Thursday, July 31, 2014


Dear Ms Pelosi. "Fired" is a term that the mitary never uses. They love to choose acronyms, RIF (reduction in force) or SERB (selective early retirement board ). But, "fired" is the reality of what the military is about to do. The indiscriminate reductions will be demoralizing to the military. What the Army leadership has already shown is that the decision makers have no earthly idea of what it means: "Firing" young captains who are off at war. As my mom would say, "scandalous." 

I was at Fort Bliss in Texas when we had the RIF (Reduction in Force ) after Vietnam. The military threw out soldiers who had literally given their life's blood, young helicopter pilots, for instance; who had been to Vietnam over and over. It is not personal, with what we call, "bean counters" but they (the RIFed) take it personally. For Vietnam, we used them up and threw them out like yesterday's garbage. 

I am retired military and one of your constituents and see us in a crucial spot. As the Army draws down, my suggestion is to maintain troop levels without "firing" soldiers. Normal attrition will take care of the issue I think. 

One of my big concerns is that Congress will be led down the primrose path by the generals and high ranking civilians. Often, they talk about their concern for soldiers but it comes across  empty. "Nothing is too good for the soldier and that is what they get, nothing." 

Give the Army a mission order: "reduce the Army." They look at the numbers without counting the cost, it affects morale, unit integrity and motivation. 

We probably have too many generals and we need to reduce their ranks. Think about it. We "fire" the heart of the Army, young Captains; and we don't touch the generals. (This is just speculation and to be fair, I am just giving an example). But, when I watch the military in Congressional hearings, I often think to myself, does Congress have a clue of their BS. 

Thank you for this opportunity. I haven't told you anything that you probably
don't already know. This is just feedback from my perspective. I have nothing to gain and have no agenda other than "always for the troops." 

Jerry Autry
Chaplain (COL)
USA, Ret. 

Monday, July 21, 2014


Jim Garner, my hero, just died. When I was in the Army, the only way my daughter could stay up late if she was watching The Rockford Files with me. He was my hero. I was Jim Rockford. He lived with his dad in a trailer and had a great car. It was one of those sporty Pontiac's. He loved that car. 

After the military, I can remember writing a piece about him for a now defunct newspaper. I was maxed out upset to see the show end and went through a period of grief. How could Jim leave us? Looking back now, "The Rockford Files" was a much simpler time. His cases were pretty straight forward. Rarely was there gun play. I think he had a girl friend but there was little snuggle time if you get my drift. Rocky, the Dad lived with him but we don't much family drama: no Twitter/Facebook. I still miss Jim Rockford. God bless him on his journey. 

Sunday, July 06, 2014


Drugs are a scourge. Let's get that out of the way. I often debate friends, other professionals, whoever they might be, whether "pot" is a gateway drug. Recently, I have confirmed it again in my own mind and it is bullshit to say it isn't. Here's an example. 

In a set of circumstances, I tried to assist a family member in getting into a drug rehab program. Here are a string of emails, disguised of course. The issue at hand is getting a "heroin addict" in a program. 

I think I have a plan of action.  I will pass my ideas along to the Grandparents who will
possibly fund treatment if neccesary. 

Here is my plan: As a test of resolve and intent, I asked the immediate family members (mother/father) to set up a meeting with the "addict," the two of them and me. I would discuss what would be needed for me to recommend to the grandparents that they get financially involved, i. e., paying for rehab. 

This is a test for the parents, obviously.  The parents wrote the book on dysfunction. If the parents cannot make this happen, rehab would be a waste of time and money. For someone to go to rehab, get clean and return to the same environment is simply stupid. The addict/daughter has to want this, not simply be willing, the parents must understand the commitment they are signing up for.  

Of all the drugs, heroin is the most difficult to come off and stay off.  To me, with my years of experience with soldiers and drugs, this is step #1.

This is the Grandmother's email to the addict granddaughter: 

  1. The only thing that matters between you and me is how very much I have always loved you, and always will; how much you love me.
  2. I know you are a heroin addict. (Just learned.)

Any shame or disappointment or anger you imagine I might feel would be meaningless even if it were real. Any disappointment or anger or betrayal you might feel – because I did not figure out what was going on with you, because I failed in my role as the source of strength and wisdom you believed you could count on, your invincible protector – all of that is now meaningless, even if it were real.

 The world boils down to two incontrovertible truths:

  1. You are in a fight for your life. And the only person in the world who can fight that fight … is you.
  2. Games and denial will kill you. If you choose not to fight, you will die. If you choose to die, it is my greatest wish that, as you take your last breath, you will hold in your heart all the love I feel for you. You have always been the light of my life. Nothing you have ever done, or ever will do, can ever change that.

 Just like everything else in life, this is a choice. This is the most difficult choice you will ever face, because you are engaged with a demon that will never wave a fond farewell. Every day of your life, you will wake up and look in the mirror and see that demon standing beside you. Your only hope of survival is to surround yourself with people who know how to fight this demon. People who will help you remember how very important you are to the world. Not just to my world; but to your own world. The talents you bring to the world. Your capacity to love and be loved by so many of us. All of that is worth living for.

 Be very clear, no matter how much we all wish it were not so – no matter how desperately I wish I could wrap you in my arms and save you from this ravenous disease that can, without doubt, steal you away from me … there is no one currently in your world, who can give you the help you need. You must choose to seek that help, those people, on your own.

 Please, Please choose to fight. Please choose to seek the people who can help you. You do not have to walk this horror alone.

One of the great advantages of being a soldier all these years, you get hardened to the BS factor. All we are interested in is the "Addict." This is only about her. I don't hold out much hope, the term, the demon, pretty appropriate. . 

All of her family appear to be pretty sad characters. Based on past experience I have to say, to be even more candid, I have to say that I am not so much hopeful as realistic. The addict is not going to follow through and when they do, she is 26 -- so no minor/legal issues; plus I can't imagine two more toxic people to have around someone who might be trying to find the courage to heal. And certainly, they aren't exactly role models for the process! Admit to regularly smoking pot and abusing other drugs and alcohol. 

Is pot a gateway drug?

Me: what are you taking?
Addict: I have been clean for a week. 
Before then?
Were you shooting up
How did you start with drugs? 
I started with marihuana. 
Then what happened?
After awhile, I wanted something stronger. 
Do you think all drug users begin with pot
I do. It does with everybody I know. 

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Rational Emotive Therapy

"Don't believe everything you think" (saw this on a bumper sticker). This is the theme of RET (Rational Emotive Therapy) called by many names and basically says, "it is not what happens to you that is the problem but how you look at it." In other words, what you think about it. 

Albert Ellis, who has departed this life and I am not sure where he is in the next as he was an avowed atheist. But, he was so objective about issues that this is what he would say: "Nobody has ever proven there is a God but nobody has ever proven, there isn't." See what I mean. Your thoughts will often get you in a personal abyss, if you are not on top of them. We already do it but work to always have positive conversations in your head. Simple example, You think something. "Someone doesn't like you." Why is that
"They snubbed me." 
"They didn't speak to me." 
Maybe they didn't see me. Their life is out of control, they are just trying to make it through the day. Loads of things. (Self talk in your head). You control your thinking and "don't believe everything you think."