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If you felt like someone was being purposefully negligent with regards to something you needed from their department/office and perhaps in doing so you lost out on a position you accepted what would you consider doing? IG is not much help, not only do they make it difficult to even make a complaint/claim they are there to represent the COC when it is all said and done. Would you call your congressman?
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* Please vote in the survey here *

Note: I am a RallyPoint member (served in USAF for 5 years) and wish to remain anonymous, because I need to be 100% honest that I feel the DoD is discriminating against non-retirees like me. Please tell if I am right or wrong here.

While I was serving in the USAF (5 years active), I enjoyed shopping at AAFES locations and online as well. It saved me a lot of money and the deals always seemed good. Now that I am a civilian, and did not hit retirement before I got out, and am not rated 100%, I can’t shop at AAFES anymore. I think that’s flat out wrong. I put in my time as much as anyone.

I know there are going to be RallyPoint members who respond with, “You only did 6 years, and you knew AAFES rules full well.” Well, here is what I say to that.

I did a 7-month tour in Iraq at FOB Taji. Easily left the wire more than 10 times. I hurt my shoulder due to wearing my kit a lot (30% rated). I did as much as most retirees, including retired grunts. I deserve AAFES access as much as any retiree. I respect that retirees served a little bit longer, but I did 7 months in Iraq.

Am I justified in thinking I should get full AAFES access?

Please vote in the survey below. Thank you.
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I have been over the past 8 months in the process of re-enlisting through the Army, being prior service Air Force.

I was in the Air Force from Nov 2011 to May 2013. Save a long story short, Force reduction.

I'd like to hear any experiences about prior service re-enlisting.
How did it differ from initial enlistment?
Any Advice?

I'm also struggling picking an MOS based on interest or security.
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The latest tragedy of gun violence against the LGBTQ community is just a continuance of the attack in the SC church, the campus shootings, Navy Yard assault, Theater attack, and assaults upon our children at schools. Assault weapons are the issue, not "guns." How do we fix this?
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Of all your great memories in the military, what was your very best day, and why was it?

- For me, of all the schools/badges, graduating from OCS, then Ranger School, were the very best. Knowing how many started (OCS-1-85 started with 270, and graduated less than 100 & Ranger Class 12-85 started with over 300 on day one, with 250 admitted, and graduated less 90...

- In terms of awards, there were many, but my favorites where these... (1) 1983, I was doing a color guard for 172nd Inf BDE change of command, and it was windy as hell... After we done, CPT Bucher, our company commander, patted me on the back, and said you guys did a great job, that was it... Just a pat on the back and sincere word. (2) Next would be getting my 1st Division 10th Mtn Div Coin from the ADC on REFORGER....

- In terms of singular memories, it would be meeting Saddam Hussein, and smoking my very first cigar with him. We were responsible for him, and as a Deputy Brigade Commander I had to visit him, and check on him daily, until we/I transferred him to the GOI for execution on 30 Dec 06.
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Ok so there I was at a court-martial asking a Soldier why he was wearing ACUs and not ASUs. He started to catch an attitude, so I told him to go to parade rest. He turned away from me looking at my paralegal, putting his hands in his pockets.

My paralegal tells him that he does not need to be looking at him, but at me, because I was the one addressing him, and that he needs to show respect. As the Soldier continues to stare out at my paralegal with his hands in his pockets, I continue to correct him when a civilian comes out to where I was correcting the Soldier stating that she had work to do and I could "yell" at him some other time.

I was so mind boggled and dumbfounded because said civilian used to be in the military. I'm sorry, but the last time I checked the Soldier was given a direct order by a CPT and myself that the duty uniform for the court-martial was ASUs and an alternate uniform had to be approved by the judge, so I was doing my job by asking him why he was in the wrong uniform and then correcting him when he began to disrespect me.

I felt so disrespected I just walked away and sat in a room to cool off.

How would you have handled the situation?
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Should we bring back the Pledge of Allegiance? I remember as I went through Grade School we use to say this every morning and it gave me a sense of pride and purpose each day! Are the youth of today missing this and will they every understand what it truly means?

Your thoughts and comments are welcome?


THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Our Pledge of Allegiance as we know it is fast becoming a thing of the past. Kids used to say the Pledge of Allegiance along with a prayer before starting the day’s activities.

Below you will see the very touching recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance as told by Red Skelton. They Pledge as we should still teach our children.

Also listed is the “Global Earth Day Pledge” that our children are learning today. Again this is Global. Everything will go global in the “End Times”. This is just another way to ease everyone into it. Be Prepared. It is coming.

On January 14, 1969, Red Skelton touched the hearts of millions of Americans with his "Pledge Of Allegiance", in which he explained the meaning of each and every word. Red Skelton's recitation of the "Pledge of Allegiance" was twice read into the Congressional Record of the United States and received numerous awards.

RED SKELTON: "I remember this one teacher. To me, he was the greatest teacher, a real sage of my time. He had such wisdom. We were all reciting the Pledge Of Allegiance and he walked over. Mr. Lasswell was his name... He said": "I've been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge Of Allegiance all semester and it seems as though it is becoming monotonous to you. If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word:

I

Me; an individual; a committee of one.

Pledge

Dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.

Allegiance

My love and my devotion.

To the Flag

Our standard; Old Glory ; a symbol of Freedom; wherever she waves there is respect, because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts, Freedom is everybody's job.

of the United

That means that we have all come together.

States

Individual communities that have united into forty-eight great states. Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose. All divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that is love for country.

And to the Republic

Republic -- a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people; and it's from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.

For which it stands

One Nation

One Nation -- meaning, so blessed by God.

Indivisible

Incapable of being divided.

With Liberty

Which is Freedom; the right of power to live one's own life, without threats, fear, or some sort of retaliation.

And Justice

The principle, or quality, of dealing fairly with others.

For All

For All -- which means, boys and girls, it's as much your country as it is mine. And now, boys and girls, let me hear you recite the Pledge of Allegiance:

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic, for which it stands; one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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Should we concerned about Man’s hoard of nearly 5,000 guns shows ease of amassing arms in U.S.?

I believe in the 2nd Amendment, but isn't this a little too much? Your thoughts RP Members? Check out the video

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-guns-stockpile-insight-idUSKBN0TM2LU20151204

As sheriff’s investigators threaded past the battered cars, cast-off tires and rusted farm equipment cluttering Brent Nicholson’s front yard, there was no hint of the sinister stockpile hidden behind his windowless front door.

Inside, the guns were everywhere: rifles and shotguns piled in the living room, halls and bedrooms; handguns littering tables and countertops. Outside, when they rolled up the door on the pre-fab metal garage, more arms spilled out at their feet.

“This has completely changed our definition of an ass-load of guns,” said Chesterfield County Sheriff Jay Brooks. Six weeks after the discovery, officers are still cataloging the weapons, many of which have proved stolen, and the final tally is expected to be close to 5,000. “I don’t know if there’s ever been (a seizure) this big anywhere before,” Brooks says.

The question of how one man amassed such a stockpile of guns arises just as there is renewed American soul-searching over the widespread availability of firearms in the wake of a series of mass shootings.
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Agree — but put the K-bars away until you’ve read through to the end…

Whether the United States Marine Corps (USMC) should be part of the United States Army has been a question since the founding of the USMC, 241 years ago. But the true question is not one of Army vs Marines, but rather one of having a single service dedicated to operations on land, and the correlating operational, political, and budgetary influence that would entail. Throughout history, all the way up to the present day, the Army and USMC have shared overlapping, sometimes duplicative missions, doctrine, and acquisitions. Even the separate missions exclusively filled by the USMC today require Army support at some point during, or soon after the operation commences. The Marine Corps should be folded into the Army so that there is one branch dedicated to operations on land. But that branch should be more like the Marine Corps.

The first companies of “naval infantry” were raised in 1775 with the intent of providing the fledgling United States the ability to secure its ships, and take the war to Britain’s shipping and possessions along the American coast and overseas. Concerned with the immediate strategic threat posed by the British Army in North America, the Continental Army could not be put to the task. Therefor a separate branch was conceived (though under the purview of the U.S. Navy). In the succeeding 19th century, the notional missions of the Army and the Marines diverged and solidified. The Army concerned itself almost exclusively with operations on the North American continent, to include the American Civil War. The Marines provided security on Navy ships (which justified their existence at the time), but also began to develop a nascent expeditionary capability to complement increasing instances of gunboat diplomacy. These separate missions developed during an era with a general absence of strategic threats to the nation, an isolationist foreign policy, and a general distrust of a standing military, all of which kept budgets and manpower low for all services. Also throughout the 19th century, (what was) the Marines’ primary mission, security of navy ships, began to erode as the threat of piracy was greatly reduced, more and more ports were opened through other means, and the specter of shipboard mutiny was practically eliminated. America’s first truly overseas conflicts, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, provided a series of watershed moments that redefined the mission of the USMC.

Because of their presence aboard Navy ships and their correlating amphibious doctrine, the Marines were often the first U.S. troops to arrive in a given theater. During the Spanish-American War, Marines seized vital ports and harbors and provided additional land forces for combat operations. Upon America’s entry into World War I, Marines were among the first American troops to arrive in France, and later earned acclaim for their prowess in battle. In World War II, while technically still part of the Navy, Marines played a major role in the war in the Central Pacific as they developed innovative tactics, techniques, and procedures for amphibious warfare, and further proved their mettle against a determined enemy. These events, along with the vision and temerity of its commandants and political advocates, staked a claim for the USMC as a separate fighting force with a distinct mission, autonomous from the Navy. This has inevitably brought it into conflict with the Army, especially in years of budget austerity.

Maintaining a marine corps within, but autonomous from the Department of the Navy, is analogous to maintaining a separate airborne corps within, but autonomous from the Department of The Air Force (though one wonders if such a thing would exist, similar to the German Fallschirmjäger, had the U.S. Air Force began as a separate branch from the Army). The entire USMC is roughly the same size as the U.S. Army Reserve alone, and accounts for just 4–6% of the Department of Defense’s budget, versus the double-digit percentages of the other services (~31% for the Army). The Army, for all intents and purposes can, and has, performed the same functions as the USMC. For example, Operation Overlord, the largest amphibious operation in the history of modern warfare, is credited to the U.S. Army, along with numerous other amphibious operations in Africa, Europe, and the Pacific during World War II. Furthermore, doctrinally the Army provides extensive support to the USMC, especially in the areas of logistics, communications, and command & control capabilities. This is in part due to the USMC’s exclusive focus on combat (every Marine is a rifleman) and maintaining an expeditionary mindset, though even combat operations directly under marine command are usually augmented and/or supported by Army combat forces, which are just as effective. Most recently, the USMC temporarily vacated its expeditionary mindset when it became a battle-space owner in both Iraq and Afghanistan, separate from the Army. Taken in sum, this all leads to concerns for true unity of effort in a given operation. For these reasons, the USMC should be officially made part of the U.S. Army.

But only if the U.S. Army can then be made like the Marine Corps. The Army is a ponderous, vast organization, and contains a wide array of Soldiers and equipment, that are not necessarily amenable to a combat-focused, expeditionary mindset. When all things are reckoned, it is the unique culture of the USMC, fostered through generations and inculcated into every recruit, that makes it truly separate and distinct from other services, to include the Army. Furthermore, due to its small size and focused mission set, the USMC as an organization is adept at working with other services and organizations, and at leveraging influence within bureaucracy and politics. While the Army certainly has Soldiers and units that embody a similar combat focused, expeditionary mindset to the USMC, due to its size and wide array missions and specialties, that mindset may not be present to the same degree throughout the whole force. Additionally, many of the Army’s missions, outside of combat, simply are not riveting or flashy, let alone easy to understand and articulate to either politicians or the general population. These same concerns no doubt exist within the USMC, but are shielded from outsiders by its heraldry and carefully crafted narrative.

The best time to fold the USMC into the Army was at the transition between the 19th and 20th centuries, when the USMC was redefining its mission. The only way to do so now, absent a dynamic catalyst for change (e.g. dramatic budget cuts), would be if the Army itself became a like-minded organization, and was guaranteed to preserve the heraldry, structure, and capability of the Marine Corps. The Army would need to inculcate a combat focused, expeditionary mindset into all its Soldiers and systems, while still maintaining its ability to fulfill the various missions that require it to be structured as it is. This would allow it to better manage the rotation of personnel through marine units, though an individual must first volunteer, and then qualify as a Marine. The unique capability and doctrine of the Marines could then be transitioned to the Army. Within the Army structure, Marine units would then be utilized for their distinct capability (i.e. amphibious operations), similar to the 82nd Airborne Division, or the 75th Ranger Regiment.

The United States’ military risks nothing substantial, however, by keeping the two branches separate under the current structure. So long as the military is able to fulfill its core, fundamental missions, and safeguard U.S. interests around the globe, the current structure works — and, if nothing else, the Marines have earned the right to their independence. Notionally, perhaps even practically, folding the Marine Corps into the Army makes sense. But there is no reason at the present time to justify such a move, and all the pain and angst it would cause (even under the best of circumstances). It should be done, it could be done, but realistically it will not be done, and absent an extreme justification it should not be forced.

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Nathan Wike is an officer in the U.S. Army and a member of the Military Writer’s Guild. The opinions expressed are his alone, and do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

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This topic was taken from the list “Fifty-One Strategic Debates Worth Having”, from the U.S. Military Academy’s Modern War Institute (http://mwi.usma.edu/).

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