Last year the United States Navy, faced with increasingly overmanned ratings with fewer people getting out of the Navy, implemented the Enlisted Retention Board. The Navy set parameters for whos records would be reviewed by this board for involuntary discharge from the Navy. We were told that while my Husband fell into the catergories for record review, he had only a slim to none chance of actually being involuntarily discharged. He has a spotless record, and ZERO of the people in his rate were slated for discharge. “Only the real douche bags with DUI’s and additudes will go.” they said. In November 2011, the Enlisted Retention Boards decisions of who to involuntarily seperate were released. Sadly, my Husband was not selected for retention and is slated to be released from the United States Navy 1 September 2012. We were shell shocked to say the least. How could this happen? My Husband has never in his 13.5 years of honorable Navy service failed a physical readiness test, been reprimanded for his weight, been on the recieving end of any kind of disciplinary action- AND is in a rate that was supposed to have ZERO discharges. His evaluations have always been top notch, and he has always been a dedicated leader. And yet, he was told that his service was coming to an end- his dream to retire from the US Navy as a Chief was not going to become a reality because someone made such a terrible decision.
How do you mend a broken spirit? How do you look my Husband in the eye and tell him that it is going to be ok? That the past 13.5 years were not in vain and that someone is going to hire him straight out of the Navy. That he IS worth a damn and that this decision was just a number pulled from a hat, and not a reflection of him as a construction professional. That our family will survive this.
How can the big Navy decision makers live with this terrible decision? Would it not have been a better option to put out a letter to everyone who was eligible for the board that they were looking for volunteers to voluntarily end their contracts, recieve a seperation package, resume and job finding assistance? Tell me that they couldn’t fill their quotas that way.
But here we are. Facing a new life after the Navy. Facing uprooting our children for the last time, finding a new career for my Husband, and trying to find the positive in all of this. My military “friends” have already begun the shunning, claiming that they just dont know what to say. Really? I hate to be all uppity, but someday this will be you too. The military isn’t forever, and maybe this is just fate giving us a head start.