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To Bertness!

This is for Jihad Gene,his buddy Bert, and all the rest who died with Bert that terrible night in 1985.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance - in memoriam of of the night the Screaming Eagle cried ..


Sad day.  RIP, Bert and all you other 101st  soldiers.

On a related note, though, seeing news accounts of the crash at the time, I was surprised to see that Beavers got his star .... after the Charlie Foxtrot of Pinder's Black Friday.  He was the recovery officer, IIRC, of the Gander crash.
I think Beavers was surprised he got his star.  You should have been at his Hail and Farewell.  He arrived just this side of drunk and very angry, and put his letter of reprimand where we could all read it.  He clearly felt ill-used.

An uncomfortable evening.  There was no change of command.  He left the next day, Kathy left him, and Roger Bernardi had an "Assumption of Command" ceremony.
 I remember that crash. I lived about an hour form Campbell at the time and it was big news in Nashville, as well as all over the area among the military and the has been types as well. I knew a couple of Army recruiters that had friends on that flight. Very sad day, to put it mildly.
 Being the curious beast I am (curiosity kills cats and prolly former Quartermasters too) I plugged Pinder's Black Friday into Yahoo and got nothing. Watizzit?
Black Friday (I too, was there. As Battalion Adjutant of the 1-22 FA, I was right in front with an unobstructed view of the proceedings.

United States Court of Military Appeals
25 M.J. 326 (1987)

On June 9, 1983, appellant was tried by a military judge sitting alone as a general courtmartial at Fuerth, Federal Republic of Germany. Pursuant to his pleas, he was found guilty of one specification of possession of marijuana in the hashish form and two specifications of
distribution of the same substance, in violation of Article 134, Uniform Code of Military Justice.
He was sentenced to a dishonorable discharge, confinement for 16 months, total forfeitures, and reduction to the lowest enlisted grade. The convening authority approved the sentence as adjudged. On appeal, the Court of Military Review dismissed the possession charge and affirmed the remaining findings of guilty and the sentence.

This Court granted review of the following issue [among others]:
We hold that appellant was punished prior to trial in violation of Article 13, UCMJ, and a rehearing on sentence is required.  The facts surrounding the granted issues are fully reported in the decision below. They are based on sworn statements offered by both parties on appeal, and an administrative investigation conducted pursuant to Army Regulation (AR) 15-6. A brief summary follows.

Early in 1983, the Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) uncovered the presence of "large-scale drug abuse" at Pinder Barracks, Federal Republic of Germany. Approximately one quarter of the soldiers of the 6th Battalion, 14th Field Artillery (6/14th FA) of the Division Artillery (DIVARTY), 1st Armored Division, had positive urinalysis test results. The DIVARTY commander, Colonel Leslie E. Beavers, who also was the installation commander for Pinder Barracks, was notified of the large number of positive test results for his unit.

On March 24, 1983, Colonel Beavers held a meeting with Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Glen D. Skirvin, Jr., battalion commander of the 6/14th FA, and LTC John Dubia, battalion commander of the 1/22d FA. He informed them of his planned mass apprehension of suspected drug abusers within DIVARTY. LTC Dubia initiated a discussion regarding removal of unit crests from the uniforms; Colonel Beavers assented to this action.

At 0630 on March 25, 1983, the battalion commanders informed their battery commanders that a mass formation was to be held that same day. Major Richard H. Witherspoon, battalion executive officer of the 6/14th FA, later stated that LTC Skirvin ordered his battery commanders and senior non-commissioned officers to remove the unit crests from the 19 arrestees identified at the formation.

Moreover, the procedure to be used at the formation was also established at this time. When a soldier's name was called, he would be escorted by his battery commander and first sergeant to the platform situated at the front of the formation. Once in front of the platform, the soldier's unit crests would be removed from his uniform by his escorts. He would then salute Colonel Beavers and await further instructions.

At 0800 on March 25, 1983, the formation was held. Approximately 1,200 soldiers were present. Colonel Beavers began speaking about trust and how that trust had been betrayed by members of the assembled unit. As he spoke, German Polizei and Army military police entered the base and took stations around the formation. Then, Colonel Beavers began calling the names of the suspected drug abusers. Approximately 40 soldiers, including appellant, were called out of the formation. As previously arranged, the soldiers were escorted to the platform, whereupon the majority of the soldiers had their unit crests removed. They saluted, but Colonel Beavers failed to return the salutes. The Court of Military Review assumed for purposes of its decision that, severally or jointly, the assembled collection of soldiers were called "bastards" or "criminals" or both by Colonel Beavers. This assembled collection was then marched to an adjacent site where the soldiers were individually searched and handcuffed by CID agents, in full view of the soldiers remaining in the formation.

These soldiers were then transported to the CID office for uestioning. After being questioned by the CID, the soldiers were returned to their units. Thirty-five arrestees were members of the 6/14th FA. These soldiers, including appellant, were then billeted separately from their unit. After preferral of charges, they were given the opportunity to return to their individual barracks, but twenty-seven elected to remain separate. They were given or adopted the name "Peyote Platoon." This "unit" assembled separately from the battalion in subsequent formations and allegedly marched to the cadence of "peyote, peyote, peyote." Of these soldiers, fourteen were tried by general court-martial and one by a BCD special court-martial; eleven were tried by summary court-martial; five were given nonjudicial punishment; and four received administrative discharges in lieu of trial….

Turning to the pretrial punishment issue in this case, we are convinced that appellant's treatment on the parade ground and as a member of the so-called "Peyote Platoon" violated Article 13. This codal provision states:
Art. 13. Punishment prohibited before trial
No person, while being held for trial, may be subjected to punishment or penalty other than arrest or confinement upon the charges pending against him, nor shall the arrest or confinement imposed upon him be any more rigorous than the circumstances require to insure his presence, but he may be subjected to minor punishment during that period for infractions of discipline.

In determining whether the treatment afforded appellant was a punishment or penalty for purposes of this provision, recourse to the military experience is particularly helpful. Colonel Winthrop, in his work Military Law and Precedents 434 (2d ed. 1920 Reprint), stated the following in this regard: 20 Discharge with ignominy. A mode of dishonorable discharge, sanctioned by usage for time of war, is drumming, (or bugling,) out of the service, with the "Rogue's March," in the presence of the command. This ignominious form is sometimes conjoined with circumstances of special ignominy. Thus soldiers have been sentenced to be drummed out after having their clothing stripped of all military insignia, or after being tarred and feathered, or with their heads shaved or half-shaved, or with straw halters around their necks, or bearing placards inscribed with the names of their offences.

He also described the disused punishment of placarding as follows:
Standing or marching for a certain time bearing a placard or label inscribed with the name of the offence -- as "Deserter," "Coward," "Mutineer," "Marauder," "Pillager," "Thief," "Habitual Drunkard" was at one time a not uncommon punishment. In some cases the inscriptions were more extended -- as "Deserter: Skulked through the war;" "A chickenthief;" "For selling liquor to recruits;" "I forged liquor orders;" "I presented a forged order for liquor and got caught at it;" "I struck a noncommissioned officer;" "I robbed the mail -- I am sent to the penitentiary for 5 years;" "The man who took the bribe from deserters and assisted in their escape."

An historic example of this type of military punishment, although from another country [France], was the public ignominy or ceremony of degradation imposed on Captain Dreyfus. See J. Bredin, The Affair: The Case of Alfred Dreyfus (New York, 1986). Of course, even the alleged traitor Dreyfus was not subjected to this treatment until after he had undergone a trial by court-martial, albeit a highly irregular one. Clearly, public denunciation by the commander and subsequent military degradation before the troops prior to courts-martial constitute unlawful pretrial punishment prohibited by Article 13. The treatment appellant suffered was substantially the same.

We ... hold that a new sentence hearing must be ordered so appellant can bring this prior punishment to the attention of his court-martial. (The suggestion by government appellate counsel that such treatment is not punishment because it was intended to curb the unit drug problem is somewhat specious. Under this rationale, Article 13 would not be violated even if these arrestees had been shot or flogged, so long as its ultimate purpose was to benefit the unit as a whole…). The decision of the United States Army Court of Military Review is reversed as to sentence, and the sentence is set aside. The record of trial is returned to the Judge Advocate General of the Army. A rehearing on sentence based on the approved findings may be ordered.

That seems to me going a bit far, but them again I cab think of a couple of dirtbags from my time that could have benefited from a little public shaming for bringing the unit into disrepute.  Since you were there what did you think of the whole affair if you don't mind my asking.
RT - I was stunned. Not just at the scope of it, but the fact that two battalions and three separate battery/companies were paraded, and then surrounded by armed German police, on our own facility (well, theirs, but we captured it fair and square, dammit).

Then I was amazed at what Beavers was doing to guys who were simply being arrested, before any due process had been applied from their side.

But then, I'm offended at prosecutors who have those "We Found This Bastard Felon!" press conferences that splash across the news, and then, six months later, drop the charges because there really isn't any evidence. But that's not news, and there's no penalty for ruining someone for a mistake.

This time, there was. While I cite the Cruz appeal (because that's got the best description of events) charges were dropped against a couple of soldiers. Like the case cites - if we'd had a Courts-martial and had drummed the convicted onto a bus for Leavenworth, that wouldn't have bothered me nearly as much.

But I was in fact *pissed* to find myself surrounded by SMG-toting Polizei. I would have been pissed had they been MPs, but Polizei? Turns out that was Beavers' bone to Zirndorf authorities acknowledging that his troops had been facilitating the drug trade in their town. 


LTC Skirvin's career came to a skidding halt. LTC Dubia survived and went on to three stars. The other battaltion commander at this time (up in Bamberg)? LTC Tommy Franks.

I'll always remember those Polizei and MP vans driving around the quadrangle / parade ground around us, and the sight and sounds of those barking K9s when they told us they were gonna run the dogs through for a Health & Welfare inspection.

Even though I didn't do or have any drugs in my locker, I was worried about that bottle of Crown Royal I had and a piece of det cord that I had stumbled upon on my way out of the motor pool, which I hadn't yet properly disposed of. So I told my section chief about it before the dogs went through the rooms. Got a few days restriction to post and CSM's detail for it. Irony was that the dogs were so burned out by the time they got to our room that they never alerted on anything.

All in all, though, it was definitely a surreal experience.
We were part of history, Frank. 
Some how I never heard about the Pinder Barracks affair.  Beavers was a just a bit out of line in what he did. It would have been far different after Court Martial with sentencing to a stockade or Leavenworth if he had basically "drummed" them out, but that was over the line.

I surmise that when Saalikashvili was your DivARTY CO that was a different tour.
I was serving in the 101st when the Gander crash happened.  I knew two of the soldiers who died in the crash.

Sgt Tim Kidd was my bunkmate when we went through BNCOC at Ft Campbell's NCO Acadamy in the summer of 1984.  He was a good guy, married to a German girl he met over there on his first tour after enlisting.  They had two kids.  I seem to recall that she moved back to Germany, after.

Sgt John Millett was a medic in my battalion, (1/187, though we may still have been 5/187 at that time,) who had volunteered to do the Sinai deployment with 3/502 because they were short medics, and he thought it would be a valuable experience.  John was the youngest son of Col Lewis Millett, who won the Medal of Honor in Korea.  Col Millett gave John's eulogy when the battalion held its own memorial service, the day before the big division-wide service on the parade field.

The morgue at Dover started releasing bodies right after Christmas.  General Wickham,  then the Army Chief of Staff, came up with the money from somewhere to pay for sending a funeral detail from the 101st for every family that wanted one.  The Friday between Christmas and New Year's in 1985 Fort Campbell sent out 29 funeral details, and a comparable number the following week.   I was NCOIC for two of them.  I HATED doing funeral details, because you want to do it perfectly, and there are just so many ways it can get screwed up.  And we owe it to our dead and to their families to do it right.

And to this day, we weigh EVERYTHING that goes onto a pax bird, because the Canadian accident report stated that the aircraft being overweight was likely a significant contributor to the crash.
Yeah, there was a battalion of the 1-22 FA up in Bamberg.  The battalion HQ shared a building with my battalion, the 82nd Engineers.  I don't recall meeting then LTC Tommy Franks, but then, I only paid attention to MY battalion commander.....all other field grades were carefully avoided.

Pinder's Black Friday took place about the same time I left active duty, and I don't recall it intruding into Warner Barracks, but I vividly recall the drug problems we had.