So…it’s been a while since I’ve blogged about my situation, and the reason is this: for several weeks there’s been no situation. I returned to my unit, turned in an application for discharge as a conscientious objector, and proceeded to wait for the C.O. application to work it’s way through the miles of red tape that is Army Bureaucracy. I consulted my lawyer every now and then if need be but otherwise, I thought it was a wait-and-see game.
I was dead wrong.
There is a process for conscientious objectors to go through to get discharged from the military as such. First, a Soldier’s Company Commander has to give his recommendation based on his opinion of the Soldier. Then, you need to be interviewed by an Army Chaplain, (The Military’s spiritual advisors / liaisons), and also by a Mental Health specialist. Then, after you’ve been interviewed to your wit’s end, there has to be a hearing concerning the validity of your claim, and then they will make a decision whether or not to allow you to be discharged as an objector.
I was aware of all this going in. And when the time came for my Chaplain’s interview, I was excited and ready. Finally, a true man of God to talk to about my situation. A kindred spirit, who hopefully could give me insight into all that I’ve been going through. This was not the case at all.
I was TOLD at 1pm that I had a 1pm meeting with the Chaplain. That should have been a sign of things to come right there. After racing frantically to his office, I was supposed to have an hour long interview, delving deep into my situation and reflecting on everything that was going on. The purpose of the interview is for the Chaplain to see whether or not I’m the real deal.
What I got instead was a 20 minute cursory conversation, throughout which Chaplain (LTC) Ronald Leininger kept checking his watch and looking at his phone. I did NOT get a full, in-depth interview. Afterward, I received his letter to my Commander. He said that in his opinion, he did not think that I was sincere. In fact, he thought that I was being coached on what to say. He also said that he thought my timing was ‘convenient.’ This coming from someone who barely listened to me, and only used my words OUT OF CONTEXT to negatively affect my claim. This will severely affect the outcome of my case.
This is supposed to be a man of God. I tell him that I don’t want to put myself in a situation where I have to take a human life, and he says that I’m not sincere? Who does he serve? God…or the Army?
Pray for me. -Travis