National Guard accused of forcing Camp Roberts whistleblower to retire

March 27, 2017

California National Guard

A retired Army major who lives in Paso Robles is accusing the California National Guard of forcing him to retire as retaliation for blowing the whistle about financial mismanagement and deteriorating conditions at Camp Roberts. [Sac Bee]

Maj. Joseph Lovelace, a 46-year-old Iraq War veteran, was a source for stories in 2011 that exposed illegal retention bonuses the National Guard handed to tens of thousands of citizen soldiers, as well as conditions at Camp Roberts that included decaying buildings, sewage bubbling from the showers and deteriorated materials that were bought for repairs but left out in the open. The stories resulted in a shake-up in the California National Guard’s command and led to the adoption of a law that gave more independence to the state Military Department’s inspector general and enhanced protection for whistleblowers.

Nine months after Lovelace spoke with a reporter, he received three performance reviews in a period of three weeks. The reviews stated Lovelace was capable of making good decisions “with strong mentorship” and “supervision” and could succeed at a higher rank “with continued mentorship.”

The wording of the reviews carried an underlying message that constitutes career-killing language, senior Army officers said. The officers said Lovelace’s command did not want him to advance to a higher rank, and without a promotion, he would be forced to retire.

Lovelace, who is now out of the National Guard, is trying to overturn the three performance reviews and is contesting them through a Pentagon agency. Lovelace argues he was prevented from attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel and was driven out of the National Guard for drawing attention to neglected problems. He also says the performance reviews are reducing his lifetime earnings because he would receive more money for retiring at a higher rank.

Two of Lovelace’s former supervisors have backed the retired major, reporting Lovelace suffered retaliation after he identified himself as a source in the Sacramento Bee’s stories.

However, a 2014 Army investigation concluded the reviews were conducted appropriately. A California National Guard spokesman said Lovelace was given several other key assignments before retiring from the active service in 2015.

Since retiring, Lovelace has been trying to launch a small business. He receives a pension from the Army based on his 24-year military career and his rank as major.

Lovelace says blowing the whistle was still the right thing to do, and if he could go back in time, he would make the same choice again.

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Is there one single person who is familiar with, driven by, worked, or trained at CR that would not have agreed with Maj. Lovelace, that CR reflected decades of deferred maintenance?

Typically, the chain of command prevents such potentially embarrassing disclosure, but in this case the moral conscience and responsibility “Trumped” any organizational loyalty.

In all the cases, the Major was simply exercising the truth, integrity, honesty and loyalty he was taught in his officers training throughout his career.


If it weren’t true would the guard not have prosecuted those responsible for the USPFO payroll debacle….or dumped millions into upgrading CR?

I think not….this is clearly a witch hunt designed to disguise the truth.

I think people DON’T WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH. They like their little bubble where they believe everything in favor of the government/military and do not have to engage in the realization of how things really are. Just ask Snowden in Russia if this is true or not. Did anyone care at all about him? No. People who blow that whistle stand alone–VERY ALONE! Lovelace is still glad he blew that whistle? Honesty is so rare these days! Elect him for President!!!!

President Eisenhower trying to warn us of what would become of us if the “military/industrial complex” thrives. In 1961.