30 August 2006

These Guys Can Have My Share of Disgruntlement. They Deserve it!

Most people who read this site know that the 172nd Stryker Brigade was ordered to extend their tour in Iraq by up to 120 days, rather than go home as expected, in order to help quell the violence in Baghdad. Some members of this unit were part of the LDM even prior to this announcement. You thought they were disgruntled before...

But if you want to here about real reason for disgruntlement, click here.

Our hats are off to all the 172nd guys, the most deservingly disgruntled guys we know. Kick butt, stay safe, and Godspeed.

29 August 2006

Isn't This Entrapment?

This picture has been well circulated throughout the Blogosphere, but it is just too stinkin' funny to not use.

Maybe we can do something fun with it to help ease the disgruntlement. How about an Caption Contest. 1st prize is bragging rights. Here's the rules.

1) All captions must relate to disgruntlement.
2) All Entries must be submitted before 4PM Eastern (1600 for you non-disgruntled types) on 1 Sept 2006.
3) All entries must be posted as a comment to this entry in the blog (see link below).
4) Voting will be done by the Grand Poobah and Bluto.
5) If you want to try to influence the voting, feel free to Email us. It may or may not work, but it will most likely make fantastic blog-fodder later.

Be forewarned, there will only be a facade of fairness involved in the judging of the captions. Any whining over the results will be captured for publication in a later blog entry. Expect to be cast in an embarrassing light.

Votes will be counted and results will be released as soon as we get around to it. Keep checking back.

28 August 2006

They Key to Long Term Success?

Many members of the LDM are army acquisition corps types. Which means they plan, procure, test and field equipment for the Army. This also means they get to see how the sausage is made. No where is this more true than in the acquisition corps subfield of contracting. Some LDM members are contracting officers serving in Iraq. They buy goods and services to support the warfighters there and to help rebuild the country. One of the goals in theater is to award as many contracts to Iraqi companies as possible, to help inject cash into the economy to help stablize it. But at what point is it too much and what point are those dollars being spent unwisely. There is an understable mark-up on products bought from Iraqis, since they just import them as middle men and resell them to the government. Is it worth worth a 10 - 20 - or 30% mark-up on items you could likely get through any online retailer to put cash into the economy? Is 40% too much? How about 50%? At what point could those mark-up dollars be better spent on gas, ammunition, etc, to help close with and destroy the enemy? I don't know the answer, but I pose this question:

Let us know what you think!

26 August 2006

If you want the mug... you gotta pay

The charter members of the LDM placed an order recently for 50 LDM Coffee mugs . Now that it is time to collect the cash, this what I have to deal with. Sent in by an LDM Contracting Officer serving in Iraq.

I like the mug. However, after a year in Iraq I have somehow come up with a whole host of excuses as to why I have not paid yet. But before I get to that, " do you take Dinars or POGs?".

The top ten reasons I have not paid:

10. I could not get through the gate. I did not know I needed a valid ID
9. The roads were closed or was it the gates that day.
8. Yes, I did say that I could do it, but when I went to actually see if I could deliver, it was not available.
7. My Brother was threatened.
6. My Cousin was threatened.
5. My Friend's, cousin's, brother was threatened.
4. I could not pay my insurgent tax so I stayed home.
3. It was Friday.
2. I was celebrating some birthday, anniviersary of a death, orreligious holiday. And I was on a manditory pilgrimage for 4 days.
1. And my all time favorite..."I'm Iraqi!" -- seriously one of the vendors really used that as an excuse.

For those interested in getting a mug of their own, keep checking back... the original order sold like hotcakes, but there are plans in the works for more LDM gear for you to proudly display!

25 August 2006

The Manifesto


We are the League of Disgruntled Majors, a loosely affiliated group of officers in the United States Army. We are comprised mostly of Major’s, though we are certain that there are Lieutenant Colonels and some senior captains who align themselves with our beliefs. We have even found we have compatriots of similar grades in the other armed forces of the United States. We are mostly those who work behind the scenes of an operation to make it successful. We seldom march at the head of formation, kick in doors, fly aircraft, or drive tanks, though we support those who do daily, with little fanfare. We are planners, logisticians, communicators and coordinators. To steal a phrase from the special operations community, we are “quiet professionals” who do our jobs well, though are seldom recognized for it. For our efforts, we are infrequently praised, and frequently disdained by those we support and those we help make successful.

We are patriots. We serve because we love our country and because we agree with most of its policies, though some may be flawed. We agreed to give up personal comfort and personal freedom to serve a cause which we believe to be a higher calling. We serve to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, regardless of the political party in power; past, present or future. We serve the American Ideal.

We have forgone Glory. Many of us used to be Soldiers who kicked in doors and took the fight to the enemy, though we do it no longer. Those we support use the M4 Carbine and up-armored Humvee gun-truck as their weapons. We use MS Office, a laptop, and an internet connection. You will not see us in a Time-Life photo spread on images of war. We will not be interviewed for TV, unless it is on a 3:30 AM C-SPAN airing of a congressional subcommittee meeting investigating US Army expenditures on Non-Tactical Vehicle leases in a theater of war. We wear combat patches on our right sleeves, but those who go off the installation to patrol the streets wonder if we actually deserve them. We are certain we do.

We are lab rats. We are gerbils in a cage. We are doe-eyed white rabbits naively believing the Army will take care of us as it performs experiments on us with monikers like “Task Force 21”, “OPMS 21”, “Transformation”, and “Modularity”. When the experiment produces inconvenient results, we, like other lab animals, come to the cold realization that we are to be euthanized. Or at least our careers are.

We are “They”. We are the shadowy “They-people”. When something goes wrong or a new policy is released, and those around us say “They screwed it up” or “They said we have to do it this way”, we are “They”. We work in invisibility…until something goes awry, then we are in a spotlight hued red by anger and frustration. Those we support don’t necessarily know what they want, but they will know when they see it, they want it yesterday, and lots of it…They don’t care how much it costs, until they get the bill.

We are Cannon-fodder. When we do our jobs well, we are frequently found at fault for it. When we fulfill our obligations, we are deemed “roadblocks”. When we are successful, we are viewed as unsuccessful. Those we report to don’t understand what we do, and have no intention of trying to. As a result, when it comes to advancement, evaluations, assignments, and awards, we are frequently at the bottom of the heap. We are perpetually “center-mass” in order to help build the profile for those our raters do understand. We have reached the point where this surprises us no longer. We will simply keep our heads down, keep working, and see what happens, come what may. We will fulfill our obligations and do our jobs, expecting no accolades from those we support. We know that the Army expects more commitment from us then it will provide to us (paraphrased from the Army Training and Leadership Development Panel Report, lest we be cited for Plagiarism).

We Embrace Ambiguity – Mediocrity – Sarcasm. These are our watch-words. Ambiguity, because if we are lucky, the climate we operate in will be Ambiguous at best. Mediocrity, because regardless of the quality or timeliness of our output and contribution, those we support will view our efforts as mediocre compared to their own. And Sarcasm, because at times the only way to survive to fight another day is through the biting balm of sarcastic humor.

We Look Forward to Our Pay-off. Why do we put up with it and why do we continue? Why not hang up our seat-worn uniforms and join the civilian sector? Because in the end we know our jobs are important and that that our Army would not be successful without us. But more importantly, we know that prior to leaving the Army and entering the retirement rolls, we will be in the most powerful positions in the Army. No… we won’t be generals or commanders, or even high powered staffers. We will likely still be Majors, passed over twice, sitting in dimly-lit offices in the basement of the pentagon, with longer than regulation haircuts, rumpled uniforms, unkempt mustaches and a bottle of scotch in the bottom right-hand drawer of our desks. We will be the most powerful men in the Army because we will be Majors getting ready to retire with nothing to lose by telling you exactly what we think, consequences be damned…We will be the most dangerous men in the Army.