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Monday, June 14, 2004

Open Letter to those in charge
To whom it may concern:

This is the second letter I am writing in a weeks time, concerning my fiance' MSG James Meyer and The 846th Transportation Company. They are with the Army Reserves now stationed in Kuwait. I had previously written about how these men and women served their time in Tikrit, Iraq. And, should have been able to go home on their scheduled departure date of April 10th. However, they are now stationed back in Kuwait, because they never got to leave. They served Iraqi Freedom 1, and now 2.

MSG Meyer is a 36 year Veteran. He served in the Viet Nam War, Desert Storm, and consequentially now the Iraq War. I've never know a man who's understood his call to protect and serve this great Nation any better than he does. He is very proud to be one of The 846th Transportation Company. They have been in Iraq together since April 12, 2003 for a total of 428 days, and counting.

The day they were supposed to leave for home they were told their time in Iraq had been "extended" and for reasons they didn't understand, they would have to stay.

I really should reiterate some of the things that were discussed in the first letter. Like the fact that some of the Soldiers in The 846th TC, feel like they are in "jail", or on "lock down". That they don't have regular jobs to do, or that they aren't allowed to carry weapons. Since The 846th TC arrived in Kuwait, they have only been given "meaningless missions". They aren't allowed to leave the camp. Not for emergencies or otherwise. Not even with a call from the Red Cross. One would think that goes against all kinds of human and personal rights. Anyway, I jokingly call them hostages. What's sad, is thats how they feel. Worst of all, their replacements have been there for over Four months now.

I don't think anyone realizes how many of the members of The 846th TC are dealing with some very deep, very strong, and in some cases very foreign feelings. They are on emotional roller coasters right now. They are feeling pain, sadness, loneliness, depression, anger, frustration and in some cases straight up hostility. They miss the comforts of home, they miss their friends and families, and most of all they miss their Freedom. Their morale is as low I'm told here, as it ever was in Viet Nam. However, when your forced to deal with lies, manipulation, humiliation and deciet....and thats from your own people, the people above you. Then you just learn to exist. To survive. You know you can't win.

On May 31st, 2004, MSG Meyer's driving privileges (which were pretty much his only privileges) were taken away from him for 30 days. They said he committed a "breach of security" when he didn't stop so his vehicle could be inspected. It was inspected a very short time later however. At that time, he was given Seven days of "extra duty". That being, emptying sand out of bags, tearing down a tent and putting it right back up, doing "police call" (picking up trash), and writing letters of apology to the Battalion Commander and to the Group Commander. MSG Meyer did his Seven days of punishment and humiliation (which was to be whatever work they gave him, and a Company letter of reprimand). At that point, he was told the Battalion Commander didn't think it was sufficient enough punishment for that particular crime (remember, he didn't stop his vehicle at an inspection point right away). He was also going to receive a field grade letter of reprimand, that would go in his permanent file. He was also informed around that time by his CSM not to put in a packet containing paperwork for his promotion to SGM, as he was going to be forced to retire when they got back anyway. Whether thats the truth or just unnecessary harassment. Nobody knows.

The next day, there was a mandatory Stress Management class. The group was asked to fill out Q & A forms pertaining to the Unit (re: morale of the Troops, how the unit was being run, rate leadership and command, etc.). As he was filling his form out, MSG Meyer started getting angry and overly stressed out. Even to the point where he was having feelings of rage (accompanied by trouble breathing, tightening in the chest, shaking, pain in head and neck, etc.). He was advised by the Stress Management team leader to go to the Troop Medical Center at Camp Arifjan, for evaluation. He had been to the hospital on Three other separate occassions, with those same or like symptoms. Within a Four month period of time, and all of his own accord. The Doctor that attended MSG Meyer recommended that due to his stress, he should be evaluated more by the head doctor at Camp Doha. That night he was ordered to leave and go to Doha.

The next morning we was seen and told to come back in Two days for a follow-up visit. He also, at that time, informed MSG Meyer that he was not welcomed to return to Camden Yard, his regular Camp. He was given several medications, and a room at Camp Doha, and told to get rest.

I have a couple of problems with this whole situation. Why was MSG. Meyer not allowed to go back to his own Camp? Was he being quarantined? Punished for something? Or just another attempt at humiliating him? Why was he given anti-depressants, and sleeping pills, and mood altering drugs, if all he had was stress? We like our Soldiers drugged up? Or just when we wan't them to comply? Why in God's name did that Command Sergeant Major feel the need to badger, and intimidate someone so badly, about something so serious as their career, and being forced to give it up? Especially at a point in time when a Medical Doctor had just been so worried about MSG. Meyers stress levels? Thats just unacceptable and cruel. When in this place (The Military) does the punishment ever fit the crime? I personally think its ironic that so much commotion is being made about a man who should have been gone a long time ago. The best part though, is that its being brought on by the ones who so very deceitfully didn't allow him to go home in the first place. Poetic Justice, but at who's expense. MSG Meyer's I'm thinking.

This is not a young man. He is not a first time soldier needing to be taught a "lesson". This is a man who's whole life has been about the Military. As MSG. Meyer's wife to be, I'd like to say a few things. Thanks to all of his brothers and sisters in the 846th TC for helping him, and looking out for him. I know he'd do that for anyone of you at anytime. I still don't understand how some people, important people, can act like everything is just ok, after the terrible things they do to people. I wonder how some of them sleep at night. I would also like to know why MSG. Meyer had to go to such extremes to get someone to tell the truth, care, or even pay attention to the 846th TC Unit? Also, if MSG. Meyer is so sick, requiring meds, separation from his troop, and bed rest, Why isnt he being sent home? Please remember, before these people are soldiers, they are human beings. Respect them, Pray for them, and Help them. They put their lives on the line for us. They deserve it.

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. It means a lot to me personally, to the Soldiers of the 846th Transportation Company, and to all of the people who are victims of "Operation Stop Loss" and of commanders who are constantly deceiving their Troops. All my thanks, love, Support and Prayers to the 846th TC, and to all of the brave people who are fighting this war. May you come home safely, and quickly.


Kristine Lyons

Las Vegas, NV

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