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Letter home to the farm family from the new recruit in the Army

Dear Ma and Pa,

Am well. Hope you are. Tell brother Walt and brother Elmer the Army beats working for old man Minch by a mile. Tell them to join up quick before maybe all the places are filled. I was restless at first because you got to stay in bed till nearly 5 a.m., but am getting so I like to sleep late.

Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot and
shine some things -- no hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay. Practically nothing. Men got to shave, but it ain't bad, they git warm water.

Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon,
etc., but kinda weak on chops, potatoes, beef, ham, steak, fried eggplant,
pie, and regular food. But tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit between
two city boys that live on coffee. their food plus yours holds you till noon,
when you get fed again.

It ain't no wonder these city boys can't walk much. We go on "route
marches," which, the Sgt. says, are long walks to harden us. If he thinks
so, it is not my place to tell him different. A "route march" is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city guys all get sore feet and we ride
back in trucks. The country is nice, but awful flat.

The Sgt. is like a schoolteacher. He nags some. The Capt. is like the
school board. Colonels and Generals just ride around and frown. They don't bother none. This next will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep gettin medals for shootin. I don't know why. The bull's-eye is near as big as a chipmunk and don't move. And it ain't shooting back, like the Higgett boys at home. All you got to do is lay there all comfortable and hit it. You don't even load your own cartridges. They come in boxes. Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join up before other fellows get onto this setup and come stampeding in.

Yore lovin daughter,
Gail

PS. Speakin of shootin, enclosed is $200 for barn roof and ma's teeth. The
city boys shoot craps, but not very good.
 

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:rolleyes: There is some truth in this......but you gotta find it on yer own;)
 

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New Army

I watched a TV program not too long ago on Army basic training. The recruits were doing PT in shorts, t-shirts and Tennis shoes. I don't quite remember it that way - but that was Fort Polk in '70.:D
 

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Re: New Army

OldMiC said:
I watched a TV program not too long ago on Army basic training. The recruits were doing PT in shorts, t-shirts and Tennis shoes. I don't quite remember it that way - but that was Fort Polk in '70.:D
Ha, no sh(t, about that time (I am '75) the Drill told you to remove, (and fold) your jacket (shirt) ground your gear, unblouse your boots and let's go:D
 

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That sounds a lot more familiar!

And oh ya, I don't think we had "stress cards" either. You know, if things are getting to ya, you can turn in a "stress card" so they lighten up a little.

But hey, we're still the MOST POWERFUL COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, so I guess I should be thankful for that!
 

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Does anybody still remember the 8 count pushups and squat thrust PT excersize. I heard they took those away because to many recruits were complaining about back pains.
 

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Jaime said:
Does anybody still remember the 8 count pushups and squat thrust PT excersize. I heard they took those away because to many recruits were complaining about back pains.
Kinda scary huh?

The one thing the army seems to do better is marksmanship. I saw a program not too long ago (I think was was Army - could have been Marines) that showed how instructors balance an object on the front site to teach a smooth trigger pull, and they use an electronic "shooting galleries" with lasers to teach proper sight picture, etc. Pretty cool, although I can't imagine they do that everywhere.

Anyway, gotta say something positive, don't wanna "dis" those young troops hangin' it out there for us.
 

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Jaime said:
Does anybody still remember the 8 count pushups and squat thrust PT excersize. I heard they took those away because to many recruits were complaining about back pains.
....yea they did, also the run-dodge-and jump. No so much the recruits complaining but the folks in sports medicine. There were some true injuries associated with those execises.


Originally posted by OldMiC
The one thing the army seems to do better is marksmanship. I saw a program not too long ago (I think was was Army - could have been Marines) that showed how instructors balance an object on the front site to teach a smooth trigger pull, and they use an electronic "shooting galleries" with lasers to teach proper sight picture, etc. Pretty cool, although I can't imagine they do that everywhere.
......You are correct, they had to change the way of training. A lot of the kids today do not have the experience we got growing up. The majority haven't held a rifle, shotgun or handgun much less fired one. The old tricks of the trade we arrived with isn't present today. They also have environmental concerns, so they have taken ranges high tech. That's no doubt what you saw. They still hit the "real" range but not as often as we did.

But the majority of the kids adapt well, I don't think, from my experience, that we as a nation have anything to worry about. No Rambos (not many anyway) but the best damn Airmen Soldiers Sailors Marines and Coast Guard the world has seen. As long as they don't fall for the bullsh)t (IMO) Army of One crap. Team is still the key word.

Forgive the long post, but wanted to share that. Oh yeah, thank goodness I was never presented one of the infamous "Stress Cards"
:D
 

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Tennis shoes... stress cards... electronic rifles... What a bunch of crap! Yeah, we have a stronger military right now, but you can credit technology for that. The laser guided munitions, light amplification and thermal viewing, more agile and capable vehicles, fuel-air bombs, etc. All of the new generation of weapons that destroy, demoralize and shock our enemy makes it easier to accept their surrender. I can't give todays soldier all of the credit for being tough, some are but most aren't. Talk to some of the new soldiers and find out for yourself. The "Army of One" concept didn't work so they went to a new silly motto. I gave it 21 years and then after telling so many troops "If you don't like it, get out of my army" I also got to where I didn't like it anymore so I got out. But then, the Army I went through wasn't like this one, I went through basic training with a M-1 Garand, it wasn't made by Mattel. Retired in '83. Too many bad changes.

Just my .02 worth.
 

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Think it would help if they paid members of the military a living wage?

And while they're at it, anyone whose job description includes getting shot at or running into (instead of out of) burning buildings should be a six figure salary - just my .02.
 

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Nope, I don't think that's too much of a problem now. Sure, I would like to see more money in their pockets, but then I would expect a "sharper" troop as a result. Raise the standards for enlistment THEN raise the pay. I never heard toe words "reteach and retest" used too much in the Army untill towards the end of my career. The newer troops just couldn't keep up with the maintenance and operational demands of the newer hi-tech war toys.
 

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chuckfw,
I just retired in '99 and the Army/Troops you are describing is not the ones I recently left. There were dirtbags when you were in, while I was in and will be for the as long as we've got a military.

I never heard toe words "reteach and retest" used too much in the Army untill towards the end of my career.

This is how you get a competence force. The alternative is to kick them to the curb. Then what will you fight with?


The newer troops just couldn't keep up with the maintenance and operational demands of the newer hi-tech war toys.

WTF-over!?! Then who do tell, is "keeping up" and deploying that high tech sh(t now?

Pay is STILL a problem! That's why some of the folks need retraining, because after 4-8 years, the high speed guys haul a$$ for the civilian sector and a competetive salary. There is an inordinate amount of E5 and below on Public Assistance (welfare). Don't give me the "I didn't issue you a wife" crap.

Your opinion notwithstanding, we have a very intelligent, strong and dedicated military. Out of respect to those that came before me, and especially the Vietnam Veterans, I will not go into the issues of that time frame, the time frame in which you served, and the time frame which my early service was performed.
 

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Hogg831,

Yep, I fully agree that we have some damn good troops, but to think maintenance concerns of technology isn't a problem is not facing up to the issue. Deploying and first echelon "keeping up" doesn't require the advanced skills I am talking about. It's easy to reteach and retest some of the early easy skills, but the later ability of having to go it alone isn't there with the ones that require lots of repeat training. When you have the job to figure out and repair items rather than just operate them, that's the skill I am talking about. A lot of out stuff right now is repaired by contract and civilian workforce. You hit it on the button when you said the skills leave the services. They go for the bigger bucks and the softer life of civilians. Maybe we are trying to say the same thing in different ways. The same problem existed before, but then the technology explosion amplified it.

The military can't and won't try to compete with the salarys of civilian life. But, we still have Doctors, lawyers, etc. in the service that stay for the experiences, not the money. This is true in each of the jobs. The system that is being used pays more for skills and experience. The entry and lower ranks you mention perform the basic tasks and they don't have the skill level nor experience to make the bigger bucks. Most of them get their entire job training from the service. They get more money as they advance in years and experience. Specialty skills (did) have various forms of extra pay. Think of it like a electrician, they don't pay much for the lower maintenance or journeyman levels, but the master electrician does OK. Of course, that's after about ten years of experience and passing tests. Just boosting pay more won't make anyone smarter or more experienced, but it would help retain the higher skills. It also would give the lower grades more incentive to stay.

While I grant that there are some using various forms of assistance, I seriously doubt that there are very many on the welfare support that you imply. There are always some exceptions. The military does not have a history of ignoring it's people to suffer, there are many revenues of assistance and relief, to include the hardship discharge.

Oh well, I don't know about you, but I am not in a position to solve the problems. I just put my .02 in when I can.
 

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chuckfw,
I still find it difficult to agree with your assesment of maintenance of high tech gear, but I do understand your point better, and appreciate the civil response.

We do lose a lot of good soldiers (spelled future leaders) to the civilian world, but the main reason is pay. Always has and always will be. I think we agree a military career is first and foremost a mind set. The quickest way to screw with that mindset is in the pocket.

I served as a First Sergeant as an E7 and twice as an E8, I tell you from experience that there are a lot of soldiers barely getting by. I agree mostly the lower grades, but there is a sprinkle of E6 and E7 in the same boat. I understand your example of the electrician journeyman, but his responsibility doesn't even come close to that we place on junior soldiers for a lot less compensation. For your reading pleasure (I am not into the finger pointing of politics, but the source is what I considered when posting the link, although I dare say the numbers are adjusted based on whose reporting);

DoD does not keep track of individual service members receiving food stamps, but officials estimate there are currently about 5,000. Bloxom said compensation experts estimate this new allowance will remove about 500 of those from the food stamp rolls. Source article

FOOD STAMPS
There were more service members on food stamps under the Bush-Quayle Administration - when Dick Cheney was Secretary of Defense - than under the Clinton-Gore Administration.
According to Time magazine, the number of service members on food stamps dropped dramatically under this Administration: "Despite cries that the Clinton Administration has neglected America's men and women in uniform, the number of troops on food stamps is declining. In 1991, 19,400 troops received food stamps. By 1995 the number was 11,900, and by 1998 only 6,300 of the 1.4 million Americans in uniform were on food stamps. Even after accounting for the shrinking military, the number of troops receiving such aid has slid from 0.9% to 0.45% over the past decade. (About 8% of Americans are on food stamps.) The Pentagon predicts that scheduled pay increases for troops will by 2005 trim the total military personnel on food stamps to 4,000." [Time, 5/8/00; emphasis added]
Source article
 
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