US Army

Walter Reed redux

There's a lot of posturing going on about the mess at Walter Reed, so I thought some additional perspectives might be helpful. Political brouhahas have a way of generating noise and heat without light--I'm sure science will someday find a way to use this to solve future energy crises.

The weather in Hell

The weather in Hell

Money would be nice.

The next time someone talks about our "mercenary" military, you have my permission to punch them in the throat. Mercenaries get paid better.

The slow boat cometh

A particularly officious officer who was in charge of handling the shipping talked at us for 10 minutes at a mass battalion formation about the shipping procedures and rules. We could ship this, we couldn't ship that, no one is counting individuals' bags but don't abuse the system, don't do that, blah blah blah. He started the brief with, "There is no 'slow boat to China'"--to me, reminiscent of the warden in Alien3 who says "This is rumor control" right before the alien snatches him from the ceiling and rips his head off.

Mistrial in the Watada case

Per the AP on King 5 news, the presiding judge has declared a mistrial in the case of 1LT Ehren Watada, who refused to deploy to Iraq with his soldiers.

. . .

A retrial may or may not occur, pending a debate between Marjorie Cohn and my Law & Order DVDs.

Breathing room

The Army has thoughtfully decided to give me some of my back pay. I checked my leave and earnings statement (LES) as part of the filling out the unemployment form from hell, and noticed that I had a random payment of $1600 (before taxes) which I didn't recognize. It was identified as a reenlistment bonus.

Not that I'm not grateful, mind you, but my current enlistment doesn't end until 2011--I don't believe in half measures, you see, and I signed up for eight years. Anyway, the remarks section sort of clarified things, and it appears that this is the $200/month foreign language proficiency pay (FLPP, pronounced 'flip') that I haven't received since May of last year.

Of course, it actually went up to $300/month as of 15 August of last year, so they still owe me several hundred dollars... Not that I'm complaining. That's rent and food and gas money for a while longer.

And, of course, it will mean further headaches for trying to fill out NEXT week's unemployment form. Does receiving back pay count as having been paid for this week? No idea. It should be amusing to find out, though.

Sig

Action/Reaction

In which Sig reacts, a stranger does not, and some stress reveals itself.

OCS: On Civilian Streets

Finally, word came down: we're done, go home. After sitting around for 4 hours, we had a small company formation, a very brief "Good war, everybody, let's do it again next year" speech, and were dismissed. </war>

Awards ceremonies and NCO stabbin'

I was strongly encouraged to talk with a counselor about my combat stress. It's hard to explain that it's not properly combat stress at all--really, it's noncombat stress, from all of the people I did not stab who really really needed it.

"Healthy and normal"

When you come home, of course, you need to demobilize. Briefings, briefings, briefings. Medical questionnaires. The Active Army is supposed to fix whatever they broke while they borrowed you from your state before sending you home. Additionally, they want to make sure you don't kill your families and friends when you get there, so they have some screenings and briefings. Personally, I have a theory that PowerPoint briefings cause domestic violence--it would explain a hell of a lot.

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