We thought we had heard the most severe blow to Army morale with the handling of the Bergdahl desertion case, but, wait, there’s something else for which there hasn’t been much publicity. Pink slips are being sent to our soldiers in the war zone. The message is we don’t need you after your deployment in Afghanistan is over!
We are well aware that our involvement in that war zone is winding down. Yes, we know the Army and our other branches of the military are downsizing — to a dangerous low.
But to send pink slips to soldiers, many of them young officers who are in command positions, is an act of thoughtlessness and callousness by the Defense Department. It not only is damaging to their fighting spirit, but it has an impact on their families also. The morale problem filters down to their loved ones.
A person who has written about this crude act is Jonathan Hendershott who had an opinion column in The NewYork Post. Officers getting pink slips include more than 1,100 captains, many of whom have lived through several deployments, he wrote. The news was not totally unexpected. Budget cuts to the military are expected to shrink the Army from its current 520,000 troops to 440,000, the smallest size since World War II.
Hendershott also wrote that the nation should be worried about the security risk with military drawdowns. Experienced soldiers are being lost. Let’s face it, there may be worry about what is happening, but the vast majority of people never write or call their elected federal representatives to express their concerns.
Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John Campbell, in commenting on the large number of captains being retired, said in other times “they’d probably continue to stay in the Army. But these are not normal times.”
Maybe, as the Post opinion writer suggests, it could be that the nation is war-weary and really doesn’t care about the Army’s pink slips and the risk to security. The opinion piece was given to us by a concerned Missourian reader.
Hendershott is a former Army captain who is a graduate of West Point (Class of 2007). He served in Iraq and now lives in New York City.
We don’t know why this situation hasn’t been given more publicity. The public should know how the Defense Department is treating some of our best, most experienced combat soldiers. It’s disheartening to say the least!