An attack in Kabul
About seven months later, Brown also wrote, for a seven-page afterword attached to the paperback edition of his memoir, about enduring a mortar attack while at Bagram Airfield near Kabul.
“Another blast came, this one maybe 700 or 800 meters away, close enough to glimpse the bright flash of light,” Brown said. “A bunch of us took off at a dead run toward a nearby bunker. Three hours later, my flight was in the sky.”
This past February, Brown’s Guard career took a swift turn, when he transferred to the Maryland Guard and simultaneously landed a plum job at the Pentagon.
Brown could have gotten the same job as a member of the Massachusetts Guard, where he had served for more than three decades, but he said he decided to leave the state because of political meddling by Democrats and scrutiny by local news media. He once accused the Patrick administration of asking Guard officials about his ability to serve as a soldier while a federal elected official.
“I didn’t want to politicize my record,” the senator told the Globe at the time. “I wanted to go to a place where I would be treated on the merits. . . . I didn’t want any reference that, ‘Scott got special preference.’ ”
The Pentagon job, Brown said, came about after he saw a posting while browsing the National Guard website. The job requirements meshed almost perfectly with his position in the Senate and the workweek schedule it requires in the capital.
“Stature in community should be such as to enhance the capability to represent the NGB at the highest civilian levels,” the job posting said.
The posting required the rank of colonel, which Brown had not yet attained, but spokesmen explained that JAG officers are often allowed to work one rank above or below their current grade because of the uniqueness of their skill and the relatively few people available to perform it.
Brown won the job and executed the transfer quickly, by either military or civilian standards.
The job was posted Feb. 1, and the application period closed Feb. 20. By Feb. 22, Brown had transferred to the Maryland Guard and beaten out five other applicants to become assistant to the National Guard Bureau’s chief counsel, Colonel Christian Rofrano.
The 5,000-person bureau coordinates policies between Guard branches in each state and works from offices in Arlington, Va. About 50 bureau members are JAG officers, and 13 of them, including Rofrano and Brown, are stationed at the nation’s military nerve center, the Pentagon.
Brown’s posting has placed him in the upper echelons of the military, where his duty sometimes intersects with his budgetary and oversight roles as a senator.
For ease of communication, a spokeswoman said, the Pentagon office in which he works is near that of General Frank Grass, who oversees the National Guard and serves on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
On July 19, Grass was called to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee because he needed to be promoted from lieutenant general to four-star general, the rank assigned to the head of the National Guard Bureau.
During that hearing, Brown, as senator, lobbied against possible cuts in pay that he, as a Guardsman, receives.
“I would just ask you to look long and hard at that because … I think [it] will be a deterrent for our Guard and Reserve to serve,” Brown told Grass and two other generals also awaiting promotion. “So, I just want you to be aware of that. It is something I am aware of, and I would ask you to take a look at it.”
The senator concluded his statement by saying, “I look forward to being honored to vote for all of you.”
A week later, Grass moved up in rank as the Senate gave unanimous consent to a bevy of promotions. Among the more than 800 other officers also getting promoted in the same vote was Brown himself.
Once Brown had landed his new job in the Pentagon, he resumed a promotional process through the Maryland Guard that he started in Massachusetts.
“As a soldier, I’m privileged to serve alongside the very best men and women our nation has to offer,” Brown said in a statement announcing his promotion to colonel.
He is now paid a salary of $22,171 annually. That is based on $16,892 for weekend duty and $5,279 for summer duty.
Promoted in August
Brown’s promotion came at the beginning of August, a month in which he has typically fulfilled his annual summer training commitment.
But based on Brown’s role with Rofrano, his commander, he now fulfills both his weekend and summer training duty as the colonel decides, not necessarily confined either to weekends or the summer months.Continued...