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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Military Does Not Focus on Retreat Part #2

After all the commenting on the
The Military Does Not Focus on Retreat post. People quoting polls, thinking that a poll means more than what our soldiers are telling us, I decided to look up re-enlistment numbers. Seems to me, that if a soldier disagrees with what we are doing in Iraq and does not believe in the mission there, it stands to reason they would not re-enlist.

August 31, 2006

By Jim Tice
Staff writer

One month ahead of schedule, the active Army has achieved its annual re-enlistment goal for the ninth year in a row.

Hank Minitrez, spokesman for the Office of the G-1, confirmed that on Thursday Aug. 31 the 64,200th soldier to extend their career in fiscal 2006 did so with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky.

With the annual mission being achieved, commanders, command sergeants majors and unit career counselors have one month to top last year’s final retention figure of 69,500. The re-up mission for fiscal 2005 also was 64,200.

Selective re-enlistment bonuses for active component soldiers have been averaging nearly $14,000 this year, with a total outlay of $610 million.

While detailed retention figures for August will not be released for two weeks, the reserve components also are on track to make mission in fiscal 2006, which ends Sept. 30.

As of Aug. 1, the National Guard had re-enlisted 34,021 soldiers, which is just shy of the annual mission of 34,875.

The Army Reserve total stood at 14,369, which is 99 percent of the year-to-date goal of 14,400. The overall mission for 2006 is 17,712, nearly 1,500 more than last year.

Looks like the soldiers that talk with their boots on the ground would disagree with a few of those commenting and holding a "poll" up in comparison to what the soldiers say and do.

[UPDATE] 8:58pm

Since I am speaking to re-enlistment here, let me show you something I found in my searching. This is from A Soldier's Perspective and it is harsh, but it needs to be said to those that think they are speaking "for" the soldiers in calling for withdrawal.

On another note, I want to address those people who think they are speaking on my behalf about pulling soldiers out of Iraq. As many of you know, the Sacramento City Council voted 8-1 to pass a resolution condemning the war in Iraq and calling for our troops to come home. They claim to speak for us and I have constantly used our re-enlistment rates as proof that we overwhelmingly support our mission in Iraq. I’m tired of people who wouldn’t know a spit-shine from moonshine telling me what I think.

When I mention the re-enlistment percentages, they tell me, “well, they’re reenlisting for the tax free bonuses.” I’m sorry, but that’s a crappy argument. When a soldier re-enlists, they re-enlist for at least 2 years. The average is 3. There is no doubt that in that 3 years, a soldier is most likely going to be deployed again to either Iraq or Afghanistan. And yet, they re-enlist anyway. If they were so opposed to the war and didn’t want to be there, why would they subject themselves to that?

Here is an article written by SGT Sara Wood, with my comments italicized:

Re-enlistment rates for the Army and Marine Corps are the highest they’ve been in a long time, specifically in units with high deployment tempos, military leaders told the House Armed Services Committee here today. That’s odd. The liberal idiots masquerading around DC would have us believe that WE, the soldiers, want out of Iraq.

Testifying at a committee hearing, titled “Your Troops: Their Story,” the leaders said that soldiers and Marines re-enlist because they believe in the mission they are performing, and they feel comfortable knowing their families will be taken care of while they are deployed.

“Our soldiers know that while they’re deployed, while they’re forward, they don’t have to worry about what’s going on at home,” said Army Col. Robert Abrams, chief of staff, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. I understand that there are soldiers who have terrible leaders. I actually write a weekly column addressed to fellow NCOs that is geared towards taking care of soldiers. We don’t all do a good job and there are some posts better than others, but overall we do.

Re-enlistment rates are highest among married soldiers and Marines, who make up the bulk of the force, the leaders said. The troops re-enlist knowing they will go back to Iraq, but it doesn’t change their determination, they said.

“These guys and gals are in it for the fight,” said Brig. Gen. John F. Kelly, legislative assistant to the Marine Corps commandant. “That’s where they want to be and what they want to do.” I have to somewhat disagree with this comment. There aren’t very many soldiers that WANT to fight. We do it because it’s necessary. We understand the reasons behind it and, therefore, are happy to be a part of it. We wouldn’t be upset in the least if all of a sudden the terrorists dropped their jihad and decided they didn’t want to fight anymore. But, that will never happen and someone needs to kill them. Might as well be us.

Deployed units have strong support systems for families, including family readiness groups and unit rear-detachment personnel, said Army Command Sgt. Maj. Neil Ciotola, set to become command sergeant major of 3rd Corps, Fort Hood, Texas. Soldiers understand that they have the backing of elected officials and from most of the American public, and they don’t ask for anything more, Ciotola said.

“We don’t want anybody’s sympathy. We understand what we get ourselves into, especially after we’ve re-enlisted one time,” he said. “All we want is support.” Casey Sheehan was one of these people.

The high re-enlistment rate in units that have deployed multiple times can be attributed to the camaraderie that forms between soldiers who have been in combat together, Abrams said.

“There is a bond amongst warriors who have been through the worst of the worst that lasts a lifetime,” he said. “Our boys saw a lot of tough stuff; that’s what keeps them together.”

While re-enlistment was high in Iraq, where there were significant financial incentives, the rate didn’t drop after units came back to the U.S., Abrams said. That can be attributed to the quality of today’s servicemembers and their sense of duty, Ciotola said.

“The soldiers understand the seriousness of the fight that we’re engaged in,” he said.

The next thing that annoys me is how the anti-war idiots in particular, and press in general, say that the military is primarily made up of poor Americans or Americans who come from poverty and bad neighborhoods. Well, I differ. Do we have people who came from poor backgrounds? Yes. Do we have people who came from lavish backgrounds? Yes. A great number of the people serving this country are from the middle class. This is the most educated military in the world, with more and more soldiers coming into the Army with college degrees or getting them while in the Army.

I did not HAVE to join the Army. I haven’t had a friend yet who did because of his situation. I have met people who have joined to ease a burden on their families, but it’s no more a burden than most families who face the financial responsibilities of paying for a college degree. I’m sure there are also a lot of people who DO join the military to escape poverty. What’s wrong with that? Why is that so bad? Would hte anti-war crowd just prefer they stay poor and never improve their life position. The military offers a way to get that degree without going into debt, something we should applaud. But, the Cindy Sheehags of the world would rather people incur debts than serve in the military.

If you haven’t been there, shut up!! You don’t speak for me and you don’t speak for most of us. Fine, oppose the war and hate the soldiers, I don’t mind. But don’t say you’re doing it on my behalf because you’re not. It would be great if no one in this world ever had to go to war and kill people, but that’s not reality. Some people don’t understand anything except violence. We gave Saddam numerous opportunities to leave without violence and he didn’t want it. So he got what he wanted. We got what we wanted: freedom for millions of people and seeds of democracy planted in the Middle East.

That is an example of what our soldiers think. I do not say this is every soldiers view, and I do not proclaim to speak FOR them with random polls or any such crap.....I use THEIR words, because they are all that counts when speaking of a soldiers thoughts and wishes. Why do so many wish to challenge them? Why do so many keep insisting on trying to speak "for" them....they are not two years olds that do not have the capability to speak...they DO speak, it is just a pity that only some choose to listen.

One of his commenters also made the point of how their wish to be home with family gets twisted into people claiming they do not believe in the mission.

# Jess Says:
November 7th, 2005 at 9:04 am

I think a lot of people get confused about how the soldier actually feels. When I was in Iraq and Kuwait I wanted nothing more than to get home. Yet that is being miss represented, because now people go see, that soldier didn’t want to be there. Just like what CJ typed though, I knew what I was there to do, and while I missed home I also wanted the mission done, and then to go home. Only people with mental issues want there to be a fight, but again like CJ typed until the Jihadists put down there weapons there will be one, and we have to take care of it.

That is the bottomline, we can leave Iraq, we can leave Afghanistan, we can bring ALL our soldiers home and it will not matter... the extremists will still be there and they will still plan to attack us and they will succeed again.