stop loss

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 14 00:50:59 UTC 2010

A very-common, ironic graffito, back in the day:

"Yes, Virginia, there *is* an ETS!"

the reference being to the fact that one's term of enlistment could be
extended "at the convenience of the United States Army."

It was also possible to extend one's enlistment voluntarily, in order
to obtain some imagined benefit. A buddy who absolutely *hated* being
a member of the Berlin Brigade requested transfer to Viet-Nam, as it
was still spelled, in those days. But, he was too "short" - his ETS
was fast approaching. So, he voluntarily extended his term of active
duty, but, after it was too late, it was discovered that it was not
convenient for the United States Army to grant his request for a
change of station at this time. He therefore found himself spending a
year-and-a-half longer in the Berlin Brigade than he would have had
to, if he hadn't voluntarily extended.

"NEVER volunteer!"

Everyone says it, but nobody listens. I, too, hated Berlin. So, how
did I happen to get stationed there? Why, I volunteered, of course!
Sixty years later, I *still* consider that decision to have been one
the stupidest that I have ever made in my life. <sob!>

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"––a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
–Mark Twain

Once that we recognize that we do not err out of laziness, stupidity,
or evil intent, we can uncumber ourselves of the impossible burden of
trying to be permanently right. We can take seriously the proposition
that we could be in error, without necessarily deeming ourselves
idiotic or unworthy.
–Kathryn Schulz

On Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 1:22 PM, Paul Frank <paulfrank at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: Â  Â  Â  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Â  Â  Â  Paul Frank <paulfrank at POST.HARVARD.EDU>
> Subject: Â  Â  Â stop loss
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> The term "stop loss" is in the news again. The U.S. military sense of
> "stop loss" is not in the OED or any other major dictionary, though the
> media have been using the term for years and there was a movie called
> Stop-Loss in 2008. The Wikipedia defines it as "involuntary extension of
> a service member's active duty service under the enlistment contract in
> order to retain them beyond their initial end of term of service (ETS)
> date and up to their contractually agreed end of obligated service
> (EOS)."
> From Stars and Stripes, Â December 3, 2010: "Congress has once again
> extended the deadline for the retroactive-stop-loss pay program, which
> had been set to expire on Friday but now runs through Dec. 18.
> This is the second time that Congress has extended the deadline for the
> program, which offers troops who were stop-lossed since Sept. 11, 2001,
> or their surviving spouses $500 for each month that the servicemember
> was held beyond his or her initial separation date."
> In March 2008, Wilson wrote in this forum, "BTW, speaking of the
> military, there was a version of "stop-loss" in
> those days [the early '70s], too. [The Army sucks!] It was called
> 'extension.' Any soldier on active duty could be retained by being
> 'extended' and, as today, members of the Reserves on active duty could
> be retained and reservists not on active duty could be called up,
> individually, if necessary."
> The OED has this: "stop-loss adj. (of an order to sell stock, etc.)
> intended to save further loss than has been already incurred by falling
> prices."
> Paul
> --
> Paul Frank
> Translator
> Chinese, German, French, Italian > English
> Espace de l'Europe 16
> Neuchâtel, Switzerland
> paulfrank at
> paulfrank at
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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