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From: (J.D. Baldwin)
Subject: Re: USAF Morale
Date: Wed, 29 Jul 1998 18:04:05 GMT

In article <>, L.R.S.
<> wrote:
> >1)shit pay
> Shit pay today?  Maybe you should have entered service prior to "The
> Great Equalizer" of 1972.  Talk about shit pay.

Or in 1978, when I came in.  Pay wasn't so bad for a young single kid
who'd never worked anywhere other than Target, but middle enlisted folks
with families were routinely on food stamps.  Then came Reagan the
Liberator . . .

> >2)miserable health care
> I may have been retired for seven years now, however health care when
> I was in was great.  And, IIRC, the priority of military health care
> is for the military member.

Health care was excellent for me until right about 1992, then it
started to decline drastically.  And the "horror story" incidence had
been going up steadily for years, in my view.  I think there was less
and less real accountability for screw-ups once the visibility of that
blind Bethesda heart surgeon incident started blowing over.

Even though the member himself has always been the "priority," care
was supposed to be provided for family members.  By the time I left in
1995, that had become a sick joke, at best.  Even the worst of
civilian firms do better by their employees than today's military in
this respect.

> >3)long deployments
> What do you consider long?  One month?  Two?  Three?

Speaking only for the Navy, which is by far the most forward deployed
of the services, the op tempo has gone from "difficult" to "brutal" in
the last ten years.  The Clinton Administration slashes and burns our
deployable units, yet maintains the same level of operational
commitment abroad.  The obvious result:  people are coming off a six-
month deployment (yes, *six* months) and rotating to another sea billet
with a six-month deployment maybe six months away.  This is a more and
more common story.

> >6)no sight of relief
> Relief of what, and from what?

Again, speaking for the Navy (I can only extrapolate to the USAF), the
current decommissioning and base closure schedule, combined with the
new construction schedule, ensures that *something* is going to give
if the op tempo doesn't slack off pretty damn soon.

> >7)stupid PC rules
> This I will totally agree with.  The PC rules of the military were
> just starting to come in vogue when I was in.  It sucked.  As far as I
> am concerned and was back then, I am not, will not nor never plan to
> be Politically Correct just to appease the egotistical assholes who
> can't tell a little kidding around from the real harrassment.
> Political Correctness has its time and place.  It should not be a way
> of life.


> >8)Commanders that haven't got a clue how to lead
> I must admit I did have a couple of commanders who didn't know a lot,
> however, they did listen to the "voice of experience" and adjusted.
> Maybe the "Commanders that haven't got a clue how to lead" of today
> are just folks tired of B.S. they are putting up with and just don't
> care.

> >9)A joke of a retirement
> retirement isn't a joke.  It isn't as good as it was when
> I first signed the contract,

That should be your first clue.  The current Administration has shown
that it has no regard whatsoever for keeping promises (the case study
of what was done to VSI recipients who'd taken jobs in DoD ought to be
illustration enough of that), and I don't think Congress has much
interest in doing the Right Thing, either.  Guess where that's going to
leave you as soon as this mythical "budget surplus" runs down.

> >10)A economy that is booming and plenty of people waiting to hire.
> The civilian sector has always attracted people from the military.  My
> advice now is the same as when I was in.  If the outside looks
> attractive, go for it.  I won't stop you.  But remember this...the
> civilian side of life is vastly different from the military.  One of
> the things people need to release when they join the military is that
> the military as a whole, doesn't consider the member a person.  That
> person is considered a resource.  They have been great strides over
> the year to help the lessen this fact, but the military member remains
> and always will be a resource.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Anyone
> thinking they are anything more than that probably should get out and
> seek life in the civilian sector.

After three-plus years in the civilian world, I would say you have
that exactly backwards.  In the military, you can usually count on
your immediate commanders for a little human interest in any personal
problems that might be causing you to screw up or slack off at work.
By and large, the civilian sector doesn't care about anything but the
"bottom line."  Now, to some people of a more independent frame of
mind, this is actually a *plus* for the civilian side.  But it's
definitely a cultural difference.

On the other hand, this very difference has been responsible for
causing many a military man a lot of pain.  Military commanders have
no incentive to plan, or even to think very hard, about solving any
problem amenable to solution by sheer application of manual labor.
When you have 25,000 free man-hours per day available to throw at a
problem, what incentive would you have to spend $100 or $1,000 to gain
any sort of efficiency?  This is why, for example, Navy ships have
such incredibly primitive -- downright archaic, actually -- internal
telecommunications infrastructure.  Why buy an answering machine, or
a pager, when you can just order some 22-year-old to sit in an office
all night next to a phone instead?
 From the catapult of J.D. Baldwin  |+| "If anyone disagrees with anything I
   _,_    Finger |+| say, I am quite prepared not only to
 _|70|___:::)=}-  for PGP public    |+| retract it, but also to deny under
 \      /         key information.  |+| oath that I ever said it." --T. Lehrer

Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
From: (J.D. Baldwin)
Subject: Re: USAF Morale
Date: Mon, 3 Aug 1998 17:00:40 GMT

In article <>, Mary Shafer
<> wrote:
> > > This I will totally agree with.  The PC rules of the military were
> > > just starting to come in vogue when I was in.  It sucked.  As far as I
> > > am concerned and was back then, I am not, will not nor never plan to
> > > be Politically Correct just to appease the egotistical assholes who
> > > can't tell a little kidding around from the real harrassment.
> > > Political Correctness has its time and place.  It should not be a way
> > > of life.
> >
> > Seconded.
> You two are both old enough to have been in the military when
> President Truman ordered an end to segregation of African-Americans?
> That was in the late '40s, so you guys must be pushing 70 now, at the
> very least.

I was talking more about things like being herded into a room so I
could listen to an Economics professor (who never served in uniform a
single day) denigrate the character and competence of former SECNAV
and Silver Star winner James Webb, on the basis of a gross misreading
of Webb's comments about women in the military.

I wouldn't classify an end to racial segregation as "PC."  Unless, of
course, quibbling about the details as to the best way to accomplish
it resulted in a one-way ticket to career Siberia.  I'll go along
with orders, even more cheerfully so when I happen to agree with the
ultimate objective.  But I don't like being told what to think, and
the incidence of *that* was definitely on the rise in my last few
years of service.  And my active duty friends universally tell me that
it's a hell of a lot worse today.
 From the catapult of J.D. Baldwin  |+| "If anyone disagrees with anything I
   _,_    Finger |+| say, I am quite prepared not only to
 _|70|___:::)=}-  for PGP public    |+| retract it, but also to deny under
 \      /         key information.  |+| oath that I ever said it." --T. Lehrer

[Tanker's Forum]
Subject: army going to shit
From: Dan Welch
Date: 08/27/1999 7:11:43 PM

 When you talk about the fish rotting from the head down, you're talking
 about the army.
  The attempt over the 19 years I've been in has been to make the
 army a politically correct role model as a beacon for the United States
 population. Anything that is popular with the congress or its
 constituents as a political experiment gets shoved onto the armed forces
 to implement.  It started (and don't get me wrong on this, I am of a
 multi-ethnic family) with the equal opportunity movement.  When I was a
 private 19 years ago, equal opportunity classes started out as blacks
 and whites sitting on both sides of a room making accusations and
 counteraccusations, with usually a black NCO as a facilitator and
 moderator. These eventually turned from something resembling simmering
 race riots (there was occasionally mild violence) into something
 resembling the Donahue show. Eventually, we got to know each other, and
 I'm glad to say that now ethnicity is a minor problem to most, although
 some insist that it simmers below the surface.  Sometimes it's obvious
 in some individuals, but it usually doesn't erupt or come to a head. 
 Obvious racists and bigots don't go very far in the Army.  My platoon
 I've got now is pretty much a mulit-ethnic family, and 6 months in
 Bosnia has only served to show up a couple of duds, one of which is a
 possible homosexual.  We deal with these problems as any family would. 
 We're considering getting rid of the two duds with chapters after we
 return to the states.
  Since the success of EO in the racial sphere, we've now had
 inflicted on us integration of women where they really shouldn't be, a
 non-smoking terror campaign that is still ongoing, low-stress basic
 training and co-ed basic training, the destruction of
 retirement/health/MWR (Morale Welfare & Recreation) programs and the
 elimination of facilities in a broad swathe across all army posts, the
 don't ask don't tell policy, sensitivity training (I shit you not),
 safety awareness to the point that we do more safety training that
 combat training, quality of life standards for privates who don't
 appreciate them that are better than officers got when I was a private,
 to say nothing of NCO's, the elimination of profanity from conversaton
 when speaking to subordinates, etc. etc. etc.  EPA campaigns that
 prevent us from oiling weapons during training because we might get a
 drop on the ground, environmental concerns that stop a battalion attack
 in progress across the desert because a tortoise has been spotted in the
 middle of the exercise area, etc.  Our soldiers, instead of training,
 spend weeks on end sorting through mountains of garbage pulling
 recyclable materials out so that they won't end up in the landfill.  In
 the process, they become ensconsed in mountains of dirty disposable
 diapers, used rubbers, medical waste including hypodermic products and
 blood products, not to mention the incredible stench and health hazard
 just because it's garbage (rotting food, etc.)  On top of all this, our
 main mission has become babysitting countries who have proven themselves
 incapable of running their own countries, because our commander in chief
 wishes it so and no-one stops him.  We now police countries that are
 immature enough that they can't run themselves.  The people of Bosnia (I
 apologize to the innocent people in this country who had nothing to do
 with their demise) have fucked their country up so badly, that it has
 taken a considerable chunk of our army to maintain order here and keep
 the factions from throwing their temper tantrums and perpetuating the
 lies that they've used to kill each other.
  It's gotten to a point, with all of the above mentioned crap, the
 the unit I'm in (a tank battalion [cav but not real cav]) has not
 maneuvered a tank since it went to the NTC in September of 1997.  I have
 soldiers that will have completed their 3 year enlistments, and gotten
 out of the army, and yet never maneuvered in a tank as part of a tank
 platoon, even though their primary job is supposed to be a tanker.  It's
 the head of the fish that's done this to us, and none of this was taking
 place before the present commander in chief was elected to office.  The
 fact that the population has felt it reasonable that this man stay in
 office, and indeed reelected him to the post, and felt no need to remove
 him even though he's degraded the office of president like no other
 American in history, kind of says it all.
  I thank God that I will be retired before I have to take much more
 of this.  What I am a part of now compared to what I was a part of in
 the 80's is a disgrace.  I can only take comfort in knowing that I was a
 part of the U.S. Army when it was at it's peak, and the end of the Cold
 War and when I fought in the Gulf.  What it has become since then is
 abominable, and no-one wants to acknowledge it.  No-one that matters or
 has the power to change it, anyway.
  And M1A1MG, I spent 4 years at Knox before I came here, and don't
 bullshit anyone, the quality of basic has become a joke.  You know it
 and I know it.  And the DI's there are powerless to do anything about
 it, because every time they open their mouths about it they get
 attacked.  I've had friends that have had 2-3 congressionals going on
 against them at the same time because every time a trainee thinks his
 rights are being violated, he cries to any number of bleeding hearts,
 from parents to clergy to congressmen, and even including those in the
 chain of command above the DI himself, and now he's caught in the battle
 to defend himself and his actions, a man who's proven his integrity by
 several years of service to his country, against some punk kid who has
 earned nothing and is usually a piece of shit.  And unfortunately,
 because of the way the system works, the DI is automatically assumed
 guilty until (and if) he can prove himself innocent.  Dear God I hate

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