Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Whiny Navy Reservist Officer Discharged

One of the things I always enjoy reading is stories about people who have been discharged from the military for some perceived wrong-headed reason; I like finding the parts of the story where the reporter uses items from their fitreps or evals to prove how great they were, and how the reporter doesn't realize that basically everyone gets those things said about them. Today I came across another such story, about a Navy Reserve Lieutenant who refuses to report for her IA duty in Iraq. Here's how the story explains how great she was:
Weiner's record and fitness reports before she was called up to IA duty indicate anything but a shrinking violet. She had earned two overseas service ribbons, commendation and achievement medals and was part of a Meritorious Unit Commendation.
After graduating from Stanford in 2001, Weiner started her career aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Essex, a vessel second in size only to aircraft carriers and which transports Marine landing forces. She was serving overseas during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
She received glowing fitness reports:
"Assigned to arduous sea duty ... ," her commander wrote in one review. "Outstanding officer and Navy professional! On the fast track! Assign only to the most challenging jobs!"
She left active duty in August 2004, receiving high marks in her final evaluation in all categories but professional expertise.
By 2005, Weiner as a reservist worked as a research liaison officer at the prestigious Office of Naval Research. Her detachment was responsible for managing research in underwater unmanned vehicles and weaponry. She also served as the unit's public information officer. Her fitness reports continued to average "above standards" or "greatly exceeds standards." A commander called her "an excellent officer" and "a highly motivated self-starter."
Those of us who have actually been in the service know that even the worst dirtbag gets these kind of remarks on their fitness reports until the time comes to actually boot them out. Also note that there's no explanation about why an ROTC graduate didn't fulfill even a four year active duty tour in the middle of wartime.

Even better than this, though, is the reason former LT Weiner put herself in this position; it's not because she opposes the war, it's because she doesn't agree with the haphazard nature of the Individual Augmentee program.
Speaking publicly for the first time about it, Weiner says she was not against the war but the so-called "individual augmentee" program. In the past several years, that program has sent nearly 60,000 sailors from ships and bases to augment Army and Marine ground forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. "It is not an against-the-war argument but a people-accountability argument," Weiner says. "I was proud to say I was a Navy officer. My problem is the way they are using us as IAs. It minimizes the job and training we do for the Navy."...
...Weiner got a call before Christmas that she would soon be called up. She says her job in Iraq was to have been commerce officer, providing money to local Iraqi leaders.
That gave her pause, not only because she was not trained for the job, but also because she is of Japanese, Korean and Jewish ancestry.
"They were going to have me negotiate money transactions with Iraqi warlords. A woman of Jewish and East Asian descent to try to talk to men about money in a country where women aren't always allowed to handle money," Weiner says.
As a former IA myself, I'm impressed that they actually told her what her job would be beforehand; when I went (to Tampa, not Iraq) got 4 days warning before leaving, and ended up doing something I'd never done before. Did I complain about it to my co-workers? Sure, all good Sailors bitch. Did I, or anyone else I was working with in the same situation, decide not to follow orders because I didn't like it? Of course not. Even more ridiculously, did I leave active duty during wartime and voluntarily join the Reserves, knowing that Reservists were getting called up for IA duty? No, that's a stupid rhetorical question; I retired. That being said, the Navy is much better off without whiny LT Weiner.


Blogger Free The Nucs said...

Vote with your feet, people. While you are in, you are PROPERTY. They are just as baffled that you don't want to be deployed for nine months straight as they would be if their chair complained about holding up their fat asses.

4/19/2008 10:59 AM

Blogger LT Nixon said...

What did she expect? There's two wars going on. Iraq is chocked full of Navy people these days. Doesn't she keep up with the news.

4/19/2008 11:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh, I like reading between the lines in fitreps, too.

"Excellent personal appearance and impeccable military bearing" = "I couldn't think of any concrete acheivements to fill this block up with"

4/19/2008 1:18 PM

Anonymous Dirtyblueshirt said...

I disagree with how she expressed it, but she does have a valid point.

The IA program is the EB green on the rust hole of Army manning. I can see why, in the rush of starting up a war that nobody (on this side) saw coming, the Navy and Air Force should send some bodies over to help carry the load dropped on the Army. But now, over 7 years in, the Army needs to either get enough people to do the jobs they want to do, or get rid of jobs that they don't have people to do.

Of course with IA's the Army gets to have its cake and eat it too, so I guess there isn't a big push on their part to do the adult thing and manage their people and tasking appropriately.

4/19/2008 2:05 PM

Anonymous Navy CPO said...

We currently have several people IA from my command. Including 1, soon to be 2 LT's and one SCPO. Did they want to go. No they didn't. Did they? Of course and none of them questioned it.

However our guys did know what they would be doing when they left.

4/19/2008 3:23 PM

Blogger Chief Torpedoman said...

Well I am glad to see that she did not get off with an honorable discharge, but I think she should have been made to serve somewhere. I wouldn't trust her with money after she refused to report, but perhaps laundry officer on another gator freighter or something. She took Uncle Sams nickel, knowing full well that you didn't always do the things you were trained to do.

My aching butt! After being on Amphib ship with Marines, she didn't know that sometimes sailors do other things than stay on ships?

And to balk at going because of her ethic background and gender? Does she want equality or not?

Methinks she does a great disservice to all the brace women who have served.

I do agree with "free the nucs" - vote with your feet if you disagree, but only after service the obligation and that signed on to do!

4/19/2008 4:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't kick her out of bed for eating crackers!!

4/19/2008 4:22 PM

Blogger Roy said...

It looks like we, once again, have someone who has taken the Navy's pay and then refused orders - to a war zone, no less. What did the stupid bint think the Navy was for?

I for one, am getting heartily tired of these bugs getting off with nothing but a slap on the wrist. I know she got a less-than-honorable discharge, but it's my opinion that she should have done some brig time as well.

After a few years in, I too decided that the Navy wasn't the life for me and I got out when my EAOS was up. However, I served my *entire* obligated service and during that time, I would have gone wherever they ordered me to. I may not have liked it, but I would have gone.

4/19/2008 5:25 PM

Blogger midwatchcowboy said...

She should be serving in Leavenworth for Art 85, 86 or 87 - your choice.

She VOLUNTEERED to become a reservist, subject to recall to active duty. She was even working at ONR! Shows that even Stanford grads can be complete MORONS.

We're dealing with IAs all the time at my current job. We had a civilian employee (reservist supply officer) single mom - with an approved deployment plan fail to execute it. It took the Navy over 4 months to process her for Admin seperation - the whole time, she's on active duty, and we have a gapped civilian position we can't fill.

Then we had to look her in the eye when she came back to work in her civilian position.

And yes, I'm still pissed.

4/19/2008 7:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the reading between the lines. Sometimes it's justified or it might be a lazy,imcompetent, asshole. I've been wondering why the Navy transfers highly skilled Officers and Enlisted Men to IA billets. My guess is, reading between the lines, the navy has found a place to put their dead wood. It is going to come back to bite us. Especially in an all volunteer navy. The IA program is a boil on the Army's Ass. If I were put in a situation where I had invested my heart and soul in the Submarine Service and got a set of orders ass an IA to handout money to a bunch of rag heads You would hear my voice all the way up the chain of command. I am really surprised that you guys are taking this IA thing lying down like a bunch of wimps. It could happen to you.

4/19/2008 8:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The IA program is complete BS. It is foisted upon members of the AF and Navy because the Army and Marines are NOT meeting their recruiting goals. They may be making numbers, but they're obviously not getting what they need. To suck someone off of a boat, or any other place for that matter, and stick them in a job that they are, in many cases, not even rudimentarily trained, is asinine. It is simply a maneuver being used to hide the manpower shortage.

During my time on the boat I would told the command where to stick it had they provided me with orders to report to some desert crap hole - and I would've willingly suffered the consequences. Now had I been given orders to some submarine or sub support function in some god-forsaken place, I would have gone - to do what I was trained to do. But most assuredly, I would not have gone on some IA BOHICA tour.

The Joint Chiefs need to get their crap in one sock. Continued lunacy such as this will cause me to do everything within my power to prevent my son from joining the military.

4/19/2008 9:56 PM

Blogger Roy said...

To all the anonymous posters who are calling the IA bullshit...

Bullshit or not, orders are orders. If you're in the Navy, you are subject to the orders of your superiors. When they say go, you go. Period.
Full stop.

4/20/2008 12:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I am really surprised that you guys are taking this IA thing lying down like a bunch of wimps. It could happen to you."

It did happen to me, twice. I volunteer to go into a war zone and you call me a wimp? Someone needs to stop being a whiny bitch. This is what i see wrong with the Navy right now, people like that who think only about themselves.

4/20/2008 4:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all of those taking the 'grin and bear it' attitude for orders to an IA slot, would you also be willing to follow orders to say, confiscate firearms from U.S. citizens? Just wondering how far you're willing to take that position?

4/20/2008 6:07 AM

Blogger Chief Torpedoman said...

To Anonymous at 4/20/2008 6:07 AM: would you also be willing to follow orders to say, confiscate firearms from U.S. citizens? Just wondering how far you're willing to take that position?

I ask you, would you be willing to do that if you were serving in your regular Navy billet and not in an IA billet. I believe you answer should be the same in both situations.

To those who don't think the Navy should be in Iraq on the ground, Navies everywhere has a long history or serving ashore in Naval Brigades or landing forces. Just because we have not done it in a long time does not mean it is "not our job" now.

I encourage all who disagree with the war, the IA policy, etc. to vote with their feet and vote at the ballet box, but didn't we all volunteer for service?

As far as a mass confiscation of fire arms from US citizens, I don't any enlisted or junior officers need to worry about deciding whether to obey that or not. Many flag officers would be "up in arms" in opposing that one.

4/20/2008 6:51 AM

Blogger Free The Nucs said...

I don't know - getting to shoot people in Iraq sounds a lot more interesting than what we "volunteered" for: polishing funnels during an ORSE workup so some zero can make captain.

IA might actually improve retention if they sell it as an alternative to another 92 day spec op. Plus, when you get out, you've got the experience to go earn the big bucks as a hired thug for Haliburton! All polishing funnels prepares you for is a life of crushing poverty.

4/20/2008 8:48 AM

Blogger CDR Salamander said...

Random FITREP generator.

4/20/2008 9:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

IAs benefit the nation and the cause ... are you gong to walk away from the fight ... or towards it.

The part everyone is missing is that the experience also benefits the Navy and the individual.

Nothing can replace the experience in a comabt zone.

As a PRT CDR ... it was the experience of lifetime ... building roads, schools, bridges, and providing fresh drinking water ... to help a government bring freedom to millions of Afghans.

It was an experience that will benefit the Navy as we pursue a new Maritime Strategy centered on presence and partnerships.

I raised my hand to go ... I was lucky to return with all my soldiers and sailors ... but we watched others die for a cause ... a worthy cause ... we did our work just a few miles away from where the first TLAMs targeted UBL and where several 9-11 hijackerts trained.

Listen up ... today with the exception of very few others ... like special forces and maybe seabees ... there is no mission more important than many of the ones being done by IAs ... especially the PRTs and Navy folkes are trained as well as anyone to do the job ... and the new FAO and maritime CA programs will render us more capable.

This is about the nation and winning this war ... if we lose the consequences will be disastrous.

So I would recommend that you not just go if asked but seek to serve in a war zone ... that way when it is over you say you did more than "shovel sh%$^^^ in La."

4/20/2008 12:06 PM

Blogger Free The Nucs said...

it was the experience of lifetime ... building roads, schools, bridges, and providing fresh drinking water

Building.. or re-building, 'cause we destroyed what they already had?

I don't know what entitles us to replace the legitimate governments of other countries, but we're damn good at it (we've removed or subjugated countless democratically-elected governments in the last hundred years or so, many at the request of corporate interests). However, no one's going to convince me it's a good idea worth volunteering for.

Unless it gets me out of field day, of course. But it sounds like they're only asking zeros, for whom cleaning up is a non-issue.

4/20/2008 2:37 PM

Anonymous va refinance loan said...

I am sorry for the unjust judgments of man.

4/20/2008 3:24 PM

Blogger l said...

Wow, what an interesting discussion. Yes, the Army and Marines are undermanned, but, the Navy and Air Force have both volunteered to assist those services with missions that the professionals in the Navy and Air Force can carry out. This isn't all about the lack of resources in the other services, but helps these services also provide tangible roles in theater.

There have been numerous bubbleheads (mostly officers, but enlisted as well are serving honorably as IA's) in Iraq and Afghanistan. To those who volunteer (and there are many), thank you for volunteering and that special call of service. To those who are involuntarily recalled, and go, thank you. For those that didn't go, hey, you morons, you knew what could happen. Like free the nucs said, vote with your feet.

I will say, the IA situation is a particular problem for Junior Officer recruiting in the Navy, so much so, that now when a LT gets out, if he signs on with the Reserve Component, he gets a bonus (in many cases) and gets a guarantee he won't be IA'd (if he signs up within 6 months, it's 2 years, if 6-12 months, 1 year).

The Reserves is a tough sell to LT's who may have already served an IA tour on active duty, knowing that they are in that sweet spot for being called again, so this has become a real sore spot. If you step into a reserve command these days, you'll notice a lot of really old guys filling billets for LT/LCDR's, because these people are voting with their feet.

Anyway, if you're a reservist today, you can pretty much expect to be an IA sometime. It's called a war. What was this particular LT thinking?

4/20/2008 6:43 PM

Anonymous EM3 4 Life said...

"She left active duty in August 2004, receiving high marks in her final evaluation in all categories but professional expertise"

"I was proud to say I was a Navy officer. My problem is the way they are using us as IAs. It minimizes the job and training we do for the Navy."...

So let's recap here. She was basically called incompetent on her abilities but she insists that they let her use it. I might be crazy, but if I have a useless lazy sack of crap in my division, then he gets stuck doing the cleaning and stores loads. She's useless, she signed the paperwork, this lazy chick needs to get over there and do something.

4/20/2008 9:04 PM

Anonymous old elt said...

What ever happened to the great fitness report comments from the not so distant past? Comments such as "Looks great while astride a horse," given to an incompetent pilot. Or "Has a good command of the English language both orally and in writing." To some individuals that could not be understood by anyone.I'm with Phibian, fire up the Random Fitness Comments Generator.

4/20/2008 10:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know the answers to these questions.

How many years does it take to train an Anapolis officer to get fully qualified in submarines (aft and forward)? How much does it cost? What is the cost when he is assigned IA duty?

Oh! You say they don't assign Ring Knockers to IA duty!!!!!

Today's politicans get it. They just don't want to bring back the draft.
Way back when,, I volunteered for the Brown Water Navy. BuPers sent me a nice letter thanking me for the request. They also denied my request because I was qualified in submarines also I had an SBI/SCI clearance and not allowed to go in country.


4/21/2008 11:43 AM

Blogger Oz said...

Recommend getting the facts before speaking, anon. One's commissioning source has precisely zero to do with one's probability for an IA assignment. It has more to do with your present assignment. Officers working, say, at sub school have a pretty good chance while those teaching at, say, prototype have virtually none.

4/21/2008 5:00 PM

Anonymous ex asheville JO said...

Can't say I agree with the actions of the whiny navy reservist but I do have a gripe about the IA system.

I am currently in law school and so far I have met 3 people who did army ROTC and were allowed to go straight into the reserves. Sounds like a screwed up system to me: Sending the Navy JO who should be on a shore duty instead of the army ROTC reservists.

4/21/2008 6:10 PM

Anonymous DoubleTapper said...

You neglected to mention that she has a blog of her own. It's badly out of date, but whiny just the same.

BTW, what’s with the Jewish and East Asian decent BS? While one does have the right to chose one’s own identity, being Jewish is matrilineal and according to Judaism, you either are, or aren’t. Period.

4/24/2008 1:32 AM

Blogger King said...

You careerists are laughably out of touch with the JO community. A big problem with Navy leadership is they can't understand why people don't stay in. It's like a creepy cult. As much as we're forced to follow orders, recognize that telling people to "vote with their feet" and "stop whining" is neither constructive dialog nor necessarily a good idea.

The submarine officer community is facing some of the worst retention in recent years, primarily due to lack of an obviously meaningful mission, poor work/life balance, and yes, IA's. I came to my command specifically because I was guaranteed not to have an IA while serving shore duty there (we are a combatant command and thus, do not have IA's), but I feel badly for my buddies that will have that hanging over their shoulder for the two years of shore duty they have. As a result, many of them are not signing contracts, while a fairly large number of people aren't even taking shore duties because of IA's, choosing instead to get out from the boat. I suspect the fact that many JO's are leaving my command to be replaced by post-department head O-4's on shore duty is indicative of this fact.

Anyway, you slice it, the IA policy is a bad policy that's actively hurting the submarine force. After all, I've never come back from sea to be greeted by a bunch of soldiers offering to paint the boat, have you?

6/29/2008 3:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The navy is hurting badly with some areas - 50% of their crews. IA people spots are put on hold making restaffing not allowed, and seriously over stressing and endangering the remaining staff. With so many navy personnel gone to be army or marines you'd think the schools and everyone would start talking about this new blue to green program- it is forced on highly trained people that perform functions vital to sea vessels, that can not be replaced easily. IA IS bullshit. Love to see someone take them to task on this, and see it running on the nightly news...

1/26/2009 12:42 AM


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