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Old 06-13-2009, 10:28   #19
The Reaper
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Free Pineland
Posts: 24,496
Guys, this is not a Johnson measuring contest. And clearly, no one joins SF just for the money.

I came into the Force after Vietnam, but was trained by the men who served there. They were pros, and most were very good at what they did. When they came in, we had an Army largely composed of draftees, and compensation was low. SF was caught in this. I suspect that many SF guys did one tour in Vietnam and got out. Others served multiple tours over a war that lasted from 1961-1975. SF was there for more than a decade. But by the time Vietnam was winding down, the Army was in the midst of a very bad period in our history, and I did serve during that period.

Flash forward over several wars of shorter duration and consider that we are on the 13th rotation to Afghanistan since October 2001, and almost that many to Iraq.

In Afghanistan, that is 13 seven month tours, split primarily between 3rd and 7th, with NG augmentation.

Those troops are home for at most, five months out of the year, pretty much every year that they are in Group.

Some now have been gone to the combat zones for more than 48 months since this started, and no end is in sight.

Some spouses can handle that kind of deployment schedule. Many cannot. One thing that can help is a little extra money to help make sure that the family is living well during the deployments.

There are a lot of opportunities on the outside, paying significantly more than the Army offers. Spouses know this as well.

Guys also sometimes feel that the leadership does not value them or is not looking out for their best interest. As Bas noted, burying friends is bad. Burying friends who died needlessly is worse by far. I think that we lose a lot of people right here, and money may, or may not make a difference.

Last, I think we attract a number of people, largely under the 18X program, who want to see if they can become SF and serve in combat with us. Once that is accomplished, they only have a few years of an initial entry contract to serve, and after a couple of tours in the Box, the rest are going to pretty much look the same. Nothing left to prove, why stay? Some of these guys may be tempted by the money, or the cameraderie, or the opportunity to try out for other Spec Ops units, to try and measure up to their standards. Others have different plans, and will leave regardless. That seems to me to be much like the mindset of the guy who does not want to die saying, "Well, I could have done that if I wanted to."

Whatever the motivations, people are leaving, and incentives have to be found to retain the good SF soldiers, or the future of the Force will be dim. Smart people are trying to figure out how to recruit the candidates that we are looking for, get them trained to standards, man the Force adequately, and retain sufficient numbers to keep the units operationally sound. The latter is the reason for the bonuses and extra pays.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - President Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

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