Leadership: February 16, 2000


Pentagon officials have found Congress receptive to increases in the defense budget related to "quality of life for the troops" (pay raise, better housing, better health care for soldiers stationed away from major bases). Currently, troops living off-post pay 19% of the cost of such housing; the new budget will steadily reduce this to zero by 2005. Quality of life improvements seem to be the only inducement available to keep troops in uniform at a time of high operational tempo due to overcommitting an understrength force. --Stephen V Cole

February 14, Big John, the alligator mascot of the Florida training base of the 6th Ranger Training Battalion, died at the age of 70 and was buried with honors near his former pond. At 850 pounds and 12 feet long, Big John was a true monster used to explain the dangers of the swamps to Ranger trainees since 1958. He has been replaced by Big Ron, a younger alligator who tips the scales at a more nimble 750 pounds. --Stephen V Cole

February 14, The US Air Force has a new logo, a collection of purple polygons that suggest the shape of a medal on a neck ribbon or an eagle coming in to a landing. The new logo is intended to show Air Force personnel that they are part of a new force that plays an important role in national defense. The new motto ("World Ready"), however, was rejected as "boring".--Stephen V Cole


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