Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Age Discrimination

Yesterday's Lowell Sun had a front page article, with the headline just above the fold, about a new Veterans Group in the greater Lowell area.  The reporter was the very capable Jennifer Myers.  "Fledgling group eyes new generation of vets".

Up front, I admit to knowing about 40% of the people mentioned in the story, as well as the reporter.  All of them are just young whipper snappers.  For lack of respect to returning Vets you have to back to Viet-nam and Korea.  Korea was even classified as a "Police Action" and not even a war, almost 40,000 US dead notwithstanding.

On the other hand, the fact is that each war, and each set of returning Veterans, needs its own place to gather and talk.  While on the one hand, all wars are alike in being terrible experiences, on the other, each has its own place names and vocabularies.  When I am at the VFW, of which I am a member, I am supportive of and interested in the World War II Veterans, but their war and their post-war experience is different from mine.  We are comrades in arms, but we are also of different generations.

But still, this paragraph caught my attention:
The goal of the group is to provide support and to advocate for veterans in the 30- to 45-year-old range -- those who served in Grenada and Operation Desert Storm and at bases throughout the world in times of war and peace, as well as the younger men and women coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Jack Mitchell, featured at the beginning of the article is almost too old, being 45 himself.  I hope Greg page, who represents the 30 year old bracket, has pointed that out to him.

And what of those of us who planned and plotted Operation DESERT STORM?  We are too old, it seems.  My role in that fracus was as the Chief of the Strategy Division on the Joint Staff.  One of my Section Heads, then Colonel Montgomery C Meigs, III, rewrote the Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan to change the focus of US Central Command from the Soviet Union going into the Middle East to a focus on Iraq going into the oil fields of the Arabian Peninsula, back in 1989.  By incompetence, I was in the room when the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell, told the Central Command Commander, General (Storm'en) Norman Schwartzkopf, that his XXXX Plan for war with the Soviet Union was fine, but he should put it on the shelf and focus on an Iraqi attack south into the Arabian Peninsula.

Being the first in a line of about a dozen to approve the wording of the change of strategic focus was my contribution to that war.  Shouldn't that get me a seat?  Well, maybe not.  Perhaps the younger generation is actually not all that hot about the change of focus—although I'd bet my bottom dollar they are very proud of their service to the nation and of their fellow Service men and women, even if they do poke fun at each other.
Army veteran Jack Mitchell can't resist a playful jab at his friend, former Navy intelligence officer Greg Page.

"When the guys from the Navy work with real men, they join the Army," quips Mitchell, 45, of Lowell.

Page, 30, enlisted in the Army National Guard after a post-Sept. 11 stint in the Navy.  The Lowell resident, will be mobilized again in February.  He is expected to be in Afghanistan by April.

He shakes his head and laughs at Mitchell's dig.
And having friends back home can be helpful to a Nation Guard or Reserve Service Member who is deployed.  It is an additional network of support for the Service member and his or her family.

I would like to especially commend the new Global War Veterans Council for providing a place for the proper disposal of soiled and tattered US Flags.  That is something that is needed in every community in our nation.  And the stone at Veteran's Square, shown on page 6 of the article, has the symbol of each of the five military services, which is only fitting and proper.

Welcome to the Community, Global War Veterans.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Remember, articles in The Sun go away after a while, to a different place.  I will not be updating their links unless I am bedridden and have read every book in the house.
  It reminds me of a line from a World War II song, "Bless Them All".  "Bless them all, the long the short and the tall.  Bless the instructor who taught me to fly, sent me up solo, and left to die."
  Colonel Meigs later commanded a Brigade (2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division) in Operation DESERT STORM.
  That and escorting my youngest son behind the controlled gate so he could show the Middle East Africa Division staff officers how to use a newfangled Apple program for making briefing slides, so those staff officers could provide those briefing slide to the Pentagon Command Center.  Before there was the "Powerpoint Ranger" there were folks struggling with the transition from Harvard Graphics to the new Apple vision of presentation graphics, MacDraw.


Jack Mitchell said...

As it turns out, at the last Veterans Council meeting, I was informed that I was eligible to be part of the Korean War Veterans.

So, yep, Greg can tease me about my age.

Or, as I was told, I had served a tour Korea, '89-'90. Seems that the "truce" keeps the flames of war dim, but not out.

If I can join their group, Cliff, you are very much welcome in ours.

C R Krieger said...

Some wars die slower than others.  Army and Air Force folks were still collecting a White, Black and Red Army of Occupation Ribbon for 30 days service in Berlin right up to the Wall coming down.

Regards  —  Cliff