The deployments nowadays have slowed down a bit for most people, at least the warzone ones have. It's not AS BAD as it was a decade ago with it literally being 15 months on (Army) and 1 year off revolving door to Iraq or Afghanistan. We are still sending units to Afghanistan on a routine basis but now if your unit isn't headed to Afghanistan then your unit is headed to Europe most likely. The amount of deployments hasn't changed too much, but where you deploy to has. Which doesn't solve the problem. Most Soldiers honestly couldn't care less where they get deployed to, gone for 9 months (now) is still gone for 9 months whether that's in Afghanistan or running around Europe. That isn't helping. When the wars slowed down we thought we would finally slow down too, but instead the Army traded Afghanistan and Iraq for Europe. So you are still gone all the time just in different locations. The Europe thing is even worse honestly, because in the eyes of exhausted troops the mentality is if you are doing to send me away from my family for 9 months then it better be to go fight a war for a reason. Sending them to Europe to, in their eyes, **** off for 9 months just makes them even more upset because they fell it pointless. Damn near EVERYBODY is on the patch chart for deployment "somewhere" at any given time. The Army isn't in the business of just letting a unit sit in garrison in the US for very long. And when you are actually in garrison in the US the Army doesn't let you just relax in a normal(ish) schedule. It's exercise after exercise. For example last year our unit spent a total of 5 1/2 months away from home in exercises, 2 1/2 months doing exercises with 24/7 operations at home station, and like 20 little mini support type things sprinkled throughout. So in 12 months our unit was literally gone for 5 1/2 of them, and spend 2 2/12 in the field while at home. 8 months out of 12 months folks were unavailable for their families, and we were HOME in the United States. Then they get deployed the next year for 9 months. ^^That is the problem, as I said, the Army has taken people's entire lives away and that is a hard sell to an 18 year old kid looking at that from the outside regardless of what benefits you promise him. Patriotism, duty, integrity, selflessness, etc is irrelevant, you can't DO THAT to people and expect them to be ok with it. The guy from the Cartoon American Dad would even have a problem with that after awhile. I get that the military isn't a "normal" job and there are pretty huge sacrifices that folks are expected to make and accept when signing on the dotted line. But there is still a line beyond which we can expect folks to REASONABLY be willing to cross, and the military has crossed that and has no inclination of turning around. The phrase I hear literally on a daily basis from virtually everybody is "There is no light at the end of the tunnel, this will NEVER stop". The sheer amount of divorces I've personally seen throughout my time is alarming. I am a single guy with no wife and no children, and this is rough for even me. What personally upsets me is when I go to work, as I did a couple weeks ago, and I have a friend sitting there telling me how he's upset because his eldest sons birthday is that Friday and he can't take him out anywhere because he has to work that night. And that weekend. AGAIN. And no we can't give him the time off or swap out with him because we are all working. We are in GARRISON. Or when I hear lower enlisted asking their NCO's if they can have the morning off to bring his wife to the hospital because she'd fallen ill last night with a high fever. Yeah we can let you go get her and bring her to the hospital real quick but then you have to come back, we can't let you stay there with her we need you here. In GARRISON. Or when school started recently and many folks had youngones who were beginning their very first day of school. A father would like to be there for that. Nope sorry, Army has an exercise starting that morning. Can we at least give the guys with kids time to see them off to their first day of school? Maybe let them come in to work later in the day? Nope sorry, Army first. Then have a unit full of fathers walking around pissed off and bitter because they just missed their kids first day of school while they were in GARRISON. Not Iraq, not Afghanistan, home. That is the reality of whats going on Mike. I get it, the "mission" always takes priority. But this is garrison, the Army has to stop doing that to people. I get they are Soldiers, I get they go above and beyond and make sacrifices, but this can't happen. The Army WANTS an entire force of people like me. Single veteran highly skilled Soldiers who can do whatever the Army needs at any given point because I have nothing else in my life that matters because I have no family anymore (Army life ran them off years ago). But the reality is that no, Soldiers are people they are not robots, and they are not all ME. They have lives, they have families, they have children and the Army HAS to understand that whether they like it or not. You take away a persons ability to be there for their loved ones on a routine basis and they WILL tell you to pound sand eventually because their family IS more important than the uniform and it doesn't matter if they are factory workers at GM or Green Berets. I work here, this IS my life, I don't have to read the Army Times or other news articles and surveys to see what's wrong with recruitment and retention. I KNOW what the problem is I see it every day. All of us KNOW what the problem is which is why we laugh so hard whenever we read watered down articles in the military papers. The solution is clear as day, the problem is that the DoD doesn't want to bend at all and since they refuse to bend it's US who break. Due to the nature of my job I have to read some of the surveys about how troops feel in a unit every few months. And a few weeks ago I read the most recent one with one anonymous Soldier summing it all up clearly. "You tell somebody that they have to miss their kids birthday or anniversary for the 3rd time in a row while in garrison, Soldier or not, they no longer care WHY and they don't give a flying **** about the Army's "vision for the force by 2028"".