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Army

First Enlisted Service Members Union Approved by Army, Strike Imminent

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Army Formation

ARLINGTON, VA — In a historic move, the Department of the Army has recognized the right of service members to unionize.

“Historically, collective bargaining has improved American working conditions and made us the envy of the world economically. We’re pleased to announce that our soldiers can now have that right. In defending democracy, our service members should reserve the right to practice it,” declared Secretary of the Army John McHugh.

McHugh went on to say that the founding of a union had been under way for sometime and required lengthy negotiations with top civilian and military leaders, before an acceptable framework emerged. The first union, the Junior Enlisted Service Members (JESM), almost immediately threatened a strike.

PFC Harry Milton of the 323rd Military Intelligence Battalion is the founder of JESM. The 19 year-old soldier invited Duffel Blog into his new office in the reserve center, just outside Ft. Meade, MD, where JESM is headquartered.

Milton is unassuming, with bright red hair and a ginger complexion. To look at him, one would not believe that this is the face that could possibly bring the Army to its knees much more effectively than any budget sequester. Milton stressed the inequities in the Army — the result of what he calls a “slavish devotion to merit” — are what drove him to lead the move for more collective bargaining.

“We decided to found this union in response to the increasing problem of merit-based promotions. Are you really telling me you might promote some 21 year-old kid to Staff Sergeant, just because he’s a natural leader and a quick study? Hell no, you’ve got guys who’ve been slaving away at their job for almost two decades who deserve that rank more.”

JESM demands its members get the rights to refuse to train or deploy, regardless of duty position, to receive an additional stipend for members’ spouses, and guaranteed E-4 rank until retirement.

The Army’s insists on limiting JESM’s membership to new soldiers, effective October 1, 2012.

“Look, I’ve been in the Army ten years,” one Specialist fumed. “I may still be a Specialist, true, but I came in well before these guys. Don’t I deserve respect?”

Some in Washington remain skeptical. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno expressed his reservations to Duffel Blog, shortly after civilian leaders made the announcement.

“I don’t see how we maintain readiness in this situation. I’m sure it sounds good to civilian ears, but it’s simply unrealistic to expect we’ll have to sit down with the union to re-negotiate contracts to which they have already agreed to as individuals,” Odierno said.

Further complicating matters is a massive competition by both public and private sector unions to represent service members. John Gage of the American Federation of Government Employees was blunt. “As much as I appreciate what PFC Milton wants to accomplish, a merger [with AFGE] would better accommodate him. We’re at a time when public workers face massive budget cuts. We need to present a united front.”

Private unions such as Service Employees International Union (SEIU) chimed in as well. “We represent 2.1 million service sector workers in North America. The Army is itself a jobs program, is it not? Who is more deserving of social justice than these unsung heroes of the junior enlisted?,” asked SEIU president Mary Kay Henry.

Larry Trumka, president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organization (AFL-CIO) offered that the military would be better represented by his union, simply stating “no one has more effectively campaigned against meritocracy than we have.”

Junior officers don’t want to be left out, and have formed an organizing committee, led by 1LT Mary Harris Jones. It has already convened and begun collecting cards.

PFC Milton is resolute. “There’s a lot of sour grapes over this. But we stand firm for our right to sit down,” he said. PFC Milton seemed stressed during the interview and fumbled with a mock up of a deployment “stress card.” “It’s something we’re looking at demanding after basic.”

At the end of the interview, he sagged in his chair, starring over his office. “I think I may have been cheated,” he reflected, looking at the neatly stacked signs. “They never told me unionizing was going to be such hard work!”

Duffel Blog journalists Dirty, G-Had and Jay-B contributed to this report.

Tony is a soldier and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. Responsible for over 400 enemy kills, he has consistently "killed them with kindness".

Army

Retiring E-9 shocked to discover private sector has no seats at table for abrasive, stupid people who stay around for long enough

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CAMP COURTNEY, Okinawa — Retiring Headquarters Battalion Sgt. Maj. Joe Perkins expressed outrage and disgust on the hallowed literary digest LinkedIn over the lack of high-pay, high-power jobs available for veterans with no discernible skills aside from interrupting loudly and expressing themselves incoherently, sources confirmed today.

Perkins elaborated to reporters on the lack for opportunity for “real hard chargers” as he plans to transition to life in the civilian world.

“It’s just plain dumb,” he barked in a raspy voice scarred by decades of smoking Marlboro reds, his overly aggressive high-and-tight sitting atop a beet-red face. “Can you honestly look me in the eye and tell me that these corporations don’t need someone with no real job description to walk around, disrespect their superiors in public, tell stories about lifing staff sergeants, and have temper tantrums over seemingly small mistakes?”

Perkins seemed to be having trouble articulating his value added to would-be employers.

“I went to one place, got out of my car, and immediately said, ‘Oh. My. God.’ People were walking all over the parking lot without reflective belts and most of them without buddies. People walking on grass. I stormed right into the CEO’s office and said, ‘Listen sir, you need me here to tighten this shit up ricky-ticky, roger?’”

John Evans, CEO of service supply company ServiceCorp, found Perkins’ behavior appalling for an industry that does not pay people to spend 15 minutes correcting junior workers on executing a proper salute.

“I thought maybe a crazy person or a bum with a weird haircut had come into our building,” Evans said. “He was grabbing people’s laptops and throwing them, screaming ‘tie your shit down!’”

Perkins storied career includes one six-month deployment to Kosovo, and people in his current workplace lovingly refer to him as “worthless sack of shit” and “fuckface.”

“Anyone out their want to support a real VETRAN??!? Years of leadership experience & maintaining the standard r a linkedin clik away!!!!1,” he wrote, wrapping up his post.

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Army

Afghan bodyguard seems like real straight-shooter

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KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — An Afghan bodyguard seems like “a real straight-shooter,” sources reported today, adding that the professional guardian’s steely-eyed, thousand-yard stare brings a tide of warmth and comfort to the officials he protects.

Khalil Rahmati, a Kandahar native, was recently appointed to the security detail of Lt. Gen. Omar Abboud, a critical figure in the stability of Kandahar province who is entrusted with safeguarding Afghan and U.S. interests against the Taliban. Rahmati is Kandahar’s local Top Shot champion and holds the national record for shooting the most targets in the back in a one-minute period.

“Allah, what blessings to have such an eagle-eyed warrior in my personal guard,” said Abboud, successor to Gen. Abdul Razeq.

Razeq, a highly-respected and effective commander, was assassinated by his own bodyguard on Thursday.

Rahmati’s U.S. counterparts have also lauded his professionalism and, in particular, his marksmanship abilities.

“He’s basically the perfect soldier,” said Lt. Gen. Austin Miller, who survived the insider attack that killed Razeq and a high-ranking intelligence officer.

“If he were in the [U.S.] Army, Rahmati would certainly promote to sergeant with marksmanship scores like his,” added Sgt. 1st Class Chad Henry, deployed with the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade. “Now, does that mean that I trust him with my life?”

“Absolutely,” he said.

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Army

Army sergeant’s steampunk top hat springs class III leak in formation

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FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. – Army Sgt. Pennyworth Montgomery’s notably complex steampunk top hat sprung a class III leak in the middle of morning formation, sources confirmed today.

“I noticed it immediately,” said Spc. Christie Jones. “One moment the steam whistle puffed away gentle bursts of vapor to release pressure. In the next, there was clear drop formation  each of which fell from their own weight.”

Having escaped Montgomery’s notice, the leak worsened due to the internal pressure generated by the boiler apparatus held within the hat’s large stovepipe structure. This caused a torrent of scalding water to spray over the faces of two privates standing adjacent to Montgomery.

“Arrghhh!!!” screamed Spc. Michael Johnson as doctors treated him at the local burn unit. “Who even lets him wear that stupid thing?!”

The military police sergeant said an internal problem caused the top hat to send boiling water shooting on the privates who he expected to hold the position of attention.

“Well, I think the problem arose when the 25 tooth brass gear misaligned with those around it. This caused the hat’s internal dampening system to overfill with steam pressure,” Montgomery said while wearing a purple tented set of welding goggles.

“This sent a gust of steam through the incorrect piping and into a glass reservoir directly underneath the series of Edison bulbs I have attached around the top to indicate ambient air temperature and atmospheric pressure,” he continued after adjusting a few external lenses over his left eye and checking an ornate brass pocket watch.

Montgomery then opened an umbrella with a loud, “Cheerio!” and floated into the sky towards the dirigible he had moored to a light pole at the barracks parking lot.

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Army

The untold story behind the name of the US Army Special Operations Command

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The following is an excerpt from the personal journal of Lt. Gen. William Yarbrough (1912-2013), reprinted by Duffel Blog with permission from the Green Beret Association.

So here it was, June of 1998, and the Pentagon made the decision that they wanted all the Army Special Operations components under one unit umbrella. They had pretty much everything figured out except what to call the new parent command. So Eric [Shinseki], who was about to take over as chief of staff, called me up and asked me for ideas on a name.

Now, during Vietnam, Green Berets would be out doing things in the middle of nowhere, and they’d have absolutely no supplies to speak of.

Guys would be complaining that they had to do their business out there in the jungle but didn’t have anything to wipe with. The team commanders would be constantly telling people “use a sock.” Or when guys would need to take care of themselves, if you know what I mean, but there was no tissue paper handy? “Use a sock.”

Seriously, socks were easier to get than toilet paper. I still don’t know why. Guys within the Special Forces community started saying “use a sock” for literally everything. It got to the point where it almost became an institutional joke motto, sort of like “Wagner loves the cock” for the Marines.

So now here it is, I’d been retired for almost thirty years, when out of the blue I get a phone call from Eric, and he asks me to come up with an idea for a name for this new major command.

Without even thinking, I blurted out, “Use a sock.” It was just an offhand joke. I never meant for him to take it seriously. But he ran with it, and sure enough, a year and a half later, there he is, announcing the formation of USASOC (U.S. Army Special Operations Command).

I never had the heart to tell him. He’d probably be really embarrassed.

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Air Force

Pentagon worries that plunging morale might affect morale

Nevertheless, many service members remain skeptical that conditions will improve anytime soon.

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ARLINGTON, Va. — Officials at the Pentagon have expressed concerns that plunging morale among American service members may be affecting service member morale, sources revealed today.

“We at the Department of Defense are deeply worried that the growing apathy of America’s war fighters may have a negative impact on America’s ability to fight wars,” said Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Ed Marquand.

“Though we are at present unsure of the exact root of the growing malaise, our researchers suspect that it may have something to do with almost two decades of perpetual conflict, a gradual decline in America’s international prestige, or endemic inefficiency across the military industrial complex.”

While the Pentagon’s recognition of this growing problem strikes many Americans as a step in the right direction, it remains unclear what actions the Pentagon will take to rectify the issue.

“We are currently exploring a number of possible solutions to increase the job satisfaction of our soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen,” Marquand said. “Currently, we suspect that if we find a way to make living more bearable for our military personnel, they may actually begin to enjoy being alive. Experiments conducted on laboratory animals and members of the Coast Guard support this theory.”

However, despite the Pentagon’s announcement, there are some across the military who disagree with any attempt to improve the the happiness of military members.

“Morale is a crutch,” an anonymous colonel stated in a recent suicide letter.

Nevertheless, many service members remain skeptical that conditions will improve anytime soon.

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” said Lance Cpl. Marcus Strudelmeier of 7th Marine Regiment. “If Maj. Whatshisnuts thinks a little press conference will keep me from doing cough syrup jello shots in a desperate attempt to shuffle off this mortal coil, stand the fuck by.”

As of press time, Pentagon researchers were attempting to link overwhelming depression among E-5s and below with poor barracks Wi-Fi.

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Army

Retiring Sergeant Major convinced he was medieval Japanese Samurai in previous life

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sgm samurai

FORT HOOD, Texas — An Army sergeant major months from retiring after more than 30 years of service is pretty sure he was a Japanese samurai in a previous life, sources confirmed today.

“You know, I can really identify with the Samurai mindset,” sources say Sgt. Maj. Joshua Thomas, an overweight 48-year-old father of four, murmured to himself. Thomas, gently fingering a challenge coin given to him 20 years prior by the Commander of III Corps, added: “Maybe I could have been a ninja.”

Thomas recently submitted his retirement packet which has, reportedly, spurred a series of adolescent fantasies about medieval Japan. Chief among them is an image of himself in full suit of traditional samurai armor. “I can see myself on the field of battle, clutching my weary katana and squinting to see out from my lacquered mengu face mask. But it is difficult, because of the blood which makes my eyes sting.”

Thomas pivoted listlessly in his chair and sighed, according to sources, who added that for at least the past few hours he had been staring out his window, daydreaming of a snowy Japanese landscape. He ended his fidgeting by leaning back in his chair and resting his feet on a large wooden desk.

“After I aided my defeated opponents’ in ritual suicide, I would likely return to my holdings and ruminate on their courage by quietly inspecting cherry blossom trees. Maybe I would donate a portion of my yearly koku to a shrine for their kami and participate in a tea ceremony,” Thomas told reporters.

Thomas’ wife, Helen Jackson-Thomas, reports that her husband has lined up civilian work as mid-level management at an IT company just outside of Boise, Idaho. Sources confirm that his personal internet search history include the terms, “Iaijutsu Idaho,” “The Five Rings,” “Movie Forty Something Samurai,” “Clacky Practice Swords For Sale Boise,” and “Extended Tri-Care Coverage for Dependents.”

“I think I would be a weary samurai. Tired from the horrors I’ve seen, but resolute in my duty.”

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Army

First MRE eaten in war in Afghanistan finally pooped out

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JACKSON, Mo. — After more than 17 years inside a retired Special Forces soldier’s colon, the first Meals Ready-to-Eat consumed during the war in Afghanistan was pooped out this week, sources confirmed today.

1st Sgt. Jeff Donegan (Ret.) says he ate the beef ravioli MRE during the initial invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001.

“I remember it like it was yesterday. A hot, dusty afternoon on the outskirts of Kandahar. Not a rock or something in sight to lean my heater on,” Donegan said. “I cracked open that wheat snack bread knowing we’d be in it for the long haul, but I never could have imagined it would be this long.”

Donegan went on to serve three more tours in Afghanistan and two in Iraq before retiring in 2011. He said his battle to push the MRE through his intestines is an analogy for the invisible battles thousands of troops fight once they leave the service.

“I thought that once I retired, my days thinking about the war were over, and I could move on with my life,” he said. “But the years went by, and I could still feel the cheese spread inside me, gnawing at my guts. It cut down deep into my core, an obsession that I just couldn’t shake out.”

Donegan finally sought professional help to assist him in passing the MRE through his bowels. He says help is out there for the many soldiers who still struggle to defecate after eating them.

“I finally talked to a therapist and she said that it’s all about acceptance,” he added. “I needed to accept it before I could let it go, to face my demons head on. Yeah, it hurt. I think pooping out MREs hurts us all in its own way, but I got through it.”

At press the time, the most recent plate of goat meat and rice served to American troops by their Afghan partners had already been sprayed all over a local Port-a-John.

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Army

Space Force seeking applications for transfer to mobile infantry

It’s called the “Cross Into the Black” initiative.

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WASHINGTON — Space Force Recruiting and Retention Command announced today that it is seeking applications from current active-duty Army 11-series MOS and Marine 03xx-series MOS personnel for lateral transfer into the Mobile Infantry, the service’s direct-action combat arms branch.

The “Cross Into the Black” initiative seeks to recruit current infantry soldiers and Marines to take their ground combat skills to the interstellar battle space.

“Our goal is to be able to rapidly field an initial corps of trained warfighters who will then be able to train the next generation of mobile infantry,” said Space Force Lt. Col. John Rico. “Our troopers will be prepared to deal with anything, from the gritty hell of face-to-face combat, to the potentially awkward moral dilemmas that may arise from railing out your smoking-hot redhead platoon mate while you’ve still sort of got a thing for this pilot chick.”

Mobile infantry warfighting doctrine calls for rapidly deployable units that can counter not only Earth-based threats, but also potential attack from non-Earth based enemy forces. Insertion by orbital dropship is the primary assault tactic employed, as it enables rapid massing of friendly forces on the enemy objective and the establishment of a secure lodgment for follow-on operations or beer-and-bang parties.

Mobile infantry units will deploy aboard heavy fleet cruisers such as the USS Rodger Young, the first Space Force cruiser to be commissioned. The cruisers can deploy 32 Viking-class dropships, each capable of carrying one fully combat-equipped rifle platoon as well as four Conestoga-class support dropships stocked with mission-critical supplies including spare munitions, rations, hair-styling products, beer kegs, electric violins, and footballs.

Units are gender-integrated, which eases logistical and supply-chain burdens for field shower units, portable tents, personal prophylactic kits, and other sustainment provisions.

The Space Force is offering transfer bonuses of up to $20,000 for service experience of eight years or more, or the equivalent qualifying time and unlocked achievements in a candidate’s online gamer profile, as an incentive to lure experienced mid-career infantrymen away from sister services.

Applicants should have a GT score of 110 or greater on the ASVAB. Scores down to 50 are waiverable if the applicant has less than 12% body fat and flexible sexual standards.

Would you like to know more?  Space Force Recruiting and Retention Command says interested parties should visit its website for more information.

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