In an effort to get a handle on what has grown into a military-wide crisis in privatized housing, the Army is launching a registry to help keep track of complaints, according to a memo obtained by Task & Purpose and later announced by the Army.
Staff Sgt. Roy Leverette was pretty blunt: "You're too fat."
Leverette was a recruiter for the U.S. Marine Corps at a career fair when Southeast Lauderdale freshman Wyatt Simmons came up to him and expressed interest in becoming a Marine once he finished high school. At 250 pounds, though, Simmons was told he should join the Army or Navy instead.
"The first thing I look at is physical fitness," Leverette explained. "He came over and I said, plain and simple, 'You're fat. This is not for you.'"
But Leverette read Simmons' face and saw someone who wasn't going to take that kind of statement from anyone. Now a junior, Simmons currently weighs 180 pounds thanks to an overhaul in his diet and fitness regimen. It's helped him as a baseball player for the Tigers, and it's helped him in other areas of life — and it all goes back to being called fat by Leverette when he was a freshman.
Sailors from Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD), currently assigned to USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) works on a mock patient during a mass casualty drill for Mercy Exercise (MERCEX) in December 2018. (U.S. Navy/Cameron Pinske)
In March 2014, at Naval Hospital Bremerton, Washington, Navy Lt. Rebekah "Moani" Daniel was admitted to have her first child. A labor and delivery nurse who worked at the facility, she was surrounded by friends and co-workers when daughter Victoria entered the world.
But four hours later, the 33-year-old was dead, having lost more than a third of her body's volume of blood to post-partum hemorrhaging. Her husband's attorney argues that the doctors failed to deploy treatments in time to halt the bleeding, leading to her death.
Her baby, now 5, never felt her mom's embrace.
This Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to hear a petition from Moani Daniel's husband, Walter Daniel, in his case against the Navy hospital where his wife died. Like every other service member, Daniel was required to get medical care from the U.S. military, but her family is prohibited from suing for medical malpractice, barred by a 69-year-old legal ruling known as Feres that precludes troops from suing the federal government for injuries deemed incidental to military service.
"Suppose you had two sisters. One was on active duty and the other was a military dependent. Both of them give birth in adjoining rooms at the same military hospital [by the same doctor]. Both are victims of malpractice. One can sue and the other one can't. How can that make sense?" asked attorney Eugene Fidell, a former Coast Guard judge advocate general and military law expert who lectures at Yale Law School.