Sunday, March 8, 2009


I still have little more than hearsay and rumors to go off of.

The odds of me being stop-lossed are very good. In fact, for all intents and purposes, I am already. There are medical issues I can try to bring up, and supposedly someone higher up said that if you've already got a letter of acceptance from a college or university, then there's a 90% chance you'll be able to go. Again, that's hearsay.

I wasn't even mad when I walked in and heard the news from my friends. I just had questions. A definitive answer is all that I want. Whichever way this thing goes, I'll go along with it, sure. I just want to stop wondering.

Yeah, I'd like to get out, get schooled, live. Then there's a part of me that's slightly relieved. I don't want to see these guys get deployed while I chill. This should be the last one, right? Maybe?

There's a lot of people on this side of the pond that have been waiting patiently, with fingernails chewed to ragged bloody scraps, for me to be done with all this. There's people here that expect me to continue to contribute to the unit. They want to keep the guys with experience, and I can understand that completely.

Me? I'm split in half, right down the middle. Get out, or deploy. That sense of moral obligation I first had, four years ago, it resurfaces in small glimpses.

So who do I let down?

You? Them? I don't even know if the choice is mine. I almost hope it isn't.


Kelsey said...

It sounds like you might not have a choice in the matter. Not sure if that makes it better or worse... For your sake I hope they let you out so you can go to school and try to live a normal life (whatever that means), but all that really matters is that you can live with whatever happens, especially if you have no control over it. Here's hoping it turns out well. Good luck!

Raul said...

Dude that sucks. I am the next guy in my company to ETS. Im lucky. The CO and 1SG the rest of the chain of command has been very supportive and allowed me to do everything I needed to get out smoothly. They just made sure I had a plan and I told them what it was, there were satisfied. You did your time man. I don't know why you should feel guilty about letting the guys in your unit down, you were there when you needed to be. Don't let them guilt trip you. You fucking did your job. Now it's fucking time for you to move on.

13 Stoploss said...

a few more things you need to know re stop loss:

1) First O-6 in the chain has the authority to exempt anyone he wants. Realize the constraints of an open-door policy, but also that the O-6 "may" simply go with the recommendation of the first O-5 in your chain.

2) The stop loss policy has exemptions. It is up to the soldier to research what the exemptions are, then build and present his case. In my case, the exemptions were posted in the DFAC. There were exemptions for medical reasons, financial reasons, family reasons, and the generic one, "any other case that warrants an undue hardship upon the soldier."

3) Also realize that #2 above looks great on paper, and rarely works in practice. In fact, they exist probably because they were required, but that ultimate decision-making rests upon the first O-6 in the chain, and he may have an internal order within his O-5 fraternity that no one meets the exemptions.

4) Your MG knows when the installation is deploying. The BDE's will be staggered, and so too will the stop loss order within the division. Right now, your BDE CMDR is looking over the rosters and is deciding AT WHAT TIME can he invoke the order, within his own movement window, to KEEP the most soldiers he can.

For instance, say your DIV leaves on May 1. Your BDE may leave on May 1, May 21, or even June 7. If your BDE leaves on June 7, subtract 90, and that is the window your BDE CMDR has to invoke stop loss. We both know that planes and things get delayed, and you might not physically leave for another 2-3 weeks, but that won't stop your O-6 from maybe seeing if he can invoke around the time of the first of the DIV's movement if it means he keeps an extra 40-50 soldiers in the BDE.

5) Ain't no one going to live your life while you are saving those of your buddies. No one looks out for #1 like #1. Your buddies know this, and will not hold it against you. Rational self-interest, in the end, is best. Even with you, there is no guarantee that you'll save anyone, including yourself. Your buddies would say they'll stay, but in the same situation, no one really does.

Anonymous said...

You are living in the hell of your own mind. You have to figure out what you, yourself, are comfortable with. I think that what we read and what you are dealing with are two very different things. Be strong, my ass. Be true. From day one you had integrity. and loyalty. sometimes that's stupid. most of the time it's stupid. but it's there, and you can't help it... what do you WANT to do?

Anonymous said...

Dude, read your blog. It says, "I want out."
If you are now of divided mind on this issue; it is probably because of a case of "survivor's guilt." You need to see a shrink, a real one, not someone connected to the military. Why? Because, strangely, anything that would increase your chances of re-upping may not get diagnosed. If you go to Hospice, they have a sliding scale for payment, and maybe no charge at all in your situation.
I can't address the moral obligation aspect, as I thought invading Iraq was a bad idea always, just as I thought supporting the mujahideen against the Russians was a bad idea. As I civilian, I would much rather have my tax dollars getting you an education than embroiled in a middle-eastern pissing contest. If you want to save the world, go anywhere there are poor people and start handing out contraceptives and educating the kids. Or you can come up with your own plan. There's an ass-load that needs doing.
You've berated yourself in the past for falling for the war porn. If you get stuck back in that mess, at least go into it without drama and a grip on reality.

Your situation is stressful. Be smart, be careful! z

bigD said...

Hi Suspect,
Whatever happens, I think you can count on everyone who loves you to support you. It seems like you have progressed really fast from the initial shock and anger over this news, to "acceptance." I am glad you are in a calmer place right now, but, if I may offer my humble advice... I think you should pursue WHATEVER avenues there are to get out and do them NOW! Don't let them grab you and suck you down into the quicksand any further. I'm shakin' you Suspect and I'm trying to get you to wake up. It's like you've been running through the poppy field and you are getting very sleepy. I won't let the flying monkees take you to the wicked witch, not without a fight anyway.

I can see your points on both sides, but, I still think you should do all in your power to buck the system and try to get out. If it comes down to you going back to Iraq, well at least you know you did everything you could to fight the stop loss. I just feel like if you do go back, it's gonna hit you like a ton of bricks and than you will regret the decision NOT to fight this.

I agree with 13 Stoploss, don't buy that "we need experienced soldiers" bullsh*t and don't let them guilt you into giving up this opportunity to get back into the swim with the rest of the world.

Ryan whatever you decide you won't be letting anybody down! The window may already be closed and if so, there will be nothing you can do except figure out how to keep your sanity.

But, if that window is open even just a little, I think you owe it to yourself to try to squeeze through. Don't be afraid to jump into the pool with the rest of us, the water is just fine.

God(s) bless you Ryan, no matter what happens, I'll stand by you. You are ever in my thoughts and prayers.

P.S. - I really like the song too.

"Don't need to escalate,
You see, war is not the answer,
For only love can conquer hate,
You know we've got to find a way,
To bring some loving here today."

13 Stoploss said...

2 of my favorite bands in succession. I got off Staff Duty one morning, drove across town to get to Target, and waited for them to open just to buy eMotive. Did the same for aMotion. had them, and abused them all of my stoplossed deployment.

you should be singing "GIMME, GIMME, GIMME."

Anonymous said...

As everyone else says: you really don't have a choice i they want you back over. The relief is understandable. Lots of dudes apparently feel that duty to their unit. Not their contract, but their *unit*, their brothers in arms and whatnot.

Either way, you know all those people who want you out will be behind you even if it takes a bit longer than expected.

We love you a little bit, you know. ;)


themorethingschange..... said...

"...I'm split in half, right down the middle. Get out, or deploy. That sense of moral obligation I first had, four years ago, it resurfaces in small glimpses.
So who do I let down?
You? Them? I don't even know if the choice is mine. I almost hope it isn't."

This dilema is beyond hard, its flat-out mind boggling and the more you worry the more wound up you get.

So I'll share with you the best advice I've ever been given: Take your mind out of the equation and listen to your gut.

It takes a little practise, or did for me anyway, but your gut always has an opinion and mine hasn't failed me yet! How I wish someone had told me about it about 40yrs sooner!!


mamaworecombatboots said...

There is no disgrace in wanting to move on. As for those that haven't hit their date, they will manage without you. Just pull your hand out of a bucket of water and see what size hole it leaves.

Pay close attention to 13--he is giving you great advice.

You may get stuck, even if you've done everything you can. Then it is what it is, and you have to put your energy into acceptance. It is no good standing up to a steamroller--all you'll get is flat.

membrain said...

"Me? I'm split in half, right down the middle. Get out, or deploy. That sense of moral obligation I first had, four years ago, it resurfaces in small glimpses."

I see you've taken down yesterday's post and are back to "Acceptance". Nobody here can tell you what to thinks or do. Just you. And you'll do the right thing.

Anonymous said...

No matter what you do you won't let anybody down

Anonymous said...

Ryan pleeeeeese come home

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