Let us out: Some hope ‘all-volunteer’ works both ways

Soldiers say they are willing to raise their hands and volunteer to get out of the Army as part of the massive drawdown. If the Army would only let them.

“Just show me where to sign,” one told Army Times.

“(The Army) should let the ones that are willing to leave early leave, instead of forcing those out who want to and need to stay in,” said another.

Some say the Army should agree to an amicable separation.

“I can understand Army leadership’s hesitance to move toward a system to let people out early, but I believe that a carefully thought-out system could be beneficial to the Army,” Spc. Joel LeMaistre said in a message to Army Times.

Read what the Army has to say in this week’s Army Times.

Army scales back on combatives, TRADOC sticks with training

Annual competitions pitting soldiers against one another to crown the next best Ranger or drill sergeant or warrior or hand-to-hand fighter have been scaled back or postponed in light of the Army’s budget crisis.

Training and Doctrine Command, which holds numerous competitions each year, appears to be the most affected.

“TRADOC has postponed all competitive events internal to TRADOC or hosted by TRADOC for the Army,” said Col. Christian Kubik, spokesman for the command.

The directive is outlined in an operations order issued Feb. 8, Kubik said.

TRADOC units that want to hold an event must receive an exception to the policy from the deputy commanding general of TRADOC.

Get all the details in the Monday issue of Army Times, on sale now.

Hagel orders review of drone medals

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel halted production of a new controversial medal intended to honor drone pilots pending a review of its official rank above some combat valor medals in the military’s “order of precedence.”

The decision in February to create the new Distinguished Warfare Medal drew criticism from veterans groups and lawmakers on Capitol Hill because it was formally placed above the Bronze Star, which is awarded with a “V” valor device for heroic conduct in combat.

Many veterans have derisively referred to it as the “Nintendo medal” and believe any medal awarded for actions under fire should rank above one that requires no physical risk.

Find out more in the latest Army Times.

OIF: 10 years after the invasion

Military Times reporters look back on the Iraq War, from invasion to withdrawal www.militarytimes.com/projects/iraq10years/.

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