My husband has had his current vehicle for 13 years, an old Chevy Blazer that has been to Germany, Hawaii and all over the mainland.  He drives it as a badge of honor since he has kept it running this long and our children prefer to ride in that old thing over my Jeep.  With the holidays and craziness going on, my DH forgot that his tags expired in December.  He took it to get inspected a few weeks ago and it failed inspection due to a faulty parking break.  Well, $500 later he goes to pick it up yesterday morning and gets in reinspected.  It passed and he planned to go get the new tags first thing the next morning because he needed to get back to the office.  This would all be boring and so not worthy of a blog, except for a young MP that happened to be behind DH on his way home from work.

cops 2

We live on post at Schofield Barracks in a small neighborhood where everyone knows everyone.  Most afternoons the neighborhood kids are all playing outside and various parents hang around chit chatting while keeping an eye on the kids.  Imagine our surprise when my DH turns down the road followed by an MP with blue lights flashing!  They pulled up in front of our home and there was no surprise that he was pulled over for expired tags.  The shock was that his truck had to be towed off post until it was registered because it is deemed unsafe. Let me also tell you that we ended up with 2 MP cars with flashing lights before this was over.  To add insult to injury we have to wait for an hour because the tow truck company that has the Army contract is on the other side of the island!  And guess what?  We had to pay $100 cash to tow it off post.

Basically, the MP said this was SOP and there was nothing he could do because he already had started the process.  He honestly felt bad about it when my husband showed the receipt from just that morning and the inspection.  So here we stood in front of my home with about 10 little kids under 5 and about 10 of my neighbors.  People who had just left work were stopping to see what was going on.  Everyone was in agreement that yes my DH was at fault for being lazy and not getting his tags done sooner rather than later, but towing the car is a bit extreme.

The MP that pulled him over took me aside to apologize over and over that this was happening.  I understand he did not write the SOP, so he is not to blame, but I cannot help thinking who would make that procedure?  I try not to discuss rank much on blogs I write, but I have to mention it this time.  My husband is a LTC and yes he brings home a good paycheck after 17 years of service.  Everyone would assume we have money and $100 is not that big of a deal.  You can never judge a book by its cover.  Our oldest son has low functioning autism and most months our therapy and medical bills are more than he brings home in a month.  We were lucky that this month we had that extra $100, but what about the E4 with 3 kids that has this happen?  If you don’t have the cash, then your car gets impounded until you can pay to get it out.

We now have the car registered and we have $100 less in our checking account.  We will not really think about it too much after today.

My real question is why on earth would someone write a procedure like that and who does that benefit?

Certainly not any soldiers or families…just the tow truck company that gets a fat wallet.





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9 Comments on A Crazy Night on Schofield…

  1. Sorry that you had a negative experience, but I’m afraid many readers won’t have a lot of sympathy. You embarrassment, and financial burden, could have been prevented, as you pointed out. You actually might have been better off to leave the rank out of it, because frankly, I expect an LTC to have it together, a bit better than that. Fair or unfair, FGO’s MUST lead by example. Hope your weekend gets better.

    • Hi Diana,
      Do you have a low-functioning Autistic child in your house? One who doesn’t speak and needs round the clock watching? And whose medical expenses take up most of your paycheck? It’s easy, especially through the holidays to forget things like renewing your car registration. My husband has a higher rank and I let my last military ID expire. It happens. To everyone. No matter the rank. The point of the blog was to sympathize with those in our military community who don’t have the extra the $100 to pay for a tow. I would love it if our military spouse family would not be so judgemental all the time. Did you not read the part where she said everybody agreed that her DH was at fault?

      • I’m sorry; did you think my opinion was snarky, simply because you don’t agree with it? Incidentally, having a special needs child has NOTHING to do with having expired tags. You know every year that they need to be renewed. That’s a moot point, because if you REREAD my comment, I pointed out that she had indeed mentioned it. I was not rude, or disrespectful. I simply stated my opinion. I did it knowing that it wasn’t a popular one, and that others would not see where I’m coming from. Thank you, Celeste, for receiving it the day it was intended. As you well know, blogging is an invite for diverse commentary, and I chose to participate. Again, I hope you have a good weekend.

  2. Not looking for sympathy… I am laughing about it….The point is that many don’t have the money to do the tow and the wasted hour of 2 MPs and a tow truck is silly when there are other things going on. The MPs were very nice and seemed to agree this was outrageous, but what can they do about it? Totally, agree it was my husband at fault….he knows that and believe me he will never do it again!

  3. As I read I knew the bashing would come quick. This is why I don’t really open up to many military spouses. Sometimes you just don’t have it together, whether its a day, week or really bad year. Rank makes no difference, were all still human. As for money, you have no idea what kind of unavoidable/necessary bills people have, it isn’t always credit cards and expensive cars.

    As for the towing, yes I find that over kill along with two MP cars with flashing lights. No need to make a scene over something so trival.

  4. How frustrating!! I have to say it’s kind of nice to know these things can happen to LTC’s too. Not that it was fun or deserved. However, I am appalled at Diane’s comments. Regardless of rank everyone has their bad days or months especially around the holiday’s it is difficult to plan for the unexpected especially when you have a child with a disability. I’m sure the chaos got the best of you guys and it kept getting put in the “I need to do that” pile. I’m sure as LTC your husband has a lot on his plate and has a little more to worry about. Just an FYI we registered our cars for 2 years maybe that’s an option? :)

  5. Jessica….I totally wish we could register for 2 years! I am also laughing that people assume we have it together! I know some of those people, but I am one of them….I wish…

  6. Responding to Diane’s comment of hoping that a LTC would have it more together… My husband is a Major; I am a person who thrives on being organized and I’m always hoping to “arrive and have it together.” However, it seems that the majority of my life as a milspouse has been more defined by chaos rather than orderliness and getting all those little things done, though I do try! Things tend to spin totally out of control…a lot… And I think we face that more in the military, going through a cycle of deployment, moving, adjusting (repeat…and repeat). Add to that, responding to the needs of our kids, friends, neighbors, family, and a host of other things. And I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be going through a major illness, having a special needs child, and other situations that would just compound the stressors of life…military life. Add to that, most of our husbands work long hours or are constantly gone, be it for TDY, training, or deployment. We live on Schofield and we also had a time where we were embarrassed to discover that the tags on both our vehicles were expired. And do you know when that was? It was during the time when we were welcoming new families to the island, helping them get acclimated and settled, going out of our way to help these new military families feel welcome, and letting them borrow our vehicles instead of renting a car (that’s when a kind newcomer noticed and pointed out the expired tags). Thankfully we got the tags renewed without being penalized. I need to note that the procedure to do that here is absolutely tiresome, and more so if you need to make a repair to pass inspection. In fact, once we had the tires replaced, we went back to the repair shop to get the worker to sign off on the repair, and wouldn’t you know he had just quit and there was no one else in the business to sign off on it. So we had to travel clear across to another repair shop from the same company to get a signature. I guess my point is that I could have my life “more together”, but if the cost is at the expense of doing other things of more value and meaning, well, I guess we’ll take that chance. And hey, maybe someday I’ll “arrive” and be the organized, structured person I want to be…maybe. :) And yes, the SOP has got to go! I would love for our MPs to focus their energy on more important things.

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