Tuesday, September 20, 2005

In the Sandbox...

Retention, Pay, Policies
"Let’s get back to the grave concerns facing our soldiers. With the global war on terrorism expanding, it is vital we retain the best-qualified force. With proper remedies, the enactment of new policies and a breakthrough in our approach, there may be hope for soldiers in their efforts to eliminate terror.

Retention influences all ranks. With alarm, we see the senior levels of our noncommissioned officer corps fading, and officers, after completing requirements for their commission, are getting out. This has changed the entire look of the military — a younger force with less experience, and without the required soldiers to run it. Fudging numbers to meet quotas in retention/recruiting does not solve the problem.

In terms of pay, we are well behind our civilian counterparts’ salaries. This [encourages] a new career with a contracting firm.

We are facing more deployments. This brings up the issue of unity, the “no ‘I’ in team” theory. But we see it, or sects within units disturbingly divided in terms of promotions and duties tasked.

My final appeal pertains to wartime/garrison policies. Policy changes are frequent and confusing. For example, no Kevlar-wearing while in physical training uniforms. But as soon as you slip into those desert combat uniforms, you better be wearing that Kevlar. Policies with little or no sense ruin a soldier’s view of military life.

If we are to engage with the will of a united force, can’t we work on the fuel that depends on this outcome: soldiers’ morale and their future security. The men and women of our armed forces are bound by the lack of pay, misdirection and knowledge of future deployments [that all result in] fewer soldiers.

In closing, from the movie “Jerry Maguire,” “Help me help you.” Operating under this principle is the only hope for success, without having to change policy and turn away from the all-volunteer force."
-Spc. David Allen Haave
Tikrit, Iraq (Stars & Stripes: Letters to the Editor)

...girls of the US Navy...
one, two, three, four, FIVE, six

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