Just Plain Nuts

I can’t decide whether this is a scene from “Catch-22” or “Dr. Strangelove”. Yeah, way to solve the problem, general!

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — Thousands of soldiers, their bald eagle shoulder patches lined up row upon row across the grassy field, stood at rigid attention to hear a stern message from their commander.

Brig. Gen. Stephen Townsend addressed the 101st Airborne Division with military brusqueness: Suicides at the post had spiked after soldiers started returning home from war, and this was unacceptable.

“It’s bad for soldiers, it’s bad for families, bad for your units, bad for this division and our Army and our country and it’s got to stop now,” he insisted. “Suicides on Fort Campbell have to stop now.”

It sounded like a typical, military response to a complicated and tragic situation. Authorities believe that 21 soldiers from Fort Campbell killed themselves in 2009, the same year that the Army reported 160 potential suicides, the most since 1980, when it started recording those deaths.

4 thoughts on “Just Plain Nuts

  1. At least he said something. Maybe combined with the other initiatives…
    “Ain’t no senator’s son, no, no.”

  2. The general sounds closely related to a two star general on a post that I was on in 1970-1972. Two hundred enlisted men. All enlisted to attend a “commanders call.” He denied that the post had a drug problem. He ordered us to stand up, about face, close our eyes and then he asked a series of questions for which no one raised their hand.

    His chief of staff was standing in a room behind the back wall with a light behind him that he apparently believed made him and his notebook invisible.

    I paid all of the men in that room except the general. In one year, I out processed 5 men dead, ODing on the base. I, also, out processed the records of 3 men and women that ODed off base. 4 percent dead in one year.

    We had mandatory “confidential” drug counseling before discharge.
    The lieutenant in charge denied that I could have smoked cocaine.
    I, always, hoped that he had later read about Richard Pryor’s injuries from freebasing. The next time that I was sent to see the post psychiatrist, he asked me how you smoked cocaine. So much for confidentiality. I didn’t worry about it, the shrink and I had been on a first name basis for almost a year.

    General, lying about it doesn’t work.

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