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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Decaffeinated: "Voting With Their Feet"

Looking for a way out

Thanks to Decaffeinated who provided this great post - THANKS, D!

BAUMHOLDER, Germany -- It's that time of year for the 1st Armored Division's 2nd Brigade. A 90-day stop-loss order that was enacted after Iron Brigade soldiers returned from Iraq in November is set to end Wednesday, and soldiers and families are on the move, transferring elsewhere or leaving the Army altogether.

However, brigade representatives have refused to release numbers or discuss changes to the brigade and community.

In an e-mail last week, officials denied Stars and Stripes those numbers and general information on the basis of "operational security reasons."


While precise numbers were not available, evidence throughout the community suggests a brigade in transition.

Approximately 700 soldiers have filed through the local Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP) office seeking pre-separation counseling and resources since the brigade returned, officials said.


One veteran who works and talks with soldiers in the area said that many have done two or three deployments since the war in Iraq started.

"It's just repetitive," said the veteran, who asked not to be identified. "They've had enough combat."

So, the size of a brigade can vary from 1,500 to 3,200 personnel and 700 are apparently opting for civilian life. If we assume the 2nd brigade has 3,000 personnel, that's a 23% loss of combat-experienced veterans. Now, I'm ex-Navy and so I don't know squat about the Army, but when I served in the Navy (most of my shipmates were Vietnam-era draftees), we all envied those individuals who finally finished their obligations and gained their freedom back. But we lost those individuals, for the most part, on a one-at-a-time basis. Fast forward to the present: I simply can't fathom how those soldiers not leaving the 2nd brigade (and most certainly facing another tour in Iraq) will cope with the wrenching emotions of watching that many friends leave all at once. From a purely operational perspective, I'd assume that losing 23% of a unit's combat vets places a heavy burden on the members of the brigade who remain. Who assumes responsibility for training the fresh meat that fills those 700 holes? From a long-range planning point of view, is this exodus ringing alarm bells in the Pentagon? Hello, hollow army?

I've heard (anecdotally) that the Pentagon despised Bill Clinton (He's a draft dodger!, He made us implement "don't ask, don't tell", etc.). I wonder, given current circumstances, if the Pentagon would now rather have Clinton or Bush II at the helm?

- posted by Decaffeinated