Wearing Out America’s Warriors – by Ralph Peters
Wearing Out America’s Warriors
Last Updated: 5:08 AM, October 16, 2009
THANKS to a mix of patriotism and high unemployment, every one of our military services exceeded its recruiting goals for fiscal year 2009.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that, after eight years of indecisive war and ravaged personal lives, the Army’s losing the experienced officers and NCOs it needs to train and lead those new recruits.
The Army’s tough. But after years of voices crying wolf for political purposes, there’s real trouble looming on the personnel front. I joined a broken Army after Vietnam. I don’t want to see an Army resembling that one again.
Yes, we have volunteers today and Vietnam was fought with a draft. But Nam was one year in-country and a Freedom-Bird flight home (in WWII, most soldiers served less than a year in a combat zone). Only a hard core of career officers and NCOs served repeated tours — and they had more time between deployments than today’s leaders.
They were the men who stayed in uniform to repair the damage. Had we lost them, we wouldn’t have had the Army that won Desert Storm.
With no end in sight and an indecisive government unwilling to make tough choices, we’re in danger of burning out our best — the men and women we’ll need for tomorrow’s wars.
A new RAND Corp. study, obtained in draft by Government Executive Magazine, runs the numbers: The Army has already logged more than 1 million “troop years” in Iraq and Afghanistan (equivalent to one soldier deployed for a year a million times).