A Question For The (Military) Hive Mind

This is something I’ve been wondering about too.

Obviously, I can’t speak for Jon, but this may have been partly evoked by this:

39 replies
  1. 1
    Raven says:

    So what’s the question? Plenty of people do their required tours and get out.

  2. 2
    soonergrunt says:

    He served the 6 year post graduation requirement. I’m guessing he always intended to run for political office, and got out as soon as he could.
    OTOH, I think seeing his Officer Efficiency Reports would be most illuminating.

  3. 3
    JPL says:

    @Raven: He was probably overlooked for promotion, and that’s why he got out. That’s just my opinion, but I know others who took that route.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    Raven says:

    @JPL: He had a lot more lucrative future as a Harvard law grad than he did a dogface.

  6. 6
    RAVEN says:

    @John Revolta: So what? That means he wasn’t stupid enough to stay in the goddamn Army.

  7. 7
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Hmmm. If this article is to be believed, he actually didn’t serve in the Gulf War. I know nothing about Quartz, though, and have no idea of its reliability.


  8. 8

    @RAVEN: Well ok, but damn. I would think you don’t GET to be #1 at West Point if you hate the Army and don’t wanna be there.

  9. 9
    Wag says:


    Quartz is part of The Atlantic, and I would consider them quite reliable.

  10. 10
    SiubhanDuinne says:



  11. 11
    raven says:

    @John Revolta: Hating the Army and doing your time and moving on are not the same.

  12. 12
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Jack Reed, one of my Senators, went to West Point, then when on active duty earned a Ranger tab, was a company commander in the 82nd Airborne, bunch of other stuff, and left active duty as a Captain after maybe 6-7 years. I don’t think he was #1 in his class, but he did well, at one point went back to the Point as a professor, so he’s not dogshit. Not everybody’s interested in being a lifer. Generally people who do well academically at West Point are smart and ambitious and can be successful at a lot of things.

  13. 13
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Gin & Tonic: A friend of mine is a lecturer at Sandhurst, the British Army’s school for officers. He left the Army after only six or seven years too. Then again he only reached the dizzy heights of corporal before he left.

  14. 14
    Jim says:

    @Gin & Tonic: This seems logical and reasonable to me. Ambitious people may not want the one career path that the military takes them on. Leaving gives them many more options. There many also be something to being passed over. Being “smart” is only one characteristic of many to being a successful military officer. I don’t particularly like Pompeo, but (without knowing more) I don’t think his leaving is that important. I’m more focused on what he is doing now.

  15. 15
    Wapiti says:

    In my time in the service, I worked with a few junior officers that were West Pointers; I know of one who got out as soon as he could and went to business school; he was ambitious for money and WP was a stepping stone.

    I think they changed their advertising tagline to something like “training America’s leaders” a decade or two ago because some fraction of the graduates are just ambitious strivers and are not there for an Army career.

  16. 16
    RAVEN says:

    @Robert Sneddon: I made E-3 three times! Look at me now.

  17. 17

    This makes sense. I hadn’t considered that the $$ is probably better elsewhere.

  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: He did not. He was sent home from his prestige, post graduation 1st in class at the Point in Germany, and rode a desk stateside until his minimum required service was up and then separated. There is lots of speculation as to why his year group’s hardest charger flames out, but no definitive answers. The RUMINT is something happened in Germany that derailed his career, but it was kept quite. I’ve seen different versions of what that was specifically, but no one has a definitive answer.

  19. 19
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @JPL: Not at the 6 year point. You can’t make major until 9 years at earliest these days (and those days).

  20. 20
    J R in WV says:


    ” I made E-3 three times! Look at me now.”

    Yeah, Dr. Raven ~!!~ Look at you now.

  21. 21
    J R in WV says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    That’s almost as interesting as what ever became of Mitch McConnell’s DD-214… ?? Well — not really~!~

  22. 22
    Eric NNY says:

    Back in those days, our commitment was only 4 or 5 years depending on when you graduated. There was a big downsizing in 1991 so maybe it wasn’t his choice? As we always say, it’s irresponsible not to speculate……..

  23. 23
    sharl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: OT, check out the fine gerrymandering of Crenshaw the Inciter’s CD (left-side image attached to the tweet). Not the most blatant I’ve seen, but still impressive just the same.

    On the left is Dan Crenshaw’s Congressional district; on the right is a racial map of the Houston area. Green is white pic.twitter.com/u613HZ3W0I— Thames Darwin (@thamesdarwin) April 14, 2019

  24. 24
    karen marie says:

    @J R in WV: I don’t know how I missed that story!

  25. 25
    Bonnie says:

    Trump said even before he was elected that he thought America should invade Venezuela and take their oil. What an ugly American Trump has proven to be.

  26. 26
    Ruckus says:

    @John Revolta:
    Depends on his reason for going in the first place. If he was only looking for the paper instead of the service then 6 and out would make sense. Seems to me though that in 6 yrs, as 1st in his class at WP, he would/could have made higher rank than capt. So maybe there was something going on that no one talks about, which of course never happens in the military. Wink, wink….

  27. 27
    Ruckus says:

    @Kirk Spencer:
    Hadn’t read through first. That answers my idea.
    When I was in the navy 49 yrs ago they advanced anyone who didn’t seem to be a complete asshole or totally incapable. I made E5 in, if I remember correctly, just under 2 yrs and officers advanced at about the same speed, depending on who they didn’t piss off.

  28. 28
    Tenar Arha says:


    President Trump anti-Omar tweet baited Democrats. They didn’t have to bite, but they did. Latest in @TheAtlantic

    Frum wrote this lovely (/pure sarcasm) article about Ilhan Omar today. Anyway they’re not as reliable as they used to be. (If they ever were at all, with writers as blinded by their own self importance as Sullivan & Frum).

  29. 29
    Tenar Arha says:

    @Wag: ETA

    because I forgot to mention
    1) The Atlantic went into my “note to self, always check the byline before reading to protect your blood pressure” column
    2) and also YMMV 😉

  30. 30
    Wag says:

    @Tenar Arha:

    I agree with taking any source with a grain of salt. I also agree with checking the byline, especially with the outright opinion pieces. Straight news is less of an issue at Atlantic

  31. 31
    Procopius says:

    @soonergrunt: I agree. I’ve been retired for 37 years, so don’t know about the current promotion atmosphere for officers, but IIRC that would be about the time Captains come up before their first promotion board. Most of them are not going to be selected — the step up to Major (field grade) is the most important in an officer’s career. If he makes it he’s guaranteed to be able to stay at least until he qualifies for a pension (20 years) if not he’s forced to resign anyway. If he fails the second board, he’s forced to resign. The idea that he always intended to resign after his obligated service is very plausible. West Point (at least used to) offers an excellent education in civil engineering as well as the military subjects. I think their courses on Strategy must be rather lacking, though, as they haven’t formulated any since World War II — it was all outsourced to civilians and think tanks like RAND.

  32. 32
    Procopius says:

    @Ruckus: Well, my first hitch was in the Air Force. I enlisted as an E-3 and left as an E-4 with three years in grade. I was promised, if I re-enlisted, I would be allowed to go before a promotion board within a year or two. That was in 1955-9, and I got out six months early as part of a RIF. When I enlisted in the Army in 1965 they were expanding at a breakneck pace and promotion was quick. As Kirk Spencer pointed out above, first promotion board for Captains now is about 9 years.

  33. 33
    Bnut says:

    He did his service time after exemplary Academy work. Maybe he didn’t like the service as much as he thought he would? Maybe he had better opportunities? Maybe he got bored? Maybe he hated the MOS he got assigned to? He got out honorably. Retention is a hard thing. He wouldn’t be the first to throw his deuces up and move on to something else. No smoke, no fire. Not this hill.

  34. 34
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @John Revolta: West Point is not the army. One of my army friends loved every day the he was at USMA and hated every day that heserved in the actual army.

    Generally for junior officers, if you are going to get out, leaving at the first moment you have a chance to do so is the best way to to it. Schools and employers understand serving out a commitment but can tend to wonder why someone would stay past that and then leave at an odd career point. I looks to me like he left at a reasonable point.

    FWIW I was a junior officer at the same time he was.

  35. 35
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ruckus: No. 0-3 took about 4-5 years from commissioning and 0-4 was another 5 years away.

  36. 36
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    Well I was in a long time ago and during a war. And in the navy an enlisted only had to not get in trouble to be able to take the test to advance up. Your command had no say in taking the test other than you’d been in trouble with a ships captain and then the captain had to write a letter to say you couldn’t take the test. Pass the test, you got advanced. And if you knew your shit even half way the tests were easy. But the navy needed most every crew position and needed people to advance in rank to run things. We had an E6 on the ship I was on for about 2 months. Never anyone higher and were supposed to have an E6 and E7. That E6 was on while I was E4, when I made E5 I became senior personal for the section and in charge of all electronic navigation equipment and all inside communications. Me, electrical officer, engineering officer, XO, Captain. Chain of command for just over a year. I lasted longer than any of the captains the entire time I was on board. Nothing special about me, that was just that ship at that time.

  37. 37
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ruckus: Well, that isn’t how army officer promotions have ever worked.*

    *Partial exceptions for the two world wars. Even then a lot of the quick promotions of MacArthurs and Pattons were promotions with the Army of the United States and their promotions within the Regular Army far slower. Many reverted to their regular army rank at the end of the wars.

  38. 38
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    Sort of how I figured. They want officers to stay for the most part, I’d bet they don’t expect a lot of enlisted to make a career out of it. The pay is better today, but back then it wasn’t much at all. So I gave up 4 yrs of my life for little money and the VA and benefits for when I got out. That and to avoid the draft with a much higher expectation of being shot at, booby trapped and blown up, spiked, etc. That and the deluxe living conditions, which even in the navy was better. And that ain’t saying much.

  39. 39
    Dev Null says:

    @Wag: Atlantic Media sells Quartz

    Quartz was part of Atlantic Media.

    So yeah, probably reliable.

Comments are closed.