Tanks to Afghanistan, a Soldier’s Perspective

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A recent blog post picked-up by the New York Times entitled Tanks to Afghanistan, a Soldier Writes provokes some interesting perspective by SFTT on the promotion prospects of officers deployed after 9/11.

If you want to talk tanks, talk to a tanker.  LT Rajiv Srinivasan, a US Army Armor officer has been blogging on his recent deployment and experiences in Afghanistan.  His “ground-level” analysis on the benefits and employment of tanks in Afghanistan is required reading and a better alternative to the non-armor spokespeople who have attempted to describe why the Marines in Helmand requested tanks to support their operations.  

One outside-the-box comment to consider.  Why is it that the LT’s and Captains currently leading platoons and companies in 2010 will only be promoted to the rank of Captain and Major, and be leading companies and serving as Field Grade staff officers in 2014 when combat operations “end” in Afghanistan?  While during the same four-year timeframe, LT’s and Captains in December 1941, had been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel, and Brigadier General rank by April 1945 and were leading battalions, regiments, and divisions to victory?   

 Further, why is it that Majors and Lieutenant Colonels (i.e. Field Grade staff officers and battalion commanders) who were serving on September 11, 2001, today in November 2010 have only been promoted to the ranks of Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel, and Brigadier General leading Battalions, Brigade Combat Teams, or serving as Assistant Division Commanders?  While Majors and Lieutenant Colonels in 1941 were leading Corps and Armies to victory by 1945?  1941 – 1945 was only half the time served by the current crop of LTC’s, Colonels, and one-stars?  Why is that?   Why don’t we promote our proven combat leaders sooner and keep their spirit of combat leadership alive at the front so that they can lead our troops home after victory sooner?  We can only hope that young LT’s like Srinivasan and others from the same ilk hang in there and are promoted commensurate with their proven combat experience so that they can lead there troops home sooner rather than later.  But we know that will never happen in today’s Army.

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