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Thread: 75 Year Old Reservist on Third GWOT Deployment

  1. #1
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    Default 75 Year Old Reservist on Third GWOT Deployment

    Nothing earth-shattering, no tactical, operational or strategic effects, just thought this guy deserves kudos:

    Retired Reserve Doc Deploys Third Time
    ...Having joined the Marine Corps in 1950, Bernhard was soon discharged due to a knee injury, which he said was a major disappointment. He joined the Navy as an anesthesiologist and served 10 years on active and reserve duty, then switched to the Army Reserve for 22 more years.

    When Bernhard leaves his home tomorrow, he will spend about five days at Fort Benning, Ga., before traveling to Ramstein Air Base in Germany. From there he'll fly to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, then convoy into Kabul, where he will connect with the Oregon Army National Guard's 141st Support Battalion.

    "I don't sign up when I go overseas for anesthesia because I've done all that," he said. "I'd much rather sign up to be a field surgeon, which means that I can work at a battalion aide station and at a trauma station, and I sign up to work also as a flight surgeon, and that gets me flying a lot of missions and taking care of aviators."

    Last year, he deployed to Iraq with the Mississippi Army National Guard's 155th Brigade Combat Team. He took charge of medical facilities at five forward operating bases west and south of Baghdad...

  2. #2
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Army Reserve Col. William Bernhard



    Col. William Bernhard, an Army surgeon, stands in front of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter on Forward Operating Base Lima, Iraq, Oct. 15, 2005.

    Bernhard, 75, is about to deploy to Kabul, Afghanistan, reportedly as the oldest deployed member of America's armed forces

  3. #3
    Council Member Stu-6's Avatar
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    Default

    He kind of reminds me of this translator I worked with in Bosnia. This guy was in his late 70s saw a recruitment ad for translators packed his stuff and shipped out with the army. As one of our lieutenants said to me I hope I am in good enough shape to do something like that when I am his age, of course I hope I am smart enough not to.

    I hope I am able to run off to war zones and doing something productive when I am 75.

    Kudos to Col. Bernhard

  4. #4
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    Default Never Too Old ?

    Every now and then, I check out the military news from East and Middle Tennessee. Ran into this here.

    KCRA News
    War Vet, 50, Stunned By New Deployment
    Former Soldier Last Served During 1st Gulf War
    Reported by Jeremy Finley
    POSTED: 7:16 am PST January 2, 2009
    UPDATED: 7:34 am PST January 2, 2009

    MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- A veteran who has been out of the military for 15 years and recently received his AARP card was stunned when he received notice he will be deployed to Iraq.

    The last time Paul Bandel, 50, saw combat was in the early 1990s during the Gulf War.
    ...
    In 1993, Bandel took the option of leaving the Army without retirement and never thought he would be called back to action.
    ...
    Involuntary recall allows the military, regardless of age or how long someone has been out of service, to order vets back into active duty.
    ....
    Calls to the Army and the Pentagon about how many men and women in their 50s are being called back to duty were not returned Wednesday.
    No complaint from the guy. Probably, a number of people in the 278 ACR (NG from same area *) are in their 40's or 50's. This just seemed a bit odd to me.

    Anybody enlighten me about how unusual this is ?

    * Deployed OIF 2004-2005; possibly Astan next - see here and here.

  5. #5
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Only applicable if he is on the retired list.

    He may or may not be, article doesn't say. Anyone who enlists or is accessed as an Officer has an eight year obligation, active or reserve in any mix. If he enlisted back in DS/DS days, say in 90, his obligation expired in 98.

    Involuntary recall for 'vets' as the article states thus are good only for that eight year period. Rarely, there may be case where there was some obligated service due to special training or a promotion that was waived so the person could be released from active duty and then they could be called back to fulfill the obligation -- but that is really unusual.

    Active or Reserve retirees OTOH are obligated from date of retirement to age 65.

    Probably a screwup...

  6. #6
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    Default

    Ken, someone on another site looked that 50 year old up on AKO. He is a CW3.

  7. #7
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Heh. That almost certainly means he's retired.

    Quote Originally Posted by SethB View Post
    Ken, someone on another site looked that 50 year old up on AKO. He is a CW3.
    Hope he enjoys his tour...

    All that retainer pay -- and that's what Retired Pay is, retainer pay, it is not a pension or an annuity -- is advance payment for this possibility...

    Thanks, Seth.

  8. #8
    Council Member Umar Al-Mokhtār's Avatar
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    Default Retirement Orders Para 3.

    "As a retired Marine you may be ordered to active duty without your consent."

    What is odd about the Corps is that when you leave active duty between 20 and 30 you are not 'retired' but instead placed in the Fleet Marine Corps Reserve. A similar paragraph appears in your orders to the FMCR. Then after you hit 30 years from initial enlistment you get your big certificate and retired pin.

    Course not long after 9/11 I tried to enlist in the NG but was told by the recruiter I no doubt had an RE-2 code on my DD214, which I do, and it means "Ineligible for reenlistment. Recommended for reenlistment but ineligible because of status: Fleet Reservist Retired." So they'll bring back a 75 year old but brush off a then motivated 40 something year old. Go figure.
    "What is best in life?" "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women."

  9. #9
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Default Ken's Younger Brother/Cousin?

    From AKO News, Soldier, 79, asks, 'What can I do now?'

    FORT BENNING, Ga. -- With four military retirements behind him, Col. William Bernhard said former President John F. Kennedy's plea to the nation nearly 50 years ago inspires him to keep going.

    "JFK once said, 'Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country,'" Bernhard said. "And I've always tried to do that."

    The 79-year-old physician, who is possibly one of the oldest Soldiers on active duty, reported to Fort Benning's CONUS Replacement Center March 20, prior to leaving for Hohenfels, Germany.
    Sapere Aude

  10. #10
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Awesome Dude!!!

    Good for him...

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