An interesting conversation has sprung up in the Air Force regarding the officer promotion system recently, led by the pseudonymous Col ‘Ned Stark’ over at War on the Rocks. His May 2018 article provided an insider’s view on how the Air Force’s promotion system functions, who it affects, and why it’s failing. His account is shocking — and instantly relatable.
A highly decorated Kirtland Air Force Base colonel who refused to sign a certificate of appreciation for a retiring master sergeant’s same-sex spouse says he was wrongly disciplined for following his religious beliefs.
Equality for women in the workplace comes up all the time in the media, in casual conversation, in sports, and even in political debate. It’s an unavoidable topic in the early 21st century. Not just wages, either, as it turns out even today women get pushed into staff jobs, and many evaluations are biased against them. The military is similar. Women are often told, “You can’t go to that assignment because you wouldn’t be able to shower,” or “It’s too dangerous for a female,” or “You can’t lift/hit/run/jump/lead that, women just aren’t ‘designed’ that way,” or a host of other excuses we are told are in our best interests.
The choice to become a career Army officer is more than just choosing a job. It’s a transition into a life unique and separate from the civilian world. The Army becomes our community, our culture, and our family. The word “officer” stops being a thing that you do, and becomes a thing that you are. You literally dedicate your life to the Army.
Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Farrington
The U.S. military has been an all-volunteer force now for over 40 years. Despite some misgivings, everything has turned out pretty well. Our services are better manned, trained, and equipped than ever before. The military is barely recognizable compared to the force that deployed to Vietnam in the 1960s and early 1970s: Its speed, ferocity, and dominance are unmatched.