UNIT MORALE AFTER A WAR

Donald Sensing has a great post about why the 3rd ID will be worthless for months once it finally rotates stateside from Iraq.

We had a similar experience in our MLRS unit after Desert Storm, and we were only over there six months. One of the things that occured to me during that time was that units should immediately be broken up after redeployment. Not the units per se, but the personnel rotated out and reconstituted everywhere. Doing so would solve a lot of problems, I think:

1. End the “we’ve done our share” mindset of a unit that’s already been through combat.

2. End the bifurcation that will result when new people rotate in that *didn’t* go on the mission. This is especially true of new leaders rotating in that didn’t see action. They have zero credibility when they arrive because the vets now think they’re something special.

3. Everyone is tired of one another after being together 24/7/365. Freshen things up.

4. All units–whether deployed or not–will be leavened by combat veterans who have different experiences, so there will be a lot more sharing and learning going on.

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. As long as OPTEMPO is low, that sounds like it’s a pretty good idea.

    So won’t want to leave their unit, though.

    Any idea how long the “leavening” process takes?

  2. James Joyner says:

    The OPTEMPO problem usually wouldn’t be there, since most divisions don’t deploy to a given conflict. But it’s a valid point.

    The military isn’t much about want-to 🙂

    To some extent, it’s instantaneous. Everyone comes together and has their various war stories and “this is how we did stuff in my old unit” comments. You would want experienced commanders for this operation though. It wouldn’t be a place for someone’s first command, because rebuilding a unit with no institutional memory is a tough job.