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John T. Reed’s blog about military matters

Officially Voluntary but Unofficially Mandatory (OVUM) stuff in the Army

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Copyright John T. Reed When I was an Army officer from 1968 to 1972, there was a lot of stuff that was Officially Voluntary but Unofficially Mandatory. I call it OVUM for short. I hated it. I fought it every inch and refused to do it. I caught hell for doing it. Here is the OVUM I encountered back then. I am sure the details of OVUM have changed since then, but I would be surprised if the overall quantity of OVUM has declined. I hope those who were in the Army more recently will update me on the more...

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Is military integrity a contradiction in terms? Part 2

Posted by John T. Reed on

continued from Part 1 In a Time of War example Page 205 of the 2008 book In a Time of War contains an exchange where one non-West Point female officer tries to rationalize lying on official documents to one of the female ’02 grads. But another friend who had been drinking [in Afghanistan which violates U.S. military law] got off scot-free. She’d learned as an enlisted soldier before she was commissioned that telling the truth in the Army doesn’t pay, the friend explained to Tricia [the West Point grad]. “Sometimes you have to do what you have to do for...

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Is military integrity a contradiction in terms? Part 1

Posted by John Reed on

Copyright John T. Reed “Qui male agit odit lucem.” (“He who behaves badly hates the light.” John 3:20) On June 5, 1968, I woke up as a member of the most honest organization I was ever associated with. By the time I went to bed that day, I was in the most dishonest organization I have ever been part of. What happened in between? Around midday, I and my 705 classmates graduated from West Point and 704 of us were commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army (plus a handful in the Air Force and Marines). (The two who were...

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The 'U.S. military’s marathon, 30-year, single-elimination, suck-up tournament' or 'How America selects its generals'

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Copyright John T. Reed Americans assume that our generals, especially our top generals, are our best military leaders, proven in combat and selected based on their performance leading men in war. Surely you jest. Are the top officials in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare our best doctors? Our best teachers? Our best welfare doler-outers? OK. Maybe the last one, but that’s not much of an accomplishment. The tournament In fact, America’s active-duty military leaders, our top generals, are chosen via a marathon, 30-year, single-elimination, suck-up tournament. Here’s how it works. First, you get commissioned as a second lieutenant...

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