Thursday, July 16, 2009

What's wrong with this picture?

This is GEN McKiernan at his retirement ceremony. Retirement from the Army. After 37 years of service. And he's wearing ACUs. For those not familiar with the acronym, it's the Army COMBAT Uniform. Except he's not in combat; he's at Fort Myer.
This has been a pet peeve of mine for a while. I know it's a small thing. I know the explanation: this is an Army at war, and we reflect that fact by having staff officers wear camouflage pajamas on their Metro ride to a desk at the Pentagon. Or for a meeting with a General officer. Or a foreign dignitary. Or whatever.

It's nuts. Everyone knows we're at war. They don't need to be reminded by seeing a bunch of dudes walk around in coveralls. Can we get back to service uniforms for desk jobs, and I don't know, maybe a dress uniform for, say, retirement ceremonies? There's even a flashy new blue one for everybody!

In other, uh, peripheral news: GEN McKiernan retired yesterday. I absolutely believe that the President and the Secretary of Defense should have the field commander in place that they prefer, and so I don't have the same sort of heartburn that a lot of people do about how GEN McChrystal was brought in. Having said that, some of the commentary about how McKiernan "didn't get it" or was an "adequate officer, but not exceptional" has been totally uninformed and completely unnecessary. GEN McKiernan, for his part, has been all class.

The man gave nearly four decades of service to this country and should be allowed a more dignified departure from the stage than what he received.


  1. Definitely, kudos to McKiernan for how he has handled the whole thing. He deserves the right to wear whatever he wants to his retirement.

  2. Maybe I haven't made myself clear. McKiernan didn't choose to wear ACUs; he's wearing them because it's the duty uniform. I have a problem with the policy, not with McKiernan.