I'm so grateful for this blog - the secondary MC in my new project is a veteran, and I have so many questions that Google hasn't been able to answer. (1) How does the military determine where you're stationed for training/pre-deployment? (2) In 2004, it was almost inevitable that he'd be deployed to Iraq/Afghanistan right? (3) Would 24 months have been standard then? (4) What kind of communication would he have had access to? Sorry for my ignorance or if you can't answer! Thanks in advance!
I’m glad to help! Sorry it took so long to get to you.
1) For training, there’s a predesignated post in the U.S. You’d have to know the MOS in order to look up where its school is. Otherwise it depends on a lot of factors, namely your MOS. Some MOSs are universal and can be sent nigh anywhere, such as 91B (wheel mechanic) 92G (cook) or 42A (human resources). So those sorts of soldiers can be sent literally anywhere. Others may have very specific locations where they can only be sent.
If you’re trying to figure out where to place your soldier, say your soldier was sent to South Korea and you’re trying to decide where to place them. You see Osan Air Base and look at the units, but it’s mostly air force and air defense people. No good – you’re looking for infantry. So you see Camp Red Cloud right up by the DMZ, and you look at the current units stationed there. Mostly infantry, MPs, and ordnance. Bingo.
Some locations depend on your special schooling or training, your language ability, and your rank. Obviously if a certain location really needs E-5s, and you’re an E-5, you’re way more likely to be sent there.
2) While it’s true an awful lot of units were being deployed to the Middle East in the early years of the invasion, the army still had other obligations in other parts of the world. We have garrisons in Germany, Japan, South Korea, Guam, Kuwait, Jordan, Hawaii, and all over the U.S. We still need to maintain those places. So while it suddenly became more likely that units would be redirected to the Middle East, it wasn’t a guarantee. I’d like to clarify (just in case) that individuals aren’t deployed; units are deployed. Individuals also have something called “dwell time” that basically means they can’t be deployed back-to-back. Back in 2004 dwell time was only 12 months, but now it’s 24. You can waive your dwell time if you want to be deployed immediately.
3) Nowadays 24 month contracts are uncommon, but in 2004 I think 24 month contracts were still being issued. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s “standard;” when I enlisted my options were 4 years, 6 years, and 8 years, so I imagine in 2004 the options were probably more like 2 years, 4 years, and 6 years. I believe they offered lowered contracts during the WoT because they wanted to give people the option to serve but not be chained to the army for too long. Of course, that’s not exactly 24 months; the soldier has to go through training and AIT, and if that accumulates another six months of training then the soldier actually served 30 months active duty.
This isn’t including the IRR, which basically means that when you enlist in the army, you’re promising EIGHT years of service, no matter what your contract says. If the army deems it necessary, they can recall you from civilian life after you’ve gotten out up to eight years after you enlisted. So if you only did a two year contract, you still have about six years of technically being a soldier. This is ignored if the soldier is chaptered or medically discharged.
4) This one I can’t answer because I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean! Feel free to clarify your question and resend it if you still need an answer.