Posted on Jul 28, 2021
1LT Quartermaster Officer
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Since taking the time to switch over to commissioned after a decade of enlisted time, I have uncovered a whole new world of good and bad things about my beloved Army. Unfortunately, it is has nudged me into the camp of ole' gripers, i.e. the people who say "the Army ain't what it used to be."

I'm losing faith! There is some real BS floating around the formations. And I see outstanding men and women out there trying to handle it, but it persists like hell. Hell, I beat myself near to death with my failures to create lasting affects for my Joes. My team roots out one problem, for it to just sprout and grow somewhere else. Maybe the problem IS me? I hope it's just my naivety being torn apart as I progress, or perhaps it's my unit's unique flavor of BS (the crap that smells the worst is the one you're stepping in after all), but maybe there really are systemic trends from the past decade or so and we do have bigger problems?

But I don't ask the question to talk about the negatives. I want to know what keeps you going. I want to know what keeps you grounded and where you draw inspiration from when it comes to the success of the U.S. military and it's service members. This is a people-based question, if you're thinking politics then you may have the wrong starting point. What makes our military great is the same thing that makes our country great: the heart and soul of the Americans inside of it.

Each branch experiences this in their own way, I'm sure. Please share your thoughts. I feel like I am running off fumes. I'm Charlie-Mike with all guts and no heart.
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Responses: 26
SFC Retention Operations Nco
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The always Ain't what it used to be.

When I joined in 98 it was a hard Army. You had to run a 11:54 two mile, 82 Pushups and 92 sit-ups to max the 17-21 age category, which was the hardest category. I would get smoked for hours just for being alive, so that my body would be strong. Promotions weren't called STEP, you just didn't promote till you finished your NCOES.

When I went to Ranger school in 99 you couldn't have camelbacks, or knee pads, or non issue boots, but the RI's griped that it was so much easier because we got two MREs a day and they only got one. Our entire leadership failed a patrol because the company commander called a safety index and recycled everyone. We graduated looking like cancer survival patients

When I returned to deploy with the Guard in 04 people said it wasn't the Pre-millenial Army it used to be because now the APFT standards were easier.

When I joined Active Duty and was in The Surge people said it wasn't the Army it used to be because it was impossible to kick dirt bags out. We had AWOLS, people who were so fat they stayed E2s for years, people with criminal records, etc. But everyone deployed like clockwork every two years. NCOES requirements were rolled back and suddenly you had 21 year old SSGs who didn't know how to lead and everyone said it wasn't like the old Army where leaders were actually experienced.

Then I went to work at Ranger School in 2009 and the RI's griped it wasn't as hard as it used to be. Students could wear elbow pads and kneed pads, they had camelbacks, they had 240s that actually fired instead of the old M60s. They had the new lightweight tripods, not the old 35 pound clunkers. We gave the students Hooah bars and Cera sport electrolyte drinks. RI's needed more justification to fail someone on their patrols and a student needed less Go's to graduate and students didn't look like they left a concentration camp when they graduated.

Then we started reducing the force in 2013. Some idiots ended up killing some Soldiers during promotion and suddenly it was hazing to punch someone's rank into their chest. Somehow that started to become all physical corrective training equals hazing, and everyone said the Army is getting soft. The Army re-implemented QMP and booting leaders who had messed up and had not been separated before. People said it's not like the old Army, but QMP was a decades old program.

Then NCOES requirements get re-implemented and everyone thinks it's new, even though it's been the standard for decades, and they say it's not like the Old Army.

The Army will always continue to change, when you are no longer able to adapt to it and change with it, you are no longer relevant. The people who gripe that it's not what it used to be are choosing to be irrelevant rather than adapt. In my personal opinion this is one of the greatest issues that hold some vets back, stuck in the glory days of their service, but that's just a personal observation.

What keeps most of us going is the people we work with. But for everyone there comes a time when you say enough is enough and you move on. If you ask most retirees they'll tell you that most of them hit a point where they just knew it was time. If you haven't hit that point, just remember that you are helping someone else, growing the next generation, teaching them how to lead so they can make the organization better for the people that follow them in the distant future
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SPC Charles Pierce
SPC Charles Pierce
2 mo
PO1 Jeff Spehar - My best time for the 2 mile was a 10:40. It can be done.
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SFC Retention Operations Nco
SFC (Join to see)
2 mo
PO1 Jeff Spehar the minimum that time for 17-21 age group to pass was a 15:54. I was one of the slowest people among my peers in Ranger Regiment getting a 13:15. A lot of those guys were running 10s and 11s for their two mile time
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PO1 Jeff Spehar
PO1 Jeff Spehar
2 mo
SPC Charles Pierce - Not saying it can't be done. The way I read it the first time was that it was the maximum time permitted.
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1SG Chad Mcdaniel
1SG Chad Mcdaniel
1 mo
I wish I could say I hit a point and called it quite. But the Army made me quit at 26 years, I was definitely capable and willing to continue. And it was because of the Soldiers the trust, respect, comradery, friendship, mentorship, love of country and the ups and downs that came with it. In fact if I could Iwould gladly come back!
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SSG Squad Leader
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The main thing that keeps me going, if nothing else, is the fact that I'm 10 years in. One way or another I'll push throw the second half and hit that retirement mark.

Other than that, being able to lead and teach troops gives me a moral boost when I'm feeling low. Knowing I'm doing what I can to make an impact in the lives and careers of fellow soldiers.

A drill sergeant or maybe my CO in basic told me during our final ruck March that the reason you stay in may not be the reason you joined. And that's definitely true in my case.

I try and hunt the good stuff and all that jazz they teach in MRT.
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1LT Quartermaster Officer
1LT (Join to see)
3 mo
MRT is good jazz.
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CPO Arthur Weinberger
CPO Arthur Weinberger
3 mo
Great comment, awesome attitude. My brother you are a leader. Bravo Zulu
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CSM Darieus ZaGara
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9
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For me it was always simple, it was just as easy to explain to my peers and Soldiers. When changes in regulation and policy change you have to ask yourself two simple questions; can I follow the orders of those appointed over me, and can I do that while ensuring my Soldiers and their Families are being taken care of in executing those orders.

If not, get out.

Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of soul-searching that comes as part of answering these question, but it is relatively simple.
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SSG Bill McCoy
SSG Bill McCoy
3 mo
I always told my guys/gals, "Bulls**t rolls downhill and part of my job is to make sure we all get an equal bucket full." Taking care of one's subordinates is what gave me the most satisfaction. As I read somewhere years ago in a military publication somewhere or another, "The key to survival is adaptation." That doesn't mean to give up one's principles, it just means change happens and if you can't adapt ... well, you're done.
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