This is a Rant. One that may even get me in trouble. But it needs to be said. I wish the pentagon would take note.
I have recently been witness to two issues with today's army that I disagree with. As a side note, this is my personal opinion on the matter and it doesn't really reflect my unit but rather the army as a whole. It just so happens that it is apparently everywhere including my unit.
And its driving me nuts.
The first issue is promotions. Right now the Army is trying to retain as many soldiers as it can and by doing this it is promoting everyone whether they deserve it or not. Which has shown to me a drastic decline in the NCO Corps. I have most certainly witnessed this first hand, from soldiers who have no business being leaders promoted from Specialist to Sergeant. In a lot of ways, in an attempt to make people feel important and motiviate them to stay green, they are cheapening the rank.
I hear that even ten years ago, to be a Buck Sergeant meant something. It meant that the army had enough faith in that soldier's leadership skills and discipline that they had what it took to lead troops, whereas today, you've been in with enough time in grade, they give you the stripes whether you earned them or not. Sometimes they don't even mind that you've been to Basic Sergeant School (PLDC, now WLC) or not. In fact, most people hadn't been when they got here. They got promoted anyway.
To take this a little further, my task force has about Five E-4s and below. The rest are sergeants and above. I could go on for fifteen minutes about who is wearing the rank of Sergeant unwarrented and why they don't deserve it. Its gotten ot the point that to be an NCO merely means you're a glorified Private, doing the grunt work while getting paid a little bit more. I mean, somebody has to do it, right? So they are wearing the rank of Sergeant, being paid for the rank of Sergeant, but they sure in hell aren't acting like Sergeants.
I'm not saying that I earned the rank of Sergeant. I have expressed in the past that I feel that I was promoted to soon to adequately learn the ropes of being a Sergeant, having been pinned with just over three years in. That's one of the reasons why I wasn't put in for my Staff Sergeant, because I hadn't successfully developed as a Sergeant since I've been in the army. I still have a lot to learn and have not been comfortable in my stripes.
In the early 80's, they did away with the ranks of Spec5-Spec8, these were basically the Specialists who were not leaders but knew their job and did well at their job. For some reason, the army decided to cut these ranks because apparently anybody in the army should at this time be a leader in the army. Well, I hate to break it to you, but there are people in the army that are just not cut out to be leaders, and to push a rank on them that they have no business wearing not only hurts them, but hurts the army as a whole. I'm not saying they aren't good soldiers, there are plenty of good soldiers that are probably among the best people this army has, but they lack the leadership skills to make good leaders as well. You can't force somebody to be a leader when that is not in their blood. That's how I feel about the matter. I am not a leader, I don't feel like a leader, I feel far more comfortable holding the rank of a Specialist then I do a Sergeant. I've been a sergeant for three years, and I still feel the same way. I'm to independent and to much of a lone shark to be a successful leader, especially in the Preventive Medicine field. Maybe my leadership skills can be displayed in other ways, but I sure in hell haven't shown them here.
Which brings me to my next point, Awards. Now, I'll let you in on a little history with me. I have four Certificate of Achievements singed by Colonols and 3 Army Achievement medals. They were all earned in my first three years in the army. Guess what? I haven't earned jack squat since I got promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Because I haven't shown my full potential as a Sergeant, because I don't make a good sergeant. The thing is, I'm fully aware of that fact, but I've hit a stalemate in my career.
My NCOIC talked to me about my performance and he didn't think I did my job to my full potential. I had to agree with him, as one of the things I learned on this Deployment is that I'm in the wrong job field. Its hard to succeed at something when you are doing something you do not like to do. I have no passion for preventive medicine. At least I can realize that and admit it.
So anyway, as far as I'm aware, I am not getting an award for my service in Kosovo. I'm getting the gimme medals, the stuff that I get for just being here, but I'm not going to be receiving any other type of medal. And that's ok, I didn't deserve them, i did my job, performed well, btu did not go above and beyond so why should I get them? To give me something when I didn't deserve it only cheapens the value of the award, they should be something earned through going above and beyond on your duties, not for just doing your job. I've been proud of recieving my awards in the past, though one of those awards I didn't feel I had earned then either.
The problem is, like the rank of sergeant, awards are getting to the point of you need to give them to your soldiers just so you can keep them happy and their morale high. Even if they are worthless soldiers who don't deserve them. I've been witness to quite a few awards given out in the last two months to soldiers who have done nothing to warrent them getting these awards. I attended an awards ceremony about a month ago and it made me sick to my stomach with the amount of BS being spouted within that room. I could barely stand it. I have refused to go to awards ceremonies since.
I would not be surprised if I am the only E5 in this task force that doesn't get an award, only because I have the only NCOIC who believes that it should be earned, not given out. And I applaud him for that, as I agree with him. At this rate, if I were to recieve one, I would feel like I might as well use it to blow my nose and wipe my ass, that is how much that award has been cheapened by the army who just shovels them out by the barrel full. Because as I look around and see the caliber of soldiers who are recieving them, and receiving them for lackluster and sometimes incredibly poor performances, what does that say about me? It just made me look like I belong on the bottom of a shit barrel.
So, from what I understand, I am getting a Certificate of Achievement, because they wanted to do something for me to help me in my promotion points. The problem is, I already have four of those, all signed by a Colonol. I can only use two toward promotion. Another one is as good as me using it as a target on my dart board. Apparently, people felt it necessary to dump out awards to undeserving soldiers to help them with their future promotions when they have no business holding the rank they do anyway.
Thanks for cheapening my army, no wonder I have a desire to get out? I hear the Marines still take things seriously in that matter, when you get an award as a Marine, you actually deserve it, and Sergeants are only made up of those who are true leaders. I might try joining them instead.