Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Send The Civilians Home
The other day I overheard an Air Force Staff Sergeant tell a civilian the following: SS: “I wrote to my congressman and told him that all the civilians should be sent home. You guys get paid too much”. Civ: “I’m here because I want to be here. I like my job. You can apply for a civilian job when you get back”. SS: “I like my family too much to do that to them”. That exchange got me to thinking… what would happen if all the civilians were sent home? How would the dynamics change at Bagram? How would that affect the military in the long run or the short run? Most of the civilians live in B-huts, relocatable buildings (RLB’s), or tents. Some civilians live in connex containers and a very few of them live in block barracks. The civilians living in block barracks generally work for the Air Force. Most of the military live in tents (really big tents) or B-huts. Some of the military live in RLB’s or block barracks. The majority of the military in RLB’s or block barracks are Air Force. So, living conditions for the military and civilians are on par (except if you are Army , Marine, or Navy). Civilians are generally here longer and provide continuity when the military leave BAF (I arrived here 28 August 2007). Not all civilians have health coverage on BAF and must leave for simple things like a tooth filling. Most of the time, civilian pay is based on US laws and computations. We do not generally get to negotiate our salaries (although, some of us have that luxury). Most of us have families and the reason we are here are varied. Again, for the most part, we are here to make money to support our families. I know a 63 year old man that drives trucks outside the wire. He is here to send his grand kids through college. A few husband & wife teams are here to: pay for their house, pay down their bills, pay off credit cards, save money for their kids educations, or just for the pleasure of serving their country in a different fashion. I know a woman who is here just for the experiences to put on her resume (another "ticket punch") - in the hopes of getting her dream job when she leaves.