Letter to the Editor - Air Force Times (Hagel's Opportunities - March 11, 2013): "Let SECDEF Make His Own Policies"
I am assuming that an "editorial" is written by or for (in this case my guess would be Mr. Dorr) "the editor", Ms. Ianotta. In terms of JOINTNESS and BASE CLOSURES, I could not agree more. That is where our like-minded opinions end.
PEOPLE: Even though only 19% of the force stick around for retirement, I disagree with a strictly 401(k)-style retirement. We already have a 401(k)-style option in the Thrift Savings Plan, even if there are no matching contributions. A significant recruiting and retention tool is one of the few pensions still available in America today. Could there be a hybrid retirement, like the type proposed by several sources, where troops could qualify for reduced retirement at the ten year point, drawing the pension beginning at age 60? A combination of the two could help retention and provide a reasonable retirement for those who put their lives on the line for their country.
TOOTH TO TAIL RATIO: Are you assuming Afghanistan will end in 2014 and there will be no more war for the foreseeable future? Wishful thinking! A one-to-two ratio would never allow enough recovery time between deployments if at war, which between the instability in the Middle East, a nut at the helm in North Korea, and China spreading its wings and building aircraft carriers, is highly likely. Our forces are worn out and drastically reducing the force is a temporary solution to a long-term problem. We have seen the cycle over and over, so do not be naive.
EFFECTIVE USE OF THE NATIONAL GUARD AND RESERVE: Most would agree, particularly the Guard and Reserve, that they have been used VERY effectively over the past 20+ years. Probably TOO effectively. There is nothing more there to give if you think they are going to make up the difference for your "tooth to tale ratio". Bless you all!
HEALTHCARE: Is Air Force Times really going to go there? Are you seriously proposing that "those who can afford to pay more" pick-up the slack? We all made the same sacrifices and were promised the same benefits, so I think it is ABSURD to expect higher wage earners pay more for a benefit we were told was "free" and "for life" during recruitment. Maybe Ex-Secretary Panetta could pay back the $1 million in plane trips home during his SECDEF tenure (and only God knows how much he wasted BEFORE becoming Secretary). Maybe we could take all the money wasted on end-of-year "spend-downs" and plow it back into the budget EVERY YEAR. Maybe we could end government and contractor fraud, waste, and abuse instead of giving it lip service. I have seen enough money wasted on just one government contract (the contractor currently has a class action lawsuit also pending against them and an IG complaint from me) to fund Tricare for at least a few months ... ONE CONTRACT!
Air Force Times loses credibility with those kinds of shortsighted suggestions. Where is your loyalty? Who do you think pays your salary? Your readers, active-duty and retired military! Do you think your "suggestions" are popular with other readers?
Maybe you should stick to reporting the news rather than telling the new SECDEF how to run the show. I think he has much smarter, military-savy people on his staff than Military Times does.Chris Sorrentino, LtCol, USAF (Ret) aka CombatCounselor
Letter to the Honorable Patty Murray: Help Stop Military and Veteran Suicides
January 21st, 2013
The Honorable U.S. Senator Murray,
First of all, thank you for your concern and efforts to help reduce military suicides through your support and leadership in passing the Defense Authorization Act of 2013.
Unfortunately, an office and/or education are going to do little to solve a problem that is caused by ignorance and a flawed system. The primary solution in reducing suicides will be by providing confidentiality to our military when seeking mental health treatment as well as education for leaders so that they understand the importance of therapy/counseling for their troops over the promotion of their own careers.
I am a retired military officer, disabled Veteran, and expert in the treatment of mental health problems with a focus on active-duty military and Veterans. I have also written and spoken extensively on this topic in my blog - http://www.CombatCounselor.blogspot.com - and YouTube channel - http://www.YouTube.com/combatcounselor. My article, "The Stigmas Killing Young American Heroes", will be published in De Oppresso Liber magazine later this month. You can also find an earlier version on my blog.
With more troops being lost to suicide than combat, we must do something soon. One active duty military and 18 Vets die EVERY DAY by their own hand, 6,900 each year, so something MUST BE DONE...SOON! Our heroes deserve no less.
I recently sponsored a petition on this topic on the White House Petitions website, but only managed to collect 70 signatures even though my pleas reached tens of thousands of my followers and subscribers. Apathy and ignorance are rampant in this country and I will do whatever I can do to eliminate both, particularly when it comes to the well being of our military and Veterans, in my lifetime.
Thank you again for your service country and your concern for our military men and women.
C.T. Sorrentino, LtCol, USAF (Ret)
MS, LPC, NCC
Letter to the Editor: Double Standards, Waste, and Favoritism
Your September 10th, 2012 issue had several letters posted condemning the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs for applying a double standard to retired officers publicly supporting political candidates while well-known flag officers (Colin Powell and Wes Clark among them) blatantly do the same exact thing on a much grander scale. I agree with many of the writers and am not surprised by the double standard imposed by the chief because flag officers are routinely held to a different, far more lenient standard than their lower ranking subordinates. Now that is leadership...leadership by example...isn't it?
I am also appalled by another piece describing AMC's "contract" with a Carolina pro hockey team. AMC and the writer apparently believe it is OK to throw hundreds of thousands of dollars at one sports team while ignoring dozens of others in several different sports. Why did AMC, whose headquarters is in Illinois, think they needed to support a team, under the guise of "public relations", in another state, spending unreported sums on "an 18-person luxury box" among other things?
Besides showing favoritism in contracting (was the contract open to bids from all other teams or was it SOLE SOURCE?), WASTE clearly and quickly comes to mind when DoD and the Air Force are cutting people and benefits rather than tightening the belt on such extravagant items as LUXURY SUITES!
Finally, on a similar note, the photo of General Edward Rice throwing out the first pitch at an August 18th Yankees game (September 17th, 2012 issue) also seems inappropriate on more than one level. I understand that the Air Force has to reach out to the public in terms of positive public relations, but why the Yankees when Rice's closest MLB franchise would be the Houston Astros or Texas Rangers, NOT THE YANKEES! Rice is commander of AETC which, last time I checked, is located on Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, TEXAS. The Yankees were not even playing a Texas team for crying out loud...they were playing the Boston Red Sox!
Two questions: 1) Why was Rice in New York and what genius thought it would be a good idea to show support for a team whose closest Air Force base is in New Jersey?; and 2) Why is Rice out of uniform, wearing a NY Yankees hat with his "blues"? If Rice saw another airman in uniform at the game wearing a Yankees hat (or any team for that matter), that airman would surely get a good old fashioned butt-chewing AT THE VERY LEAST.
So why the double standards? Why the waste when good, hard working, patriotic airmen are being drummed out in thousands while major commands and generals live the high life? I have not even mentioned Leon Panetta's $800K+ bill for government plane rides home every weekend, but that is a different story...or is it?
Chris Sorrentino, LtCol, USAF (Ret)
Copyright 2012 - C.T. Sorrentino and CombatCounselor - All Rights Reserved
You can read this letter in The CombatCounselor Chronicle http://www.CombatCounselor.blogspot.com
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Air Force Times' Robert Dorr: "Morale is about job, not other stuff"
Robert Dorr once again proves that it is time for retirement, his, in his editorial "Morale is about job, not other stuff" (September 10, 2012).
"Get rid of core values" Robert? Are you serious? The problem with our world, nation, military, and selves is AN ALIENATION FROM CORE VALUES or not having any in the first place!
People in general (I'm not going to blame it on the X, Y, or Z Generation) have become extremely self-centered. It's all about ME...ME...ME...ME. How is this or that going to affect me? Guess what? There are other people in the world and last time I checked, the world did not revolve around YOU...YOU ARE NOT THE EPICENTER 1 OF THE UNIVERSE!
Values are signposts, directions, not something that can be attained like a goal. Without values, you cannot form goals and if you have neither values nor goals, how can you possibly act in any other way than impulsively...selfishly?
We must clearly define AND UNDERSTAND our values if we are going to succeed as a human race and an Air Force. These kids have memorized the Air Force Core Values, which are: 1) Integrity; 2) Excellence; and 3) Service before self, or were last time I checked. But they have no idea what they mean! If you clearly understand what your core values are, when confronted with a situation, difficult or otherwise, you can confidently act in accordance with those values, without even thinking...REACTION! Know your values, react appropriately when required. Simple as that Robert!
Our world, our society, and our Air Force are in the state they are in because we have no direction, no values, and no leaders leading us, teaching us, or acting as role models, mentors, for positive core values. Don't get me started!
So, let's not get rid of values Robert, let's get rid of those reflector belts...but what the hell does that have to do with morale? Want my professional opinion Robert? Take a well-deserved six week vacation...then retire. Thank you for your service.
Chris Sorrentino, LtCol, USAF (Ret)
1. “Epicenter”: from the New Latin noun epicentrum, "occupying a cardinal point, situated on a centre".
Letter to Kaja Perina, Editor Psychology Today Magazine
Kaja Perina, Editor
Psychology Today Magazine
115 E. 23rd St., 9th Floor
New York, NY 10010
Dear Ms. Perina,
I have read your magazine for years and wish many more people would read it, eliminating many of the myths, fallacies, and stigmas surrounding mental health treatment. Thank YOU.
I would like to point out a couple things in regard to your Sep/Oct 2012 issue. On page 14, you used the term "extraversion". While not completely incorrect, the more widely used and accepted version is "extrOversion". Maybe I am missing something, so please let me know if that was intentional for some reason.
I would also like to address Dr. Markman's blog post (Ulterior Motives) where he predicts clinician/s will "tailor learning strategies and behavior change techniques TO INDIVIDUALS" in the future. I am afraid Dr. Markman is a little behind the power curve (and times) if he is not already applying those tools in therapy. We have been providing individualized, tailored learning strategies and behavior change techniques for years, so I am not sure what the good doctors point may have been.
Finally, please publish a piece on the negative stigma attributed to mental health treatment in the military. 19 heroes die every day to suicide because if it. Maybe we can save a few lives by addressing the stigma now rather than later.
Thank YOU for your time and consideration.
Chris Sorrentino, LtCol, USAF (Ret)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: AIR FORCE TIMES -"FEWER MOVES, LONGER TOURS...PLEASE!"It's about time somebody used some common sense! In your article, "FEWER MOVES, LONGER TOURS" - August 20,2012 - a much more common sense approach to deficits and budget woes is FINALLY discussed.Why cut personnel and benefits when there is such a simple solution? There are many thousands of airmen, soldiers, sailors, and Marines forced to move each year, thousands that would happily stay in place another year or four.
Why not Minot you say? Minot and other perceived "less desirable" assignments are LOVED by many, so why not let folks stay where they are rather than uprooting a family clear across the country or globe? Some simple mathematics and computer programming could select from a pool of volunteers, leaving everybody else where they are for the time being.Ruin a career you say? Maybe it's time to change ignorant, archaic thinking (or even better...the thinkers) and NOT penalize those who want to remain on-station, saving taxpayers thousands in moving expenses, dislocation allowances, and travel costs...thousands for each person!
By the way, those are the same "thinkers" contributing to the negative stigma of military mental health, a stigma taking lives...one military member a day lost to suicide...but that's another story.
Chris Sorrentino, LtCol, USAF (Ret)CombatCounselor
Letter to the Greatest Golfer of ALL TIME and a Man of Integrity Jack Nicklaus
I am 55 year old, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, and combat-disabled veteran.
I followed you for many years on the West Coast swing (LA and San Diego Open, Tournament of Champions, etc) in the late 70s and early 80s. Because "Mr. Nicklaus" was so accessible, friendly, and warm, you became known to me simply as "Jack". Please excuse my familiarity and casual tone, but after having spent decades of weekends together, on the course or on TV, you are like family.
You were always personable, treating me like an equal as you made your way to your next shot, sometimes smiling and other times chatting, even when the stakes were high and pressure from Trevino, Crenshaw, Kite, Watson and others intense.
Because of who you are as a man and legend, I took the liberty of naming my second son after you, Nicklaus A. Sorrentino, who will turn 25 on July 1st. I may be just a bit biased and believe both my boys have embraced the honor, integrity, and strength of character, which you possess and I have tried to emulate, on and off the golf course.
Others, who do not deserve to be mentioned in the same paragraph as you, may surpasses your feats on the golf course, but none will be known as the Greatest Golfer of All Time because YOU, Jack, have earned that title as a result of your outstanding golf acumen and victories, and your indisputable and immaculate character, which all golfers and non-golfers would do well to emulate.
These days, I occupy my time counseling military and veterans coming back from combat with PTSD as well as starting a non-profit called Help4VetsPTSD, Inc., an outreach, education, research, transition and residential treatment program for military, Veterans, and their families affected by PTSD.
Thank you for taking the time to read my note. I hope that I may have the opportunity to meet you again in the future and wish you and your family the very best in life.
Chris Sorrentino, LtCol, USAF (Ret)
http://www.CombatCounselor.com and http://www.Help4VetsPTSD.org
Twitter: @CombatCounselor and @Help4VetsPTSD
YouTube and Blogger: CombatCounselor and Help4VetsPTSD
Mr. Nicklaus's Reply: