Vox Rodentae

Monday, July 24, 2006

NEO, not PETA

I just finished commenting on another blog in reference to PETA's outrage that US forces refuse to evacuate people's "friends" (ie. their pets) with them during the evacuations from Lebanon. It suits my mood this evening to reproduce it here:

I don't think any reasonable person would see a need to deliberately abandon any animal that could feasibly be rescued, but at the same time, when you are conducting a NEO (noncombatant evacutation operation), there is a HUGE amount of material to coordinate (passports, birth certificates, citizenship or immigration/visa papers, shot records, financial paperwork, any and all paperwork to do with children, your job, your possessions, your house/property in the country you're fleeing, and so on and so forth), and they are having to do this on the fly for several thousand people while all of them are in the way of fire. When you add to this the potential of having to house and feed animals (because you know there will be more than just dogs and cats), you'll have to account for all rabies, parvo, feline leukemia vaccinations (and all the gazillion others I can't remember/think of), you'll have to be able to guarantee them a safe berthing space, ensure they'll be in no danger from or especially *no danger to* any and all crew and passengers, not to mention coordinating whether or not the docking port will even receive them. I'm sure there are many other things I've left out. When I was in the Army, serving in Korea, I was the NEO control NCO for our area, and it was my job to ensure that all the civilian contractors, their wives and dependents, and all the military wives and dependents (both command-sponsored and non-command-sponsored) could be speedily evacuated in the event of Dear Leader Kim's desire for a beach party in Pusan. Those were some of the most grueling days I ever had in the Army, let me tell you, and that was just for an exercise! The USN/USMC have to do it for real, under fire, with frightened and possibly hysterical and ungrateful people - it's not a job for the faint of heart. Sometimesyou have to make painful choices about what's most important to you.

The people conducting these NEO's deserve our congratulations for their speed, courage and damned hard work! As I mentioned in the insert, even NEO exercises are grueling, but these Sailors and Marines are doing their country proud and deserve all we can give them in the way of respect. I hope sincerely that the folks they're rescuing are being very grateful to them, because I don't ever want to meet someone who was rescued who would have the gall to complain about it. Ever.

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