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MoH recipient Dakota Meyer
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MoH recipient Dakota Meyer - November 29, 2011, 09:03 PM

Decorated Marine Sues Contractor - WSJ.com

Two months ago, Dakota Meyer was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama for his service in Afghanistan, the military's most prestigious award. On Monday, Sgt. Meyer alleged that a defense contractor has called him mentally unstable and a problem drinker, ruining his chances for a job in the defense industry.

Sgt. Dakota Meyer alleges BAE Systems blocked him from a defense-industry job by claiming he is mentally unstable and has a drinking problem.

In legal papers filed Monday, the Marine claims that BAE Systems, where he worked earlier this year, retaliated against him after he raised objections about BAE's alleged decision to sell high-tech sniper scopes to the Pakistani military. He says his supervisor at BAE effectively blocked his hiring by another defense contractor by making the claims about drinking and his mental condition.

Sgt. Meyer's complaint is likely to pose a more difficult challenge for BAE, a British company with extensive U.S. operations, than a typical employment dispute. In the September White House ceremony, Sgt. Meyer was hailed for braving enemy fire as he tried to save the lives of fellow Marines who had been trapped in a Taliban ambush.

BAE said it would defend itself, but comments by BAE officials Monday made clear they don't want to be seen as denigrating a Medal of Honor recipient. "Although we strongly disagree with his claims, which we will address through the appropriate legal process, we wish him success and good fortune in his endeavors," said Brian J. Roehrkasse, a BAE spokesman. He declined to discuss any specifics of the suit.

Through a lawyer, Sgt. Meyer declined to comment on his suit. Representatives of the Pentagon and Marine Corps said they weren't aware of the suit.

The amended complaint filed in a Texas state court said that after leaving active duty in May 2010, Sgt. Meyer joined Ausgar Technologies, a defense contractor that hires veterans to train active-duty service members. At that company, Sgt. Meyer helped teach U.S. soldiers to use thermal imaging to spot roadside bombs. Less than a year later, in March 2011, Sgt. Meyer joined BAE Systems, though the suit doesn't make clear the exact nature of his job there.

Soon after joining BAE, Sgt. Meyer learned it was trying to sell advanced thermal optic scopes to Pakistan, according to the suit. In an email to his supervisor, identified as Bobby McCreight, Sgt. Meyer voiced his objections to the sale, the lawsuit states.

"We are taking the best gear, the best technology on the market to date and giving it to guys known to stab us in the back," Sgt. Meyer wrote to Mr. McCreight, according to the lawsuit. "These are the same people killing our guys."

While in the Marines, Sgt. Meyer had served along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Many in the military who have served on the border have said in interviews they view Pakistan as an unreliable ally, as likely to help Taliban insurgents as they are to aid American troops.

Pakistan military officials have repeatedly denied charges that they support the Taliban insurgency or target U.S. troops.

It wasn't clear Monday whether the U.S. ever provided high-tech thermal scopes to Pakistan. Mr. Roehrkasse, the BAE spokesman, said the decision to sell defense equipment is made by the State Department, not BAE. "In recent years, the U.S. government has approved the export of defense related goods from numerous defense companies, including BAE systems, to Pakistan as part of the United States' bilateral relationship with that country," he said.

In the suit, Sgt. Meyer said that after he voiced his criticism, Mr. McCreight began "berating and belittling" him. The supervisor criticized Sgt. Meyer for making a trip with their BAE division president and made sarcastic remarks about Sgt. Meyer's nomination for the Medal of Honor, allegedly ridiculing his "pending star status," the suit says.

At the end of May, Sgt. Meyer's complaint said, he resigned from BAE over the proposed sale to Pakistan and attempted to get his old job back at Ausgar. In the suit, Sgt. Meyer said he was told that that company wanted to hire him back as did the Defense Department program officer who approves hiring for the optics program.

About the same time, Mr. McCreight contacted a Defense Department program manager and said that Sgt. Meyer was "mentally unstable" and "had a problem related to drinking in a social setting," the lawsuit alleges.

On June 1, an Ausgar employee wrote an email to Sgt. Meyer saying his rehiring had been blocked by what Mr. McCreight told the Pentagon program manager, the suit says. Contacted Monday, the program manager, Robert Higginson, declined to discuss the case. A lawyer for Mr. McCreight didn't return a request for comment.

Later in June, Sgt. Meyer filed a defamation suit against BAE in San Antonio, where Mr. McCreight worked at the time. But the suit had no details of BAE's alleged actions against him.

Since receiving the Medal of Honor, Sgt. Meyer has been on a goodwill tour, visiting military bases, ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange and appearing as a guest of honor at the Marine Corps ball.


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November 29, 2011, 09:53 PM

Damn that is some heavy shit...


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November 29, 2011, 09:55 PM

Yeah, sounds kinda like BAE figured they could shitcan his rep and get him out of the way by dropping unsubstantiated rumors and innuendo about him. Doesn't work so well when the target is a MoH recipient and not just anybody. This will not go well for them. I would suspect the sales of the scopes is dropped and he gets a nice settlement to stop making waves.

And with the Freedom of Information act, plus other hiring laws....he will be able to get the information used to prevent him getting a job. Al he has to do is hire smart lawyers.


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November 30, 2011, 06:54 AM

Yeah, he will win this one, and some other company will give him a great job, no sweat


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November 30, 2011, 07:06 AM

I thought he was still living back in Kentucky working as a mechanic. Guess that article was dated.


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November 30, 2011, 07:18 AM

not to mention, if I was an employer , probably have to expect and tolerate at least a little bit of instability from one of america's greatest living warriors.

oh no, he's unstable !!!

yeah, read his fucking citation


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November 30, 2011, 07:21 AM

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oh no, he's unstable !!!
You kind of have to know that going in too. As soon as you see USMC on the resume you have to know you're hiring someone who is partially unstable and makes poor life decisions.

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November 30, 2011, 07:58 AM

BAE fail.
Cut the check fellas, you fucked up.



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November 30, 2011, 07:59 AM

I mean it is not like there are 2 sides to every story. Someone call BAE!


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November 30, 2011, 08:17 AM

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I mean it is not like there are 2 sides to every story. Someone call BAE!
Companies generally don't give a bad reference. Leaves them open to lawsuits. So they will just not give one. That's usually enough of a sign to a prospective company that there is a problem. HR 101 really.

To actually give a reference or bad information to a company looking to hire....means somebody was really trying to put the screws to him. There is a reason BAE isn't responding. They were playing games and trying to make sales that wouldn't be popular (would probably cost lives of american soldiers), got caught, tried to push the issue with the whistle blower, and stepped on a land mine.

Yeah, they are going to write a large check on this one. The quote "drinking problem in social situations" = after hours. If it's off the clock it's none of their business. They didn't say "Drunk at work". Plus I'm guessing they don't have any documentation of this issue anywhere. Otherwise they would be fighting back. So a non-documented 'issue' versus MoH winner calling them for selling technology to possible enemies. (The optical sights would end up in enemy hands, nobody thought it wouldn't happen. ) That would cost US lives. And BAE was willing to do this for money. This would not go well in any US court. Ever. US bias alone would sink any chance BAE has of winning a lawsuit.

Just my $0.02 analysis. You get what you pay for.


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November 30, 2011, 08:22 AM

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Companies generally don't give a bad reference. Leaves them open to lawsuits. So they will just not give one. That's usually enough of a sign to a prospective company that there is a problem. HR 101 really.
Additionally, a lot of companies require that their managers either pass potential good references through HR first or even don't allow it at all. The company I worked for in MS had a written policy stating that all calls for references must be passed directly to HR.


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November 30, 2011, 09:29 AM

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Additionally, a lot of companies require that their managers either pass potential good references through HR first or even don't allow it at all. The company I worked for in MS had a written policy stating that all calls for references must be passed directly to HR.
Exactly. And any bad references were not allowed to be passed along.

HR would *never* allow that kind of reference....ever. Their job is to protect the company and ensure adherence to laws and policies. I can guarantee that BAE's HR division has this type of policy.


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November 30, 2011, 10:23 AM

Here's the issue I see with this. His former employer used BAE as an excuse not to hire him back. There has to be more to this. BAE doesn't just decide to sell equipment overseas, there are export control issues and laws that govern that, and on top of it being one of the few defense contractors that is foreign owned they are heavily scrutinized. The board that governs them has several US Generals on it.
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November 30, 2011, 10:30 AM

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Here's the issue I see with this. His former employer used BAE as an excuse not to hire him back. There has to be more to this. BAE doesn't just decide to sell equipment overseas, there are export control issues and laws that govern that, and on top of it being one of the few defense contractors that is foreign owned they are heavily scrutinized. The board that governs them has several US Generals on it.
The board having US generals doesn't have anything to do with whether they're doing shady shit. Being a US general does not mean one is above reproach.

Note how BAE's response sidestepped any discretion they had in selling the equipment to Pakistan. It said the items were "approved for export" but ignored the question on whether or not they had a choice. I suspect they did.

Also, his former employer probably COULDN'T hire him back because of the allegations. The .gov contracting world is FULL of gotchas like that.


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November 30, 2011, 11:14 AM

I agree being a US General doesn't make one above reproach. But, does being a MOH winner make Meyer above reproach? I mean, do we take his words at face value? In my experience with the govt. If the COTR wants you on that contract. They can get you on that contract. I just really think there is more to this story. Maybe there were personality conflicts between him and his previous employer and also with his management at BAE?
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