Murphy's Law: Present And Available


June 14,2008: The U.S. Army has about 535,000 troops on the payroll. But it can't put 535,000 people with guns into, say, Iraq, all at once. That's because of turnover and administrative needs. The "turnover" is mainly the fact that the army loses 80,000 people each year. Not to combat, less than two percent are killed or badly wounded (and given a medical discharge) in action each year. Most of the rest retire, or leave because their enlistments are up. A few percent are fired (given an administrative discharge or, in cases of bad behavior, a dishonorable discharge.)

Thus, at any time, about twenty percent of the troops are involved with training at special facilities (basic training for new recruits, but also specialist schools). This includes the trainers (most of them are military, but a large minority are civilians), recruiters, plus people who care caught up in one administrative procedure or another and not available.


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