A California National Guard Major who spoke out against wasteful and illegal spending and mismanagement in the Army reserve is fighting to overturn what he alleges were career-killing performance reviews, handed down to him in retaliation for blowing the whistle.
Retired Maj. Joseph Lovelace, who was on track to become a lieutenant colonel after his Iraq deployment, spoke to the Sacramento Bee about severely poor conditions at Camp Roberts near Paso Robles, California, an Army outpost where old buildings fell into a state of disrepair and decay, sewage bubbled up through showers, and materials bought to repair the facilities sat unused until they also decayed.
Lovelace also spoke to Sacramento Bee about illegal retention bonuses the National Guard gave to tens of thousands of citizen soldiers.
According to the Sacramento Bee, five years ago, Lovelace received three performance reviews within a three-week period of time that were couched in language implying he was unfit for promotion. The reviews made disingenuously positive statements, saying he would was capable of making good decisions “with strong mentorship” and “supervision” and that he could succeed at a higher rank “with continued mentorship.”
Those reviews effectively ended his advancement in the National Guard and trimmed his lifetime earnings and retirement.
The Army investigated the matter and in 2014 and found that the performance reviews were inappropriate. Two of his former supervisors also affirmed that Lovelace suffered retaliation for speaking out, but the reviews remain part of his service record.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Lovelace is disputing the records through a Pentagon agency, “saying he was driven out of the National Guard for drawing attention to neglected problems.”