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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.

Comment on this Story

  • wiley

    There is a system in place to handle this. It is the union, specifically afge 1708. The union needs to request to negotiate the change to working conditions, if an inpasse is declared then refer this to the federal service impasse panel and let them hear both sides and make a decesion on this matter. And that is how it is done folks. your old chief steward from the mid 90’s until 2004.

  • Not wanted

    It saddens me to see how the DOD is treating us. It is the U.S. Government guards and police now. What U.S. Government, DOD position will be next?! We were hurt during service to this country and now this government just throws our lives and the lives of the people who depends on us in disarray. I just cannot write into words how the action of the DOD has just broken me. I just want to work and provide for my family…

  • Cr42076

    First things first the base commander, the supervisor who went to a famous military school who must have finished last in the graduation class and past commanders ALL should be fired because the couldn’t supervise a 1 women hooker in a whore house. They have been covering up stuff now all their stuff is coming back to bite them in the A**. Scott AFB need to do a FULL investigation on what going on there. Anyone who read this if you know anyone at Scott AFB let them know 1. Old guard fell asleep photos taken got some days off a few I am sure then able to get new job that almost doubles his pay the becomes union president then left the position the supposed to cash a check and the union wants the money back to me that sound like stealing to me . 2. Famous military grad tell a women to let it go when a racial comment was made to her I bet that COST Them $. 3. Others get waiver to get a security clearance ever though they used the Govt credit card for personal reason and not on orders and they get there car reposed may be they should have played Repo Games and they might have keep their car. According to Govt policy they HAVE to pay their bills or get a write up nothing happened, just using to Govt card they should have need fired. 4. People hire their friends that they knew from another place maybe they got drunk with them and crawl on the floor and they blackmailed them for the job that seems the norm their. The good old boy stuff has to stop there, look at Bruswick County Sheriff Dept. famous Ron Hewett he got caught and fired and went to prison now it need to be done at Sunny Point. Now about the PAT, the only ones that need to take this useless PAT is the useless as t*ts on a bore hog police who want to arrest someone because they can’t be a real cop anywhere else. The security guards especially the dis able vets should do a modified PAT test. All the Disable Vets need to talk to their State Representive and Lolcal DAV rep.

  • Guest8392720

    “They have been doing their jobs for over 50 years without incident”.

    Sorry to say, but the disabled veterans in question have not been here for 50 years. Disabled veterans like them have worked in those position. Remember its the position not the person who is protected. You still have to be able to perform the essential functions of their job. I feel for those who may not have a job as a guard in the near future. Management should have provided better guidance as to the possible future of those who have not been cleared to take said PAT and should be working harder to find a happy medium so many veterans are not put out on the street to fend for themselves.

  • Concerned Guard

    I really can’t believe that the people I work with every day (veterans) are acting like this. Geez. Fire Department, Security, Operations, Etc. you know what we are on the same team. You are right we (guards) have known this was coming, doesn’t change the fact that some can’t take the test. Doesn’t mean they can’t do there jobs. That’s the WHOLE point people. Guess what some day you may have a health problem, and hopefully you wont loose you job at an age where you can’t find another. Think about it people. We do more than just ride around in a truck and carry a gun. We protect the base every day, down range, up range on posts and on the water. One mission to supply supplies to our troops. Get of the diatribe people.

    Concerned employee and veteran

  • A.F. Jost

    It’s appalling that the Command has left the staff in a state of anxiety over their jobs. Someone knows what the plan is for the people not cleared to take the PAT,however they are not telling. That is poor leadership, and cruel to say the least.
    The command, no doubt with an attorneys assistance has crafted the response that the PAT is a administrative screening tool, unrelated to the essential functions of the job. That short circuts any ADA claim, and clears the way for pink slips for the affected staff. Fiendishly clever I would call it.
    This petty online bickering makes us all look foolish and should stop.
    The issue is the commands response to the PAT, their failure to grandfather long term employees, and their failure to provide information to the staff in a timely manner. There is no grey area, what they are doing is Wrong and Shamefull!
    Please contact your elected officials and tell them so.

  • The Union Guy

    Wow!, where do I start.
    It’s not the Guards fault, it’s not the Cops fault, and it’s certainly not the Firefighter’s fault; that this is happening.
    Despite how you feel about the Guards, they have been protecting this installation since 1955; without the need to pass or fail a Physical Ability Test. Despite this fact, the Army has decided to adopt a Regulation (AR 190-56), that was never meant to be implemented on Civilian Personnel, that now puts their years of dedicated, professional service in question.
    The Guards are all US Military Veterans. Since 1955 it is a pre-requisite to be a Vet in order to work as a Guard. The Civilian Federal workforce was created shortly after WWII to take care of military servicemen returning from combat, in an effort to help personnel rotate back into civilian life. Such personnel are protected under US Code Title 5 and the Office of Personnel Management.
    Please understand that these USC Statues are federal law, and they supersede any Regulation, Directive, or Memorandums. Title 5, 3312 states that “agencies must waive medical or physical requirements when there is sufficient evidence that the employee can perform the essential functions of their jobs”.
    “They have been doing their jobs for over 50 years without incident”.
    The Department of Army is trying to circumvent Federal Law to further it’s own agenda. They cannot arbitrarily change an employees conditions of employment to suit its own needs without some much as a say so from the governing body that protects those individual rights.
    What the Army is doing is wrong and illegal; and if they get away with this, then where will it end. Today it’s the guards, tomorrow it could be the Police or the Firefighter’s or Surveillance personnel, etc. Those of you who are Vets and have spent time on this blog bashing other Vets; Stop it! They’re your brothers, for pete’s sake!

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