On changes in the military retirement system...
The dismantling of what has been the greatest military in the world continues. Here's the latest: Radical overhaul of military retirement eyed
It's more than evident whoever is seriously considering this never spent an appreciable amount of time on active duty. Let me share a few experiences of my own, please keep in mind I had it relatively easy since the sub service often dodged the bullet of spending cuts that hit the rest of the canoe club. In addition to that, not too many bullets get fired at you while on submarine patrols.
But here were a few things I've personal knowledge of;
1) A supertanker going over your head really does sound like a freight train. That happened right after the sonar supervisor told the Officer Of the Deck (OOD) we should definitely NOT proceed to periscope depth. Good call on that one.
2) A near miss in colliding with a Russian AGI will never make the news.
3) Russian AGI's were to American subs as fleas are to dogs. Put #2 together with this and do the math.
4) Sudden depth excursions due to differing thermal layers in the water will get your attention, dropping 200-300 feet in 2-3 minutes won't feel like a roller coaster but the excitement is definitely there. For more info, Google search "submarine depth ratings". You don't know where those different layers are until you're in the middle of them. Surprise!
5) Watching the steady parade of shipmates heading into divorce court can be depressing.
6) During the Cold War the only excuse for not making a deployment was a death in the family, preferably your own. This was due to the nature of submarine qualification. I'd guess that if a soldier or marine had to miss a deployment their billet could be readily filled by another basic warm body with approximately the same training, I don't know for certain since my experience was solely in the sub force. But if you're qualified on a specific boat, even under ideal conditions it'll take a few weeks to bring any unexpected replacement up to speed so your shipmates aren't "taking up your slack". That probably means losing a lot of sleep, taking on more tasks and hoping the new guy isn't a washout. It doesn't sound too bad and maybe compared to actual combat arms of the military it isn't. But my pharmacist father-in-law definitely doesn't have the same problems if one of his techs decides to hit the road. This is a "had to be there to understand" situation.
I'd guess the absolute worst example of this I witnessed was seeing another boat get ready for patrol in Rota, Spain back in the early '70's. They were just slightly shorthanded, having lost about a third of the crew due to a busted pot party the night before they took over the boat (this was an FBM and had two crews assigned to it.) Some of the makeup came from the crew that was supposed to go home, but that only went so far. Sounds like a real incentive for reenlisting, call your wife and tell her you'll be gone an additional three months due to some idiot getting caught smoking dope.
That boat got underway on time. No excuses allowed. Failure was not an option. That was how life was back on the missile boats at that time.
7) Being a supervisor in the military means you are personally responsible for the conduct of junior personnel under you. That means if little "Johnny" goes out, gets drunk and spends the night in the local calaboose you will be speaking personally to the Executive Officer of your command to explain just what is the problem with your division. Anyone with more than a few years will be automatically groomed for supervisory positions, so these talks become inevitable the longer you serve. I was a supervisor for over half my 22 year career.
8) Speaking of being personally responsible, that extends to "being there" when the shit hits the fan for "Johnny". I recall in '86 as my own marriage was falling apart around my ears, one of my guys asked me to accompany him to his home in military housing after we pulled into port. His wife had taken off to parts unknown, the first he knew about this was when the squadron sent a radio message to the boat to inform him his kids had been turned over to the state after their babysitter had waited almost a week for "mom" to return. So I went with this lad to his duplex. The first thing we saw entering his home was that every piece of furniture had been upended in the living room, the floor was covered with cigarette butts and marijuana roaches, holes were punched in the walls and on the wall above where the couch had been were the words, "(his wife's name), Find her, Feel her, Fuck her, Forget her." We subsequently were informed that the wifely one was hosting sex/booze/drug parties for all the local teen boys.
Welcome home son. As I said, I had my own problems waiting for me, but this guy's took precedence due to our relative positions and the fact that you always help out a shipmate.
9) That term "shipmate" has a connotation of personal involvement that "coworker" never will. You eat, sleep, drill, and live with somebody it's inevitable that you'll more closely identify with him than you would with your own brother. This happens no matter what the race or economic background. Yankees would go to the mat for rednecked Rebels, blacks would watch the backs of whites, rich boys would stand by their poor white trash fellows. If that sounds positively heartwarming just consider how it is when you try going back home and discover yourself defending "those" people against the insults from your closest family members. You find yourself becoming the square peg in a round-holed world.
10) Speaking of fitting in, you never really do as regards civilians. They haven't "been there, done that". There's always a big gulf, even after a couple of decades into retirement.
I could go on but it'd be whipping a dead horse.
Did I do it for the retirement? Hell no, throughout my 22 years I did it because I believe in this nation and it's history. I had good times, I had bad times. The bad include two marriages that should never have happened and I'll cheerfully take the blame for those. But going into a divorce court after learning that the presiding judge has a young daughter whose sailorboy boyfriend knocked her up and then beat feet puts a bit of a spin on the proceedings I'd never have experienced as a civilian. Just another anecdote.
No, it never was for the retirement benefits. If it had been for those then I'd never have lasted past the first enlistment. They weren't worth it considering the day-to-day shit you'll have to take. Yes, the case can be made I chose the life I led and nobody put a gun to my head. But we've a volunteer military because of patriotic fools who believe in what they're doing.
I've earned every damned benefit I have. The same holds true for EVERY soldier/sailor/marine/airman. From the men in the SEAL teams to the dental technician in some landlocked naval air station. If they stayed for twenty or more years they earned their benefits.
Every. Damned. One.
As it is, I'm 58 years old and will probably get "grandfathered" on most changes. I've also had the attitude that nothing regarding my benefits is carved in stone so it's always subject to being taken away. I could handle it, nobody promised any one of us an easy time in this life.
But any modifications that will screw those still in uniform is flat wrong. End of story.
These are the stories people need to hear. I'm sure most people (like me) have no idea.
We are approaching a time when armed resistance is appropriate!
How about this--we revamp the congressional and presidential retirement system--like ditch it, along with mandatory term limits and the possibility of prosecution for malpractice?
Harry, I didn't even scratch the surface. But thanks for stopping by and your kind words.
IR, that'll do for a start. JUST a start.
Before any benefits be cut from the military, I believe the benefits of all Congress must be cut first...and that goes for those who are still reaping in the rewards long after they've been retired, or left due to sex scandals. Why should guys like Weiner enjoy health benefits, pension, etc. when men who gave up so much to truly serve our country are being punished?
Obama and the rest of those clowns on Capitol Hill are really pissing me off.
(Good to see you back again, kiddo.)
As a fellow Retired bubblehead, I really enjoy the phrase they are using"entitlement" when they talk about the retirement pay and medical.
I, like you served willingly and really without intention on going the distance to retiring.
However I feel that every red cent that drops out of the eagles ass at the first of the month and the Motrin and foot powder cure all's from the Doc were fully and fairly EARNED.
And don't get me started on the VA Obligation. I am not nearby as broken up as some of those men and women coming home from our current wars and would gladly forgo my VA check to ensure they get proper care and benefits. But it is sad to that our leaders see this as something that can be taken away.
Our Congress is morally obligated to care for those who served our nation. But then again, I guess the moral part is when there ship leaves the pier in that obligation
Our Congress gives the gold to the corrupt and lazy and the shaft to the vets.
As a side/personal note, do you know how Cookie is doing? Haven't seen a post out of him in quite some time.
My blog is fallow due to the current life/economy situation.
Keeping a roof over, food in front and sending loving time with the spouse and kid take precedence. Can't afford personal reflections on the current horror show that seems to have arrived from some tear that leads back to hell. Sadly I am doing Pretty damn good in relation to many neighbors, members of my church and fellowship groups.
Mary Ellen/Nunly, thanks!
Nereus, the word game played with regards to military retirement makes me scream. It always seems to follow the same pattern of equating the armed forces with their civilian counterparts and then demanding a defense of the "excellent" benefits enjoyed by the military.
Nereus, Cookie is evidently taking another break. He's sent a few emails to me and while the subject of his nonblogging hasn't been raised I'd bet he'll be back eventually.
As far as the economy goes, I'm glad you're doing relatively well. Thats more than a lot of folks can say.
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