GI Jane Finances

August 24, 2008

How to win enemies

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 10:02 pm

I found this post from Diary of the Mad Pigeon. 

*BTW, BZ means below the zone (people who got picked up for promotion early).

Got this in my email today.  Not entirely sure if this is true, but I edited out some of the replies from different personnel that indicated this is, indeed, legit.  But enough about me…

Subject: E-mail (UNCLASSIFIED)

Subject: Not the smartest email in the world Here is a perfect example of what not to do.  This CPT wrote every BZ CPT:

Subject: BZ to MAJ – CPTs Bonus (MILPER 07-237)

Good morning, fellow BZers~

After discussing this MILPER message with my mentors and other BZers, I have decided that we should all do something about it.  I hope you don’t mind that I emailed you and took a few moments out of your day.

I don’t know about each of you, but this bonus really makes me angry.  We are being punished financially by the Army for being better than our peers.  We won’t pin until sometime next year; probably May-July and our peers will get $25-35,000 and get pinned in October.  I don’t know about you, but 4 months of MAJs pay isn’t equal to a $25,000 bonus in my eyes.

If the bonus was for YG 2000-2004, I wouldn’t even worry about it.  But we are YG99 and our peers, the ones that haven’t worked as hard as us, are getting rewarded.

So, why am I emailing you and bitching? Well, my mentors all agree that we are getting screwed. And, they all think that we should all first contact our IG, then, write to our Congressmen.  My COL thinks that might make an impact.  It may not change anything, but it is worth a try.

The 82nd Division IG has already contacted the HRC IG and they told him it is all about the money. There is a shocker! They said there are already a bunch of IG complaints about the message, so let’s beat them up more. Just so you know, there are 177 of us on the list. If all 177 of us took the money, they would pay out close to $5 million.> That’s about 3 new Humvees, 2 new tanks OR ½ an aircraft. I think we are worth it.

Again, if this means nothing to you and you just think I am whining, hit delete and go on with your day. But, if you are pissed like me and want to do something about it, let me know.

Have a great day and congratulations on your promotable status!!



Cassandra J. Summers
Assistant Professor of Military Science/BN S3 Campbell University ROTC

—————————————————————————-THE RESPONSE FROM LTC XXXX

Nick –

Let me open by saying I heartily dislike CPT (P) Summers.

First, because she has “CPT(P)” in her signature block.

Second, because she’s preaching about how unfair life is while soaking in her own light at an ROTC position at Campbell University.  I spent my entire time as a Captain in MTOE assignments … in Korea, 10th Mountain (twice), and Fort Polk (TDA … but 11 rotations per year … in “nowhere Louisiana”).  Captain time in ROTC at Campbell University? Yeah … she has a whole lot to complain about.

And third, because of this line (among the many): “we are being punished … for being better than our peers”. “Better”? Near as I can tell, you have the no Respect, no Loyalty, no sense of Duty, no Honor, and no sense of Selfless Service … if that is “better than your peers”, then I truly fear for your Year Group.

Here are my thoughts.


To the authors –

For a bunch of BZ’ers, your math and strategic thinking skills are sub-standard. And you have a real Values crisis. Let me provide some mentoring.

These two email strings validate some of the most terrible things that have been said about BZ Officers over my twenty+ years … that BZ Officers have a false sense of entitlement, that BZ Officers are arrogant, and that BZ Officers are elitist (in the Paris Hilton sense of the word).

BZ Officers absolutely deserved to be selected BZ.  However, for every Officer who was selected BZ, there are three other Officers who were equally deserving … Officers with the exact same level of performance, and the exact same level of potential.  Any BZ Officer who doesn’t know that in his or her heart doesn’t deserve to be BZ.  The differences between you and that Officer to your left who wasn’t selected is art and serendipity … you worked for Ernest Hemingway,  while the Officer to your right worked for a Senior Rater who couldn’t write very well; your former Brigade Commander sat on the Board; the Board was looking for a particular skill set, and HRC assigned you to that position two years ago; the Officer to your left had a personality conflict with his Rater in 2005.  Did any of you complain about the inherent unfairness of that process after you were selected BZ?  No?  I didn’t think so.
Y’all would’ve had my absolute respect if en masse you had written to the “Army Times” about how you felt the BZ-selection process was unfair to the Officer to your left … but you didn’t do that.  Instead, you want to write to the “Army Times” and your Congressman about the unfairness of the CSRB process.   You’ve earned my disdain.  And so have the “mentors” who are encouraging this Pity Party.

Here is your Retention Bonus. Historically, BZ Officers have significantly out-performed their peers in terms of selection to senior commands, and the ranks of Colonel and General Officer.  I don’t have the exact numbers, but these figures are in the ball-park: although BZ rates run about 5%, fully 40% of all Battalion Commanders were BZ to MAJ or LTC; and the number of Officers BZ to MAJ or LTC who are NOT selected for Battalion Command is extremely low, probably less than 10%. With the advent of masked O3-and- below OER’s and universal CGSOC (CGSOC was a huge discriminator to BN CMD … In my YG, only 1 of 23 Signal Officers selected for BN CMD was non-resident), I think those percentages will be even higher.  Your CSRB bonus is Battalion Command. And why is that important?  Well, since these emails seem solely focused on money (and not Army Values), I’ll reply in terms of $$$ (as much as that disgusts me).  Last year, every single Former Signal Battalion Commander (FSBC) in the zone was selected for O6. Every one. Only one non-FSBC’s was selected, and he was a former Centrally Selected Division G6. Do you know how much more money a COL makes than a LTC? Do you know how much money a retired O6 makes compared to a retired O5?  Do you how much money that adds up to over the course of a thirty or fourty year retirement? A hell of alot more than $25K.

In 2006, Vernon Wells received a signing bonus of $25.5 million from the Toronto Blue Jays. In January 2007, Bob Nardelli abruptly resigned as chairman and chief executive of Home Depot after only six years at the helm … the Atlanta-based company said Nardelli would receive a severance package worth roughly $210 million.  Here’s a thought, write to the “Army Times” about that.

Number of Signal General Officers on Active Duty who were not  Battalion Commanders… Zero (0).

Number of Signal General Officers on Active Duty who were never selected BZ … Zero (0).

Your CSRB is an EXPONENTIALLY better chance than your peers to lead and mold the Army of 2015 and beyond. Apparently, you think that opportunity is worth less than a check for $25K in 2007. Or, you think that the promotion board simply recognized your glowing superiority.  You should be absolutely ashamed of this conversation … except shame would require Values that I don’t think you possess.

One of the biggest challenges for a BZ Officer is that they start to believe their own press, and pretty soon, we have Terrell Owens in Battalion Command. The vast majority of General Officers are deeply, deeply humbled by their position … they fully recognize how many truly outstanding, equally deserving Officers were simply not selected to be General Officers.  You’ve been in the Army less than 10 years, and you’ve already lost all sense of humility.  Woe to the Army of 2015.

“Well, my mentors all agree that we are getting screwed”. Go ask MAJ Ed Murphy about how he got screwed. Oh, that’s right, you can’t …because he’s dead … he was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan. Go ask his widow about how MAJ Murphy got screwed.  Y’all can compare notes.

“I think we are worth it.” I think you are worth exactly thirty pieces of silver.




  1. This is old, but it still pisses me off every time I read it. I think she got out of the Army. It’s a better place without her.

    Comment by John Rose — July 12, 2009 @ 10:22 am

  2. Not to aggrevate the situation too much…but, if the BZ selection is used to identify most of the Army’s future battalion\brigade commanders, then why does the Army even consider the older OCS, prior service officers for BZ. The assumption is that below-the-zone officers will be available to serve as battalion and brigade commanders: an investment in the future of the Army. With only a few exceptions, most older OCS graduates do not (or cannot) hang around long enough to fill many of those positions.

    Comment by tjam — October 18, 2010 @ 1:14 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: