Saturday, September 26, 2015

Humor in Uniform : The “VRS” OROP Googly


Recently – a new “VRS” Googly was introduced in the ongoing One Rank One Pension (OROP) imbroglio.

VRS is an acronym for Voluntary Retirement Scheme – and there is no such concept in the Armed Forces (Army Navy and Air Force) – so military veterans were quite puzzled at this VRS Googly” thrown at them by the wily Civilian Bureaucracy.

In the Armed Forces – if you want to quit before attaining the age of superannuation – you have to apply for Pre-Mature Retirement (PMR).

Of course – if VRS is the new name for PMR – then – as per the VRS Googly  only those who serve till attaining the age of superannuation will be entitled to OROP.

This is one more disincentive for defence personnel to quit early – so now – it will be better not to “ship out” whether you shape up or not.

This reminds me of an article I wrote one year ago on the subject.

So – let me delve into my “Humor in Uniform archives and pull out this post for you to read...


A Spoof

There is a Navy saying: “SHAPE UP OR SHIP OUT”

This expression was first used in the U.S. Military during World War II. 

When a soldier was told to shape up or ship out – it meant that he needed to do a better job or he would be shipped overseas to a combat zone.

A soldier was told that he better follow regulations and do his job properly (shape up”) or he would be sent overseas to a war zone (ship out”)  

Later – this expression started being used after the war with any kind of poor performance – like if you considered unfit for promotion and superseded – it was best to ship out of the Navy.

Long back – as a matter of honour – the moment an officer got passed over for promotion he would immediately “put in his papers” and quit the navy.

Nowadays – with antiquated concepts like “honour” having taken a backseat – it is not considered “smart” to quit in a huff – especially from the financial angle – so most “honourable” superseded officers complete the minimum pensionable service of 20 years before putting in their papers for premature retirement.

Others – who have “fallen by the wayside” after 20 years of service – can – theoretically quit the Navy the moment they are “passed over” for promotion on grounds of supersession.

Please note – I have used the word “theoretically”.

Here is a story of an “honourable” superseded officer...

PULLING STRINGS – A Spoof by Vikram Karve

In the civilian world  you “pull strings” to get a job.

In the military  you “pull strings” to quit your job.

A good friend  a witty naval officer  once quipped:

“It is easier to get into the navy – than to get out of the navy.”

He had put in his papers a few months ago  and was patiently waiting for his papers to get through  as his papers bounced back-and-forth for various “queries” and “clarifications”.

Another brilliant Navy friend was passed over for promotion – he was an ex-NDA officer who had excelled in the 20 years of his naval career.

This officer had done the required “criteria” appointments – and he had qualified the right courses.

In fact  he seemed to have bright career prospects in the Navy  and we were quite surprised that he had been superseded for promotion.

However  he took his supersession gracefully in his stride.

He decided to quit the Navy  and try his hand at a second innings in the “civvy street”.

He had just completed the mandatory 20 years pensionable service  and thanks to his supersession  he thought his request for premature retirement would be easily approved.

His boss recommended and forwarded his papers through proper channel – and his boss told him that his papers would be through within two months.

The officer applied for jobs in the industry  and got a good job offer.

Asked when he could join his new job  the officer said he would join within 3 months  as he expected his papers to be cleared within 2 months.

Two months passed.

Nothing happened.

Reminders were sent to expedite his premature retirement application.

Suddenly  one day  a bombshell arrived from the “powers-that-be”.

His papers were not accepted since he had not been “permanently superseded” for promotion.

“But I have been superseded,” the officer protested, “My course-mates are already wearing one more stripe than me.”

“Yes, but you have not been permanently superseded – you still have two more “looks” left – next year and the year after that – and if you don’t make it in both attempts, only then will you be permanently superseded after all your 3 “looks” are over – so put up your application for premature retirement at that time, after 2 years, and we will approve it.”

“Are you saying that I have a chance to get promoted in my 2nd or 3rd attempt?” the officer asked the concerned “powers-that-be”.

“No – I don’t think you will be promoted – one of your ACRs is so screwed up that you have no chance of promotion.”

“Then please let me go now – I have a good job offer – and they won’t wait for me for two years,” the officer pleaded.

“Well, I cannot help you – there is a shortage of officers – and there are already plenty of officers in the queue to get out – the only way you can get out of the Navy now is if you know someone at the top who can “pull strings” at the highest level.”

Luckily for the officer  the Captain of one of his ex-ships was now a powerful Admiral – so the officer approached him  “strings were pulled” – the officer’s papers were processed – and he was relieved from the Navy just in time for him to take up the job offer.

During my naval career  I met many such young officers who wanted to quit that navy – and they were running from pillar to post  “pulling strings” – to get their papers through and get out of the Navy.

Of course  there were some exceptions.

Like a Commodore whose papers were accepted in double quick time  and he was out of the Navy within a month of submitting his application for premature retirement.

A young officer was waiting for almost one year in the “queue” to get out of the Navy.

He wondered how come the Commodore’s papers were accepted so fast. 

The “powers-that-be” told the young naval officer: “The Navy has become too top heavy” – there are too many surplus Commodores and Admirals in the Navy – and thanks to the generous pay, perks and benefits they get  no senior officer wants to quit. So if any Senior Officer wants to quit  and he puts in his papers – his resignation is accepted at top speed  because we do not want to give him time to change his mind.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

1. This story is a spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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Revised Version of my story PULLING STRINGS posted online in this blog earlier on 08 Dec 2014 at url:  and later at url:

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