As long as I am in a highly PO'd mood courtesy of several factors including self-important petty tyrants making legal threats against a brother without cause or need, well, I might as well go whole hog here.
I first wrote about the despicable and disgusting treatment of PO Howse here, and explained for the slow why I was so upset here. I've been in touch with Virgin Atlantic (and no, no more free links for them), but have not heard from Sir Richard (too busy attacking the 2nd Amendment and freedom, and accusing the NRA of murdering children to reply), and I have not been able to contact PO Howse or her family despite several efforts to do so. That's important, as until a statement is made by her or a representative, the matter is still open as there is no other way to know if she has accepted the apology and/or anything has been done to try to make up for the shameful humiliation to which she was unconscionably subjected.
Virgin's official statement will be below the fold, but I'm not impressed with it. See my parsing of statements in the previous stories as to why. Feh.
Sir Richard's contacting PO Howse was via e-mail, apparently too busy talking about being nice to women to do anything substantive about his staff humiliating her. At least the head of customer service had the balls to call her in person.
No real answers to any of the questions I asked, the statement is all they are saying as they hope this quickly fades away (and swept under the rug one can imagine). Well, I think you can count on my not forgetting, and continuing to follow-up on this.
Meantime, no links and no business to any part of the Virgin empire if I can help it: Virgin Air, Virgin Mobile, Virgin Travel, Virgin Entertainment, etc. When the founder can't be bothered to call someone wronged as badly as PO Howse was; when it is far more important to talk about supporting women rather than fixing when his empire clearly wronged a woman; and, when it is far more important to attack freedoms in another country because of his, er, shortcomings -- well, that's time for me to take my business elsewhere. What you do is up to you, but at least you have some food for thought as you decide.
Also, Virgin Atlantic and Sir Richard, the questions I asked in the first two stories still stand. Anyone there have the fortitude and integrity to answer them?
UPDATE/NOTE: G4S also issued a pseudo-apology over the deliberate and despicapble actions of their "officer." Does anyone have the fortitude to simply say "we screwed up, we are sorry, and we are doing X, Y, & Z to make sure it doesn't happen again" ??? Is it really that freaking hard?
UPDATE: Sadly, it appears the USO has doubled down on stupid. There will be more to come from TSO, who is livid right now over the response received. With this coming on top of reports that the USO is going after the "One Boy USO" as well, it seems that someone has indeed shot themselves higher than in the foot. If there is any adult in charge at the USO, please step forward, you are urgently needed.
When I read this post over at TAH, my jaw hit the floor. I think a lot of the USO overall, and know that it is not a monolithic organization, and that there are in fact several USOs because of the national USO going away for a while years ago. That said, there is the big USO, and the ones like the USO of Indiana that are part of but separate from the big one.
Seems someone at the big USO got their panties in a twist over a four-year-old post by The Sniper and demanded he take down his blog. What's more, no one at the district or national seems to know how to respond to e-mails, even when they've been given the f*****g e-mail addy four or more times. A chirpy comment on a post is NOT an acceptable response and in fact is pretty damn amateurish and unhelpful IMO. If you can't be bothered to respond to e-mails sent multiple times by the legal representative for the person you are going after, don't make things worse by pretending you don't have it.
The Sniper has a response, and I sincerely hope that the adults get involved and deal with this issue. I think Dallas might need a new director, one who has a brain, courage, inegrity, and more. For me, I have no faith or confidence in the lady currently in charge, much less whoever is helping her at HQ. I also think I'm going to continue doing what I can for the USO of Indiana, who does a great job looking after troops in Indiana (and special call out to the wonderful people at Camp Atterbury!).
Again, the USO has done a lot of good, and it is a shame that someone in their organization is trying so hard to destroy that, and to drive a wedge between the milblogs and the USO. I sincerely hope that is not some new corporate policy, as I would love to be able to continue to support the USO.
Mr. Sinise, if you still read here, help please? Any adult at HQ? The Dallas director has administered a shot to the foot, and I would hate to see it move up any higher than it already has. Keep in mind, you attack one, you attack all and like The Sniper, I hate bullies.
A deadly explosion at a military ammunition storage facility in Nevada during a training exercise Monday prompted the U.S. Marine Corps to issue a blanket suspension of 60-millimeter mortars and associated tubes pending a review of the accident.
Seven U.S. Marines were killed and several others were wounded Monday when a mortar exploded prematurely inside is firing tube during mountain training exercises at Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada. It's unclear what caused the malfunction.
The accident prompted the Marine Corps to immediately halt use of some mortar shells until an investigation can determine its safety.
And who immediately went to the floor of the Senate to politicize it? See the title:
This explosion had nothing to do with sequester. And while we may agree that sequester is not good for our military, it is a despicable act to use the death of those 7 Marines as a basis for arguing a political point.
The Marine Corps was unusually blunt in it's condemnation of Reid's actions:
NBC’s Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski reported that Marine Corps officials took serious issue with Reid’s implication that the explosion was a result of sequester cuts, and said that was not the reason for the accident. One official went so far as to say Reid was doing “nothing but pure political posturing on the backs of these dead Marines.” They told Miklaszewski that the live-fire training exercise was planned well in advance and would not have taken place if they felt the Marines were at risk because of the cuts.
Ammunition like 60mm mortar rounds are normally manufactured well in advance of its use ... in fact it can literally be years before it is fired (I fired '60s era 81mm rounds at Ft. Bragg in the '70s). This wasn't a sequestration problem, this was a defect somewhere in the round or lot of rounds that apparently caused the premature detonation.
For the the Majority Leader in the Senate to use the tragic death of these 7 Marines to make a political point shows you how ill served we are by the cretins who govern us.
Too bad there's not hot tar and feathers immediately available. I doubt I'd have any trouble recruiting a bunch of Marines to help ride Reid out of town on a rail with the appropriate plumage attached.
In the meantime, all of us here at Blackfive offer out sincerest condonlences to the families of the 7 fine Marines we lost in today's horrific accident. Our prayers are with you all.
Could be that it is every dead BSM recipient rolling over in their graves for this, or me and every other living recipient falling down the f'ing rabbit hole....
An Air Force chaplain has been awarded a Bronze Star for his service in crafting an especially good PowerPoint about how to treat Islamic religious materials with sensitivity, according to Ohio’s Dayton Daily News. After U.S. troops in Afghanistan accidentally burned copies of the Koran, sparking riots that took over 30 lives, Lieutenant Colonel Jon Trainer came to the rescue
This TOCroach probably got himself a Chairborne Ranger tab too with those mad skills of providing virtual cover font so that others could make it to the mocha machine without getting a paper cut.
Like I said before, read my Bronze Star Citation, or hell, mine isn't even all that and a bag of chips compared to some, go ahead and choose any five from history, or recent history, or from your favorite war (everyone has a favorite right?) and see if this ass-hat chaplain deserves this medal. This is like handing out jump wings to a guy who can spell "parachute" with a blindfold on or giving ARCOMs out for maintaining a motorpool parking plan.
Are they doing this Bovine Scatology just to piss me off personally? Is anyone else feeling picked on by these ass-hats? Am I taking this too personally? Should I have to get out some sanitary wipes to get off what was just dumped on my head?
I don't know whether to feel insulted or sad. This is a gargantuan fail and not a good way to start my news day....
First, what I really want isn't possible: I want that it never happened. It never should have happened. That it did is disgusting, despicable, depraved, uncivilized, and a host of other words I can't use here. It. Never. Should. Have. Happened.
First, G4S -- which already has a ripe reputation for numerous reasons I will leave you to search, start with the Olympics -- had a security officer who apparently let personal issues get the best of any professionalism that he/she/it may have had. This officer then got agents of Virgin Atlantic involved, not one of them who apparently questioned what they were being told or argued that their policy said otherwise.
This stinks, and the best analogy that won't get me in trouble with Blackfive for language is abcess. You had multiple members of Virgin Atlantic involved, and in that one would presume that there was a manager of some sort in the mix. Not one of them knew their own company's policy and stood up for it. Not. One. This is not just an abcess, but a gangrenous abcess and that it exists says much about the management and leadership of the company. This is rot that comes from the top down, and it does not say good things about the company or its leadership if they've missed something rotting like this. It needs to be removed for the good of the corporate body IMO.
No, Richard Branson is not the section leader, the day-to-day head of the division, the airline, etc. So, he can't be there for every decision; but, the leadership he has set in place should be, and it isn't or isn't involved enough to know they've got a problem. That no one, from him on down, either made sure policy was known or failed to discover they had a problem says a lot and none of it good.
I don't fault him for being a Chief of Staff and not knowing what PVT Snuffy was doing out at Camp Swampy. I fault him for not being enough of a chief of staff to check up on the leadership he had put in place, not checking beyond them with visits or other, and in how he has handled this so far. The apology only came after the story went viral. Strike One. Read his apology on Twitter or here.
"An airport security guard made a dreadful mistake in telling our staff a service woman could not wear her uniform on our flight. Our team made a mistake in following that advice. The@VirginAtlantic
people involved are mortified and have apologised profusely."
Okay, take a moment and parse that. Richard Branson is not sorry for anything, no apology from him, no statement of regret. Strike Two. His team is "mortified" and has apologized profusely (when, where, how, and to what effect?). This was all the fault of a security guard, an employee of G4S (not government worker). No Virgin Atlantic employee is truly at fault. Strike Three.
I tweeted and e-mailed three questions to him:
Per my tweets, three basic questions for you:
1. What steps are you taking to prevent something so despicable and detestable from ever happening again?
2. The guard may have started it, but your staff went along with it willingly and perhaps even eagerly from the press report. What is being done in regards your staff who acted to humiliate PO Howse?
3. How could something like this happen in the first place? Who failed in leadership, and what will be done as a result?
So, what do I want? It's really pretty simple when it comes to Sir Richard and Virgin Atlantic.
1. I want a sincere, honest, and simple apology admitting that they screwed up, and are sorry. That includes from Sir Richard. No hedging, no saying unnamed staff is "mortified" and no ducking that they have responsibility for failure too. That's a start.
2. I think they owe PO Howse more than just an honest and real apology. I think that goes up and down the chain, and I think they need to do right by her in every freaking way possible. I'm not talking a free upgrade and points on her frequent flyer account for her next flight. It needs to be real and substantive enough to be painful to corporate leadership, so that maybe a lesson can be learned.
3. Even more, I think they owe PO Howse and every serving member of the British Military an actionable apology in the form of making sure every last person in their chain from Sir Richard to the person emptying the toilet waste of the jet knows AND WILL FOLLOW their policy, and put into place concrete and demonstrable practices to ensure that something like this never happens again. It also needs to be made clear that if such, or any other thing that disrepects those in service, happens again, it is an automatic sacking (firing) offense.
4. If the people involved are not at fault, then obviously this is a serious failure of leadership. If those who did this foul and despicable thing are not to be disciplined in any form, then that falls to leadership. It need not be sacking, though I think that more than warranted in this case from flight staff on up, but it needs to be real, meaningful, and painful enough to teach a lesson.
As an aside, I find it incredibly ironic that even as he's tweeting about working against violence towards women, that Sir Richard will accept no blame to him or his staff about humiliating a woman. Even though his staff did so in what I regard as a cowardly, despicable, and demeaning way. To be honest, that's part of my ire. I hear talk, here's a chance to show some walk with it.
Now, as to G4S, I have no expectation that they will admit to anything, do anything, or otherwise man up. I would like to see the agent in question sacked, and such done in a way that it never works in any aspect of the security industry again in any way, shape, or form. I would like to see the company fined heavily, and/or lose the contract. Not going to happen, but I can dream.
So, no PC, no politico speak, no corporate speak: just simple honesty. In truth, there is absolutely nothing they can do that will make up for the pain, humiliation, and worse inflicted on PO Howse. Nothing will make this not have happened.
That said, that doesn't mean that they should get away with a two-part pablum of a tweet that admits no real wrong doing. They need to do what they can, and it needs to be substantive, for her. If they have any PR sense, they will donate to one or more of the British military support charities, particularly those focusing on the wounded, an amount equal to what they offer her. So far, they've not shown much sense, and especially PR sense, but one can hope.
More than that, they need to show that they do take this seriously, and have taken substantive steps to ensure it does not happen again. Simple words, honest and concrete public actions.
I don't think that is too much to ask.
Thanks to Team Twitchy for their coverage of the situation, and to all who have jumped in to spread the word.
Frankly, the statements by Virgin in regard this is insufficient, despicable, and deplorable. The dismissive, self-serving, ass-covering comment is enough to make blood boil on its own. So will the response to date by G4S, who apparently isn't motivated to investigate or do anything else as the Petty Officer has not made a formal complaint to them. To both companies: this is called FAIL, and is a PR screwup beyond your wildest imaginations.
Mr. Branson: Step up now and in public admit that you/your staff screwed up, that this was a travesty, that those responsible WILL be dealt with up to and including sacking the lot of them; and, if this was all at the instigation of an agent of G4S, then that person needs to be sacked as well. Also, you -- I repeat YOU -- need to step up and make a public apology and reparations -- as does G4S. You talk a lot, now walk and let the world see you walk the talk.
As for G4S, they do work all over the world, including the U.S. Given this situation, I would strongly recommend that anyone doing business with them review that work; and, anyone considering using their services keep this in mind when making a decision.
You should not treat anyone this way, but for the alleged flag-carrier for a nation to do this to a serving member of Her Majesty's armed forces is beyond the pale. It must not stand.
I sincerely doubt that Mr. Branson or G4S will do right on this, as it would force them to admit a mistake/problem. Can't have that you know, as it opens liability doors don't you know /sarcasm. In other words, easier to say little, do nothing, and s**t on a lady who has a larger pair than the combined managers in both corporations.
Mr. Branson, please prove me wrong.
If any of you care to let Sir Richard know how you feel, you can reach him at:
@richardbranson -- Twitter
Virgin Headquarters 0844 8110 000
And, you can ask G4S if they have a complaint yet, and your thoughts on what is in the article, here.
NOTE: Follow-on post on why my ire with VA/Branson, and what I want, is up here.
Think I'm going to set this for 1 March each year, easier to remember.
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The "Warfare" medal you get for not actually conducting...well...warfare
Posted By Blackfive
We've talked about it here with Deebow giving his impressions and McQ today with PowerPoint Ranger's take on the new medal that the SecDef will issue to the cyber warriors and the drone pilots (poor near-sighted bastards).
My bad, I should have been more specific. That is where we are now. Over at the Department of Brown-Nosing, Apple Polishing and General Douchebaggery, they are handing out participation trophies to each other.
Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley presents the Exceptional Civilian Service Award to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Feb. 11, 2013, in the Pentagon. The award recognizes Panetta for his leadership as the secretary of defense from July 1, 2011 to Feb. 14, 2013
Check out the org chart and you will see exactly what I am talking about. This is a subordinate conveying an award to his boss. I was in the military for 24 years, never saw the brigade commander get an award from one of his battalion commanders. Maybe those civilians over at the Department of Doofus do it different; I don't know. That sure seems like some EPIC ass-kissing for a good lobbyist gig later on though. Could have probably gotten away with something a little less ostentatious, like one of those new cyber-hero medals he approved or maybe the promise of a light colonel spot in the 75th Ranger Batt. for his up and coming daughter; you know, now that women are the tip of the spear and all.
My bet is that in the list of Panetta’s accomplishments, I would bet he didn't count among those the leaving 4 brave Americans to die in Benghazi and then, along with Little O, and Hill, lying to their parents and other family members, the media and the American people.
They can tell me all the Big Brother Speak that they want; that "leading from behind" is leadership, that women are as strong as men, that cyber warfare is just as important as infantry combat. As Master Yoda says: "To the hand you must talk... Listening, the face is not."
I am trying to think of a larger collection of incompetent and unprepared boobs, blunderers, and know nothings without even the tiniest glimmer of intellect. I really can't.
History will not be kind to him, nor to his participation trophies....
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
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Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
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