By: Jack Dalton
Jack Daltion is a disabled Vietnam veteran and freelance writer that lives in Portland, Oregon and can be contacted thru his web site at http://www.ommp.org. His email address is [email protected]
On August 8th 1st LT Jennifer Dyer was attacked and raped and has stated it was 1st LT Michael Hall of the 278th Regimental Combat Team at Camp Shelby, MS. This is where LT Dyer along with her unit, the 250th Signal Battalion, N.J. National Guard had been sent for pre-Iraq deployment training.
Jennifer could be your daughter; your sister; your fiance; your wife; your neighbor. A degree in Political Science, working for a career in law enforcement and serving her country in uniform, she is without a doubt, the "all-American girl" so to speak. All of that has been turned up-side down because of an animal posing as a man, 1st LT Michael Hall, stands accused of her rape. Jennifer is as much a casualty of war as anyone can be - only she was wounded by what was supposed to be one of her own, someone wearing the same uniform.
After reporting the rape the Army took Jennifer to a civilian Hospital emergency room for treatment, after which she was held in seclusion by the Army for three days. During this time military CID agent Eric Barreras informed Jennifer of her Miranda rights and then proceeded to threaten her with criminal prosecution for filing a false report. Further victimize the victim, that's the Army way. And this nation has the audacity to talk about the "rule of law."
The Army took her to the Hospital and now the Hospital is billing her for the charges as the Army has refused to pay the bill according to Jennifer in a previous conversation. Additionally, the Army told Jennifer she was to take a lie detector test which she agreed to readily. When Michael Hall refused to take the same lie detector test, the Army told Jennifer her test would not be necessary, but, I'm getting ahead of myself.
It wasn't until Jennifer's fiance, Edward, who is a New Jersey police officer, arrived at Camp Shelby on August 13th and took her off base was she finally able to get some semblance of counseling and additionally medical treatment. The Army had given her none and had not set any appointments for her even with the base medical people. And it's a good thing Edward did get her some additional medical care - it turns out that her accused rapist, Michael Hall, is Herpes Type 2 positive, and unfortunately, now, too, is Jennifer.
Under pressure, the Army gave Jennifer two weeks leave to go home and "get over it." In a phone conversation with Edward a couple of weeks ago, he told me how when Jennifer called Camp Shelby to request an extension of her leave, so she would be able to continue with the counseling and medical treatment she is now receiving, Lt Col. Powell, the base psychiatrist, she told Jennifer that "two weeks was a generous amount of time for leave" and that "it was enough time for the victim of such a crime to be recovered and returned to duty."
Right now Jennifer is listed AWOL. Her attorney, Fredrick Klepp, [email protected], is being stonewalled by the Army about Jennifer. The Army has demanded Jennifer return to Camp Shelby, the place where she was not only raped but where her accused rapist, Michael Hall, is still running around as if nothing ever happened. There is something terribly wrong with this picture!
Everyone involved with her care all say the same thing, it would be an un-mitigated disaster for her to have to return to Camp Shelby. A compassionate transfer request by Jennifer was denied by the command of the 278th Regimental Combat Team, to which Jennifer is still attached. Anyone in their right mind and with just a modicum of compassion would understand that a transfer out of the 278th is warranted.
She should not be in this position in the first place as she had resigned her commission in October of 2003. But due to a failure on the Army's part, her paperwork had not been completely processed and she was called back to active status in March of 2004.
What compounds this situation Jennifer now finds herself confronted with is the "Feres Doctrine" which VERPA - the Veterans Equal Rights Protection Advocacy, Inc. - has been fighting for over ten years. This has turned all military personnel into second class citizens as it prevents those in uniform, and veterans, from bringing action against the military for harm done - you may find detailed information on the Feres Doctrine at VERPA's web site http://www.verpa.org/
According to Byron Holcomb, an Oregon attorney, it was his case - Buckmiller v. U.S. - "in 1983 that first brought to the attention of the public the problem of rape in the military. The Army relied on [the] Feres [Doctrine] saying that rape was one of those incidents of military service. Until congress repeals Feres and particularly this abomination, rape will continue to be a significant problem of our military." He goes on to say, "this will change when congress changes the laws and every congressman should be made aware of this." I am in total agreement with Mr. Holcomb on this.
In the meantime we need to give our support to this young woman, we must become the "cavalry to the rescue." We can help her by making calls and sending letters - actually as many as needed for as long as needed. What has happened to Jennifer is an outrage, what the Army is now doing to her is a complete act of betrayal. Something is terribly wrong when citizens have to try and force the military to treat a victim of a crime, rape, with the respect, compassion, and just treatment she deserves.
When considering this, ask yourself this, what if this were your wife, your sister, your fiance, your daughter - what would you do to help her, to protect her, and then take it from there.
Below are some of the numbers that should be called. If and when calling be sure to be as polite and courteous as possible, but be firm in expressing your opinion at the treatment Jennifer is receiving. This is an opportunity to truly support the troops by rallying to Jennifer.
Also, as this is on-going, there will be updates made public on a continuous basis until this is resolved. Jennifer's full statement may read at the following link http://oldamericancentury.org/jennifer.htm All available information will be located there as well as my own web site www.ommp.org
I would start with Capt Price that is who Mr. Klepp has talked with to no avail. Col. Powell's number is listed also. At the end of the list of names and numbers, is Jennifer's statement about what happened and this whole sorry chain of events.
Capt Price, Staff Judge Advocate Office
Camp Shelby, MS
I gathered as many numbers as I could. If I am able to get any more, I will send them to you.
Thanks for your time and efforts, I hope this is helpful.
278th Regimental Command:
(Unable to get a direct extension, but can be contacted via administrative staff)
Regimental Executive Officer:
Lieutenant Colonel Honeycutt
278th Regimental Headquarters Headquarters Company:
Camp Shelby Medical Facility:
Colonel Sara Powell
Medical Deployment Officer:
Senator John H. Adler, Democrat
District Office: 1916 Route 70 East, Suite 3, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003 (856)-489-3442
And here is a listing of New Jersey newspapers if you would care to write or call them as well.
The Star Ledger
1 Star Ledger Plaza
Newark, N.J. 07102
This is the paper of record in New Jersey
The Courier Post
301 Cuthbert Boulevard
Cherry Hill, N.J. 08002
The Burlington County Times
4284 North U.S. Highway 130
Willingboro, N.J. 08046
The Gloucester County Times
309 South Broad Street
Woodbury, N.J. 08096
53 Haddonfield Road
Cherry Hill, N.J. 08002
New Jersey Office
The Press of Atlantic City
11 Devins Lane
Pleasantvill, N.J. 08232