Sunday, June 5, 2011

Vietnam -- US verses RA

What did US or RA mean?  How did it affect the oveerall attitude of the military soldier in Vietnam?

Well, to begin with a US designation were soliders who were forced to join the military becuase they were drafted into the military. An RA designation were soldiers who volunteered to be in the military and for whatever reason, this solder had a contact with the military for from 3 years to sometimes 6 depending on the rfank and contract with the military.

Many of the US soldiers also performed jobs similar to the one I did while serving in Vietnam. These included jobs such as crew chiefs and almost any one of the non-infantry solder job titles known as Military Occupation Specialties (MOS) jobs.

This didn't settle well with soldiers who signed up for jobs in the military thinking the type of job selected would wind up being one specifically for RAs and not USes. It made many feel cheated and foolish for adding an extra year simply because you wanted a specific job.

It especially hacked off the band of recruits who signed up in 1969 only to discover that the US not only had one less year, he had an estimated termination of service date almost as soon as he left Vietnam!

There was also no favoritism reflected by the senior NCOs and Officers either. As a matter of fact, it was the complete opposite.

Typically,when a RA signs up its because the recruiter sold the soldier on a specific job. This job reflected a slot that was opened somewhere in the world and that most likely somewhere was Vietnam.

US soldiers, on the other hand, had a greater wealth of job assignments and opportunities. While much of it was the luck of the draw, it wasn't until basic training was over that the soldier would learn his fate with respect to what training  program would be his next assignment.

This is a very critical issue.  If an RA didn't make it through basic, then a US would have an opportunity to go to the RAs training program and the RA may not find himself doing what he signed up for.

These weaknesses are still being exploited by recruiters today. Furthermore, based on testing, the real true potential of an RA or volunteer soldier is still being left up to senior NCOs and Officers who have no business shaping a volunteer's life when the type of MOS is so simply written that a career management field (CMF) There should never have been nor should there ever be a contract written where a volunteer is placed into this group.

Simply put, it does not specify a specific job title. They can put you into anything they want. Sounds like a draft mentality. And it was.

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