Mil - Clinton expected to call up Nat'l Guard Troops : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Well now the all great power hungry Commander in Chief is really doing it. Was on CNBC as well as local stations that Clinton is going to call up "30000 or more National Guardsmen and reservists" mostly pilots and refueling specialists. The order to be signed sometime today with the call up to take place next week. The call up according to CNBC will last until the "crisis" is over. Guess I better get on with my shotting practice as this sounds like I could be spending Y2K by myself. Whooppee. anyone else affected?

-- Valkyrie (, April 16, 1999


Nor until the king reinstates the draft.

Which everyone in Washington off the record is saying is an inevitability in the next several weeks.

It's coming. Mark my word.

-- INVAR (, April 16, 1999.

Would some knowledgeable person PLEASE state the exact ages and "eligibility" factors for the Draft?

If you don't know about this time, what was it for the Vietnam War? What does the Constitution say? All men ages 17-45? Are women included now? Non-married men first? How does it work?

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-- Leska (, April 16, 1999.

Leska -

Draftable age was 18 to 35 I believe, but upper limit was never really enforced and if I remember correctly, once you are on their list as all men are, you are on their list until 65. Anyway, requirement was to sign up on 18th birthday with the Local Draft board. correct me if I am wrong, but I think guys still have to register by 18th birthday, but there is no actual active draft at this time. During Nam, what you were doing often had an affect on whether you were called up. University students and teachers rarely were called nor were police, Dr.'s and most medical workers. Most everyone else were fair game. Oh, and they had exemptions for people who had family members KIA over there or in cases where there was only one son. Can't remember them all. Some of the guys might remember. It was not a fun time - I thought I was done with that but guess it is not to be - waiting and guessing gets real old real fast.

-- Valkyrie (, April 16, 1999.

Valkyrie, thank you so much! Some facts finally! Draft talk makes me nervous, especially when I don't know any related details or history. With women in military, who knows if they'll be drafted too? Maybe Diane can find a URL Link that details the Draft in simple language.

Men up to age 35? That sounds a little better than 45. Not that it sounds good for *anybody*! Surprised we haven't seen more posts about this by Yourdynamite males age @ 18-35. Maybe they do not realize how close it is coming. Wasn't the last Draft some type of Lottery? I very vaguely remember something about birthdays and numbers, and my brother waiting anxiously listening to the radio, then celebrating because his number was "OK." I was too young to pay attention, and he has passed away, so I can't ask him now.

Any further elucidations on the Draft here would be most appreciated :-)

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-- Leska (, April 16, 1999.

I'm OK - I just "won" a Rhodes Scholarship - I will spend next year raping girls in Oxford and "liaising" with my Moscow and Berlin Comrades.


Write a begging letter to your ROTC Officer - works a treat.

-- Andy (, April 16, 1999.


According to my husband who was drafted to Marines in Nam... 18-26 is first age slot. Students deferments are available but as war heated up he got shipped out though he was in college.

My father also had student deferment during WWII but still got shipped out when was heated up about a semester or 2 later. Some of his friends had joined Navy ROTC in college and got to stay out of it for a little longer ( few months).

My mother is wanting my nephew (19) in college to join ROTC to avoid draft if it comes to that. It's going to be real wakeup call to MTV generation if (when) they institute draft. I agree with INVAR and think it's inevitable. Maybe then the public will wakeup. But I'm not holding my breath.

Nam - deja vu - yep - messed up a whole generation of men.

War sucks.

-- (, April 16, 1999.


Just make sure you write a manifesto to General Shelton about how you "loathe" the military and will refuse to support this "illegal action" in Eastern Europe.

Then catch a plane to Moscow and Belgrade. Make sure you have plenty of paint and signboard.

You'll probably get to be president someday.


Folk won't wake up until body bags start shipping home with the sons of middle-class soccer moms. For now, the propaganda campaign by this administration and NATO has the apathetic American populace believing that we're stopping another Hitler in Europe.

Funny, when you consider that we've got one right here leading us to our doom.

Nope. The sheople will wake up as the annihilation is about to consume them. And then of course you know what time that is.

Too late.

-- INVAR (, April 16, 1999.

Everything you need to know about registering for the draft and how the draft lottery works. Dafny

-- dafny (, April 16, 1999.

My son in law spent five years in the army. He has been out for for two or three. Where would he be in the scheme of things?

-- Linda A. (, April 16, 1999.


Care to make a wager about the draft being reinstated? There is not one iota of a chance that the draft will come back. The entire country of Yugoslavia could be overrun and obliterated with probably 10% of our existing armed forces.

-- RMS (, April 16, 1999.

Those who're concerned about the draft and the Selective Service System:

If you go to your public library and ask in the reference department, yu can probably find the current Selective Service rules and regulations. If you want to know the ins and outs of draft classifications, deferments, and procedures, that's one source you definitely want. Of course, it's written in governmentese, and you also ought to get info from non-governmental sources for balance.

I had draft number 2 in the December 1969 drawing during my junior college year. Won $25 or so from our student house pot for that.

-- No Spam Please (, April 16, 1999.

Texan & Dafny, THANK YOU !!
Dafny, that link is great, answered all my questions:

Who Must Register

What Happens in a Draft

I clicked on & studied the links. Looks like the target age is 20, then 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 if/as needed. There is a section called 'How the Draft has Changed Since Vietnam' which explains some "improvements." After reading all this I have a much better handle on what the Draft is. Thanks!

Another thing I noticed is the system is already set up and ready to go ...

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-- Leska (, April 16, 1999.


Or is it Y2K kid? You obviously know zip about the military history of the Balkans or the force strength of the US. They tied up 6 - 8 divisions of Hitler's finest, and remember, the Germans had no qualms about "collateral" damage. IF we stripped Europe AND the Far East ground force commands we MIGHT be able to occupy Kosovo.

-- RD. ->H (, April 16, 1999.

Well guys, Kato just called me from work to tell me that the billing clerk's son, who is an E-5 Artillery Specialist in the National Guard, was called to active duty this morning (here in Illinois). His buddy who is a medic, was called up a couple weeks ago.

Kato doesn't think it will go to ground troops, I am not as confident. Deborah

P.S. No, I can't prove it so don't bother to flame me.

-- Deborah (, April 16, 1999.

Wasn't there an incident somewhere in history where the ruler sent the military off to war (and some hurculean task) so that he could work his schemes at home without fear of their interference?

-- Hardliner (, April 16, 1999.

Yeah but Hardliner,

The people forgot history. History don't matter no more when the Dow's at 10,500 and the king feels our pain.

RMS (Y2K Pro), You're a dolt that doesn't understand or remember history. Go back and re-read what RD posted.

General Sheldon disagrees with you BTW about our ability to wage a ground war with our current troop strengths as testified to in Senate Armed Services Committe yesterday. We already HAVE more than 10% of our armed forces over there you infantile twit, and Yugoslavia shows no sign of surrender.


-- INVAR (, April 16, 1999.

Ancient history, but...

King David sent the Israelite army and its leader, Uriah, off to battle so that he could spend lots of quality time with Uriah's wife, Bathsheba. He then arranged for Uriah to be killed in battle. There were serious consequences...

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), April 16, 1999.

"30000 or more National Guardsmen and reservists" mostly pilots and refueling specialists.

30,000 troops for planes & fueling? Yah, right.(sarcasm) How many planes do we have over there?

Sounds like alot of pilots and refuelers to me.

Can you say ground troops?

-- Deborah (, April 16, 1999.

When Desert Storm started, I was quite concerned about the draft being reinstated as I had an 18 and 19 yr old at the time. They and their friends wouldn't believe me that a draft was possible. Before long, the 18 yr old (born in 1971) recieved a post card from the draft board just confirming his address etc. I was horrified and certain that it meant he would be drafted.....everyone laughed at me......

The 19 yr old didn't get one, and neither did any of the friends who were all 19.

A month or so after the war was over I read in the Orange County Register (California) an article interviewing some military guy ...... he said that they had had a draft plan in place and the first inductees could have been called up in 24 HOURS had the order come. The first ones to have been called would be the boys born in 1971. He was asked why that particular year, but I forget exactly what his answer was.

Coincidently, I have an 18 yr old now too...born 1980. No postcard yet....

-- Sheila (, April 16, 1999.

Deborah -

You probably haven't spent much time around the military. When you talk about sending a single plane over there, you must think of the logistics behind that one plane and what it takes to keep it in the air. You need mechanics for the engines and the flight systems and someone to manage the spare parts. Then you need someone to load the armaments and check them out and someone to feed them all and take care of them medically. You need people to set up their housing and latrines. Multiply that ad infinitum times the number of planes and crews to fly those planes, then add helicopters and crews and aircraft maintainance (and Apaches are terrible when it comes to down time and Blackhawks not much better). Then to top it all off, so that all those can do their jobs well - you have to add supply lines from the US and/or Germany or where ever. 30,000 is hardly a drop in the bucket if you add ground troops to the mess with their tanks and humvees and all the equipment. It's a damn nightmare.

-- Valkyrie (, April 16, 1999.


No, I haven't spent any time around the military. I'm sure you are correct.

BTW I meant to mention, I'm sorry to hear you may be alone for y2k, I hope that doesn't happen.

-- Deborah (, April 16, 1999.

Well, this will ratchet up the ire of the Yugoslavians and Russians:

Yugoslavia-POW< /a>

4/16/99 -- 7:46 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Yugoslav Army officer was captured by insurgent forces on the ground in Kosovo earlier this week and delivered to American custody on Friday, U.S. military authorities said.

Kosovo Liberation Army forces captured the officer during an overnight ground operation near Junik, Kosovo, on April 13-14, the Pentagon said in a statement. The officer was delivered first to the government of neighboring Albania and then to U.S. custody, the statement said.
Our ground troops will meet Russian ground troops in Kosovo.
What a bloody horrific mess this will be.

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-- Leska (, April 16, 1999.

Today's (4/16/1999) Wall Street Journal has a front-page article entitled "Why the U.S. Army is Ill-Equipped to Move Into Kosovo Quickly". Talks about how the Army's failure to restructure and modernize after the end of the Cold War has now left it unable to respond to current events in a timely fashion.

The article notes that they're currently "struggling to move 24 Apache helicopters, related artillery units, and a few thousand troops into Albania in two weeks." They'd be hard-pressed to move 40,000 troops into Kosovo in much less than three or four months, and 40,000 may not be enough to take on the Yugoslavian army on its home turf. It is certainly not "overwhelming force", which is what will be required if we do not want find ourselves once again watching hundreds of bodybags coming off military aircraft...

Hey, RMS. You within Draft range (18-35)?

"Amateurs talk tactics. Professionals talk logistics."

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), April 16, 1999.

30,000? 40,000? Ground troops?

Give us a break. . .

July 13, 1878, End of Turkish Rule in Bosnia / Treaty of Berlin Austria occupies Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sarajevo occupied August 19, 1878. Moslems wage guerrilla resistance until October. Vienna is forced to mobilize an army of 200,000 men for duty in Bosnia.

1912-1913, 1st & 2nd Balkan Wars Ottoman Empire loses more than 80% of its Balkan territories and 70% of its European population. Retains Thrace. Total military deaths: 143,000. President Taft refuses to intervene.

June 28, 1914, World War I Bosnian terrorist assassinates Austrian Archduke, igniting WWI. On September 6, Serbs invade Austrian-held Bosnia. Serbs mobilize 707,343 troops during war; 45,000 killed in action, 80,000 non-battle deaths, 131,148 wounded in action. Serbia suffers 650,000 civilian dead.

1941-1945 A three-way war is waged between Germans/Ustashe, Partisans and Chetniks. Yugoslavia mobilizes 3,741,000 (305,000 killed in action & 425,000 wounded in action) during WWII. Civilian dead: 1,355,000. Germans sustain 15% casualties.

As the editors of VFW Magazine put it, "(our)Soldiers are about to become entangled in a web of ancient animosities. Bosnia (and the Balkans in general) has had a fearsome reputation as a battleground since time immemorial. During the Middle Ages, it was so uninviting of a land that it was regarded by some as a country 'overgrown with thorns and nettle and a breed of vipers'. GIs will find themselves amidst several species of vipers, all with fangs plenty full of venom."

This has been going on for TWENTY TWO CENTURIES ! OVER TWO MILLENNIA !

The Balkans are a "Black Hole of War" that sucks in human souls like its physical namesake sucks in light.

30,000? 40,000? Ground troops?

Give us a break. . .

-- Hardliner (, April 16, 1999.

We MUST NOT go in there! The place is cursed. Like the Khyber Pass to Kabul from India to Afghanistan. An actual curse which has stood throughout history.
We must get out of the Balkans.

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-- Leska (, April 16, 1999.

Ahh now you've got it hardliner...

"Wasn't there an incident somewhere in history where the ruler sent the military off to war (and some hurculean task) so that he could work his schemes at home without fear of their interference?"

Clinton wants a prolonged war, if it's not the balkans plan B will be put into operation.....

-- Andrei-hung-lo (, April 16, 1999.


You don't understand what is going on. This is all part of the plan by the Elite leaders of the New World Order to increase the size of the World Army. These are the people who are pulling the strings, not Clinton. Clinton is just a puppet just like all the other NATO member governments. They are being sold Corporate Facism by the Illuminati, but they don't realize it because they are being sold the idea of "peacekeeping." We are already starting to get a glimpse of how these peacekeeping missions seem to be turning into peace enforcing. It is only a short time before the forces of this World Army will be strong enough to force the entire world into compliance with the facist policy of the New World Order.

-- @ (@@@.@), April 16, 1999.

Once again, Hardliner hammers home the folly of Balkan intervention.

I believe the Clinton legacy will be something like this:

"An intelligent, clever and savvy politician who failed to step across the line to wisdom."

-- PNG (, April 16, 1999.

as someone who volunteered to avoid the draft (and then had the whole thing cancelled 27 numbers before they got to mine...sigh...) I have to say that I fully support reintroduction of a mandatory draft. I hold this position for two reasons:

1. currently, with an all volunteer force it is much too easy for people to advocate sending 'the troops' over there, since the vast majority of Americans, especially those under about 35, have absolutely no idea what military service is all about. With an active draft, and a constant turnover of draftees back into the general population, there would once again be a significant body of folks with experience eating mud and camping out in conditions just the far side of abominable. In other words, our society would once again develop a reasonable perspective of the military life, and what is being demanded of the folks being sent to places like the middle east and central europe.

2. Even with all of the draft dodgers and C.O.s the one thing the draft absolutely provided was that the military contained a much broader cross section of society. Something often sadly lacking in today's all volunteer military forces.

just my 2 cents' worth on that one,


-- Arlin H. Adams (, April 16, 1999.


Thanks for the "hopes". I hope so too although from what we've been able to learn, we should be OK unless they decide to send in Cobras too. (Cobras are attack helicopters that were the main gun ships in Viet Nam.) However, according to our local media, they are also issuing a stop-loss order which means anyone who is in now cannot retire until the "crisis" is over. My hubby had planned to retire end of May so he could stay local and get home in case of a Y2K call up. He already is a member of the police department spec ops so he probably will be in and out anyway. Will know more next week I think unless we get a call between now and then {:-) Fingers crossed and prayers said.

-- Valkyrie (, April 17, 1999.

LOL ... perfect, PNG!

"An intelligent, clever and savvy ________ who failed to step across the line to wisdom."

Just fill in the blank for a good portion of any leadership, et. al. type.


(P.S. Here's hoping things work out for you, Valkyrie)

-- Diane J. Squire (, April 17, 1999.

""An intelligent, clever and savvy ________ who failed to step across the line to wisdom."

That's giving the rapist scumbag far too much respect. Not funny.

-- Andy (, April 17, 1999.

since i am a cynical person, or maybe just relistic, it has occurred to me that maybe y2k is the very reason for the u.s. involvement in kosovo to begin with. suppose the fed planners decided that there was strong likelihood of pre-millennial panic, disruptions of the infrastructure after y2k, civil disorder after y2k, etc. they make some contingency plans for all this, and conclude that their biggest problem at this point is a lack of trained personnel. how do you train the reservists and national guard, or have drills to increse readiness, without telling the populace, "hey, we're training for y2k"? you don't want to scare the people. so you find a troublespot, and find an excuse to get *really* heavily involved, so you can call up the reserves. a "wag the dog" scenario, but for a different reason. this is a far-fetched theory, i know, but i've been around long enough to know it's not impossible. also, this particular president has already stretched the limits of what i once believed was possible.

-- jocelyne slough (, April 17, 1999.

i see the "a" on my keyboard is sticking. i usually spell better than that.

-- jocelyne slough (, April 17, 1999.

Jocelyne, I think perhaps Yugoslavia provides the excuse to reinstate the Draft so that there will be many more men called up to keep "order." Problem with that scenario is, there's no longer time to call enough people up and train them well. In any case, choosing Yugoslavia to mess with is stunning stupidity.

The refugees are worse off than when NATO started bombing. True, Slobobitch is a Monster, but now so are we, though not nearly as bad as he. But now we are tainted and that muddies the waters. Yes, something must be down to stop genocide and refugee displacement. But killing, bombs, destroying the physical shelters that generations have labored to build -- this makes NO SENSE!

War is wrong. History shows that. I don't know what to substitute, but I know in the very marrow of my bones that War is wrong.

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-- Leska (, April 17, 1999.

I believe a dual-level military would be a good solution for our country. Meaning, a draft, and yet, only "volunteer" forces go out of the country *unless* a real "war" occurs which would bring the others. After basic training, Volunteers would get paid more, and VFW's would have dramatically better benefits et al.

Of course that's assuming that drafts allow every person to be trained in basic skills like the use of a gun, first aid and CPR, teamwork, etc. That's a good thing. (Also allows cult indoctrination, the "break 'im down and build 'im up!" thing. That's a bad thing... or a good thing... depending on the quality of the human prior to getting "resampled.") From what I've heard that's not necessarily the case anymore though, re: good training.

I also think that women should be drafted as well as men, unless they have children. (I also think that men with children should be at the end of the draft list.) Maybe some will say people would have kids left and right to avoid it. Perhaps, and perhaps I don't want the safety of my country in the hands of people like that anyway. But at this point I don't see any reason to exempt women -- they certainly are tough soldiers here already, and in Israel -- from at least training. It would sure make a larger population base of at least somewhat competent people, if they were needed.

Dear Abby was asked once what she thought about women going into combat. She said she was all for the idea. She said the whole concept of combat was outrageously crazy, and that maybe when beautiful 18 year old prom queens started coming home in pieces in body bags, our culture would wake up and refuse to play the game anymore. It was a pretty inflammatory response but I rather liked it.

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (, April 17, 1999.

PJ -

You might want to check on the reality of women in Israel's military. That "experiment" has been scaled back significantly in the past decade. I don't have a link, but if you can find the "Report to the President, Presidential Commission on Women in the Military, November 15, 1992", it makes very interesting reading. Here's a link to the Center for Military Readiness, whose president, Elaine Donnelly, was a member of that commission.

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), April 18, 1999.

Hi Mac -- holy tamales. I didn't find that article but I did find quite a few interesting others. Hmmmn. My sister was a Marine for six years. She married a Marine and they both left the force to get 'normal' lives (just in time to miss the Gulf War fortunately). She's 4'11 (!!!) and was a chubby little wimp when she entered, but we never gave her too hard a time once she came back. :-)

I tried to get into the military. I had my life all planned out. I went and took a test they call the ASVAB. I got a 99 score on it (I was 19) and they were very happy, saying I could do "anything I wanted". Women weren't allowed in combat in 1983 though, and on the wall-sized, fine-print list of job options, womens' options were about 1/2" long. That wasn't for me. So I went to the Air Force guys, and talking with a few in uniform (not recruiters) they told me if I was black they'd recommend it, but otherwise I might consider something else. I went to the Navy and asked if I could guarantee I'd get on a boat or sub. They said no way, people are fighting on the docks over that. I never went near the Army, they treat women lousy or so my girlfriends who joined the army told me. I went to the Coast Guard, since I loved boats and thought what I'd seen the local guys do in the harbor looked glorious. Did the physical, and one day before swearing-in met a guy who'd just left the Coast Guard. He told me most CG are actually doing DEA work and many of them are inland on lakes. Since I had specifically *not* gone toward law enforcement since I didn't want to have to arrest half my extended family, that wasn't for me. Bad enough they only had 5 jobs, all sounded kinda dull, and the only one of interest, "Boatswain's Mate," (a jack of all trades position) they assured me could not be done by a women due to lack of upper body strength. Well anyway not like you asked... but I feel like it was a close call, me and the military.

In Los Angeles a couple of decades ago they noted that only 3 out of 10 women passed the police academy testing, while 7 out of 10 men passed it. To right this wrong, they lowered the standards. Great. That made me feel a lot safer. How insulting. It sounds like the woman running the web site you referenced has a sane look at a lot of the more controversial (women, men, gays, etc.) issues in today's military. We need more people in the world like her.

I didn't know anything was co-ed in the military. I would be totally opposed to co-ed training, dorms, et al. As a former boss of mine pointed out, "women in the military SUCK. I had a woman under me in an all- male unit and every time she had duty, I had duty, I had to walk her to and from her station to protect her from about 400 other men she had to pass on the way. It sucked, it was hard on her and me and the men and there was no reason for her to be there." I saw his point, and agreed with him actually... and I have a hard time imaginging, seriously, that during training men do anything more than intimidate women either as superiors or aggressors. (Basic training is hardly a haven for the kinder, gentler types to show themselves to you in all that private time.)

I was in the California Conservation Corps when I was 19-20. It was formed I think in the 30's to give men jobs, and those guys back then did simply mind boggling things in very little time. But when I joined it was only for young people, 18-24, and it was a pseudo military (live on base, basic training comes first) environment. Most the 'leaders' were jerks who'd flunked out of the military for some good reason and so were there to torture us instead, since the corps had no real requirements except that you not be on parole. Most people were inner city kids. Most were pretty "ethnic." I was in a big dorm with 75 women and approximately three of us were NOT lesbians. (That was a lot of fun, let me tell you. I led a very sheltered life up until then.)

I really enjoyed the daily physical misery of training, constantly violent personalities around me, and be shouted at by everybody it seemed like. I also discovered that trauma really makes me want to have sex with any guy around, a fortunate discovery since I did not get even one chance, I was so busy, and was over the trauma by the time I did. ;-) Useful self-knowledge tho! ;-)

Well if we end up in WWIII here, and who knows, issues like mixing genders in the military will probably be considered even more minor....

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (, April 18, 1999.

Keep seeing more articles bemoaning the shortages of personnel in military.
Think they're trying to worm in acceptance of need for Draft?

Labor shortage strains U.S. military

[ For Educational Purposes Only ]

By Tom Curry, MSNBC
April 26  The United States military is being run ragged. Committed to old Cold War missions such as defending South Korea and pressured by new crises around the world, the military is spread thin from the Sinai Desert to Albania to Okinawa. Were living on the edge, ready today, but worried about tomorrow, Lt. Gen. Bruce Knutson, commander of the First Marine Expeditionary Force, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week.

What should be done to bring more people into the U.S. military?

Bring back the draft.
Raise pay and improve military pensions.
Curb foreign deployments so service members spend more time with their families.
We don't need a bigger military.

IN 1990, the United States had more than 2 million uniformed men and women on active duty; according to the most recent data, it now has 1,379,756, about one-third fewer.

In recent congressional testimony, admirals and generals have hinted at what they wont say openly: The Clinton administration is asking the services to do too much with the soldiers, sailors and aviators it has.

There has been over a 300 percent increase in the tempo at which we use ground forces since the end of the Cold War, Gen. Dennis Reimer, the Army chief of staff, told the House Armed Services Committee.

Knutson  whose California-based Expeditionary Force has been dispatched to Ethiopia, Kuwait, and Kenya in the past year alone  told senators last week that his force was still ready to answer your 911 call, but that the Marines were being worn down. Weve had to sacrifice some future readiness, Knutson said.

Our Marines, on average, are deployed 25-30 percent of the time, he said.

Even after a deployment, Knutson reported, a 12- to 14-hour workday, six days per week, is not uncommon. With inadequate funding for equipment, he said, lately, we have found ourselves fixing things more than using them. ... Our Marines should be home with their families, but instead they are rebuilding parts that are too old to be found in the supply system.

Meanwhile, Navy ships must go to sea with inadequate crews: Last month, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt was deployed to the Adriatic to launch strikes against Yugoslavia with 14 percent of its crew positions vacant.

For the Army, the good news is that so far this year re-enlistments have exceeded goals by 12 percent; the bad news is that recruitment of new soldiers is nearly 20 percent short of Army goals.

The labor shortage is due partly to the robust civilian economy, with the unemployment rate at its lowest level in 30 years.

But more than economics accounts for the recruiting and retention malaise.
Only 15 percent of adult American men under age 65 have ever served in the military. So young Americans are less likely to hear from their fathers or older brothers that military service is a honorable vocation.

Most parents of todays service-age young people are at best ambivalent about the military given how they experienced our nations involvement in the Vietnam War, Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera said in a recent speech.

The military personnel crunch
 The Navy is 12 percent below retention requirements in order to maintain the current number of sailors.

 In 1998, only 27 percent of Air Force pilots accepted the bonus to serve beyond their initial eight-year commitment&ndash far below the Air Force goal of 50 percent.

 The Air Force will have an estimated shortfall of 1,354 pilots in 1999 and 1,943 by 2002.

 The Army is projected to be 6,000 recruits short by year's end.Sources: Chief of Naval Operations; Air Force Chief of Staff; Secretary of the Army; Congressional Budget Office

A lot of the glamour that was associated with military service when we were trying to defend ourselves against the Soviet Union and in the wake of the victory in Operation Desert Storm has dissipated, says Andrew Krepinevich, a former Army officer who is now executive director of The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington, D.C.

In most peoples minds now, military service conjures up extended peace-keeping operations in Third World, backwater countries: the Somalias, Haitis, Bosnias of the world, says Krepinevich.

The services now include many parents with young children, so deployments at a moments notice impose particular hardships.

I came home from a deployment in California and I was only home two weeks and went to Cuba for six months, recalls Army Sgt. Scott Bringhurst, 28, stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash. I came home from that, was only home a month and went to Haiti. So I pretty much missed the whole first six months of my sons life.

Specialist Rachel Shepker, a 21-year old transport operator based in Fort Lewis, who has a 4-month old son, said if she were suddenly ordered overseas, My son would go probably with my mother-in-law. Hes young enough to not fully understand everything that would be going on, so it wouldnt be anything that would be completely traumatic.

Its an open question whether Shepker and other military mothers will feel ready to be deployed to Macedonia for six months when their children are 5 years old and acutely aware of being without a mother.

Still, Krepinevich says, the military is going to have to involve women as fully as possible if they are going to maintain a high-quality force.

The military must recruit quality people in the numbers that they need to take advantage of the advances in information technologies  these skills arent the sole province of men.

If you feel as though the U.S. military force is overstretched and thats a problem especially for retaining people in the service, then youre going to have to take steps to enlarge the force so that you have more people to handle these requirements, Krepinevich says, adding that of course, that means a major increase in defense spending.

The alternative, he says, is that Clinton and his successors are going to have be more selective about where they commit U.S. forces.

Another answer is higher pay. The Senate has passed a 4.8 percent pay raise; the House has yet to act on it.

Staff Sgt. Brian Gattenby, 26, a tank commander at Fort Lewis, says that for young married soldiers with children, the pay is too low.

Ive got young soldiers in my platoon right now young soldiers dont make much at all soldiers with two and three children, says Gattenby. Ive got soldiers on food stamps. So Gattenby says to civilians, when the issue of the pay raise comes up and goes to Congress, dont bad mouth us, were protecting you.

A frequent complaint by people in midcareer is the reduced pension benefit that Congress enacted in 1986. Those who entered military service before Aug. 1, 1986, get an annuity of 50 percent of basic pay when they retire after 20 years of service; those who went in after that date get only 40 percent of basic pay. The Clinton administration has proposed to revert to the 50 percent annuity.

Despite discontent over their pay and pensions, some soldiers and sailors join and choose to stay in, while others leave but then find civilian life inhospitable and return home to the military. It is a culture that exerts a powerful appeal not only to Americans patriotism but to their need for order, tradition and community.

Sgt. Michael Tracy, 42, had a $40,000 a year job as a quality control inspector for an aerospace firm after he left the Army in the mid-1990s. He says, I was making real good money but I wasnt happy doing what I was doing. So where do I go? Back to where home is, this is home for me, working with the kids, teaching them the things that I know because at some point theyre going to be taking my place.

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-- Leska (, April 26, 1999.


Tuesday, 27 April 1999 14:59 (GMT), (Urgent), (UPI Spotlight)

WASHINGTON, April 27 (UPI) - The Pentagon is scheduled to announce at 2 p.m. EDT a major call-up of U.S. reserves for duty in the Balkans.
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-- Leska (, April 27, 1999.

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