Saturday, December 17, 2016

Busted down a few ranks...

A few months ago, I wrote about Major General David B. Haight, a two star general who was, until last spring, the director of operations at the United States European Command.  Haight was caught swinging and it turned out he'd been engaging in extramarital affairs, a no no if you're in the military and certainly if you're Mormon, which Haight evidently is.  Aside from revealing a serious lack of moral character, Haight made himself vulnerable to blackmail.

I noticed yesterday that my post got lots and lots of hits.  I see it's because Haight has been busted down a few ranks.  A board of Haight's peers have decided that he should be demoted to lieutenant colonel, which means he'll get about $43,000 less a year in retirement pay.  The board decided Haight last performed satisfactorily when he was a lieutenant colonel.  Actually, he was probably swinging long before then, but I guess they didn't want to be too punitive.

Granted, my husband retired as a lieutenant colonel, as did my father.  Retirement pay, even as an O5, is a great thing to have.  It definitely enhances our lifestyle.  And Haight will probably still end up with a good job somewhere.

I feel sorry for his wife and family, who will also have to deal with the fallout from this situation.  It's embarrassing and humiliating, not just for Haight, who'd enjoyed a great career, but also for the people close to him.  I also think it's very sad that good people who serve honorably but maybe aren't as flashy and narcissistic, end up being passed over in favor of people like Haight.  Makes me glad Bill is retired and this shit no longer directly affects him.


6 comments:

  1. From what I've been told, promotion beyond colonel or its equivalent has a great deal to do with the political matters of who knows whom and who is well connected.

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    1. Actually, promotion beyond LTC is very political. It's hard to make COL.

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  2. We had a neighbor who was a bird colonel stationed at Travis Air Force Base. My mom said the guy started planning for his retirement that would take place six years later on the day he was promoted to colonel after 24 years of service. He knew there wasn't a chance.

    I'm not 100 5 sure what my grandpa was. I know that having graduated from Annapolis (he went through before the Air Force Academy opened) allowed him to be promoted faster, and supposedly serving during times of war (Korea and Viet Nam) may have hastened his promotions, but I don't know if he was a colonel. He certainly wouldn't have had connections. My mom said hard work and ability only got a person so far.

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  3. Unfortunately, a lot of making higher rank has a lot to do with who you are and who you know. I guess that's not unlike most careers, though.

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    1. It surely is true, but wouldn't it be grand if it such were not the case? I remember my mom saying that my grandpa said (much earlier in the guy's career when the guy was much younger) the colonel who was our neighbor was the finest, hardest-working, brightest officer he had ever seen. Yet the guy knew he had no prayer of being a general, and he was right. He was given his walking papers six years after becoming a full colonel. He probably knew he was lucky even to have made it to colonel with no connections. The the father of the man the colonel's daughter later married, on the other hand, WAS connected. With a military pedigree but fewer qualifications and bona fide alcoholism, he made it to 1-star general. The colonel was never bitter in the least. He felt that it had been a great ride while it lasted.

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    2. He's lucky he got to be a colonel for that long. A lot of times, people run out of time to be a colonel for longer than three years. And if you don't spend three years in your grade, your retirement pay is at the next rank down.

      And yes, unfortunately a lot of the best people in the military are not narcissistic enough to make it to the highest echelons of leadership. It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to get to that point.

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