Just spoke to my father about my military future.

General Discussions for all members.

Moderator: Site Admin

Post Reply
UntamedAn1mal
Embryo
Posts: 12
Joined: April 27th, 2011, 12:27 pm

Just spoke to my father about my military future.

Post by UntamedAn1mal »

He told me one of his biggest regrets is not serving in the Army.

I said "Why not?"

He said "Because I'd of been good at it"

He's roughly 51 now, it's too bad he couldn't consider the Reserves because of his age.

ZoneIV
Ranger
Posts: 1315
Joined: August 28th, 2009, 7:24 am
Location: Virginia

Re: Just spoke to my father about my military future.

Post by ZoneIV »

Time passing and the reality of the current can greatly cloud the hard realities of the past and can skew one's "couldas, shouldas, wouldas". I am the same age as your father and I suspect the choices your father made all those years ago would probably be the same if the circumstances of the past were the same today.

The public perception of the military back in the late 70s and early 80s as well as the military itself was far different in that era then it is today. While service wasn't denigrated like the Vietnam era, it certainly was not embraced and respected by civilians like it is today. It was thought that if someone served, it was because he couldn't find anything better to do.

I grew up living next to an Army Installation. There wasn't really any admiration for the "GIs" around town. They were thought of being a nuisance. The young GIs would try to come to parties that they weren't invited (we could drink beer at 18 back then) and they ended up physically being shown the door.

While I was one least expected to take this route (long hair, etc), I went to a Military College (family tradition) and when I was out and about in public, it was perceived that I was in the military because of the short haircut. The ONLY people back then who wore their hair that short was military unlike today. The chicks in college bars back then didn't flock to men they thought were in the military. In fact, they were usually replused in the opposite direction ("oh no....here comes some GIs"). Knowing that I was going to serve after college didn't do much for long term relationships because the majority of gals didn't want to be a "Military Wife" as if it was some type of second class citizen. This is just a peek of the pure civilian side as I saw it back then. Of course there would be gals who hung out at military bars, Officer/NCO Clubs, etc. but they were commonly thought of as being tramps regardless of what the truth was.

Back then the Army was not as choosy as they are today when it came to who they would allow to enlist. The military just wanted and needed bodies and would almost take all people who were physically able. One example is that I had soldiers who took courses during the week known as BSEP (Basic Skills Education Program) so they could earn their GED and they had problems getting through these courses. I had some soldiers who weren't the brightest candles in the window but they could do their jobs and do them well. This is why I have a problem with education level being of such great importance when it comes to enlisting in the Army. There were plenty of Soldiers who had education but that did not mean they made good soldiers.

I have only heard stories about the 70s from those people who were there and these stories led me to believe that this was not a great time when it came to our Military with race, drug, discipline and morale problems that were out of control. It took a while for the US Army to repair itself and regain any credibility post Vietnam whether it was Worldwide opinion or the opinion of our own country. President Ronald Reagan was the first person in a long time that instilled pride of being an American once again. The military once again had pride in itself even though the rest of the country didn't share this pride back then.

I remember being in a Foreign Country on a military installation at a Fourth of July celebration in the early 80s and they started playing Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA". It was shortly after the song first came out. All the soldiers there started to sing along and this spectacle truly moved me. The sense of patriotism and pride in that beer hall was overwhelming and unlike anything I have ever seen. Being in a foreign country just magnified the situation but the same pride and patriotism was not shared by the average US Citizen back in the US. It wasn't until Desert Storm that civilians took notice of the military and started to appreciate them. The talk of "supporting soldiers" was non-existent back in the early 80s. The other day in a Hardee's drive-thru, I was hit up if I would like to give a donation "to support our troops". Things like this was unheard of back then. The only "support" soldiers got back then was from each other. It was a different era.

This is how it was back when your father could have made the decision to serve or not. It is easy to say things now because the reality of the situation back then is either unknown or forgotten.

Would I want to roll back the clock to the early 80s and serve again. Nope. I have been there and done that. I know how it was like and have no romantic notions of the era. On the other hand, do I wish I was 20-25 years younger so I can serve today? You can bet your life on that and I suspect many FOGs on here would say the same thing.

Well enough of my history lesson. The bottom line is no one knows how good they can be or could have been in the Army unless they have done it. How many Option 40 soldiers go in with the notion that nothing will keep them from getting in the Regiment but the ultimately quit? A person can not know until they are tested. Whether it is going through RASP and serving in one the Battalions or going through Ranger School, an individual is tested in ways that they cannot even imagine and one saying they could have done either is blind to the realities of both. As it is often said on here, talk is cheap until you have actually been tested.
RS Class 8-83
US Army 82-89
User avatar
Mingo Kane
Ranger
Posts: 202
Joined: May 4th, 2011, 1:25 pm
Location: Western Virginia

Re: Just spoke to my father about my military future.

Post by Mingo Kane »

Zone, that is the finest answer about this subject posted on this board, and as we both are of the same age or close to it...I fully concur and appreciate the eloquent way you put these sentiments into words.

Out-Fucking-Standing

Mingo
B Co. 1st/75th 1983-86
Mentor to JTEL1
User avatar
Jim
Rest In Peace Ranger
Posts: 21935
Joined: March 8th, 2005, 10:48 am
Location: Northern Virginia

Re: Just spoke to my father about my military future.

Post by Jim »

Zone, I could not have said it better. We had good troopers in the 2-508th, but I was challenged when I was the Support Platoon Leader in 2-13th (first at vicksburg, last in Mannheim). Yeah, it was a challenge, but we tried to instill good order and discipline into our soldiers. It took many years to get us back to where we should have been all along. I thought the Army in Desert Storm was great; but today's troops are a great leap forward.
Ranger Class 13-71
Advisor, VN 66-68 69-70
42d Vn Ranger Battalion 1969-1970
Trainer, El Salvador 86-87
Advisor, Saudi Arabian National Guard 91, 93-94
75th RRA Life Member #867
ZoneIV
Ranger
Posts: 1315
Joined: August 28th, 2009, 7:24 am
Location: Virginia

Re: Just spoke to my father about my military future.

Post by ZoneIV »

Jim....I have no doubt that today's soldiers are the finest and best trained soldiers this country has ever seen.
RS Class 8-83
US Army 82-89
UntamedAn1mal
Embryo
Posts: 12
Joined: April 27th, 2011, 12:27 pm

Re: Just spoke to my father about my military future.

Post by UntamedAn1mal »

Rangers,
I honestly have no idea why he didn't serve, he said at first he planned on being a Marine (Despite coming from a lineage of ARMY) but *what he told me* was when the Marine Recruiters came to his home his mom kicked them out and said "he ain't joining no military".

Or something like that, lol.

I don't know, he was more into the weight lifting era in his time.

I think there are more than said about why he didn't want to join the military. He supports my brother (Airborne Infantry) 110%.

I wonder if he could try and get into the Army Reserves at 51 (Soon to be 52)? I *THINK* the French Foreign Legion allows up to sixty, and the Canadian Territorial Forces allow up to fifty-eight.

(But he is too Patriotic to serve some other nation, damn straight). I would hope the Reserves goes up to 54+.
UntamedAn1mal
Embryo
Posts: 12
Joined: April 27th, 2011, 12:27 pm

Re: Just spoke to my father about my military future.

Post by UntamedAn1mal »

Ranger ZoneVI,

I also would like to say I read your post and it was very realistic.

I'm glad I'm in this generation, after what you told me about the 1980's.
User avatar
antmcg79
Ranger
Posts: 74
Joined: November 9th, 2010, 1:50 pm
Location: Columbus, GA
Contact:

Just spoke to my father about my military future.

Post by antmcg79 »

ZoneIV wrote:Jim....I have no doubt that today's soldiers are the finest and best trained soldiers this country has ever seen.
Ranger Zone, I'll roger that last statement and add that they're getting better everyday. Better resources and equipment, and better ways of utilizing them given the Army's firm belief in, and pursuit of advancement of our Nation's warriors through technology.

I also wanted to agree one the subject of education vs. Soldiering aptitude. While I believe there needs to be a standard for entry, I think it needs to be assessed differently. I have a major disagreement with the Army awarding college grads with SPC. Just because some guy took a bunch of classes classes in between drinking and chasing tail doesn't mean he could ruck, fire his weapon, or even fill out a range card better than a HS grad like me. He certainly doesn't deserve any more respect from the E-nothing privates with the same TIS.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
"Vets need other Vets; Just as much as Alcoholics need Booze. Sometimes they need the Booze as well."

Class 10/02 -- "Mountains so much fun, decided to do it twice."
1-508 Recon 98-00
2-3 INF Recon 00-01
Eco51st LRS 01-03
2-22 Inf (Recon PLT) 04-06
RSLC Instructor 07-08
User avatar
Bushwack
US Army Veteran - Ranger Parent
Posts: 174
Joined: October 4th, 2005, 11:38 am
Location: PA

Re: Just spoke to my father about my military future.

Post by Bushwack »

"I have only heard stories about the 70s from those people who were there and these stories led me to believe that this was not a great time when it came to our Military with race, drug, discipline and morale problems that were out of control. It took a while for the US Army to repair itself and regain any credibility post Vietnam whether it was Worldwide opinion or the opinion of our own country."

ZoneIV, No one could have said it better! My first enlistment was from '76 to '79, stationed in Germany. My unit (B5/6 ADA) had it all; Drugs not just weed but heroin! Race relations were a joke, which led to disipline issues or visa-a-versa, then on to low morale. Thank you to all the now FOGs that stayed in the Army to fix it! By '84 I had enough and got out.
SP6/SSG, B 5/6 ADA 76-79; 95th Svc Co 80-82; 523 Maint. Co. 82-84
Proud of him and those like him.
ZoneIV
Ranger
Posts: 1315
Joined: August 28th, 2009, 7:24 am
Location: Virginia

Re: Just spoke to my father about my military future.

Post by ZoneIV »

antmcg79 wrote:Better resources and equipment, and better ways of utilizing them given the Army's firm belief in, and pursuit of advancement of our Nation's warriors through technology.
antmcg79....it appears that the bulk of your service was post 9/11. Because of this event, the faucet of "money" was opened wide. It was political suicide to vote against military appropriations because it could be spun by opponents (Left or Right) that you didn't "support the troops". Money was spent to increase the survivability of our soldiers who were fighting. Who on earth could vote against that? Unfortunately the day of reckoning is not too far off and I suspect the spicket will be turned down to a slow drip.

Back in the 80s, President Reagan spent a lot of money on the military. New weapon systems were developed and fielded. From my myoptic viewpoint of a young LT who was at company/battalion/brigage levels, "money" didn't seem to be a problem. Training was not affected (we always had plenty of fuel and bullets) nor was our mission affected. We got everything in that we ordered. While I don't know about the rest of the Army, we had it pretty good in Germany. Then one day, the Cold War ended, the Berlin Wall fell and Western and Eastern Europe started to sing "Kum By Ya". The very next thing that happened was deep military budget cuts and downsizing. It was perceived that since the Russians were no longer a factor, there was a lessor need for a strong military.

In the later 80s, training got affected to the point there wasn't fuel to roll out the gates to train and there was less ammunition to shoot. There were less repair parts to maintain equipment. This affected Mech Infantry and Armor units greatly. JeepEXs would replace a Company Commander taking out his company of Tanks or Bradleys for training. You would pretend the jeep was a Tank or Bradley. It got to the point that units were only allowed a set number of any given repair part and one piece over that number had to be turned in. It got so silly that there were inspections of motorpools with every conex opened to ensure that a unit did not have even have an extra nut or bolt then they weren't authorized. One of the Asst. Division Commanders oversaw this process within 2nd AD at Ft. Hood. Before all this, a Mech Inf PSG or an Armor PSG was not doing his job if he didn't squirrel away some spare parts he found laying around the motorpool. This is what I saw while I was a Captain who worked at Battalion/Brigade/Division Support level. This among other things led me to get out in 89 to the surprise of my Subordinates, Peers and Superiors. I decided I simply was not having fun any longer. LIttle did I know that Desert Storm would be a year later. Desert Storm temporarily halted the deactivation of entire Divisions when it came around just like 9/11 did.

While the money has been plentiful for the military over the last 10 years, do not be surprise if history repeats itself. The bad guy was just killed. There will be noise on both sides of the political aisle to withdraw and I suspect there will be deep military budget cuts not too far in the future. Downsizing and reduction of money goes back throughout military history and we will be caught short once again when the next event happens.
RS Class 8-83
US Army 82-89
User avatar
Jim
Rest In Peace Ranger
Posts: 21935
Joined: March 8th, 2005, 10:48 am
Location: Northern Virginia

Re: Just spoke to my father about my military future.

Post by Jim »

ZoneIV wrote: There will be noise on both sides of the political aisle to withdraw and I suspect there will be deep military budget cuts not too far in the future. Downsizing and reduction of money goes back throughout military history and we will be caught short once again when the next event happens.
Amen, brother. Look for this to begin within a few months. Once the presence in Iraq / A-stan are reduced, expect majior reductions within Army.
Ranger Class 13-71
Advisor, VN 66-68 69-70
42d Vn Ranger Battalion 1969-1970
Trainer, El Salvador 86-87
Advisor, Saudi Arabian National Guard 91, 93-94
75th RRA Life Member #867
CloakAndDagger
US Army Veteran
Posts: 377
Joined: July 19th, 2004, 8:37 pm
Location: too close to Seattle

Re: Just spoke to my father about my military future.

Post by CloakAndDagger »

ZoneIV wrote:In the later 80s, training got affected to the point there wasn't fuel to roll out the gates to train and there was less ammunition to shoot.
It was also bad in the mid to late 90's during the Clinton administration. In late Fiscal Year '98, Ft. Jackson even ran out of money for ammo (and the ammo, too) for Basic Training. The soldiers I went to AIT with who had just come from Ft. Jackson never got a chance to qualify on their weapon. :shock: (I went to Ft. Leonard Wood, and while we did qualify, there was a lot of, "errr... good enough... you're done," coming from the drill sergeants at the zero and pre-qual ranges.)

The newest budget crunch has already started, but it's hitting the civilian DoD workforce first. The last 3 of 5 retirees (and one transfer) in my office have not been replaced, and I even found an old office phonelist from just 8 years ago that is about twice as long as the current one.
Zarcero
Ranger
Posts: 46
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 7:46 am
Location: Texas

Re: Just spoke to my father about my military future.

Post by Zarcero »

ZoneIV wrote:...The public perception of the military back in the late 70s and early 80s as well as the military itself was far different in that era then it is today. While service wasn't denigrated like the Vietnam era, it certainly was not embraced and respected by civilians like it is today...
I think your post was great. However, I disagree with the above excerpt. The "embrace and respect" of today that you cite above I find to be very shallow by today's civilians. The "appreciation" tends to be condescending, which personally I find more insulting than what I experienced in the late 70's and early 80's.
Ranger Class 4-81 (White Thread)
Active Duty Army 80-85
Army Reserve 85-93
News Flash! After all these decades, come to find I'm not a real Ranger, but only "qualified."
ZoneIV
Ranger
Posts: 1315
Joined: August 28th, 2009, 7:24 am
Location: Virginia

Re: Just spoke to my father about my military future.

Post by ZoneIV »

Zarcero wrote:
ZoneIV wrote:...The public perception of the military back in the late 70s and early 80s as well as the military itself was far different in that era then it is today. While service wasn't denigrated like the Vietnam era, it certainly was not embraced and respected by civilians like it is today...
I think your post was great. However, I disagree with the above excerpt. The "embrace and respect" of today that you cite above I find to be very shallow by today's civilians. The "appreciation" tends to be condescending, which personally I find more insulting than what I experienced in the late 70's and early 80's.
I cannot disagree with what you have said. It has been 10 years and perhaps what I said has waned but don't you think at one time the support by the masses was very genuine? The popularity of the military was so great, it was used to sell cars....remember the Ford Mustang commercial about the soldier who just got home and shared a moment with his Veteran father? This was highly calculated by Madison Avenue because of the "popularity" of the military. The popularity of the military was used in Congress. The left was afraid to vote against anything that remotely signaled "non-support for the troops". A lot of people would have "I support the troops" bumper stickers but really did nothing other then buy the bumper sticker. It was the cool and fashionable thing to do. This popularity led to fradulant charities set up that took advantage of this "popularity" and posers came out of the woodwork getting all kinds of benefits from their community.

All this said, there was a lot of good that has happened such as the "Wounded Warriors Project", etc. I have heard stories of soldiers being shocked how total strangers would pick up their tab in a restaurant, etc. I know at one time there were a lot of greatly reduced offers whether it was restaurants, hotels, etc. that soldiers could take advantage of.

I am about as cynical as one can be. I have rolled my eyes at some of the superficial acts of "Supporting the Troops" and while there is some bad, there was also a lot of good will towards the soldiers which really hasn't been seen before but like most things, it is already waning. That is not unexpected. It is still better than the viewpoint of the military in the 80s and exponentially better then how our 'Nam Vets were treated when they came home.
RS Class 8-83
US Army 82-89
Post Reply

Return to “The Mosh Pit”