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SGT Rock
09-07-2002, 20:27
As some of you know, I plan to thru-hike after I retire from the Army in 2007.

The other day I was discussing it at work, and someone suggested I try and see if I could get permissive TDY from the Army to do it 2004 (when I should change duty stations anyway) to thru-hike the AT as a publicity thing for Army recruiting.

At first I thought what a hoot. Like they would really go for it. But then I thought "what the heck, all they can say is no". So I seriously thought about writing a proposal and sending it to the Army Recruiting command, for whom I once worked as a Recruiter. The thought was to thru-hike and along the trail stop and do public speaking for recruiters about military opportunity, service to country, training, etc. It may sound far fetched, but the Army actually has sporting teams that compete internationally such as at the Olympics. We have boxers, coaches, runners, shooters, etc. Often in the off season they use these guys to do public speaking. All I'm asking is 179 days.

Then I thought about it, this would really be a "stunt hike" although my real intent is to get a free thru-hike while getting paid. How would the trail community think about it? I mean there are lots of patriotic Americans on the trail, but a thru-hike with the agenda of drumming up enlistments. Seems like some kind of conflict of interest although I can't put my finger on exactly why.

My other concern is if they really did accept it, then they would put all kinds of rules on my hike like using Army issue equipment. Yuck!

Anyway, I thought as a hypothetical question only, what would ya'll think? Please be very honest!

hacksaw
09-07-2002, 21:57
You're gonna' look cute on Springer Mountain sportin' a 9 pound Alice pack and a 17pound Wiggy's 3 piece sleeping bag and a case of MRE's, Rock!!!!

Hey, former Marine here, I say if they'll go for it, JUMP on it, man!

All I'd offer is try and keep the recruiting off the trail. Hike when you hike, and when it's time to go into town and recruit, then go into town and by god recruit!

I'm thinking about 2004 too, Rock. Drop me a line sometime.

Hacksaw

EarlyRiser
09-07-2002, 22:03
well i supose there are downsides, such as gear and rules ect. i happen to be a pacifist so i dont believe in the military for any other reason than the training and discipline. i can understand the need for soldiers, especialy in the general atmosphere we live in right now, however i hope we can find a way past it. but that dosnt matter here. the fact is youd be getting payed to hike. and i think i can say we will all be all the more jealous of you for it. depending on how the hike is run, whether it is the acomplishment or the teaching that is primarily focased on. if you are instructed to spend a lot of time along the trail recruiting and so forth directly from the trail population and local communities i dont believe it is going to be very productive. however just advertisment of the fact that you hiked, and maybe even if more than just you did it that would more encourage people. it seems to me that many people you find on the trail, while patriotic, may not be the best for recruiting. (although im sure they are in very good physical condition.) i may not know what im talking about though, and im sure the Army Recruiting Command will know better. goodluck with your adventures.

SGT Rock
09-07-2002, 22:13
I know the trail people would not be the recruiting goal. It would be more of a stunt to show me off at places and say "look what he is able to do" then use it as an in at High Schools, colleges, comunity events, etc.

I don't think (based on my recruiting experience) I could find anyone to join on the trail LOL.

And if I go in 2004 Hacksaw, we can start together, but I plan to skip the aproach trail. And if we hike together a while, I WILL bring earplugs LOL!

The Weasel
09-07-2002, 23:00
Ern----

This reminds me of Jacques d'Amboise, "the Dancing Hiker", in 2000. He was a 65 year old and VERY famous ballet dancer with the National Dance Institute, who decided to use the trail as a way of spreading the magic of dance. He'd stop in towns and hold assemblies in schools and for community groups, and teach his "Appalachian Dance" to anyone who wanted to learn...became very famous. Look him up on Google.

I don't have the problem with "being paid" to do it. Not only is that not a "disqualifier", but military pay, while not as rough as it used to be, is not all that hot. I'd hope you wouldn't have to be in BDUs, since that would be the most damned uncomfortable way to walk I can think of. So I see no major problem from the trail community side of it.

My only hesitation is that I think YOU will miss something. Since you'd be "on duty" 24/7, simply for being known as doing this for the Army, I think you'd miss some of what frankly is the beauty of anonymity on the trail. I wasn't a lawyer, and others weren't teachers, or store owners, or doctors, or students, or anything but thru-hikers. That's part of the beauty of the "trail name" - indeed, I'd hope that you would consider letting a new name happen to you on the trail - since even ones with some career background ("The Weasel") that don't make it too obvious keep from reminding people who one "used to be". This is no small value on the Trail, and I hope you don't dismiss it lightly.

In a different vein, I've seen several people "use" the trail as "fundraisers" for a favorite charity. Your situation is different, I know. But most of them were a little resented, I think (please tell me I'm wrong, people!), since it was felt that they brought part of the outside world "into" the trail "without permission", and were "using" the trail rather than benefiting from it themselves. Most of those stopped talking about their "goals" soon.

But they didn't have the 227 years of pride behind them that you have, Ern.

The Weasel

Peaks
09-08-2002, 06:24
I'm not a military person, but I say go for it.

First, doesn't hurt to try. They just might let you do it.

Second, people hike the AT for all kinds of reasons. So, why not a recruiting hike?

Third, it gets you on the trail 3 years earlier than otherwise.

Good luck

Kerosene
09-08-2002, 10:38
I agree with Peaks, go for it. In addition, here are a few suggestions to avoid some of the drawbacks mentioned in earlier posts:
Equipment: The armed forces develop equipment geared to do the specified task. Long distance hiking with no intent to engage in battle at the end of said hike is not something this equipment was intended for (at least I hope not!). I'd argue that you should use the equipment best suited for the purpose, including U.S. Army gear when it has a clear benefit or it's a toss up.
Anonymity: Weasel is right, you probably couldn't blend in as easily, but with a trailname like yours I'm not sure you would be anonymous for long anyway. However, by being "funded" by the Army, I would expect them to want you to be on best behavior to portray the appropriate image (not that you would ever do otherwise :D). While that may constrain you at times, you can always come back in 2007 and do it again your own way!
Stunt: I don't view this as a stunt. If nothing else, you're conveying a much-needed message that also includes the fact that the military prepares you for many things beyond just fighting. It certainly supports the "Army of One" tag line. However, much the same as I do not appreciate trying to be converted by missionaries, I would not appreciate trying to be talked into joining the armed forces unless I had first expressed interest. I do think that it might be interesting to schedule some of your presentations near a trailhead instead of always going into town.
Again, unless you think this would be a CLM (career-limiting move), I'd make the request, negotiate the terms, and then make your decision. Good luck, Sarge!

SGT Rock
09-08-2002, 11:00
O.K. so taking notes:

1. Don't go with my trail name, just announce myself as "First Sergeant Ernest B. Engman, United States Army" and let the trail name come. Probably get one liker "Your Local AT Recruiter" or "The Dumba$$ Army Guy"

2. Be on my best official behavior. I actually figured if I did this I would have to shave and get regular haircuts. But we soldiers do get to drink and have fun too. I guess smoking grass and stealing from others would be a no-go.

3. Take some Army gear (which I already do) but only that good for thru-hiking. I figured I could probably sell the idea of using my own gear using the logic that they don't expect an Army marksman to use an M16 in the Olympics, a thru-hike needs specialized gear. Although we know the truth is different :D

4. Do not try to get hikers to join. Well didn't plan to anyway, although I will always be positive about the benifits of a military career to anyone I meet ;) . I figured the recruiting companies along the trail could set up speaking engagements as well as get me hotels while I'm doing these public speaking events - free hotels!

5. As for what to wear. I planned to use my normal hiking clothing, but get "Army of One" and "Go Army" put on all my shirts.

6. Do another thru-hike in 2007 anyway. GREAT IDEA!

Again this is all hypothetical. Based on the response here I will probably write the proposal, but it is still the Army that would decide. And we are at war (not a declared one), so I may get different plans between now and then that are not forseen.

Please keep the ideas rolling!

Peaks
09-08-2002, 15:14
Well, based on my experience, I wouldn't worry about anonymity. Thru-hikers accept everyone else for what they are. My suggestion is that you just be yourself out on the trail.

The saying goes, hike your own hike, but don't force others to hike your hike. So, don't go out and try to enlist your fellow thru-hikers. But by all means, talk with them about what the armed forces means to you.

Equipment, I'd take what is best suited for the task at hand. If that's miltary, then so be it. Otherwise, civilian equipment.

Stunt? No more than any one else doing a charity hike or hike for some cause or another.

Trail name? What's the matter with Sgt. Rock? From reading posts, you have earned it.

Behavior? Yes, you will be representing the armed forces, so act accordingly.

Hammock Hanger
09-08-2002, 17:15
There are a number of hikers out their with Causes on the agenda, breast cancer, cystic fibrosis, etc... It does nt interfer with any of the other hikers hike, so no problems there. It will change your hike some as you will have some added responsibilities and schedules. But, hey, if you get to do the hike 3 years earlier sand get paid, HELL do it. You can always re-do it in 2007 if you felt like it cheated you somehow. IMHO HH

The Weasel
09-08-2002, 19:50
Ern --- Using your numbering/topics.....

(1) Introduce yourself as "Ern Engman". If anyone wants to know what your occupation is, you'll share it. I'm told that when Bruce Bobbitt, then the Sec of the Interior, section hiked a stretch of the AT a couple years ago, he introduced himself as "Bruce". You don't need to be told this. You might just enjoy the new trail name...if one happens.

(2) Another thing you don't need to be told: You'll be on the same behavior you are on when you are on duty, off base. Sometimes that means having a beer or three, and other times it means being a choirboy. It shouldn't mean "best behavior" all the time.

(3) Frankly, I've seen very little classic Army gear that is purpose-made for high-intensity long distance backpacking. You just MIGHT consider part of your proposal to describe how it tests the utility for such treks of NON-army gear.

(4) Best recruiter I ever knew was a few decades ago. Sgt James Neal was at the time the 3rd highest enlisted man in the USAF, and the local Air Force Recrcuiter. He was also our Scoutmaster. Never said a word about the Air Force. Not one. Ever. All of us wanted to join (yeah, at 14!). Why? To be like him. You do this, and you won't have to say a word about military careers (on the trail, that is) to "sell" the Army. (On the other hand, a lot of the trail towns are a LONG way away from recruiting stations for those "free hotels"...chuckle! You might want to look into locations. Don't waste your time trying to "recruit" when you cross the Hudson River on the bridge...you're a mile from West Point!).

(5) Consider this for your clothing: My Scout Troop uses, as it's unit hat, the military green "boonie" hat, with a very small Scout badge (the trefoil, or compass rose) pinned on the front. I never mentioned my Scouting relationship...but a fair number of people asked me. A nice way to make it 'non-intrusive'. Consider wearing a cap (or your beret, VERY functional) with your rank pin as your "Army" advertising.

(6) Walk this silly trail as often as you can!

I bet you'll get this approved!

SGT Rock
09-08-2002, 21:16
8 SEP 2002

MEMORANDUM FOR: Commander, US Army Recruiting Command, Fort Knox, KY 40121 ATTN: Advertising Branch.

SUBJECT: 2004 Appalachian Trail hike to support the Army Recruiting mission.

My name is First Sergeant Ernest B. Engman. Currently I am stationed at Fort Polk, LA as the First Sergeant of G Troop, 2/2 ACR. I was an Army Recruiter from 1990-1992 assigned to the Milwaukee Recruiting Battalion. I am an avid hiker and backpacker with over 30 years of experience. I even maintain a web site related to this that currently receives about 2,000 visits a month. My address is http://hikinghq.net.

I intend to retire in 2007 and hike from Springer Mountain Georgia to Mount Katahdin Maine along the Appalachian Trail, a distance of over 2,168 miles. I have already thoroughly planned this expedition and have the resources to do it. A copy of the plan is included and can also be found in detail at my web site. http://hikinghq.net/at_stuff/at.html.

The act of hiking the entire trail in one season is known as thru-hiking and was first accomplished by Earl V. Schaffer, a US Army veteran of WWII in 1948. Since then the number of people attempting a thru-hike has risen every year, but the number of people able to complete a thru-hike remains very low. The statistics show that less than 10% of people attempting a thru-hike finish in any year.

In or around February of 2004, I will be due to PCS. At that time I will be a branch certified Master Sergeant and will most likely be assigned to a special duty position of some sort like instructor in ROTC command. Normally such commands are very interested in the marketing to prospective members of the Army.

I propose that in March of 2004, I be assigned on TDY (or permissive TDY) to the Recruiting Command. On the 10th of March that year, I will start my hike up the Appalachian Trail, and be available at points along the trail for use by the Recruiting Command for public speaking and presentations to help enter markets such as High Schools, colleges, and other groups such as civic groups.

It should take me approximately six months to complete the entire trail if such stops are included. This means I can be assigned for the maximum allowed 179 days of TDY and still complete both aspects of the mission. After the hike, I would be available as a tasking to my unit (whatever it may be) to speak for the Army at various recruiting functions.

I currently have all the gear I need and would not need any additional financial support other than expenses related to speaking at recruiting functions. I would wear T shirts, hats, or whatever clothing required as advertising for the Army as I hiked. I would not be inclined to use issued Army CTA-500 equipment as it is not specifically suited to thru-hiking.

As a senior NCO, I realize the chances of this being approved are very slim, and are outside the norm. But supporting such an endeavor would not cost the Army any more than my salary and benefits. Since I already plan to do this after I retire, I think volunteering to do it while on active duty in order to benefit the Army is the right thing to do.

In my career I have also have worked with Army boxers, marksmen, and know that the Army sponsors a variety of sports that are not normally in line with the mission of the Army. I think the act of making the hike in a season, self supported would be consistent with the Army recruiting theme ďAn Army of OneĒ.

I am available to discuss this if you require more information at ernest.b.engman@us.army.mil or at DSN 864-8282.





Ernest B. Engman
1SG, USA
Enclosures:
1. OPORD dated 16 FEB 2002
2. Packing list
3. Daily schedule

Kerosene
09-08-2002, 21:35
Wow! Looks great to me, but I'll offer up my suggestions for your considerations (my employees hate to bring stuff to me :p.

See if you can include a few powerful examples of the benefits of such a hike to the Army. The reader will likely see some positive implications, but your message will be more powerful if you delineate the more interesting, impressive and unique benefits.

Have Weasel put his edit/spell checker hat on before you ship. If he's unavailable, either I'll do it or I'll get my editor wife to give it a once over.

Way to go!

The Weasel
09-08-2002, 21:53
I'll be glad to provide any editing you want. But it's well written so far.

I think you minimize the impact and newsworthiness of this. While you might think ballet is not in the same category as the Infantry, "Trail Dancer" was in his 60s, and probably spawned 200 or more press articles and dozens of school and group meetings. You might want to indicate that the AT is a highly-noticed press item, with a LOT of coverage of "special" hikers. This would fit. I promise, you'll get your pic in the paper a LOT. ALL of it will be positive.

You also might want to note your ability to meet with military units along the way. The Ranger Training Base is about 5 miles off the AT in Georgia (visible, in fact, from one of the ridges), and the Military Academy is virtually ON the AT. (Virginia Military Institute is also very close by the AT.) I suspect there are other units based close to the Trail, as well as Reserve/National Guard units. While not a "recruiting" function, showing a senior noncommissioned officer doing stuff like this can not have training functions but serve as an example to others, thereby helping enlisted retention. You're a better judge of this that I am, but it would seem useful to me.

You might also tie this plan to what I think are some of the qualities that exemplify our modern Army, beyond the mottos: This is perhaps one of the most physically and emotionally demanding efforts that are available in the United States today, requiring maturity and stamina (again, not merely physical, but mental even more) that are unusual anywhere. Boxing and even marathon running don't begin to match the demands on mind and body that this does; those who complete it - and I cannot yet include myself in that group - are an elite.

Go for it, Sarge!

SGT Rock
09-08-2002, 21:56
I was thinking about that angle. Unfortunately I couldn't come up with anything right off except that there is a current facination in the youth culture with "Extreme Sports". While we here know that thru-hiking isn't an extreme sport, I think I could sell it as something youth would be interested in hearing about because they would percive it as an extreme sport. Then tying it into the skills, knowledge, and attitude the Army trains in Basic training that allow any soldier to do exactly what I propose to do.

Maybe a couple of paragraphs like this:

The Appalachian Trail passes through 14 states, past many major metropolitan areas, and actually runs right beside the United States Army Military Academy at West Point. There would be numerous possibilities for speaking engagements and presentations at various events along the trail route. I would not only provide a benefit for Army recruitment, but for retention, motivational speaking at places like USAMA, and other facets too numerous to mention.

Currently America's youth are fascinated with "Extreme Sports" and the accomplishment of individuals under hash conditions. They would be receptive to presentations by someone (a soldier) actually living an extreme sport. In my presentations I would associate the skills, knowledge, and attitude that all soldiers receive in Initial Entry Training to the affect of giving them the ability to do it as well.

I would, in effect, be demonstrating by example the Facts, Evidence, Benefit, and Advantage of Army service. But in opening them to the message through the act of hiking, the other benefits such as service to country, adventure, education, training, etc. could be presented by me and recruiters from the local recruiting command.

But not only would I be available for presentations, I could also maintain an on-line journal where my hike could be followed day to day. Such journals are a norm and are read on various sites by thousands. Additionally, the newspapers nationwide often carry stories about such hikes when they are out of the norm like when Earl Schaffer repeated his hike at the age of 79, or when various hikers attempt a thru-hike as a fund raiser for various charities.

--------------------------------------------------------------

I also added this tag near the end:

I too was stationed at Fort Knox, from 1996-2000. While there I served in a variety of positions at the NCO Academy culminating as the Division Chief of PLDC. During this time, I had a remarkable mentor, CSM Kevin P. Garvey. He had a philosophy of using a personís talents in a position to best serve the unitís mission. He was a master at determining how a personís talents could be used, regardless of how unconventional it may have been. I feel that in this respect, I am the right person for the job, and this is the right time for me to do it. My talents, although not conventional Army skills, nor applied in a conventional military manor, can serve the Army in a way no other soldierís can.


-----------------------------------------------------------------

BTW, I capitalized the words Facts, Evidence, Benifits, and Advantage because it was an Army Recruiting doctrinal term when I was a recruiter. I also used CSM Garvey's name because he has retired in that area, knows me, and is still fairly prominent in the community.

Any thoughts? Am I on the right track?

wacocelt
09-08-2002, 22:25
As cynical as I am about military recruiters in general, no offense intended, I find this idea to be inspiring as well as admirable. IMO there is strong need for 'lead by example' in the military and especially the recruiting arm.
My only fear about this issue is that some prospects may get the impression that 'hiking' will be one of the things promised them by joining. I have faith that you will make it crystal clear that you are on special duty and that your mission isn't standard SOP. I also have faith in the 'average' (damn I hate that word) person compeletly changing 95% of what they hear to suit the ideal they hope to see.
<<EDIT: Very few 'extreme' athletes have the wherewithal to strap on a pack and give up thier modern conveniences for 4-6 months at a pop. My guess is that the majority of the would cringe at the thought. Therefore it's my opinion that Thru-Hiking IS to some extent an extreme sport.:>>
I wish you all the best with this effort.

The Weasel
09-08-2002, 22:28
Ern, are you a reader? I mean as in novels, for pleasure? (There's a point to this.)

If you are, go to your library (it's probably out of print otherwise) and get "Northwest Passage", by Kenneth Roberts. There was also a great flick with Spencer Tracy, but get the book. It's about Maj Robert Rogers (RA), who attacked a major Abenaki encampment in Canada a handful of New Englanders in the French and Indian War, walking literally from the Maine coast through the wilderness for hundreds of miles, and thereafter organized feared irregulars during the Revolution. It's a great book, about a great man. Robert's book - he wrote many very good historical novels in the 30s-50s - was one of the moving forces for the formation of the 1st and 2nd Rangers during WWII.

The reason I mention it is that nowhere in your proposal is the statement, "This is what we are known for." From Rogers attack, through the Revolution's greatest fighting general - Benedict Arnold - similarly leading a brigade hundreds of miles, with only the food and gear each man could carry to seize Montreal, to Capt Rogers and (sorta) Capt Clark walking the American continent, through those guys who walked (some of them literally) from Normandy all the way to Vienna, right through to the present day, that's what Americans know - and yet are so surprised at seeing - their Army do. You cross terrain. You do it in the wilderness. You do it despite the challenges. You just damn well do it.

That's not an "extreme sport", Ern. Throw in the "X-sport" stuff, sure; it can't hurt and might help. But I've been reading your posts for a couple months now, and you're not in the Army to make a buck, and you're not going to walk the AT just for fun. You do both because it's who you ARE. Well, tell the Army that "who you are" is "who they are", and this is a heck of an object lesson to people considering joining the military: "This is who we are."

Bet you a beer you can't tell me I'm wrong.

The Weasel

SGT Rock
09-08-2002, 23:01
I can't tell you that you are wrong. You hit the nail on the head on both accounts.

I know about the the example of the attack into Canada. It is considered by the Rangers to be their founding ideas. Part of the Ranger Creed and idea comes from that.

Based on what you all have told me, I've slightly modified my proposal, although I still don't think it is perfect yet. So here it is:

------------------------------------------------------------------ 8 SEP 2002

MEMORANDUM FOR: Commander, US Army Recruiting Command, Fort Knox, KY 40121 ATTN: Advertising Branch.

SUBJECT: 2004 Appalachian Trail hike to support the Army Recruiting mission.

My name is First Sergeant Ernest B. Engman. Currently I am stationed at Fort Polk, LA as the First Sergeant of G Troop, 2/2 ACR. I was an Army Recruiter from 1990-1992 assigned to the Milwaukee Recruiting Battalion. I am an avid hiker and backpacker with over 30 years of experience. I even maintain a web site related to this that currently receives over 2,000 visits a month. My address is http://hikinghq.net.

I intend to retire in 2007 and hike from Springer Mountain Georgia to Mount Katahdin Maine along the Appalachian Trail, a distance of over 2,168 miles. I have already thoroughly planned this expedition and have the resources to do it. A copy of the plan is included and can also be found in detail at my web site. http://hikinghq.net/at_stuff/at.html.

The act of hiking the entire trail in one season is known as thru-hiking and was first accomplished by Earl V. Schaffer, a US Army veteran of WWII in 1948. Since then the number of people attempting a thru-hike has risen every year, but the number of people able to complete a thru-hike remains very low. The statistics show that less than 10% of people attempting a thru-hike finish in any year.

In or around February of 2004, I will be due to PCS. At that time I will be a branch certified Master Sergeant and will most likely be assigned to a special duty position of some sort like instructor in ROTC command. Normally such commands are very interested in the marketing to prospective members of the Army.

I propose that in March of 2004, I be assigned on TDY (or permissive TDY) to the Recruiting Command. On the 10th of March that year, I will start my hike up the Appalachian Trail, and be available at points along the trail for use by the Recruiting Command for public speaking and presentations to help enter markets such as High Schools, colleges, and other groups such as civic groups.

It should take me approximately six months to complete the entire trail if such stops are included. This means I can be assigned for the maximum allowed 179 days of TDY and still complete both aspects of the mission. After the hike, I would be available as a tasking to my unit (whatever it may be) to speak for the Army at various recruiting functions.

The Appalachian Trail passes through 14 states, past many major metropolitan areas, and actually runs right beside the United States Army Military Academy at West Point. There would be numerous possibilities for speaking engagements and presentations at various events along the trail route. I would not only provide a benefit for Army recruitment, but for retention, motivational speaking at places like USAMA, and other facets too numerous to mention.

Currently America's youth are fascinated with "Extreme Sports" and the accomplishment of individuals under hash conditions. They would be receptive to presentations by someone (a soldier) actually living an extreme sport. In my presentations I would associate the skills, knowledge, and attitude that all soldiers receive in Initial Entry Training to the affect of giving them the ability to do it as well. I could also educate them that such attributes are not uncommon, they have been a part of our Army since 1775 when soldiers with minimal equipment would travel for hundreds of miles to face our nationís enemies and earn our freedom in the exact same terrain I would be hiking.

I feel that my hike is more than just an extreme sport or a stunt. I want to show that soldiers are people that cherish this country for the freedom it provides, the freedom that makes such a hike even possible. And I also want to show that as soldiers we care about environmental issues and the preservation of the American wilderness and its ecosystems. There are many aspects of this hike that would appeal to the prospective soldiers of the future.

I would, in effect, be demonstrating by example the Facts, Evidence, Benefit, and Advantage of Army service. But in opening them to the message through the act of hiking, the other benefits such as service to country, adventure, education, training, etc. could be presented by me and recruiters from the local recruiting command.

But not only would I be available for presentations, I could also maintain an on-line journal where my hike could be followed day to day. Such journals are a norm and are read on various sites by thousands. Additionally, the newspapers nationwide often carry stories about such hikes when they are out of the norm like when Earl Schaffer repeated his hike at the age of 79, or when various hikers attempt a thru-hike as a fund raiser for various charities.

I currently have all the gear I need and would not need any additional financial support other than expenses related to speaking at recruiting functions. I would wear T shirts, hats, or whatever clothing required as advertising for the Army as I hiked. I would not be inclined to use issued Army CTA-500 equipment as it is not specifically suited to thru-hiking.

As a senior NCO, I realize the chances of this being approved are very slim, and are outside the norm. But supporting such an endeavor would not cost the Army any more than my salary and benefits. Since I already plan to do this after I retire, I think volunteering to do it while on active duty in order to benefit the Army is the right thing to do.

In my career I have also have worked with Army boxers, marksmen, and know that the Army sponsors a variety of sports that are not normally in line with the mission of the Army. I think the act of making the hike in a season, self supported would be consistent with the Army recruiting theme ďAn Army of OneĒ.

I too was stationed at Fort Knox, from 1996-2000. While there I served in a variety of positions at the NCO Academy culminating as the Division Chief of PLDC. During this time, I had a remarkable mentor, CSM Kevin P. Garvey. He had a philosophy of using a personís talents in a position to best serve the unitís mission. He was a master at determining how a personís talents could be used, regardless of how unconventional it may have been. I feel that in this respect, I am the right person for the job, and this is the right time for me to do it. My talents, although not conventional Army skills, nor applied in a conventional military manor, can serve the Army in a way no other soldierís can.

I am available to discuss this if you require more information at ernest.b.engman@us.army.mil or at DSN 864-8282.





Ernest B. Engman
1SG, USA
Enclosures:
1. OPORD dated 16 FEB 2002
2. Packing list
3. Daily schedule


---------------------------------------------------------------------

My concern is now that I may make this too long, that the reader could loose the focus of what I'm trying to say.

Thanks for the input. I know it still needs some tweaking, but I hope to submitt it by the end of the month.

wacocelt
09-08-2002, 23:08
Sounds great Top. I agree that with a bit more work you'll be presenting them a proposal that they will literally jump at. Kudos.

hacksaw
09-09-2002, 12:55
Dang, Rock!

You're gonna' mess around and GET this gig if you don't watch out! Your proposal looks better with each rewrite.

One other bunch that you want to try and mention, due to the trail connection, is the Overmountain Men of the Revolutionary War.

Hacksaw

The Weasel
09-09-2002, 13:21
Hacksaw beat me to the punch, since in reading your proposal I immediately thought of the Overmountain Trail. Maybe being a collateral descendant of "Uncle" Benedict Arnold made me forget the South...and I know Hacksaw wouldn't!

But you might consider an "appendix", Ern. I don't know how the Army views such things, but a list of connections that the Army has to the AT - from those two Union soldiers whose solitary grave in NC, right where they were killed while visiting home - through all the others may show that this is both a pilgrimage of sorts for the Army as well as showing its strength for the future. The "appendix" might be a stupid idea, but here are things that are directly Army related that happened on or immediately (i'm talking less than a mile) by the AT, including active facilities. Anyone able to add to the list?

-- Overmountain Trail, North Carolina (Revolutionary War)
-- Ranger Training Base, Georgia (Active)
-- U.S. Military Academy, New York (Active)
-- Harper's Ferry (pre-Civil War)
-- Union soldier's gravesite, North Carolina (Civil War)
-- Medal of Honor recipient, Graveyard on road n. of Velvet Rocks, NH (Civil War)

The Weasel

SGT Rock
09-09-2002, 13:28
That is a good list, although I don't know if it should be in the original proposal. Normally the rule of thumb for those is to be as brief as possible.

On other point for that list that I intend to visit again is the crash site of Audie Murphy in Virgina, it's about 500' off the AT.

The Weasel
09-09-2002, 14:48
When this collaboration of you and a few dozen ATForum scribes get done, this proposal is gonna be as short and tough as a dwarf rottie, Ern.

The Weasel

Peaks
09-09-2002, 18:32
Rock,

Suggest that in your proposal you give some thought to life after the Trail. I think that with the AT under your belt, you would be a great spokesman for the armed forces. You could spend your remaining years of service doing talks and recruiting, talking about your career, the AT, etc.

Raccoon
09-11-2002, 11:07
South Mountain battlefield, PA (on trail)
Front Royal battlefield (nearby), VA
Heck, the entire Shenandoah valley is close at hand, and the
Antietam and Gettysburg battlefields.

And the "Union Soldier's gravesite, NC" (the Sheldon Graves) is
actually that of three Union soldiers, or two and one boy scout,
depending on how you reckon it.

highway
09-11-2002, 16:42
Rock:

ďThen I thought about it, this would really be a "stunt hike" although my real intent is to get a free thru-hike while getting paid. How would the trail community think about it?Ē

The trail community probably want give much thought to it, other than being happy for you, if you can pull it off. A somewhat similar example is the U S Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) at Ft. Benning, Ga, a relatively young organization that competes with civilian shooters, none of which begrudge them for getting paid for competing alongside civilian shooters who do not. Look at them at:

http://www.usarec.army.mil/hq/amu/sr/srindex.htm

They as well as the USMC shooters have come to dominate certain shooting disciplines, two of which I am familiar with and it doesnít bother me.

And, one of their stated goals is recruitment as well. It is interesting that when they were first organized an entirely new MOS was established for the shooters in that small unit. The armorers already had theirs. I donít think Iíd hold out much hope for a new one being established for backpacking, though. But, who knowsÖ.stranger things have happened!

SGT Rock
09-14-2002, 11:02
It's been about a week and I haven't seen any more good ideas or changes, but I have seen a lot of support for the idea. I really appreciate it, honestly I had intended to scrap the idea if it was considered not in the spirit of the trail by the trail community.

To let you know how these things often work, the proposal should be as short and concise as possible while relating all the basic facts, it isn't a total information packet, so often only the key ideas are mentioned, and a lot of detail gets left for the real plan. There is so much good information about the AT out there, as well as the historical locations along the trail, that I couldn't possibly cover them all in a proposal letter.

Anyway, please help me with last minute refinements. I intend to take this to my Troop Commander Monday and ask him to write an endorcement letter.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
14 SEP 2002

MEMORANDUM FOR: Commander, US Army Recruiting Command, Fort Knox, KY 40121 ATTN: Advertising Branch.

SUBJECT: 2004 Appalachian Trail hike to support the Army Recruiting mission.

My name is First Sergeant Ernest B. Engman. Currently I am stationed at Fort Polk, LA as the First Sergeant of G Troop, 2/2 ACR. I am a member of the FORSCOM Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, and was the 1995 Fort Bliss Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. I was an Army Recruiter from 1990-1992 assigned to the Milwaukee Recruiting Battalion. I am an avid hiker and backpacker with over 30 years of experience. I currently maintain a web site related to this that currently receives over 2,000 visits a month. My address is http://hikinghq.net.

I intend to retire in 2007 and hike from Springer Mountain Georgia to Mount Katahdin Maine along the Appalachian Trail, a distance of over 2,168 miles. I have been contemplating this hiking trip since 1997, I have already developed a detailed plan for this expedition, and I have the resources to do it. A copy of the plan is included (Enclosure 1-3) and can also be found in detail at my web site. http://hikinghq.net/at_stuff/at.html.

The act of hiking the entire trail in one season is known as thru-hiking and was first accomplished by Earl V. Shaffer, a US Army veteran of WWII, in 1948. Since then the number of people attempting a thru-hike has risen every year, but the number of people able to complete a thru-hike remains very low. The statistics show that thousands of people start a thru-hike, but less than 10% of those attempting a thru-hike finish in any year.

In or around February of 2004, I will be due to PCS from Fort Polk. At that time I will be a branch certified Master Sergeant and will most likely be assigned to a special duty position of some sort. Chances are good it would be to a position such as an instructor in ROTC command. Normally such commands are very interested in the marketing to prospective members of the Army.

Since I had already planned to make this hike, I propose that in March of 2004, I be assigned on TDY (or permissive TDY) to the Recruiting Command. On the 10th of March that year, I would start my hike up the Appalachian Trail, and be available at points along the trail for use by the Recruiting Command for public speaking and presentations to help enter markets such as High Schools, colleges, and other groups such as civic organizations. The only difference would be that instead of hiking for myself after retirement, I could do something special for the Army while Iím still serving on active duty.

It should take me approximately six months to complete the entire trail if such stops are included. This means I can be assigned for the maximum allowed 179 days of TDY and still complete both aspects of the mission. After the hike, I would be available as a tasking to my unit (whatever it may be) to speak for the Army at various recruiting functions.

The Appalachian Trail passes through 14 states, past many major metropolitan areas, and actually runs right beside the United States Army Military Academy at West Point. There would be numerous possibilities for speaking engagements and presentations at various events along the trail route. I would not only provide a benefit for Army recruitment, but for retention efforts, motivational speaking for active duty soldiers and cadets at places like USAMA, and other facets too numerous to mention.

Currently America's youth are fascinated with "Extreme Sports" and the accomplishment of individuals under hash conditions. They would be receptive to presentations by someone (a soldier) actually living an extreme sport. In my presentations I would associate the skills, knowledge, and attitude that all soldiers receive in Initial Entry Training to the affect of giving them the ability to do it as well. I could also educate them that such attributes are not uncommon, they have been a part of our Army since 1775 when soldiers (Rogerís Rangers, the Overmountain Men, and many Civil War soldiers), with minimal equipment would travel for hundreds of miles to face our nationís enemies and earn our freedom in the exact same terrain I would be hiking.

I feel that my hike is more than just an extreme sport or a stunt. I want to show that soldiers are people that cherish this country for the freedom it provides, the freedom that makes such a hike even possible. And I also want to show that as soldiers we care about environmental issues and the preservation of the American wilderness and its ecosystems. There are many aspects of this hike that would appeal to the prospective soldiers of the future.

I would, in effect, be demonstrating by example the Facts, Evidence, Benefit, and Advantage of Army service. But in opening them to the message through the act of hiking, the other benefits such as service to country, adventure, education, training, etc. could be presented by me and recruiters from the local recruiting command.

But not only would I be available for presentations, I could also maintain an on-line journal where my hike could be followed day to day. Such journals are a norm and are read on various sites by thousands. Additionally, newspapers nationwide often carry stories about such hikes when they are out of the norm, such as the time Earl Schaffer repeated his hike at the age of 79, or when various hikers attempt a thru-hike as a fund raiser for charities.

I currently have all the gear I need and would not need any additional financial support other than expenses related to speaking at recruiting functions. I would wear T shirts, hats, or whatever clothing required as advertising for the Army as I hiked. I would not be inclined to use issued Army CTA-500 equipment as it is not specifically suited to thru-hiking.

As a senior NCO, I realize the chances of this being approved are very slim, and are outside the norm. Supporting such an endeavor would not cost the Army any more than my salary and some expenses, but the benefit to the Army could be much more than the expense. Since I already plan to do this after I retire, I think volunteering to do it while on active duty in order to benefit the Army is the right thing to do.

In my career I have also have worked with Army boxers, marksmen, and other full time athletes. I know that the Army sponsors a variety of sports that are not normally in line with the mission of the Army. I think the act of making the hike in a season, self supported, with minimal equipment, would be consistent with the Army recruiting theme ďAn Army of OneĒ.

I too was stationed at Fort Knox, from 1996-2000. While there I served in a variety of positions at the NCO Academy culminating as the Division Chief of PLDC. During this time I had a remarkable mentor, CSM Kevin P. Garvey. He had a philosophy of using a personís talents in a position to best serve the unitís mission. He was a master at determining how a personís talents could be used, regardless of how unconventional those talents may have been. I feel that in this respect, I am the right person for the job, and this is the right time for me to do it. My talents, although not conventional Army skills, nor applied in a conventional military manor, can serve the Army in a way no other soldierís can.

I am available to discuss this in greater detail if you require more information at ernest.b.engman@us.army.mil or at DSN 864-8282.





Ernest B. Engman
1SG, USA
Enclosures:
1. OPORD dated 16 FEB 2002 (http://hikinghq.net/at_stuff/at.html)

wacocelt
09-14-2002, 11:44
Sounds great to be Top. I'm sure it could use some polishing, only thing I saw that I would change is paragraph 11, drop 'but' and start with, Not only.
I honestly can't see them turning you down on this. Excellent idea.

SGT Rock
09-14-2002, 17:20
Wow, I've recived about 5 e-mails with suggestion in addition to what is on the board. I'm working now to add some of these changes.

I'm going to run it past my wife to see what she thinks, she has been in the military system almost as long as I have.

THANK YOU ALL!

pedxing
09-18-2002, 13:44
When I was 18, I spent the day at an Army recruiters and I ended up deciding not to enlist. If I thought that I might get AT duty one day, I might have signed up!

Just knowing that the Army brass had been flexible and creative enought to work with you on a plan like this would make some people sit up and take note.

You wouldn't exactly be hiking your own hike in 2004, so hiking again in 2007 sounds like a great idea.

The Weasel
09-18-2002, 19:21
Ern --- Let me know when (and if) you want a final "edit".

The Weasel

PS: You're gonna hike your own hike, even if the Army OK's it...my wife OK'd MY hike, but that didn't make it hers!

Tabasco
09-18-2002, 23:00
Now this is inspiring SGT. Please keep us abreast of the outcome.

Dirtyoldman
09-19-2002, 12:11
Now might be a good time... the air force is airing a commercial in our area with hikers.

bam_bam
02-15-2004, 00:56
It took me 3 readings to figure out what you were talking about ROCK. You never got to the point. Man, yeh, what are you waiting on? The Army to "Come Up" with the idea? As long as the military can save money, use an acronym to describe it, and blame it on someone else if something goes wrong...then it's a go! So, if you don't do it, then someone else reading it will, because it's a GREAT IDEA!!!

cabalot
02-15-2004, 02:10
Rock,

you have a few advantages that should boost your chances of getting your plans approved.

you are a former recruiter.
you are a 1st sgt
enlistments and reenlistments are down, the military needs new ways to attract recruites.
you are an experienced hiker with a website on the topic.

unpaid leave of absence, paid leave, or TDY? who knows what they will allow.
if you are tdy i would say there would be a chance they will impose some guidelines as to what you will wear and equipment you will use and ofcourse the haircut.

hopefully they will let you get away with just a t-shirt with the army logo.
mabe just a uniform when speaking at a recruiting gathering and leave the trail up to you.

mabe they will hook you up with some of the new high tech gear the special forces are testing out so you can show the possible recruites how the army is moving to the future, you know like those bdu's that are fiber optic and make you look transparent, talk about steath camping.

it would suck wearing a kevlar for 2170 miles. after 12 miles on the last day of air assault school dropping the kevlar and m-16 i felt like i was floating.

MedicineMan
02-15-2004, 02:36
(3) Frankly, I've seen very little classic Army gear that is purpose-made for high-intensity long distance backpacking. You just MIGHT consider part of your proposal to describe how it tests the utility for such treks of NON-army gear.



I was surprised to find out last year about some of the gear our troops were using in Afghanistan-freezing their arses off and then someone with hiking/backpacking experience made a big influence in what gear they were assigned.....this could turn into a grant/study with you Sgt. Rock as principal investigator/info collector etc. In fact I can picture you with a tube hanging out of every orifice and hiking in an oxygen/bomb calorimeter type bubble so the pinheads monitoring your progress can get readouts on calories per military unit expended........

You're crazy if you dont let them pay for your passion!

Kozmic Zian
02-15-2004, 16:40
Yea....PSGT. Rock. Sounds Like a good application to me. Being a Viet Vet, and understanding the inner-workings of the USA, I think you're on to something good. Looks like they may see the validity in your pursuit, and grant you some TDY. That way you could do at least 2 Thruy's...with you're '07 plans.
I'd persue using Army issue gear. Some of the new stuff is pretty good, I hear. That way, you look the part and any photo ops for commercial developement have the military look. That would't mean you have to wear this stuff all the time, just when appropriate. Lots of other folks do Thruy's with a commercial agenda, why not USArmy. Get's you up there! Go for it, SGT. PFC John Lockwood - USA, HHC, 319th Arty, 173d Airborne Brigade(Sep), Bien Hoa, South Viet Nam (Jul '65- Jul '66) - HHC, 2Bn (Airborne), 504th Infantry, 82d Airborne Division, Ft Bragg, NC (Jul '66 - Dec '67). Airborne, All The Way, Sargent!

p.s. Since these other posts were done a few years ago, I'd be nice to know how you're coming w/ these plans in winter '04(now)?

loonyhiker
02-15-2004, 21:33
I teach high school special ed kids and I think your idea is great! The kids know that my dream is to someday thruhike the AT. They are also interested in the military and I think your hike would be motivational to my students. I look forward to your posts and hope that this all works out for you!

SGT Rock
02-16-2004, 03:05
Well since I wrote that, which seems a long time ago now, things have changed. I would have a lot of re-arranging to do in my life to make it happen, and the Army has a really different focus since we are now stuck in Iraq. Maybe I can get the Army to look at it in about 2008, because now I am definately not going to get anything like that until after October 2007.

CeeJay
02-23-2004, 22:32
SGT. Rock,
How are things going for you? Any word yet about when your unit will be back? I've checked on hiker hq and haven't seen any recent news posted.
Beesknees

CanoeBlue
02-23-2004, 23:44
I like it all except:

"As a senior NCO, I realize the chances of this being approved are very slim, and are outside the norm. But supporting such an endeavor would not cost the Army any more than my salary and benefits."

It sounds like you are apologizing. You don't need to apologize for this proposal. Just go with:

"Since I already plan to do this after I retire, I think volunteering to do it while on active duty in order to benefit the Army is the right thing to do."

SGT Rock
02-24-2004, 08:39
SGT. Rock,
How are things going for you? Any word yet about when your unit will be back? I've checked on hiker hq and haven't seen any recent news posted.
Beesknees

Well I haven't been posting a while because I am in the middle of a family crisis. Right this second I am actually in Louisiana on emergency leave. Things are getting better but will never be the same for us. Luckily no one is permanantly hurt or dead and we can all still get on with our lives.

I will return to Baghdad around the 1st of March then come home for good around the end of March.

TJ aka Teej
02-24-2004, 10:25
I am actually in Louisiana on emergency leave. Things are getting better but will never be the same for us. Luckily no one is permanantly hurt or dead and we can all still get on with our lives.

I will return to Baghdad around the 1st of March then come home for good around the end of March.
Best wishes that all works out well on both fronts, Rock.

SGT Rock
02-24-2004, 10:42
Thanks for the good wishes.

jlb2012
02-24-2004, 11:24
I also am wishing you the best Sarge and I am looking forward to when you come back at the end of March. Good luck and take care of what needs to be done.

jojo0425
02-24-2004, 12:07
I've seen my tax dollars spent in worse ways.

No really, if you promise to perform and do perform recruiting activities at trail towns (great idea to get the message out to America) then sure, you should be on the payroll and feel fine about it. I wouldn't harrass fellow hikers, but a scheduled event when you reach a destination is a great idea. I guess this is cheaper than flying you out everywhere if all you are asking for is regular salary.

This way you can show all the little kiddies what a great place the army is and that you can retire and still be a young person. (younger than normal private industry retirement age).

Patco
02-24-2004, 12:55
top 5 favorite bumper sticker:

"What if there were no hypothetical questions?" :dance


Others include:
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made out of meat?"
"Hang up and drive!"
"All men are idiots and I married their king." (wife's favorite)
"If guns were outlawed, only outlaws would have guns."
"If you can read this, thank a teacher."

and ......

PKH
02-24-2004, 14:35
A well written,and well supported memorandum Sergeant - it should take you places. Go for it, and the very best of luck. I suggest a low key and professional profile while on the trail and indeed , all of your contributions to this forum and others suggest this will be the case.

Please don't try to recruit me however.

Je suis Canadien afterall, and I am fully prepared to successfully defend Montreal. Again.

Duane Hall,
CPO2 Canadian Navy (Rtd)
aka PKH

Cheers and the safest of homecomings Sergeant.

firefly
02-25-2004, 16:07
Hey Sarge..I hope things go well for you..Although I have never met you in person I feel like you are a good friend. The war in Iraq hit closer to home for me because I knew someone that was over there-YOU-and I prayed for your safe return. I know from reading this forum that I am not the only one that felt this way. I hope you get to hike your hike on my tax $$...And I hope you go as SGT ROCK because that is exactly who you are..you are an excellent role model and a credit to the military...

walkon
02-25-2004, 16:43
possibly the cheapest thru-hike ever! makes me almost want to enlist. as far as gear goes, isn't some of the army (special forces) able to use civilian gear? i worked for an outfitter and sold mucho golite gear, among others, to army mountain guys.
walkon

ncmtns
02-25-2004, 16:59
I ran into a guy who admitted he was AWOL and hiding doing the hike last year. Whether he was pulling my leg or not.. maybe you could say you would be a secret recovery MP agent :)

SGT Rock
02-25-2004, 19:02
My knowledge of most AWOL soldiers tells me that the guy you talked to would be a VERY rare occurance. Most AWOL I know wouldn't be cauught dead hiking, more likely swilling it up in trail towns if they even knew what a trail town was.

Reverie
02-25-2004, 21:31
I think the idea of using a thru hike to inspire others is a great idea. I wish I had thought of it. I retired from the USAF a few years ago. The whole time I was in I dreamed of doing a thru hike. Wound up getting married four months before my retirement and then had kids. Now I am committed to a hike when I turn 60.

Ideas like yours are usually the type the military loves. Especially if you can tie in a teaching or publicity component and in this you can do both. I think specifying that you will use your own equipment is wise. After all, this isn't a march into battle, it's a hike. You wouldn't send someone into a gunfight equipped with a knife, you shouldn't hike wearing combat gear, including BDUs.

Finally, never be afraid to dream and ask. The military doesn't value you just for obedience, we value initiative. This is terrific initiative.

Reverie, TSgt, USAF, Retired

Ridge
08-07-2004, 22:11
I once saw Navy SEALS rescued, by chopper, from the water during an "Eco-Challenge", which had more land travel than water. This had to be the ultimate embarrassment for both the Navy and the solders. Prepare mentally in case you don't make it for whatever reason, i.e.: Sgt Rock could end up being Major Mud, I know, I was a Marine and know the kind of hassle dished out by ones peers when one fails.
That said, the Army will see the ratio of time on the trail vs. time recruiting too uneven and, unfortunately, will not approve it. However, I approve of the attempt and if you are allowed to carry this out, GOOD LUCK.<O:p</O:p
<O:p</O:p

SGT Rock
08-08-2004, 09:57
This is sort of an old thread - Pre War. I doubt the Army would go for it now at all. I still have thje proposal that I submitted that never made it past Squadron HQ because the Squadron command was reviewing it when we got the deployment notification. The answer got was to wait until after we got back and I was a war hero, then try again. Now that I am back (and I don't feel like any kind of hero) I just want to spend time with my family for a while. Maybe someday I will re-submitt this, or maybe I will just wait until I retire and do it incognito for myslef. Thanks for all the support though y'all

Sarge
08-08-2004, 10:45
Rock , don't forget that you will have terminal leave when you retire. When I retired 2 years ago I had 70 days leave saved up and they gave me an additional 20 days permissive TDY for house hunting. So I basically hiked my entire hike while getting paid. I only planned to hike for 3 months anyway because other factors came into play so it worked out good for me. I'll finish the last 1,000 miles some day. Just keep a reserve of leave saved up so you have the most you can have when you retire.

Sarge

SGT Rock
08-08-2004, 11:10
We had a whole thread about this over on www.hikinghq.net

Basically my retirement plan is this:

Retire date will be about 30 June 2009. The goal was 2007, but I am trying to make E9 before I retire.

I am saving leave to the tune of having about 60 days remaining at the end of each FY, so as long as I manage my leave correctly, I will get to about 82 days leave by EOM June. Add that to 20 days permissive TDY, and I can leave active duty for final-out on or about 20 March 2009, which is a Friday. I can be on the trail by Monday 23 March 2009. I figure about five months for a thru-hike, so I will get the first 3.5 months with full salary and benefits, and I only need to save up enough cash to cover the last 1.5 months to cover all my expenses over and above my retirement which I hope to be E9 over 24 @ about 59.58%. That amount using today's pay chart is the equivalent to an E7's base pay.

Connie
08-09-2004, 11:42
I don't think an apologetic approach is called for.

I do think a clear positive statement about what you will do on the trail, and, after the trail plus the reasonable expectation of publicity while on the AT, with mention of Rangers, and so forth will get you approved. Emphasize how strong a soldier has to be, physically and mentally. This thru-hike requires mental strength and physical endurance. It also requires a focus, on getting the job done. There are plenty of distractions, and excuses for quitting. There is an element of having the moral character required for finishing a difficult job.

Since you are about recruiting, and public speaking, I think any approval would be because you are articulate, and positive: the army needs more soldiers. I think the question for approval is: are you the man, and is your plan going to deliver?

Iraq is "officially" over. But, know this, one of my brother's played tennis for the U.S. Army, winning all singles and all doubles, while serving in the U.S. Army, during the Viet Nam War. The U.S. Army even built tennis courts for him, at Ft. Baker, CA and over at Presidio of San Francisco, CA. Maybe the PSFC tennis courts were already there, but they were resurfaaced to tournament standards. The Ft. Baker tennis courts were totally new. His orders said he was assigned to the lab at Ft. Baker.

He played tennis during Viet Nam.

steve hiker
08-09-2004, 11:53
He played tennis during Viet Nam.
Reminds me of all these BADM majors in college. Just shook my head at them wasting four years at a university playing badminton. :-?

Jack Tarlin
08-09-2004, 12:44
Gee, I'm really glad the army built or refurbished tennis courts for individual soldiers.

I just a read a piece in the Times about soldiers in Iraq having to pay for and supply some of their body armor out of their own pockets; there was another piece a few days later about the number of army families back home forced to rely on food stamps, housing vouchers, etc.

I'm glad the army takes care of its top tennis players, but excuse me for saying that I can't help but feel their priorities are in the wrong place. We have senators who vote for wars when the idea is popular and but then don't want to authorize the money necessary to pay for these wars when the popularity fades (i.e. it's OK to send 'em there, but not to pay for their support once they're there); we have politicans who want to send soldiers into harms way, but aren't willing to authorize the money necessary to equip them properly; we have politicians who wrap themselves in the flag or their long-past service, even when they spent years after their "service" damaging the reputation of that service and their fellow soldiers......oh, but we supply our troops with the best tennis courts money can buy.

Is there something kinda screwy here, or is it just me.

* * *

P.S. While I agree with everything I just wrote, it has nothing to do with this thread.....I know it probably won't happen, but personally, I think Rock's original idea was a fine one, especially if he could test new or proto-type equipment en route. In fact, if he were to push this as well as the recruting idea, I think he'd get a positive response from the higher-ups. I've seen some of the gear that Rock has designed himself or improved on; he'd be GREAT at trying out new stuff, field testing it, reviewing it, and suggesting improvements or alternatives.

People hike for causes or do "educational" hikes all the time, and I can't think of a better one than the one Rock originally had in mind. I hope he considers re-submitting the idea.

SGT Rock
08-09-2004, 16:54
The Army has had an athelete program for years. There are a lot of Olympic level competetors for the US that are Army in events like boxing, track, wrestling, shooting, etc. When I instructed PLDC at Ft Bliss, we received a few students from the Army Boxing team because it is at Ft Huachuka and Ft Bliss' PLDC covered that post. Those sort of things seem to be good politically and also help recruitment.

As to taking care of soldiers, as I often tell my soldiers: "If you don't think they are taking care of you - VOTE!" The Army often has to do what they are forced to by political pressure or political apathy. Sometimes it is easier to vote yourself a $10,000 pay raise if you are in congress than give a soldier $100 extra a month. Sometimes it is nicer to get a military building project in your state that isn't needed than to put it where it is need even if that place happens to be out of your state. Often soldiers complain about things like the length of service we had to do in Iraq and blame the Army insted of blaming the unnammed cabinet level politician that has fought expanding the military to the point the Army has asked for while we are at war because it will cost too much while at the same time paying his old company to hiring civilians to do soldiers jobs because the Army is too short, and paying the company so much that they can offer the civilian workers twice what a soldier would be making to do the same job.

Thanks for the vote of confidence Jack. I value your opinion and really appriciate your wisdom and cooking at Kincora. You are often a voice of sanity and I appriciate the way you look at things, it made me think of how I approach giving out advice about hiking.