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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Des Moines fire chief disrespects veterans

In this mornings paper, there was both a editorial and a news story about the fire chiefs refusal to allow a ladder truck to display a American flag to honor the veterans that are leaving Tuesday morning on a Honor Flight. His lame excuse is that all 5 of the city's ladder trucks are going to be tested. Oh? At 0630 in the morning? I call bullshit.

From the news story;

 A Fire Department employee asked two weeks ago that a ladder truck be used to hang a flag for the veterans. On Friday, the Des Moines Association of Professional Firefighters posted on its Facebook page a message the request being denied.
They asked 2 weeks in advance and all of a sudden the trucks are due for testing. They can't put the testing off for one day.

 The initial request was for a ladder truck the day the Honor Flight leaves Des Moines, TeKippe said Wednesday. On that day, the Des Moines Fire Department's five ladder trucks are scheduled to begin testing, so the department will only have its two reserve ladder trucks to use, he said.

Yeah, bullshit chief. I highly doubt that the inspectors are going to start their jobs at 0600. Once again veterans are being pissed on by the very people we swore a oath to defend. Maybe what he needs is a liberal dose of tar and feathers and a rail.

I left this little note on the news story. I've decided I'm getting too old to pamper these assholes.

 Robert Fowler ·  Top Commenter · Works at Iowa Firearms CoalitionFire the veteran hating son of a bitch and get someone with a brain. If they are testing all 5 trucks at the same time, someone has their head up their ass.

Today's editorial  also questions why the city can't be bothered to honor our older veterans. These are mostly Korea veterans and some of them will only get this one chance to make this trip.

 There's another Honor Flight leaving from Des Moines next week to take a planeload of war veterans to Washington, D.C. It will be a once-in-a-lifetime trip for many of them.

These 385 Korean War veterans, along with 85 "guardians" (these are volunteer doctors, nurses and paramedics), will be on the chartered Boeing 747 when it departs from the Des Moines airport Tuesday at 6:30 a.m.

They are leaving at 0630. That means they are going to have to be there in plenty of time to get everyone on board.

 And organizers still choke with emotion when they remember one of the early Honor Flights from Des Moines. A World War II vet, hobbled by advanced age, asked during the visit to Arlington National Cemetery if he could be taken to the grave of his son, a veteran of the Vietnam War.
It suddenly got dusty in here.

Yes, these Honor Flights are a very big deal for veterans and for others, too. There were no ticker-tape parades for them and no train station welcome ceremonies when they came back home from war.
Korea, the forgotten war. They fought and some died, just to be forgotten, like it never happened.

That's why it is embarrassing that Des Moines, specifically the city's fire chief, has decided that the fire department cannot make one of its seven ladder trucks available for an hour or so to hoist a huge American flag over Fleur Drive. Organizers wanted the flag to honor the veterans as their 17 chartered buses, led by a police escort, make their way toward the airport.
Fire Chief John TeKippe told WOI-TV that providing a ladder truck for the Honor Flight send-off is a problem because the department's ladder trucks are scheduled for their regular inspections next week. Besides, the city doesn't take trucks out except for training purposes or city functions, he said.
A firefighter disputed TeKippe's explanation and said the department has provided a ladder truck before for events in the community. "This is what this is about — showing our respect for people who came before us, to let them know we appreciate all they've done for us," one firefighter said.

There's that "inspection" excuse again. He should just admit that he hates the thought of doing something nice for a bunch of old men and women that at one time, pledged to defend his rights, right up to dying. The fire chief is a asshole.

These veterans gave up months or years of their lives to serve in Korea. The Honor Flight sponsors didn't let inconvenience be an excuse for them. Their donations are making the Washington trip possible at no cost to these veterans. The trip wouldn't be occurring were it not for the outpouring of generosity from Hy-Vee Inc., Casey's General Stores, Knapp Properties, Prairie Meadows, Jim Cownie, the Rasmussen Group and the Polk County Board of Supervisors.

At least we have some public servants and a lot of corporations that have no problem honoring our vets.

So, I decided I needed to write to my council person with copies to the Mayor and the local radio personality. I've already gotten a response with good news. It seems that thew chief likes his job and there will be a ladder truck supporting a huge flag Tuesday morning.

My letter.

After reading this mornings editorial and news story about the refusal of the DSM fire chief to allow a ladder truck to display a flag, I am disgusted. Disgusted and pissed off. These veterans are from one of the "forgotten" wars, Korea. The idea that all 5 of the ladder trucks are going to be tested at 0630 onTuesday morning is bullshit. For some of these veteran, this is their last chance to make such a trip and their idea that the city of Des Moines will not be represented along side the other fire departments in the area. This sorry excuse for a human being should be standing tall on the carpet and made to explain why he refuses to honor the brave men and women that swore a oath to defend this country. His actions are inexcusable. 

I am sending out a call to any veterans and family members that can to be there to see these veterans off and we are going to expect to see a Des Moines ladder truck with a flag standing proud to honor all veterans. Someday in the not to distant future, I may be one of the honorees with other veterans from the little excursion into SE Asia. I will expect the same honor that all of our veterans should be getting. 

In my opinion, the refusal of the fire chief to allow the use of a truck for a hour should be a firing offense. We have no use for officials that hate veterans as he has just proven that he does. We are supposed to be better than that. 

Robert A. Fowler Jr.
2625 SE 18th St.
Des Moines, Iowa 50320

His response.

Thanks for your input. I couldn't agree with you more. The good thing is that our Chief had a change of heart,and decided to allow a simple request to be filled instead of digging in his heals. I'm sure our new City Manager Scott Sanders let the Chief know what he expects from his department heads.
I wonder if the city manager told him "no fire truck Tuesday, no job Wednesday". I know that's what I would have told him. At least we have a happy ending.


Able said...

Call me old fashioned but I say he should be fired, after all he did 'dig his heels in' already (and what's the betting he'd have no problems with flying a Mexican Flag or an iSIS one if asked after all it's not as if white Americans will protest and threaten him if he doesn't).

Trust is earned. He's just proved he isn't to be trusted - fire his A*** - pour encourager les autres.

Oh and it's not just over there, we have the same PC bull-doody here with refusal to fly the Union Flag (or Lord forbid the St. Georges Cross) yet hardly a peep when they 'accidentally' fly the ISIS flag off council buildings.

Me, 30+ yrs in the forces and now a nurse.? I was 'councilled' for my behaviour. Why? Because I stood and saluted a veteran (patient) on admitting him as soon as I found out he was a Royal Marine who had served in the Pacific Theatre in WW2 (now there's a forgotten bunch of veterans - especially here). I found out later he was the recipient of both the DSO and CGM (an 'accidental' call to the local regimental barack put paid to my complaint after the entire regiment (well it seemed like it) trooped in to 'visit' him, 'salute the hero', and register their disgust at the PC beaurocrats.)

maybe a few veterans might care to register thier disaproval at the next meeting to decide who is Fire Chief?

John Varga said...

He should get the same treatment that the deputy in Texas that shot a farmers dog.
Shunning, everywhere the cop went, people pointed him out and called him out as a dog killer.
This chief shouldn't be able to go anywhere with his head up.

Able said...

OK, covering all bases, since the Interweb has never been known to attract pedants, nit-pickers, the generally OCD or PITA types.

So for those just itching to 'correct' me. My previous comment was correct. I'm aware the CGC wasn't around for enlisted then, it's just TPTB just didn't 'get around' to awarding him the damn thing until ..... 1995 (so a CGC instead of a CGM).

Oh, and failing the firing - what John Varga said!

Oh OK, I may be a bit of a pedant too, so sue me.

Old NFO said...

Yep, fire his ass... He showed it with his 'response' to the request.

Pete the Penguin

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