A Quad City soldier says he wants answers after being fired from his job at a local gas station, while he was at a training drill with the Illinois National Guard.
“I got a text from my boss saying I was a no-call, no-show on a day that I was on National Guard duty,” said Sgt. Josh Hinkle. “But I had provided them with documentation, told them I was leaving. I provided all the required paperwork. They have a drill schedule, with drill dates a year out,” he said.
Hinkle was on the job for about a month as a clerk at the QC Mart gas station on Kimberly Road in Davenport, Iowa. He learned he was fired on Saturday via text message.
“I’m not going to apologize for wanting to serve my country. If I want to go to drills on weekends, it’s my God-given right, no one is going to take my civilian job away from me because of that,” Sgt. Hinkle said in an interview with WQAD-TV on Monday.
Hinkle says he had a six-day drill this month, and is scheduled for a 24-day drill next month, to train for a possible deployment to Afghanistan.
A manager on-site said Hinkle was fired for buying and playing lottery tickets while on duty.
”He was caught playing instant tickets while he was working his shift,” said the unidentified manager.
Hinkle says it’s true. About two weeks into his month-long employment, he says he bought and played some scratch games, but had no idea it wasn’t allowed. He says he was talked to about the infraction a couple of weeks ago, and that was the end of it.
Hinkle says the text messages informing him he was fired specifically refer to his absence while on Guard duty. He is hoping for legal help and assistance from the National Guard.
“If it happens to me, it happens to others. We have rights as citizen soldiers. I’m still in the National Guard. I just want to go on my weekends and have a job when I come back,” he said.