Heh. OK. WooPoo U was one of many beloved nicknames cadets had for West Point – probably more since I was there. The rock. The point. You get the picture. This news came back in April, but I just wandered upon it in one of those odd multi-tiered search expeditions. WP graduates are leaving at a record pace.

Now there always was a 5 and fly mentality in some. Deal was you last 4 years (very tough…just 1.5 for me), then 5 more and bail. Write your ticket in the private sector. Highly respected companies like Harley Davidson and many others hire up WooPooers like crazy and groom them for very high level jobs. It’s a good deal if you’re up for it.

The downside is we lose key leadership and it appears the policies of this administration have driven the honorable junior officer out of the service:

WASHINGTON — Recent graduates of the US Military Academy at West Point are choosing to leave active duty at the highest rate in more than three decades, a sign to many military specialists that repeated tours in Iraq are prematurely driving out some of the Army’s top young officers.

According to statistics compiled by West Point, of the 903 Army officers commissioned upon graduation in 2001, nearly 46 percent left the service last year — 35 percent at the conclusion of their five years of required service, and another 11 percent over the next six months. And more than 54 percent of the 935 graduates in the class of 2000 had left active duty by this January, the statistics show.

The reason for the exodus is the wear and tear of multiple deployments in Iraq and what must be a sinking feeling that it’s not getting much better. Let’s see IED or IBM? Duh. retired Lieutenant General Daniel Christman, a former superintendent of West Point summed it up best:

Iraq is exerting very strong influence on the career intentions of junior officers

The Iraq War is stressing our military at all levels. It is a shame to see this happening at a time when more highly trained and technically based leaders are needed. This story and the statistics coming out of West Point are what you might call a key indicator. It’s too bad all the officers are getting is lip service as it relates to drawing down in Iraq.

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