Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by Annie, Aug 23, 2004.
That's good to hear. But I'm pessimistic about the long term. People in the Guard and Reserves have jobs, businesses, legal and medical practices which require their presence. Those particularly hard hit by deployment are those who have businesses where they are the sole proprietor or the owner. Their absence creates a hardship not only on them, it hurts their employees and damages their business.
The Guard and Reserve used to be an assett which was called up only in cases of national emergency or all-out war such as WWI, WWII and Korea. But the distinction between the Guard and Reserves and the active components began to blur during the Viet Nam conflict. During the last twenty years, the distinction has evaporated entirely and the Guard and Reserves are looked upon as cheap help for the active components. This results in more frequent call-up and more frequent disruption of the civilian lives of the members of the Guard and Reserve.
The only satisfactory solution is to increase the size of the active duty component of all the armed services. If that requires re-institution of the draft, then so be it. Our active duty military should be maintained at sufficient strength to kick the butts of third rate dictators without having to resort to calling in the back-up folks.
Anybody in/retired from the service no anything about the repercusions of similar call ups in Vietnam, if there were any? Merlin you mentioned the long-term effects in Iraq/Afghanistan, maybe looking at a longer, quite similar situation could be helpful.
Well, I can tell you that many Guardsmen are now being told that they can expect to be deployed about every two years. Both my sons are Guardsmen and currently in Iraq and this is what they are being told and they haven't even finished this deployment yet. Average deployment time is expected to be 18 months or less but no less than 12 months.
From the statistics I have seen, most Guardsmen are older folks and many (about 40%) are eligible for retirement (over 20 years service). I am not sure recruiting can keep up if those eligible decide to retire.
From my own personal experience, I can tell you that the 90 day cooling off period doesn't work either. Many who would like to get out cannot because of contractual obligations. It would be interesting to track the statistics on how many leave after their contract is up, how many eligible for retirement actually leave, and how many find some other way to get out. I am betting it will take more than 90 days to really tell.
I don't believe that the Viet Nam war had any effect on the retention of personnel in the Guard and Reserves. But there was a difference. If you were deployed to RVN as a member of the Guard/Reserves, it was likely that you would do one tour and that would be the end of it.
Today, as CSM pointed out, deployments of the Guard/Reserves are far more frequent and quite frankly, that isn't fair. It is impossible to have a successful life as a civilian if you are called up every other year for an active duty tour lasting 12 to 18 months. If the government needs that kind of strength, then it should fill the ranks of the active duty components to the level necessary to conduct business.
But to answer your question, here are a couple of articles I found on the subject.
"By Robert Schlesinger, Globe Staff, 11/23/2003
WASHINGTON -- The US Army Reserve fell short of its reenlistment goals this fiscal year, underscoring Pentagon fears that the protracted conflict in Iraq could cause a crippling exodus from the armed services.
The Army Reserve has missed its retention goal by 6.7 percent, the second shortfall since fiscal 1997. It was largely the result of a larger than expected exodus of career reservists, a loss of valuable skills because such staff members are responsible for training junior officers and operating complex weapons systems."
WASHINGTON -- The nation's largest part-time military force is suffering personnel strains from extended call-ups of troops.
Pentagon and National Guard figures show that the 350,000-member Army National Guard is having increasing difficulty recruiting soldiers. It also continues to lag behind the other services in the quality of enlistees as measured by military aptitude tests.
Signs of trouble:
* The Army Guard's total number of soldiers -- "end strength" in military terminology -- is 343,846, more than 6,000 below its target of 350,000. End strength has been declining since January. Guard officials say they can ......
By Peter Brownfeld
WASHINGTON Overdeployment may threaten recruitment and retention for the entire military, particularly the National Guard and Reserve, presenting the risk of a "hollow force" a military that suffers dramatic drops in volunteers willing to join or stay in the armed services.
While re-enlistment rates have been up since 2001, the Army National Guard is expected to miss its recruitment goals this year. Re-enlistment figures are also not available since the Iraq war, but historically rates have dropped after major conflicts.
We are overstretched and, believe it or not, underfunded, said Col. Bill Taylor, U.S. Army-Ret., a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (search). We are headed for where we were back in the late 70s.
One of my tasks as a Command Sergeant Major was to try to close the "back door" in retention. That is, make sure that we retained soldiers after their first enlistment so that recruiting could fill the gaps and keep units at full strength. When retention losses = recruiting gains, everything stays pretty stable (that does not mean that a unit gets to full strength; it means they stay whatever strength they are). When losses are more than recruiting can overcome, a unit losses strength; the greater the imbalance, the faster a unit goes down the tubes. Only when recruiting gains is greater than losses will a unit gain strength.
Given the current situation where both retention and recruitment are not meeting their goals, many units will be rendered comabat ineffective rather quickly. Once that happens, you will see some very creative juggling to try to make viable units in both the active Army and the Reserves/Guard.
I think they call it "transformation"....heh.
Can't really talk about AG or AR. But I did two tours on independent duty where I (and a staff of Marines) trained/administered a Marine Reserve Center. Retention was as good as the leadership (both active and reserve), the first unit was noted as being the first Marine Ground Combat Unit (Arty) to activate and deploy as a unit since Korea (that was in 1991). I left the second unit in 2000 and they are in Falluja now.
Marine units tend to call up individual MOS's to backfill shortages and man the RBE (remain behind element) more often than calling up all the unit and it's gear. The volunteer rate is high and morale is good. But then again, my Army buddies tell me that all us Jarheads are crazy anyway.
Hope this muddied the issue a bit.
Separate names with a comma.