Disabled veterans worried about jobs at Sunny Point
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- A group of disabled veterans is worried about keeping their jobs at Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point. The vets serve as guards at the munitions depot, but newly enforced regulations mean they will soon have to take a physical test.

"I don't understand why they're doing it the way they are," said William McGuire, president of the union that represents the federal workers at Sunny Point.

As a condition of their employment military workers across the country have to take a physical agility test, including 40 guards who are military veterans at Sunny Point. Half of them are disabled.

"I was hired, and the government knew I had that disability," Sunny Point worker Sgt. John Messner said. "Now all of a sudden I have to take a pt test, which is going to aggravate the things wrong with my knees, my ankle, my shoulder and other things, so I'm very confused."

Messner says many disabled veterans at Sunny Point are concerned they are either going to lose their jobs or have to relocate. He says more than that, he's worried for the future work of disabled vets.

"We'll probably see a lot of those people with the extra five points for disability. We'll probably see fewer and fewer of them, because there's a lot of them that probably would not be able to pass the PT test," Messner said.

The guards' union president says the PAT test will require personnel to run or walk a mile and a half in under 17 minutes and do a certain amount of sit-ups and push-ups. He says the policy that was made back in 2006 is unfair.

"How can you use standards from an active duty military person, a regular general infantry soldier who's out in the field all the time doing this, hiking and marching through the woods versus somebody who's a disabled vet, 10 to 30 point vet, who's sitting in a patrol car," McGuire said.

We talked to commanders at Sunny Point today. They said they were working on a response statement to this issue. So far, they have not sent it to us.

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would you like to tell us why you are no longer employed at Sunny Point?

Because he retired.

They should have to take a PT test to qualify for the job and every 6 months after that. Sunny Point is a highly sensitive installation, and those who keep it safe from intruders should be physically able to do so if the need arises. These guards are there protect, their jobs are not favors handed out just because they are disabled or veterans. I hope any who do not pass will find something else, but no one would hire a half-blind school bus driver or a one-armed fireman, so why have guards in a highly sensitive place who can't pass a physical test? Who knows when they might have to take physical action against someone.

amen!! you are dead on! I agree 100%

Shame on you. You should be working the streets and ot working a job created for Vets and some one older. What do you care about checking doors and windows? surely someone as mean as you would prefe to work with drug lords and gangs not a confined gated military base because those who know were patrolling in vehicles or boats and needing to chase someone, or shoot a tresspasser is rare.

Dont you have video game or a party to go to? We Vets can check doors and windows just fine with our stronger one arm and eye.

I have a question. Does the fire and rescue unit at Sunny Point take a physical agility test annually? If not, why would you initiate this test and watch just disabled personnel do it while the rest of Sunny Points emergency response stands on the sidelines? Just a thought.

Best idea on the matter yet.

give me a break....The firemen are in better shape than most of the guards! They were the ones who have been battle tested! do you remember the Carter fire? or maybe you were not a guard then. The guys on the FD bust their butt not only here on terminal but serving the local community as well. They have also taken a ton of first place awards during the annual fire fighters competition in Southport.
The only thing the guards have ever received a first place trophy was in a softball game on base. You had no problem running and playing softball either.

Give us all a break...The Southport firefighters competition is hardly a standard to use to gage readiness of firefighters.

Not to mention, why would you want the Sunny Point Fire Department busy anyways, considering what they are protecting?

From what I know about firefighters in your region, there have only been a handful at best that have actually seen combat, so being a firefighter at an airbase overseas does not qualify for battle tested.

Working at headquarters in Wilmington, Station 4 or 9 in Fayetteville, anywhere in Durham or Charlotte are good starters though. Firefighters riding an ambulance does not count either. Different mission entirely.

Quit thinking like a chick or convoluting the situation. There should be standards and those that are working the jobs in question should be professional to know that and accept those terms. If not, maybe person who is hiring those people should be replaced.

You sir are apparently a "fire buff" who knows only what he read in Dennis Smith's books. First off, you might want to do something about your reading comprehension. The statement of "battle tested" referred to the M/V Carter fire of 2001. You can Google it and have someone help you read it. Though some of MOTSUs firefighter have been in the desert and yes, did their jobs while being shot at. The fire department has more training/certificatons on their first day than many of the officers serving currently in those fine departmants that you mention....In truth, about half of MOTSUs department were hired from those departments.

It is good that you are retired since there is no room in the modern fire service for closed minded,bigoted people like yourself.

Again man, quit convoluting the thread. 1 ship fire hardly qualifies any fire department as battle tested. Do you even know where the battle for firefighters is? It is when you wake up at 4:30 in the morning to begin your tour. It is when you tell the kids and wife good bye and head into quarters for roll call. It is when your partner sets his turnouts in his spot for the job he has to do that day, you know, irons, outside vent, can man.

It is the same for your police and security forces. When they get up, make the ride in for roll call and make sure their gear is squared away.

I think some of the problem is those jobs that the "vets" are laying claim to are jobs that were created in an attempt to increase awareness for the public to be sensitive to their needs. They are not jobs that for people who think because they served, they are owed something. They have my gratitude for protecting our freedoms, theirs included. Not making light of the situtatiuon but our armed forces are all voluntary. The vets who are working those jobs ought to be professional enough and man enough to know whether they help the mission or are a detriment to it.

Oh yeah, those certifications that most of the MOTSU firefighters have are the same certifications that are issued through the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress, which includes Pro Board and Department of Defense training programs. So, while well earned, they are not exclusive. Just so we are all clear, ALL the firefighters going to work for MOTSU fire department all have certifications prior to setting foot on the base with the exception of maybe crash rescue or technician training for haz mat. Considering what the MOTSU fire deparment is protecting, by God, I hope they are educated, competent, and physically able to do the job.

From what I understand, MOTSU firemen are GS-6 paygrades through GS-12, which is a pretty penny. But when you work twice as much per month, I would expect to make twice the money.

I have seen your kind come and go so many times it is not even funny. I bet you are the kind of guy who goes and buys a leather helmet to infer you are living the essence of brotherhood, but are irresponsible enough to wear your leather into a training burn to darken it up to give the impression you are a battle harden vet or always drops his gloves so he doesn't have to be the first guy through the door. Yard breathers like you always get figured out. Mutts like you have no idea the gift you have been given to work the greatest job in the world and get paid for it where most people do it for free. If you are a commanding officer of a company or battalion, Heaven help your men and women.

They have been keeping it safe since 1955 without having to take a PAT test...what is the difference now?

... Nobody thought 9/11 would happen, but it did. If anything ever major happened at Sunny Point I'd rather have physically fit Guards /Police there than a bunch of broken cry babies which is what we have now. Oh and yes im a Disabled Vet. Thank you cry babies for also letting the whole area and or terrorists know that Sunny Point is manned by an unfit crew.

For a disabled vet to make comments against his fellow vets like you just did makes it apparent that you are likely disabled due to the fact that you were too stupid to know when to get behind the wall while under fire.
Just who are you to call other veterans "broken crybabies" OR to evaluate whether they are fit for security duty or not? I seriously doubt that the Sunny Point facility would allow security to be an "unfit crew" or "broken crybabies" as you state. It's the largest munitions depot in the entire United States. You get too close to it on the river and gunboats quickly meet you with men on deck and .50 cals.
I think what you just said is a shame and a dishonor to your service, your fellow soldiers and your country! Maybe you should try overcoming whatever "disability" you claim and attempt to be a functional human being rather that an ongoing coward that disparages those that were fellow soldiers! You are a disgrace!
One more thing there cowboy. An entire platoon of Navy Seals could've been in the World Trade Center when 911 happened and it wouldn't have made a damn bit of difference as to the outcome! Think about it!

So what! on September 10th 2001 the world trade centers were still there. Your comment has no point. Security and threat levels in 1955 and present day do not even compare. before september 11th we really did not woory about attacks on our country. That has all changed, the enemy is here in the U.S. all around us and if we do not stay vigilant and secure it might happen again. God forbid at sunny point or progress energy.

You are right on one point, the security levels are not the same as in 1955, however on 9/11 some of those same guards that are working today, were working on 9/11 also. They were not required to take the PAT then and they did a damn good job of keeping it safe on 9/11 and up until now. So your comment really has on point!!!.

Please note, not taking a PT test doesn't mean they can't carry or use a gun. They have trained and passed qualifications for that, and continue to defend Sunny Point. Being a disabled vet doesn't mean they are unable to work. They were hired as a "disabled vet." Why should they now be fired for being a "disabled vet"?

U must be a Police Officer at Sunny Point. One that is trying to get rid of Vets in guard positions.

The Police aren't trying to get rid of the guards, why would the police want to get rid of guards? Trained Police Officers don't want to stand around all day "guarding" a gate, so I am pretty sure you won't find one Police Officer that is lobbying to get rid of them. AND You can be a disabled vet and still run a mile and a half in 17 minutes...geez, my grandma could do it in 17 minutes! Bill McGuire is absolutely wrong that this is the active duty standard...look it up, it's no where near as stringent as the active duty PT test. Give me a break and don't open your mouth if you don't know you're talking about. I'm sorry your union is lying to you.

stop with the pitty pary already!