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Deep Cover #1

What field-grade at Ft. Polk needs to know his wife is wise to an affair he's having with an enlisted woman? She's ready to go to the military police . . . A word to the wise at McChord AFB. Better check those flights coming in from Japan. Some of the "cargo" could be highly illegal . . . More bad news to come for the Marines on Okinawa . . . What Army officer, initials KP, is about to find his past catch up with him? . . . CID agent, initials ST - you should know that "intimidation call" you made was recorded, beginning to end. A copy is on its way to higher headquarters . . . Is Lt. Cdr. Robert Loeh, alleged to have sold "Ecstasy" to undercover agents, the ONLY Naval officer in San Diego selling drugs? . . . Congratulations to LTG Claudia Kennedy, whose four year-old "sexual harassment" charges against MG Larry Smith ended his career. She's just signed with the high-powered Hollywood agency William Morris for a candid book about her years in uniform. Can a TV movie and cover of MS. Magazine be far behind?

TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE

(The story below is true. The names have been changed and location not revealed for obvious reasons. This is the first in a series.)

"Captain, SSG Hilder just called. Says he needs to speak to you right away. He sounded upset," the CQ said.

My tour as duty officer had just begun and I had some paperwork to get out of the way. Hilder was a good soldier, been in the Guard for a long time. He was a cop in civilian life. He also was married to the nurse who ran the medical facility.

She was a captain too, but that's where the difference came in. She might as well have been a colonel !

"Arrogant, vicious, obnoxious - all those terms had been used repeatedly by cadre and Guard members, male and female, that came in contact with her. Another descriptive phrase was "out-of-control."

But it didn't matter how "out-of-control," because all the officers - both "M-Day" and "full-timers" - knew she was having an affair with the deputy commandant on post. All, apparently, but her NCO husband. But now, that had changed.


 

"I ought to kill the bastard," the sarge said bitterly after I arrived at the med facility and he had checked up and down the hall to make sure we were alone.

He knew now what we had known for weeks and didn't have the heart to tell him.

"She's left and moved in with him," said Hilder. "Told me she wants a divorce."

I resisted the temptation to tell him he'd be better off without her.

The deputy commandant, a light colonel, had left his wife and got an apartment. Now he and the captain were
shacked up.

Not that his superiors cared. One brigadier general, nicknamed "Killer" for his ways with the women, got his girlfriend - a sergeant's wife - a high-paying cushy state job at headquarters. He was very much married and the girlfriend only had a high school diploma. But that didn't matter. And, anyway, the NCO husband didn't mind. He boasted he was going to be a warrant officer. At least that was the "deal" with the general.

"How could she do this to me?" the veteran noncom said, tears of anger and frustration welling up in his eyes.

SSG Hilder was nearing retirement. The captain had been a nurse at a civilian hospital when her husband talked her into joining the Guard. She would become an officer, he explained. Then there would be two military pay checks - his for drills and annual training - hers as a "full-timer." That would pay a lot of bills that had piled up.

It didn't take the nurse long to learn "the tricks of the trade," such as how to make sure "favored one's" always passed their physicals. And how to "make life hell" for a soldier or officer who was in trouble with the brass.

You could put people on "medical profile" who were otherwise eligible for promotion. That was a real career-killer. The weight-control records could always be tampered with. One favorite stunt was to "manipulate" the EKG
machine so "heart problems" would turn up. There were lots of ways to dispense "favors" or "get even," and this scrawny, chain-smoking captain with the blonde hair and pointy chin knew them all.


"You're the only officer we can trust," Hilder told me. "What can I do? Don't I have ANY rights?"

"Sure you do," I told him. "But that doesn't matter. You know LTC Brown is 'tight' with the T.A.G?"

I'd meant the Adjutant General, a political appointee whose egomania and ineptitude had demoralized his state Guard.

"There's two standards, sergeant," I said. "Your wife can violate the regs on adultery, fraternization and conduct unbecoming an officer, but if no one is interested in enforcement of the rules, she's immune to any discipline and so
is LTC Brown.

"You've got to remember. The fish always rots from the head down. When the top brass are committing the same crimes, the only people who get punished are those on the general's shit list."

"What about the IG?" he asked.

"Well, I've never dealt with him personally, but I hear he's the eyes and ears for the old man. He probably won't do
a thing to help you, but you can't afford to bypass him. They'll use that against you if you do.

"My advice is, file a formal complaint and ask them to do a 15-6.

"In the meantime, off the record, I think I can get you the phone number for Brown's wife. Give her a call and
co-ordinate your next move. My suggestion is, you file for divorce and name the colonel as her boyfriend. Brown's wife could do likewise and name yours. Once there's paperwork on file at the courthouse, that's to your advantage."


"Oh, sergeant. Please come in and sit down," said the solicitous colonel. "Now, tell me why you think your wife is having an affair with LTC Brown?"

"Well, for openers, sir, they've moved in together," Hilder told his state Guard inspector general. "While I'm working my civilian job, she's been playing around with the colonel. They're both full-timers, so doesn't that fall
under the UCMJ?"

"It could," the IG said. "But what proof do you have?"

Hilder looked at the smarmy colonel and then thought better of what he wanted to say.

"You see, sergeant, absent any hard evidence, nothing can be proven. Have you ever seen them in bed together?"

"Of course not . . . sir," Hilder said angrily. "I'm at work during the week."

"Has anyone else seen them carrying on?"

"Sir! My wife has moved in with a lieutenant colonel, her boss, in my chain-of-command, and he's left his wife. What more PROOF do you need?"

"Well, it's not that simple," the IG said, as he leaned back in his chair and tapped a pencil on his desk. "But we'll look into it and get back to you. Come see me next drill."


SSG Hilder's return visit was decidedly less friendly. Immediately after the door closed, the IG started to hammer away at him.

"Sergeant, do you have a drinking problem? Sergeant, do you ever beat your wife? Sergeant, do you resent your wife's success?"

Then came the kicker. Holding some personnel documents in his hands, the colonel
rose to his feet and looked down on the NCO with a sneer on his face.

"I see here you have just a few months to go before you're eligible to retire. You DO want to retire, DON'T you?"

The IG's words, his unveiled threat, hit Hilder like a load of bricks. As the air slowly exhaled from his lungs, the disgusted NCO responded, "Yes sir, I do."

There was silence in the room. SSG Hilder knew what he had to do. He didn't want to lose his pension.

"I wish to withdraw my charges," he said.


That night at the med facility, I talked Hilder out of killing Brown. "They'll only send you to Leavenworth. You'll
lose everything you've worked for. It's just not worth it. Anyway, they deserve each other."

The sergeant's face was contorted with anger and pain.

"Well," he said. "I hope the bastard dies of stomach cancer."

More than a year later, with the nurse now married to her newly-promoted boyfriend, he suddenly started to lose weight. Always a heavy smoker and drinker, the colonel's health went down hill fast.

In a matter of months, the doctors made the diagnosis: stomach cancer!

COL Brown was dead before Christmas.



 

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