Last Friday night some military friend(s) of mine got some news. For them its either good or bad news, depending on their point of view. A very few of them will see it as a chance to get closer to the "action". But for most, and unfortunately, its a bit shocking. As for me it's a little earth-shattering - especially since one of them was my replacement when I left the Navy. Quick background... when I was in the military, I was an E-2C Hawkeye Naval Flight Officer. That means I flew around in a radar equipped plane and directed the air-war. That's a VERY watered down description, but it covers the basics. My friends and others that got 'the news' are of varying but similar backgrounds. As with several occupations in the military, they have some extensive EW training (Electronic Warfare). Which sets the stage...
It seems that they all fall into a particular category at the moment - they're all on shore duty (after being on sea-duty for several years... it's called 'payback'), and they all have at least one year left at their current duty-station. Life right now is supposed to be focused on family, training others to do what you've done already, and supporting those in the Navy that are currently at sea. But on Friday night, some of them got a phone call - with a twist.
By and large, they're being ordered to supplement the Army and Marines on the ground in Iraq. That in itself isn't that strange, since the current trend has been to try and give the forces that have been on multiple deployments a break by rotating Air Force and Navy personnel into positions that could be easily 'substituted'. But... here's the twist. They're manning up a new unit - made up of a mix of personnel, to become field combat teams in charge of detecting IED's. Improvised Explosive Devices. WTF???
... to take a Naval Aviator, teach him in a couple of months how to fire a rifle and command Army or Marine troops on the ground, and much less put him in some experimental platform to detect and disarm IED's because the Army and Marine experts are tired and out of people?? That's like asking a surgeon to become the coach of an NFL Football team!!
In my book, that's called a "Desperate Administration in a Desperate Situation".
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