CAMP SMITH, HI — Sources revealed today that a top U.S. Marine General is "extremely hesitant" about plans for his possible retirement, indicating a greater problem with military transition assistance programs.
Gen. John Murphy, the former commander of Fleet Marine Forces-Pacific, is looking toward a future in the private sector, but he says he may have to lower himself to take any position in order to support his family.
"It's scary out there with the economy the way it is," said Murphy in a telephone interview with Duffel Blog. "I'm certainly hoping that I can secure a job as a D.C. lobbyist or a consultant to a defense contractor. But shit, I'm just not sure anymore. I might have to degrade myself and be a military analyst at Fox News just to feed my goddamn kids."
Murphy's worries underscore a major problem of assisting military members on their way out of the service. Junior enlisted personnel usually go through a weeklong Transition Assistance Program, or TAP, but the classes for general officers have serious drawbacks.
"The enlisted classes set the guys up for everything. They basically pave the way for them to go college, give them job placement, the whole nine yards," said Michael Phillips, a counselor with the TAP program. "But for Generals, they need to do a lot of the work on their own. Most of them have to search for at least a few minutes in their rolodex to find a contact at BAE Systems or Lockheed before they have an executive position."
But it's not only the possibility of not having a career outside of the military, Murphy says.
"It's also the shitty pension that I'm going to get," Murphy said tearfully. "How the hell am I going to live on a salary of over $200,000 a year? You can't even get a decent sports car for that."
Murphy isn't the first General with retirement worries. Duffel Blog reached out to a number of retired Generals and Admirals for comment.
"I really feel for John, because it is really tough out here," Admiral Gary Roughead (Ret.) told Duffel Blog. "It took me almost four months to get on Northrup Grumman's corporate board, and even then they only paid me a measly $115,000 a year."
In a poll of retired Generals contacted by TDB, the survey found that roughly 87 percent had to cut back on the size of their mansions and lower the amount of shoe shines received each week. 23 percent reported that they had to cut back their diet of caviar.
"People don't realize the hardships that we face on the outside," said Lt. Gen. Robert Dail (Ret.). "The company I work for actually sent a chauffeured car once to take me to work instead of the usual helicopter."