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View Diary: Holy Crap - I Got Yer Back Door Draft Right Here (186 comments)

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  •  Nothing to see here, move along (13+ / 0-)

    This isn't new. It has been like this for at least the last 24 years.  My god, we have been doing call-ups with the IRR & the retired reserve on a regular basis since Gulf War One (The Grey Thunder operations).  The only difference is now we are actually doing what we have said we are supposed to do via regulation for the past twenty years.

    The fact that they are aligning this with the ARFORGEN model is the only new thing.  However, that isn't a big deal, because EVERYTHING in the Army is being aligned with the ARFORGEN model.  

    If you are in the RC (Reserve Components), you have an annual requirement to read & sign off on fun-filled facts like the 8 year MSO (Mandatory Service Obligation).  For the NG we have a nifty form that explains all of this, including the infamous paragraph 13, which states that if Congress decides to change all of the rules, you agree to abide by them.

    Other fun filled facts about Service Obligations:

    If you get mobilized either as an IRR or if you are with a unit inside the last year of that 8 year MSO, that MSO will will not keep you from going.  i.e. if you get the call on year 7 month ll day 29.  You are screwed.  You get an 18 month tour in sunny Iraq or Afganistan.  As far as units go, there are Congressionaly (sp) mandated time limits on how long a unit can be deployed.  However, by simply changing the operational name, this will reset everone's clock back to zero.

    Guess what, once you have gone into the retired reserve, you can be called up no matter how old you are.  You also have an obligation to notify HRC (Human Resource Command) once a year that you are still alive & and again if you have any major health issues (Heart Attacks etc).  If you fail to do so & Big Army decides to recall you & you don't show; guess what, you lose your retirement pension.  Forever.  And the notification is mailed 1st class, not registered or certified mail.

    Other background information.

    The "Warrior" stuff is based on Gen Shoomaker's (Army Chief of Staff) vision of the "Warrior Ethos".  This is important because it reminds everyone that they are a warrior first, then what-ever their technical specialty is.  For the Combat Arms folks this is no big deal.  For the REMFs, this is a sea-change on how they are taught to view themselves.  Too many of the Combat Support and Combat Service Support pogues view themselves as civilians in tree-suits.  This should have been implemented a couple of generations ago.

    On the "Enduring Crusade" note.  The Army, no shit, has a program that generates Operation names and that's what was spit out at the time.  

    As a final note:

    If you are too stupid to read your enlistment contract, you deserve what ever happens to you.  If you are too stupid to listen up in out-processing, well, just remember buddy is only half of the word.  And as everyone in Service knows, if ya can't take a joke, ya shouldn't have joined.  Can anyone tell that I don't work in Recruiting?

    Sorry to go off like this, but I have been working these types of issues since the early 90's & I am tired of listening to whining soldiers who believe that the regs shouldn't apply to them.  You raise your hand, you take your chances.

    •  what I don't really understand (9+ / 0-)

      how they decide who to let go and who to keep on stop loss.  The Army has never been known to think too hard about personnel decisions, but why are they letting people quit and then pulling the IRR back on duty?

      I understand your attitude, but the truth is we need to recruit people into the Armed Forces.  I'm conditioned to think we actually need a standing army.  So if everyone knows that you go into the Army, get out, and then get deployed at random times for years after they stopped paying you, nobody in their right mind is going to sign up.  

      •  Plenty of fodder still (10+ / 0-)

        That's what having pockets of dire poverty all over the freekin' country is about. Desperate people do whatever is necessary to try to support themselves, or their children. Especially their children. Even join things where they know they could be killed. They just don't see another path to success.

        They know this path may not be to "success", but they see it as "survival". Survival instinct is strong.

        I mean this... we back people into a corner, no education, no relatives w/ cash to help them start a little business or something -- they join.

        I met a kid within the year, clerking in a store, who told me he'd just joined on leaving high school. "They're sending me to Iraq!" he said.

        My lord, what did you expect, I thought. But I've had 10 months to GET that he REALLY did not SEE that was going to happen before he joined. He really did not.

        Ponder that 10 months, get back to me.

        It's the "anti-fear-propaganda" solution: positive news: HeroicStories, free

        by AllisonInSeattle on Wed Apr 05, 2006 at 12:45:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Amen to that (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AllisonInSeattle, ladybug53, jmaps

          That is what got me in the 70's when we had Great Depression style unemployment in my area (central Ind) and I had a little kid and O $.  At least I got to go in the USAF (U Sure Are Fucked) and got a pretty good job as a veterinary technician.  But, what a mistake.

          "I said, 'wait a minute, Chester, you know I'm a peaceful man.'" Robbie Robertson -8.13, -4.56

          by NearlyNormal on Wed Apr 05, 2006 at 11:44:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure DOD even knows themselves (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        unterhausen, KiaRioGrl79, ladybug53

        what I don't really understand [is] how they decide who to let go and who to keep on stop loss.

        Admittedly, this is a Navy perspective, but after 9/11 there was a lot of talk about the stop loss for "critical skills."  I had about a year on active duty left and was working as a counterterrorism intelligence analyst (specializing in al-Qa'ida, no less), so I was a little worried that might apply to me.  But not to worry ... when the critical skills list finally came out, it was basically just SEALs and guys who spoke Arabic.  Admittedly important, but you'd think a well-planned stop loss would have cast a wider net.

        •  makes you wonder (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ladybug53

          if anyone in the administration of the DOD really cares about terrorism, doesn't it?  Clearly, their thesis is that all terrorism is sponsored by states, i.e. Iraq and Iran.  Thus they don't actually have to worry about real terrorists.  Crazy.

        •  Army Stop-Loss (0+ / 0-)

          The Army does target certain high-value MOS (military occupational specialties) to retain via targeted stop-loss, but I think the biggest group of them are in deploying units.

          With the new 'Campaign Plan' for the 'Expeditionary Army' comes the 'Life Cycle Brigade', an organization almost completely manned by careerists or by Soldiers that agree to spend 3 years with that unit.  This way they can train them up, deploy them, and recover them all together.

          When a unit is notified that they are deploying officially they are stop-lossed to stop the leakage of trained peoplel. Some trouble comes when leaders impose their own informal stop-loss in anticipation of that event. Other times, the capricious enforcement of the orders are unfathomable.  At any rate, the unit is held together for 90 or more days prior to deployment, through the year, and 90 or so afterwards.  There are usually a lot of waivers granted on the back end for people leaving for college or something.  Generally, if you are in Iraq or Afghanistan, you are stop-lossed.  But that doesn't mean that you are in the Army at that moment against your will.

          --deeeds not words--

          by Jeffzed on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 02:52:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I didn't think of the informal stop loss (0+ / 0-)

            when I quit the Air Force, my boss kept my paperwork in his desk for a week until I asked him about it.  He said, "oh, did you really mean it then?"  If I wasn't in the habit of assuming that any paperwork would be screwed up by someone, I might still be in.  If he decided he didn't want to turn the paperwork in at all it would have been a mess.

          •  I have friends in a couple of those kind of units (0+ / 0-)

            "This way they can train them up, deploy them, and recover them all together."

            One is in Iraq. I hope they all come home together. Personally, I like this arrangement because you get to know each others strengths and weaknesses as a unit. With a good leader you can become a complementary fighting force. That's why the IRR worries me if they use them in combat with only 30 days retraining, and then 30 days with the unit before deployment. That's barely enough time to catch your breath and get to know a little about your squad or platoon.
            Two quick comments about this statement'

            "But that doesn't mean that you are in the Army at that moment against your will."

            The first is that once I personally got to Iraq and the heat, full rucksack, weapon, water, sun, sand (beach from HELL) and assorted other things really pressed upon me - I was in the Army against my will!(/snark) For those who have never been there the area that Iraq is in is various levels of desert (high, med, low) and in the winter it is suprisingly and viciously cold in areas. I was in the first Gulf War (which I am sometimes hesitant to call a war in compairison to the current far worse, conflict. I have lots of issues with Bush Sr. but I think of him fondly in sofar as the fact that he listened to his people and stayed away from Baghdad.) Iraq has beauty but in full combat gear its noonday sun becomes one of the troops hostile adversaries.
            The second thing (I finally got there!) is that even though you are not in the Army against your will, the culture of the Active Duty is geared towards retainment. Your Sergeant and Top and Officers will relentlessly keep after you to re-up if you are even a halfway decent soldier. I saw the re-enlistment officer chopper out to our camp at NTC to talk to a corporal (they found out he was tri-lingual). And if you don't re-up you become persona non grata and/or get to pull some really crappy duty until you pcs. It's a lot of pressure.

    •  The problem is the Darth Vader leadership (9+ / 0-)

      I doubt I could have ever qualified to serve in the military ever, so this is theoretical. But I think if I ever did join the military, I'd actually sort of have fantasies about fighting in some reasonably comfortable, clean-cut conflict where the "bad guys" clearly were bad and civilians rarely got hurt. (In other words: Star Trek.)

      And if some evil empire really were invading the United States, I would buy a copy of the Anarchist's Cookbook and try to figure out some way to stand up to it.

      But if my country were the evil empire, wow. What American kid grows up wanting to serve under a much, much less competent version of Grand Moff Tarkin? Not many, I'll bet.

    •  Roger that Sergant (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53

      I was looking through this thread waiting for a comment like this.  I know IRR recalls suck, stop loss orders suck, but its all omething we knowingly signed up for.  If you signed the contract without really understanding what it meant, well thats just stupidity on your part.  I'm in a forward deployed unit that is filled in part by IRR Recalls.  I'm glad for them, some of the best soldiers I've served with.  The funny part is, I have seen more than a few of them re-enlist for active duty when their IRR recall ends.  Anyways we raise our hand, we're obligated to serve deal with it.  I don't think this IW re-organization is that big of a deal.

      •  The interesting thing to me... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladybug53

        The interesting thing to me is what this says about the real needs of the military. They are going to every resource they have. That means they need them.

        I don't disagree with you guys that this is "part of the deal." My dad was raised by the Army, and my older brother is a 20 year Navy veteran. I haven't served. For that reason it would be completely wrong for me to join in your chorus of "suck it up," but I know where you are coming from.

        My problem here is not with the military, but with the leadership that has made this necessary. What happens now if someone (like China) gets a little agressive with someone (like Taiwan)? (The answer is, of course, that our Navy is in plenty good shape to stare that down -- but that's not really my point.)

        Our military has been doing "so much for so long with so little, that they can now do anything forever with nothing." I think it is time Mr. and Mrs. Suburbia with their magnetic "Support our Troops" ribbons put a little skin in the game (and yes, I know, some of them have, but damned few). I'd like to see a draft. If we are going to embark on a new era of Empire, it is time to demand the "sacrifice" that everyone says we are making, when in fact it is only the relatively small number of military families who are making that sacrifice.

        My brother has been out for four years. What sacrifice is my family making? None. And we don't pretend that we do. But we get damned mad about the pay for soldiers versus "contractors," about the stop-loss orders, about all of this.

        I think the attitude you guys show with your "suck it up" posts just shows the dedication; the nature of "The Service." Soldiering is the world's second oldest profession (maybe it is really the oldest), and the people practicing it for our country right now deserve better than to be sent in harm's way for lies and selfish gain.

        It is time our kids were put at risk. Let's see if Mr. and Mrs. Suburbia are really behind this war. I don't think they (we?) are. (I know I am not). But it is time we stopped hiding behind the brave ones who volunteered. It is time to ante up. Or it is time to reconsider when and why we want to put our solidiers in harm's way.

        •  So much with so little (0+ / 0-)

          What, the damn military is one of the main things sucking this country dry.  Now I know they don't spend it on enlisted men's salaries, but sheeeze I don't see how any poor me stuff about the military makes any sense.

          "I said, 'wait a minute, Chester, you know I'm a peaceful man.'" Robbie Robertson -8.13, -4.56

          by NearlyNormal on Wed Apr 05, 2006 at 11:48:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not saying we need more military spending! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ladybug53

            I'm saying we need to use the military less!

            The point is that our small (for the job) all-volunteer military is being asked to shoulder a burden that should be carried by force 2-3 times larger.

            I'm saying our political leadership is trying to make an empire with a non-empire-sized military.

            The last thing I want to see is to see the military larger. My argument is that if there were a draft, the "yeah, rah!" suburbanites who talk about "supporting the troops" while they send their kids to private schools on vouchers would change their tune damned quickly if their precious children had to join the military.

            I'm saying that military spending is going to defense contractors and mercenaries while our "professional soldiers" cannot keep their families housed and fed properly.

            I'm saying the whole damned thing is completely f--ked up.

            Now maybe you and I are on the same page (or at least closer to understanding one another)?

            •  Yep we are (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ladybug53, evilpenguin, jmaps

              I'd love/hate to see a draft.  Love it because of two reasons, 1 that it would bring a reality check to the suburbanites, especially if they drafted girls too. 2 because a military full of disgruntled enlisted men is a military in touch with the real life of the nation.

              I'd hate to see the draft because no poor son of a bitch (or a rich one either) should have to be shoved into a uniform and drug off to shoot at people.  It really is the most basic part of the privacy equation to me.

              "I said, 'wait a minute, Chester, you know I'm a peaceful man.'" Robbie Robertson -8.13, -4.56

              by NearlyNormal on Wed Apr 05, 2006 at 01:06:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Couplea quick hits here (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53

      I knew about the IRR when I signed on. But I also believed it to be kind of a "doomsday scenario" contingency. Turning the IRR into something resembling the Reserve Component is a new twist that I most definitely did not foresee.

      Also: the "warrior" business. Like I said. I'm damn proud to be a Soldier. But when they say "warrior" I know its just bluster and propaganda. I didn't have to qualify on any range or perform any tasks or meet any standards to get called "warrior," I just showed up.

      I'm okay with a "Soldiers First" mentality to remind CS and CSS Soldiers about their primary responsibility. I don't like it when people use the terms "REMF" or "pogues," especially now when the battlefield is 360 degrees and the "pogues" are doing a good deal of the fighting and dying.

      I'm not SF and I'm not primarily a trigger-puller, but I am combat-capable.

      The big dangers here are:

      (1) the hit to service morale; and

      (2) the hit to recruiting, when this gets out in the public domain.

      Phase 1: Collect underpants
      Phase 2: ?
      Phase 3: Profit!

      by Oregon guy on Wed Apr 05, 2006 at 11:32:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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