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Pro Deo Et Patria- An Army Chaplain

I am a chaplain in the US Army, serving in Iraq. I'm keeping a blog to share my thoughts and experiences while deployed. They are my thoughts and they don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Army! :)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Hard to Believe

Somewhat lost in the news about the "new" strategy in Iraq is an item that will sharply affect the National Guard and Reserve. It is a change to the policy which limits mobilization to 24 months total for members of the Guard and Reserve.

Here is the change:
-Before this, a member of the National Guard or Reserve could "only" be mobilized for a total of 24 months to serve in the war. Soldiers could volunteer to go longer than that, but they could not be mobilized involuntarily.

-NOW, the new policy has removed that restriction. Now, the policy says that no Reservist or member of the Guard can be mobilized for more than 24 months at a time. But... there is no limit to the number of times those 24 months of mobilization can happen.

In my opinion this is a foolish and dangerous move. The government has now taken the Guard and Reserve and essentially turned them into active duty Soldiers. Here is a comment taken from an article on yahoo.com:

"David Chu, the Pentagon's chief of personnel, said in an interview that he thinks Guard and Reserve members will be cheered by the decision to limit future mobilizations to 12 months. The fact that some with previous Iraq experience will end up spending more than 24 months on active duty is "no big deal," Chu said, because it has been "implicitly understood" by most that they eventually would go beyond 24 months."

So... let me get this right... we should be "cheered" by "limiting" future mobilizations to 12 months? Only a year now? Wait a second... I'm "only" spending a year here as it is. Now, the only difference is that they can call me right back here. Hmm.... I'm jumping for joy and doing cart-wheels. Please, help me contain my joy.

In addition, he says it is "implicitly understood" that we'd eventually "go beyond 24 months." Wrong. That is just not true. Speaking as a Reservist, it's not true. The reality is that the 24 month limit was something that we all knew and cherished. I cannot tell you how many of us, in the Reserve, have had conversations about the 24 months; it makes you feel like the Army is guarding your ability to maintain a job, and giving you some sense of what your commitment will entail. Now it's gone.

This is wrong. If this many more troops are going to be needed, then the Army needs to expand its overall size, and expand it greatly. If the planned expansion isn't enough, then increase it more. If America supports its troops, it needs to show it by spending the money to hire more Soldiers, rather than turning Reservists into Active Duty Soldiers and pretending we'll appreciate it. Wrong way to go.

4 Comments:

Anonymous stupified by DOD said...

God Bless you Chaplain! Thank you for looking after the troops.

7:56 AM  
Anonymous Scott said...

Hey Chris, hope all is going well! I thought they removed the 5 year before remob restriction. I didn't look that close into it.

The dessert winter is definatly not the typical temp most would think is it. Not only does it get cold once the sun goes down, but there is such a difference from day to night that if feels much colder. So, say, it is a sunny 55 out, that is pretty nice, might break a sweat, but pretty comfortable. Then, all the sudden, it is 20 degrees, and no sun at night. That is a 35 degree difference, and if there is a breeze or wind, BRRRRRR. Hard to get acclimated to that. I feel your pain. You will find it interesting, it has probably been warmer here then there the last few weeks. Today, though, winter is back, 0's, windchill, the works. Yuck.

Later Chris, Hooorah.

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pastor Chris
Sounds like active/reserve duty is much like working in the private sector. Even if you have a contract those creating the document have full right to change or alter said document. So...why the heck would you sign one, right? Incredibly frustrating.
THANK YOU for hanging in there and seeing your commitment through. The challenges I'm sure at times are much like moving a mountain with a t-spoon, but you are in a beautiful foreign country, with wives, children, and husbands who need our presence to ensure their safety and future prosperity.
God Bless You!
The Hasenwinkel Family

12:22 AM  
Blogger Shane Vander Hart said...

Chris, I'm sorry about the bad news. I'll pray that DOD rethinks this decision. This is a bad move. They do need to expand the active army.

I've been praying about joining the Guard as a Chaplain Candidate, but this news doesn't bode well with my family in our decision making process.

1:45 AM  

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