I have been tasked with writing this 1000 word essay on the importance of accountability of sensitive items within the military. The reason I have been assigned to do this task is due to my failure of being attentive and securing my weapon and having it with me at all time. I failed by leaving my M9 Berretta at home in my safe before I left in support of the Boston Marathon. I was told by certain individuals to leave it at home, but I failed as an NCO to ask my section leader on how to properly secure my weapon. I did what I thought was best and left it to at home limit the amount of time I traveled with it. In doing so was wrong, if anything would have happened to that weapon there would have be severe consequences that not only myself would have to face, but individuals in my command that would have been affected due to the negligence of my actions. This whole process is new to the unit and me on how to transport a weapon properly and safely from California to Massachusetts. I secured my weapon in weapon case with and lock and a slide lock following JetBlue regulation and TSA regulations.
Once I landed in Massachusetts I would secure my weapon in the 1st CST safe for safe keeping. A day prior to the Boston marathon I would be issued it again and along with 45 rounds of hollow point ammunition from the 1st. Once the Boston Marathon was over I would have the weapon remain with me until my departure back to home station. In AR 710-2 (Supply Policy below the National Level), AR 735-5 (Policies and Procedures for Property Accountability) and AR 190-13 (The Army Physical Security Program). All these Army Regulation cover the Army policy for property accountability. Some sensitive items are your weapon, military ID card, communication equipment, etcetera. Sensitive items are anything that can be used by opposing forces or the enemies to counter attack, weaken forces, and gain information, and so on. Throughout our lives we come across many things of value. Some things are more valuable than others, either because they cost more money or they hold a sentimental value that we keep close to our hearts. In the military regardless of what branch you are, it is instilled in our heads that our weapon is the most valuable thing you will ever have.
You train with it, you eat with it, you sleep with it, you use is to protect yourself and your battle buddies and you take care of it like it was your child. In the end it becomes a part of you and you cannot foresee yourself without it. Your weapon is considered a sensitive item because if it ends up in the enemies’ possession, it could possibly be used against you and your comrades. Keeping track of where your weapon is or having it on you at all times will help prevent any of that happening. An so I forget the value of my weapon and what it means to me. Always having your sensitive items is very important and I should have treated my weapon as one of those. Instead I chose to leave in my safe thinking it was just another items that I needed to bring.
Compared to the active army side the very smallest punishment for misplacing a weapon, if it’s found within a reasonable amount of time, is a “Company Grade Article 15.” That means you can lose one grade of rank, a week of pay, and two weeks of extra duty. If that’s all you lost, you got off very, very lightly. More often, and especially if you lose your weapon in a combat zone, you’re looking at a “Field Grade Article 15” if your chain of command is feeling very generous. You would risk losing at least one or as many as three grades of rank (E-4 to E-1), one half of your base pay for two months, 60 days restriction, 45 days extra duty.
That’s only for enlisted though. If you do the same as an officer, you won’t get the same slap on the wrists as a punishment. Your career is over. You may as well start looking around for a new job and hope you don’t get a bad discharge. So we check our sensitive items religiously. Normally I check to see if I have my sensitive equipment with me thru out the day or we do a check at the end of each exercise to make sure each one of us on our team is not missing valuable equipment. Most of the times our gear is either on your person, or locked up somewhere secure. Accountability and personal responsibility for your equipment is something the military takes so seriously it’s not even funny. Because if there’s a fight, and you don’t have your weapon, then you’re a huge liability to everyone.
You also can’t be trusted to do certain thing due to fact of not being able to hand the responsibility. It is very important to know that my action don’t affect me but everyone around me. I now know that because my failure I will be always sure to get my proper information from senior leaders before making a decision or do my research more extensively. I don’t want to be a liability but an asset that everyone can rely on to get task or mission done, in a time and correct manner. I won’t make the mistakes like leaving my sensitive equipment at home or unsecure. I will also come to my section leaders first in the event I have a serious question. I am sure they will be able to guide me in the right direction every time. From Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free, “It is important that we forgive ourselves for making mistakes. We need to learn from our errors and move on.” and moving on is exactly what I am going to do from this experience.