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Archive for June 24th, 2008

Why Specialist Anonymous Will Not Be Re-enlisting

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

A Specialist who is currently still serving has written this and asked if he can share it with the world here. And since I am such a huge fan of having other people write stuff for my site, herbal I have agreed. Pretty much anyone who has ever served can identify with at least some part of this list. It seems to be a list themed week so far. I may need to run with that.

  1. I am sick of shaving.
  2. I am sick of weekly haircuts.
  3. I am sick of military haircuts.
  4. I am sick of waking up at 5:30 am
  5. I am sick of formations.
  6. I am sick of running.
  7. I am sick of pushups
  8. I am sick of sit-ups.
  9. I am sick of PT.
  10. I am sick of layouts.
  11. I am sick of maintenance.
  12. I am sick of motor pool closeouts.
  13. I am sick of police calls.
  14. Addendum to 13: I am sick of picking up smoker’s disgusting cigarette butts because they are too lazy and ill-disciplined to put them where they belong.
  15. I am sick of waiting around for hours, ailment doing nothing, price but not allowed to leave work.
  16. I am tired of driving. I have never had any real interest in it, and now, thanks to the Army forcing me to get a military license despite never having held a civilian license, I view it more as another degree of enslavement to the whims and fancies of others to such an extent that I categorically refuse to get a civilian license any time in the predictable future.
  17. I am sick of downloading CONEXes to be inventoried, multiple times in a week.
  18. I am of being treated like a child, all the while being told that the military makes you a man.
  19. I am tired of mass punishment.
  20. I am tired of being accused, even only by inference, of being a thief any time anything goes missing.
  21. I am tired of being accused, by inference, of drug use when another person is caught using drugs.
  22. I am tired of doing nothing for most of a day, then being kept late because someone else realized that they didn’t know where something was, and therefore, I have to try and find it for them.
  23. I am tired of MREs
  24. I am tired of military food.
  25. I am tired of hearing cadences at 6:30 in the morning, especially when I have the day off.
  26. I am sick of mandatory “fun” events.
  27. I am sick of being told that I will enjoy something/have a good time, when it is plain that not only will I not have a good time/enjoy said activity, but I must participate in sports that I absolutely despise.
  28. I am tired of being asked if I want to re-enlist.
  29. I am tired of being asked why I do not want to re-enlist when I answer no.
  30. I am tired of waking up at three AM to sit on guard. I know it is necessary, but that doesn’t make me hate it less.
  31. I am tired of block leave being the only times I have available for leave.
  32. I am tired of details, big and small.
  33. I am tired of being tasked out to do other unit’s work for them.
  34. I am tired of the bullshit associated with jumps.
  35. I am tired of being told that if I PCS, I won’t have to jump again. I know that, but I won’t get a PCS approved without a re-enlistment contract, and that isn’t happening–see 1-33 inclusive, and 36-92 inclusive.
  36. I am tired of safety briefs that completely fail to apply to me (most notably, being told not to drink and drive–see item 16. Note that many other things completely fail to apply to me, but drinking and driving is very high on the list.)
  37. I am tired of hearing the same safety brief, three times in a day, from different people at different times.
  38. I am tired of CQ shifts.
  39. I am tired of Battalion Staff Duty Shifts.
  40. I am quite certain that even one Brigade or Division Staff Duty Shift will be more than enough to make me despise them as well, given the likelihood of seeing an important personage, and then having to do some trivial, pointless, task to satisfy their whim/ego.
  41. Field problems are aptly named–I am in the field, and that is a major problem. Camping trips are occasionally fun, but not when you have to repeat a task over and again, and then comply with standards that are completely disregarded in actual combat (e.g., safety stakes and safety Ts)
  42. Dress right dress is getting pretty damn annoying, especially when it applies to tasks (i.e. someone else is doing it, therefore, we must as well)
  43. Class A inspections. This would not be nearly so annoying if it wasn’t for the fact that they are the only reason that we have to wear them.
  44. The fact that jump boots are going away, so I’d be forced to look like a goddamned leg during 43.
  45. “E-5s and above, fall out of this formation. Battery, Attention! Half-right, FACE! Front-leaning rest position, MOVE!” every time someone makes their E-5 (or above).
  46. Being told, “You’re doing great things for your country,” in an disingenuous tone of voice during any of the above.
  47. Being told, “You’re doing great things for your country,” in a genuine tone of voice during any of the above.
  48. Being told, “You’re doing great things for your country,” at any time, in any tone of voice, whatsoever.
  49. My chain-of-command’s probable reaction to reading this. Yes, sir, I beat you to it.
  50. Reward by punishment–while I am flattered that I am so highly thought of, I’d rather that you demonstrate it in a different manner than giving me more work to do.
  51. Waking up at 0330, to go to a battery formation at 0400, to go to a battalion formation at 0430, to go to a brigade formation at 0500, to go to a division formation at 0600, to be ready for a division run at 0630.
  52. Number 51 being the start of an exciting, fun-filled week filled with mandatory attendance of other team’s sporting events, as well as number 53.
  53. Standing at parade rest, while carrying M-4 with bayonet, for over an hour in the hot-ass North Carolina sun while someone who has never served in the division, let alone the military, yammers on about how great we are.
  54. Running back after 53.
  55. Performing retirement ceremonies for important persons from other units–where the hell are their units, and why can’t they be bothered to march around in a circle for their CO?
  56. The existence of Hooah!2O. That is crossing the line in terms of being entirely too full of one’s own propaganda; being a party to that shame is more than any man should be asked to bear, even if the complicity is only by association.
  57. I miss my dogs.
  58. I have a degree to complete, and no, I can’t complete it to the level I’d like to in the military.
  59. I would, at some point in the near future, like to have a long-term girlfriend/lover/wife. Being in the military is not conducive to maintaining such a relationship, especially with the current 15 month deployments.
  60. The fact that I can legitimately be questioned, and frequently am, about where I am going to and why I am doing that by people I have never met, have no connection to my unit, and I am unable to respond with the truth–namely, that it is none of their business, and that I resent the fact that I am being delayed in my errand by someone who does not belong to my unit for their own satisfaction– without serious repercussion.
  61. Along those lines, being berated for failing to salute an officer who was crowded by NCOs (in a breach of military custom and courtesy, as they should have all been to the left and behind by half a pace) when I could not see said officer’s rank. In a combat zone. By an NCO who was reading a newspaper while walking, and decided that junior enlisted were easier targets to satisfy his ego, rather than correcting a continued breach that caused others to fail to notice an officer walking by. Oh, and said NCO also failed to correct another nearby NCO who also failed to salute, for the same reason that we did.
  62. Being mandated to attend ceremonies for people who I have never met, are not in my unit, and otherwise unconnected to me by anything less tenuous than shared military service and proximity to their locale–often made close by their travel to my location from some other base.
  63. Being required to respect the rank of an NCO who does not deserve his rank, does not deserve respect as a person, and is wholly incapable of showing anyone who is not his superior any respect whatsoever. Yes, Hall, I’m thinking of you.
  64. I am far too available, for far too many people, to do far to many things for them, all the time.
  65. I am not a messenger boy, I have not worked as a messenger boy, and I will not seek employment as a messenger boy. Unsurprisingly, I must play messenger boy far too often.
  66. If I shoot someone in the face, I will get a medal. If I give someone who I am not married to an orgasm, I can go to jail. Go figure.
  67. When I show initiative, I invariably fail to do it the way my superiors envisioned it being done, despite them having no idea that it needed to be done in the first place. This is cause to chastise me and make me do it over again.
  68. When I learn the obvious lesson from 67 and not perform tasks without being given explicit directions, I am instead chastised for lacking initiative. Apparently, being right is not part of being junior enlisted.
  69. If I am right about something when an NCO is incorrect, said NCO will then begin going through various and obscure “general knowledge” questions until he finds one that I do not immediately know the textbook answer to–which is then used as a pretext for doing pushups or other form of corrective training. The state of being junior enlisted is that of a zero-sum game: NCOs win, Joes must therefore lose.
  70. Being told that becoming an NCO will remove the “junior-enlisted blues”. So will getting out, and it will also exempt me from the “NCO blues” and the “I have an idiot Joe, and must therefore get yelled at by 1SG and BC for his antics blues” that will inevitably come the instant that I become an NCO.
  71. There is more to medicine than Motrin and water.
  72. If it is comfortable, then it obviously is not military wear, nor is it authorized for wear at any time.
  73. Being told about the “college option” for re-enlistment. I have a better college option–it’s called getting out.
  74. Room inspections. From my personal experience, it is frequently an excuse to find something wrong with someone, and then berate/smoke/counsel them.
  75. Legal extortion in the form of “voluntary” associations/charities, such as the 508th association, AER, and CFC–except that not contributing/joining results in, at the minimum, several stern lectures about supporting your unit, followed by a negative counseling statement. One would have thought that men in their thirties and forties would have grown out of taking the lunch money of those smaller and weaker to them.
  76. Most places will fire you when you screw up sufficiently. Not so the Army! They will make you work more for less pay. This isn’t hard to avoid happening to you, but that isn’t really the point.
  77. Stop-loss. When the previous 76 reasons kept someone from re-enlisting, the Army finds a way to make them stay in. You know, to piss them off.
  78. Stop-move. This is even more fun than the above. See, it happens when someone decided their unit was crap quite some time before deployment orders came down, and then took appropriate action, including re-enlistment, to guarantee that they are not part of that unit. Then the Army says, “Too bad. Stay with them for another 18 months,” before laughing evilly.
  79. “There is only one standard–the ARMY standard!” is a blatant lie. This wouldn’t be so bad, but it really applies to things like time off and leave/pass policies, where it seems some parts of the Army are geared to making the lives of their soldiers as miserable as possible on a division-wide scale.
  80. The tendency for the aforementioned units to make their soldiers so in love with them that they desire nothing more than eternal servitude with them. It’s like battered wife syndrome.
  81. The fact that the above 80 reasons are actually used by people to stay in because they love it so much. Do you really want to work with someone who enjoys absolutely everything you hate about your job?
  82. The fact that the division to the left of this sentence has turned me into someone who actually has incorporated 44 into his being.
  83. IRR recall as a means of coercion for re-enlistment. Yes, I have had several NCOs tell me that I was going to be recalled anyhow, so I may as well re-enlist. If that doesn’t make you love the Army, nothing will.
  84. The Army will teach you valuable skills for life is a blatant lie. Well, unless sweeping rocks and parking cars in perfect lines are valuable skills.
  85. Military logic is as follows: in the PX at Salerno (and others in Afghanistan) there is more Sergeant Major rank than there are Sergeants Major in Afghanistan–similarly with Colonels and CW5s, not to mention Major General. One can find no specialist rank. Not even a slot for them. You know, because that would make sense.
  86. Keeping in line with the above: General order 1-A states that any sex outside of marriage during a deployment to the CENTCOM AO will result in UCMJ action. This is fine. What is not fine is that they then proceed to stock large quantities of condoms in the PX.
  87. Another actual occurrence with the above: in the Jalalabad PX for a period of not less than a full week, there were the following items: three sizes of envelopes, two types of file folders, four types of paper, paper shredders–but not one pen or pencil.
  88. Somehow they managed to find space to stock vehicle cell-phone chargers.
  89. Being awoken less than two hours after I go to sleep after a 12 hour night shift to perform a detail that, and I quote, “won’t take long.” That phrase is a lie. If it wouldn’t take long, then why the hell are they waking up the night shift to do it when there are day shift guys sitting on their asses? Oh, and it did in fact, take long.
  90. The Army Times is the Army propaganda magazine. This is not the problem. What is a problem is that, increasingly so, it is showing how the Army is failing soldiers. If your own propaganda machine cannot make you look good, it makes one wonder just what in the hell you’re missing that would make them look really bad.
  91. Health and Welfare inspections: the reality of these is that they are not about the health and welfare of the soldiers. They are intended to catch someone doing something wrong. That is it. Things that actually affect the health and welfare of soldiers are a distant second. This includes decrepit barracks rooms in buildings that charitably should be condemned (see the Ft Bragg barracks incident. Also note that I live in one of those barracks). Catching someone with more booze than regs allow is more important than getting soldiers into decent housing.
  92. Continuation to the above: married personnel are apparently exempt from this, as are senior enlisted personnel.