In a recent discussion at a breakfast meeting in Washington, D.C, Army chief of staff General Ray Odierno explained that more soldiers deployed to Afghanistan will likely soon receive pink slips. In June, more than 1,100 Army captains were told their time with the military was abruptly coming to an end. Later, it was discovered that 48 of these captains were serving in the war zone of Afghanistan when they received their “Dear John” letters from Uncle Sam.
An additional 550 Army majors were notified last month that they would be separated from the service. Lieutenant colonels and colonels are on the chopping block for next year. The location of the service members when they are notified is of little concern to the early retirement boards who have decided their fate. According to service officials, “The moves are unfortunate but necessary as the service is forced to shrink due to budget constraints.”
The current active duty Army strength is expected to drop from 510,000 to 420,000 by 2016 if no changes are made to the budget and to handle sequestration. Given the U.S military’s new role in combating ISIS in Syria and Iraq, these numbers will certainly need to be reviewed. Whether the Obama administration will take the time for such a review remains to be seen.
One of the most heart rendering things a soldier once faced while in combat, was the dreaded “Dear John letter” from a loved one back home. Many would be told that the person they loved had moved on and found another to give their affections. These letters were seen as heartless and especially cruel as many military members were already struggling with the difficulties of combat, death, and separation from family. To think that our own Uncle Sam is now participating in such a practice is truly disgusting.