Scroungers Get Smacked Down--Hard.

From this article, courtesy of BlogsOfWar:[quote]Six reservists, including two veteran officers who had received Bronze Stars, were court-martialed for what soldiers have been doing as long as there have been wars–scrounging to get what their outfit needed to do its job in Iraq.

Darrell Birt, one of those court-martialed for theft, destruction of Army property and conspiracy to cover up the crimes, had been decorated for his “initiative and courage” for leading his unit’s delivery of fuel over the perilous roads of Iraq in the war’s first months.

Now, Birt, 45, who was a chief warrant officer with 656th Transportation Company, based in Springfield, Ohio, and his commanding officer find themselves felons, dishonorably discharged and stripped of all military benefits.[/quote]

Any time someone starts talking about appropriations or creative accounting, I instantly picture James Garner's character in The Great Escape, so my instinctual reaction is incredulity. However, this isn't a few tins of milk or even a few barrels of gasoline:[quote]But when Birt's unit was ordered to head into Iraq in the heat of battle in April 2003 from its base in Kuwait, Birt said the company didn't have enough vehicles to haul the equipment it would need to do the job.

So, Birt explained, he and other reservists grabbed two tractors and two trailers left in Kuwait by other U.S. units that had already moved into Iraq.

Several weeks later, Birt and other reservists scrounged a third vehicle, an abandoned 5-ton cargo truck, and stripped it for parts they needed for repair of their trucks.[/quote]
So now I'm thinking, Holy crap that's a lot of equipment to borrow (and subsequently piece out). But the story goes on in some detail, and a few other items are worth mentioning. First, they sounded like they really needed it. Yeah, yeah, they all say that, but it's all about accomplishing the mission, and it sounds like that wouldn't have happened had they not, ah, borrowed this stuff. Second, the unit the stuff was borrowed from was not using it, and had in fact never even reported it stolen. It's one thing if you rip off guys that are about to be flying into danger, but those guys were already out, and they left this stuff behind. Does that make it right? No. But it's not as though this theft increased the risk to anyone else, or so it seems from the information given.

The sentences are... harsh. Really harsh. They weren't stealing and selling this crap, like that bastard a few months back who was caught eBaying body armor lifted from stores while Marines were going without.

I'm not in any position to judge. I don't have the details, I haven't been there, nobody's shooting at me, etc. But if I were waiting out in the sandbox for some joes to bring me some petrol so I could not be a sitting duck in enemy territory, I'd want them to do whatever it took, within reason, to get it to me. Here's hoping someone with authority feels the same.