Let me start by saying that I believe that nobody should be a prisoner of their background. If you have the misfortune, like Harold William Vadney III, to have been born into a trailer-trash family, then it is not only understandable but also commendable to try to rise above your humble beginnings through talent and hard work.
Of course, if you have no talent, there’s always the military. Not only is the military chronically short of new recruits—so they’ll accept just about anybody—but it also offers its employees dumbed-down “college-level” courses, so that even people whose prospects are so dim that they need to join the military in the first place can hope to exit with a degree. So it must have looked like the natural career choice for the young Harold William Vadney III. In a way, it’s a wonder he didn’t think of it earlier, but then again, perhaps not.
Of course, there is a minor disadvantage to a military career: you may be posted to a war zone, where other soldiers, wearing different-coloured uniforms, may actually shoot at you and otherwise try to kill you. At the time, the US was engaged in an undeclared war in South-East Asia; so the risk was more than theoretical. But somehow, young Harold managed to swing it so he got posted to the war zone of the past, Europe, and never had to face the unpleasantness of physical danger.
So far, so good. But now have a look at Vadney’s military record, kindly supplied by Mr Scott Horne. It seems young Harold left the military in something of a hurry. He didn’t wait to finish his degree, and, surprisingly, he was discharged while still in Germany. And if we look at page 3 of the PDF file, on the last non-blank line (about 12 lines down the page), we see that something has been blacked out before the word “discharge” (by the military, not by either me or my colleague). Normally, you’d expect the word “honorable” to appear there, and the blacked-out section is the right length for that. Could it be that the brass were going to give Vadney an honourable discharge, but thought better of it?
Then there’s the question of the Vadney’s rank. On the covering document (page 2 of the PDF file), it is given as “Specialist 4 / E4” (E4 corresponds to Corporal), but shortly before being discharged, he seems to have made it to “TRANSLATOR / INTPR (E6)” (E6=Staff Sergeant). So why does the covering document (p. 2) give his rank as E4? Why did he apparently not even get an honourable discharge? Why did he leave so abruptly? And why does he never mention this highly relevant “professional” experience on his CVs? (See for example this one, taken from his ProZ.com profile before he became such a liability that they had to kick him off.) Could it be that Vadney got into some kind of trouble, and was demoted and bundled out?
We note from the covering letter to Mr Horne that the records provided to him constitute all information “releaseable” under Freedom of Information legislation, and that the Vadney’s permission is required for further details. In view of the Vadney’s oft-stated commitment to openness, and the obvious pride (and understandable pride too, when you consider his subsequent career) with which he regards his military career and his “Big Red One” (the question he never answers is: big red what?), we are sure that the relevant permission will be forthcoming. And pigs might fly.