Friday, March 7, 2008

An Open Letter to an Army Human Resources Command spokesman

Dear Mr. Gall,

This letter is regarding your remarks in a recent Stars and Stripes article about the IRR, “Army mustering IRR members, reinvigorating force”. The article in itself is nothing surprising – the Army had no handle on its IRR system, more than half the recalls didn’t show, yadda yadda I’ve been bitching about those same things for over a year now. However, at the end of the article you are quoted as saying something that turned my face red and caused everyone in my section to laugh at the size of the vein in my forehead as it swelled to abnormally large status.

But to ensure fewer unpleasant surprises in future mobilizations — like call-ups
of dead IRR members — Army officials plan to physically muster no more than 20
percent of “their smiling little faces” each year, Gall said.
I am sure you think that was a cute, funny little quote, Mr. Gall. Probably got you a nice little laugh from co-workers at your plush office in HRC – St. Louis. “Oh Ray, that was really witty, especially because most of the IRR are really bitter, pissed off veterans, and a smile is the last thing we see on their faces!” That’s good; I get it, haha at me for being the idiot to show up. Here’s what you don’t seem to get in your ignorant joke. Most of the IRR are bitter and angry because we’ve served our country, at least once, and have tried to move on. In fact, I’d give a very educated guess that in my IRR recall class of about 300, at least 90% had at least one deployment. Several dozen had cases of PTSD so severe they were discharged, but the ones with mild problems were happily sent to Iraq or Afghanistan.

I guess it’s funny though to you though, that we aren’t smiling and how angry we are. I guess it’s funny that despite years of honorable service, we were called up and treated like second class citizens for over a year. Yes, we are the dreaded IRR, and despite having a lifetime more experience than most of the people who thumb their noses at us, we’re still treated like second thoughts.

I guess it’s funny that we left families, school, jobs, homes; we left these things unfinished, we lost out on promotions, we put everything on hold. We tried to start a new life for ourselves, and despite being rudely interrupted, we answered the recall – we understand our obligation and we honored it.

Forget about the recruiter who told us the IRR only gets recalled in the event of WWIII; forget about a system so badly mismanaged that more than double the actual number of needed people were recalled; forget about the fact that our unit admitted it shouldn’t have recalled us but still wouldn’t send us home; we knew we signed a contract and we were obligated to it. So we reported as ordered. We just didn’t do it all that happily. And to make a joke at our expense, Mr. Gall, would really take a lot of - well - gall.

A pissed off and now very annoyed IRR recall


David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 03/07/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.

HUGGINS said...

Tell them like it is Jason! Im with you on this recent blog...

verybadcat said...

I'm sorry, hon. Great letter, though.

Anonymous said...


I am so glad that you tell it like it is.And I hope that your post reaches this guy and I can only hope he feels nothing but ashamed at what he said!
We are all PROUD of ALL OF YOU IRR's!!!!! THANK YOU!


Anonymous said...

As an non-active member of the IRR....wait, that didn't make sense did it....anyhow, I'm gonna write my congressman. I used to love those 24 hour turn around congressionals...I can't wait to see how the Army spins their response. This douche is probably a GS-15 which means he probably is a retired LTC or something and they won't even so much as tell him he's a moron.

Jason said...

I also sent this to Stars and Stripes in a direct response to the article.

Jo Castillo said...

Good for you, Jason. We're behind you.

schoolio said...

You know as well as I do that a good number of government civilians aren't worth their weight in paper clips. This seems to be another example of someone who doesn't realize that his job is to SUPPORT the men and women of the Armed Forces, and that without guys like us, he'd be out of a job.

Stay safe over there...I'll be on my way within the next year - I better not run into you there!


Alissa said...

I thought I was the only one who got the "we only call IRR soldiers in the event of WWIII" line! I'm glad you responded to his ridiculous comment. They need to know how the people involved are affected. You are almost done, it can't last forever...only a little longer and you'll be done.

Kali said...

Wow you actually are bitter and rightly so!! What the hell is going on over there in your mentalist superpower of a country???


Jeff Mac said...

From one IRR "smiling face" to another...thank you.

Your response was clear, accurate, and unfortunately all too true.

Stay safe.

Anonymous said...

Jason - as a fellow IRR Soldier(with recall orders) with less than a year to go until my ETS I can only say thank you for your note to Mr. Gall. I am putting in for an exemption based on health issues.For you to go over to the sandbox - yet again - and to be treated this way is beyond belief to me. I urge you to "dig in" to this story. Don't let him get away with this. What's his email address?? I'd like to drop a note to him as well. Thank You.

Anonymous said...

WW3 will be won by no one.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Personally, I wouldn't mind if there were some kind of revolution, and these kind of people had to pay dearly,
Right now, I also would welcome the complete and total destruction of the entire earth and extinction of human beings. Of course, I'm a little angry, a little bitter, there is no justice in the world or at least my country