About the Co-Author

First, I’d like to say thanks for reading Captain Incarcerated.

Russ’ trial and that echoing guilty verdict were so surreal that I knew if we didn’t write it all down we wouldn’t believe it had ever happened.

The Army provided Russ a ladder out of a depressed socioeconomic situation he might have gotten mired in had he not enlisted and placed his foot on that first rung. Not too long after earning his sergeant’s stripes, he finished college and went to Officer Candidate School (OCS) to become an officer.

When Russ and I found ourselves on the same FOB (forward operating base) during our second deployment, we worked together, went to the gym together, and ate meals together. So it came as a shock when I heard Russ had been accused of a crime. Had it been any other person I knew, even a few other pretty good friends, I likely would have accepted the allegations as true and cut ties. But I couldn’t bring myself to do that with Russ. For days, I struggled to figure out how to respond.

Meanwhile, Russ was having a struggle of his own. I didn’t see him for weeks. Then a mutual friend of ours came in to my office and said she’d seen him sitting in his truck with a thousand-yard stare. She seemed spooked by the state she’d found him in. In that moment, I decided that regardless of the legitimacy of the allegations he faced, Russ still needed a friend. Others were going to abandon him – probably very soon. And even if he was guilty, I knew he was a good person – even if he was guilty, it was anomalous behavior, not his norm.

Mother’s say similar things about their sons who turn out to be mass murderers – they’re unwilling or unable to see the truth. But that’s not the sort of emotion I had or have about Russ. I could have cut ties with him had I come to the conclusion that he was indeed a bad person. It wouldn’t have been an easy decision and I believe it would have hurt, but I definitely would have written him off. That said, I’d literally gone to hell and back with Russ — twice. I know, beyond the shadow of any doubt that he’s a good person. And I didn’t think a good person should ever be allowed to sit alone in a parking lot contemplating their ruin.

So I reached out and he grasped my hand, and we’ve been helping each other through his ordeal ever since.

After our first visit to see him at the USDB, my husband and I realized that although the situation was a horrible one, Russ was probably the only person we knew who could handle it with any semblance of grace. Russ can get along with just about anyone (even mass murderers, apparently), and he can befriend people knowing their faults and foibles.

Do yourself a favor and read a few of these posts. See if you can draw upon your inner Russ and befriend the author.

You may have no experience with prison or the military, or you may have too much experience with both. Regardless of what brought you here, I hope this blog gives you a little insight into the humanity of the incarcerated and the nuances of justice. I also hope it makes you laugh every once in a while.

Because Russ is still fighting his conviction and also hoping for parole, we are using a pseudonym and won’t get too detailed about his crime.

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4 thoughts on “About the Co-Author

  1. Boy, things sure have changed since I was at the DB back in ’75. New building. Cells that are hotel rooms compared with mine. And “nothing to do”(?!).

    Maybe weekends, but during the week I worked, teaching GED English to inmates (2nd bldg, right, as you enter through the front gate; http://www.fototime.com/754F3D874B87713/orig.jpg).

    Continuing ed, too, was offered all inmates–took an economics course there taught by a prof from nearby Benedictine college.

    Was out of gen. pop in 3-months and made it outside the walls–can’t recall at the moment the nomenclature of my status; but I was situated in clean, modern barracks about a 1/2 mile or so from the DB. Had to quit teaching inside, though–didn’t like that; so I opted for an elevated status back inside the walls (one of those bldgs. on the left as you walk in the front gate. Hey, you work 40-hours or so a week. Who cares where, if the work is fulfilling.

    I recall being told where Calley was–or had been–while I was there.

    Served 61/2 or 7-mos. on an 8-mouth sentence; getting out–bus took us to KC airport–was a moment I’ll never forget. I kissed the ground. Literally.

    Won my appeal, btw. Time served, honorable, 5 g’s in back pay.

    Current place is the Ritz by comparison. Tell your friend he’s got it made in the shade. ‘Course, I wasn’t doing 6-years. But I bet if he got involved in the stuff the army offers–or did–to inmates, time would go by a helluva lot faster.

    • Writeby – thanks for the comment! The photo you sent is a familiar one. Have you been to FT Leavenworth recently? The old barracks now houses a variety of shops.
      It sounds like you kept busy at the DB. Russ has kept busy as well – he volunteers, works, and has completed a master’s degree. He’s also involved in some intra-murals. They have a basketball league and a weight-lifting competition, from what I hear.
      I’ll be sure to tell him that you won your appeal. I believe news like that is always a welcome reminder that the system can work. I think I’ll refrain from telling him he’s “got it made in the shade.” I’m not sure that’s the case for anyone incarcerated…although, having been through the old building, I know exactly what you mean. Thank goodness for renovation and upgrades!

  2. My son is incarcerated at the USDB. Thank you for providing this blog. Even though we hear from him regularly, and try to see him a couple of times a year, it is difficult to have the days and months and years go by. He is in that damned if you do or don’t state of appeal and parole, as well. The Captain’s blog brought me tears. Give the Captain my best and bless you for standing by your friend. Christine

  3. Thank you for writing this.
    I worked off and on for 7.5 years in DTP, the last 5 being in the Assessment Division conducting the Hare interviews. Part of the interview was reading through the ROI and all paperwork that arrived with the inmate.

    Military conviction rates run in the 90 percentile range. The judge is often the rater for the prosecution and/or defense attorney, unless the defendant chooses to pay for a civilian lawyer versed in UCMJ. But, as is often the case, the local civilian lawyer is a former military officer who more than likely knows the judge personally. So, when your next evaluation report depends on pleasing the judge, there is evident bias involved.

    Without a doubt, I honestly believe that you cannot get a fair trial under UCMJ due to the interrelated relationships between the judges and attorneys, the chain of command bringing pressure to bear and no one wanting to be guilty of handing out a ‘Not Guilty’ verdict for few of being passed over for promotion.

    The only consolation is being at the USDB. As the inmates called it: “the Hilton of prisons.”

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