In Idaho: Big Navy = Grinch
[Intel Source: Huckleberries Online] Up in northern Idaho, a retired Marine has organized a program whereby area Navy and Marine Reservists who served in Iraq or Afghanistan are given a personalized Buck Knife (which are manufactured in Post Falls, Idaho). It's a great example of private citizens showing their support for our brave Servicemen and Servicewomen serving in the war zone. And now some "senior officer" says it's a no-go:
Veterans of the Iraq War are being told they can't receive a commemorative Buck knife as a "thank you" for their service and sacrifice.Needless to say, members of the community are rightfully flabbergasted by the decision of the "senior officer" (who probably hasn't stood a watch at sea in decades, if ever). Luckily, the story is gaining traction (even if it is WorldNetDaily), so I'm hoping the Navy will overrule the unnamed senior orifice quickly. Since Servicepeople are allowed to receive gifts for "meritorious public service" [5 CFR 2635.204(d)], they'll hopefully be able to get out of this PR kerfuffle by citing that reason.
"Someone put up a red flag and said we can't do it," said Lt. Troy Gilbert, a member of the U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion based out of Hayden. "There's a $20 limit in value that a service member can accept as a gift. These knives are valued at $103."
Gilbert said roughly 40 reservists were going to each receive a special knife made by Buck Knives during an April 5 ceremony.
"I am trying to see what can be done," Gilbert said. "I know the Navy JAG is looking at the legality of it. We might be able to get around this rule."
Graham Crutchfield, a retired Marine, organized the commemorative knife program by raising money for the knives and is incensed with the Navy's edict.
"It makes no sense and it defies logic," Crutchfield said. "A private citizen can't give one of our troops a gift for putting their lives at risk because of some bureaucratic nonsense. It's an insult to the American people."
The problem began when Gilbert was trying to get some positive publicity from the Navy on the program. His efforts backfired when a senior officer said the gifts violated Navy regulations.
Update 2303 02 April 2008: The Commander of Navy Reserve Readiness Command Northwest -- a submariner, btw -- did the right thing and ruled that the Servicepeople can accept the knives. BZ, Captain Kidd! Hopefully he will also mock and belittle the idgit who made the first idiotic determination.