Sunday, December 12, 2004

The army we have

Dr. John Caulfield thought it had to be a mistake when the Army asked him to return to active duty. After all, he's 70 years old and had already retired - twice. He left the Army in 1980 and private practice two years ago.
'My first reaction was disbelief,' Caulfield said. 'It never occurred to me that they would call a 70-year-old.'
In fact, he was so sure it was an error that he ignored the postcards and telephone messages asking if he would be willing to volunteer for active duty to 'backfill' somewhere on the East Coast, Europe or Hawaii. That would be OK, he thought. It would release active duty oral surgeons from those areas to go to combat zones in Iraq or Afghanistan.

But then the orders came for him to go to Afghanistan.

Today, Caulfield, a colonel from Satellite Beach, Fla., is an example of how the continuing demands of keeping ground troops in Afghanistan and Iraq are forcing the military to go to extraordinary measures to keep its ranks filled. He's attending to patients - U.S. troops, Afghan soldiers and civilians - at the Army's 325th Field Hospital in Bagram, Afghanistan.

He is one of about 100 over the age of 60 known to be serving. The Department of Defense couldn't provide exact figures. Link

As Sec. Rumsfield said, "you go to war with the Army you have."
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Tip to Josh

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