I've soldiered a fair bit with Wyoming cowboys and have always found
them to be straight shooters who stood tall and did the right thing. But
like the corruption inside Washington these days, the Beltway Sleaze has
now infected the great state of Wyoming's top National Guard brass.
A Pentagon Inspector General's report says the problems in the
Wyoming Guard come down to outright corruption and a form of arrogance
from the governor on down that may cut it in a Third World country, but
not in the U.S. taxpayer-funded military.
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According to the report, the Wyoming Guard is run more like the Mafia
than a U.S. military outfit. The following horror story is a textbook
example of what happens when there's a breakdown in top leadership --
and where cronyism and crookedness take primacy over integrity and the
fine people in uniform who serve this country and that state.
The commander in chief of the Wyoming Guard is Republican Gov. Jim
Geringer. He was told by the Pentagon that his adjutant general, Maj.
Gen. Ed Boenisch, and a squad of senior Guard officers are bad dudes.
Yet the governor -- who "talks the talk" with a lot of public moralizing
-- has yet to take any action.
Among the abuses cited in the Pentagon report:
- Last year, Army Guard Lt. Col. Gary Kelly was passed over by
Washington for promotion. As the personnel officer of the Wyoming Guard,
Kelly -- with the full knowledge of Gen. Boenisch -- got around this
normally career-ending event by "crooking the books" and promoting
himself to full colonel. Somehow, he even managed to scarf up $10,000 in
"back pay." The Pentagon report clearly substantiates the collusion of
- Gallant Guard legal officers Lt. Col. Gordon Schukei and Maj.
John Scorsine recommended that the perps -- their bosses Boenisch and
Kelly -- be court-martialed for their hanky-panky. But instead of
getting the Whistle-Blower Medal First-Class, Schukei and Scorsine have
been shunned and harassed. After reporting his findings to the FBI,
Schukei left his job because, as he says, "a pattern of misconduct, lack
of ethical behavior and abuse of power" existed there. Scorsine, whose
boss, Kelly, is breathing hard down his neck, will soon be another
- Lt. Col. Roger Nyberg charged that Col. Robert Rodekohr was
guilty of doing a Bill Clinton when it comes to chasing Air Force
subordinates' skirts. Not only did Rodekohr go unpunished, but Nyberg
was dismissed from the Guard and his constitutional rights were trampled
on and then shredded. For example, Boenisch's crony, Col. Bruce Asay,
removed an Army lawyer from the case who found Nyberg had been subjected
to unlawful command influence. Then Asay, an obedient lap dog, was
rewarded by being promoted to a top Guard job.
- A lieutenant colonel improperly transferred equipment from
troop-training sites to the officers club. When this was proven, the
action Boenisch took was to make the lieutenant colonel a unit
- Wyoming has a law that Guard members be "qualified electors" in
that state -- a law that apparently didn't mean much to Boenisch when he
appointed Army and Air assistant adjutant generals from Colorado.
Wyoming-based Col. Joe Michaels courageously stood tall and said this
was wrong. The Pentagon report backed him up and found that the way
Michaels has been treated since then both shameful and unlawful.
- A lieutenant colonel falsified documents that he'd destroyed
classified material. Boenisch looked the other way and then attempted to
promote the sinner to colonel. Recently this guy, who breached national
security, was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by Boenisch.
- A major rewarded his troops and their gal pals by using taxpayer
dollars for a Disney World holiday in Florida. Again, the action
Boenisch took was more Mafia than G.I. -- he tried to promote the major
to lieutenant colonel.
- Boenisch, despite repeated legal counsel against his using
federal funds for his "pet" project -- a tuition endowment for Guard
members -- continues to thumb his nose at the law and misuse your tax
dollars for his baby.
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Since the Pentagon can't demand that the accused be
court-martialed because it's state business, and since the governor
won't do his duty, the $54 million that the Wyoming Guard gets from the
feds each year should be put on hold. No point in we-the-taxpayers
funding the Wyoming Mafia.