Support the Troops...
by charging them for body armor:
West Virginia's two U.S. senators asked top military leaders Tuesday to explain why 1st Lt. William "Eddie" Rebrook IV had to reimburse the U.S. Army $700 last week for body armor and other gear damaged after he was seriously wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq.The administration's three favorite words when they're unable to put a positive spin on a negative story: we'll follow up.
More than 200 people -- from West Virginia and across the country -- donated more than $5,700 to Rebrook after reading about his body armor payment to the Army.
Rebrook, 25, who was medically discharged from an army base in Fort Hood, Texas, last week, said he wouldn't keep the donations. He's passing along the money to charity and a Louisiana woman who lost her home in Hurricane Katrina. He said the woman's son helped save his life in Iraq.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., sent a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld Tuesday, demanding that the Army refund Rebrook's money immediately.
"I was outraged this morning when I read the story about what happened to Eddie," said Rockefeller, who nominated Rebrook for admission to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., when Rebrook attended George Washington High School in Charleston. "I'm heartbroken that he can't continue his career, and I'm shocked that he has been treated this way by our military."
At a U.S. Senate hearing Tuesday, Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., asked why Rebrook was forced to pay for body armor damaged when he was wounded in Iraq.
"How can it be that the Army is charging wounded soldiers for replacing damaged body armor? Is this standard practice?" Byrd asked during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the Department of Defense's 2007 budget.
Rumsfeld and Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army's chief of staff, attended the hearing.
"That is a very unusual story," Schoomaker responded. "I have no idea why we would ever do something like that. We have issued body armor, the very best that exists in the world. Every soldier has it.
"We certainly have procedures that account for battle loss, and I just find it a highly unusual story. But we'll certainly follow up and correct it if there's any truth to it."
And I'm sure the 'liberal media' won't forget to mention this:
The bulk of money for Rebrook was raised Tuesday after the soldier's story was posted on americablog.com, a popular liberal political blog.
Donations ranged from $1 to $400, said John Aravosis, who runs the Internet blog. More than 187 people gave money. About 200 people posted to the blog.
"Everybody thinks liberals hate soldiers," Aravosis said. "But the majority of people get that it's not right to abuse our troops."