Monday, June 12, 2006

West Point Reunion

I attended my 35th West Point reunion this past weekend and boy, are we getting old! Hard to believe that World War II was only 22 years over when I graduated from high school and I have now been out of college for 35 years!

One thing I had to tell my classmates who stayed in for a full 20 years or more was thanks for sticking with it. The Army was in pretty bad shape as a result of Vietnam when I went active the summer of ’71. There was an awful lot of bad leadership and it really turned me off. I got out as soon as my five-year commitment was up.

The guys who continued to serve did a wonderful job of reforming and rebuilding the Army into the formidable, well-led, all-volunteer force we have today. The troops were always good, as long as they had good leadership, even in the old draft days. But today, they are even better, thanks in large part to the excellent positive leadership being provided by the officers and NCOs. Thanks a lot to my classmates for making it so.

One thing that came through loud and clear, however, was that the Army is stretched pretty thin now, with many soldiers on their third or fourth tours in the war zone. There are fears that budgets will be cut back, no matter which party is in power, and that these funding reductions will be balanced on the backs of the soldiers, since it would be a disaster to cut our force levels.

I am a Rumsfeld fan. We need a leaner, meaner Army able to fight these kind of anti-terrorist wars, but that Army, however lean, has got to get bigger to take the pressure off the outstanding troops we have protecting us from the barbarians.

The highlight of the entire reunion, of course, was the fact that it started as we all received the news that our guys had gotten al-Zarqawi at last. Good riddance!


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