Why nobody wants to join the Army this year

Discussion in 'Warfare / Military' started by Nightmare515, Jul 13, 2022.

  1. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    Not much, as the majority who serve only intend on serving a single 4 or 6 year term.

    Most people who join have absolutely no interest in going career. They want to get some training, college money, or just to travel and see things they never had before. And some still serve simply because it was a "Family Tradition". I knew one back in the 1980's from New York that every male in the family had served in the Marines since the nation was founded. And just like all of them, he did his 4 years and went home to the farm. I knew two others in the 2000's that also came from such a tradition, but were from rich families. And both pretty much admitted that if they wanted a place in their family companies, they had to serve at least 4 years in the military. Very few serve more than 8 years, and I know a hell of a lot that did 8 or even 10 years, then simply walked away.

    The "up and out" may be a reason why less stay in, but it is not even on the mind of those that join in the first place. Hell, I bet if you asked 100 new recruits before they go to Boot Camp, less than 10% have even heard of "up or out", and what it even means. Plus, that is only really an issue during the times that the military is contracting. The two big ones I remember were the Clinton and Obama contractions. During the Reagan and Bush Administrations (both of them), one could stay in the military pretty much as long as they wanted because it was growing. But after 1993 and 2009, the military shrank rapidly, and is still shrinking. Going on 14 years, we are probably in the longest running contraction of the military since the end of the Civil War.

    And with no end in sight for at least another 3 years, even more are going to get pushed out as there are simply no places for them to move up into. Ultimately that may keep some out who had planned on the military for a career, but it will make no difference for the majority that just want to do their 4 years and go home.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2022
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  2. Lil Mike

    Lil Mike Well-Known Member

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    In an earlier post I did state that I saw retention and recruitment as mostly separate issues, so yes, "up and out" has no impact on recruiting but can make a difference in retention. And although I agree that when enlisting, the vast majority only intend to do their one term and get out, people often change their minds and decide that military life agrees with them, or they get married and have kids and decide that's the path of least resistance.
     
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  3. Grey Matter

    Grey Matter Well-Known Member Donor

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    One thing this place really is good for is sending me off to read stuff.

    Here is an interesting page on the history of the Vietnam War that offers what is possibly one of the best arguments in defense of our military actions in Vietnam that I've ever read:
    https://www.vva310.org/vietnam-war-statistics

    Finally I was able to find the exact table I was looking for regarding the number of men drafted during the Vietnam era, duh, wonder where I might find such info, hahaha.... ugh.
    https://www.sss.gov/history-and-records/induction-statistics/

    What's your source for asserting that most draftees were given non-combat assignments in the 'Nam era?

    Anyway, yes, this conversation must certainly have taken place when I was an E4P during our annual Ft. Chaffee FTX, March 87.

    I did have some neat luck with my service on a few occasions, shortly after our Spring FTX that year the Army for some odd reason made me the first Spec4 in our Battalion to get a lateral to Corporal and I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I liked it.

    The best bit of luck though was that my company was tasked in 4Q85 to support a Pershing test fire at the Cape. That was excellent.

    Another great TDY/TDA assignment was actually to Ft. Ord & Camp Roberts, interesting seeing those places in this thread.

    I think we were there about a month or so setting up mock up SS20s made of plywood.

    I think it was an Air Force funded job, lots of cool planes flew over, I'm sure there were satellites as well. I think it was likely an F15 that buzzed my post one night: man, that was amazing! Dude had flown over twice already and on his third approach I noticed two badass flames jetting out behind him. Holy crap Batman, are those his afterburners? Yep! Wicked! Dude went vertical right on top of my post and fired that puppy like he was heading for the moon. He blazed those engines so far up that they merged into a single point of visibility before he finally cut them off.

    We'd set 'em up and camo net them around various locations at Camp Roberts, or I guess Camp Bob as I've noticed earlier in this thread it was probably referred to.

    That turned into quite the experience for me given that I got downright sideways with our f'wit butter bar Platoon Leader and was sent back to Ft. Sill for a pending Article 15. Ha! Won that one in the end, amazingly. That Lt. got promoted out of the Battalion to go and be some kinda of attaché to Brigade Headquarters, truly an example of incompetence resulting in an upward promotion I suppose. Man that was weird. Dude was not that bad a guy, good looking guy, with a gorgeous wife and three girls. Anyway, Camp Roberts was a reserve training post of some sort I think and this idiot with his degree from Ohio State in Physical Education hadn't noticed that all of our effing vehicles were running out of gas. Has anybody made arrangements to hit the POL I asked on a Thursday. Blank stares, you've got to be kidding me I thought to myself. Well, y'all know that all of our vehicles are about on empty and this is a reserve post so it's not like the POL will be open on Saturday and it will probably be a big deal if we don't get these fueled up before COB tomorrow. I'm not sure of this but I think it was one of the girls working in supply that told me I was welcome to look into setting it up if I thought it was that big a deal. Oh Lord, fine then. Who do I call? Next thing I know I've got a Major on the phone but I didn't know this until I explained to him that we were almost out of fuel and we really needed to arrange to get fuel but our Lt. hadn't been able to square it away because he hadn't figured out how to pay for it yet. The guy asks me, and who are you? This is Spec4 Grey Matter, and who are you? This is Major ThankYouVeryMuch. Ugh, I laughed, well Sir, I wasn't aware I was speaking with a Major, but Sir we really are about to run out fuel to support this exercise and, is the POL depot open on Saturday? No. Would it be a fairly big deal and cause a hassle if we had to get someone in here on Saturday? Yeah, probably. I'll talk to your Lt and help get this straightened out. Yeah, I bet these two dipshits had a wonderful little chat after I raised hell about why we were driving on fumes. We got the fuel and then a few nights later the Lt. accused me of trashing my hotel room and put me on a plane back to Lawton. Well, as it turns out there were some other problems with his leadership on that mission that came to light and all the bs he was thinking of laying on me vanished - poof! Who knows, maybe the Army actually liked me for that episode as unlikely as it seemed to me at the time, looking back on it at the moment I suppose it would explain why me of all people got that lateral promotion. I think there were several other E4Ps that got it as well in short order though, so I doubt very much that it was anything other than random luck as the Army was in the process of eliminating the entire chain of Specialists around that time. Looks like it still maintains the Spec4 Mafia though, and that's of course excellent. Corporal didn't make a difference to me, if I saw something that needed to be done I was always about getting after it. It's proven to be a decent approach for the most part; although I've finally learned to let stuff solve itself too when possible. Man, lots of years before that finally became part of my toolkit, Ha!

    I think the pay needs to be better than what it breaks down to according to my calcs back in post 82. This seems to indicate to me that if the military isn't hitting its recruitment targets then right here is the answer, not in exit surveys or because of bs mandated personal pronoun training, as annoying as I am certain I would find it. Thankfully, I haven't yet had to take a corporate equivalent of that one, but the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training class I had to take was probably similar. Sorry, but it's not on the table for my company to tell me what it means to be a good person.

    I remember once when I was still in engineering school and we had a lady come in from one of the local plants to give a seminar. One kid asked what place there was for religion in the workplace. She answered that generally politics and religion are frowned upon in the workplace. Shortly afterward a somewhat related question came up to which she answered, apparently without having a clue of her previous answer that at company so-and-so they had a policy that could best be summarized as treating others as one would like to be treated. Huh? Wait, what? Isn't that, uh, religion?

    The military has a strong culture of taking care of each other and for the few that don't get it they also have a strong culture of making life difficult for them, regardless of even rank, much less race or religion, in my brief four years anyway that's how it worked in my unit.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2022
  4. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    Well, I will start with the last one, as it is obvious. It is will known that it takes over 100 people to support each Infantryman. Cooks, supply, mechanics, clerks, the list goes on endlessly. Today you have entire Battalion and Division sized "Support Units", who's only job is to support and nothing else.

    Unlike those who enlist for for or six years, draftees only serve two years. Remove at least 3-6 months for their initial training, and that is not a hell of a lot of time to get them proficient in their job then send them out into combat. Especially since Vietnam was normally a 1 year tour, and then they had to return for at least 3 months of outprocessing before being released form the military. It simply made a hell of a lot more sense to send them to places like Germany. That way they could fill in for some mechanic that was doing 4 years, and then they could go to Vietnam.

    Basically, in Vietnam they used the draftees like they had the women in WWII. Instead of filling in the stateside spot for a man, they were filling the spot for an enlistee so they could go off and fight. It is simply a massive manpower shuffling.

    Been to those also, but Ord is long gone.

    Roberts is now primarily a National Guard training base, but Active Duty and Reserve use it also. Primarily for ranges, but also for the large summer drills that take up most of the bases in California. Same crappy WWII era barracks, but they have been modernizing them for the last decade.

    Or it can be something completely different.

    I have seen things like that plenty of times before. It may seem like a "promotion", but it could also simply be getting them the hell away from the troops. And putting them into a position with no real responsibility, no oversight of others, and in essence are put in a "parking place" with others watching them closely and they are not able to do any real damage.

    More or less the equivalent of being put in charge of a mess kit maintenance unit in Alaska.

    There are all kinds of positions like that, and one becomes familiar with them. Had a First Sergeant that basically showed his ass, and was moved from being the Top of a Firing Battery to the First Sergeant of Headquarters Battery. That may seem like a promotion, until one realizes that he then had a hell of a lot of oversight from both the Battalion Sergeant Major and the Battalion Commander. Which meant the kinds of stupid things he was doing before could not be done again.

    Had others that were just unable to do their jobs, so were constantly off doing other things. Working in the mess hall constantly, working as one of the shuttle drivers, monitoring the unit gym, things like that. It may seem they are "skating", but most of them hated it fairly quickly as each month they were shuffled off to yet another "parking place" duty because nobody wanted them in their unit.

    Actually, the pay is pretty good now. I know that I rarely heard of military on foodstamps, which really was a thing into the late 1980s. I was shocked that as an E-4 with 2 kids, I literally missed the cut-off by less than $5. That shows how poorly we were paid back then.

    I think the issue now is more subtle, and that is that many are either unable to join (drug or criminal record, or overweight), or never would because they think the military is either beneath them, or the "enemy". And this can really be seen in places like California, which almost seems like hostile territory if you are in uniform.

    The funniest thing is, when I left active duty in 2012 and tried to re-enter the workforce I saw a lot of discrimination. Being outright told I would not be a good fit, being "Career Military" and they were "LGB Friendly". Like what, because I was military I would go "attacking queers"? It always amazes me that so many that claim how "tolerant" they are really are among the most bigoted people I have ever met in my life. Lot other jobs multiple times because of my Reserve Commitments. Amazing how often right before I had to leave for a month of training, or as soon as I returned form a month of training I was suddenly out of work.

    I now largely see any company that proclaims they support the military as liars. I tried plenty of those, what jokes. Even most of our "support programs" by the state and local organizations are a joke. I was sent to one by the California Unemployment rep (who himself was rarely in), and they literally just told me to go back to the EDD guy. And being a "Veteran", I could not just talk to a regular EDD rep. I could only talk to my "vet rep", who was in one day a week if I was lucky.

    Probably the only good thing about COVID was that the VA really got good for a while there. With fewer people in the facilities, suddenly we got great service for a year or so. But now, it is pretty much back to the VA we all love to hate. But in the end, I think it is a lot of that which makes people simply not think of joining anymore. Their parents never served, and likely only maybe one grandparent. So all they know is from TV, movies, and the negative things a lot of people say about it.

    Which is I believe one primary reason why more and more of the new recruits are from military families. Where at least they learned first hand from somebody who had been there what it really is like. So their initial impression is not as negative that only knows of the military from "A Few Good Men", and Pauly Shore movies.
     
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  5. Grey Matter

    Grey Matter Well-Known Member Donor

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    Interesting stuff. I'm not convinced about your assertions about the draftees getting light duty. I think many of them were offered equal Army style opportunities for living a life of sex and danger. A couple of webpages seem to indicate there were about 17,000 casualties among the draftees in 'Nam. Pretty much all Army. Additionally, we had several troops that were allowed at that time ~83/84 to enlist Pershing for two years active. This was right at a decade after the last man was drafted. By 87 it was coming up on 15 years, so I think Top was to some extent just being an old man about the good old days. I'm not sure exactly what year he went in or whether or not he was a draftee or enlisted at the start of his career. He was a cool cat though. Balanced out our tweaked out BC perfectly, who was also pretty cool, but a little bit too gung-ho for some of the senior NCOs.

    Ord wasn't really part of my TDY on that assignment other than that we borrowed vehicles from there. First exposure to the awesome Humvee. Awesome anyway compared to a jeep. It really was amazing what that thing could do over unimproved open field terrain. Easily cruise 40 mph across the sage covered fields at Camp Bob. We were warned that bubonic plague existed among the rodents at that place, and fortunately we didn't have any issues of that nature occur. Never saw the barracks there, they put us up in a hotel in San Luis Obispo, guess they couldn't find anything closer and I'm not sure why we weren't billeted on the base if there were any barracks there.

    Yep, absolutely! That is exactly what that reassignment was for the Lt.

    I hear ya on the pay back in the 80s. I think I kept my last pay stub for the longest time, possibly it is still somewhere in my Dad's house.
    No matter, this accurately reflects what it was, $996.00/month.
    https://www.dfas.mil/Portals/98/MilPayTable1987.pdf
    As a Spec4 over three that same year it was $909.90/mo.
    Add another $275.40/mo for you for BAQ w/dependents.
    And separate rats at 5.37/d came out to about $161 a month.

    Lived off post for a little while but was never able to score BAQ.
    Found a bizarre little one bedroom crib I rented by myself for maybe a year or so.
    I'm just about positive this was the place,
    upload_2022-9-15_16-20-47.png

    I think it was about $250/mo. I wasn't really a loner, but some of my friends were still partying like high school kids and I was just plain burnt out on doing that crap. After I moved into this little shack I dropped by a Domino's that was located in a strip mall that is gone now, probably just about for sure this lot on W Gore,
    upload_2022-9-15_16-38-31.png

    I asked if they needed any help and they actually hired me. So although I guess I made a little extra cash doing that, that's not the reason I did it. Aside from a couple of FTXs each year, we had no funding to do much training and sitting around the motor pool was getting seriously old after two+ years. I took a Pascal programming class at Cameron, but I failed getting into the right mindset. I think that class might have cost me something like $150 or so that I just blew off. Several folks advised me to get the Army to pay for it, but when I found out the hassle associated with doing so included that I'd have to pay the Army back if I didn't pass the course I skipped that idea. I just wanted to see if it might be something I'd be interested in and unfortunately at that time it wasn't.

    I don't know how you guys with families managed to deal with it. There was one guy in my battery that was a Mormon with 11 kids, E6 I think was his rank. I'm not sure I believe it. Never met his family and supposedly he was raising all 11 living in a mobile home. This was the 80s and mobile homes then were just not that big. Certainly not like the modular ones that I think are available these days.

    But, yes the pay now is far better. Today's equivalent of my last paycheck is equal to almost three times what it was then, $35,049.60 a year now vs about $12k/y then. But civilian pay is far better now too. Minimum wage back then was around $3.25 and today it is over double that at $7.25. Moreover, 28 states have higher minimum wages than the Federal minimum wage,
    https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/minimum-wage/state
    So the enlisted paycheck is not the enticement it was back in the 80s when unemployment peaked around 11% in Jan 83: it was tough finding a job!
    [​IMG]
    Right now it is easy to find a job,
    https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000

    Finally, I agree with you about the value placed on military service by our corporations and by successful civilians in general. I had an interview as I was finally preparing to finish up my degree with a guy that founded a peptide manufacturing business. My first clue that I was interviewing with a company ran by a guy with a cult like following was from his admin who greeted me and gushed about how lucky I was to be interviewing with the owner himself. Very weird. During the interview he was reading through my resume and finally got to the point he'd apparently been waiting for. I see here you served in the Army. Yes Sir. Weird pause with him applying his best non-verbal gaze attempting to ferret out the core nature of my being before commencing with his oh so penetrating question: Why? Well, I certainly wasn't prepared for that one! So I just relaxed my reflexively clinched teeth and decided to go ahead and tell him my story. To which he responded with something like, well, that's interesting but it still doesn't quite explain why. I had been through way too much education by this point to let this guy fluster me and I was aware that my interviewing skills needed significant improvement, so I was taking interviews at that time as much for the practice of it as in the hope that I'd score an offer from one. This one was unabashedly forthright in his disdain for my interview skills along with his disrespect of my service. He led into a question about the position for which I was applying to program a little lab scale peptide synthesis machine. Little automated pipettes arranged with automated x,y positioners would sequence amino acids. He said, well, I've seen you've done some programming for your thesis, are you any good at it. I don't know I told him, compared to what you might find I have no idea what good would be because I've only worked on one real program for my thesis. I like coding and I managed to figure out how to code C++ and use Borland's Turbo Vision app framework all on my own, so that's about as much as I can tell you about that. He paused again and cut to, Do you ever expect to find a job interviewing like this? And I told him yes, because I've got a marketable degree and the fundamentals of that degree are not in question. The problem is that I don't know how to interview all that well yet, but one day I'll have a successful interview and I'll get a job. Ok then, good luck with that then....

    I removed my military service from my resume after that interview and I've never put it back on my CV since. I wasn't in the market looking for a job based on having been in the military. There were no equivalents in the real world that required fielding intermediate range nuclear weapons anyway, hahaha..... Well, actually there are some things I've seen working on petrochem projects where some of my old Army stuff would be useful. Rigging operations, heavy lift operations pay pretty well and would be a decent fit. Tactical maneuvers and operations in woodland terrain, well, I suppose logging would have been an area where I could have applied some of what I'd learned in the Army. Long haul trucking loves ex-Army guys like me, I drove the Battery Command Center my last year in the service. Can't quite remember the weight of that thing anymore, 55,000 pounds I think it was.

    After I got out and was going to school at Louisville somehow I got contacted by someone who asked me if I'd mind coming down to Ft. Knox to talk to troops about singing up for VEAP. That went over like a led balloon, completely failed to get those guys to even listen to a word I was saying. I wish I could get a do over on that one, I'd've laid into that one much harder. The guy tried to encourage me to try a few more, but it was a long drive to Ft. Knox and if these grown men couldn't figure out the advantage of turning 2700 bucks into 27000 then I figured I wasn't the guy to try and convince them.
     
  6. AARguy

    AARguy Well-Known Member

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    I was both Enlisted and Commissioned. I never saw the contention you describe. We were ONE TEAM. I never really interfaced with E9's much. Our jobs were different and we each took care of our own jobs. The exceptions to that were CSM's at finance and AG organizations. When I had a Soldier with a pay problem or a personnel problem, trying to deal with the Army Civilians wasn't worth the effort. Find the E-9 to get the help you need. I never had the opportunity to contend with E-9's. We always worked well together.

    I Enlisted in 1970 right out of high school. The draft Army had mess halls with clearly delineated, albeit unofficial, black, white and Latino sitting areas. Drugs were rampant. Discipline was a mess. We ended up sending the bad guys to Germany so that the good guys could do the real work of the Army in Vietnam. The draft army was problem after after problem. That's what happens when you force people to be somewhere they don't want to be, doing things they don't want to do. Many were a short distance from joining their friends that ran to Canada.

    Years later, in VOLAR (Volunteer Army) the Army had folks that joined of their own free will and wanted to be where they were. I often talk about how difficult it could be to make a draftee do even the most minimal things at times. I compare that to a young Soldier I saw in Iraq, all alone at a bus stop. While he waited he had his weapon broken down and was cleaning it. All on his own. No supervision required. You never saw that in the draft Army... well.... not at a bus stop anyway.

    I was a civilian contractor in Iraq. A young Soldier approached me on the street. He was getting amedical discharge and wanted to stay "to get the job done". He asked how he could work for my company. I helped him out. I often reflect on how a Soldier from a VOLUNTEER FORCE asked to stay while Soldiers in the old draft Army endlessly tried to get out.

    The Basic Training Company I Commanded was like a family. It was a great team and a fun assignment. My Drill Sergeants from those days became brothers. I am very honored that they have stayed in touch with me and allow me to join them, when possible. All of the conflict you describe is quite foreign to me.

    By the way, although I was an Infantryman while Enlisted, I was Commissioned in the Field Artillery. I had a great time as a Redleg, the most rewarding assignment being the Commander of an M110A2 (8") Battery. My memories are about teams, friends and fulfillment.. not all the conflict you seem to have encountered.

    You had some quick stories... here's a couple of mine:
    - I was alone, eating breakfast in the mess hall at Wildflecken (in the days before DFAC's) alone, in the wee hours of the morning. An E-6 came up to me and asked me if I had Commanded a Basic Training Company at Ft Leonard Wood in the 70's. When I said yes, he went on to tell me that I had changed his life. He had been a bum with decision fro the judge to join the Army or go to jail. I wanted no part of the Army but jail even less. He said he had no motivation or desire but I personally saw him through it. Now he had a wife, kids and a good career. He thanked me over and over. I mansged not to tear up until he had left.
    - Another of my trainees called me at home after I had left the Army with a similar story, although I had helped him get into the West Point Prep School and he was now a General.
    - I stopped at a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike once. A young guy came up o me and introduced his family. I had apparently helped him stay in Garrison at Babenhausen rather than go to Grafenwohr for a month. That meant he could be with his wife whem their child was born. His whole family thanked me profusely.

    So i guess we had different experiences in the Army. By the way, MANY Soldiers join with 20 years in mind. MANY seek out duty in combat areas in order to do the actual job of SOLDIERING.

    Be well.

    Member of the West Point Class of 1975... COURAGE AND DRIVE!! '75!!
     
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  7. Grey Matter

    Grey Matter Well-Known Member Donor

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  8. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    I never said "light duty". But the vast majority were in non-combat arms jobs in support positions.

    And around 17,000 casualties. Yes, that may sound impressive until one realizes that is out of over 300,000 casualties! Care to do the math to find out what percentage 17,000 is out of 303,644? It does not require a rocket scientist to compare the two and see that it is an almost insignificant number. Just a rough ballpark, around 5% if I am not mistaken.

    Guaranteed, as the Army has almost always had the majority of the military of the US. The only exception being in the earliest days (prior to the War of 1812) when sometimes the Navy was actually the largest branch.

    I remember those contracts. They were not "Two Years", but "Two Years Active and Four-Six Years Reserve" (been too long, I can't remember if the total "Active-Reserve" commitment in those was 6 or 8 years), where their MOS in the reserves would be their Active MOS. That was a short experiment, which mostly served to increase flagging Reserve numbers (it was of no real benefit for the Active Duty side). But after a couple of years it was cancelled, as it did not benefit the Active Duty side at all, and caused a lot of problems in their manpower numbers as they had to increase training to cover it.

    And even better than that Carter era abortion, the "CUCV". And yes, I know the program dates to the Ford Administration, but that was intended to use them for stateside administrative use only.

    For those that do not remember, that was the "Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle", literally Dodge and Chevy 3/4 ton trucks with minor modifications. The Jeep was already preparing to be phased out, and the idea was that the CUCV would allow those left to be used for their intended combat roles only, and the CUCV do all the other needs of the military until the replacement was put into service (the ultimate replacement was the HMMWV).

    And those things remained it seemed like forever! Our range truck when I got out in 1993 was an early 1980's CUCV, and it seemed like you could not go anywhere on base without seeing them.

    And what I mean by the "Carter Era Expansion", is that after 1977, they were suddenly used for ambulances, ammo haulers, and almost everything else. Not for their original purpose at all, but they were cheap. Carter loved the idea that they were "Commercial off the shelf" (mostly), and killed the program that the DoD had been trying to run for the Jeep replacement. They actually had in their hands the prototype "HCMV" way back in 1969, with the idea of it being put into production in 1976-1977. That was killed, so the Army instead paid for their own program to develop off of that out of their own funds. That was especially as the "Gamma Goat" was also a failure.

    That program eventually resulted in the HMMWV in 1981, and by then there was a new President that expanded the vehicle military wide.

    I still remember by first paychecks in 1984. It was right around $300 every 2 weeks. I had friends that were working fast food at the time that were making more than that, and a hell of a lot less hours.

    Careful financial management. For us, we got a large chest freezer, and would go to the bread store and buy a dozen loafs at a time and freeze the rest. Also my wife worked at least part time, and that helped.

    Plus some "under the table" arrangements with others I knew. I knew two that were avid hunters, and each year I would go ahead and get deer tags for the season. I do not hunt myself, but I would give them to one of them and we would get at least half a deer out of it. Also going fishing in the summer. My wife was actually deathly allergic to fish, so we did not eat it. But the other guy would keep track of how much we gave him, and give us an equal amount of chickens that he raised.

    Of course, we could only do that in a place like Camp Lejeune. Once back in California it was back to coupons and shopping at multiple stores to make the money stretch.

    Yep, have had similar interviews. One of them outright dismissed my working in IT for the military, saying that their equipment was not what the military uses. I was like WTF? The military uses the exact same equipment that everybody else does, primarily made by Cisco. They have not used "Military only" IT equipment since the days when there really was no "Civilian IT equipment" to be had.

    Hell, when I was getting my MCSE for NT 4.0, the instructor was having a lot of problems explaining what some of the equipment had been like shortly before. She had never seen coax used as a cable system for networks, or even seen a router that was not a dedicated 1U rackmount. I however had worked with coax, remembered the strange rules for using it, and even setting up and configuring a single computer with multiple network cards because that was what a router was back then.

    And I learned real fast to not even bother applying in San Francisco or Silicon Valley. Submitted hundreds of resumes, three interviews, one job (that fired me literally the day before I had to report in for a 30 day exercise at Fort H-L). I even got a lawyer who read the termination letter, and he said it was painfully obvious from that and my 5 performance reviews that what they did was illegal. But it was California, he would not take it as unless they outright said "we are firing you for being in the Reserves" there was not a chance in hell of winning. Unlike most states, where they have to prove that the firing was not connected to the military. As in poor performance or employee misconduct.

    And that is a pattern in California not only with me but many others. A great many I knew got terminated either right before or after a long training exercise. Illegal as hell, but the courts in that state are known to be hostile to the military.

    That is hard, when that would leave some freaking huge gaps in my employment record. As in, well over a decade. I am even having problems finding work now, as almost nobody was hiring during the worst of COVID, so I pretty much just lie and say I was self-employed.

    But now I am also running into the age discrimination problem, so I know they are looking for reasons to turn me down. In one interview for an IT position they asked me about some of my gaps. I simply said that they were for jobs outside of the IT industry (security, retail management), so did not apply for the position I was applying for. However, notice that my IT resume goes back to the 1980's.

    I found out the kid they hired was 22 and it was his first job outside of fast food.
     
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  9. Grey Matter

    Grey Matter Well-Known Member Donor

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    @Mushroom

    According to this place,
    https://www.vva310.org/vietnam-war-statistics

    Draftees accounted for 30.4% (17,725) of combat deaths in Vietnam.

    Casualties are deaths, not wounded...

    Interesting conversation, thanks man.
    I'll have to revisit this again tomorrow or this weekend.

    But yeah, the two year dudes I think had a 6 year obligation afterward for a total of 8 years.

    Mine I think was 4 and 2, and I blew off the 2. Still received my VEAP checks, they weren't all that keen apparently to fund anyone to hassle me.

    Oh, wait, another great Army story.

    When I ETSed, they wouldn't cover moving POVs, but would cover moving furniture.
    Or maybe it was that they would cover one POV but not two.
    I had two POVs, but no furniture.
    So I acquired some furniture and I was able to process the paperwork sufficiently to have the US cover a Penske rental truck.
    Then the furniture was stolen, but having already acquired the truck, I noticed that my POS Chevette would fit nicely inside it.
    About two months after I got home I also got a check for a little over $700 reflecting the money I had saved the US by moving myself.
    Never received has been a sweeter US Treasury check than that one.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2022
  10. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    Uh, casualties are all those wounded and dead.

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/casualty

    Trust me, that has been a long standing issue with me from the media for years now. Several times during the current conflict in Ukraine, I have seen reporters saying that Ukraine is "lying" about the number of Russians they have killed in certain battles. And they report Ukraine as saying say there were "500 casualties", and the idiot news reporters report them as "deaths". Even though the Ukraine press release specifically said "casualties" and not "deaths".

    That is why if you look at an after-action report of any battle or war, it will list "Casualties", and also "deaths".

    Figures for the US in the Vietnam War are as follows:

    58,281 deaths (47,434 combat deaths)
    303,644 casualties (including 150,341 that did not require hospitalization)

    I am not sure where you got the idea that "casualties" are only the dead. It is normally used in reports soon after a battle to cover all of those, both dead and wounded. It is most especially used in pre-combat estimates to try and figure out how many will be taken out of action during a battle. For military purposes, they are anybody taken "out of the fight". It may be temporary for a wound, or permanently as in death. And it is a better term than "wounded", because it covers all forms of injury and illness that affect people and not just war injuries.

    For example, there were more deaths and injuries in the Gulf War even before the thing started than from combat itself. Things like vehicle accidents killed more than combat. And prior to WWI, more people would die typically from food poisoning than combat. And before the Civil War most usually died from disease than combat. Those kinds of figures do not generally count in the statistics for a single battle, but when discussing an entire conflict they very much do.

    There was a hilarious thread a few years ago in the Conspiracy Theory section that revolved around that. Somebody had counted up all the deaths in battles the US had in WWII, then compared it to the "official deaths" from the war, and the numbers were something like 20,000 off. And he actually thought that was proof of some kind of "US Death Camps"! We tried to explain that deaths in a training accident for example or a disease would still count as deaths, but not combat deaths in a specific battle. But it was the CT area, so of course they are still convinced the US had secret death camps during WWII.

    Well, in cases like yours the last 2 would have been "Inactive Reserve". For that it literally is your choice if you want to attend the drills or not. I have seen a few that have requested a unit and then reported in for drill in the Active Reserve, but none did it for very long.

    One even admitted after about 4 months when he came in and turned in all of his gear that he had started smoking pot again. He knew eventually he would pop hot, so just dropped back to the inactive reserve.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2022
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  11. Nightmare515

    Nightmare515 Ragin' Cajun Staff Member Past Donor

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    Yeah the elite units are a different ballgame and they aren't usually subject to the same crap that the regular military is. I have friends in SOCOM who said the same thing about the PC stuff not making it to them (yet). In fact the "progression" of the military has been a pretty good recruiting tactic for the SOCOM units as of late. I personally know a handful of friends who have decided to join SOCOM specifically to get away from this stuff and go to where the military acts like the actual military.

    The 401k (TSP) is bad? From the limited research I've done on it the program seems great compared to normal civilian company match 401k's. 5% government match and you still get 2% of your high 3 after 20 years for a retirement pension. That's a pretty damn good program if servicemembers actually take full advantage of it starting out. I will agree about the military doctors though and getting referred to proper doctors off base largely depends on your rank and position. I for example have zero issues just walking in and saying I want to see a specialized surgeon and they'll send me wherever I want even Walter Reed. Enlisted personnel? Good luck. The running joke is that I have genuinely NEVER in my career seen the Army doctors EVER successfully fix a Soldiers' knees and I'm not joking. It's sad but it's reality.

    The military locking you into new assignments at the end of your career is nothing new at all they've been doing that for decades. It's how they "get you" at the end of your career to keep you in longer. You pretty much have to start planning and timing your assignments right at around the 12-15 year mark to make sure you arrive at your final assignment at around 18 years to circumvent that. It's a messed up system and it's by design but it's not new at least not in the Army anyway.
     
  12. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    Actually, nobody can really fix knees. Look at all of the professional athletes that have a single knee injury, and are out of the game for life, or are out for a couple of years and are rarely the same when they return. And those are people that work for "companies" that can (and do) spend millions for the best specialists in the world.

    I have seen so many doctors over the decades, both military (2 branches), VA, and multiple civilian specialists. And they have all told me the exact same thing. They will always hurt, always bother me. Arthritis will eventually set in (that started about 15 years ago), and short of a knee replacement nothing can be done about it.
     
  13. Nightmare515

    Nightmare515 Ragin' Cajun Staff Member Past Donor

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    Yup, the military would do well to get rid of that up and out policy and stop forcing career progression regardless of actual qualification/capability. This leads to trash Soldiers moving up to become trash leaders who in turn raise trash Soldiers and the cycle repeats. This also directly contributes to the other huge issue with retention. The hard workers whether being Soldiers or leaders have to pick up the slack of their trash counterparts and it burns them out. As we speak Big Army is sending out it's high brass and NCO's to run around the bases and talk to folks and try to tackle this retention problem. A few of them came by my neck of the woods this past week and gave us the rundown. One of them is a friend of mine. They're basically targeting those of us who are close to retirement or already retirement eligible and asking "what could the Army do to keep you and your experience in longer?"

    The answer he got from literally everybody was nothing. They're tired of dealing with this crap. We're tired of picking up the slack from poor leadership who can't keep their Soldiers in check. Tired of dealing with this new generation of smart mouthed lazy kids who are no longer allowed to be disciplined to any meaningful degree. All of the Senior Leadership runs around day in and day out doing the jobs of subordinate leadership who simply suck and don't perform to standard. And since we're the "old guard" who don't have the ability to just "let it fail" we pick up the slack and kill ourselves trying to make everything work.

    My job as of now is supposed to be purely managerial and admin based. I'm an advisor now. I'm supposed to sit at a desk and manage my program but instead I find myself spending 90% of my day running around fussing at Commanders and NCO's for not doing their damn job and often times having to do their jobs for them because all of their nonsense is under my purview. Us senior advisers are always clashing horns with these young Commanders because "You guys are always in our business and trying to act like Commanders". No, we are in your business because you aren't doing your job. I'm fussing at your NCO's because YOU WON'T. I'm fixing YOUR crap because YOU WON'T.

    I'm exhausted and so are the other senior folks because we are forced to carry the weight of the unit on our backs while subordinate leadership falls short time and time again. That's why the Army is handing out MASSIVE 6 figure bonuses to senior folks to ask them to stay in for just 3 more years and they STILL can't get people to stay. That's how tired they are of this crap.
     
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  14. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    Well, to have that you have to convince the government to raise numbers again.

    "Up or Out" really only raises it's head when the military is shrinking, or held at very low manpower numbers. During time of high numbers or expansions, it pretty much vanishes. The last round of "up or out" started in 2009, and that is still the standard used today. The only way they can get rid of it would be to increase the numbers in uniform again.

    I know a lot of us were ultimately disappointed in the last President. Because as much as he had talked up expanding the military again like most Republicans would do, he never did. Which is why the Obama Administration manpower limits are still in place today. Which are even more dismal than the Clinton era manpower limits, which caused the last major RIF in the military. Because, ultimately you need a place to put all of those people, and a lot of the units are now simply gone.

    Hell, that is a major reason behind the planned contraction of the Marines. Getting rid of their Armored and Artillery units, along with cutting more Regiments. They simply no longer have the manpower available to keep them all running.

    Soon, they may be like the Royal Marines.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2022
  15. Nightmare515

    Nightmare515 Ragin' Cajun Staff Member Past Donor

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    Let me rephrase, I've yet to see the Army doctors fix anybody's ailments let alone just knees and they are quick to just give up even trying. They are so quick to throw out the "med board" card so as to not keep exhausting resources on somebody they think is broken. They tried that with me on two separate occasions with me seeing multiple Army doctors and getting countless MRI's and X-rays and profiles, etc. I was at the point of requiring a cane to even walk around for about a year. I rally to see an off post specialist and 3 procedures later I walk into my Boss's office and toss my cane down to his amazement. Meanwhile the Army took well over 6 months to even get me to the Army "specialized" surgeon for my particular injury only for him to tell me he could do nothing.

    The biggest issue was the standardized process of how Army MEDAC has to operate that takes too long. Soldier has X injury, ok first step is physical therapy for weeks, ok second step try these pills, ok third third try these pills and do physical therapy again, ok schedule this MRI, ok get appointment with your medics, ok medics see you and will schedule appoint with doc. Ok doc will see you and schedule you appointment with other more specialized doc. Specialized doc says you're screwed, or better yet opts to do an elective "exploration" surgery to see if he can find something the MRI and X-rays didn't see. Meanwhile the entire time I'm screaming at every person during every process saying I know what's wrong with me, I don't need physical therapy look at the huge scars on my foot that's my problem I'm INJURED. I don't need freakin pills look at my foot. The physical therapy isn't WORKING I told you that I'm INJURED I need you to fix it! Here are my hand carried x-rays from last year to show you I don't need MORE x-rays scheduled that'll take 3 weeks to get me in to get done!

    I finally convince them to let me see somebody off post and I bring all my paperwork that I kept trying to show the Army to the doctors visit and told her what the Army doc said about exploration surgery and she just laughed and said no no. She took my stuff, scheduled me the following week, and 3 procedures and a month later I'm walking without assistance.

    Now I won't even let the Army look at me if I'm injured I simply walk in and tell them to schedule me off post. Thankfully I have the pull to do that now but these other Soldiers don't and have to run the gauntlet that I went through often times for months or years dealing with the Army's MEDAC "process" to get help with stuff that takes civilian docs a simple counsel visit to diagnose and often fix. I get it, the military is "socialized medicine" and deals with thousands of people and there is a process in place. But the process sucks.

    And an Army doc a couple years ago accidentally screwed up paperwork and gave me the wrong meds that led me to randomly pass out unconscious and wake up in the back of an ambulance on my way to the ER. Me and a good friend of mine. The ER doc pulled my medical records and was so mad that she was demanding my doctors name and information so she could report him to whoever the civilian doctor board people are to get his medical license pulled because she thought he was a civilian doctor.

    I get it, I've had terrible experiences with Army medical and I know they aren't all bad and my view of them is tainted now but my stories are not unique. They do this sort of stuff way more often than should be allowed to the point where I won't even let them sit down and talk to me about any ailment anymore I simply say send me to a doctor off post.
     
  16. Nightmare515

    Nightmare515 Ragin' Cajun Staff Member Past Donor

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    I think the bigger problem is the automatic promotion based on X years of service and also not allowing people to just remain in positions to gain and maintain that experience. Not everybody is a "leader" and bringing back the old "Spec" ranks would be beneficial in my opinion. I walked by a Soldier the other day and he stopped me in the hallway all proud of himself and spread his arms asking me if I noticed anything different. I kept my composure and smiled and congratulated him because I don't want to hurt the kids feelings but the Army in it's infinite wisdom promoted this kid to SGT....I remember when he showed up to this place as a brand new Private, not to be mean but the guy is an idiot. He was also an idiot as an E4 who literally was provided free 2 days no charge leave off a couple years ago to relax because his "anxiety was too much to handle" after an E7 chewed his ass for being late to work 3 days in a row. I'm not joking...But now they put him in charge of Soldiers lol?

    The RLO's are in the same boat. Here's how the standard new LT's career progression works around here. Show up brand new butter bar and either become a platoon leader or go to staff to do random stuff until a PL position opens. Spend a year or so as a PL and finally start figuring out how to actually be a PL. Get removed from being a PL and put into staff to make room for new PL. Have no idea how to run the S shop you've been assigned so try to figure it out. Stay in staff for a year or so and likely get auto promoted to CPT by this point. Finally figure out how to actually do the staff job and go off to the career course to prepare for Command. (this is why all S shops in Army suck across the board btw). Take Command and have no idea how to Command, spend year or year and a half or so in Command and finally figure out how to Command properly. Get removed from Command and sent to the ether wherever post Command CPT's go. Pop up somewhere as an XO or something maybe.

    They never get time to actually get good at anything they just keep getting pushed through the career pipeline. Let them stay in positions long enough to become proficient and capable. Stop putting just random LT or CPT #7 as the new S4 supply OIC for the entire unit who has no idea what they even is or how to do it. Stop putting random CPT or new MAJ #6 as the Operations OIC to run the fight for the entire unit who never even quite figured out how to manage a Platoon 1/100th the size of the whole unit when he was a LT. Stop promoting people to E5 who couldn't even manage to handle 4 dudes as an E4. And also stop this "well roundedness" mentality of Officers. Just because you are an Officer doesn't mean you are qualified to be an "Officer" of anything. We have CPT's and MAJ's popping up here all the time in charge of key departments who aren't even in the same branch as us. Our Ops MAJ is at least in the same branch but he grew up in an entirely different pipeline operating different machines with a completely different mission set. We're a combat MOS, his guys are support and logistics, why is he over here in charge of managing and deploying our war machines when he has never even touched one before?

    Army always does this. Many years ago when I was in Armor my XO was an Infantry LT...Guy never even saw a tank before yet they put him in charge of one. My Commander was an Air Force C-17 loadmaster who branched over to the Army for artillery then somehow ended up as the Commander of a Tank Company a year later....He obviously had no idea whatsoever how to do anything. Meanwhile during this time we are smack dab in the middle of two wars....Why do we do stuff like this?
     
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  17. Battle3

    Battle3 Well-Known Member

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    The 401k is complicated, the govt match is based on rate and how much you put in. For people in less than 4 years they can’t realistically put in enough to get a match.
     
  18. Nightmare515

    Nightmare515 Ragin' Cajun Staff Member Past Donor

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    True it's a good program for those doing 20 though. I'd argue it's good even for those not making the military a career. It forces young servicemembers to actually contribute to a retirement plan from the get go by automatically contributing the 1% of base pay. Then auto contributing 3% of base pay going forward that they have to manually stop if they so desire.

    Americans in general are terrible with money, young people are very terrible with money and young servicemembers are probably the worst when it comes to money. This program does it for them and most probably don't even notice the money being taken from their paychecks and will just let it ride until they get out at which point they have at least something in a retirement fund starting out. For those choosing to do 20 and taking full advantage of the government match from the beginning they will retire with A LOT more than those of us with the old system.

    I'll have to beg to differ about those with under 4 years being able to contribute enough to match. Enlisted with less than 4 years are making between 2000-3000 a month base pay. The government will match up to 5% of their base pay if they contribute and that's only 100 bucks a month or so. Surely a 20 year old kid making 2300 dollars a month can afford to put 100 bucks or so in the bank each month...It's not like most of them have rent to pay or anything and even for those who do the military gives them BAH to pay for it. Now if they are running around acting like Privates tend to act and blowing their entire 2300 dollars on partying and eating out and 27% APR financing for 84 months Ford Mustang payments then maybe not. But I mean that's their fault not the governments.
     
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  19. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    That also depends on the status of forces at the time.

    When I was first injured in 1990, the military was still large and there were only minimal cuts on the horizon. However, by late 1992 that had changed and I was on the way out. That was how long my MEDBOARD was pending, and I late found out I was one of those they were planning on keeping, depending on how the 1992 election turned out.

    Well, the election went to Clinton (who had already promised another round of 10% troop cuts), so I was given my walking papers. One of about 15,000 that the Navy had been holding onto to see if there were to be more cuts.

    During the Reagan Administration I know, MEDBOARDS were not all that common. One could serve their entire term with a Light Duty status. Once again, at that time the military was large and expanding, so there was no rush to throw those out that were not 100%.

    But today, it is like it was in 2009. If you are not at your best, they need to get you out so they can make room for somebody else that can.

    As I said, it all depends on the number of people they can have at the time. I even kept up with a guy I knew that lost one of his hands in Iraq. He served almost 10 active, but finally got cut in 2011. And like me, went to the Reserves to finish and get his 20 because their manpower numbers are not as tight as those on Active Duty.
     
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  20. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    There are no "Automatic Promotions" once you get to E-4. After that it primarily depends on points.

    However, for the Army I have my own issues with how they do their point system. I find it completely unfair, and think a much better system would be how the Marines do it. There is no "Maximum Score" there, and everybody gains 7 points a month (2 points per time in service, 5 points for time in grade). That means that even those with no college or less awards will eventually catch up with those that do. I have seen so many get cut because they had little to no college, and the scores were sky-high in their MOS.

    And for "positions", that is more up to the unit than anything else. Normal postings are still 3-5 years per duty station, which can also go almost forever (even if you want to go elsewhere). If one is moved around, that is more an issue of the unit and not the military as a whole. In my time in PATRIOT, I myself moved between 3 positions in 5 years. Yet I have seen others spend their entire 6+ years there in a single position.

    I know I have had 4 different assignments in a single 4 year tour. And a single assignment in a tour for over 3 years. It really all depends there on the unit more than anything else. But a lot of the time that is also done to simply give people experience when they are lower ranks, in the hopes it will help them later in their career if they stay. That is why for a lot of "careerists" they try to get them at least one position in an administrative role by the time they are an E-5. Because that is a skill they will need once they hit E-7 or above.

    And no, the Specialist ranks have no place in the current Army. What they were was a way to keep highly specialized individuals that had skills in high demand in the civilian world (computers, RADAR, avionics, etc). It made a form of "Super PFC", that had the pay of a Sergeant or higher, but none of the authority as they were not an NCO. Something that might make sense in a large and growing military, but not in one that is small or shrinking.

    And it caused a lot of problem later on if one went that route. As they were not an NCO, they had no NCOER or "command experience", and the system ended at Specialist 7 (same pay as a Sergeant First Class). If a Spec 6 or 7 wanted to move up to Master Sergeant, they had to revert back to being a Sergeant and work their way up again. That left a lot of great Spec 7 that had command potential but were not able to progress any higher (they did make a Spec 8 and Spec 9 to try and resolve that but they were never issued).
     
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  21. Nightmare515

    Nightmare515 Ragin' Cajun Staff Member Past Donor

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    I was speaking primarily for Officers regarding the automatic promotions. Or the for all intents and purposes automatic promotions such as O2 to O3 or W1 to W2 to W3, etc. I agree with you about the enlisted point system, it doesn't work as intended and all it does it lead to a bunch of fabricated paperwork and fake awards to get somebody enough promotion points if your unit wants you promoted. I won't lie even I BS'd my way to make E5 back when I was enlisted by gaming the system. Back then you could take language courses online through one of the Armys education portals and get a bunch of points. So I simply did the entire module of "English" over the course of a few weeks and got a bunch of promotion points. Then I had my Mexican buddy log in and do the entire "Spanish" module and got those points as well lol. Me and everybody else...I had college too though so I didn't have much trouble making points. Points were low and combat arms promotes ridiculously fast anyway so by the time I got picked up for E5 I had enough points to have made E6 as well without ever having to do anything else.

    The positions issue I was referring again to Officers not Enlisted. Enlisted tend to be able to stick around in their positions for years sometimes but the Officers don't. They are forced through a very specific career pipeline as I described before as least in regards to my particular Branch. There is no "extending" to remain the S6 OIC for another tour, you WILL go to the career course at X amount of time in service and as a Commander you WILL be taken out of Command and pushed to some sort of staff at either 18 months or 2 years. There is no extending to stay in Command for longer than that. Other branches might have policies like that but ours doesn't. Our branches "Command" positions are 2 years max from Company level all the way up to the Division level as a 2 Star. I think it's a terrible policy and they need to give these Commanders more time to actually form a cohesive unit.

    An O5 for example shows up to take command of an Army Battalion. First few months are spent getting a feel of things. Then the next few are spent forming the unit into his particular vision, training his way, dealing with the growing pains, etc. Then a year or year and a half later the unit finally molds into the unit he wants and knows how he operates and his expectations and is ready for war then boom the new O5 shows up to do the handover and the cycle repeats. Throughout my career I've been in units that were DEADLY efficient well oiled machines with excellent commanders who I would be ready to spearhead the proverbial WWIII invasion force if necessary. Then right on que the Army pulls the Commander out and it falls back to mediocrity. I've had the opposite as well obviously. Not all Officers need to be Commanders and not all Commanders need to be ushered out of Command at X year intervals without question. If the Commander is proficient and his unit is war ready and he wants to stay in Command then let him stay in Command of that unit. It's obviously working, the Army has a highly functional combat ready unit on it's hands why change it? But they don't allow that, doesn't matter if you are the reincarnation of Patton leading the best troops in the force they will still kick you out of Command at exactly 24 months and move you somewhere else.

    That's actually why a lot of the O3's choose to just get out after their contracts are up. Company level commanders lead the main fighting forces in combat units and are still "in the trenches" with their Soldiers. After that it's staff and admin stuff for pretty much the rest of their career. Rarely does a Captain Company Commander ever get 2 commands and if they do the second one is logistics or something. They don't let these guys stay in Command of combat line units for longer than 2 years. Out of the last 7 Company level commanders that have come through my unit 6 of them have chosen to get out of the Army for the reasons I mentioned.

    It's just too much turnover too often in my book. Let these guys stick around and actually form bonds and combat effective units which takes time. As it stands now by the time a Commander gets things rolling smoothly they get sent off and replaced.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2022
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  22. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    In my experience, that usually followed deployment schedules.

    When a unit will return from deployment, with a few months most of the senior leadership will depart, and new ones will come in. Quite often to more senior staff positions, required for further promotion. A Captain who is a Company Commander will move to another unit as a junior Major in say their S-3 section, and the Battalion Commander will move to some staff job at a Brigade level. Which once again, allows a senior Major to take a command position as a Lieutenant Colonel. Etc, etc, etc.

    We see the same thing in the Enlisted side, so it is not unique to Officers. A senior Staff Sergeant that ran a Platoon moves to a Staff position, in the Marines a Staff Sergeant that worked in one of the S shops moves to become the "Company Gunny", it is largely the same thing. But also generally with their input. If one of those wants to remain in a staff position, then they generally are allowed to do so. I was talking with out S-3 Sergeant Major while we were deployed, and he told me the last time he was "in charge of troops" was when he was a Platoon Sergeant as an E-6. Every position after that was as administrative and he had durned down two offers to become a Battalion Sergeant Major because he enjoyed being in the staff section.

    And many go Warrant Officer for the same reason. Those are almost never "Command Positions", and lets them move up as "Subject Matter Experts" without having to ever worry about being in charge of a hundred or so people.

    But overall, a lot of this seen today is because of the last decade of contraction. The Army was at over 550,000 when President Obama took over. Today, it is only 485,000, and their goal is to be at around 475,000 by the end of the year. And not all the cuts can be made in the lowest ranks, they have to filter up higher as well.
     
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  23. Nightmare515

    Nightmare515 Ragin' Cajun Staff Member Past Donor

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    This must be unique to my particular branch then because it's been this way the entire time from back when we were at war to current garrison operations. 2 years is what you get.

    I befriended a German Captain during one of our training courses a few years back and he was explaining how their system works and I liked it. I believe I heard something about the Air Force maybe having something close to this but I could be mistaken. Basically as an Officer you can choose two paths, one is the Command path and the other is the operations path or something like that where you stay in the proverbial "trenches" as an Officer but you retire as a Captain. The Command path sounded similar to the way all of our Officers function with you moving up the Command pipeline.

    I like that sort of concept, not every Officer needs to be pushed to be a Full Bird Colonel and not every Enlisted needs to be mentored to be a Sergeant Major. Some people are simply better suited to just being a Platoon Sergeant or Company Commander or Ops Officer or something. Let them choose a path at the start. Do you want to Command a unit or do you want to fight the unit? You want to fight the unit and have no desire to be a Commander ok then you join the "Operations" pipeline with the understanding that you will make no higher rank than MAJ. Enlisted you have no desire to ever be a 1SG or CSM? Ok here is your career path with the understanding that you will cap out at E6 or E7 and never advance higher than Section Sergeant or something.

    My old Tank buddy was like that. A Tanker through and through who had a crew like the movie Fury. He was our Section Sergeant and had zero desire to ever do anything other than that. They kept trying to push him up to Platoon Sergeant and he kept pushing back saying no I just want to be the Tank Commander with my crew thats all, I'll retire as an E6 I'm perfectly fine with that. He finally lost the battle and they promoted him and made him a Platoon Sergeant and he decided to get out at 15 years. He said I don't want to move up I just want to stay in my tank with a crew and be a tanker that's it, they wouldn't let him so he quit. That's dumb to me. Just let the guy stay at what he's good at, stop forcing higher levels of "leadership and responsibility" on people.

    That's why I mentioned the old Spec ranks before. Maybe not the best solution but my line of thinking was simply implement some policy that lets people stay in the role they like if they so desire. For tankers not everybody wants to be in charge of a platoon or company, some just want to be tankers in their tanks with their crew for their entire career so let them do that. Plenty would gladly settle for being an E6 or E7 forever if it meant they could stay in a tank and not become the paper pushing Platoon Sergeant or 1SG. For the flyboys it's ever more prevalent. There are A LOT of flyboys who would gladly cap out at O3 or O4 and stay there for their entire careers if it meant they stayed in an operational wing as a line pilot. Not everybody wants to be the Wing Commander if somebody wants to just stay a Captain for 10 years and fly F-22s and never progress any higher up the chain then we should let them.
     
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  24. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    And that can be easily done there, considering their Army has less than half the number of people in the US Army.

    It is also closer to how the Marines do it. But once again, a smaller service can do things like that and make it work easier. The Army has always been a larger organization, with the capability to expand even larger when needed. They still have that structure in place, which can allow it to grow enormously in a short amount of time. And the varied backgrounds can see a current Company Commander suddenly running a Battalion if say we had WWIII starting and there was a need to expand that rapidly.

    However, smaller organizations like the Marines are simply not able to do that. They can accept a growth of maybe 50% and they have no more higher ranking individuals to fill the new vacancies.

    To give an idea, the largest the Marines had ever been was in WWII, when they had a total of six divisions. Today, it sits at four (three). First Division is in California, Second Division is in North Carolina, Fourth Division is the Reserves. Third Division is mostly a "shadow division" on Okinawa. It has all of the staff and support of a Division, but very few actual combat forces. Most of its force are the Marine Battalions that rotate there for six months every two years where it takes command of them during that deployment.

    At this time, not including independent Brigades, the Army is composed of 20 Combat Divisions. And there are even "Shadow Units" in the Army, I should know because I was in one of them. We were in essence the "top command" of an entire Brigade sized medical unit, but with no actual personnel other than us in the staff. But if the need arose and the Army had to expand, we would have been the nucleus of an entire Medical Brigade. Because of things like that, is needed the Army could easily expand probably close to a WWII level of 90 Divisions without much effort. Where as with the smaller numbers, the Marines might be able to expand a single Division.

    But all of that is part of long-term planning for growth if needed, and has nothing to do with the thread itself.
     
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  25. Nightmare515

    Nightmare515 Ragin' Cajun Staff Member Past Donor

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    I'd feel remiss if I didn't mention my admiration and appreciation for your in depth knowledge of military matters and history. You seem very well versed in the subject which is pretty damn cool I have to say.

    I know the Germans are a much smaller fighting force than we are, same with the Canadians who I had a light hearted back and forth with a few months ago during a joint exercise we conducted. "You guys are the US Army how is it that we have this nice TOC set up and you guys are operating in that crappy tent?" Because our smallest branch has 3x as many troops as your entire military up there and we have a lot more units to fund shut up lol

    I'm just thinking back to the reasons I'm hearing why folks are leaving and what we could do to mitigate that. A couple years ago during the great pilot exodus I remember reading the Air Force Secretary saying something about possibly adopting a program similar to what I described the Germans have. Letting pilots just stay as pilots and nothing more and capping them at O4 or something like that. The Army quickly said hell no in classic Army fashion even though we are bleeding pilots at just as fast a rate but to me it makes sense. I understand the rationale behind why not and how the Army needs to function doctrinally but we have to do something to slow the bleeding. The massive exodus of pilots speaks volumes and the reason why is no secret anymore and was even finally openly admitted by both the Army and Air Force Secretaries a couple years ago.

    They want to fly, that's it. They don't all want to be Commanders or have additional duties or any of that they just want to be pilots. The military doesn't allow that once you get to a certain point so a whole lot of these folks choose to leave and go become pilots in the civilian world where they are allowed to be pilots and pilots only. The sentiments are largely the same in other MOS's with many folks just not wanting the greater responsibility of higher leadership roles or career advancement. That and also as I mentioned the sheer workload of the "good" troops carrying the weight of the bad troops that are increasing in number every day at this point largely due to completely unqualified people being put in leadership positions due to the flat out lack of having anybody else to put there now.

    Perhaps I'm thinking about this in the wrong way. I just need a solution to where people who are good at their jobs can stay in their jobs and do their jobs. For example there is this kid at work who is an E4 who I think recently got busted down to E3 for some reason which doesn't surprise me at all. Worst Soldier I have ever seen in my life and I tell him that directly at least once or twice a month or so when I talk to him. The kid never cuts his hair, or shaves, or changes uniforms, or even looks like he bathes more than once a week and has absolutely no military bearing whatsoever. However, he is the absolute best mechanic in this entire unit and when I need something fixed I walk by everybody including his NCO's and go right to him because I don't have time to play games and if I'm going to get in this thing and operate it I want to be sure whoever fixed it knows their stuff. This kid does. So when I tell him he's the worst Soldier I have ever seen in my life now he smiles and laughs because he knows what I mean because I said it to him once before. "You are seriously the worst Soldier I have ever seen in my entire life, I would never under any circumstances let anybody of importance ever see you. But you're the best mechanic I've ever seen in my entire career and you are ****ing awesome. Thank You".

    The kid has no business EVER leading anybody, he should never be an NCO and nobody would put him in front of a promotion board anyway if they had any sense. The kid looks like a freakin homeless hippy bum smoking pot in LA who's tan boots and uniform are literally black because he refuses to even attempt to change into one of the other cleaner uniforms he surely has. But he's a damn wizard when it comes to mechanical engineering and there has been time and time again to where even his own NCO's have been out trying to fix something for me and failing and I said go get your SPC (now PFC) and he comes and magically makes it work. I want a way to keep people like him around. He doesn't want to, nor should ever be, "in charge" of anybody or anything. He just likes fixing stuff and hes good at it and perfectly content with it.

    This is admittedly one of my own flaws but I want people who do their job first and are "Army" second. I want a way to just let people like this kid stay. He's good at one thing and one thing only so lets figure out a way to let him stay doing the thing he's good at for as long as he wants.
     
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