Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The saga continues

Okay, some of you know, some don't so I'll just post the whole story to give everyone an idea of the assininity I've had to endure and continue to work through.

I was driving my car on an Air Force base local to our house and stopped behind a school bus at an intersection waiting for a light to change. Another bus was trying to make the turn through the intersection so the bus in front of me decided to be "nice" and backed up to give him room... yeah... backed up right into my car. After laying into the horn for a while, he finally learned of his mistake and stopped his bus. (Note... this was a unit school bus and had no kids or other passengers on board.) So there we stood in the middle of the road in the rain waiting 30 minutes for the military police (who work on the other side of the intersection... I didn't know this at the time or I would have gone over there) to arrive at the scene of the accident.

When the decision was made to move the vehicles, I took pictures. I don't know why the military police did not, but I wasn't going to be left in the wind. We moved the two vehicles across the intersection to their parking lot and went inside to do up the paperwork citing the other driver (who was only temporarily here for work) and when I asked the question, "Who is going to pay for this?" I got a lot of deer in the headlight looks from everyone present.

WEEKS later I finally find the unit responsible for filing claims against the government for damage they cause, but only after having called that organization multiple times and being told it was not them. I went down...

I should say at this point that the location of all of this is on the south side of the island so there is no easy way to do this during work and they're closed after I get off... lucky me.

I went down to the filing organization and was told that I had to get the car towed to at least two different shops for estimates of repair and fill out a bunch of other paperwork in order to file the claim. After filing, they can take up to a month to decide to pay and another few weeks to finally pay. Meanwhile, I am out of a car, the towing fees, and have to take leave to accomplish the filing and legwork.

While working on this, my car was left in the parking lot of the military police with my contact information in the windshield. I was told three times on different dates by the airmen who work there that it would be no problem to leave it there. I happened to be on that base last week and wanted to check in on the car before my leave began this week to deal with it only to discover that the car was not there.

They towed it.

Well, where is it? I went inside and was met with a lot of the same deer in the headlights looks I saw before from that office before I was directed to an individual who dealt in those matters, but he was gone for the day so I'd have to check back tomorrow (when I'm supposed to be working) to ask him how to get my car back. After leaving, I was addressed by one person who was "helping" me and he said the individual's car was still in the parking lot and that he might still be in there. I went back in and while waiting to see him, I met the LtCol in charge of the military police on that base. He told me that the car was towed on his request because it posed a "Force Protection Issue" (Military talk for 'it might be a bomb') and that it had been parked there too long. I told the LtCol that I respectfully disagree because on the other side of the street there is a place where service members can park their cars for sale indefinitely with contact information in the window and that his office had a way to get in touch with me (the might be bomber) and that bombers don't normally do that. I know force protection... my ENTIRE JOB AND LIVELIHOOD is force protection.

He wasn't listening.

I finally found the guy I was waiting for and he was just as deaf. He said that vehicles are not allowed to be parked in any one spot for more than 72 hours and that the law is the law. I replied that this nice little fact is never told to drivers on Okinawa and it might be nice to include in the Newcomer's Brief or in the Drivers Education mandated when you arrive on island. He said the rules are there for anyone to see at http://www.kadena.af.mil/security_forces.jaslr/pr75Q.lunch/good_luck_finding_this_obscure_reference.html.pdf.get_lost

Yeah right.

Bottom line, they towed my car and it would now take $250 to get it back. I asked if that could be waived since they authorized the parking of the vehicle in the first place. "Fat chance." (Okay, I'm paraphrasing here... he didn't actually say, "Fat chance" but he night as well have. What he actually said was that *I* could contact MCCS {the civilian organization tasked with towing the vehicles on base} and ask them to waive the $250 fee. Yeah, like they're going to waive it just because I don't think I should pay it. Fat Chance is right.)

Out steps a Captain from the back room and asked what this was all about. Reluctant to start the discussion all over again just to be laughed at, I told him I was just about done and that I had already taken up enough of his office's time. He insisted he hear it and I started into the whole story "with full orchestration and five part harmony and stuff like that" when he actually offered to contact MCCS and see if they could waive the fee.


So... that last part was last Wednesday. I have since sent the story to him again but in email form so he can go to bat for me. He sent it off to MCCS and they're actually working to get the fee waived. It'll take a few days, but they're working on it and it looks positive. HOWEVER, I still have to go to Camp Kinser (a base further south from where I work and live) to begin the paperwork to get my car released from impound.

Apparently there is no paperwork to pick up... I have to draft a letter and have my Battallion Commander sign it saying that he has dealt with my malfeasance and that it will not happen again.


Waste more of my time and now that of my Battalion Commander who, I'm sure, has nothing better to do with his day than to deal with members of the US Air Force lying to and then improperly impounding a vehicle of one of his Marines.


Here I sit, two days into the leave which was supposed to be spent FIXING my car and I have to wait another week (after my Battalion Commander sends the letter) for them to release my car so I can get started repairing it. And I STILL have to get the two estimates and complete the paperwork so I can wait up to another two months to get reimbursed whatever portion of my claim they feel they should reimburse!

Moral of the story?

Don't get hit by an Air Force bus.

I'm so incredibly upset with the Air Force right now.


Mary Ellen said...

oh geez...that's terrible...I mean awful and horrific. I hope the repair goes smoothly.

Josee said...

how terribly annoying ... and to think the government wants to get involved in health care, banking, auto manufacturing and more. Is this what we have to look forward to?

Just John said...

I wonder if you could dally as long as this with paying the AF if you had been at fault...I somehow doubt it.

nana judith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nana judith said...

Isn't this where we say...good grief, paying for my own damage would have been easier!!?? Meanwhile, what are you driving to work? Shall we ship the Mini over? We could probably fit it in another dog cage.