Monday, February 06, 2006

Cover up of Abuse Begins at Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Breaking News on Thursday, Feb 9th: See Another Family with a Son in PTRP at Fort Sill Weighs In on the Abuse! (press back button on your browser to return here)

Private Gopher, the young soldier who was recovering from knee surgery when Sergeant Langford kicked his legs out from under him on January 31st (see
“Abuse Escalates”
below), has been motivated to sign a statement that says he did not receive any ill treatment at the hands of his sergeants. For this, they are dangling a discharge in front of him…sweet escape from his tormentors. Any soldier who was present (i.e., entire Physical Training Rehabilitation Program contingent) should not have seen the act that did not occur, as they were ordered (by the 1st Sgt) to turn around as it was happening. Therefore, any soldier who DID see anything [that did not happen] is guilty of failure to obey a lawful order (which is a punishable offense). The details of the statement are not known, as Private Gopher can’t discuss them with his anyone lest his superiors renege on the deal. What an expedient way to get rid of someone who has become an inconvenient victim. As a footnote, it has been revealed that Private Gopher was one of two soldiers who were on suicide watch for a young man who broke under the stress (see
“Breaking News”
below) and had to be taken to a crisis intake center in Lawton, Oklahoma for several days. That young man has since been returned to Fort Sill, and awaits discharge as well.

Discharges have become highly sought after items these days at the PTRP at Fort Sill. This is hardly news to those who know what these young soldiers, who volunteered to serve their country, are enduring on a daily basis. (See Abuse is Rampant below) Prepared to serve their country, they were shocked to be treated in a fashion that violates the Geneva Convention:
at the hands of their own superiors. Forbidden acts in the convention include: (a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; (c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment; 2. The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.

Let’s not forget that these are soldiers whose offense was getting INJURED during training. Some are technically graduates who were prevented from proceeding to their first duty assignment; some are trainees who were felled at various points in training. At least one has been in residence at PTRP for fourteen months!

Family Day Weekend – What to do with the Families of Injured Soldiers?

It was Thursday, February 2nd. Family Day Weekend was due to start on Friday, February 3rd. The bay floor, painstakingly [sic] hand-scraped by injured soldiers in the PTRP, was still not waxed. That was unacceptable. After all, the families were arriving on Friday. All wall lockers (full length lockers) were hauled out by the PTRP soldiers, again without regard for recovering injuries, and placed outside in the field. When the PTRP soldiers completed waxing the floor, they replaced all wall lockers.

5AM Friday, February 3rd: Oh happy day! Soldiers in the PTRP were informed that they would be able to possess some portable electronic devices that had been confiscated (walkmans, etc.). They would be allowed to leave the post with their family members, and wear their [coveted] civilian clothing! In addition, on Sunday they would be allowed to watch the Super Bowl and order pizza! Thus the report to the families would be rosier than might have been expected.

Between 0900 and 1500 (9AM-3PM), families were given a tour of the facilities (soldiers were disappointed that no one noticed the floors), and an overview of the “treatment” given their family members. One parent questioned his son’s continued detention after an injury that remained unimproved after five months and was quickly hushed by being told he would be spoken to one-on-one. Since at least November of 2005, PTRP families have been told that their sons (there are no females in Basic Training at Fort Sill) would soon be moved to a barracks at Fort Sill, instead of being housed like livestock, 40-50 to a room. This rabbit was again pulled from the hat to deflect any questions about the living conditions of the PTRP soldiers. However, as usual, no time frame was given for this transition.

There needs to be a full investigation of the abusive practices at Fort Sill. Those practices have resulted in soldiers being retained for up to fourteen months and given medication that renders them incoherent; injuries that are verifiable with bone scans are not treated as “real” (“no bony protrusions”); heavy physical labor is ordered without regard to severity of injury or recover status; verifiable psychological and physical abuse goes unpunished; and just last week, an assault took place that is being covered up. The IET (Initial Entry Training) status of these soldiers is being used to excuse mistreatment the like of which has made national headlines when used on foreign detainees. Are we so numb to the abuse of “enemy combatants” that we no longer care that our own sons, brothers and husbands are receiving similar treatment right here at home? If so, then we have come to a place where I am ashamed to be an American.

My eldest son served in Iraq. He is one of the lucky ones to come home safe and sound and whole. The young men retained at the Fort Sill, Oklahoma PTRP deserve no less.


Blogger Runahway Trucker said...

This story is very true. I have also posted a story about this very thing. See www. for more. We really need to contact anyone who is willing to help these men in this PTRP unit. It truly worse than what has been stated.

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just thought I should let you know, Tellinh a soldier (or sailor) to turn around so that he/she could not witness an illegal act is an illegal order, and illegal orders must be disobeyed (that is written into the UCMJ)

6:38 AM  
Blogger Runahway Trucker said...

It might be illegal to give it but do remember, many of the men are new recruits and may or may not be aware of what is or is not a legal order, I don't know. I do know what I have seen and heard while I was there. I have seen the facial expressions as these young men have told what is taking place in there, hoping someone will help make a change for the better for them. Thanks for the heads up info though.

6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone in Oklahoma contact an Oklahoma branch of one of the "Advocate Groups" that do intervention where it is necessary for recruits......Probably you can find the advocate groups listed in GOOGLE. There need to be some lawsuits and advocates will help to pursue this.

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One letter from a soldier to his congressman and this whole thing ends.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Pat deV said...

It's "easy" to sit on the sidelines and say that an "illegal" order must be disobeyed. But when you have only one sergeant in charge, the oversight is worse than in a situation where there are more superiors. And when your 1st Sgt gives the order, what do you do? There is an attitude, as well, about "privates", at this training post, that (as stated) they are all worthless pieces of s*** and will do anything to get out of work...and that all injured trainees are malingerers. As to the congressional aspect, it sounds great, but the actual fact of a congressional caseworker inquiry is a long process. This has been done in the case of Pvt Sincere, but I'm unsure about whether anyone else is taking action. I have heard from one parent who is afraid and confused. This parent is afraid to make the situation worse for their family member. They don't know what to do. And I can say from the documentation I am accumulating that it's difficult to even find out what to do next in an "official" capacity, let alone trying to get anyone else to intervene or even report on this situation.

8:01 AM  
Anonymous adria sours said...

I'm a female who was in PTRP at Fort Sill. I was injured in basic training. When did they stop having females at basic training there? PTRP is a joke and nothing more. They send you there to "get better" and give you a strict time frame. I remember one time in particular our drill sergeant made us crawl thru mud the length of a football field regardless of our injuries. I had 7 broken bones in both feet combined so it was excruciating. I was there for 5 months and didn't get healed the way they wanted. I welcomed their discharge. They make you do things you shouldn't with your injuries.

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must say that had I read this a few months ago I would not have believed it. Now I know first hand. I have a son in the Army in basic at Benning and he is not being treated very well.
Until his injury we were receiving very upbeat letters from him talking about how he loved the Army and how excited he was, he told us basic was hard but he was doing very well. About six weeks in he was injured and he called us to tell us they are discharging him under a medical discharge. That was three weeks ago. The letters we get now tell us that he sits in the HQ all day for 12 hours and more, staring at the wall, he mentioned that he is called names. He told us that his own DS and his company treat him with respect but others do not. The injured are ridiculed often and are all treated like quitters.
It is interesting that they label him a quitter even though he marched on a fractured leg without complaint and then broke it the next morning while running.
Today's letter told us that a Cpt there made him look up the word "infirm" and tell him the definition of the word and then informed him that "this is you, weak, feeble and useless".
It scares me, he has only mentioned these things in passing, most of his letters are just his despair at being sent home and his despair at watching the others go out and train while he sits and waits.
I am angry over this treatment. I am a veteran and come from a family of veterans. I have taught my children patriotism and was proud when he chose to serve his country and proud of the letters I was receiving talking of his commitment to the Army and his desire to make a career of it and that he felt he had found a home, now I am ashamed that he is being treated like this. In my opinion there is nothing more precious that we can offer our country than our brave sons and daughters and for them to be treated in this manner is deplorable.
Reading this blog makes me even more concerned because it was my hope that he is simply facing a couple of people with no honor who are just being cruel, yet from reading this it seems it is common and I worry for his mental state if he has to stay in these conditions for very long.

11:59 PM  

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