Sunday, September 07, 2008

The LOGCAP Diaspora

More and more folks are fleeing this way of life and stresses. Until I left I did not really imagine I would be able to function again in a real world situation and in fact I have had some adjustment issues. I don't live in a Khaki world anymore. Everything is not dress right dress. People don't obey rules because rules are in place. Being around weapons and planning for war is not part of the new normalcy.

Some folks are having tough times. Many can't adjust to what amounts to chaos of life compared to the order and linear thought processes of the military. I know many who indeed think they will make oodles of money in the US just because they did so in Iraq. I'm doing very well but that is because I have a transferable skill set. This is when the skills you brought to the table or developed while in theater are usable to companies in the civilian sector.

Some of the retired military types looked down their noses at those who were in support roles like IT, HR, HSE, medical and such but those are the folks having the least amount of problems refitting to the civilian side. PKTSD while being a funny story is sadly enough based on some realities. There were many who did not save a dime and just powered through what they made.

The active duty folks have many ways to reach out and get help. The civilians don't. There are a lot of people who are a bit jealous and say that they don't deserve it as they made a lot of money. Truth is they did not make as much as a lot of people think they did. The combat truck driver made about 80K in a year. He gets a tax break and brings it all home but think about all the danger he faced to make that. When you add up the combat pay, deployment pay, and uplifts to the military this is about what an E-7 or an O-5 brings home too. Who faced the most danger, the trucker out on an MSR every two days or the O-5 who worked as a S-3 planner and hardly ever left the base? Who needs help the most?

The diaspora of the LOGCAPers continues and I keep up with a lot of them by various methods. Some have gone home and have no intention of ever going overseas again. Some have been trying to get another overseas job and some have just melted into the world.

I saw my neighbor's family destroyed by this. He fell victim to the temptations that many faced and most resisted. He made a wad of cash, planned a big vacation, found a new girlfriend and had it all going rosy. That lasted until he was terminated for trying to smuggle out a bullet. That's right, one bullet. The rules say "Don't do it!" I told him as I told everyone who deployed, "Follow the rules." He got caught and was held up in Baghdad until they could finish an investigation. He missed his oldest child's High School Graduation because of this. He came home with his head hanging down and took his family on that expensive vacation they had planned. He figured he would be able to go back with another company in less than a month so he did not worry about his money. They spent it. While on vacation his new girlfriend also came to the vacation spot although she was in a different hotel.

He made excuses and disappeared for a few hours. Everything was just ducky until after their return home. Seems he has been put on a "Do not rehire" list with us and can't get on with anyone else. Since 2006 companies are not desperate for help anymore. They won't just hire you because you are willing to come. If you can't make a single rotation you are a liability and are likely to repeat the behavior. Not only was he now not going back and had splurged all the money but his wife found photos on his digital camera of his girlfriend. Yep, he actually took pics of her at the family vacation spot.

Today he is at home struggling. He had to move out and they are getting divorced. He is working a "make ends meet" job and dreams of returning to the gravy train but knows it is not going to happen.

He is my neighbor but I don't feel sorry for him. He could have obeyed the rules but he didn't. he could have stayed faithful to his wife but he didn't. He could have been smart enough to not have evidence of his transgressions but he didn't. He looks at me and wonders why I made it for 5 years and still have a good overseas gig.

The diaspora of these people will be complete in a few years, sooner of Obama gets elected. I wonder what brainy post grad student will seize on this for a thesis or for a doctoral study in sociology. It will be interesting. The first outsourced war is going to present some very different problems once they are fully recognized by the "experts". I'm no expert and I know the diaspora is bringing new troubles. For many it will be too late before the answers are found.


Post a Comment

<< Home

View My Profile