A U.S. Army captain, who will remain anonymous, was flabbergasted when he found out he was released from the military after receiving relocation paperwork only a short time earlier.
According to Fox News, the non-commissioned officer-turned-officer was stunned by the news. Although he knew the service was downsizing, he thought he would be spared due in part to his tours in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan.
Since he had received his orders to move to a new duty station, he took the next steps of relocation by finding a new home. He and his pregnant wife signed a lease, put down a deposit and started packing up their belongings. Just days later, he was summoned to his commanding general’s office and was told that he would no longer be employed by the U.S. military.
“I was led to believe that everything was good to go, and next thing you know, Monday morning, you’re having to talk to the man,” said the captain, who requested anonymity to speak freely about the incident and without professional repercussions. “You never think it’s going to happen to you.”
Due to a decrease in the Pentagon’s budget and ongoing reduction in forces, about 2,500 non-commissioned and commissioned officers will be released from the military this year. After a growth in 2008 due to the war in Iraq, the Army is currently down to 520,000 soldiers and has a targeted reduction that will take the headcount to 450,000 by fiscal year 2017.
If sequestration remains in effect after this proposed budget, the military force may fall as low as 420,000 soldiers – tens of thousands less than what the Army’s top officer, Gen. Raymond Odierno, said is needed to adequately respond to conflicts around the world.
Even officers who were spared from the current round of dismissals voiced discontentment regarding the move, saying it encourages talented leaders to leave the service. One voiced his opinion by stating, “We’re losing those who can get jobs, which means the Army is losing the talent it should be retaining.”
Because duty location transfer notifications typically occur in July, some military personnel being separated where already reassigned. This has caused some officers distress caused by the need to find a new home and a new job quickly. Many are unsure if their years of service will qualify them for early retirement or some other type of payout.
The anonymous captain is thankful that his landlord is allowing him and his wife to continue to rent the house at their current location. Hopefully he will be able to get his deposit back on the home he had planned to occupy at his assumed new duty station. He just wishes the Army gave him more answers.
“It sounded very scripted,” he said of his dismissal. “I didn’t feel like they were very prepared for questions.”