The Stars & Stripes warns that the services are returning to the days of spit and polish, style over substance because everyone is trying to convince us that the war on terror is over;
Troops who have become accustomed to more relaxed standards on dress and behavior in combat zones can expect to be corrected for any breaches of the military’s many regulations designed to govern the most minute aspects of their work, appearance and personal lives, given garrison leaders’ well-known obsession with physical appearance.
The Army, for example, is reviewing its grooming standards for troops with changes proposed for rules governing such things as facial hair, tattoos and cosmetics.
An increased focus on discipline in garrison is not without its risks.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, writing about garrison life in the Strategic Army Corps (STRAC) in the early 1960s, said the acronym became Army slang for a well-organized, well turned-out soldier, but that style ended up overrunning substance.
“STRAC was a state of being, a sharpness, a readiness and esprit de corps … [but] as often happens in the Army, we over did it,” he said. “Being STRAC came to mean looking sharp more than being combat ready.”
Last I checked, there’s still two more years of deployments to Afghanistan, and then there’s Africa and Arab Spring to deal with, but I guess none of that matters when everyone in the media is convinced that this has gone on too long to be newsworthy.
As far as this talk about garrison duty, what does anyone really expect when the pogues are running the Army these days? But, my heroes were the Vietnam veterans who put up with the Volar (that’s what we called Jimmy Carter’s Volunteer Army) bullshit and focused on teaching me the lessons they learned in combat. Those of you who choose to stay through the next few years will be the heroes of the next generation’s soldiers. We need you to stay, but you can always come here to bitch about it.