This chapter needs neither title nor preamble.
A letter I received on 12 March 2022:
“Lt. Col. Sweazey, yes…you did the story justice. In the same vein as LTC Vindman who testified during the Trump–Ukraine scandal, you showed awesome courage, guts and fortitude in trying to bring to light what goes on in the DAS and how it negatively affects the morale of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who put their lives on the lines every day serving in Embassies around the world.
I do not mind telling you that I sometimes wished I had come forward myself to add to your narrative. Quite frankly, I left the DAS (literally) traumatized at the state of affairs I found at DAS HQ and was positively devastated mentally during my brief exposure to such a toxic environment. I literally have a 10% disability from the VA for stress-induced anxiety from the mental stress that I was subjected to at the hands of the high-ranking GSs that inhabit that floor.
Honestly, I had almost gotten over all of that experience until you reached out last fall and I actually had a setback just being reminded of that experience (no kidding PTSD-style) and I haven’t quite calmed back down yet. I still take ZZZQuill every night so that my mind does not keep replaying the events of being in DAS HQ….
Again, I salute you Sir for being brave enough to put your career and your reputation on the line to help others who feel that they don’t have a voice. I don’t consider myself a coward, but my mental health is priority one, and having to recall all that over again is still a festering wound to me …
Stay safe and God bless you my friend.”
“I read your last message with a heavy heart. It saddens me to hear what the organization did to you, but unfortunately I am not at all surprised. On the other hand, your words reinvigorated me: this is exactly why I have set out on this path – the fact that the DAS cabal has and continues to derail people’s lives and careers is something I just cannot stand for.
I understand your cost-benefit decision matrix as it pertains to getting closure and moving on vice fighting the fight. You would think our military would have learned over the past 20 years of grappling with harassment and discrimination that we would stop putting victims in double jeopardy: people are victims because of the event itself, then re-victimized because they have to relive the hell of the event(s) for conceivably years thereafter in walking an arduous path to recompense and accountability. But our military, and especially our DIA, clearly has not learned those lessons. And because of that, so many people I interfaced with preferred to get seperation vice engage in a struggle with, based on precedent, little chance of success.
For better or for worse, I was in a position with little to lose – out of the DAS and my career ended, but with plenty of prospects on the outside. This meant that I had much more freedom of movement with which to operate and carry on with this crusade. Many others just didn’t have that luxury. They aren’t cowards. There have been 64 others thus far that have spoken out – they are also heroes and patriots. You aren’t a coward. Regardless of the audience size, you still spoke out – you motivated me to keep going. In my eyes, that makes you a hero as well. Don’t ever forget that!”