Everyone today speaks of the high operational tempo of U.S. military forces, given combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and counter-terrorism efforts in the Horn of Africa and elsewhere.
Col. A. Thomas Ball, commander of the U.S. Army’s 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, offered some measure of that "optempo" and its impact of the troops.
"Most of my ranks have more time flying in combat than they do" flying in U.S. airspace, Ball told the Assn of the U.S. Army aviation symposium last month.
The 25th CAB has deployed to combat three times in six years, most recently on a 15-month tour in Iraq that ended in November.
"I have NCOs and warrant officers who are three-for-three in deployments," Ball said. "I have captains who have spent more of their Army career in theater than at their home station."
The chief concern for the Army, he and other warfighters at the symposium said, is how to retain that talent given an optempo that doesn’t promise to ease much soon.