. “We took inventory and couldn’t even find one of the power suits at first. Luckily Pvt. Rico remembered seeing it in a bathroom stall in Charlie Company’s barracks.”

Patterson’s commander, Capt. John Blackstone, claims that the war machines are just like any other gear.

“You get your basic issue items and fourteen-hundred-page manual, then you maintain the suit like a vehicle,” said Blackstone. “A vehicle that runs on cold fusion, costs more than an F-16, and takes a week to inspect, but a vehicle nonetheless. I signed for weapons and stuff when I was a lieutenant, and I don’t see the difference.”

Part of the problem, according to Patterson, is that the power armor is a dangerous and wasteful expense from the start.

“Last week, Rico forgot his fusion reactor on range day,” Patterson contested. “He couldn’t use his armor, so we all had to carry our power suits to the range instead of wearing them. One of my guys rolled an ankle, and another was crushed to death by two tons of steel.”

Patterson is also being charged for manslaughter in the court-martial.

Rico points to other problems as well.

“Supply was out of large regular armor, so they gave me a medium long,” said Rico. “I can’t fit inside, and half of the components are still missing.” The suit is missing a laser cannon, an electro katana, and two ASIP radios.

Patterson concurred. “My joes spend most of their time cleaning out the star chambers on plasma blasters that don’t work, and all the replacement parts are ACU, not OCP. First sergeant won’t stand for mixed uniforms.”

Blackstone has not budged. “Our exoskeletons are cutting-edge tech, built to seek cover and call in air support from the F-35. We’re only a few trillion dollars away from these babies dominating the battlefield.”

In the meantime, Patterson has been transferred to S-2 so he can avoid taking on too much responsibility. He remains hopeful, as his court-martial is set to begin after everyone in the battalion gets green on dental, sometime next decade.