Enlisted and Officer: Growing Divide

There is a growing divide between enlisted members of the military and officers. One can look at interactions on twitter, or spend some time in uniform and most likely come to the same conclusion. In the previous 20 or so years of war, most of the fighting has been done at the platoon or squad level, which leaves out high ranking officers from the front lines, many of whom are happy to take credit for the success their men have in combat.  An interesting article popped across my news feed earlier today, talking about CSM Troxell and his improper relationship with subordinates and “possible” endorsement of TRX Fitness. (For reference, here is the link: https://www.businessinsider.com/john-troxell-personal-errands-investigation-report-2020-1). This article illustrates the growing divide between officers and enlisted.

We are supposed to believe that running to CVS on errands for a CSM is some sort of crime and that CSM Troxell is somehow a bad leader, incompetent or his actions highly troubling. Where are the articles that discuss Chiefs of Staff having their briefings written for them, or officers who have their kit and uniform assembled for them by the enlisted? This is also a form of toxic leadership, and hey, at least the lower enlisted who ran to CVS got to keep the $10…

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Funny how Business Insider devotes almost a whole article to laying out allegations against CSM Troxell but only has a few sentences at the end of the article for the high ranking, career bureaucrat who was accused of the same thing

How many high ranking officers, already set with a retirement in the $4,000-$6,000 range, end their time in service and then take up lucrative jobs as “consultants” or, if they are lucky as Board Members on massive Defense contracting firms? We are supposed to believe that the enlisted swine, represented here by CSM Troxell and his TRX outfit, are some sort of reprehensible collection if they dare step out of their pre-apportioned box and express any opinions. There is obvious ethics violations with any member of the military endorsing a product, service or business for monetary gain, but it is no less ethical than those at the higher ranks who pass consistent business to their friends and family that have retired before them.

Today, enlisted members of the military are highly trained, highly educated and have a wealth of experience. In a way, this contributes hugely to the growing divide between officers and enlisted. It is not uncommon for enlisted folks to have an advanced degree, a deployment under their belt and a few “Army schools”, but still be treated as if they are draftees getting ready for their year long stint in Vietnam. In an all volunteer, professional military force, we are expected to abide by the same UCMJ code and regulations as officers, but there is a two tiered version of how those same standards and regulations are applied to officers. Is it ethical for a Flag Officer to meet with senior Boeing executives? Is it appropriate for a Brigade Commander to visit BAE manufacturing facilities? We all remember how Chesty Puller retired from the Marine Corps and then worked for the RAND Corporation, making a comfortable living in his later years, right?

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