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Wide White: I'm angry too

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I'm angry too

The military rules on accepting gifts are extremely vague and undefined. How many free meals are against the supposed regulations too? This is asinine.

(You can watch the excellent story at CNN here.)
Marine Faces Disciplinary Action For Accepting Gift

HIALEAH, Fla. -- A Hialeah military officer who served 18 years in the United States Marine Corps has been relieved of duty and could face court-martial after receiving a gift from a local businessman.

First Sgt. William Barnes and his wife, Tammie, were guests aboard a luxury yacht last December. South Florida businessman Tom Gonzalez and Local 10's Care Force invited Barnes and three other Marines for an evening to show appreciation for their service.

Gonzalez said he wanted to do something fun for the Marines.

"I think they contribute so much to our country and our freedom and, for us, it feels good," Gonzalez said at the event.

Barnes and the other Marines had no idea that in addition to being guests on a $35 million yacht, the Allure owner had even more plans in store for them.

After a gourmet dinner and dancing under the stars, Gonzalez and his wife, Kimberly, invited the Marines to the main deck for one more surprise.

Gonzalez told them to reach in a bag and pick a prize. Barnes reached in and pulled out several $100 bills, which ended up totaling a $10,000 prize.

Barnes and his wife used the money to pay off some bills and to cover the funeral costs for Barnes' father, who died last year.

But no one told Barnes that taking the money was against policy. A few weeks ago, he learned he was under investigation for violating policy on the acceptance of gifts. He was relieved of duty Wednesday, pending the outcome of the investigation.

The Marine Corps has policies on gift giving, and the rules vary depending on a Marine's rank and assignment, but Barnes said he wasn't aware that accepting the gift was illegal.

"For 18 years he has an outstanding record," Tammy Barnes told Local 10. "He's never done anything wrong. Had he known that it was wrong, he would never have taken it."

Gonzalez said he notified the Marine Corps in advance about the gift the Marines were going to receive.

"It was my company who actually gave up their bonuses to actually donate the money, so it wasn't me as an individual," Gonzalez told Local 10. "It was the company that did it."

Barnes has served three tours of duty in Iraq and received a bronze star. His wife said she couldn't believe it's now all on the line.

"I'm very angry," Tammy Barnes said. "I'm very angry."

Gonzalez said he thought it was the right thing to do.

"I think it's just a tragedy," Gonzalez said. "I think that what they've gone through is enough. I'm outraged."


Blogger Keithslady declared,

I suppose the only "acceptable" way to gift the money would be to hand it over to the federal government who would then use it to increase the retirement accounts of the legislators and maybe provide and extra mint in the pack lunches of active duty Marines with a special note that reads, "Thanks for the hard work!"

4/01/2008 8:51 AM  
Blogger Keithslady declared,

Sorry "AN extra mint"

4/01/2008 8:52 AM  
OpenID thirdwatch declared,

that is very dumb. Stupid govt. bureaucracy.

4/01/2008 9:10 AM  
Blogger Joey declared,

I love the extra mint...paints a very good picture!

4/01/2008 12:02 PM  

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