Monday, October 22, 2007


I read with great interest Will Bardenwerper’s article from the New York Times, as linked to by my friend Mark in his new blog.
Check it out here,
One Percenters.
When commenting on the high percent of re-enlistments, Mr Bardenwerper said,
“Supposedly impressive re-enlistment rates are cited as evidence that soldiers enthusiastically support the war effort. In reality, these retention numbers are more the result of the “stop-loss” policy, where soldiers are required to remain in the Army after their contracts have expired if their units are deployed or ordered to deploy soon. My platoon’s infantrymen expected to be “stop-lossed” and some felt they might as well cash in on the re-enlistment bonuses if they were going to be forced to stay in the Army anyway.”

Soldiers only one year into their contract are being asked to re-enlist.
And when they respectfully decline, they find themselves being scheduled for extra duty, and being passed over for promotion.
The new Army has changed little, operationally, from the old Army.
The biggest difference is that it is staffed by individuals with more education.
All that means is that the slackers can no longer be called dumb and lazy.
They still have a way of being in the right place at the right time to shine while the superiors are watching.
Mainly because the true workers, the backbone of companies, are exhausted, and they, the slackers, are well rested and ready to bust butt when the opportune moment arises.
Slackers don’t like the workers.
And if you happen to be unlucky enough to end up with a slacker for a top, (1st Sergeant), you are truly in a bad spot.

I got an email from Matt on that very subject just the other day.
Seems he has a couple of slackers in his platoon, one of which is the platoon sergeant.
I’ll share with you some of his comments, but know that some of it is not in Sunday go to meeting lingo, so I’ll correct a little of it.

"I have a platoon sergeant who I trust when we're getting shot at and getting blown up, but as a person he's a complete prick with no skills outside of tactical decision making.
He lets his mood swings dictate our lives.
Every time he is asked to do anything, he gets pissed off at us.
He wants to promote this kid ******. ***** is the biggest slacker I've met in the army.
He's a disrespectful prick, he can't make any hard time on time, me and ##### do his job for him (get the truck fixed and shit, which is not our job at all) and he falls asleep in the middle of missions behind the gun (he's the gunner on my vehicle). Webster should be the one getting promoted not him.
We have to wake him up, remind him to shave, tell him what needs to be fixed on the truck and who to talk to to get it done quick and right. For some reason, the more this kid screws up the more they want to promote him. Then there’s us who are always on time even when the NCO's are late, always working to get things fixed and working right no matter how long we've been out or how soon we're going back out, and we’re told we won’t make E-5 because we have no team leader experience. Well SEND US SOMEWHERE WHERE WE CAN GET THE EXPERIENCE THAN.
Its not bad enough that we're over here getting blown up and shot at we have to deal with ignorance and retarded people who think their job is about making us miserable at every possible chance.
My job is infantry not communications not medic, not mechanic. Yet when ever anything goes wrong with the radios I get, “ what's wrong with the radios”?, to which I reply,
"why don't you ask sgt McClung he's the commo specialist, he knows how to fix that shit". And I’m told, “I don’t' care, just make it work”. I want this, I want that, I want a monkey in a pink dress playing the symbols, make it happen.
Then they had the gall to ask me if I'm going to re-enlist! Without hesitation I say "#@$# NO" which gets them all riled up, so they ask angrily “why not” to which I reply, "I would rather be gay", (thank you for the honesty gene whichever one of you gave it to me).
So that got me every other guard shift on the roof of this building we took over until they got their panties all unbunched.

Other than that, I'm happy as a pig in shit cause I'm coming home in a few weeks and I don't have to deal with any of this shit for nearly a month".

So there's a little insight from the horses mouth.
I'm not sure if he's heard of the stop loss issue yet?

I replied to his message that he should keep up the good work, and that sooner or later it will pay off.
Whether in the military, or civilian life, good work is rewarded sooner or later.
Even if that reward is only the feeling of self pride he'll get as he looks back on these days and knows that he gave it his all.

Deborah Gianoulis Heald's contribution to the 1%ers blog today struck a chord with me.
Her son is a Marine who is home after his first deployment, and who upon seeing, "We Support Our Troops" bumper stickers wanted to ask the people in the car, "“What are you willing to do to support us? What are you willing to sacrifice?”
How often I have thought the very same thing.
Now I understand that some of these folks have a family member serving, and that's why they display the sticker. Yet I wonder how many aren't?
Some would argue that by purchasing and displaying the stickers they are at least acknowledging our sons and daughters who serve, and I guess I agree.
Yet I wonder about how many people pay lip service to supporting the troops, but can't find the time to volunteer even an hour to pack care packages to send to the troops. Or half an hour to find a soldier on Myspace and drop him an email telling him that your proud of him and thankful for his service to our country. Or a minute to walk up to a soldier in uniform and shake his hand and simply say than you.
I have had friends and acquaintances upon finding out that my son is in Iraq, say thank you to me.
I always thank them for their kindness, and respectfully request that if nothing more, they donate a minute or two of every day to think about the war, and the individuals fighting it. Think about the hardships they and their families endure,

and if so moved say a simple prayer that they will all return home safe.

If you spend just two or three minutes a day doing that, you will begin to understand what it is to live the daily life of a one percenter.

In closing, I ask that all who read this please get involved by paying close attention to the politicians both in office and running for election. Make notes about their stand on the war. And when it is time to vote, support those individuals that will work for a strategy beneficial to us and the citizens of Iraq, to end our involvement in their world.


  1. Dad,

    Great post. I think our son's are living in parallel universe right down to the platoon NCOs. We've been hearing about stop loss for sometime. Some of Mark's comrades got stop lossed...they weren't even told. They just noticed that their release date changed on their pay stubs

  2. dad- I imagine it can pretty discouraging over there. Good advice.

  3. ABD,
    It's not a good situation.
    All though it's hard to believe that the Army would do anything under handed like extend a soldiers hitch without telling him?
    Wonder where they learned to play like that???

    Mickey, I guess it mirrors civilian life. Only when you get a crappy boss you can’t quit and find a better job.

    Thanks to all for stopping bye.
    You make my day.

  4. When we have someone unpromotable who's a useless workshy fop - we commission them into the Officer cadre.

    Plenty of guys I know couldn't make it past Corporal, took a commission and now are way above little old me.


    'Engineering officers are like lighthouses in the desert, brilliant but f*cking useless'


    You can keep that one!

  5. yeah the stoploss situation is something that affectes many these days. Out of the 32 guys in our platoon, I'd say that at least 10, and this is lowballing it, are being stoplossed. I am as well, but only for 2 months. Everyone knows, and there is no "official" letting you know.

  6. wonderful article -I hope your comment about me was in humor since its out on the internet. sandy kessler

  7. Fatboy & Airborne,
    Thanks for the feedback, and for what you guys do.
    This is one old vet that stands in support of you, no matter what.

    I think you've mistaken me.
    I don't insult anyone, except Mickey, sometimes, and that's just what we do.
    We wouldn't respect each other any other way.
    Oh yeah, and The Bush Gang.
    Because they deserve it.
    You aren't GW going by an alias, are you?
    God bless, and I hope your feeling better.

  8. Dad - my son's really good one, when he was in the Sand in 03-04, was... we were on the phone, he was telling me how nuts it was in Sadr City... when he said "gotta go Mom, getting mortared". Then hung up. He called a few days later..I reamed him a new one...

    My Husband... he's the one saying I'm in green, with the hat.... told me Sunday when I asked how I was going to see him in the Marathon... I'm in the shorts.. and a white hat.. The souvenir hat... Yeah. White.


  9. LAW,
    A good humorist could have a field day with some of the stuff comming out of these guys.
    It's always good to find things to laugh at these days.
    Thanks for providing some.
    My most sincere wishes that your husband comes home safe, with all his parts, and sense of humor in tact.