A reader writes:
A. James Bacevich was my Colonel while I was in the 11th ACR stationed in Fulda, Germany. Not sure if you know much about his background, but he was, I believe, passed over for general and retired. His being passed over was at the time attributed to his having been the CO of the unit during the largest accident ever, which happened on July 11th, 1991, at Camp Doha in Kuwait, when our motor pool blew up injuring a few people and rendering the base inoperable. I was there, and it was a terrifying mess. You can read about it here.
Long story short, some folks in them motor pool were doing some maintenance, and put the halon fire extinguishers in an ammo carriers for m109's (artillery vehicles) on mechanical safe, a heater caught on fire, ammo cooked off, and it caused a chain reaction.
My squadron was the one on rotation to be guarding (the other two were in the field doing maneuvers and border stuff), and I was asleep in one of the big airplane hangers when a 100 pound 50 caliber machine gun came flying through the roof and landed about 10 feet from my bunk, part of one of the vehicles blown up in the initial series of explosions
If rumors are true, because of that accident, a few weeks later, Schwarzkopf himself came to the base and and visited Bacevich, and a few months later, he was replaced. Col. Bacevich allegedly took full responsibility for the mess, even though it was not his fault (it was the idiot mechanics who had the halon on mechanical safe), but he believed in accountability. As such, he is the only man to ever be CO of the 11th ACR to be passed over for Brigadier General. Before that, command of the Blackhorse was a sure stepping stone for General. Another soldier who was also there discusses it here.
At any rate, when you talk about Bacevich, not only has he lost his son to this stupid war we both supported, but he is just a decent, honest, honorable, good man. At a time when no one ever takes responsibility, he is a man who believes in it, and walked the walk.
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