Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dear Creditors:

Dear ___________:
This month, my representative, Congressperson _______________— will be paying all my bills, since Congress is shutting down the government. I'm sure that the Congressperson won't mind. S/He is going to get paid, regardless of the fact that the the government is shutting down, while military families and others who depend on "government entitlements" are not.
Until the government reopens for business and we are getting paid again, please forward all my bills to:
(insert Congressional offices address here)
(insert name here)

Monday, September 19, 2011

The End of an Era... And it's about time!

Don't Ask, Don't Tell became law as a compromise, in 1993, forcing it into the military budget for the following fiscal year. A bad compromise, to be sure, allowing the military off the hook, with the GBLT community, compromising the UCMJ's 1950 policy, (enacted by truman) and creating a system where GBLT soldiers could serve, but not really "be all that they could be".

Eighteen years. Eighteen years of blood, sweat, tears, living, dying, discharges, coming out, being forced out, hate and lies, it ends at 0001 tomorrow morning. It is over.

Originally called "Don't ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue", the idea was to allow GBLT soldiers to serve, under the cover of secrecy. The military has a code, no matter what branch you are in. And that code is one of honor. How can you serve with honor, if you have to serve with part of your life, shrouded in secrecy?

Thus began the fight. Too often, it was a partisan fight, and it shouldn't have been. It should have been a fight about what was right, human, honorable and decent.

And think about this... just think about this for a second.... did we, in our bigoted way, by discharging fifty-nine gay linguists, who speak various Arabic languages, place other American forces in harms way?

The real truth is that in the eighteen yeats that DADT was in effect, nothing has changed. No one has changed their sexual orientation. There have been no "roving gangs" of gays looking to do violence on straights. (Although, there have been the opposite, much to the horror and dismay of all).

Yes.... this IS the end of an era... And good riddance!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Finding My Voice

For the longest time, I have neglected this blog, the Unconventional Military Wife; because I wanted it to concentrate on what it is to BE a military wife. I didn’t want it to become part of what I consider to be part of my “political” voice. And the more that I fought against it, the more that it became part of what I have been fighting against. I have become a political nerd and geek, especially in the last few years, and I am reveling in it! And so, gentle readers… the Military Wife is becoming even MORE unconventional… she is about to break free from the chains of what the old establishment of military, when a man’s commander could charge a man with “failure to control his dependent” to loud mouth… I am finding my voice!
So, on that note, I find that there are many things that I want to say. Beginning with the statement that I am what my military spouse calls “a pinkocommieliberal” (all one word).  What does that mean, exactly? Well, it’s kind of half a joke and half serious.
 I am a liberal. I believe in things like a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices. Sure, I would like to see the day when abortion would not be necessary, but I don’t think that that day would ever come.
I believe that HCR didn’t go far enough. I think that we should have looked at Canada, Australia and other countries that have successful nationalized health care models, see what works, why they work, and applied it here. I think that we should have looked at their social services models too.
I think that tax reform is a necessity. The top 3% of the country isn’t paying enough in taxes; capital gains and other tax write off loop holes should be closed. And this crap about not paying taxes on private jets… its bull sh*t.
On the other hand, I can be very conservative.  I obviously support the military. But I don’t support the military actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.
I support the death penalty. And there are things that deserve that severe punishment. But you had better have damned good proof.
I support the right to bear arms. But I don’t support the right to own a semi auto, massive clips or armor piercing rounds for the civilian population. You don’t need it. The military does. The police may. But civilians? Not so much. Go to the range, learn to fire your weapon, learn the best places to put a round, and then learn to get the f*ck out of there.
We have become a nation that creates most of our own problems out of whole cloth. Those on the extreme Right of the political spectrum would have you believe that people like me are the Devil incarnate. I am hardly that. I see, in a way, some of their positions, and how they can work, if they are tempered with some modicum of common sense, but the extremism that they espouse is only going to cause the ruin of this nation. They ran on a platform that they are not preforming on and the moderates of their party are running scared. And the moderate Liberals are just as frightened, it seems.
This nation, this great nation, was once looked up to as the epitome of what to be. We were unconventional. And now…

Sunday, June 12, 2011

*Changing Congress*

I found this in my email this morning... and I thought this was too good not to share... 

I am going to send this to my two senators and to my congressman,
including my state congressman. Maybe someday it can be changed. But for
too long we have had the fox guarding the henhouse. Pass it on if you can.
*Changing Congress*
*The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only
3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That
was in 1971...before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc. **
Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to
become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.
*I'm asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty
people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise. **
In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the
message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.
Congressional Reform Act of 2011
1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office
and receives no pay when they are out of office.
2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All
funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security
system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system,
and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for
any other purpose.
*3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans
do. **
*4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay
will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%. **
*5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the
same health care system as the American people. **
*6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American
people. **
*7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective
1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen.
Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is
an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators,
so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work. *
*8. **(This is one I have personally added). *
*Term Limits: Each member of the Senate is limited to 1 term of 6 years.
Each member of the House of Representatives is limited to 1 term of 4 years.
There is no re-election opportunity for them so they are not subject to the
efforts of lobbyists' contributions to their 're-election' efforts--they
can't run for re-election. Our founding fathers did not anticipate
professional politicians and we should not allow for them.**
*If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take
three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. Maybe it
is time. **

Friday, June 3, 2011

Cost Cutting - The Army Way

Since the Twin Towers went down on the horrific day, on September eleventh, 2001, American Army Reservists have been answering the call of their country. Unfailing and unstinting in their service, giving up their lives, literally and figuratively to their country, they have served with dignity and honor, both here and in theater. It is through their sacrifices that much of what has been accomplished has been achieved.
In reality, the Reserves are treated like the “ugly red headed buck toothed step children, that no one really likes” of the Army. They must maintain all the Army standards of physical training and education, without the support or money that the regular Army might provide.
In 2004-5 the Warrior in Transition Battalions were originally stood up for use by wounded Reservists, because they were literally be sent home, once they were released from military hospitals with little or no follow up care, little or no access to the VA and little to no compensation from a grateful nation for the pain and suffering that they endured as a result of their injuries. The Warrior in Transition Battalions was supposed to change all of that. And, if they failed, it would not be a big deal; it was just a Reserve program.
Staffed by Reservists for Reservists, the WTBs were a huge success. Their success rate in getting these soldiers through the medical boards and back into the civilian world was phenomenal. It was so good that the Army quickly took it over, and instituted it Army wide.
In the meantime, you have Reservists trying to run this circus, sort of.
But wait… there’s more… Fast forward to 2009. Reservists are still running the WTBs… sort of. They are doing all of the work, but the Army, in the form of 3 different commands are actually running the programs. Each command is very territorial over the program. Congress is putting pressure on everyone about how much money is getting spent on this program. Not on how much money is getting spent on the soldiers in the program. No, that would never do. Too much collective guilt, left over from Vietnam and Gulf I. But these nasty money grubbing Reservists who are getting rich, taking these tours to help take care of the wounded soldiers. You know… the Reservists who are working stateside, who have given up their jobs, voluntarily, usually supporting two households, because their orders don’t include the ability to bring their vehicles, their families or authorize them to “permanently move” to where they are stationed…
Yes, those Reservists – so the Army decided that they are making way too much money. So they cut their per diem pay, in half. OK. It’s still doable. Per diem is actually only authorized for a ninety day TDY, but it was extended for the Reservists, because they were taking these yearlong tours without family and supporting two households.
This year, in a brilliant cost cutting measure, the Army in its infinite wisdom, has decided that Reservists don’t need that pre diem pay at all. After all, it’s a permanent change of station. But they aren’t going to move you and your family. It’s only a yearlong tour.
But the problem is that nothing has changed. The Reservists are still supporting two households and many of them are more than willing to quit taking on the responsibilities of these tours, because they simply can’t afford to continue to do so.
We have been so proud of the care that we have been giving our wounded soldiers. And we have been giving them excellent care. We have done so, thanks to the Reservists who cared enough to give up huge chunks of their lives to work with them. And now we are going to punish those Reservists.
That’s how you save money… the Army way.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rank Hath its Privilege – Or Not

There was once a time when rank in the military meant something. When the idea that you have worked your way through the ranks and achieved the status of a non-commissioned officer or commissioned officer meant that you had worked and studied hard, been evaluated and were valued by not only your peers but by the NCOs and the officers that you worked for.
In today’s “egalitarian” military, this is no longer true. While you are granted rank from private to private second, to private first and usually specialist (E1 to E2 to E3 and usually E4) as a matter of course, making it through BASIC and AIT, people seem to think that you should be handed E5 just as easily. And it’s just the thing that is happening. The Army especially is becoming heavy with NCOs who are not really qualified to be NCOs. It is also becoming top heavy with officers who are not qualified to be in the positions that they are in.
 Because no one is willing to write truthful evaluations. Sure, they are taking all the “right courses” and “doing all the right” things. But are they really ready to lead? Statics show that they are not.
As little as fifteen years ago, an Army Major was expected to entertain in his home. He would bring home work. He would counsel the soldiers and civilians under his command and treat his “employees” with respect. It was his job and his wife’s job to help maintain good order and discipline within the ranks of his unit by encouraging get togethers with the unit families and other group activities, outside the mission. He was expected to be the military equivalent of “upper middle management”.  
Today’s military makes this impossible. Officers are forced into positions where if they invite junior officers to their homes, it is seen as favoritism. Field grade officers are treated as if there are second lieutenants or privates on the job and yet are expected to shoulder the responsibilities of field grade officers. All in the name of fairness.
What may come to a shock to people is that the military is not built on what is fair. The military, with its proud and rich traditions was not built on fairness. It was built on a sense of pride, duty and honor. Too many of the young soldiers today come for a sense of entitlement, a sense of “if it’s good enough for the NCOs and officers, then it’s good enough for me!” without thinking that perhaps the NCOs and the officers have earned the privileges, that they are now being denied.
A story comes to mind about Army nurse, a Major, stationed at Walter Reed. The official title for her position was “Assistant Head” of the department that she was in, a position that did not exist. Her schedule was that of a second lieutenant. Her job duties were that of a Major, as she was also the department’s education coordinator. Where is the privilege of rank?  

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Beginning - Where it all starts...

The thought occurred to me, that I am probably one of the most unconventional of military wives. I am older than most of the 'newlywed" military wives that you see on post, I am former military, myself, so I really do have a clue as to what is going on, in the military, and I grew up in the military, and this isn't my first military marriage.
The "typical" military wife or spouse comes from one of two places. The starry eyes high school/college sweetheart, who followed her/his beloved into the military, right out of school, without a clue as to what hit them or the seasoned military brat, that ran away from home to go away to school and married a soldier (usually of a different branch than the parent) because that's who they fell in love with.
I'm in the second category. Daddy was career Navy. Mom was Women's Air Force (WAF). I married into the 82nd Airborne Division, the first time, I got married. Wasn't that just a kick in the pants?
Then I joined. Not the Navy or the Air Force... no... I joined the Army, because they would let me choose what I wanted to train as. I chose Combat Medic (91A). Brilliant choice. Totally useless in the "real world"! But there you go.
So what does this have to do with being unconventional? Well, maybe nothing. Maybe everything. But by the time that I was done, and my second husband was stationed at Ft Hood, Texas, his company commander's wife and I had a pretty good thing going with our family support group. We had monthly "teas" for the new wives, where we would sit them down and tell them the things that no one bothered to explain to them, about how things really work. Because, frankly, no one should go into to the world's most dysfunctional family blind.
Was it unconventional? I guess it was. No one else seemed to be doing it. And it was something that needed doing.
But who knows… maybe we were being unconventionally conventional…