January 06, 2006
AS MANY YEARS AS HE WANTS
Let's hear it for CaliValleyGirl, who lays out the perfect rant answer
to the dreaded question from non-military folks: So how many more years does he have in?
You know what? I have no idea how many more years my husband has in. Officers don't have ETS dates really, they stay until they renounce their commission. I know if my husband goes to the career course, he tacks on more time, and since he started taking tuition assistance to get his MBA, he tacked on more time for that as well. But I really have no idea when he could get out of the Army if he wanted it. Some days he fantasizes about getting out and working in the civilian world...other days he fantasizes about retiring as a lieutenant colonel. He's staying in until he doesn't want to do this job anymore.
And I too have heard the "brainwashing" thing, most notably from my German co-worker back when our friend got his torso ripped out in Mosul. Here's what I wrote back in 2004:
I printed out this article at work and mentioned to my co-workers how amazing I thought it was that LT A intends to stay in the Army despite his injuries. They retorted that he must be really brainwashed, that he wasn't "fighting for his country" but for lies, and that someday I would see just how brainwashed people like my husband really are. I had to leave the office, I was so disgusted. I can't believe someone would say that to my face, completely unprovoked. I'm proud of our friend for standing up for what he believes in; if they disagree, they can politely nod and keep their opinions to themselves, like I do all the freaking time here at work. What is wrong with these people?
My husband and I aren't looking any gift horses in the mouth: we know we've got a good thing going here. He makes great money for a 25 year old, plus we pay no rent, no utilities, and have free health care. If he can do better in the future, we'll consider it, but for now we think ourselves pretty darn lucky to have the resources we have.
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I saw Calivalleygirl's post and was hoping you would post something similar. She totally hit the nail on the head! Since we've been back in the states and have gone home to see old friends and family, we've heard that a zillion times..."how much longer do you have"...wink, wink. Most of my family still cannot understand the difference between officer and enlisted rank so they think he'll be going to the Army office at the mall to "sign-up" again soon. AHH!! It's so frustrating! When I try to explain the situation, they only hear "how much longer now?" The Army is a CAREER...like a doctor, lawyer, CPA, nurse...why can't they understand???
Thanks for your post.
Posted by: Nicole at January 06, 2006 01:55 PM (KJBDI)
Your rent, utilities, and health care are anything but FREE...you're earning them as benefits to your husband's service. I find your characterization of them quite refreshing...as I quite often find dependents bashing that they don't get enough. I challenge ANYONE to show me another company in the private sector that pays as much attention to the benefits of their members and those of their families any more than the Department of Defense. (Unfortunately, they tend to focus on the uniformed members, but that's okay. They're the ones that are risking life and limb).
You and your hubby think along the same lines I did while I was in uniform...and probably still do to some extent now that I'm out of it. I'm making a good salary, I've got decent benefits, and I'm doing something that counts!
Thank you for your service in supporting your husband and his dedication to duty!
See you both on the high ground!
Posted by: MajorDad1984 at January 07, 2006 10:05 AM (tdEnf)
This is an apology for the bad manners shown by idiots who would probably ask rude and stupid questions no matter what the topic.
I'm a leftist, and oppose the Iraq invasion, but I have three extended family members in the service, two of them lifers in the Navy and AF, and one a baby Marine on his third tour of combat duty in Iraq. And another drinking buddy is an retired SeaI. I understand and honor the need for military service (Heinlein's books shaped my thinking there). My family and friends tend to agree about the current situation, because our argument is with the politicians who misuse troops, and an uneducated public that supports bad command decisions.
If it helps any, there are just as many obnoxious comments made on the other side. I wish I had a dime for every unfeeling comment that starts with "everyone who disagrees hates America, isn't a patriot, supports the terrorists," etc.
Funny thing is, those insults usually come from someone who has never put themselves or their family members between the enemy and our beloved home. I've never had my patriotism insulted by a current or former service member. Best to you and yours.
Posted by: Michael Fountain at January 07, 2006 11:33 AM (OQP8X)
You go girl!!! I am PROUD to serve. Geez doesn't anyone get this is a VOLUNTEER Army???
Posted by: Sgt Lori at January 13, 2006 02:19 PM (DmF+F)
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