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A sure sign the wars are ending...

 ...is the Sergeant Major of the Army glowering menacingly from the cover of the Army Times saying "Lose weight or get out!"

By golly, now that we no longer need you, we're gonna toss yer widebody ass!

Heh. Anybody remember the challenges to discharges under AR 600-9, when the pencil-necked sunken-chested generals and their puppeteers the Sergeants Major solemnly intoned "Soldiers must be fit and able to fight on a moment's notice.  It is crucial we have this tool to remove the unfit and protect the readiness of the force, which must be able to go to war from a standing start."  Or words to that effect.

Leave aside that weight, per se, is not a measure of fitness.  Leave aside that several blue-ribbon panels told the Army, "Make your PT program and test sufficiently robust, and the truly obese will fail, and the rest will be... fit."

"To hell with that!" said the pencil-necks.  "They won't be pretty in the crappy uniforms we have."

Proof?  What was about the first thing the Army did on September 12, 2001?  Suspend discharges under AR600-9.  But wait - I thought widebodies were a liability in an Army that has to go to war from a standing start...

Can't up the PT standards too much.  We'd start losing pretty people, while the stout (not the obese, just the stout ones) would breeze by.  Can't have that.  Because we're far more concerned about looking pretty as we start our return to a garrison mentality, and it's emphasis on the appearance of discipline.  Emphasis on appearance.  Those of you who lived through the end of the 70's and into the 80's know what I'm talking about.   How many of you "broke starch" twice a day?  You'll know it's really on if they go back to smooth leather boots.

Courtney Massengale is stirring, brushing the lint off his nicely tailored, neatly pressed (and lightly starched) uniform, getting ready to assert himself as Sam Damon gets shoved into advisory duty somewhere.

21 Comments

Oh I rather think it's going to get ugly very soon very fast.  There's a rather high chance of budget cuts too.

 
The Army is late to this game of harassment. USAF GEN Merrill "Tony" McPeak, Chief of Staff from 1994 for three interminable years, foisted this same "looker force" concept off in HIS non-war years.

Not only did McPeak demand skinny-waisted and broad-shouldered Airmen and Airwomen, he re-designed most of the uniforms to look "less military". That resulted in the Class A uni resembling an airline flight-deck crew suit. The Mess Dress looked even worse.

McPeak, of course, was a Clintonian General, right down the line, and still is. We now have him and his wife, a terror of the local social scene, to deal with in our local area.
 
We're not new to it, Rivrdog.  We're just entering a new cycle, where the Massengales will be ascendant, and the brass shiny.

The weapons, too.  From a lack of use.
 
no money for training ammo, no money for vehicle maintenance, no money for training, no replacement parts for anything, little or no new equipment, no replacements for the thousands of tons of equipment left in the sandboxs....sure sounds like the Carter years coming back to haunt the armed forces. " Deja Vu all over again "
 

Best soldiers I ever had were the guys with PT scores in the mid to low 200's, not the prettiest bunch in the Army, but when it came to setting up comm sites in the AZ desert, they were still going strong when the PT studs were sucking wind!  Can't retire fast enough, I'm not about to start painting rocks!

 
Don't forget your friendly, neighborhood Diversity Commissar.  We're going to have pretty-looking and intentionally-sub-par troops before too much longer.  The military no longer exists to kill people and break things; it exists to push the frontiers of social justice, comrades.
 
My favorite part was watching Academy classmates from the football team getting harassed for being "overweight." Yeah, he's 240 pounds...and about 10% body fat (if that)...so he's "not meeting standards."

But you know what? That's government in a nutshell. The military just has a talent for distilling it into a headier brew. Well, maybe not just the military these days (think: EPA, Depatment of Justice Civil Rights Division, Obamacare's Independent Payment Advisory Board, etc.), but that's just the natural outgrowth of the current administration's romance with unelected, administrative, clueless wonks making decisions that have little basis in reality.
 
Yeah, Panther - but we were s'posed to be better'n that!  Within our limits, of course.  We did, after all, invent painting rocks - and my fave, painting brown grass green...  so it would look good to the visiting dignitary.

Snerk.
 
That resulted in the Class A uni resembling an airline flight-deck crew suit.

McPeak copied the KLM uniform *exactly*, going so far as to specify the same color, the same cloth weave, and the same design and placement of the braid trim.

*That* went over really well with the Tac folks...
 
Already seeing it in the Guard since we got back from the last deployment.  PT test or 600-9 failures go into a battalion PT platoon and it's pass or out you go.  I think they're giving them 180 days, but cranking the pressure on in 90.  We have some good people that are going to be on the bubble, and command is pretty much powerless to stop it.  We're also doing the record APFT every 6 months instead of once per year like we used to.  Once the big cuts start I think it's going to get really ugly.  And we're still slated to deploy again in a year or so. 
 
To be clear - I'm not against having fitness standards... I just think they should be about fitness, and not body-style.
 
Asked last week the new SMA's priorities and was told: rewriting the personal appearance reg and the enlisted evaluation standards. Recently he told a gathering of senior ncos they were all either out of shape or out of uniform and they needed to get their act together. I guess the ramifications of 6 deployments to war are best measured  not in  PTSD but unbuttoned pockets. Sad. I fired three CSMs before I got a real one.
 

John, you're right standards should be about stnadards, not a force management tool. If the Army or the AF leadership had the 'nads to weed out the truly useless through just enforcement of realistic standards, they wouldn't have to go through this every time the national priorities changed.

 
 Ahhhh, yes.... remember it well.

I'm a big guy.  I enlisted in 72... was commissioned in 81 (ROTC) and ran headlong into the body fat standard.

At 6'1", my screening weight was 214 or something.  So imagine the consternation when my body fat max weight came back at... 264.  Commanders I had flipped.  I was tested... repeatedly.  Even was tested by the Navy doctors in Oakland.  they all came back a little below (or a little above) 264.

Had a senior rating removed from an OER because that a$5hole smacked me for weighing 230.

Did mid 250 -260's on the APFT... could (and did) run 5 miles cross country... played football... the whole bit.  Got flagged twice.... and then, even though I was RA, got the hell out as soon as I could.

I was in the middle of QMP'ing a guy (8th ID AG office) because at 5'8", he weighed 240.  Had a college degree and a teaching credential.

He was also USAREUR weightlifting champ in his class and a body builder with something like 5% body fat... and it looked like he was carved out of marble.

If it was for MG Vouno, who did a flag waiver, we'd have lost this E-5 who had just recieved an ARCOM for a perfect IG inspection of his battalion supply room.

Back to the days of the witch hunt. 

Frankly, at this point, you're much better off to be gay... then to exceed the numbers on a chart.

 
Bill,

Delta liked the McPeak uniform, too. The reservists/retired guys could waltz over to clothing sales and save a bundle on uniform items. Really.

 

"Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit."-Kipling

 

I just got back from Afgan

 
Coming back from Bosnia, I came home to a new set of orders leaving Hunter and ging to Lewis. Get to Lewis and report o my new unit where I am immediately PT tested. Passed. Then taped because at 185 lbs I'm 5 lbs higher than the AR says I should be...and instantly flagged due the tape.

Left me scratching my head asking "So whadya want me to do? Cut slabs of meat off my neck?"

Never understood if your passing the dang test why one would be taped. Just stupid. But I digress.

 
Speaking of shiny weapons:  Ol' Major Unger, when he was a lieutenant in Puerto Rico in the fifties, had an inspection visit from General Goodpaster. When it came time to white-glove everything, he told the General, " I recommend you don't touch the weapons, Sir." The General said he understood, and complied.  It seems that in a tropical climate it's best to keep the things just slathered with oil when you're not actually using them. Living in FL, I follow that advice, too.

P.s. When he was at FT. Leonard Wood in the fifties they had to buy their own toilet paper for the barrracks sometimes. Apparently Curtis LeMay needed the money for more nukes.
 
Actually, my understanding of the current situation is that we're just below the horizon of the next really bad thing.

We're fixing to cut the military to the bone. And, of course, the cutting will be done in such a way as to ensure as much functionality is lost as is possible to get away with.

That means, we're a decade or less from the next war, don't it?
 
"I just got back from Afgan"

Welcome Home LT CRPL!!!  And thank you for your service!