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Military Families Military Families

A letter from a major fired by the Army

Posted by on Aug. 7, 2014 at 3:33 PM
  • 32 Replies

http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/08/07/a_letter_from_a_major_fired_by_the_army

This letter arrived this morning. I am running it with the author's permission:

My name is Major Charles V. Slider III and I am currently stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. I am an African-American armor officer, proud father, and husband and graduate of Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. I was selected for the recently convened Officer Separation Boards for the Department of the Army for a mistake over eight years ago. The mistake was a DUI in which I received a General Officer Memorandum for Record in 2006. Since this incident, I strived for excellence in every job that I performed.

I trained soldiers for deployments to Iraq as part of the surge into theater from 2006-2008. From 2008-2011, I attended and completed Ranger School, Air Assault School and earned the Expert Infantryman Badge. I commanded troops in combat in Afghanistan where I earned the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal for Valor, and the Purple Heart for actions against a determined enemy in RC East. After the deployment, I was selected as the executive officer for the deputy commander for the Combined Arms Center of Training at Fort Leavenworth serving in the capacity as the daily assistant for a general officer. The following year I was selected among a field of majors to attend the Commanding General and Staff Officer College at Fort Leavenworth, as well as the school of advanced military studies. Both prestigious institutes serve as the educational nexus for field-grade officers. Upon graduating from SAMS in May 2014, I was notified that I would not receive an assignment due to being assessed as high risk the GOMAR in my restricted file.

On August 1, I was notified of my removal from active duty service. Although I accept this fate, this is not justifiable due to the sacrifices that both my family and I have endured. 

As a resident ILE/SAMS graduate, my interpretation of this entire process is that it involved no critical thinking about the types of officers maintained in the current military structure. In certain cases, specific skills, attributes, and character traits are required in order to provide a balance of the warrior scholar. To this end the board process chose individuals for elimination that met all of the requirements, but possessed one black mark. Instead of using judgment and common sense in determining the number of officers required for service, an arbitrary number was provided. This created a system in which officers were selected based on a mistake rather than their overall contribution to the Army. One lapse in judgment does not constitute a pattern of misconduct, nor a judgment of overall character. These types of decisions knee-jerk reactions within the Army have the potential to erode trust within the lower ranks.

As an officer, I believe that we should be judged on our body of work, not one isolated incident. Furthermore, this act to remove me from service serves as a blunt example of how stoic and regimented the board process is as a system. As a Purple Heart recipient and proud member of the service, my family and I have given the Army our never-ending faith and commitment. However, the Army has seen it fit to remove my services as an officer from its ranks. Although the details of the board instructions will remain hidden, this also serves as ironclad proof that these awards are merely a method to provide credibility to a force that has integrity issues and morally barren for true sacrifices. This letter is an attempt to highlight the issues residing within an unfair system and to provide context to others within the system. As a combat veteran of two theaters, Iraq and Afghanistan, I do not expect to be treated differently or to receive any sort of pat on the back. However, my actions after 2006 prove my family's enduring faith to an ever-evolving conflict and requirements to serve. I have served this great nation with distinction and honor and deserve a valid explanation of why its leaders choose to remove my services from the American people. I accomplished every mission presented to and went above and beyond what is expected of an Army officer. I hope that this letter finds you in good faith.

Very respectfully,
MAJ Charles V. Slider

by on Aug. 7, 2014 at 3:33 PM
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Replies (1-10):
chrlstoncharmed
by Melissa on Aug. 7, 2014 at 3:37 PM
6 moms liked this

Boo-hoo. I'd like to know how he even made it to Major with a DUI in his file. :-\ 

kmeow
by Member on Aug. 7, 2014 at 3:42 PM
4 moms liked this

Yeah, DUI is kind of a huge deal. It's not like he got a counseling for losing his ID once and they kicked him out, it's a freaking DUI. Those sort of huge mistakes can come back to bite a person.

.oOMellyOo.
by Silver Member on Aug. 7, 2014 at 3:51 PM
3 moms liked this

I have mixed feelings on this letter.... 

One, why did he have to refer to his ethnicity? What differences does the color of his skin make to his plea?

Two, he believes that his "mistake" years ago shouldn't play into the overall selection, when there are good officers ( and enlisted) that have no black marks that have been separated for less. As an officer who made a bad decision to drink and drive ( seriously this is a real no brainer...) on the outside looking in I have to ask what other common sense mistake he might have made despite his contributions. We are gutting our military even more, and DH's year group will be on the chopping block next year, good isn't good enough anymore, we are demanding perfection from all of our service members. 

cocoroo
by Coco on Aug. 7, 2014 at 3:56 PM
2 moms liked this

Cry me a river.  They are downsizing.  Things from years ago are biting a lot of people now.

mischele
by Member on Aug. 7, 2014 at 4:03 PM
What does his race have to do with it?
B1Bomber
by Member on Aug. 7, 2014 at 4:20 PM
6 moms liked this

I have no sympathy for those who drink and drive. My friend is facing force reduction despite a perfect record and tons of commendations because his official MOS is one thing and all his assignments have been cyber, so it looks like he's done nothing in eight years. THAT is arbitrary.

Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 on Aug. 7, 2014 at 4:27 PM
1 mom liked this

I am not moved. Oh well.

He is 1 of 500. I hope that he has a plan B.

lizzielouaf
by Bronze Member on Aug. 7, 2014 at 5:50 PM
1 mom liked this

I have news for him, a DUI on your record can and does majorly impact your career in the civilian world as well. Why should the military be any different?

ditsyjo
by Member on Aug. 7, 2014 at 6:44 PM
1 mom liked this
Like they say " you drink, you drive, you lose"
violinjewel
by Julia on Aug. 7, 2014 at 6:49 PM
I have no sympathy for him.
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