On May 8th of this year, a young soldier stationed at a base in Utah named Joseph Bushling went missing. Since then, all that has been found was his vehicle and his baseball cap, both found out in the desert. Since then, his father Kevin Bushling, has been doing everything he could to find his son or his remains. However, the military has been less than helpful, listing his son as AWOL, making apparently little effort to find him in the first place, and even going so far as to stonewall information that could help out volunteer search teams. Mr. Bushling says that he even had to fight to get his son’s personal belongings back. So he turned to his congressman, Steve Womack, for help. Womack however blew Mr. Bushling off, and now he’s telling this story in a video posted on youtube:
Mr. Bushling says that he caught the Congressman’s office for help getting information from the military that could help in locating his son’s body. (Mr. Bushling believes his son to be deceased by this point.) He was assured by Womack’s office that the Congressman was a military man and cared about the troops, etc., and that the staff would talk to Womack about the case. He was later informed by the office that Womack himself had said he could not help Mr. Bushling and that what he needed to do was hire an attorney. Mr. Bushling took their advice, called back after the attorney had done all he could do for him, and was told by Womack’s staff that they couldn’t talk to him as he had hired a lawyer. Think about that, he did exactly what they told him to do and then said that his Congressman and his staff couldn’t talk to him because he had followed their advice!
Now let’s get one thing straight here, Womack and his staff can talk to Mr. Bushling. Just because he hired a lawyer to get some information doesn’t mean his congressman can’t talk to him. That’s total bullshit. Mr. Bushling realized that too and decided he wasn’t going to take it lying down. He printed up fliers that read “Why won’t Congressman Womack help find my son?”:
After being assured that an event being held at the Russellville high school was open to the public and that there shouldn’t be a problem with him handing out political pamphlets, Mr. Bushling showed up and distributed the pamphlets, only to be told by the police that he had to leave. So much for free speech. Not wanting to be arrested, Mr. Bushling did so, and bumped into Congressman Womack on his way out the door. In a phone conversation, Mr. Bushling informed me that Womack didn’t even recognize his name and asked him who he represented. When he reminded him of his son Womack hastily said that he couldn’t help him and when Mr. Bushling expressed his irritation at that told him he was off base. Then he proceeded to walk away and began his speech in which he had the audacity to say that in the army you learn to never leave a man behind.
Of all the rotten…no, I’m going to hold my tongue for once. This speaks for itself. You know, a friend of mine was telling me just this weekend about how he had problems with the army when he was trying to get his deceased grandfather’s medals and records. He called then Congressman Marion Berry’s office about it and got it all resolved in about a week because the Congressman and his staff did their job looking out for a constituent. How much more important is finding a son than medals? Whatever the facts turn out to be about what happened to Mr. Bushling’s son, as a military family they were owed far better than what they got from Congressman Womack for sure, and probably much better than what they’re getting from the army itself.
One last thing here. For those of you interested, there is a facebook page devoted to Joseph Bushling. Let’s hope his family gets the help they need and the closure they deserve.