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Avatar of GI KoreaBy on May 10th, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Is 20 Years To Soon For Military Retirement?

» by in: US Military

Nate Fick, the CEO of CNAS thinks so:

Isn’t it fair to postulate that our military personnel system is fundamentally anachronistic and merits another look?

Cliff retirement at 20 years of service, for instance, strikes me as a relic of an age when twenty years in the Army left a veteran a broken man, with blown joints, no hearing, and a limited ability to work in an agricultural or industrial economy. Advances in medicine, lengthening lifespan, and the shift to a service economy in this country (albeit with large swaths of agricultural and industrial employment across the workforce) make me wonder — as a taxpayer — why we’re paying 38-year-olds as they embark on their second full career.  [Thomas Ricks' Blog]

What I don’t understand is that Fick is a prior service Marine so he knows full well that there is very few servicemembers who retire at the age of 38.  He should also know there are very few servicemembers who retire after 20 years who don’t have some kind of disability.  In fact I personally don’t know of one retired veteran who isn’t receiving some form of disability from the VA.  Fick should know this full well, which leads me to believe he is approaching this from a political perspective considering his Democratic Party background.  Keep in mind that there is a current Democratic effort to cut veteran benefits that “continues to rise at disturbing rates“.  So it seems like more than a coincidence that a think tank type like Fick would start promoting a cut in veterans benefits as well.

If the Democrats in Congress and the think tank types think the military benefits are too high and a drain on the federal budget, than why don’t they advocate for cuts in pay and benefits of the government civilian workforce who nearly every single one I work with makes more money than I do?

With that said let’s look at some of the alternatives to the 20 year retirement system that were being floated around in the comments of Thomas Ricks’ posting:

  • Retire after 30 years of service
  • 60 year old retirement age like the National Guard

Raising the retirement age to 30 or setting a 60 year old retirement mark would cause a great hit to recruiting and retention.  For example after a couple of deployments a servicemember may be around the 8-10 years of service and the 20 year mark seem more attainable.  However, if the servicemember has 20 more years of deployments to look at their family may just decide it is better to get out and find another profession without deployments.  The 30 year retirement age will also cause the overall age of the military to raise.  It would mean a more experienced force, but not necessarily a more combat capable one with older soldiers not as agile as younger troops and nursing more injuries. So there is plenty of impacts to messing with the retirement age and other benefits that veterans receive.

With an all volunteer military I think it would be best to be careful messing with a pay and benefits system that has allowed the US military to field the finest fighting force in the world.

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  • Cloying_odor
    1:10 pm on May 10th, 2010 1

    Military 20 year should be left alone. Civil Service 20 year is the one that needs to be changed. The Federal Government workforce far eclipses, probably by an order of magnitude, the number of active duty servicemembers and under the current administration it is ballooning to record levels. Here is a related article:

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-12-1

    More federal civilians are paid in excess of 100k per year than we have U.S. Naval or U.S. Air Force Personel on active duty!

    Oh wait I found it… 14.6 Million Federal Workers in 2006(4 Years ago!!) compared to 1.4 Million Active Duty Military 2009. I bet the 2010 stats on Fed Workers is closer to 20 Million. That alot of retirement checks!!!

    Mr.Fick needs to have a Hot Cup of STFU!!!

  • Retired GI
    1:47 pm on May 10th, 2010 2

    Meanwhile, Congress makes in one year the amount that took me over three years to make. Then they retire after one term and get 100%, while I get 50%.

    As a taxpayer, lets reduce congress pay to that of, say an E8 in the Army.

    Add Term limits. A step way over due! No "retirement" for you congressman/woman.

    That would ensure that those wishing to SERVE the people, would have no reason to run for office except to serve.

    But of course, the first place they look to save taxpayer money is those that protected their ability to vote themselves a raise.

    If they don't wish to serve at E8 pay, no problem. I'm sure we could find many retired military that would be willing to serve again, in an office, wearing a suit,

    with summer breaks and whatever else comes with the "job".

    Now if you up the retirment to 30 years you better drop the PT. PT FOR THIRTY FRIGING YEARS? I don't think so. We can go back to sports days! Or the "airforce PT program".

    Idiots running the country :???:

    Prior service Marine? Officer with a desk and coffee cup right? Masters Degree maybe? Takes alot a learning to be that ignorant.

  • Tom Langley
    1:51 pm on May 10th, 2010 3

    Mr Nate Fick must be a moron. I was damn proud to have served my country for 20 yrs. I would not have stayed for a career if I would have had to serve for 30 yrs or to wait until I turned 60 to get my pension. As anyone who has served knows the military is a hard life. As a civilian you do your 8 or 12 hrs per day and that's it. If in the military you get a call at 0300hrs that we're at war then you go. The military tells you how much you can weigh, how physically fit you must be in, how clean your barracks room must be, how short to cut your hair, etc, etc. I really doubt that many NCO's, PO's, & commissioned officers would stay in that long and what would that do to our military. Rather than going after the military who keep our country free, let's go after the civil service employees retirement & CONGRESSES RETIREMENT!

  • Retired GI
    1:59 pm on May 10th, 2010 4

    I would have done 4-8 years. Taken by GI bill and walked, if retirement was 30 years and the pay was the same as it was.

    Remember back in the early 90s and they offered cash to get out if under a certain pay grade? They had to end the program early. Too many were LEAVING!

    Not a good idea.

  • gerry
    2:05 pm on May 10th, 2010 5

    Looks like Nancy Polosi got her "boy toy", who will sell his credentials for 15 minutes of sucking on her big toe. I really dispise politicians.

  • Teadrinker
    4:04 pm on May 10th, 2010 6

    When I was serving in Canada, they were forcing people who had been in for about 20 years into retirement in order to cut costs.

  • scoobydoo
    6:03 pm on May 10th, 2010 7

    This bozo doesn't have a clue what it takes to serve for 20 plus years in the military. The average soldier, sailor, marine, and airman after serving 20 years his health is nowhere as good as his counterpart serving in a civilian position. More than likely a person serving in the military as a career his wife probably left him and if she stayed married to him for ten years she is entitled a portion of his retirement. Fix that stupid law then think about ways to improve military life for the soldier not just their dependents. The government gets off cheap considering what they get from the active duty military, wish I could say the same for the politicians that only make promises that they can't keep, unlike the soldiers that must keep the promise they signed when they raised their right hand…

  • Maj. America
    6:29 pm on May 10th, 2010 8

    I don't know is this really that crazy of an idea? He is right what he says about how we arrived at the 20 year mark to begin with. It does need to be taken a look at, but 30 years is just crazy. I was thinking more along the lines of 24 years at 75% benefits to all that make it. I am already at 11+ years and to think I could be eligible for retirement benefit in less than 9 years is kind of funny. The whole idea of 20 years gets you 20-30-40 years of benefits is a really expensive one that need to be examined.

  • Sonagi
    7:54 pm on May 10th, 2010 9

    If someone has a genuine disability that prevents him or her from performing job duties, can't he or she retire even if they haven't reached the minimum years of service? While most military personnel may extend beyond the minimum eligibility, is it not true that most retire while they are relatively healthy and still capable of working? We cannot afford long and generous retirements anymore, not when the ratio of working to nonworking people is dropping. I understand that nobody is happy when benefits are taken away or reduced, but at least government workers are fortunate enough to retain defined benefit pensions, unlike most employees in the private sector.

    Some jobs in the military are more physically demanding than others. Is it not possible to distinguish retirement qualifications just as police officers and firefighters retire earlier than civil servants and teachers?

    Until recently, most people worked for as long as they could. The notion of 30 years of work followed by 15-20 years of retirement is a recent one made possibly by US post-war prosperity and the baby boom. Those days are gone. A lifetime of labor for those who are able – get used to it.

  • archieb
    10:24 pm on May 10th, 2010 10

    It's a HARD 20 years. Everyone I know who made 20 years had something wrong with their legs or back or hearing.

  • guitard
    11:47 pm on May 10th, 2010 11

    A few comments…

    The gov't has been steadily chipping away at military retirements – the old days of 50% of base at 20 years are long, long gone. And free healthcare for life? Gone. Long gone.

    A lot of people who retire when they are in their late 30s/early 40s are NOT receiving VA disability checks. It's not because they weren't eligible – it's because they just didn't bother to get the physical. Typically, since they are still young, they think, "That messed up knee still works pretty good…I'll worry about it later." But 15-20 years later when the ol' knee gives out and they try to get the VA to help them – the VA says, "Sorry – you should have gotten a VA physical at retirement. Can't help you."

    I don't begrudge civil service for the fat paychecks they make. Comparing your typical incoming civil service employee with a new soldier is like comparing high school football players with college football players. The civil service employee typically shows up with a degree and several years experience – the soldier usually shows up with a hangover from his high school graduation party. Like any other sector of the work force – you get what you pay for. You want average employees? Offer average wages. You want excellent employees? You gotta offer nice wages.

  • Chris In Dallas
    1:00 am on May 11th, 2010 12

    Here are some thoughts:

    1. I came off active duty with 5 years under my belt. I briefly dabbled with staying in the reserve components long enough to retire. One of the primary reasons I chose not to do so is the gap before collecting a retirement check. I was NOT going to put up with 15 more years of Army BS with nothing to show for it but PX and commissary privileges.

    2. Fick makes it sound like retirees leave and have a cushy second career waiting for them before the ink dries on the papers. From what I've seen that is far from reality. The private sector tends to not want to place them in traditional employment for various reasons. Civil Service is more often than not an uphill battle due anti-vet hostility. Landing a Defence Contractor job is rough too. Most retirees I know spend at least a couple years in crappy jobs like rent-a-cop work, temping, Walmart greeter work, etc.

    3. He wants to start retirement at 30 years? Despite all this talk of improving health, I find most people drop retirement papers at year 20 because they are physically and/or emotionally drained. Another issue is most people seem to hit a career peak around year 15-20. Doesn't seem right to me to make someone stay in for 30 when the personnel system is pretty much guaranteed to toss him/her out somewhere between year 20-30!

    4. Here is another issue. A retiree has spent 20+ years jetting all over the place and is unable to put down roots. Most of the retirees I know buy homes and wind up dedicating their retirement check to the mortgage payments. The crappy jobs they tend to land go towards remaining living expenses. If you "graduate" their retirement, you put them in a world of hurt financially.

  • Pops
    1:08 am on May 11th, 2010 13

    So, when are we going to see excellent employees in government service? Congress and the rest seem like average numbskulls, ain't smarter than half a horse's a@@…

  • guitard
    1:13 am on May 11th, 2010 14

    Fick makes it sound like retirees leave and have a cushy second career waiting for them before the ink dries on the papers. From what I’ve seen that is far from reality. The private sector tends to not want to place them in traditional employment for various reasons. Civil Service is more often than not an uphill battle due anti-vet hostility. Landing a Defense Contractor job is rough too. Most retirees I know spend at least a couple years in crappy jobs like rent-a-cop work, temping, Walmart greeter work, etc.

    Depends a lot on your career field while in the military. For some, you are virtually guaranteed a job at retirement with a nice salary and benefits. For others (think artillery or armor)…you better have gotten a degree in between deployments and/or married a girl with a daddy who owns some really nice business and will hire you even if you don't have any job skills that fit in at the business.

    And what's this about civil service being an uphill battle due to anti-vet hostility? I know dozens of civil service employees on Yongsan and off the top of my head – I can't think of a single one who isn't retired military.

  • Chris In Dallas
    1:40 am on May 11th, 2010 15

    I imagine those are DA and DoD positions. Of course military folks are gonna have a good chance at those. Heck, some/most may pretty much require prior service. But how many of those slots exist? Certainly not enough for this discussion. From what I have read and from stories from friends who have applied for positions at places like USPS, GAO, IRS, etc. its a completely different ball of wax.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    4:28 am on May 11th, 2010 16

    If someone received a career ending disability than yes they can retire. What I am referring to is that when you retire you have medical evaluations done and a disability percentage is paid out to the retiree by the VA. I don’t know of anyone who has not received a disability percentage of some kind after retirement due to back, knee, shoulder, etc. injuries that were service related.

    They can still work though but they are compensated for the pain they have to put up with because of service related injuries. Also the vast majority of military retirees all take another job after retirement with many of them continuing to work with the military in a civilian capacity. Personally I don’t know of anyone who has retired from the military and not taken another job.

    The point that I and others are making is that if this is about saving money than they need to look at the entire government workforce who make much more money than servicemembers, don’t have deploy, don’t have to do back breaking PT, or any of the other stuff that servicemembers routinely do. If pay and benefits are going to be cut in the military they should be cut across the entire government workforce to include Congress.

  • Mike
    7:58 am on May 11th, 2010 17

    Mr. Fick doesn't know better. He quit after a few years.

  • Leon LaPorte
    8:31 am on May 11th, 2010 18

    Bingo

  • Retired GI
    8:36 am on May 11th, 2010 19

    I'll second that Bingo

  • Chris In Dallas
    9:26 am on May 11th, 2010 20

    Roger.

  • someotherguy
    10:32 am on May 11th, 2010 21

    Well depending on what you studied during your deployment "breaks" really determines what you get. If you were medical / signal / intelligence and hold a secret security clearance (almost all those fields require one anyway) then various companies will throw all sorts of bones your way. If you were able to get yourself in a position that required a TS/SCI, then your resume is pretty much plated in platinum. There are also a few maintenance fields that pay really well, but you ~need~ to get your field-specific certification, which the military rarely pays or trains you for.

    But if you were a ground pounder, armor, or FA / ADA and you didn't do everything in your power to get additional marketable skills, it might be a bit rough. A combat arms guy can still make a killing but they need to of served time as an IMO, operations officer or what not.

    DoD / DIA / FBI / CIA / NSA / SS they all prefer ex-military types because the discipline fostered during military service goes really well with their style.

  • someotherguy
    11:00 am on May 11th, 2010 22

    While I often disagree politically with the right wingers around here, I completely believe in the 20yr retirement. People who never severed beyond their first enlistment (or even at all) or who never made higher then E5 / CPT have no idea the kinds of stress / pressure the military puts on its people. Working 20 years in the military is the same emotionally / physically as working 30 ~ 40 or more years civilian side. And this is all without taking into consideration that US Military deliberately go into harms way as a job occupation. Anyone questioning this mearly needs to ask themselves this question.

    Q: Would you knowingly run into an area with bullets flying around, some aimed at you with the intent to take your life, and perform your job? What monetary compensation is "enough" for that kind of risk?

    US contractors working over in Iraq (not the mercs) get paid 150 ~ 200 thousand a year to do their job in harms way. And I'm talking computer techs, intel guys, logistic guys, not the hired mercs running around.

    I left after 8.5 years of active duty, I just didn't see myself spending another 12 years doing something while having to play the Army's BS games when I could get paid 3x the money and not have to deal with the games. So for those guys who tough it out and do the full 20, I got major respect for ya.

  • silentgrayfellow
    11:22 am on May 11th, 2010 23

    another issue with making people stay 30 years to earn retirment that I don't believe anyone mentioned…it will make the ranks top heavy. Assuming promotion pace is similar to what it is currently, an NCO would spend 1/2 his (or her) career in the senior NCO ranks. Not enough slots for all those seniors.

  • guitard
    2:06 pm on May 11th, 2010 24

    JoeC

    6:41 pm on May 11th, 2010

    I finished and retired after 20 years, before my 39th b-day with no VA disability. Sure, I acquired hearing loss from half that time spent around noisy aircraft and equipment, but it was only in a small range and requires no hearing device. I have no complaints.

    Joe,

    You don't say – but I assume you didn't take a VA retirement physical (separate from the military retirement physical)? I make this assumption because you would have automatically received some compensation for your hearing loss if it was uncovered during the VA physical.

    If you didn't get a VA physical at retirement, you made the classic mistake to which I made reference in a previous post.

    It's not only how much how the damage/ailment affects you at retirement – it's also about how it affects you for the rest of your life. In other words, when you are 60 years old and your hearing loss has progressed to the point you need hearing aids – the VA won't provide them because you didn't get a VA physical at retirement and thus, have no way of proving that you had hearing loss at the time you retired. Unfortunately – in a case like this – the VA will not likely accept any other proof (i.e., your regular military retirement physical) that you suffered the hearing loss while on active duty.

  • Hamilton
    2:18 pm on May 11th, 2010 25

    The US has a similar system that cuts in dependent on rank. For a LTC or COL it is at 28 years so Mr. Fick hasn't thought through his argument at all.

    Also the 38-42 year old demographic is not a business recruiter's dream candidate. They don't want to pay an entry level guy in relation to his experience, they want the fresh fish.

    Finally, I don't know of many in the military that do not have blown joints, bad hearing or other military induced problems by 20 years. Me thinks Mr. Fick wasn't all he could be in the service.

  • Hamilton
    2:25 pm on May 11th, 2010 26

    I actually do know many who are not receiving disability, however many are and for good reason.

    Aches won't get you disability. They do hearing baselines when you enter service for example and compare it with normal age related hearing loss, artillery and armor soldiers still lose significant portions of their hearing regardless of their music listening habits.

    We are talking nerve damage, impacted vertebrae and torn cartiledge level damage. Some civilian professions are most likely on a par that are labor intensive, but not too many white collar jobs. Knowing that big Army will take care of you when you hit a patch of highway during an airborne drop makes it a bit easier to stay in.

  • Hamilton
    2:50 pm on May 11th, 2010 27

    Triple on the Bingo, I should have read this post first.

  • someotherguy
    3:52 pm on May 11th, 2010 28

    Completely agree with GI here. If you ever want to see the results of a long military service then go work at / live near Fort Knox KY. I spent three years there and the entire base is chuck full of broke tankers and cav scouts. I guess branch sends them there to retire after they can't really do combat anymore rather then try to reclass a bunch of SFC / MSG's.

    And I'm not talking small injuries, these guys got blown knee's, impacted vertebrae, ripped shoulders. One guy was a mechanic and had a engine fall on his knee. Even after extensive surgery he'll never be able to lift / carry heavy loads again. And this guy isn't small, 6'4 and 250 lbs, he ends up in excruciating pain if he walks too much. He choose to stay in rather then be medboarded.

    Know of another guy that was 1 inch sorter upon retirement then when he entered, also had impacted vertebrae from too many hard jump landings.

  • Hans Brinker
    5:02 pm on May 11th, 2010 29

    CPT Fick is an classic Ivy League graduate of Dartmouth & Harvard, who despite five years in the Marines and a tour of duty in OEF and OIF, unsurprisingly still thinks like the privileged Ivory Tower elitist that he is.

    I mean, c’mon, as an 11B20 who served in a infantry scout platoon and later graduated from a land-grant state university, I was shocked at how little common sense this particular platoon leader had when he led his platoon of Recon Marines during OIF-I as described in his book, “One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer.” (A good read, btw, but I would’ve re-titled it: “The Peter Principle: How book smarts and good intentions a good officer do not always make.”)

    As the book goes, in March/April of 2003, his unit was surveilling forward of enemy lines. They came upon a deserted Iraqi Army ammo dump filled with munitions, weapons and explosives of every imaginable type and variety. He also found scattered about an “intelligence trove of maps, documents, and other classified materials” that we usually call “PIR”.

    Instead of rigging the place for demo and blowing everything in place, or securing the site so EOD could do it for them, he got all hyper and narrowly focused on the PIR and had his men running around collecting every map and scrap of paper they could find, with the intention of turning everything over to his battalion S-2 shop. (I believe LT Fick was thinking he might get at least a Bronze Star for this coup de main.)

    In his excitement at the possibility of being single handedly credited with ending the war, however, he failed to leave a security detail at the ammo dump in his eagerness to turn over this exciting and new PIR to his battalion S-2.

    LT Fick’s debrief went something like this:

    S-2: “I don’t give a fuck about this shit (pointing at the mound of maps and documents piled in front of him). Since the Iraqi Army has been pretty much on the run, this has no intelligence value whatsoever. What did you do about the ammo dump though?”

    LT Fick: (gulp) We left everything there sir.

    S-2: WTF!

    So, back Fick went to secure the site, only to find out that in the time he was gone, the smart Iraqis had emptied and cleared the warehouse of every last munition, weapon and explosive that was there. They never did recover any of it ever again.

    What a fucking idiot, which explains why LT Fick wisely never re-upped.

  • archieb
    6:03 pm on May 11th, 2010 30

    Brendon Carr, did you serve in the military? If yes, you would have seen the effects of those 20 hard years on soldiers around you.

  • Brendon Carr
    6:38 pm on May 11th, 2010 31

    If everyone is drawing a disability pension, then something is desperately wrong with the system. I’m 41, and things on me are starting to ache too.

  • JoeC
    6:41 pm on May 11th, 2010 32

    I finished and retired after 20 years, before my 39th b-day with no VA disability. Sure, I acquired hearing loss from half that time spent around noisy aircraft and equipment, but it was only in a small range and requires no hearing device. I have no complaints.

    Here is how I feel about it. The terms of the military retirement system were changed several times after I came in. Some of the big overt changes were set to apply to those who came in after the change went into effect. Such as, going from 50% pay to lesser percentages. Some of the more subtle changes applied to all, even those long ago retirees. Those type changes were of the type related to availability and access to facilities and health care which many believed was an explicit guarantee when they came in. With military facilities closing and VA facilities few and farther between, and all government entitlement costs going out of control, I think more retirees accept some things are no longer practical of possible.

    I have no statistical evidence, but when I read about the number of pre-retirement military veterans since Vietnam to now, who get out with stress disabilities, few employable skills, and go homeless, I think most retirees would feel they got off better.

    There are all types of military retirees. Some spend time whining and complaining, but many I know are adaptable and resilient. Some have made comfortable livings for themselves in places like the Philippines and Thailand off almost nothing.

    The government can tinker and experiment with military retirement and benefits as it chooses. Between 2004 and 2007, there was debate about not giving too many separation/retirement ‘incentives’ so as not to encourage troops to get out. But, if you want to maintain an all volunteer force, you have to understand your are competing in a free market. Cut back or extend commitments too much, and at some point recruits are going to decide the demands are not worth the benefits those many years.

    Without retention, you have no experienced troops. Taken to extreme, and the military may find itself leasing senior NCOs and officers from the Haliburtons and Blackwaters.

    Let that stew in the Think Tank, Mr. Frick.

  • Villain
    8:19 pm on May 11th, 2010 33

    I retired after 21 years and have no disability. Some police departments have a 20 year retirement plan with better retirement plans than the military. This idea has surfaced before. The most common one I have heard is you could retire from active duty after 20 years, but not collect a pension until age 65. I first heard that back in the 1970’s.

  • Retired GI
    9:21 pm on May 11th, 2010 34

    Did you run 2 miles a day, three days a week, for 20 years? Did you carry a 30-40 lb ruck? Did you hump a 60? Did you do the dope on a rope?
    I have some years on you also. I find myself saying that, “I thought it was all better!” more than I like.

    Make sure you have documentation for those things starting to ache before you begin your military retirement medical briefing.

    I only have the 10% for a bad knee. They didn’t count the operations on both shoulders, or the one on the foot. Only the operation on the Knee. My hearing is good still. But my squatting and heavy bench days over.

    yep, that ten % is equal to around 150 dollars (of my check) being tax free. yuhoo! I’m living large.
    Now if I had retired form the Post Office, I believe I would be getting an extra 150 in addition to my check.

    I would have done much better (dollar wise) to have gotten out after ten years and worked for the post office. But then I would have missed the Joy of deploying to Bosnia. I would have also missed the Joy of spending a tour in Iraq. If I had gotten out after four years, I would have missed the joy of an additional eight years in Korea.
    If I had gotten out after four years and worked at the post office, I would have been treated like an adult for an additional 16 years. I would not have to have people coming in my room at odd times lining me up for a piss test. Or later doing the same to others. I could go on, but who the hell cares anyway. Many reading this have done the same.
    Oh, and when your knee goes bad—you have no friends.
    My profile read: “no running except under combat conditions”. I had that of two years, Iraq being one of them. Good thing too! In 2003 we had some DUMB ASSS battalion CO that thought an AVIATION BATTALION was moble. He had them walkin around with their 50lb tool box strapped to their 40lb ruck and walkin around the base (5 miles).
    I never got around to asking him, who was going to hump the Hanger.

    What unit are you with? I forgot to ask. Get that documentation! And make a copy of your med records for yourself.

  • fm2176
    10:53 pm on May 11th, 2010 35

    Not to mention the Retention Control Points (RCP) currently permit only the highest enlisted pay grades to serve for 30 or more years. Couple that with the lack of biyearly raises once a pay grade plateaus and it is easy to see how much would have to change to consider increasing the minimum period of service before retirement. In the Army right now, one must make at least E-6 Staff Sergeant to serve even twenty years. Easy enough for us Infantry guys, but depending on one's job, it could be a struggle. I have known some Soldiers in smaller MOS' who took well over ten years to get promoted to Staff Sergeant and who have little hope of seeing Sergeant First Class due to their senior NCOs hanging on as long as they can.

  • Retired GI
    7:58 am on May 12th, 2010 36

    I have a drinking buddy in angeles city. He can not afford to live in the States maybe. Not sure what his check is, but he has 100%. He intercepted a rickashay bullet with the side of his head. Right side of his body is numb.

    Had a roommate (crew chief) that had his right leg crushed when a helicopter was toed over his leg to the knee.

    Watched a female LT get smacked into the side of a helicopter when it lost power and dropped. She was on rope and halfway down. The bird passed her and the rope got in the blades. She didn't feel any pain for a few days.

    Class after me an instructor was killed when the bolts holding his rope broke and he face planted. (he didn't get any disability payments)

    All the above was during peace time operations. During my first four years of service.

  • Sonagi
    2:09 pm on May 12th, 2010 37

    I don’t know that government employees are generally excellent. To the contrary, I think they perform less effectively and less efficiently than private sector employees, who are held more accountable. My mom worked for the State of Michigan for 15 years and while the majority of her colleagues were hardworking, there were some who took advantage of sick leave or threatened to file a civil rights complaint during conflicts with supervistors. Government jobs pay less than the private sector but offer better job protection and more generous lifetime benefits.

  • 88mm
    3:42 am on May 16th, 2010 38

    Man, I served just 6 years active duty. I was fairly fit but my lower back hurts, nominal hearing loss, and my knee hurts sometimes, and I injured my neck in OIF3. I'm going back in via Army ROTC in two years when I finish college. 6 years is a big toll on your body. 20 years breaks the strongest of men. Its just the way it is. Fick don't fuc* with us! My deepest gratitude and respect to all you badass NCO's who did the job for 20+. You guys are my rock stars! HOOAH!

  • TGony
    12:04 am on November 1st, 2010 39

    I would like to state that I just retired from the Army, 20 yrs, age 38. On active duty the following occured. 2 fractured Vertabrate in spin, deviated septum, Torn Rotator cuff, a couple combat wounds, broken wrist, PTSD with Panic Disorder, calcified granuloma on lung (Burn Pits), Ankle issues from over 10 sprains. Dont tell me about 30 year retirement. If you change it to that you will have most veterans receiving 100% disability. Which one is more costly?

  • Pete
    8:00 am on November 1st, 2010 40

    Boo!!! :o

  • Ashley
    12:04 pm on November 13th, 2010 41

    Hello everyone. I got involved with this post because my Husbands grandfather told me about it. I live in Northern Maine and my grandfather is a retired USAF. He served 23 years and has seen a million things that I couldn't even imagine. He's been through Vietnam and Guam. Howard has been though more than you could imagaine and he left the USAF a Master Sergeant. He is now 80 years old and he gets retirement and SSI. I don't believe in what the Government wants to do. He earned it and deserves to be left alone about it. He just wants to live out the rest of his life in peace. Which is why I am going to start a petition to let the Retirees keep their benefits without any dedictions.

  • JoeC
    12:30 pm on November 13th, 2010 42

    #41

    "Which is why I am going to start a petition to let the Retirees keep their benefits without any dedictions[sic]".

    Not sure what you are referring to, the musings of the guy who is the subject of this topic or the recent recommendations in the Debt Commission Report (DCR). You and your grandfather shouldn't stress too much about either. Even the DCR, which would be given more serious consideration, doesn't recommend taking much away from current retirees. They are more focused on reducing benefits for future veterans.

  • BrownBearJeff
    1:21 am on January 30th, 2011 43

    From a Soldier with 20 years and serving proudly. Any politician that feels military service members needs less…I have to evaluate why you call yourself an American. You can't realize what a soldier is going through in his/her military life and the tension/stress in our homes these days. We are just making it and life after the military needs to be something to look forward to. 30 year mandatory retirment years to just not an obtainable goal for most of us soldiers (mentally or physically). Could you imagine retired soldiers requesting to collect their GI bill and go back to college at 50 years old? 50 year olds running PT everyday around post. 50 year olds thinking they can out due to 20 year olds. Just ridiculous thinking….

  • BrownBearJeff
    1:33 am on January 30th, 2011 44

    Nate Fick you are an idiot. You were not good enough to retire while you were in service. So why in the hell would any veteran care what your personal opinion is on this subject or any military subject. You are not an example of a hardened veteran. Hell anyone can do a few years, right. Come back in and do your 30 years than comment. You didnt do your time "Cherry Boy". Your pic reads…I am self centered…I did not care for my soldiers…I cant make it to the next rank so I will get out before I get overloooked. Think before you open your mouth next time you idiot. Soldiers are definitely why you can wear that cheap suit everyday and get off at 3pm.

  • Gary Burgess
    7:03 am on May 17th, 2011 45

    It seems that you think that this is a 9 to 5 job. We know you are one of these fly by nights who can’t handle 20 years, but want to tell people to for less benefits. why don’t you just suggest that when we are worn out our families have left us because of the pressures that are upon us that we just be taken out and shot that way the government saves more money no retirement pay to pay no VA benefits to deal with. and if we march on DC just get another MacArthur to shoot us. This sounds like your mentality to me.

  • setnaffa
    1:54 pm on May 17th, 2011 46

    Fick serves under Obama now, right? Shouldn’t that tell us everything we need to know?

    Everything I want to say to him is out of character for me, so I’ll just say may he receive in his flesh the reward he deserves. :x

  • kangaji
    3:49 pm on May 17th, 2011 47

    Oh yeah, just to let you guys that are retired know, they have us attach our hearing protection which is in a case to our belt loop now, as part of our uniform to CYA hearing loss.

  • danboone143
    8:37 pm on June 7th, 2011 48

    Taking away military retirement from those who have earned it is like hiring somebody to build a house for you, paying him half up front (which covers materials and grocery money for the workers) and promising the other half upon completion of the house.

    Not paying the builder and saying blandly “we don’t have the money to pay you… sorry, tough luck for you ha ha” would have you standing in court and handing the house over to the builder. No jury would buy your sob story of being unable to pay, especially if we all knew you had blown the money on booze and hookers (my analogy for the wall street bailouts, etc.) .

    This disaster is only going to save them $138 billion US dollars over a 40 year period; think about how much more we gave to the wall street gamblers, AIG and the rest in less than one month.

    The fact is that the money IS out there but the current political powers want to put it into someone elses pocket.

  • CyberTAU
    8:49 am on August 8th, 2011 49

    FACTs:
    1. Military retirement is reduced pay for reduced service. You are still under tiered recall rules and subject to UCMJ under Title 10 USC.
    2. Military service does NOT equal civilian employment. Just because there are similar job specialties, doesn’t mean the work environment and demands are a one to one comparison.
    3. Service Members (SM) don’t have freedom of travel, they are subject to commander’s approval for leave, pass, TDY, etc.
    4. SM give up a portion of civil liberties (1st amendment rights especially) When was the last time a civilian boss sent the employee to jail for disrespectful comments or actions?
    5. SM can’t turn down deployments, field exercises or quit with just 2 week’s notice. SM have a contract for service…
    6. SM routinely move every 2-3 years, especially officers. I’m on my 19th move in 19 years… Everytime I move, I incur a one year commitment to the service.
    7. SM can’t just NOT show up for work. We don’t get “sick” or “personal” days unless you receive a “quarters” slip from the doctor, which means a trip to the clinic every time you really needed to stay home in the first place.
    8. SM leave and passes (vacation or absence from duty) must be approved by the commander. There is no guaranteed leave time or passes as the mission and unit needs come first. Leave can be cancelled regardless that you just spent $2000 for that Florida vacation. SOL
    9. While we receive a generous 30 days leave accrual per year, SM are charged for all days while on leave (even weekends, holidays, and days you weren’t schedule for duty). We can’t sell our leave unless retiring or separating from the service. We can only bank 60 days. Anything above that is lost at the end of the FY.
    10. SM don’t get to chose their health care provider. You get the small pool of docs that are offered at your installation. Pick one to be your primary care manager. Don’t like them, too bad.
    11. SM lose all the gains from homeownership due to forced moves. Everything you gain is equity goes down the drain when you have to sell due to a forced move. Most enlisted can’t afford to own several houses along with the rental nightmare that goes with being a landlord.

    Military service is NOT a job, it’s a commitment and a way of life. Your life is so significantly different from civilian counterparts that there’s almost no comparison. Hence a 20 year immediate retirement benefit is not only fair, but just based on what our country asks us to sacrifice day in and day out.

    I could go on and on but hopefully I’ve made my point.

    There’s a reason Congress hasn’t changed the 20 year plan since it’s inception. Most SM over 10 years of service will leave if there isn’t a grandfather clause with the current proposed changes by the Defense Business Board. If we want to change retirement for the future generations that sign up to serve, so be it. At least then they have a choice whether or not to serve under the new retirement plan.

  • Tom Langley
    8:32 pm on August 8th, 2011 50

    CyberTAU #49, Great post!

  • danboone143
    2:43 am on August 9th, 2011 51

    My father taught me to follow the money trail; here is where it leads.

    The most odious part of this whole deal being offered is the retroactive part. They want to apply this against people who have already earned their retirement and essentially steal it from us.

    http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB3005/index1.html

    This is a Rand Corporation Bulletin that details how our retirement is funded. In essence, each year a service member serves, money for their retirement is put aside into nonnegotiable government securities, where it draws interest. A pension fund.

    This money is sitting out there in a large fund and they want to steal it; they need to steal it to pay the bills. They are not talking about borrowing and leaving IOUs, they are talking about outright theft :shock:

    They spent money we didn’t have to buy votes and popularity and now they are stuck. If they increase taxes the voters who pay taxes will run them out of office; if they lower benefits and payouts (including welfare, Social Security and etc), the voters who receive them will run them out of office. If they cut back on money given to the military industrial complex and other contractors, those entities will fund the opposition candidates and run them out of office (to get their contracts back).

    Since the number of people who actually retire is relatively small compared to the numbers above, this is a shrewdly calculated move. There are billions of dollars at stake and only a few million voters will be directly affectived negatively. They are trying to mitigate this with dishonest phrases like “current system is not fair” when in fact it’s really about wanting to steal the money from those who have earned it.

    Contact your congressman; they will have to vote on this hot mess. I spoke with an aide at my reps office and they claimed to be unaware; now they are aware. My rep said that one phone call was like 100 people talking to him since most people never bother to call or write.

  • EB
    2:12 pm on August 10th, 2011 52

    :twisted:
    Military retirement is not a Entitlement, it was earned! Our benefits aren’t some kind of charity or handout! Congressional benefits = free health care, outrageous retirement packages, 67 paid holidays, three weeks paid vacation, unlimited paid sick days – now THAT’S welfare. And Congress has the nerve to call a Military retirement an Entitlement? Re-post if you are sick of their stuff, and ashamed of our “leaders”!!!!!!

    So damn sick and tired of our leaders. Wake up Americans

    Please LIKE this page and lets start a movement
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Military-Retirement-Cut-Something-Else/131250206969998

  • EB
    2:48 pm on August 10th, 2011 53

    Email that I sent to my congressman

    : I am sending this message because me, my wife and many friends are outraged by the developing situation with the military retirement being changed or taken away. This is unacceptable and a slap to us veterans and military personnel. My wife has been to Iraq and Afghanistan and its really hard to live the military lifestyle having your loved ones away for so long and so many times during a spam of 20 years. This has taken and will take a toll to our marriage and future children plus it already does to a lot of our friends and families. I served for 4 years, got out and will finish my bachelors degree to try to go back in as an Officer but I will not try to go back in if these benefit are taken away and my wife will not re enlist as well for the same reason. Its not worth having a family and staying in if there is nothing to look forward to by the time you retire. And I’m not talking about retiring at 30 years of service like some suggest, do you really think a military composed of people over there 40′s is going to be a physically top shaped one?? Its gonna cost a lot more to train new people all the time because no one will be re enlisting as well, there will be no reason to. 20 years is long enough to serve our country and give our lives to the military lifestyle which takes a toll on everything in our lives. On top of that it will be a great hit on all of those people that are really close to retirement and were counting on this money after ensuring your freedom, the freedom of your loved ones and way your life. Please do not spit on our faces. This is not an entitlement this is earned for our service, the military is not like working for a corporation, its a way of life and a very difficult one not comparable to others. Freedom is not free and military people are not free.

  • Retired GI
    3:07 pm on August 10th, 2011 54

    #52 Thanks. I did.

  • Vince
    7:15 pm on August 10th, 2011 55

    Retirement was earned.

    But everything out there costs money. Lots of money. We’re out of it.

    Once we cut various entitlement programs for the “less fortunate” and make the clowns in congress work for nothing, I bet if we look at the math, it’s still peanuts.

    Whether we like it or not, no matter HOW we slice it, the next 10 years on out are going to be a radical departure from what was set up in the 1930s, and what was set up for the .mil side for retirements.

    It is going to suck, and if I had any ideas on how to save it, I would be passing that info.

    Math is the great revealer of truth.

  • Glans
    9:50 pm on August 10th, 2011 56

    CNAS seems to be a pretty good group. GEN Petraeus was the keynoter at their 2009 conference. The link to Thomas Ricks’ blog has turned into a 404 error. I’m not aware that Nate Fick has ever worked for Obama, as setnaffa 46 said, nor have I heard Obama calling for cuts to military pay and benefits. Let’s just see what the new deficit committee proposes.

  • Tom Langley
    10:41 am on August 15th, 2011 57

    There is a story on the Fox News website about this issue. Some commission has proposed a plan. Would somebody who knows how to do it please provide a link to the story. It will be of interest to anyone who may want to make the military a career.

  • kangaji
    1:24 pm on August 15th, 2011 58

    Like this?

  • someotherguy
    1:46 pm on August 15th, 2011 59

    @56,

    Contrary to the rhetoric the GoP likes to spew, Obama’s method of dealing with stuff is to create a committee / group of expects on that particular subject then tell them to go research it and give him a report on the matter. He did it with Iraq, Afghanistan, the whole DADT thing, and the whole deficit issue. Its probably the thing the rights hate the most about him, he’s a good orator who knows when to seek out more knowledgeable people on issues.

  • Pops
    4:00 pm on August 15th, 2011 60

    At #59,
    Oh yes, like the Deficit Commission that Obama organized, you know, the one who’s findings he ignored? He picks and chooses to suit his ideology, he’s not brilliant.

    By the way, that Fox article just linked (thanks #58) has a comment about some kind of vote on military commissaries in the Senate in September. Any more info on this matter?

  • Retired GI
    6:05 pm on August 15th, 2011 61

    Is Obama smart? WSJ article. This got much play for me on Facebook. Most of my liberal Obama supporters were inflamed! But all they could say in defense of Obama was — “but — but — BUSHHHHH”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904140604576495932704234052.html

    Hope I got those #s right.

  • ChickenHead
    7:53 pm on August 15th, 2011 62

    Retired GI,

    That article was right.

    I should add that Obama is not stupid… but he lacks wisdom and experience.

    It appears that much of what he has gotten has been handed to him… as he fulfilled a quota or was easily used as a tool by those who were more crafty. He didn’t earn anything through the process of making mistakes and doing better next time. He was simply went through the motions directed to him by his handlers.

    The difference between his campaign and his presidency is a great example.

    Now, surrounded by media-created worshipers, he is starting to believe the manufactured hype… and thinking that he can do no wrong. And, while his small-time handlers were sufficient for Chicago or Illinois politics, they are inept at the national level… or he believes the hype so much that he is no longer listening.

    In the end, Obama too often talks when he should be listening, remains quiet when he should be talking, and speaks of lofty ideals and cliched rhetoric when he needs to be leading the nation with solid speaking.

    Obama has been a poor president due to his lack of experience, manufactured fan-base, and an army of semi-competent yes-men… and his ego has kept him from rising to the occasion.

  • Maj. America
    8:55 pm on August 15th, 2011 63

    I hated this topic when people use to apply it to Bush. Of course Bush is smart! Really smart. Of course Obama is smart. Really smart! However Bush did come off as really unrefined at times, but to conclude that he was not smart shows really poor reasoning skill.

    I totally understand if you disagree with their policies or agenda but I tend to question the inteligence of people who question the inteligence of somebody who has reached a position such as the presidency. I doubt we have ever had an unsmart president.

  • Retired GI
    3:59 am on August 16th, 2011 64

    “I doubt we have ever had an unsmart president.” Yes, we have had one. It was Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter even agrees with me. Because when he took the stage on TV and told the American people that he had asked his pre-teen daughter Amy, about some international issue, he agreed with me that he was dumber than dirt.
    By the way, in the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that I am not the most intelligent person here. I believe that Obama would be a better President if he would do the same.

    Obama is simply a Post-Turtle. That term discribes his election perfectly. ;-)

  • someotherguy
    4:43 am on August 16th, 2011 65

    @63,

    Its called demonization and is part of mental brainwashing. If you can convince a bunch of people that a particular person / group of people are less human or otherwise inferior, then it becomes exponentially easier to control the attitudes and beliefs of those people. Case in point is the whole political fiasco going on right now, Fox and the GoP have convinced their follows to believe lies and demonization everything that even remotely resembles Obama and the Dems. The intent is to prevent defectors and lock the group as a single voting block so that the GoP had a shot at the 2010 elections and to hold that strategy for the 2012 elections. Case in point is the universal healthcare that the right dubs “Obamacare”, Obama didn’t write a single word of the bill nor did he control the process. The majority of the bill is actually republican idea’s and concessions the left made in an attempt to make the bill neutral and attract moderate GoP votes. When it looked like this idea was popular and might actually work the GoP leadership ordered all support cut and they have since demagogued the bill as evil, even though they had the biggest hand in writing it.

    They also did this with the whole governmental bailouts. During the last year of the Bush presidency when the financial crisis started with banks going nuclear, the GOP convinced everyone to pass a 700B USD bill to support the banks. This was a GOP idea written by GOP lawmakers and backed by a GOP President, the Dems signed on due to the failure warnings about economic collapse (which happened anyway). The bill originally called that the US Government would lend the 750Bn to banks as need be and the banks would have to pay it back eventually, the distribution and discretion was left up to the treasure secretary (a GOP Appointee). Shortly after the bill passed the Treasure changed the policy (the bill had a stipulation that they could do that) and instead gave 350Bn of the money to the big banks as a capitol grant. That’s right they GAVE the money to them, as in the banks are not required to pay it back, ever. Many of those banks senior executives then left and enacted their parachute clause worth millions. The second 350Bn was being sought by the banks and their GOP backers to be infused into the banks to be used exactly the same way, it was eventually used to buy toxic assets to get them off the banks books with the stipulation the banks would have to pay it back later, no interest. Later Obama was inaugurated when the car manufacturers started to go nuclear. The second bailout that was passed for 700bn was executed as the Government again buying stock / assets in those companies and forcing them to pay it back eventually, this money was also designated for public projects and states funding. We still haven’t spent all that 700bn as the process for getting funding approved from it is slow, due to Obama’s insistence that ~everything~ be tracked and reported to the American public, something the GOP resisted and hated him doing.

    Yet somehow, the GOP has gone around telling people that Obama was responsible for 1.4tn of “government bailouts”, when it’s lawmakers that are responsible with the GOP taking 700bn of that number. Not only that, but Obama insisted that the cost of the wars in Iraq / Afghanistan be put on the books and used in the governments budgets instead of being handled as emergency military funding and therefor not part of the books. This added a ton of debt suddenly, not because Obama spent it but because Bush spent it and ordered it not recorded in the budget. Try telling these things to a GOP fanatic and they get all righteous and frothing at the mouth. For this reason I immediately discredit and disregard any political opinions coming from an extreme conservative. I also do the same to the extreme liberals, but that goes without saying.

    I’ve been extremely disappointed with the GOP over these last 10 years. They used to be the intelligent and sane party, a bit greedy and shady but they always did the smart thing. Now their just plain crazy zealots.

  • Bruce Richards
    6:15 am on August 16th, 2011 66

    I can see the need for the DRAFT being needed in the future. Not many will sign up, then reenlist for a 401K. I spent 22 years, and I know I would not of stayed past the 1st hitch without a better than civilian type retirement at the end.

  • Retired GI
    2:52 pm on August 16th, 2011 67

    #65 who was in control of the Congress AND the Senate from 2006 till 2010? That’s right. The Democrats. Then in 2008 they got the WH as well. Dems were in control of all three branches from 2009 till the elections of 2010.

    And all that was done was Obama Care and the collapse of the Housing market. Because of Dem laws to loan to those that couldn’t pay.

    Look back to the Clinton years and see who had the Congress. The GOP.

    The Congress today only has two problems. Obama and Harry Reid’s Senate. Obama blames the congress just as he tried to blame the rich. When he should do is look in the mirror.

  • someotherguy
    3:26 pm on August 16th, 2011 68

    “And all that was done was Obama Care and the collapse of the Housing market. Because of Dem laws to loan to those that couldn’t pay. ”

    It’s GOP Care not Obama Care, when will you get it through your head that it was the GOP who practically wrote most of that bill not the Dems. The market crashed not cause of the shady lending practices but because those risks were masked, distributed and resold with AAA credit ratings to investors. The resulting shock wave was created when investors realized that NO financial investment was remotely “safe” because no one knew which investments had toxic derivative’s in them. Even now, years later, their STILL sorting through it and have no clue who the actual owners of the property’s in question are. This is made possible by the repeal of several regulations and safeguards made after the depression, a repeal initiated and passed by the GOP. Would these repeals not of happened, then those not able to pay would of defaulted and the property would of went back to the bank to be auctioned off. The risky mortgages would never of been repackaged as AAA investments and sold to investors as safe investments. Anyone investing in those mortgages would of KNOWN the risk and there would of been a clear path to manage that risk.

    The original TARP act was sponsored and written by the GOP. And like the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq they paraded it around as an absolute “MUST PASS” to everyone, and the Dems stupidly bought off on it. That is the ultimate weakness of the Dem party, their fragmented and spend more time fighting amongst themselves then they do obstructing the GOP. While the GOP being a minority can produce majority like power by working as a singular group.

    But again expecting a dyed vetted card carrying republican to understand any of this is like expecting a Berkley liberal studies professor to understand the necessity of maintaining a well funded active Military.

  • someotherguy
    3:37 pm on August 16th, 2011 69

    Ultimately it comes down to this. Right now there is no strong republican candidate for presidency. There are a few that stand out, but none of them are strong enough to win against Obama. Obama is like Clinton and JFK, his charisma alone unity’s those who would not normally even vote. He draws his support from the silent majority that is simply too busy starting their young lived to even bother going to the ballot box.

    To combat this the GOP needs to unify every last voter they can, and they need to unify them behind the GOP’s presidential pick regardless of who or what that pick is. Because whomever they choose to run won’t actually do anything as President, the current GOP leadership doesn’t want a strong President, they want someone they can control and who will push the party’s agenda and work to expand their power base. The Dems want to use Hillary to do this but instead somehow Obama jumped in and you had a moderate Democrat won what should of been an easy Primary for Hillary. So whether it’s Romney, Paul or the Santa Clause, you as an eligible GOP voter will need to reflexively vote for them regardless of what they say, do or did. And the only way to galvanize a disparate force of people that way is to give them a common enemy they can hate on and blame for all the worlds ills. Enter the GOP rhetoric of Obama, the manufactured “enemy” that must be defeated no matter the price. Prior to Obama it was the “Terrorists” that was used to galvanize all of you into supporting the Iraq war and blatantly unconstitutional legislation like the Patriot Act (and it’s classified interpretation). Yeah a law has an interpretation that is classified, so you may be breaking it and will never know because your not cleared to know that your breaking it.

    And your all falling for it, hook line and sinker. That’s the sick part about it. These people are blatantly manipulating your emotions and insecurities, and your welcoming them with open arms.

  • Chris Hiler
    5:05 pm on August 16th, 2011 70

    TGony,

    I hope you get the retirement for which you worked! And that your equanimity is not ruined by various health concerns to which the VA does not effectively respond. (I sure see that kind of scenario and a large number of these posts).

    Eb about #52, I liked as requested and am in agreement with you.

    #52, I “liked” as requested

  • JoeC
    5:06 pm on August 16th, 2011 71

    The Left’s harshest complaint with Obama is that he is seems to be a terrible negotiator. He starts by asking for 80 percent of what he indicates he truly prefers, then will finally settles for 40 percent.

    This probably comes from his community organizer background where the standard approach is to bring folks with very divergent interests together and encouraging them to come to their own consensus without overtly pushing and imposing his own views on them from the beginning. The end results, i.e. Health Care and Stimulus, are programs no one is truly satisfied with and probably not as effective as they could have been if they had a single vision, yet he has ownership of.

    But considering how unworkable the congress has become, when even with numerical party control of both houses, nothing can pass with less than 60 votes in the Senate, a threat of a veto, or the stonewalling of a single Senator. In that light, anything of substance that is passed is remarkable.

    During his campaign, he used the metaphor of comparing the nation to a large ship and saying it changes course slowly. Whether you liked the health care package or not, it was the first significant change of course that had been tried unsuccessfully for decades. The stimulus package, it can be argued, was a change of course that prevented us from going off the cliff. The change of direction in Iraq and Afghanistan may not seem like much, except if you consider the direction we might been heading with President McCain. Not to mention our greater involvement in Libya and certain other countries.

    I’ve been considering all of this over the past year and I may have more to say about it after we have a clearer picture of what choices we are given in next year’s election. Do we want to keep turning the wheel in the current direction or head back to where we were going?

  • JoeC
    5:14 pm on August 16th, 2011 72

    correction: “threat of a veto” -> “threat of a filibuster”

  • Retired GI
    5:26 pm on August 16th, 2011 73

    “the original TARP bill was written by the GOP.” So what you’re saying is that the Dems in control of congress from 2006 till 2010, ALLOWED the GOP to write the bills?
    In what alternate universe do you live in?

    As for individuals stating that bills MUST PASS, you can drop the mirror effect. Obama is the one stating that bills MUST PASS. Along with Nancy and Harry Reid.

    Anyone remember who said that we Must Pass the Health bill before we can see what is in it? I couldn’t believe i heard that. What’s REALLY sad is that she was re-elected. That said all I needed to hear to understand Cali.

    As for your post #69, it is clear for all to see who is tied up in their emotions.

    “Charisma” is all Obama needs? I hope you’re right. Because it is all he has. It is obvious that you are very emotionally invested with him. So — it worked on you. Good luck!

  • ChickenHead
    5:53 pm on August 16th, 2011 74

    I’m voting for the candidate who never even had a hint of scandal, has always been generous to his constitutes, tirelessly works to fulfill his promises, and has years of experience.

    Vote “the Santa Clause” 2012.

    First, Obama is almost worthless. No amount of “but the GOP” changes that. He is all produced flash and transparently thin motivational speaking without any substance… and that only goes so far.

    Much has been handed to him. Little has been earned… and it is the process of earning, not the having, which leads to the creation of a truly capable person.

    He may be “smart” but there are different types of “smart”. Some people can do differential equations in their head but can barely tie their shoes. Some people can recite fact after fact but can’t assemble them in any meaningful way.

    The type of “smart” that Obama possesses is good for organizing helpless people for non-essential tasks in the community… which is the only job experience he had… and it is how he is running his presidency.

    Anybody who enthusiastically supports Obama has a certain type of stupid… much in the way that “smart” and rich people with good jobs fall for Nigerian e-mail scams.

    Now that this is clear…

    Anybody who enthusiastically supports the whacked-out GOP, which is neither conservative nor “Republican” nor interested in the good of America or its people, is also a certain type of stupid.

    Both the Democrats and Republicans are playing the people with refined talking point over emotional issues with little true importance… while both of them work together to transfer wealth, transfer power, and modify the entire system to make it difficult for increasingly marginalized citizens to change or resist it all.

    Obama is the right tool for this job.

    Those of you who argue between Republicans and Democrats are the real suckers here… as you are being tricked into supporting at least half of a rigged system while you fight among yourselves… and you are being manipulated into linking your identity to at least half of the crooks who are bending you over.

    The Republicans or the Democrats are not the enemy.

    They are ALL the enemy.

    It is not Republicans against Democrats. It is government leadership against you…

    …or, more specifically, it is government leadership working for/with the banking sector, the financial sector, the military-industrial sector, and a host of empowered career bureaucrats against you.

    Instead of arguing about Republicans and Democrats or Bush and Obama, it is time to argue about what America needs to do to maintain its position in the world financially and influentially as well as what America needs to do to care for its citizens.

    There are many great arguments here… many of which have unclear or multiple answers. But Americans need to forget the false categorization of political parties, argue this out amongst themselves, and vote collectively for leaders who speak only of their specific solutions to America’s problems.

    The problem may be that the voting population, raised on reality TV and kept busy with the pursuits of consumerism, have no idea about the real issues… or any real care to find out… especially as pop-politics has become just another emotionally-charged reality TV show.

    Get with it… and get those around you with it… or you will lose the country you know and love.

  • kangaji
    8:08 pm on August 16th, 2011 75

    Chickenhead – when in history have the common people overthrown or voted out the bankers?
    Can you name one example?

  • ChickenHead
    9:05 pm on August 16th, 2011 76

    Kangaji,

    “when in history have the common people overthrown or voted out the bankers?”

    Sadly, these are the only 27 examples I could think of…

    …and life under “the bankers” was probably better.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communist_revolution

    But the problem here is not exactly “the bankers”. They are an important and necessary part of society.

    The problem is that the balance of power has been upset… and, instead of being one of many tools for society to succeed, they have gained increasing influence over the direction of society… which is to benefit “the bankers” rather than “the nation”…

    …”the nation” being the current construct to represent the good of the people.

    The representative government is structured to advance the wants and needs of the majority of people… wisely balancing short-term wants with long-term needs… and wisely picking and choosing what optional special-purpose projects is pursues to make a generally more pleasant society.

    At this time, the representative government no longer represents the good of the majority of citizens. It represents the will of a minority of rich and powerful who wish to be more rich and powerful until they are rich and powerful absolutely.

    In reality, it has usually been this way… but these days, all pretenses of anything more benevolent has been dropped and it is being rubbed in the face of the people.

    I could go on and on… but a lunch group is waiting for me and the grumbling is getting louder.

    Gotta run!

  • Retired afterthirty
    10:25 am on August 17th, 2011 77

    I think raising the retirement age to 30 years of service is a great idea. People can and should be able to give 30 years of service to their country to attain a retirement payout for life. A twenty year retirement payout for life drains the United States budget too fast. Certain people here in Colorado Springs at the 302nd Reserves Maintenance Squadron at Peterson AFB Colorado thought they would claim discrimination to hurry into a management position just to see them leave after twenty years of service as a Chief Master Sergeant should have been made to go thirty years if they were true Americans. They took what they could as fast as they could any way they could then left with a twenty year retirement. Bring on the thirty year required retirement system soon!

  • Tom Langley
    11:01 am on August 17th, 2011 78

    Retired After Thirty #77. To change the retirement system from a 20 year to a thirty year mark would result in a higher rank top heavy military than we have now. You would have a bunch of E-7′s, E-8′s, & E-9′s. What are you going to do with all those E-7′s, make them squad leaders or what? We already have more flag officers than we did in WW2! Are O-3′s going to be platoon leaders? To be perfectly honest my knees after 20 years of Army PT were shot & I know of many other retirees with the same situation. I don’t know if I could have lasted 30 years. It is hard enough to get started on a new career after 20 years of service (I was 41 when I retired) but had I waited for 30 years I know it would be hard for a 51 to get hired when the company knows that this person can get SS at 62 (reduced benefits) or wait until 65. You will end up loosing a lot of experienced NCO’s, PO’s, & commissioned officers. The thirty year plan however is better than the 401K type of plan. If you have a 401K type of plan many people will just think that they can work for a corporation for the same thing & not have to worry about O dark thirty PT, road marches, room inspections, wars including IED’s, & weight standards. Recruitment & retention are to avalanche I’m afraid.

  • Chris Hiler
    11:26 am on August 17th, 2011 79

    Tom

    About #78. I see a lot of comments about retired people having knee and health issues from standard PT runs. Though I was not active duty for very long I did notice changes happening in my feet and legs very fast..starting with basic training. Though I don’t literally run now I do several times the amount of cardio now then I did in the Army but on an elliptical machine that works the muscles hard but is low impact so its easy on the joints. I’ve been doing this for years now and have felt nothing like the damage that was starting to happen (within a very short time frame) when I was on active duty.

    It bothers me that the PT soldiers are expected to do leads to the sort of body damage to which the VA is sluggish to respond. Retirement should not be about being put out to pasture because your to “broken” to work anymore.

  • Tom Langley
    11:52 am on August 17th, 2011 80

    Chris Hiler #79, My church has a gym & I tried the elliptical machine. I was on it less than 10 seconds & it felt like my knees were going to pop out, same thing with the stair climber. I can’t run anymore but I can either walk on a treadmill or ride an exercise bike which I prefer.

  • Chris Hiler
    12:01 pm on August 17th, 2011 81

    Hey Tom

    I wonder if the elliptical was irritating damage already done to your knees, but at any rate I’m glad you found a method you can use painlessly and I hope that you have a good retirement. I’ve been looking back very fondly on my time in Korea and had thought that perhaps I should have remained on active duty. After doing a lot of learning and catching up though I think I made the right choice but…if I could go back in time..I would have joined up at an earlier age and made an effort to spend the whole time in Korea. It was stateside duty that really turned me off…but Korea was a tour I’ll never forget.

  • Tom Langley
    12:09 pm on August 17th, 2011 82

    Chris, I’m sure that the elliptical & the stair climber were aggravating previous damage. I was stationed in Korea from 1979-1980 and literally had the best year of my life there. When were you there? I’ve got to close now, got to go to work.

  • Chris Hiler
    12:13 pm on August 17th, 2011 83

    Tom, I was there in 1983 at Camp Pelham which was about 8 miles south of the DMZ and about 1.5 miles from Munsan. I also consider that a favorite year and have been kicking myself in the ass for not making more out of it at the time. Part of my hesitation is understandable though..I had aging parents who had already lost one of their children and I didn’t want them to be worried about me being there and separated that far from them.

  • kangaji
    3:41 pm on August 17th, 2011 84

    Retired afterthirty sounds like an INTERNET TOUGH GUY that was in the air force.

  • kangaji
    3:56 pm on August 17th, 2011 85

    No wait, he’s 군삼녀!

  • Orbit
    4:44 pm on August 17th, 2011 86

    Question is, why would you want to be stuck in military for 20 years? Can’t get job in civilian world?

  • JoeC
    5:27 pm on August 17th, 2011 87

    #86

    The answer to that may be impossible to explain to someone who never was in the real military and did real meaningful things. Conscription training doesn’t count.

  • Orbit
    5:45 pm on August 17th, 2011 88

    #87 lmao. I was in military. What on earth are you talking about? Assuming much?

  • JoeC
    5:58 pm on August 17th, 2011 89

    #88

    If you did real military service you had the opportunity to ask that question to careerists directly and wouldn’t need to ask here. So, no. I’m not assuming much. I’m pretty sure.

  • Sampsonincurlers
    7:35 pm on August 17th, 2011 90

    Nate Fick looks like he never did a pushup in his life.

  • Orbit
    9:22 pm on August 17th, 2011 91

    #89. Re-read your comment. Do you think it even make any sense? lol

  • Retired GI
    10:10 pm on August 17th, 2011 92

    #91. I understood it. I agree with it. It seems that only Military people would understand. Leaves you out. ;-)

  • guitard
    10:16 pm on August 17th, 2011 93

    Orbit wrote:

    #89. Re-read your comment. Do you think it even make any sense? lol

    Not only couldn’t you make it in the military – you can’t even make it as an internet forum troll. The ultimate loser.

  • Orbit
    11:40 pm on August 17th, 2011 94

    #93. lmfao. And this is coming from LBH who has chip on his shoulder. :lol:

  • Frank
    10:52 pm on July 15th, 2012 95

    I disagree. The civilian workforce is smarter and are the inventors. Not all soldiers work from 7-5. They are sent home early because soldiers can only do so much.

  • Bob
    12:47 am on July 16th, 2012 96

    I always thought the 20 yr retirement was a wee bit short, but speaking out of experience is 30 yrs is insanity for all but a few.

    Why not make retirement at 22? Or 24?

    This would mean a 18 yr old would retire at 40 or 42.

  • Retired GI
    5:18 am on July 16th, 2012 97

    #95 Frank, I was only sent home early if I had 24 hour duty that night. You civilians are funny.

    #96 Bob, what if they didn’t come in at 18. You assume much.

  • guitard
    6:14 pm on July 28th, 2013 98

    Joel,

    Tell Sue to contact Casualty Assistance:

    Military Personnel Services
    Casualty Assistance Section (MFPC)
    2008 Elliott Road
    Quantico, VA 22134-5102

    Comm: (703) 784-9512
    DSN: 278-9512
    Toll Free: (800) 847-1597
    Fax: (703) 784-4134, DSN (278)

  • Shawn
    8:10 am on July 29th, 2013 99

    Jeez, sounds like they want to model retirements after the Roman Army. That’s a bad idea.

  • Glans
    12:40 pm on July 29th, 2013 100

    Roman Army retirement was good, while the Empire was still growing. You got a farm of your own, in a colony founded by your commanding general in the newly conquered province.

 

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