Conway told Marines in Ramadi in late December that about 37 percent of the corps, or about 66,000 out of about 175,000 permanent troops, had not yet been to Iraq, an issue he said could hurt justification for plans to increase the overall size of the Marine Corps. Another 5,000 troops are being funded temporarily, inflating the current end strength to 180,000 Marines.He is right; Marines want to fight. So do Soldiers and Sailors. You also have to justify your growing force.
The Bush administration has called for increasing the corps strength to 202,000 Marines in five years.
"If we're going to grow the force on the one hand, we've got to be able to justify it to the bean counters ... how we have 66,000 Marines that haven't been to Iraq or Afghanistan," he said.
About half of those who have not yet deployed are potentially slated for future Iraq deployments, meaning this new policy would target the remaining 33,000.
Conway says many Marines want to go into combat but are denied. This new policy would relieve Marines who are on their third and fourth deployments. Those Marines' deployments have since been extended as part of President Bush's plan to increase the number of troops in Iraq.
On the Navy side, there still needs to be action taken. About once a month I get and email that backs up some of the conversations I have had with junior Officers and Enlisted personnel - they are being told that they cannot go to Iraq or Afghanistan because it will "hurt their career chances."
A nation. At war. A military. At war....and it is bad to go into combat if you want a career. Case in point, a more junior Shipmate just finished his first squadron tour and wanted to serve in Iraq - skipping shore duty. His detailer and CO pushed him to take the FRS job. He was the #1 LT and he was going to the FRS as a flight instructor. True, good career move - but why don't we want our best out front in combat? The #2 and #3 are just as good pilots I am sure - yet they want shore duty. Go figure.
Executive summary: BZ to the USMC. I bet they will get a better result from the Marines then we got from the Goat Locker during the mid-90's "Chiefs to sea" move.