By lex, on September 29th, 2010
Two very different living conditions:
“Being in the Army and working on an Air Force post really opened our eyes,” Army Sgt. Nicholas Hub wrote on a Stars and Stripes survey, one of nearly 2,000 completed in August by troops in Iraq.
“Why can they live and eat so good compared to us? Every piece of equipment and every service they have is better! The Army needs to feed, shelter and supply like the Air Force does,” wrote Hub, 23, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment at Kirkuk Air Base in northern Iraq.
At worst, Army soldiers harbor the resentment of the have-nots.
One 27-year-old staff sergeant from LSA Adder wrote on his survey: “Are we fighting the same war as the Air Force or did I miss something? Every day my soldiers wake up covered in sweat with their cots just inches apart, and they know that less than a half-mile away the Air Force has literally the comforts of home.”
Just as every generation of young people believe that they have discovered sex, so too does each generation of servicemen believe they have discovered disparities in the way each service prioritizes care for its troops.
In the Navy sailors say, “choose your rate, choose your fate.” In the military more broadly, you can extend that to, “choose your service, choose your quality of service.”
Nor are we talking merely creature comforts: As a squadron XO, I once led a detachment of some 50 sailors in Kuwait during a shore-based exercise. The carrier was in port, and my sailors were working and living in tents under General Order Number One while their shipmates were kicking it in Bahrain, drinking beer and prowling the gold souk. I was worried about their morale, and sought them out to ask how they were being treated by their Air Force hosts.
“It’s nice,” the said, adding, “the A/C is better than on the ship, the chow is good, and nobody yells at you.”
When I got back to the ship, I couldn’t do much about the A/C but ensure that the vent filters were being properly maintained. I couldn’t do anything at all about the quality of the food.
I tried to do a little something about the yelling.