A soldier with 20 years service who claimed he was a “slave” of the U.S. Army due to its new “indefinite re-enlistment” policy will soon be “free at last.”
“These past few weeks I had been in a deep depression, I felt I had no control over my destiny. I had planned my retirement for 20 years, only to find out the rules had changed,” Sgt. First Class David Gloer told WorldNetDaily.
Serving with the 751st Military Intelligence Battalion, Korea, Gloer says the Army tried to use its new indefinite re-enlistment program to prevent him from retiring after 20 years of service — in effect, holding him against his will.
Gloer has a wife and five children, and is looking forward to completing 20 years of service so he can retire and obtain better employment.
Gloer has two masters degrees — one in linguistics and one in computer science. He accomplished everything the Army recruitment ads claim, he says, but now that he has prepared for a new career the Army did not want to let him go.
“Suddenly everyone on peninsula (Korea) was motivated to get me out of the country. They did my orders ‘while you wait,’ and I fly out on March 13,” Gloer happily reported to WorldNetDaily.
Last June, Gloer began paperwork that should have enabled him to retire in June 2000, after completing 20 years of service in the Army. He met with roadblocks of every kind because of the efforts the Army is making to stem the rising tide of departures and low enlistments.
“Twenty years in the Army, with two advanced degrees, scraping out a living for my family and I couldn’t even get my commander to recommend approval on my normal retirement,” said Gloer.
After many months of carefully following procedures and the proper chain of command, Gloer took his problem to congressional representatives, who investigated but were told that Gloer was stuck until his commanding officers decided to let him go.
“I had zero support from my chain of command. They were not too happy about me getting my retirement approved over their recommendations either,” said Gloer.
He said that as a last resort he took his retirement request directly to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki, who delegated it to Brig. Gen. Kathryn G. Frost, the Army adjutant general.
“We want to expedite your situation ASAP,” Frost told Gloer in a written response to his request for help. She told him what forms to provide so she could release him from service right away by putting him on leave pending final retirement in a few months. She told him to fax his paperwork directly to her so she could see that it was processed quickly.
Gloer says what happened to him has been happening to many soldiers, but most are intimidated by their commanders and do not complain publicly.
Prior to receiving help from Frost, Gloer received orders to leave Korea and report to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. He said he would then be sent from there to Bosnia.
“Their intent was to ferret me off to Bosnia where I could rot without access to the Internet or a phone line,” Gloer told WorldNetDaily.
The indefinite re-enlistment program has caused a great deal of damage to morale within the Army, Gloer said, because soldiers no longer have a definite date on which they know their term of service will end.
“The system does condone slavery and blatant abuses that destroy morale and the ability to maintain an effective fighting force,” said Gloer.
“My commander, Lt. Col. Jon M. Jones … is very upset that he isn’t getting to tell his side of things to the higher-ups,” explained Gloer of the commander he sidestepped by taking his case to Frost.
A spokesman in Jones’ office said he was tied up in meetings and could not provide a statement.
Gloer was able effectively to get around the bureaucratic system the Army has in place, but Frost explained the need to carefully regulate the departure of soldiers from their assignments.
“Departure dates from overseas locations are established as a management tool to allow the Army to effectively manage its resources and provide stability in Army commands. Decisions have been made with regard to manning the force in Korea based on the departure dates of soldiers assigned there. To allow exceptions without apparent compelling justification would impact theater manning and unit readiness. We just cannot afford such an approach for our Army in Korea,” explained Frost about the concerns about Army forces and normal procedures for retirements.
Maj. Gen. Thomas W. Garrett, commanding general of the Army’s Personnel Command, or PERSCOM, explained the new indefinite re-enlistment program in a statement issued when it took effect in 1988.
“It will bolster the professional NCO Corps image while providing a sense of security for those soldiers committed to the Army; enhance our Army’s retention rates; and assure we have a strong backbone to support our national military strategy,” said Garrett.
As he was packing to leave Korea, Gloer offered advice to other soldiers experiencing similar problems.
|Sgt. David Gloer and his family|
“Document everything and watch your back. When the time is right, don’t keep quiet, let everyone you can know about what’s going on. The Internet provides a perfect vehicle to communicate your opinions. If we liken the Army unto a POW camp, then the ‘tap code’ the prisoners use to communicate is definitely e-mail,” he said.
He said he would not have been able to retire had it not been for Shinseki and Frost.
“I owe them both my freedom. They exemplify the good leaders that want to do the right thing. But there are many others that are only concerned with their own careers and will crush anyone that gets in their way. Without the media, I would have never been able to get their attention,” said Gloer.
The Gloer family will leave Korea on March 13 and travel first to Raleigh, N.C. One of the companies making a job offer to him is in Raleigh, and two others are in Europe. The Gloers plan to vacation for a week and then decide where their new home will be.
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