Marines awarded the Combat Action Ribbon (the equivalent of the Army's CIB), meaning actual ground combat experience, are bailing out in droves.
The number of Marines on active-duty who have been awarded Combat Action Ribbons has dropped by more than half over the past five years — from a high of more than 40,000 at the time of the surge in Afghanistan in 2011 to fewer than 17,500 in 2016 — according to data obtained by Marine Corps Times through a Freedom of Information Act request.Some of that is normal turnover, but the drop in recent years has been precipitous.
In today’s Corps, fewer than one in five Marines has a single deployment under their belt and the number of Marines who have deployed twice is now less than one in 10, according to Marine Corps officials.
Marines with the award on active service went from 40,307 in 2011, to only 17,436 (out of a roughly 182K-overall active-duty USMC).
In testimony to Congress, Commandant Neller noted that repeated deployments away from home were probably 50% higher than they should be, because of overuse and under-availability of combat formations, which coincidentally happens to infantry, artillery, and air wing assets at about 10 times the rate it happens to support units, by definition.
Most troubling is that they're losing those in the middle ranks, the true backbone of enlisted leadership:
“We’ve found out that more seasoned or older Marines — not old as in E-9, E-8 — but staff sergeants and gunnery sergeants are choosing to get out,” Green said. “That means you’re going to promote faster. That means your leadership is going to be younger with less experience.”
In fiscal 2016, the Marine Corps retained 2 percent fewer staff sergeants and roughly 4.5 percent fewer gunnery sergeants compared to the four-year average."
Left totally out of the equation in the article was things like deployments to fight pointless wars we've already decided to lose under the last CinC, the increasingly burdensome regime of PC happygas classes, lectures, box-checking, and ass-kissing that has nothing whatsoever to do with combat readiness, and the decisions of Ass Carter's DoD to open the military to gays, transvestites, and every other defective lifestyle generally incompatible with military service, as well as trying to force-feed women - biologically and physiologically unfit for the jobs every times the premise is examined - into combat positions, whether they can hack it or not.
Guys with too many combat tours, too much PC crapola, and a faceful of idiocy looking at the prospect of four more years of the same-shit/different day variety, are generally going to be a lot less inclined to sit still for that, or risk their lives to put up with that kind of happy horseshit.
And they're not surprisingly voting with their feet, and choosing to re-enter a newly booming civilian economy without a second thought. Because they can.
That there are still Marines who'll be ready next time is a minor miracle, not least of which because the last regime was surprisingly ousted before they could deliver a death-blow to the entire DoD, given a few more years like the last eight.