Tag Archives: Army

Calling it: Another One of Those Days

Whenever I have a bad day at work, I’ll tell Mrs. Horseshoe to remember days like this when the time comes for us to decide whether we should stay in the Army or leave. We’ve had more days to remember lately than I can remember in a long time.

Recently, as a result of the government shutdown and the budget issues the federal government has had, my work life has been chaos. On a Thursday afternoon I was told that an upcoming Temporary Duty (TDY) trip was cancelled. Definitely cancelled, not going to happen. So I came home and gave my wife the good news, I wouldn’t be gone for two weeks after all. We made plans for the weekend and invited some friends over for dinner on Sunday. On Friday afternoon, as I’m walking out the door, I get another call that says the TDY is scheduled again and I have to leave on Sunday. So, I get whopping 36 hours of advanced notice I’m to leave for a week. I spent my drive home trying to figure out how to apologize to her for my career. My wife and I have been fighting all weekend, and I’m sure this ihas something to do with it.

I don’t mean to complain; life could be much worse. My best friend is in Afghanistan away from his infant child. Two weeks isn’t so bad. This job is tough as it is, but if the federal government can’t get its act together and the Army can’t do the little things right, than its an organization I don’t think I can spend another decade and a half with.

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The Army Isn’t Hard

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.

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Stealing Your Brother’s Valor

Pretending to be someone that you’re not makes a man a fraud. Pretending that you’re a veteran when you’ve never served at all makes you a lying coward. Serving in the military and embellishing ones record for personal gain makes you a complete scumbag and an embarrassment to the military. In a recent Stars and Stripes article, a man named Timothy Michael Poe claims to have been injured by a rocket propelled grenade while in Afghanistan. According to the article he said “By the time I turned and went to jump on my guys, I yelled ‘grenade’ and the blast had hit me.” Apparently this blast ended his purported fourteen year career. “When I was laying there I thought I’d never see my daughter walk down the aisle or throw the baseball with my son or be able to hold them and see them. … I didn’t want my life to be over.”

In reality, Mr. Poe served nine years in the Minnesota Army National Guard as a supply clerk. Their spokesperson said they looked at his record “very carefully” and didn’t find any evidence of his supposed injury. They acknowledge he spent one month in Afghanistan. He wasn’t injured in combat. Period. What really pisses me off about this story is that Poe actually is a veteran. He should be commended for his nearly decade-long period of service to his country. However, exaggerating as much as he did, he should be brought back into the Minnesota National Guard, stripped of any rank and awards he had, and be publicly drummed out of the Army.

Unfortunately, this seems like a trend and not a rarity. There is always someone in military news circles who is being exposed as a fraud. The most disappointing of these cases is always the veteran who fakes his exploits for personal gain. Whether it is a politician running for office, or a dirtbag claiming Special Forces credentials to become a consultant, they story is often the same. The frauds were actually soldiers, but they somehow recreate their history with heroic exploits and daring.

Veterans and currently serving soldiers, be proud of your service and who you are. Be thankful that you were lucky enough to avoid being wounded in combat. I served as an Infantryman in Afghanistan, but I didn’t earn my Combat Infantryman’s Badge. I’m comfortable with that because I know I had an important job to do and it didn’t happen to be in a combat role. If it has ever crossed your mind to embellish your history, throw an extra tab, badge or ribbon that you haven’t earned on your uniform, don’t do it. Don’t even think about it. You are betraying your service to your country and the service and sacrifice of those who have came before you. I have been privileged to work with Soldiers who have earned Purple Hearts and valor awards. Nearly all of them would rather have not been wounded, or have had to have been placed in circumstances that warranted their heroism.

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