Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Itself

Well, Merry Christmas to my three readers (Hi Mom!). My mom's husband is making us sausage and a Christmas breakfast cake. Luckily I'm now 32 years old so I'm far more patient, because if you'd told 10 year old SFC B and 6 year old SFC B's Sister that they couldn't open presents until after breakfast was MADE then EATEN, well, it would not have been a very pleasant sight.


Okay, I'm better now.
This year has been one of extremes. I've had some really, incredibly, excitingly fun and joyous moments. A trip to Walt Disney World with family and friend could not have gone better if I was named SFC D(isney). I've managed to be assigned to a unit staffed by some of the most competent professionals I've ever had to work with, and a command team that is proactive and takes readiness seriously, and I'm the NCOIC for, probably, the smartest trio of FTUS in the command.

I've also had to deal with a whole lot gut-wrenchingly painful moments. The divorce and some financial woes contributed to some bouts of depression during the year. The rejections of the fairer sex are always a Balko-eqsue nut-punch, but after the first couple, well, you suck it up, drive on, and learn from the failures.

Life is what it is, and being back in Texas for a couple of days, surrounded by the people who have always supported and encouraged me, it's tough to get too down.

My quintessential Christmas memory is from when I was about 6 years old. We were living in Pennsylvania and it was almost midnight on Christmas Eve, about to transition to Christmas. Like all kids that age I was certain I had heard Santa. I snuck downstairs to try and spot him, but I realized my dad must have scared him away because he was down there looking through the presents Santa left. Shock and Awe! Dad kept me from seeing Santa! Oh well, next year. In consolation for missing out on Santa I was bribed to return to bed by getting to open a present. I did. It was good. It was the former of the two gifts I will mention shortly.

That wasn't the memory to which I was referring.

This was the Christmas where I got two, two(!) Transformers! Hound and Jazz. I was so psyched. This was 1984. There could be nothing better for an elementary school-age boy than a Transformer. Think "Red Rider BB Gun"-level of awesome. I remember my dad having a problem getting Hound to transform properly because there was a hitch in the mechanism which made his head pop out of the hood. It took the combined guy-power of us to figure out what was causing the issue (or, he knew and he just wanted the make me feel like I was helping solve a near-impossible to fix problem, I don't know). This morning is forever etched into my mind because of a photograph. It is a picture of my dad on the couch we had at the time. He is in a brown terry-cloth robe and there is visible wrapping paper on the floor in front of him. He is unshaven and he is playing with working with Jazz. I really should have scanned and uploaded it, but I didn't because I'm an idiot.

Anyways, that is my Christmas memory. A snowy morning in a house I barely remember playing with a couple of well built (both of them lasted for a few years of playground-level abuse) toys, that years later can still trigger details about a man who died 20 years ago.

So, I'm relaxing on the couch at my mom's, cup of coffee in hand, listening to a CD that has played every Christmas for the better part of the past decade an my mom calling around to wish folks a Merry Christmas.

For those still reading, Merry Christmas. I hope you're spending it with folks you care about, and that it is a safe, happy time for you and your loved ones.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Early Christmas Present

Well, I got an unexpected message today.

Mr. Hanging is now SSG Hanging.

When I checked my email this morning I had this message waiting for me.
I am very pleased that I joined the Army. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have learned so much in the last 5 years. I will be staying in until I reach retirement. I am so glad you helped me get in and if it were not for your assistance I would not be the honorable man I am today.
There was more to it than that, but that stuff isn't the topic of this post so I'm excluding it. My blog, my rules!

I can't think of something I'd have rather gotten this year than that message. Well, something I'd have rather gotten which I had a legitimate chance of getting.

At the macro level it's all numbers. Just another GA, HA, SA, PS, or whatever. Some of them make it, some of them don't. But they are people who became Soldiers, and all of them went on to make an impact. Some of them made a better impact than others, but they were all important. No matter what else happens in my career, no matter what mistakes I make or successes I have, I'm able to take comfort in the knowledge that, with at least one person, I've managed to help the next generation of the Army.

Anyways, this has been a year of ups and downs. Have had a lot of craptacular moments and a lot of moments of joy. It's nice to be able to end the year on a good note.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Figuratively and literally.

It has warmed up to the low teens here in lovely Eau Claire. This is a vast improvement over the sub zero temperatures that greeted me every morning last week.

Work has been going well. I do wish that higher wouldn't task us to complete a bunch of SRPs before the end of a quarter where units all complete BA on the same weekend. It is a scheduling nightmare. It is a suspense that can't actually be met given the travel involved, personnel required, and the availability of those personnel. Instead I basically just say "punt it" and get the SRPs done as soon as I can. Talking with my peers at other battalions I'm not the only one with these issues and reaching the same solution.

Last weekend we got nearly 2 feet of snow in a 24 hour period. I wound up being snowed in as the city was unable to plow all but the most major streets in the city. Luckily I was brilliant and had shopped for food and drink before the snow. Unfortunately I was also idiotic and forgot to get foot for the cats. They survived though. I'm sure that angers SSG Rage. Of course everything angers SSG Rage so who really cares?

The biggest recruiting-related story in the past month was an attempt by a recent Islamic convert to try and blow up a recruiting station in the Baltimore area. The military's continued success in recruiting and retention remains unremarked upon by the press. However a story about mental issues in the ranks can't avoid making an oblique reference to the recruiting failures of 2005-07.

My Christmas plans have me traveling back to Sugar Land. Hopefully the trip isn't as snow-delayed as last month. And hopefully the company during the trip is a much fun.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Belated Thanks

*EDIT: reread and made some stupid typos. I also realized I started, but neglected to finish, a section. Such are the problems with reviewing my own writing.

It's two days past Thanksgiving. Originally was going to post a "things I'm thankful for" post then, but it was a busy day.

I am most thankful for my family. I could write for page after page about what my mother has meant to me, and not have it scratch the surface. There are a lot of people who can't say the same thing about their mother (I know, I recruited some of them). I have never been the perfect son and have made mistakes great and small which have, no doubt, caused her sleepless nights and great frustration. But she's always been there for me. Can't ask for much more.

Continuing on family, these next two are in no particular order. AM has been a second mother to me. I come home to Houston as much to see her and UB as I do to see mom. Which bring me to UB. After the death of my dad UB has been my surrogate father-figure. His advice and guidance on all things "manly" served as my guideposts growing up, and even to this day.

The SFC B family is not particularly large, or at least not as large as some. There is a flock of Uncles who I don't see as often as I'd like, but when I do it is as close to, I think, hanging out with my dad as possible (why did I have to get the Bradshaw hair?!?).

And I couldn't go without mentioning my Super Sister. She uses all of the smarts and talent I did not develop/have/wasted. She needs to draw more, or at the very least draw my damned Tiny Pet. I was far, far, far from a perfect brother (as much as I'd like to I just can't rehash the "bike" incident) and I didn't realize it until I'd moved away from home that I was blessed with a fun, smart, cool sister who I now don't get to see or hang out with nearly often enough. If you read this Super Sister's Significant Other I'm glad that you make her happy, keep doing so and we'll get along fine.

With family out of the way I need to express my gratefulness to the Soldiers with whom I've served.

I have been blessed by having a string of fine NCOs as leaders and mentors. Starting with SFC Lynskey back when I was an E-0. He taught me the value in my MOS and how important it was. He also instilled in me the pride which comes from doing my job well, and to take satisfaction in those successes. This is an important lesson for any 42A, and one which too many don't learn. SFC now 1SG Stone was the first NCO who took me aside and taught me what it meant, what it really meant, to be a NCO. He held me to a standard that no one previously had, and challenged me to meet or exceed it. And I'd like to think I have. He was, unquestionably, the best leader it's ever been my pleasure to serve under. MSG Indyck and SFC Brooks were like some sort of old married couple. Where MSG Indyck was a detail-oriented professional who expected excellence (and it took me a bit to improve so that I could deliver that excellence) SFC Brooks was a kind and caring person who would try and find the best in people. Together they made for the best working environment I've ever had. MSG Jones had a knack for determining the most important part of a mission, and ensuring it got done. Learning how to pare away distractions and identify what is really important to the Commander's Intent makes life so much better.

I've taken almost as much from my peers as I have from my seniors. Dutch made Massachusetts fun, and is probably the only person in the Boston Metro area I'd warn before nuking the area from orbit. The only thing which made recruiting worth it, and a period in time which I look back on with any fondness were my fellow recruiters. While in recruiting I had nicknames for most of them in an effort to provide some distance from what I was writing and who they were. Those who knew of the blog knew who they were. At this point I'm far enough removed from the scene of the crime time period to not feel the need for such juvenile obfuscations. Hawley was the epitome of the "recruiterness" for me. He was no-nonsense and basically ruled the recruiting station with an iron fist. That he did so with an intense hatred of being in USAREC is all the more impressive. Wiery had Hawley's dislike of USAREC, but where Hawley expressed it as a flare of hatred, Wiery kept a cooly professional distance. Of all the people to go ODA with he was the one who I enjoyed the time with the most. Discussing the Army and our lives and bull-shitting PMS helped kill many a day. Paton and Cruse, two people of very different lives, but the two people who made each day in recruiting an adventure.

Only recently have I been able to have anyone whom I could refer to as a subordinate. For the people currently serving in my section, and those who have recently left, I could not succeed without you all. Santa couldn't deliver a group of people more professional or competent. Any success I have in this assignment is directly attributable to y'all. Of course I will never tell anyone that and I keep all praise for myself while diverting any blame directly to you. I wish nothing but the greatest success, personal and professional, for all of you, and want to do whatever I can to facilitate that happening. Unless it requires you to leave my office. In that case I will 5 block you.


I can't choose family, and I can't choose my co-workers. So to have had so many of both for whom I'm grateful to know works for me.

Of all the choices I've made in my life, a whole lot of them have been really, really bad. How on Earth I've managed to find people who consider me a friend is, sometimes, mind-boggling.

Keeping some privacy for folks who have never asked me to write about them in such a public setting I'll abbreviate or use other names as appropriate.

C, my best friend. The low-key sober person to my me. Our common incredulity at Caleb's idiocy and appreciation for all things stripper has lasted almost 15 years. No matter the time between get-togethers I'll make whatever effort is necessary, and drive over miles of unlit North Carolina backroads to raise a glass with you. If my retirement plan to just live in an Italian exotic car falls through we'll see about getting that business running.

Ama, there isn't really much I can say here that I don't think I've told you. Suffice to say I'm extremely thankful for you.

The other Sheep, you always have a place to stay in Wisconsin. However if you find yourself in Wisconsin it is your own damn fault.

LT the best comment friend I have. I know you think you want to go 79R, but, think about it. Think about it long and hard. It's a bell that cannot be unrung.

H, aside from my relatives I haven't known anyone on this list longer. You're not last here because of merit, but because of the limits of my words and thoughts. I don't really know how to express what is on my mind. What I can do though is put in writing that I'm glad, and thrilled, and thankful, very thankful, for your friendship.

Anyways, I think this post has exceeded the combined length of every thing else I've written this year. It's two days late, but I'll blame that on mechanical problems (if it works for Southwest it can work for me). I think mom has some errands to run and I'm going with because, well, it's freezing in the house.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Been a while... again

Long time, no post.

No Recruiting news, not much to post.

Wasted a week at the end of October in Chicago attending a conference.

On Sunday I watched the Texans lose a second heartbreaker in a row. To their credit they didn't lose the way I'd imagined they would (I'd bet "punt returned for TD").

Within my battalion I'm the Casualty Ops guy. If we need to provide people for Casualty Assistance, Casualty Notification, or provide a Military Funeral Honors Team I'm the person contacted to spin those elements up.

I got that call Sunday night.

A Soldier had been found dead at their residence. Since it was 6pm on a Sunday night, and I already had my dress uniform ready I told the Casualty Assistance Center that I'd do the Next of Kin notification. I'm not going to ruin someone else's night by having them go out.

I met up with the other Soldier who was going with me to do the notification. We had to officially notify the Soldier's father of their death and offer the Army's condolences.

It is never an easy duty. Although this was made somewhat easier as the father was already aware that the Soldier was dead. My partner and I are still showing up at someone's house, in this case very late (because we had to drive about 90 miles we didn't arrived until almost 10), and inserting ourselves into a very personal and private moment.

Sitting there in the living room with this Soldier's father and step-mother there is little you can say. You relay the message that the Army mourns their loss. You provide what comfort you should. You relay what information they need, and what you know of what they want. You gather the information you need from them.

There's a lot more to say on this, and it was a really fascinating and emotional night. My partner and I were let into a family that didn't know either of us from Adam. They shared with us some very private things that, I think, they needed to share. And they told us these things to make us feel better.

Being in the Army can be trying.

Decisions made about you, over which you have no authority or ability to concur, resist, or change. Choosing who gets sent into some of the most dangerous fighting occurring in the world. Inconsistent schedules and last-second changes rendering previous plans obsolete. Having to separate who you are as a person from who you are as a professional. These and a thousand other cuts chip away and can stress you out.

But sitting there on a stranger's couch, after telling him that his child is dead, in part due to his service in the Army which I represent, and having that stranger thank me for coming all that way to relay this news in person was a touching, almost over-whelming moment.

I really cannot see me ever loving to do something more than I love being a Soldier.

Anyways. Have to finish packing.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Still nothing

All branches and components met or exceeded their goals in recruiting. Those which didn't failed on purpose because of meeting end strength.

No one mentions it. Recruiting success is only mentioned in the pattern of "only the military is hiring 18-25 year olds".

Personally I'm preparing to have my unit go into Reset in the ARFORGEN cycle. With the unit resetting, Iraq on the way to losing its combat zone tax exemption status, and Afghanistan on course to have victory declared in time for the 2012 elections I might wind up the most senior NCO in the Army to have a bare right shoulder.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Absolutly not

No, SSG Pong, that has nothing to do with any success you may be having. If you are successful it is because you've been well-trained in the art and science of recruiting, and you are being supported 100% by your station commander and CLT. You are clearly developing, and executing your prospecting plan in a way which best focuses your efforts into your most efficient, and effective, lead sources. And if you're not succeeding it is because you're failing to plan properly and are refusing to listen to the training available to you.

And as I was writing this I realized that I've been maintaining this blog for a little over 5 years.

What the hell is wrong with me?

Don't answer that.

Since starting this blog the Army has recruited about 400,000 people. I was responsible for a percentage which would require scientific notation to express. There are now Staff Sergeants who weren't in the military when I entered recruiting.

I leave for NTC next week, so going to be busy packing. I'm also going through a USARC inspection on Thursday. So much fun.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

So Dull

I had to get about 8 pages deep in Google to get anything to write about. And it's not much.

Writing about Army Recruiting when you're no longer a recruiter, and there is no media attention being paid to it isn't very easy.

Shocking as it may be, when your organization is the only one hiring high school seniors and recent grads (teenage employment is down 100,000 from this time last year, and 19-26 males are the most unemployed segment of the population) you're going to have an easy time of "recruiting". The recruiters I have to deal with at the battalion-level have demonstrated little concern for FS retention. They can replace almost any loss. If you don't want to ship, fine, there are three more waiting to go to MEPS (I exaggerate, but not by a whole lot).

I think the reckoning from the 2003-2006 period is coming. This made me think about it. During that four year period there were a few thousand Soldiers who enlisted w/ a felony waiver that would not be considered for a waiver today. How many of those Soldiers have reenlisted? How many will not be allowed to reenlist? What sort of issues did the Army have with these Soldiers? Has anyone studied that? You'd think that it would be something the Army would be interested in knowing for the future. Hopefully unemployment will not flirt with 10% forever. When employment improves, and the media begins reporting daily combat losses on the front page (probably happen the 21st of JAN the year a Republican is elected to the White House again) and recruiting suffers another downturn, it would probably be nice to know how well the Army's moral waiver screening process worked. If the felons allowed to enlist had post-enlistment legal problems greater than, less than, or equal to ones who did not require a waiver?

Speaking of people disadvantaged when it comes to enlisting... DADT is slowly going to go away. As someone raised through the 80s and 90s, just not a big deal to me. As a leader I do have some concerns about how it will be implemented. I do not look forward to the inevitable mandatory training sessions we will undoubtedly be required to attend. The training will also probably include some web-based class which everyone will need to take. I have no doubt I will be needing to put out a weekly email to the HR staff members telling them to make sure their Soldiers are conducting their GAY surveys and that we need to be at 100% compliance by the end of the quarter. And this will probably happen in the first quarter so we're flooded with other requirements AND everyone being on vacation for November and December.

Now that I think about the third order effects of the training I'll be required to take I am completely against allowing gays to openly serve. I kid.

It wouldn't be a change made without some serious issues. As much as it pisses folks of a certain political persuasion off, the military is made of people with human frailties, and "unit cohesion" and "morale" and "good order and discipline" might be unquantifiable, but they do matter. I don't know what the right answers will be, but when it comes to enforcing things like "fraternization" and preventing sexual assault, it really helps when you, as a leader, are able to go "males are not to be in the female living areas after XX00h".

To the positive though, repealing DADT will basically make the UCMJ prohibition against sodomy unenforceable. So, hey, there's that. Well, that and the whole "recognizing civil rights of homosexuals" thing too.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Recruiter Suicide?

A recruiter in Alameda, CA possibly killed himself yesterday afternoon in the parking lot of his recruiting station.

When this story was first released the police investigator mentions that he doesn't think it was related to PTSD, and the story says the Soldier hadn't recently deployed. I'm thinking that 6ish hours isn't exactly enough time for the police to have done a thorough enough investigation to determine why someone would kill themselves, but I could be wrong.

I've dealt with depression before. It's not fun (if it was it'd be called "funpression"), and I can empathize with someone considering killing themselves. I really can. There have been times where I've given more than idle thought about it (you don't have to call me about this mom, it's not recent). A person's mind can get into some real dark places where it's not easy to get out of that cycle, and it's nearly impossible alone.

The suicide awareness training that the Army has been requiring of its Soldiers for the past few years might make for some dull periods of having to sit in classrooms, but it serves a purpose. Soldiers and their leaders should be afraid to take an interest in their fellows and in making sure they're not planning something terribly self-destructive. And Soldiers should be afraid to seek help. The Army really has made it very easy. I've used One Source myself and it was a blessing.

Anyways, I'm TDY in Milwaukee and going to go grab a very late dinner.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

2005 Called...

... and it wants its meme back.

This one is a twofer. The author (a man who really should have been able to do something about the problem he is reporting) hits the "Draft = Better" and "Recruiters are filling the Army with trash" meme

I actually had to check the date this was published to make sure I didn't accidentally click on some Google Cache thing, cause this was reading like something which made me start blogging in the first place.

Mr. Koch has had a long, and no doubt glorious, career. Vietnam Veteran, graduated from the 7th Army NCOA (Yes, he has that on his resume). He served on then-Senator Obama's campaign as a veterans adviser (Yes, the Vets for Obama site is dead). His most recent stop in his career was in the Pentagon as some peon managing the Warrior Transition Units and the Wounded Warrior Program. A position from which he resigned "under duress" after his boss told him he had no confidence in his performance following a review of the WTUs directed by the Secretary of Defense.

Three months later he's penning an article showcasing the problems in the program he was managing, and laying the blame for these problems on recruiters, and the country.

Color me unimpressed.

Have people with mental issues been allowed to join the military? Yup. Maybe some recruiter somewhere had their recruit hide the problem, maybe it's a problem which was undiagnosed before in the individual. But they're in the military and the Army.

The problem Mr. Koch identifies is that Soldiers with non-combat-related mental and medical issues, and disciplinary problems are being "dumped" into the WTUs by commanders. I realize it's about three months late, but may I suggest that a person who would be in a position to change or tighten WTU rules to prevent this from happening would have been the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense heading the Office of Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy. I'm not the brightest guy on Earth, but that sounds an awful lot like the job title of someone who could do something about commanders "dumping" bi-polar Soldiers into the WTUs. Let's see who the last Deputy Undersecretary of Defense heading the Office of Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy was...

Neal Koch.

I'd also like to take a moment to point out how happy I am that a person who thinks that Soldiers are "battle-crazed", "suicidal", and "homicidal" is no longer a political appointee at an office in the Pentagon tasked with caring for injured Soldiers. I'm sure it came as quite a surprise to him when he was asked to resign.

Mr. Koch makes some fairly serious claims about the integrity of commanders, doctors, and those dirty, filthy recruiters. He's got commanders abusing the system by shunting their problem children off improperly. He's got doctors and other health care officials condoning this, and turning Soldiers into addicts. And he's blaming it all on those evil, nasty recruiters who were so desperate to feed fresh blood into the McBushitlerHalliburtonDeathMachine that they raided mental health wards of hospitals to get their quota.

As with everyone of Mr. Koch's political bent the solution is drafting. I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that Mr. Koch must have his head firmly up his 4th point if he thinks that drafting a cross-section of America's youth is going to result in people with less disciplinary problems and fewer mental health issues. I'm also going to go out on another limb and assume that instituting the draft won't be accompanied with a significant increase in the military's authorized end strength. So, basically, we use the draft to select the same number of people who currently volunteer. How much would you like to bet that the newly instituted draft legislation will include enough provisions to allow the wealthy and well-connected to keep their progeny from serving?

Why is the draft always mentioned by people who want nothing more than for the War on Terror to end now, regardless of consequences? The draft is like some sort of tribal signaling used to show someone is serious about national security and defense, but showing they're opposed to current operations because the right people didn't start it it's not being fought by enough rich people's kids it's not burdening enough people.

For some reason I find myself wondering how IRR Soldier is doing. What ever became of him?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Are you serious?

If there is one battalion in USAREC you'd think would know better than to even think of using false documents it would be Denver. After managing to make USAREC stand down recruiting operations because of Denver battalion recruiters getting caught by a damned high school journalist (not CBS4 as they claim), you'd think that their leaders would have learned their lesson and not... do... THAT. If you're going to do something stupid after getting caught doing something stupid, do a different something stupid (advice of my own I should have taken). Doing the same stupid thing again isn't stupid. It's dumb. Damned dumb.

38 recruiters flagged for suspected improprieties. The impropriety? Fake source documents.

Each time I got burned by something in recruiting, I became vigilant about not being burned by it again. ARISS errors, scheduling w/ MEPS, obtaining source docs, getting PC, apathy, fail to grad, I got burned by each of them once, and then started doing everything in my power to avoid it again. Some things I couldn't do anything about (I'm still planning to burn down the MEPS building with unholy fire and then scatter the ashes), but others I did. Didn't always work out, but at least I wouldn't be blind-sided.

So, yeah, whichever of those recruiters was running fake documents for their applicants, idiot.

And on a related note... I saw this comment in another story about recruiting.

During an interview MG Campbell, the USAREC CG, had this to say about the increase in Future Soldiers with a high school diploma.
"I've made them do that," said Maj. Gen. Donald Campbell Jr., head of the Army Recruiting Command. "I don't get a big head about this, but when I took command I looked at the high school degree rates and said, 'How do we raise that?"'
Not to put too fine a point on it, but correlation does not equal causation. I'm willing to bet that a 9.9% unemployment rate, with 16-20%ish(!) for 18-24 year olds has far more to do with the improved recruiting climate than the CG saying "make it so".

I swear, for the past 5 years I've watching the condition of the economy be the elephant in the room that the recruiting leadership simply fails to ever acknowledge. When unemployment is historically low and we're dying to make mission, it's our fault for sucking. When unemployment is the highest it's been in a generation and the phrase "moral waiver" is stricken from the lingo, it's because recruiters were told to recruit better quality. I swear, it's like watching some Mesoamerican culture toss a virgin into the volcano because they know that they get better crops when virgins are tossed into volcanoes, and bad crops happen because enough virgins weren't toss into volcanoes.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Compare and Contrast

A timeline.

Around this time four years ago a GAO report detailing a shocking increase in recruiting improprieties. It was such a problem that the Army had to cease recruiting operations for a day.

Another GAO report was released on this topic back in late January. I saw the first mention of it in a press agency today.

In the user-driven news source "Kansas City Info Zine".

Five years ago this would be an above the fold in the New York Times. Today, it takes a Kansas City resident to post it online.

There has been a 27% decline in substantiated recruiting improprieties across all services despite a 4% increase in the number of people being recruited. The number of reported improprieties has declined as well.

More people, fewer shady things.

The report continues and talks about the impact which the focus on reducing RI and improving QC has had on the services.

It's not that this is something which should be front-page news.

It should be expected that this country's military recruiting personnel should be held to a high standard, a standard higher than what we hold the main of their respective services. As I've written before, in most communities their recruiting center is the only military presence. The individuals manning that station should be expected to embody the service for which they serve (a recent conversation with someone makes me wonder if the Marines aren't embodying their service by having their second-most common RI be sexual misconduct).

While NBC shouldn't interrupt their regularly scheduled programming for the important announcement that the military recruiting services are no longer lying to get everyone in, it shouldn't be up to some diligent Kansas City resident to provide the only media exposure for a story that is the coda to a story that was the talk of the military-bashing only five years ago (I was going to link to one of the blogs I read back then who was always on about how dirty and filthy recruiters were, but his site is either down, or he's protected it from being viewed by people who he doesn't want reading it).

For all the strum und drang about recruiting throughout the hard part of Iraq, it's certainly taken a back seat. Even before the economy took a hit, mission success never mattered as much to the press as the mission failure narrative.

Color me shocked.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hope and Change!

No, my layout did not finally destroy your eyesight. I finally upgraded my blogger settings to allow the new editor and downloaded a new template. I hope it isn't as hard on some folks' eyes as the old one.

Unfortunately it seems that my comments have disappeared... unless I can find a way to load the blogger comment system with the comments I d/l from Haloscan/Echo.

If you're reading this and I've forgotten to relink you, I apologize. Let me know and I'll add.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Commenty Kinda Goodness!

I check my email and I am bombarded. Like a dozen new emails. I don't have that many friends. I check them and they're all from JS-Kit. Which, apparently, bought Haloscan who previously hosted my comments.

Someone had been going through my archives and leaving lots of comments. Very positive ones which made me reread some of my suffering-induced emo-rantings from a time I'd hoped to forget.

Here's the problem though, and why I likely won't be remaining on JS-Kit. I have no idea which posts this person was commenting on. The admin side I'm looking at has no link to the original post. It takes me to some social-network look alike thingy that doesn't let me see what was being commented on!

So, to whoever you are, if you make it to the current pages "Thanks". I know that I wrote a lot more, and about things that were more interesting way back in the day. If there is anything you have a question about please feel free to email me and ask. I'm always happy to answer questions.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Damned if you do....

A senior Army official said the investigation found evidence that military doctors at Walter Reed were so focused on their teaching and clinical work that they failed to adequately supervise Maj. Hasan or alert authorities when he began to express extremist religious views and harshly criticize the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I am trying to imagine the number of hours of mandatory training that would be required within an organization if one of their senior officers had suggested that the career of a junior officer be stopped because of his religious views. What's great is, even if one of those officers had decided to risk his career to suggest that MAJ Hasan should be investigated, and the investigation had turned up the evidence which has been found, the officer making the original claims would still likely face some fall-out for daring to be so insensitive as to think "This person could be violent because of his religious views". Because, of course, we don't have Dr. Manhattan around to explain to use what could have happened by was prevented by the intervention of this hypothetical officer.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Still nada

As much as I want to write more on this blog, there's just not much to talk about in its primary subject matter. Military recruiting is rolling hard and heavy and meeting mission early in the month. The recruiters I meet nowadays are chilling (relativly speaking). Command emphasis on work hours and time with family is being encouraged and enforced. Just the other day I ran into a recruiter who was taking a FS Loss for an OCS contract. No biggie. He had two more waiting in the wings for the next board and his company was already boxed on special missions for the quarter.

From what I can tell the biggest... event... in the military recruiting world was the pending termination of the MAVNI program.

I know. Huge deal huh?

Basically it was the program that allowed critical skill immigrants to enlist w/ less than an I-551 card. In the course of less than a year and, according to the Pentagon, at a cost of a couple of Pentagon-Level staff pogues it resulted in over 1,100 people joining the military, mostly the Army, possessing critical language, or some other, skill. With a waiting list probably twice that. It looks to be like allowing CAT IVs, except they're people who are skilled.

Continuation of the program is suspended pending a mandatory review by the Pentagon, which they haven't done. Speculation about why it has... stalled... is because of the events at Ft. Hood.

I know, I know, MAJ Hasan was a Muslim. And because of that "foreignness" we need to be super-duper careful about allowing other foreigners into the service. Except that MAJ Hasan wasn't some strange foreigner who snuck in. He was a long-serving member of the Army. He had provided giant, glaring, shining warning signs of "Holy crap this guy has problems", and, in all likelihood, needed to no longer be in the service. So, while some portion of the establishment tries to obscure seemingly important details about a tragic event, another portion of the establishment tries to let that tragedy stop what has been a successful way of improving readiness and capabilities.

Oh... in a funny bit... there was an incident not too long ago involving a Soldier in the area and his recruiter doing a bit of (suspected) dirty tricks to switch components. Using a (probably) bogus discharge document a Soldier switched components and had a recruiter enlist him. A few days later he's kicked out of the gaining component when his background check comes back and he's got a whole string of undisclosed non-waiverable law violations. Yes. Other recruiters' misery still makes me feel better.