Monday, June 18, 2012

This Army Downsizing Business is for the Birds

A few months ago--last year?--it was announced that the Army would be downsizing significantly. Really, what they meant was that the Army would be reverting back to their pre-war retention practices; no longer would officers be pretty much guaranteed promotion through the first 3-4 commissioned ranks, but I'm really not terribly worried about that. Today, anyway (I am sure when it comes closer to the next promotion, I will forget how wonderful my husband is at his job, and that he receives glowing OERs (officer evaluation reviews). What really has me worried is that along with the fact that the Army is no longer pushing its officers through the ranks as quickly as minimum-time-in-rank requirements allow. To promote to the next rank, S needs a minimum of 42 months in service as a commissioned officer (his prior enlistment years do not count... Otherwise, he'd be more than set!

Unfortunately, he has 21 months left until he reaches that minimum. Before they made that announcement, we would be looking at only 15-16 more months.

WAAH, Waah, waaaah.

This really wouldn't be a big deal, except last year around this time, I had him contact his Branch Manager to ask when we would be looking at PCSing (it obviously didn't take me very long to realize Washington was not for me). For those of you who don't know, when we talk about "Branch," we don't mean Air Force vs. Army vs. Navy, etc; there are branches within the Army, and when an officer commissions, he or she is assigned to a branch such as the Infantry, Cavalry, Signal Corps, Quartermaster Corps,  Military Intelligence (*cough*hahahahaha*cough*), Judge Advocate General, Medical, etc. (There are more... I just know that if I keep going, I will forget one and look like a complete idiot... Probably already happened). When S talks to his branch manager, he is talking to a/the (this part confuses me) manager for the Quartermaster people, and deals with personnel movement...? Among other things...?

Obviously, that little bit of logistical (pun intended) knowledge is not something I have banked in my memory.

Anyway, when he talked to his branch manager last year, he was told he wouldn't be PCSing until he became promotable to 42-months-in rank (I'm sure everyones probably figured out which rank that is, but I have no idea how sensitive he is to the whole world--7 of you--knowing his rank, so I'll just leave it at that). My heart was broken.

It still sort of is.

I'm breaking out of my usual pessimistic-as-all-get-out ways, and being incredibly hopeful that he will manage a ticket out of the hell hole they call Fort Lewis by the end of next year. How do we do that? Well, he requests/reserves a spot in the course he will go to next (in Virginia! So excited!). He can do that now... Only problem is they are all booked through next summer, and haven't released the dates for subsequent courses. I am literally pulling my hair out (obviously) as I impatiently wait for that information to be released. In fact, he has gotten so tired of me texting him every other day asking if they have released the dates, followed by me groaning when he comes home and tells me he forgot to look, that he bought a CAC reader (something access card... it's his military ID). Now, he can check them at home and send me into a pout every day!

It would be a dream come true if he had a report date in November, December of 2013 or January of 2014! (Though, that dream would be even better if it happens sooner... Hoping it happens sooner).

So, all we can do is sit. And wait. And occasionally stab Washington with a shovel or a pick-axe. Which is actually pretty therapeutic.

I highly recommend it.


  1. As a fellow quartermaster, he can get on a wait list for CLC3. He can fill out a 4187 and put as class "next available". Have him ask CPT Hinds, his branch manager about it.
    Best of luck... why do you consider Lewis a "hell hole"? We have heard nothing but good things about it.

    1. He says they haven't released the new dates for CLC3, yet. We're waiting for those to post and then he's going to try to get on the first available list for 2014.

      I'm coming to terms with JBLM. It's gotten better now that the kiddo is a littl older and can do more, but the post essentially shuts down from September to June. Very little is offered in the way of family entertainment, since July and August are the only dry months (in which everything dies and turns brown) Summer doesn't come around until July, and is over by the end of August, and there is plenty to do then, but otherwise, you have to be a proficient skier to find outdoor activity. It's also very isolated from other parts of the country, northwesterns are not terribly friendly (at least compared to the southerners I am used to), and the food generally sucks. A lot of people like it, but it's not for me.