It’s anecdotal at best, but my neighbor’s boy recently came home from Afghanistan. By the accounts of his proud father, he’s a decorated combat medic. Like most of the other combat medics in Afghanistan, he saved a few lives and did a lot of good for his unit and the Army. Standing in my driveway, we discussed his plans for the future and with the Army. He’s considering many things, transferring to the Air Force or just getting out entirely. What made me pause more than anything was that this young man, a combat veteran from a nasty part of Afghanistan had to say about the Army. “It’s too easy; the right place, the right time, the right uniform.”
Everyone from military bloggers, think tanks, and general officers worry aloud about losing the best of the officer corps as we transition into a peacetime Army. What about the talented junior enlisted Soldiers who have no desire to stay around and become enlisted leaders, the backbone of our Army? Who is staying, those who reenlist because they have no other choice, or no aspirations but being in the right place at the right time in the right uniform? For the sake of our country, I hope not.