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FAQ

Why did the Army phase out the specialist 5-9 ranks?
In 1985, the Army converted all their Specialist 5s to Sergeants and all their Specialist 6s to Staff Sergeants, so I’ve actually seen the problem firsthand.When the Army invented the Specialist ranks, they wanted to have two career tracks for people in technical fields: Corporals and Sergeants of all levels would be responsible for leading troops, and Specialists would perform complex operational tasks. (Which might have sounded better if they would have also ditched the retention control points so the people doing these “complex operational tasks” weren’t getting bounced from the Army at 8 years or 12 years for not making rank.) We also had a split NCO Educational System - people in combat fields went to Primary Leadership Course, Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course-Combat Arms, Advanced NCO Course-Combat Arms, and those of us in support fields went to Primary Technical Course, Basic Technical Course and Advanced Technical Course.That was the theory. Here’s reality: when the Army decided an MOS would have Specialists instead of Sergeants, everyone who made E-5 was made a Specialist 5 instead of a Sergeant and so on up the chain. A commander who had interrogators or imagery analysts in her company didn’t have any sergeants to put in charge of their platoons, so she had to have specialists as “platoon sergeants.” So, the “you won’t have to lead” thing went out the window.Reality gets worse. There are three promotion systems in the Army - local, semicentralized and centralized. E-2, E-3 and E-4 promotions are local. There are time in grade and time in service requirements, when a troop hits those marks the commander checks his record and if he’s not a total fuckup he gets his new stripe at the end of the month. Semicentralized promotions are for E-5 and E-6. We have promotion boards and promotion point cutoff scores and that’s how that works. E-7, E-8 and E-9 are centralized: Department of the Army gets the records of everyone who’s up for promotion and a review board at The Pentagon picks out the people they want to promote. A reviewer has 90 seconds to decide someone’s fate, and they look at your official photograph, your evaluation reports, your DA Forms 2 and 2–1, and your promotion history. The important point is, the person who’s reviewing your records is not in your career field. If an artilleryman - where SP5 and SP6 absolutely did not exist, they only ever had sergeants - picks up an interrogator’s DA Form 2 and notices the troop has gone from SP4 to SP5 to SP6, then obviously this guy can’t be any good because if he was he would have made sergeant…not realizing that this guy hadn’t made sergeant because no one in his MOS made sergeant. Some reviewers knew this and didn’t hold it against you, but others did not.For even more fun, some battalion commanders - not all, but some - liked their platoons to be led by sergeants. A commander could designate some positions in his unit as “NCO positions.” If you were filling one of them, they would cut a set of orders designating you a sergeant…then, when you left the position, they cut another set of orders returning you to specialist. This is how Army corporals are appointed now.The Army finally got rid of their SP5 and above ranks when they realized how stupid they were.
What is the process for a Leave Request from the US Army?
In the US Army, leave is requested on a DA-31 form, often called a leave request. This is routed through the chain of command for approval. The level of approval required depends on the position or seniority of the specific member.If a military member is requiring payment from another member in order to process paperwork of any kind, you should find out their name and report them to their service's Inspector General for bribery. When taking leave at home station, it shouldn't take more than a week for a DA 31 to be processed under normal circumstances.When deployed, members rarely get leave. For example, when my battalion was stationed in Afghanistan and Africa, we did not allow members to take leave or fly back to America unless they were separating from the military or a parent, spouse, child, or siblings died. If they did get to return, the government covered the cost of travel back to home station. There is no such thing as unofficial leave, and there's no such thing as liberty when in a field deployment site.Many questions like this are asked to make someone feel better about wiring money to a "US Servicemember" who asked for money.I've been in the military for over 23 years. I've never heard of another real servicemember who has asked random people on the internet for money, and certainly not for any legitimate reason.The reason? We're trained per Federal Regulations that Govern Gifts to Service Members, “DoD personnel may not solicit gifts, even for others, unless the solicitation is part of an official fundraising program, such as the Combined Federal Campaign.”Here's how you know that someone posing as a servicemember is scamming you:You've never physically met him or her, and,They ask for money or gift cardsHere are my tips regarding anyone you've never physically met:If you're speaking to someone in another country or other place far away by email or phone and have never physically met them, I recommend you don't even refer to them as someone you truly know, and you definitely shouldn't call them your love interest/girlfriend/boyfriend/fiancé.Remember that anyone with access to email and who needs money can use that same email to contact real family and friends they actually know and have met in person.Regarding servicemembers:Unless you're personally traveling to meet a servicemember, you won't need to pay for anything the servicemember needs or does. And I do mean anything. They can be thrown in jail by the military and you still won't need to pay anything.The military branches have relief funds to help young, poor military members who need baby supplies, travel for emergencies, prphone cards, fix their cars, etc. If they have a close family member die when on deployment, even malingerers get personal help from the command to take care of what they need.Given the prevalence of military email scams, it's a 99.99% chance that anyone emailing you claiming to be a servicemember and asking for money isn't in the military at all.
Can a girlfriend request a leave pass for an army soldier deployed in Afghanistan?
You submit a request on a leave form thru your chain of command.Too easy?YOU ARE BEING SCAMMED.DONT SEND ANY MONEYLet me guess.You fell in love with someone who says they are in the military and stationed over seas.You text them all the time. Trade photos.They can't video chat…. security reasons.They can't send you their email address…must end in .mil and nothing else, security reasons you knowMaybe they can't chat real time either…that pesky security again.They need money…can't access their bank account…security again, or because they are overseas.They are not now and have never been in the military and they have never been in the US.YOU ARE BEING SCAMMEDDON'T SEND MONEY TO THEM IN ANY FORM, NO ITUNES OR GREEN DOT OR WALMART CARDN OR WESTERN UNION OR MONEYGRAM.YOU ARE BEING SCAMMED.YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
How can I get a leave form for my fiance in the US Army?
A DA-31 can only be filled out and submitted by the person asking for leave. Also, a fiance is treated no different than an acquaintance unless and until you are married.Many questions like this are asked to make someone feel better about wiring money to a "US Servicemember" who asked for money.I've been in the military for over 23 years. I've never heard of another real servicemember who has asked random people on the internet for money, and certainly not for any legitimate reason.The reason? We're trained per Federal Regulations that Govern Gifts to Service Members, “DoD personnel may not solicit gifts, even for others, unless the solicitation is part of an official fundraising program, such as the Combined Federal Campaign.”Here's how you know that someone posing as a servicemember is scamming you:You've never physically met him or her, and,They ask for money or gift cardsHere are my tips regarding anyone you've never physically met:If you're speaking to someone in another country or other place far away by email or phone and have never physically met them, I recommend you don't even refer to them as someone you truly know, and you definitely shouldn't call them your love interest/girlfriend/boyfriend/fiancé.Remember that anyone with access to email and who needs money can use that same email to contact real family and friends they actually know and have met in person.Regarding servicemembers:Unless you're personally traveling to meet a servicemember, you won't need to pay for anything the servicemember needs or does. And I do mean anything. They can be thrown in jail by the military and you still won't need to pay anything.The military branches have relief funds to help young, poor military members who need baby supplies, travel for emergencies, prphone cards, fix their cars, etc. If they have a close family member die when on deployment, even malingerers get personal help from the command to take care of what they need.Given the prevalence of military email scams, it's a 99.99% chance that anyone emailing you claiming to be a servicemember and asking for money isn't in the military at all.
Do military members have to pay any fee for leave or fiancee forms?
NOOOOOOO. You are talking to a military romance scammer. I received an email from the US Army that directly answers your question that is pasted below please keep reading.I believe you are the victim of a military Romance Scam whereas the person you are talking to is a foreign national posing as an American Soldier claiming to be stationed overseas on a peacekeeping mission. That's the key to the scam they always claim to be on a peacekeeping mission.Part of their scam is saying that they have no access to their money that their mission is highly dangerous.If your boyfriend girlfriend/future husband/wife is asking you to do the following or has exhibited this behavior, it is a most likely a scam:Moves to private messaging site immediately after meeting you on Facebook or SnapChat or Instagram or some dating or social media site. Often times they delete the site you met them on right after they asked you to move to a more private messaging siteProfesses love to you very quickly & seems to quote poems and song lyrics along with using their own sort of broken language, as they profess their love and devotion quickly. They also showed concern for your health and love for your family.Promises marriage as soon as he/she gets to state for leave that they asked you to pay for.They Requests money (wire transfers) and Amazon, iTune ,Verizon, etc gift cards, for medicine, religious practices, and leaves to come home, internet access, complete job assignments, help sick friend, get him out of trouble, or anything that sounds fishy.The military does prall the soldier needs including food medical Care and transportation for leave. Trust me, I lived it, you are probably being scammed. I am just trying to show you examples that you are most likely being connned.Below is an email response I received after I sent an inquiry to the US government when I discovered I was scammed. I received this wonderful response back with lots of useful links on how to find and report your scammer. And how to learn more about Romance Scams.Right now you can also copy the picture he gave you and do a google image search and you will hopefully see the pictures of the real person he is impersonating. this doesn't always work and take some digging. if you find the real person you can direct message them and alert them that their image is being used for scamming.Good Luck to you and I'm sorry this may be happening to you. please continue reading the government response I received below it's very informative.   You have contacted an email that is monitored by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. Unfortunately, this is a common concern. We assure you there is never any reason to send money to anyone claiming to be a Soldier online. If you have only spoken with this person online, it is likely they are not a U.S. Soldier at all. If this is a suspected imposter social media profile, we urge you to report it to that platform as soon as possible. Please continue reading for more resources and answers to other frequently asked questions:  How to report an imposter Facebook profile: Caution-https://www.facebook.com/help/16... Caution-https://www.facebook.com/help/16...   Answers to frequently asked questions:  - Soldiers and their loved ones are not charged money so that the Soldier can go on leave.  - Soldiers are not charged money for secure communications or leave.  - Soldiers do not need permission to get married.  - Soldiers emails are in this format: john.doe.mil@mail.mil Caution-mailto: john.doe.mil@mail.mil anything ending in .us or .com is not an official email account.  - Soldiers have medical insurance, which pays for their medical costs when treated at civilian health care facilities worldwide ‡ family and friends do not need to pay their medical expenses.  - Military aircraft are not used to transport Privately Owned Vehicles.  - Army financial offices are not used to help Soldiers buy or sell items of any kind.  - Soldiers deployed to Combat Zones do not need to solicit money from the public to feed or house themselves or their troops.  - Deployed Soldiers do not find large unclaimed sums of money and need your help to get that money out of the country.  Anyone who tells you one of the above-listed conditions/circumstances is true is likely posing as a Soldier and trying to steal money from you.  We would urge you to immediately cease all contact with this individual.  For more information on avoiding online scams and to report this crime, please see the following sites and articles:   This article may help clarify some of the tricks social media scammers try to use to take advantage of people: Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/61432/ Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/61432/   CID advises vigilance against 'romance scams,' scammers impersonating Soldiers  Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/180749 Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/180749   FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center: Caution-http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx Caution-http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx   U.S. Army investigators warn public against romance scams: Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/130... Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/130...   DOD warns troops, families to be cybercrime smart -Caution-http://www.army.mil/article/1450... Caution-http://www.army.mil/article/1450...   Use caution with social networking  Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/146... Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/146...    Please see our frequently asked questions section under scams and legal issues. Caution-http://www.army.mil/faq/ Caution-http://www.army.mil/faq/ or visit Caution-http://www.cid.army.mil/ Caution-http://www.cid.army.mil/ .  The challenge with most scams is determining if an individual is a legitimate member of the US Army. Based on the Privacy Act of 1974, we cannot prthis information. If concerned about a scam you may contact the Better Business Bureau (if it involves a solicitation for money), or local law enforcement. If you're involved in a Facebook or dating site scam, you are free to contact us direct, (571) 305-4056.   If you have a social security number, you can find information about Soldiers online at Caution-https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/sc... Caution-https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/sc... . While this is a free search, it does not help you locate a retiree, but it can tell you if the Soldier is active duty or not.  If more information is needed such as current duty station or location, you can contact the Commander Soldier's Records Data Center (SRDC) by phone or mail and they will help you locate individuals on active duty only, not retirees. There is a fee of $3.50 for businesses to use this service. The check or money order must be made out to the U.S. Treasury. It is not refundable. The address is:  Commander Soldier's Records Data Center (SRDC) 8899 East 56th Street Indianapolis, IN 46249-5301 Phone: 1-866-771-6357  In addition, it is not possible to remove social networking site profiles without legitimate proof of identity theft or a scam. If you suspect fraud on this site, take a screenshot of any advances for money or impersonations and report the account on the social networking platform immediately.  Please submit all information you have on this incident to Caution-www.ic3.gov Caution-http://www.ic3.gov (FBI website, Internet Criminal Complaint Center), immediately stop contact with the scammer (you are potentially providing them more information which can be used to scam you), and learn how to protect yourself against these scams at Caution-http://www.ftc.gov Caution-http://www.ftc.gov (Federal Trade Commission's website)
How do I apply for a vacation leave in the US Army?
How do I apply for a vacation leave in the US Army?I asked my friend in the army. He suggested the following:Firstly, check the policy and what form you need to apply for your vacation leave, and how much time in advance you need to submit it.It can help to get approval for your request, f you before you start to write the leave for vacation letter, check with your fellow soldiers who will be affected by your absence, for their plans and see if they can help you taking care of your tasks for the time you are not available. Make sure that you also notify those who may be inconvenienced, like partners or customers.The objective of writing this letter is to request a period of leave for a temporary or permanent leave. It will mainly depend on the reason you apply for leave, whether or not you want to use a formal intonation.Make sure you request is complete with your dates of vacation and mention specifically it’s for vacation purpose.Confirm if HR and your commander received (and read) it.Return back to your position in time, if you want to be sure to avoid future problems…Check out an example soldier vacation leave request letter:The source with soldier vacation leave template: Soldier vacation leave letter template
Why don't schools teach children about taxes and bills and things that they will definitely need to know as adults to get by in life?
Departments of education and school districts always have to make decisions about what to include in their curriculum.  There are a lot of life skills that people need that aren't taught in school.  The question is should those skills be taught in schools?I teach high school, so I'll talk about that.  The typical high school curriculum is supposed to give students a broad-based education that prepares them to be citizens in a democracy and to be able to think critically.  For a democracy to work, we need educated, discerning citizens with the ability to make good decisions based on evidence and objective thought.  In theory, people who are well informed about history, culture, science, mathematics, etc., and are capable of critical, unbiased thinking, will have the tools to participate in a democracy and make good decisions for themselves and for society at large.  In addition to that, they should be learning how to be learners, how to do effective, basic research, and collaborate with other people.  If that happens, figuring out how to do procedural tasks in real life should not prmuch of a challenge.  We can't possibly teach every necessary life skill people need, but we can help students become better at knowing how to acquire the skills they need.  Should we teach them how to change a tire when they can easily consult a book or search the internet to find step by step instructions for that?  Should we teach them how to balance a check book or teach them how to think mathematically and make sense of problems so that the simple task of balancing a check book (which requires simple arithmetic and the ability to enter numbers and words in columns and rows in obvious ways) is easy for them to figure out.  If we teach them to be good at critical thinking and have some problem solving skills they will be able to apply those overarching skills to all sorts of every day tasks that shouldn't be difficult for someone with decent cognitive ability  to figure out.  It's analogous to asking why a culinary school didn't teach its students the steps and ingredients to a specific recipe.  The school taught them about more general food preparation and food science skills so that they can figure out how to make a lot of specific recipes without much trouble.  They're also able to create their own recipes.So, do we want citizens with very specific skill sets that they need to get through day to day life or do we want citizens with critical thinking, problem solving, and other overarching cognitive skills that will allow them to easily acquire ANY simple, procedural skill they may come to need at any point in their lives?