The Rumsfeld Doctrine does not reward resourcefulness.
At a time when some U.S. troops in Iraq are complaining they have to scrounge for equipment, six Ohio-based reservists were court-martialed for taking army vehicles abandoned in Kuwait by other units so they could carry out their own unit’s mission to Iraq.
Members of the 656th Transportation Company based in Springfield, west of Columbus, said they needed the equipment to deliver fuel that was needed by U.S. forces in Iraq for everything from helicopters to tanks.
The reservists took two tractor-trailers and stripped parts from a five-ton truck that had been abandoned in Kuwait by other units that had already moved into Iraq, one of the reservists, Darrell Birt of Columbus, told The Associated Press on Sunday.
Birt, a former chief warrant officer, and the others were charged with theft, destruction of Army property and conspiracy to cover up their crimes. Birt said he and two others pleaded guilty and the other three were convicted. All received six-month sentences.
“Nobody ever reported these trucks stolen. The deal was, when you are moving, if it was going to take more than 30 minutes to fix it, you left it,” said Birt, who was released in November. “I’m a Christian man and I can’t ignore what we did, but it was justified to get us in the fight and to sustain the fight.”
“That would have required multiple trips back. They do not have many cargo trucks. They are fuel haulers,” he told The Associated Press.
But once the reservists were done with the assignment, they should have sought out the units the vehicles belonged to, he said.