Friday, September 03, 2004

Eric Gets Mail

And Attaturk's correct, it is disturbing:

Name: Withheld

Location: Withheld

Eric,

I wanted to take this opportunity to offer an explanation on the current military practice and of cross-leveling, especially as it relates to the case of SPC Israel Rivera and Abu Ghraib

Here's what happened to him and my unit. I got caught up in the first half, but I volunteered for a second year of active duty and ended up at CENTCOM for OIF.

In OCT 2001, my battalion, the 321st Military Intelligence Battalion, was called to active duty. We shipped up to Fort Hood, TX where we sat for months waiting for something to happen. Instead, we spent a year of misery living in sub-standard housing being treated like crap by the active Army. We sent a few guys and gals to GITMO and one to Afghanistan, but were largely left out of the fight. A wasted year. The same thing happens to a similar Army Reserve unit, the 325th Military Intelligence BN at Fort Bragg. But apparently, the 325th is a really bad unit, so they have a much worse time than us. Lots of DUIs, fights, etc.

In the fall of 2002, the Army begins gearing up for Iraq, and the 325th gets called back up. This creates a huge political fall-out so when the Army goes to call us back up our unit gets "red-lined" by Rummy. He personally takes our unit off the mobilization list.

However, the Army does not have enough intelligence soldiers especially HUMINT types like interrogators and counter intelligence. This is especially true of the 325th because many of their soldiers have left the unit because of what happened before. So the Army begins looking for help. They start taking soldiers out of our unit to "cross level" to the 325th and other units.

SPC Rivera had been in basic training when all this happens. He graduates, attends one or two drills with our unit, and gets yanked to the 325th. He ends up in Iraq with a bunch of strangers.

[snip]

This is a happening all over. My unit is continually pimped for replacements. One or two here. Five or six there. Right now we're getting ready to send a conglomerate unit of about 100. What is happening is that they are taking non-intelligence soldiers like mechanics sending them to shake and bake schools and shipping them over as intelligence units. They are not taking any of the senior leadership because then they couldn't maintain the facade of not calling our unit back up.

This is not just happening to intelligence units either. The Texas National Guard is sending a Brigade over to Iraq. I know some senior leaders in the guard because of my full-time Texas Homeland Security gig. These guys are saying that they had to rob the entire Texas National Guard to field this Brigade at full strength. By the time you sort all the guys who can't deploy with all the empty seats in units, you are usually left at about 60-70% strength so they've had to take soldiers from the remaining guard units to fill the one going to Iraq. So on paper we still have three available Brigades, but the reality is that they are now hollow.

This is happening all over the Army. And we're running out of troops. I'm a perfect example. Under the current policy, I am now exempt from further mobilization because I have done two years. About 50% of my unit is getting to that point. But, the occupation goes on and on. So how long can we be benched before they have to change the policy and re-set our clocks back to zero? The rumor is that they are waiting until after the election to do so. That would mean I will be home for about a year, and then probably get called back up again because I'm an intelligence officer, an in-demand resource.

[snip]

P.S.: Have you noticed that there have been no Congressional Medals of Honor awarded for Iraq and Afghanistan? What do you bet in the next few months we see a bunch of them awarded at events where "W" can surround himself with troops before the election?


Worst. Administration. Ever.

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