Artillery: June 3, 2004


The U.S. Army has invoked another Stop Loss order. This is a procedure that forces troops, who will end their enlistment (and be eligible for discharge or retirement) during, or just before beginning, an overseas assignment, to stay in uniform until the overseas assignment (usually a year) is completed. They can then be kept in up to another 90 days, before being allowed to go. Stop Loss is used to keep units overseas, especially those in a combat zone up to strength with experienced troops. This is especially important because of the many older, and more experienced, troops who are about to get out. These more experienced soldiers are disproportionately critical to the success of the unit in combat. Studies of casualties during World War II, Korea and Vietnam showed that it was the loss of the older and most experienced troops in a unit that caused combat casualties to go up. So a Stop Loss is, literally, a matter of life and death.

This most recent Stop Loss will affect several thousand troops. The army is unsure of exactly how many. Every soldier is obliged to obey a Stop Loss order, as it is part of their employment contract. In the last two years, the army has hit about 45,000 troops with a Stop Loss order. Most of those have since left the service, after putting in some extra Stop Loss time. While the troops receive their regular pay and benefits during their additional service, they suffer most from having post-military plans upset. Many troops about to get out have vacations, new jobs, entering college, apartment rental or house purchase lined up. As a result of all the Stop Loss activity, troops have learned to take the possibility of an unexpected service extension into account when making their plans. 


Article Archive

Artillery: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close