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“SOUND OFF” # 2


THIS IS THE SECOND EDITION OF “SOUND OFF,” A NEW FEATURE IN MILITARYCORRUPTION.COM THAT WILL GIVE READERS A “FIRST-PERSON” ACCOUNT OF MILITARY WRONGDOING AND INJUSTICE AS SEEN AND EXPERIENCED BY OUR MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM.

GENERAL DYNAMICS BUYS OFF
GENERAL HEEBNER – FAULTY
“STRYKER” ARMORED VEHICLE
A VAST BOONDOGGLE – WHY ARE WE
NOT SURPRISED?

By Lonnie T. Shoultz


What’s the largest ongoing Army purchase contract at this time? It’s the acquisition of more than 2100 armored cars called “Strykers.”

The top brass could have chosen an American model designated as the M-113A3 (Gavin) that is manufactured in York, Pa. But, led by now-departed Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki, the other vehicle that won out was the Light Armored vehicle (LAV) called the Stryker.

The major difference between them is that the M-113A3 is a tracked vehicle that reliably carries troops into a fight anywhere from a superhighway to dirt roads or chewed-up terrain. It is also light enough to be aerial deliverable under parachutes or by ground proximity extraction.

The Stryker, manufactured in Canada, is an overweight, oversized armored car mounted on eight large inflated tires that make great driving vehicles on super-highways, but they cannot traverse a bog or rough terrain to get to a fight. And if you can’t reach a fight, you can’t win.

DOESN’T MEET SPECIFICATIONS

Two years into the contract, the Stryker is still overweight and too big to be safely flown by Air Force C-130’s – a requirement of the contract. So, which vehicle does Shinseki and his crack staff choose? Why the Canadian-built Stryker, of course! It seems that Shinseki and his deputy, Gen. David Heebner, couldn’t resist sending 1,500 union jobs from York, Pa. and a $3 billion American dollar purchase contract to Canada while the United States is trying to beat back a recession by creating and preserving manufacturing jobs.

The employees that got laid off when their plant didn’t get the Army contract are mad! They’re so mad, they’ve formed a group to see WHY their vehicles were turned down. But they had the deck stacked against them from the start. Shinseki never intended to use the Gavin, so it didn’t get a fair trial, and the little general’s deputy chief of staff, Gen. Heebner, was suspiciously paid off by General Dynamics, the producer of the Stryker. Heebner thumbed his nose at everyone and took a job overseeing the Stryker program even before he retired from the Army!

THE GENERAL GETS RICH OVERNIGHT

That probably violates most government corruption statutes. Since he retired from the Army and got his window office with a view at General Dynamics, Heebner has amassed 13,464 shares of the defense contractor’s stock in alleged insider stock transactions worth $823,000 (13,643 shares at the May 9, 2003 closing price of General Dynamics [GD] of $60.33.

It’s not hard to do business with the American military if you’re willing to pay the decision makers over $800,000. Heebner received 4,000 shares of general dynamics stock just two months after going to work for them! I wonder if that violates ALL of the remaining government corruption statutes?

There are still many questions about how much of this money really belongs to Shinseki, since he retired in June.

Did General Dynamics make any lump sum payments to Heebner or Shinseki? Was any money held in trust for either general until their retirements? Inquiring minds want to know.

WHAT KIND OF “PATRIOTISM” IS THIS?

But the biggest question to most of us grunts is just how patriotic can two career Army officers be to feather their own nests by sending a $3 billion purchase contract to Canada when they have countrymen here losing their jobs? Presumably, the answer will be part of the Clinton legacy since Shinseki and Heebner are his “boys,” and this un-American Army contract was signed on Clinton’s watch.

In the traditional Army, everybody was willing to lay down their lives for their country. In Shinseki’s and Heebner’s case, did General Dynamics line their pockets with bribes as they ignored the loss to American workers of more than 1500 jobs? Someone has to hold the line against crooks and thieves like Heebner and Shinseki. One can only imagine the “quality” of the generals they trained to replace them.

(We welcome the talented pen of Lonnie Shoultz to these pages with his first column. A Purple Heart veteran of 18 months in combat in Vietnam, Lonnie was a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division and a Green Beret in the 5th Special Forces Group. When he returned to the States, he entered police work and ended up a Special Agent with the U.S. Treasury Department. Shoultz holds a BS in Accounting and Finance, an MA in Military History and has completed his work toward a doctorate at the University of Alabama and George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He now resides in Foley AL, and can be reached at lshoultz@gulftel.com.)

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Previously in Sound Off!

ALASKA AIR GUARD OFFICER
SUFFERS RETALIATION
FOR TELLING THE TRUTH

By Lt. Col. Frederick D. “Dutch” Overly

 



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