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Freinds, here are two contrasting articles on the topic of inactive reservists being re-called into the military for Iraq "duty." One from the St. Pete Times is more "patriotic" whilst the other from the Chicago Times is more abĚhorĚrent
 
I sent this out to the journalist of the Times as well as to a number of the other columnists and editors, and a brief letter to the editor.  Jimboloco
Jim Willingham <opusmaximus2050@yahoo.com> wrote:
Dear Ms. LaPeter, I think the article you wrote for the 5/15 Times about the inactive Marines going back to Iraq is an important one, enough so that the senior columnists should also be alerted to it. I have included a corollary article from the Chicago Times that exposes the concerns and pressures felt by some Army inactive reservists from the military to re-up, without the patriotic and espri de corps fervor.
Sincerely, Jim Willingham


Jim Willingham <opusmaximus2050@yahoo.com> wrote:
Dear esteemed St Pete Times journalists, I am referring you to the article
Their country called again, they said yes by LEONORA LaPETER, to whom I request someone please forward this note.
First, thankyou for the article. I am a bit dissappointed that there was no questioning about the peer pressures or perhaps exploring the doutbs about returning to the Iraq War theater. I would like to offer you this corollary article from the Chicage Times that does explore the issue of inactive reservists being pressures to re-up.
Sincerely, James Willingham, Vietnam Vets Against the War/ Vets for Peace
640 60th St South, St Petersburg 727 341-1957
 
 
Horace W Coleman <hcoleman4@juno.com> wrote:

MariAnn Curta said she was "freaked out" during much of her son's
recently completed nine-month tour of duty in Iraq, where he drove a fuel
truck in the Sunni Triangle.

[Chicago Tribune]

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0405230344may23,1,4870085.st
ory?coll=chi-newslocal-hed

THE OCCUPATION OF IRAQ


Recruiting pitch called scare tactic
Reservists pressured to re-enlist

By Tim Jones and Michael Kilian
Tribune national correspondents

May 23, 2004

MariAnn Curta said she was "freaked out" during much of her son's
recently completed nine-month tour of duty in Iraq, where he drove a fuel
truck in the Sunni Triangle.

But when she got the call from a recruiter last weekend warning that her
22-year-old son, Bill, now on the Army's inactive reserve list, could be
headed back to Iraq quickl! y unless he enlisted in the Illinois National
Guard, her emotion changed from fear to rage.

"It's devious, it's deceptive, it's dishonest, it's valueless," Curta
said. "I can't believe they'd pull this kind of fast trick on kids who
have already served."

As part of an aggressive effort to bolster the dwindling pool of
available reservists, Army and National Guard recruiting units throughout
the country have called thousands of inactive reservists in hopes of
persuading them to re-enlist in the active reserves or join their local
Guard units.

If they don't, many recruiters warned, they could soon be headed to Iraq.
The warnings come by telephone, and they have been concentrated in four
areas: Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis and Louisiana.

"It then spread through the country, with the exception of New England,"
said Army Reserve spokesman Steven Stromvall.

Stromvall said some National Guard recruiters heard about this and then
began using similar tactics.

The calls have generated a slew of complaints from veterans and their
families.

Stromvall acknowledged that there has been a widespread problem with
misleading, inaccurate and intimidating retention efforts throughout the
nation in the past few weeks but added that the Army Reserve is moving
quickly to fix it.

"They went a bridge too far," he said.

Stromvall said the problem stemmed from misunderstandings on the part of
the reserve's 700 retention sergeants about a new drive to get service
personnel in the Individual Ready Reserve, whose members do not have to
belong to units or attend drills and meetings, to switch voluntarily to
an active reserve branch known as the Selective Reserve.

There are now 169,000 reservists and National Guard members of all kinds
on active duty, an increase of about 3,000 from last week but down from
the more than 200,000 on active duty last yea! r. The stress of the Iraq
occupation and insurgency clearly is causing a crunch.

"There is no question the Army is stressed," Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the
Army chief of staff, told a congressional committee earlier this year.

Adding to the problem is that the Pentagon can't find about 50,000
reservists who moved without notifying the government.

The reserve call-ups for tours of active duty in Iraq have largely been
by unit. Individual Ready Reserve members have been called up during the
war, but in relatively small numbers. Only about 6,500 such individual
recalls have been authorized by the Pentagon.

Stromvall said the misleading methods included telling Ready Reservists
they likely would be called up individually for service in Iraq if they
did not join a Selective Reserve unit by a certain date. He said there
was one case at Ft. Bragg, N.C., in which a soldier who was leaving
active duty with the regular Army was told by a retention sergeant in the
processing line that he would be sent to Iraq automatically if he did not
join the Selective Reserve.

One Illinois National Guard veteran who asked not to be identified said
the tactics disturbed him.

"They did call my wife and threatened that I'd be taken away from her,"
the Guard veteran said.

"Ethics are important to me. This bothers me a great deal. If it's an
all-volunteer Army, it's just that," he said. "It's not something you
should be tricked into."

Minimum commitment

Those who enlist in the armed forces have a minimum commitment of eight
years of service, of which only a portion need be on active duty.

The remainder can be spent either in the Selective Reserve, which
includes both the active reserve and the National Guard and requires
assignment to a unit, or the Individual Ready Reserve, in which the
serviceman or woman merely remains on call.

Curta said she was contacted last weekend by a recruiter from the
Illinois National Guard who said it was "urgent" that her son get in
touch with him.

"They put the fear in me that he was going back in 48 hours," Curta said.

Maj. Steven Rouse, who is responsible for National Guard recruiting in
the northern Illinois region, did not return phone calls from the
Tribune. A spokesman for the Illinois National Guard in Springfield said
he had no knowledge of calls being made on behalf of the Guard.

That was news to Kelly Akemann of Elgin, who said she received repeated
phone calls in recent days from a Chicago-area Guard recruiter warning
that her husband, a Guard veteran, could be sent to Iraq if he did not
re-enlist quickly.

"I told him I thought these were scare tactics and he told me they
weren't scare tactics, these are the realities of life," Akemann said. "I
told him you don't need to raise the blood pressure of a three-month
preg! nant woman. . . . Then I hung up."

Of the 1.1 million or more reservists in the U.S. military, about 820,000
are in the National Guard or active reserve components of the Selective
Reserve and 282,000 are in the Individual Ready Reserve.

According to Stromvall, Army Reserve commanders decided to try to
identify members of the Individual Ready Reserve by pay grade and
military occupational specialty and contact them about voluntarily
filling vacant slots in the Selective Reserve.

For each of the past few weeks, about 1,000 or more inactive reservists
nationwide have been moving to the active reserve, a much higher number
than usual.

Lt. Col. Bob Stone, an Army Reserve spokesman, said the Defense
Department has asked Congress for authority to use the Internal Revenue
Service to help track down members of the Individual Ready Reserve whose
whereabouts are no longer known.

"This has been a concern for some time," Stone! said. "Two years ago the
Defense Department began working with the Treasury on this, and
legislation has now been proposed in the Congress."

He said the military is not attempting to use the nation's chief tax
collector for any Orwellian "Big Brother" purpose.

"The only information they would be seeking is an address," he said.

Though the numbers fluctuate, the Pentagon is now missing addresses on
50,217 of the 282,574 members of the Individual Ready Reserve force, or
about 18 percent.

Stone said failure to notify the military of a change of address is a
violation of military regulations, but no prosecutions will be sought.

"This is not a punitive measure," he said. "This is a way to effectively
manage the reserve force."

Stone said he knew of no mass mobilization of reserves under way or
planned and said reserve call-ups thus far have been a simple matter of
meeting the needs of commanders in the field.

! `This is unethical'

Bill Curta, who enlisted in the Army after the September 2001 terrorist
attacks, declined to be interviewed for this story. He served in Iraq
from March to December 2003, received his discharge in March and will be
on the inactive reserve list for six years. Curta's father, Bill Curta,
said his son does not intend to re-enlist.

"This is unethical, it's immoral, especially with kids who have already
served," Curta said. "It's an ugly story."

Stone acknowledged that retention rates for both the National Guard and
the reserves have been slipping. But he said the services have been able
to maintain their authorized strength, largely by relaxing their "up or
out" rules and allowing personnel to stay in the military even though
they have not been promoted to their next grade within a prescribed
period.

Stone said that, overall, the military has achieved 94.5 percent of its
retention goal and is at 99.8 percen! t of authorized strength.

The Army National Guard, however, has reached just 93 percent of its
retention goal and the Army Reserve 95 percent of its goal.

He said the Army Reserve has ordered a stop to intimidating retention
methods and informed personnel of the proper procedures to follow in
dealing with reservists.

"It was a mistake," he said.


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