I heard a few weeks back that US Army people in the last year of enlistment were being asked if they intended to re-enlist. Those who said “no” were immediately shipped out to Iraq. That’s a really dramatic claim, and that’s why I didn’t start this thread until after the election.
The various forms of “back-door draft” have stirred up some bad feelings among military folks. (That is, extending the length of soldiers’ tours in Iraq, even past the end of a soldier’s service committment.) This new story seems more outrageous yet.
Is it true? Have our military folks heard of it, or is it just an urban legend?
I don’t think this has changed since I was in but the service comittment is ultimately six years even if you don’t intend to serve on active duty that long. I’m not saying it isn’t a shit deal but it is the reality of an enlistment. If anyone is being forced to stay beyond a six year comittment that is a different matter.
My experience was that if you did not re-up or extend they would send you someplace you really didn’t want to go.
Also, if you are deployed when your time is up… too bad… you finish your deployment. In fact, I think ( maybe a current military doper will know for sure ) that if we get involved in a declared war your enlistment is automatically extended “for the duration”.
The military is its own world and if you signed the contract you have no one to blame but yourself.
There are all sorts of things like this. The standard officer commitment out of ROTC is 4 years, but the standard assignment is 3 years long and extending to a four-year tour on your first job is tough, because it “looks bad on your record” that you didn’t try a second assignment. Why not just go ahead, try that second assignment for your last year? Because traveling to a new duty station – whether you accept Federal compensation for your moving expenses! – incurs a two-year commitment (so you’re up to five). In that two-year span, you can be promoted to Captain (which you may not decline, to my knowledge); in some branches of the service, that incurs a two-year commutment (six!). That’s the worst it can get for officers, realistically – the only other bad situation to be in is to have 18 years of service and be up for reassignment. At 20 years, you earn your retirement and can quit free and clear, but they know that as well as you do! They pick something they need to fill – like polishing satellite receiver dishes in Svalbard Norway – and you can either suck it up and take the assignment, or quit the service and not get your retirement package. Realistically, this doesn’t happen; if they wanted to screw you that badly they’d have done it back when you were a major with 14.
Jurph - The committment after ROTC when I went through was EIGHT years, minimum four Active Duty. Pilots had a longer Active Duty committment. The condition referred to in the highly political slanted term “backdoor draft” is properly called “Stop-Loss”. It is a restriction on leaving the service during a overseas deployment, and for 90 days after the return to CONUS (Continental United States). It is nothing new, and was used in the first Gulf War as well, with very little outcry.
Can someone explain to me, then, what exactly people are so upset about? I don’t know much about the details of military service, but I don’t quite understand why people are upset if the Individual Ready Reserve is being called back. What are the different ways they’re using to extend people’s deployments? And am I missing something, or are people just upset because they had hoped not to have to fulfill all of their contract?
The IRR is supposed to be used in the event of a national emergency. People disagree about whether the war in Iraq constitutes such an emergency. Part of the “implied” contract between the soldier and the government is that the government will not abuse its power to raise and maintain armed forces.
It is this mindset that really drives home how important it is that the rest of us do what we can to be sure that our military is treated fairly and is justly compensated.
I disagree with this particular war, but isn’t rather daft to think that we just don’t need a military? Or is it that we do need a military, but only dummies who don’t know what their getting themselves into need apply.
My fiance’ shares your sentiment “Well, they shouldn’t have joined the military then!” and it just sticks in my craw.
Why can’t we be grateful that we still have people who are WILLING to protect us, rather than belittling their decision and dismissing their unfair treatment with statements like, “That’s their fault for joining up.”
To answer the OP, I don’t have an official answer, but when my roomate decided against re-enlistment, they sent her off to Kuwait (in August of '02) for few months past the date she was initially supposed to be discharged.
My cousin says this happened to him during Desert Storm. He was a Navy corpsman attached to a Marine unit in Okinawa. When his contract was nearing it’s end, he was told that if he re-upped, he would remain in Okinawa with his current unit (and close to his girlfriend), but that if he chose to excercise his option to leave, a stop-loss order would apply and he would be shipped straight to the Gulf.
He signed another contract and stayed put.
I have no way of verifying if he was really coerced or the language that was used. For him, it wasn’t too bad because he had NOTHING to come home to.
The current IRR conflict, sadly, just illustrates that people don’t know what the Reserves, National Guard, etc., are “for”. On either side. Some argue that the reserves and guard should only be called up in dire emergency, or if the US itself is directly threatened (i.e., invasion imminent). Others argue that the reserve and guard provide a way for the military to increase its active duty troops for a short period without having to make fundamental changes (i.e., the guard and reserves are a sort of rainy day fund to be used during conflicts, which allows the active duty military to be maintained at a lower level in peacetime and return to that level after a conflict is over, without having to seek and train new recruits–or the congressional approval to increase troop strength). Still others feel that the guard and reserves provide a check on military adventurism, since the hardship caused by activating these units should create a deterrent to unnecessary military action that sending active-duty soldiers–who are already one or more degrees removed from civilian life–does not.
Seems to me it’s something we should all figure out.