Well, actually these are a couple of articles I’d hoped to blog on the last two days but found myself too busy to manage. As it is, I’ll throw them out as links that I found interesting, though not necessarily heartening.
According to military officials, what the men and women of the Guard and Reserves are experiencing now is what they will be experiencing for some time. The role of the citizen soldier has changed, they say, for now and into foreseeable future.
“We used to be a strategic reserve,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Bowen, head of the Alabama Army National Guard. “I would say now we’re an operational reserve. When a guy gets in the Guard nowadays, he can figure that he’s going to be deployed somewhere.”
Recruitment is down dramatically, mostly because prospective recruits are worried about deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan or another country. In recent years, Guard members and reservists have served extended tours in Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor and Haiti.
Staff Sgt. Jason Rivera, 26, a Marine recruiter in Pittsburgh, went to the home of a high school student who had expressed interest in joining the Marine Reserve to talk to his parents.
It was a large home in a well-to-do suburb north of the city. Two American flags adorned the yard. The prospect’s mom greeted him wearing an American flag T-shirt.
“I want you to know we support you,” she gushed.
Rivera soon reached the limits of her support.
“Military service isn’t for our son. It isn’t for our kind of people,” she told him.
“Parental consent is the toughest thing we face right now,” said Rivera’s boss, Maj. Michael Sherman, 36, commander of the recruiting battalion headquartered in Pittsburgh.