5 years

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by Just_A_Mom, Mar 24, 2008.

  1. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Headlines are everywhere - 5th year "Anniversary" of the war in Iraq was last week. This week it is US Military death toll is 4,000:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23771735/
    4,000 soldiers and sailors have given the Ultimate Sacrifice. They have left behind grieving mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, children and lovers.

    Countless others have deployed multiple times putting on hold the best years of their lives and the lives of those who love them:

    http://www.militarytimes.com/blogs/talesfromthesandbox/vemmer/2008/03/20/five-down/


    From an Army Wife:
    As much as our soldiers and sailors have given to us and to their country - we tend to forget how much their significant others have given and they very personal sacrifices they have made.

    And we wonder why we can't meet recruiting goals and why young officers are choosing to leave the military when their committment is up.
     
  2. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    It would be appreciated if we could keep the intent of this thread intact, which is to remember the 4,000 Americans who have freely given their lives for the rest of us.

    Sadly, there will be more before it's all over. :frown:

    We can argue over semantics elsewhere.
     
  3. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    "Soldier, Sailor, Airmen, Marine, and Coast Guardsmen" was meant to REMIND people that we haven't only lost Soldiers and Sailors. If it's a post to "remember", I think it is important to remember all members who have lost their lives.


    The post was not a correction, as much as a reminder.


    When you're branch is constantly left out of the "rememberance" it's important to remind people.
     
  4. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    We appreciate the reminder, and we certainly appreciate that ALL the services bleed for us at one time or another, be it in war or in peace, at home or abroad. That's what makes them special.

    Let's remain on course, please.
     
  5. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    The reporter seems to focus on the negative. As I sat in the Philly USO at the airport a few weeks ago, I ran into members of each branch. I got to the airport too early, way too early. As we talked it became very clear that many of them wanted to return and felt what they did have value. I wish this was covered more, especially with 5 years gone in Iraq. The Army Sgt. next to me on my right, and the Marine to my left both wanted to return ASAP to Iraq. They expressed the same interest in many of their fellow Soldiers and Marines. Five years later, that isn't covered at all, instead we have movies like "Stop Loss" coming out.



    I echo the sentiments about the sacrifies of the Armed Forces' loved ones back home, truely a different breed, and a good one at that.
     
  6. Poyner

    Poyner Member

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    "War is an extension of politics, but by other means."

    Our job is to fight the wars(and achieve our peacetime missions) not to decide the politics...

    As service-members our job is to go where the politicians tell us to, to accomplish the mission tasked to us, and try to keep casualties to a minimum on both sides. Whether we should or shouldn't be in Iraq(as a nation) is not up to us. Nor is it a topic that I discuss among my peers. But what I can tell you is this, I volunteered to protect my nation, home, and family. I do so with pride. If the powers that be tell me to go somewhere...I go there. If the tell me to do something...I do it. Not because I blindly believe that they are right, but because that is how any successful military works. There is no military greater than the US because we don't participate in politics. We do our jobs the best we can, nothing more.
     
  7. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Yes, let’s get the thread back on track. The gist of what JAM stated was that the war was taking a tremendous toll on both the existing families and those having plans for future families. While LITS is correct about his USO observations in that the Army and Marines are exceeding their reenlistment goals of junior enlisted, JAM is also correct in that Army recruiting is down as is retention of both officers and senior enlisted. It all points to the extreme hardships which families are facing, including psychological ones:

    Yes, even children who are sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters of active duty servicemembers (specifically including Coast Guard, lest some be offended) who are in college and having difficulty coping, a subject of which all should be aware and which certainly bears conversation on a forum such as this and should not be shut down as was the previous one.

    The Navy has a tremendous problem retaining surface female officers due to the family issue. Apparently, it is presently an issue with the exodus of many of our young Army officers. This is to which JAM was referring and to which we should focus this discussion. JMHO.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2008
  8. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    War is a ***** and hardships are expected. Even if everyone agreed on the premises of this war, the stresses would be there.

    With that in mind, what are some ideas for resolving the problem, short of surrender and coming home? More pay? A draft? What?

    Serious question, BTW. Not being a smartass.
     
  9. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Which is exactly what JAM was trying to point out.

    I certainly hope that in the context of this forum is that we are making future candidates aware of some of the issues which they will be facing in a half dozen years or so, not trying to solve the present situation.

    With that said, I certainly hope that the lessons learned from Iraq will be for the administration to listen to the military experts and not try to prove their macho manhood with military lives. GEN Shinseki, the Army Chief of Staff who was fired by the Administration for actually testifying before Congress that it would probably take 180,000 troops to clean up after the invasion of Iraq, was a military expert. The administration was not. I think he actually predated the necessity for the surge by about six years.

    So, candidates, in a few years you will be torn between serving your country and raising a family. Parents and siblings, you will be torn between your beloved going off to war and concern for their well being. To say that these concerns are no big deal is being naïve. You have no idea how little brother will react when he goes off to a liberal college with a fair amount of the student body being from the Mid East, and big brother ship’s out to kill the brothers and sisters of his fellow students. Just something to think about. “War is a *****”.

    OBTW, money and respect will solve the present issue. We do not need to read about the fact that the system does not begin to be able to treat the amounts of returning soldiers suffering from psychological issues.
     
  10. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Yes, these are serious questions indeed. No easy answers I can see. I just read the other day that we are about half way through - another 5 years at the same intensity that we are at now - I don't know if our country is up to that. I don't know if we, as a country, have the will. Clearly the "troop surge" is working - who knows what will happen when we draw down. How much longer can we keep up the intensity?
    The Army is near breaking point now. Soldiers are deploying for 15 months at a time but most of their 6 months at "home" is taken up training for a new deployment. Our Guard and Reserves suffer the most since they are reluctant to pick up their families and move to where they train.

    Right now re-enlistments are up and our service personnel are taking advantage of re-enlisting bonuses while they are in harm's way. New recruits are way down and recruiting goals are hard to meet. If the economy totally tanks then that may be a blessing as it could lead to more new recruits who can't find work. Jr Officers, however, are leaving the service. They are still finding plenty of civilian work at good pay and benefits. In a few short years there will be a serious shortage of Sr Officers.
    This makes it a good time to be a career officer in the Army for sure, promotions are coming quickly, but at a high cost of family life.

    As far as bailing out - there is growing public sentiment in that direction but it is easier said than done. After being in a country for 5 years, picking up a moving out is a huge undertaking and not one to be made lightly. It certainly is not going to happen overnight.
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    That is very true, history even proves it. Before 9/11 airlines were hiring at a dizzing rate. It was common to see a pilot at his 12-14 yr. marker hand in their papers and turn down the $150K bonus. (yes, cadets, they were turning down 150,000 = 25 K a year until you hit 20...so many turned them down, the AF went and offered at the 18 yr. marker another 25K per yr. until 22).

    9/11 happened Airline furloughed people and many of these pilots jumped back into the reserves.

    Back to the topic, I think people are not realizing that it hasn't been 5 years. The AF has never stopped deploying since Gulf I to the badlands. The AF created the AEF back in 98? for rotation purposes. Every operational squadron for Strike has never left this area (except the 90th ---they are PACAF, thus not the area) They rotate at least 2x during a 3 yr PCS for 4 mos. ea time. This is a lot better on the family to be sure than any other branch, but if you entered when we did (Bullet was operational for @6 mos., before the invasion). you have spent your career rotating to the sand box, they have spent @ 3 years there. The worse part is because of shortages, most officers must also do a remote now. That would then tally you up to over 4 yrs away from your family or 25% of your career (remember Gulf I was 90, 18 yr anniversary of invasion is Aug).

    IMHO pay is never going to help, at a certain point you and your family will need to ask is this too much? If it is there is no disgrace in saying I am out of here. You fulfilled your committment which is alot more than many other people would ever dream of doing.

    We cannot surrender or quickly bring troops home, as some pres. candidates say they will do...which I put into the column of false hopes and promises. Presidents who say here is our withdrawal plan are living in a world that I would happily join, but unfortunately it is not realistic. Last time I checked we still have troops on the DMZ for Korea...wasn't that 50 yrs ago? Saying that is just wrong. Do Americans want to hear it, of course they do, but can it happen... doubtful.

    As I said before more pay is never going to help. 1st the Defense budget wouldn't be able to sustain more pay. 2nd, military members join and leave for various reasons. Some officers join to serve, some to get a free education. Some leave because they want to be a bus driver in the sky, some because the spouse says I have had enough, some because the AD realizes that they have had enough, some because they have medical issues with family members, where moving is no longer compatible. In the end you could throw them a lot of money it isn''t going to change anything. Go back to my earlier statements, I know several people who turned down handsome bonuses. They had made the decision already, and money wasn't the motivator. For those who are not aware most airline pilots start their salary in thr 40K range. As an O-4, with flight pay you are making at least 2X that, then add in the 25K bonus you are at least 3x the base for new airline hires (United, FedEx, Southwest) When you walk away at that yr group, you typically have a family, which underscores my point even more, what parent, when looking at a bundle of money and security goes give it up and we'll tighten the belt? The family who says it's not about the money is the answer.

    Draft will never happen, America would never stand for it. As a spouse of a military member, and a son who will become one, I am not sure I would stand for it regarding my youngest. Our country would have to be invaded for me to say go for it. 9/11 was a terroristic action, not an invasion.

    So what do I suggest? I suggest that we listen to the military leaders and support them. If they say this is the course than, it's the course. What we are doing right now, is ridiculous. It is as if we went to a doctor, and he said you have cancer, but you go "no, I don't I have XXX". You have no medical background, but you believe you know better. Look, Gen Petraeus said this what we needed, they did it and we are finding success...unfortunately he was called Gen. Betrayus, and was told by a certain senator that they must be
    My very biggest peeve is those people who say I support the troops, but this is the wrong war. My mother-in-law has a yellow ribbon on her car saying exactly that, but she will say verbally this is the wrong war. Bullet and I have tried to explain there is no such thing as a "right war". Think about those statement, I support the troops, but I don't support what they are doing! I still can't understand that. Are you saying they are a bunch of sheep following orders and have no mind? How can you support them, but disagree with them to follow orders, it is an oxymoron

    I bet money that we will have service members in that area for decades. If we want members to stay than lets get rid of remotes. Let's tell Kuwait, Qatar, you want us to protect, than allow us to build a base. These areas are not front line, build one, allow family members to join the AD service member, this holds true for Riyad and Korea (in these areas if you are contractor the company allows you to bring your family, if it is safe enough for the contractor, than it safe enough for the AD, I know at least 3 contractors that willingly took these assignments, great COLA, and family members were allowed to go). Instead of rotating the accounting and finance guy from Qatar every 4 mos. give him an accompanied tour for 2 years. We stop rotating the back fills and make it an assignment where families can go, might help in the long run.

    Of course now the State Dept. needs to convince them to allow it, which would never happen!
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2008
  12. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Are you saying that the AF is so screwed up that it is throwing away these bonuses because they don’t work? Or that it is worthwhile to pay an AF pilot to stay active duty but not worthwhile to pay an enlisted Army soldier the same? Again, not quite following you.
     
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Bonuses are given to wherever the military finds a shortage!
    They given bonuses for re-upping in specifice fields, thus nobody is saying that the enlisted is not worthy.

    The AF found themselves losing experienced flyers to airline companies, thus they give bonuses. This practice has been occurring since the late 80's.

    Am I saying they are throwing away bonuses, NO
    . How can you be throwing away a bonus if it isn't accepted?
    Was I saying that you can throw money hand over fist and people will still leave? YES There are many who take the bonus without ever having the intention to leave. There are also thos ewho stay on the fence and the bonus is what made them stay. There are those who don't give a darn about the bonus and leave. This is why I used the bonus as an example that pay will not change the AD members mind if they want to go they will.

    Let's remember many enlisted personnel now get 60-80K re-enlistment bonus. Their bonus is based upon factors, years, and cat., aviation is based on yrs.They will determine to stay or go for their own personal reasons. Rotation may be one of them, but it doesn't mean it was the determining factor

    BTW doesn't the NAVY give bonuses also? Thus, if they give the flight pay bonus of $850 pm, and an officer leaves prior to his 20, would you consider them to be so screwed up that the bonus doesn't work.

    I admit this is very old, but, I think it proves the point.
    Finally, let's remember there are bonuses for other career fields, docs, and jag quickly come to mind.

    IF the AF is screwed up enough to give these bonuses, I guess so is the Army, Marines and Navy, since they all give the same bonuses. This was not the basis of the tread. MY OPINION was that pay would not help, historical research proves that as JAM stated, a thriving economy might result in more AD leaving, thus a bonus is not going to sway someone to stay.

    BTW when did I ever state that enlisted were not worthwhile. Let's keep the comparisons to a specific area. As I have also stated in this post, the enlisteed can now recieve bonuses up to 90K.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2008
  14. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Let's not get too far afield. I was just confused over the apparent dichotomy between your statement:

    and your examples where the bonus is apparently working. Since the bonus system is nothing but a form of pay, with your latest post, you have given even more examples of the successful application of bonuses. Maybe at some point for some select groups they may even have to be increased in order to remain effective. Therefore, still, I do not understand your statement that pay "is never going to help".
     
  15. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Please look at my examples, I have never illustrated that it is successful, except for the person sitting on the fence. The AD member who has made up their mind, will not change it due to a bonus...i.e. my example of the 10% retention for the NAVY

    I have stated, that pilots who have decided to leave are going to, regardless of the amount of money. $150,000 at 34 with $850 flt pay p.m. (10K per yr) is not going to stop the person who says I am out of here

    I have shown that even the Navy has not had the best results by throwing money at them.

    Notice in 2000, the Navy was only getting 10% of their eligible pilots to take the bonus. Why? Airlines were hiring. Many of our friends got to choose which company they went with (FedEx, Continental, United, UPS, etc) Every week at the club there was another guy buying the bar b/c he was off to go and make his money in the commercial world.

    I have shown no dichotomy.
    When the economy is good with low unemployment, the bonuses are less effective.
    When the economy is bad with high unemploymnt, the bonuses are effective.

    NOW BACK TO THE THREAD 5 YRS LATER
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2008
  16. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    There are two issues with bonuses of which apparently you are only willing to acknowledge one. Of course, some do not, for whatever reasons, accept the bonus and either resign or do not reenlist. Of course, bonus wise, they cost the military nothing. Bonus or no bonus, they are gone.

    Now the second group is more complex. They accept the bonus. A certain percentage would have stayed in regardless of whether they received a bonus or not. The extra money was wasted on them. However, a certain percentage were influenced partially or wholly by the bonus and acted accordingly. The cost effectiveness of this increased retention is what must be evaluated prior to making any bonus decision. As an example, if only one in ten planned to remain on active duty and the bonus caused another six to do so, it would be very cost effective. However, if six already planned to remain on active duty and the bonus only caused an additional one to remain, since the bonus would have to be paid to all seven, it would not be very cost effective at all. It is this continuing analysis which, as a taxpayer, I certainly hope and believe the Air Force has made, hence my tongue in cheek comment, and, finding the results cost effective, have granted bonuses accordingly. This is where the true effectiveness of a bonus system is measured, not by giving examples of those who would have gotten out anyway. Therefore, pay does work. Therefore, your previous posts have proved a dichotomy, at least to me.
     
  17. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I have yet to hear one flyer say I decided to stay because of the bonus. I have heard a ton of them say WOOHOO its Oct.1 and my bonus is in.

    It truly maybe the AF world, it might even be the strike community, but I have seen and known, many people who call up their old friends who are in the commercial world to find out their chances. The bonus pay was not the issue. It was whether the "outside world" was hiring. When I speak of the person on the fence, that is the person who was not getting hired outside, and needed to decide whether to stay in.

    I don't find the fact that this person in the end stayed because they had no better options as seeing the bonus as being a success. Typically, in the corporate world we would call them dead wood. It is not as if the bonus is being given to the best, it is given to anyone who will stay. This bonus is given to a pilot who might be sitting at a desk right now at the Pentagon, and will never fly again, but because they are in the range and have obtained the gate months they will be offered to the bonus.

    Take a look at the O-5/O-6's out of the Pentagon, they are leaving at an enormous rate...they will retire on a Friday in their office and show up on Monday, only difference is they are wearing a suit and making more money(excl. bonus) and no more deployments or remotes.

    Now I am sure you will say, that's my point, he's making more money. You are right, he is, but he also threw away the bonus, thus,, BONUSES do not work. They typically take the job because they are never moving again, no more TDYS, no more remotes.

    Add into the factor that is unrealistic to see the military get a pay raise to make them competitive. Pay raises are tied to inflation, thus it would be a hard sale for any congressman or senator to sell to their constituents who are already opposed to a war.
     
  18. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    So my original point is true. The Air Force is so screwed up they are giving bonuses where they don't work wasting our taxpayers money.
     
  19. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    All of the branches that offer flight pay and bonuses would also be wasting tax payer dollars, b/c the AF isn't the only service to offer that bonus. Any flyer at PME or the Pentagon would fall in that category. Every officer that is doing their joint assignment would also be eligible for bonuses in their career field.
     
  20. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Not at all. You have stated as a part of your argument that AF pilot's retention is unaffected by the bonus. No one has made similiar statements about the other services. My point is that since it is ineffective in the AF, as per your observations, therefore the AF is wasting the taxpayers money. Pilot retention would remain the same without the bonus. And why and how did flight pay sneak into this discussion?
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2008

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