Good news and Bad news
The good/bad News!
The good news: I am not going to Afghanistan any more.
The bad news: I am not going to Afghanistan any more.
The Good News: The official term is “De-Ramped/De-Mobed”. The short and sweet is that the Army decided that it did not want me. So my orders have been ended (they had verbiage that said “activated for 400 days unless extended or reduced.”) and i’ve been sent home.
The Bad News: I’ve been sent home and did not get deployed.
As with most things in life, the good things and bad things often are the same. Just Point of View out looks.
The good side is that i’m not going to be part of a retrograde operation in a hostile combat zone with an ascending level of violence and decreasing levels of Security Forces. The US is removing security forces at a very fast rate and turning areas over to the Afghanistan Nationals. The result is in the back pages of the news: increased attacks on US forces, increased attacks on pro-US government forces, growth in the Taliban and Al-Quieda groups.
Retrograde (removal, with draw, retreat under fire) operations are the hardest and most dangerous. You are pulling back from an area, reducing the number of people in the area. At some point the number of good guys gets lower than the number of bad guys and the bad guys often choose to attack then. As you pull back you turn over more area to the other side and increase the area they have to hide/move in. While at the same time reduce your area to move/hide in.
But i’m not going to be part of that. I will be back here in the US where 99% of the nation has forgotten about the war and would be happy to see the military gutted personal wise (but lets keep those over priced equipment deals going, cough, F-35 cough).
But I will get to be with the family. I’ll be home and with my wife and kids.
The bad is that I could have gone over but due to a series of events at the Pre-Mob site, I was pulled off the mission. (I was not the only one, but i’m the one responsible for my choices and low ratings in training.) This means that I’m not going to be getting paid as an E-8 full time on Active Duty. I will be going back to my civilian job, which pays far less than the Army. (about 45% of what the Army paid) To make the difference I’ll need to pick up a lot of Over Time.
I will also lose my “single payer” health care and go back to our old health care. it won’t be much change other than I get to start paying for it again. (Officially it will go from $0 a month to $300 a month a 300% increase.)
Prior to being mobilized, we incurred some extra expenses that we expected to cover with the 60%ish pay raise over the year deployment. This depleted our savings and we have not fully refilled it yet. So that is going to take a long time to do now. (and a lot of OT)
We also had a lot of “plans” (nice words for dreams and visions of lots of money) for when I got home in October 2014. All those timelines have to be scrapped. (not given up, just not going to happen in November 2014) It will mean a lot of cutbacks on spending.
I also have to find a new unit for my remaining Army Reserve time. Officially i’m still assigned to the unit in Parkersburg. “just” a five hour one way drive. (as opposed to Wheeling which is six and half). Now I hope to find some place that will take me, an E-8 who has never deployed, that is with in 70 miles of the house in Louisville for the remaining time I’m in.
How long will I be in the Army Reserves? The max i’m allowed is 10 more years. However, starting 2014, my records will be reviewed annually and the Army will decide if they still need me or if it would be better to make me retire to open a space for someone new/younger. I’m not going to get promoted, not now that I did not deploy. Being this high up in rank and no deployment is not a good thing. People question how did you manage not to deploy when your career includes: Panama, Desert Storm, Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan? They immediately question where you have been ‘hiding’. And when you consider that many have deployed multiple times in the last ten years…Yeah, promotion is not likely, staying in is going to be a fight.
But back to the good news: I’m home with my family, and they love me still.