The expense of taking care of these Soldiers once returned home is dearly worth it. Deployments take a massive toll on the body. It’s rough work. You are lucky to end your career with knees that will carry you. Most often you end up with a bad back, screwed up shoulders, broken ribs, head trauma, all kinds of ailments. Not to add being shot, burned up, or blown up – we hate that when that happens. When they return, it’s going to be painful, expensive, and heart-wrenching.
A Brave General stood up for something I used to mock myself. In times of war, PTSD was thought of as an excuse for not going back down range. Most were kids trying to get out of something. The guys who really have it, hide it well. It consumes a person wholly. Never reversible, but teachable of what is real and hat is not real at this moment. My take is all of life is very tough in most of the world and it is normal there. It’s just not as tough as seeing your friends be lost one by one and day after day and the guilt is piled so high you just want them to take you next.
It is not in battle where it hits you, you get angry and fight. It hits you later – and hard. Hell on earth is during the 21 gun Salute. If you have never seen a properly folded flag passed to a Widow while her kids wept, you do not know the anger and pain it causes. Moreover the helpless feeling and the recounting of events to try to make it not happen – yet it’s too late and you know it but you fixate on it every night when your eyes shut. Being strong with your men when a blood stained uniform is in your sea hut is very hard to do. It is not a matter to be dismissive about.
Some Soldiers would rather die than lose their Legs and/or balls. Some may want the limbs they have that are not ever going to work again, and some rather amputate them. The lucky few get to make that determination. Some rather die if they are to be without. It is agonizing as you may imagine.
For I have been fortunate and blessed, these brave men have been giving themselves selflessly in defense for a Nation that may not even deserve it. For the Constitution is what we all have sworn Oath, and it is that which is desecrated in this “Nations” Capitol. This is a very serious matter to me, as it has become for these very true and fine warriors. They take it on the chin most the time as most fighters do, and for that I believe them in mettle on the ground. I also hold their missions dear. I wanted to open this with a personal note and move to operations.
My concern is as always:
Needless to say, I have seen it before. During the 1990’s, I watched good men get chased out due to budget cuts. I saw our military equipment degrade due to lack of maintainence, and lack of training due to lack of funds. The Officer grade ranks were purged for more political purpose. It hollowed our force which is why the wars kicked off so difficult.
Of course, office upgrades went ahead and everyone had to get new desks. It was mis-appropriation of funds. Just because there is defense spending does not mean it is actually assisting us in our defense, though I agree it is rather steep.
Then there is the massive arm of the DOD bureaucracy with miles and miles of buildings full of Federal Employees pushing papers around. Thats an expensive part of our defense spending. Is all of that really necessary? I spent much time typing up and pushing papers to satisfy some arrogant and self important government goon that thought that since they had a little bit of power, they had to use it’s influence over my unit.
It hampered our deployments and I noticed bit by bit and year after year, they were passing their work down to the line units to do and thats unacceptable. What do I need that fat ass for if I have to do all of the paperwork myself? The idea was to remove pressure from the line units, not apply more pressure to them.
And finally, the mis-understood contractors without whom work would be far too hectic with the optempo during deployments. Without Halliburton, my life would have been a living hell. I would have had to spend more time on amenities and less of arming the gang with tactical gear, ammo, and equipment – and that is dangerous. People die if you make mistakes in this business.
It is no joke when the NVG has no batteries because you have no AMO qualified guys to palletize all of the “HAZMAT”. We never missed movement, but I will tell you, withought big phone calls from big people, the mission would have been disastrous. “Here, throw your BDU’s on the tarmac and carry this ammo and this SINCGARS because we lost our AMO flight lic” – yeah right. Again I was lucky to never hear that – yet, thats the only equipment you ever want if you want to stay alive. Battle rattle trumps comfort – always.
It happens a-lot. Soldiers slide down mountain sides in battle uniform and have their ass showing for weeks because there is not enough air power to load the requisitions onto the chopper that is there just to bring ammo and Mister-E’s. Without air logistics, its all lost. Without fuel , there is no air power. but I digress, this is a separate conversation.
I will say this, I rather have eye to eye conversations with people on the ground right now than sitting my ass in a box. There is no more and no less of a place than I want to be than on the ground in these wars. There is no substitute for fighting with the best Soldiers on the planet. And there is is no comfort at “home”, and there is no peace of mind in either. I have been gnashing teeth for quite some while and feel like a pogue. I wish I was there to defend some young kid whom may be ruined in these operations. My mortality means little to me in comparison to a 22 year old PFC with three children. There just is no solice. No rest. Want to be there, want to be anywhere but there, Just want release. Anyhoo…
Last week, the President called for a “discussion” of roles in the military. I agree with that yet every time we have this, we get more buildings full of bureaucrats, GSA purchases, Congressional payoffs for equipment we did not need, and of course more office furniture. I rather have a discussion on THEIR role in the Military.
The force was supposed to become a spear under rummy with joint capabilities and high mobility as we no longer have a need for the line armies of the past. Yet the wars somewhat interrupted the process.
What I want to impart to the dear reader is if we handle this properly, we could have our cake and eat it too. It was not difficult for me to take a red pen to a Battalion budget and get a Warrant or a CSM to back me and it should not be a be such a difficult task for the clown show in DC either. Just make sure the line units have priority – and do not forget those that gave so much to protect those clowns.
Also keep in mind that the priorities in DC have rarely aligned with the realities the ground pounders face when their boots are in some backward assed bananna republic. Of course, when our Soldiers return, they may find themselves in one again. It shall be good to have them home.
P.S. For any politician that used Soldiers as political play, if you see me coming, you had better run.
CALLSIG is closedanger –
06/01 – Gates Verdict on the budget
06/02 – Rand comes out with a new report on command.
06/09 – Defense industry influence.
06/10 – Destroyer class decisions.
06-12 – SOCOM: Money will not fix this problem.
07/04/11 – Taking care of your own (.PDF)
07/07/11 – PTSD – Mental Strength Training.
07/19/11 – Vetville – Marines tough it out.
07/21/11 – OPFOR rants about Budget wars.
07/27/11 – Some ideas being pitched over Military pay and bennifits.
09/20/11 – Schlep talks about Bureaucrats.
09/30/11 – The Munson Doctrine