Big Chicken Dinner
Post finally comes to terms with the results of his actions.
In shackles and a brown jumpsuit, Davidson Post stood before the Judge Advocate General (JAG), Air Force Colonel Nathan Speight. Post looked disheveled and disoriented. It was if his face began to melt to the floor he was so slack jawed. He leaned slightly to the right.
“I suggest that you close your mouth and stand up straight. You are still under US military authority. Have at least a shred of decency about yourself.”
Post straightened. He clamped his mouth shut.
“Do you realize that those ribbons that you had on your chest mean something?” the Judge Advocate General asked. “That to have them on your chest means that you’ve earned them, sometimes being put through hell and fighting your way out to save the lives of your compatriots? Those stars would’ve meant decades in the armed forces. Each one would have told a tale of honor, of gallantry, of pride. Your display of those insignia and decorations was abominable. It is shameful of you that you committed this crime knowing that there have been thousands of officers who would go on to be generals because they faced challenges and charged forward on their own resolve. That’s what those pieces mean. They’re not just shiny or colorful materials that showcase to the world that you have power and authority over thousands of troops. They’re to reflect the respect to this country and your fellow fighters. You have failed in this regard. I sentence you to continue your six months in military prison, forfeiture of all pay and benefits and a bad conduct discharge. Hopefully, with your time spent in a cell, you will remember just how reckless your actions were. Do you understand your sentence?”
“Yes, sir,” Post said.
The military police escorted Post to a cell in the new military prison on Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Once he reached his cell, Post immediately began to consider his options. All of them remained anti-life. The guards walked away whistling as the cell locked and closed. In the solitary cell, Post continued to contemplate committing the final do-it-yourself project. He wrapped the sheets of the rack around his neck and squeezed so tight that he eventually lost consciousness. All of this was for naught. Cameras watched him. Guards came over to cell and pulled him out of it. His next stop remained at the solitary confinement housing unit. This space featured no sheets or pillow. Four gray concrete walls and a ceiling, a concrete rack, a metal toilet and sink, and nothing else started to make Post become even more agitated. His mind became ablaze with memories of him graduating from Marine Officer Candidate School with high honors and fourth in his class. He recalled the days that he told his father that he would be general one day. His father smiled knowing that he may never see the day when his son would have achieved that great feat. He smashed his fists into his ears until they bled. This was day one.
In time, with just a few weeks remaining in his sentence, Post had resigned to the reality that he may never find work on the outside or have the power to start his own business. A bad conduct discharge or “big chicken dinner” carried with it the burden of a disreputable individual. For his actions, he knew that the only way out of all of the mess that he created would be to fall by his own hands. He squared up with the concrete rack and slammed his head against it with enough force to knock him unconscious but still able to breathe. More guards spilled through the space like water issuing from a spigot. The medical personnel address his head wound and advised that he receive straps on his arms and legs on a table and received his meals through a straw. With the knowledge of how close he had come to suicide, he decided to accept his fate. He would be living and breathing but only on the level of a fraud, a fake, and a phony. This was worse than death.