The military way

Oct 5th
Posted by shambo  as Current Events, Government, History
U.S. Navy's "Terrorist Catch-and-Release Program"

U.S. Navy's "Terrorist Catch-and-Release Program"

Let me say this about that.

I have a great deal of respect for¬†our military.¬† They live a tough demanding life, often in some hell-hole on the other side of the planet, and get paid diddley-squat.¬† Oh yeah, there’s also that ‘getting-shot-at’ thing that can prove to be a detriment to¬†following well meant instructions¬†to¬†‘have-a-nice-day’.

A well run military seems to require two things – one from the commanders and one from the soldiers.¬†¬†The job¬†of the commanders -¬†reducing even mundane tasks to a form so simple that a blindfolded chimpanzee with Alzheimer’s could perform them under water.¬†¬†The job¬†of the foot soldier – develop¬†a sense of humor about life in the military and somehow, it’ll all work out.

As I had mentioned in an earlier post, the first thing I learned when I arrived at Fort Benning in the mid¬†’60′s¬†as a young ‘dog-face’, was…¬†¬†¬† the following simplification of basic military behavior:

“If it moves – salute it.¬† If it doesn’t move – pick it up.¬† If you can’t pick it up – paint it.”

Simplification is the military way.¬† But, when you handle deadly weapons on a daily basis, simplification of¬† instructions on the use of these weapons can be of great benefit to the average soldier, as well as¬†his comrades¬†within grenade-throwing range.¬† I saw a hand-scribbled note in¬†an instructer’s¬†grenade¬†field manual that read:

“When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is¬†not your friend.”

In another earlier post, I recounted an afternoon of dogfighting in a fighter trainer aircraft under the supervision of an ex Air Force jet jockey.¬† He was the guy that instructed me that, in combat, the number one objective was not to get shot – and there¬†are no codes of conduct, rules of engagement, or any of that other ‘John Wayne’ crap you hear from the politicians.¬† His rule was simple:

“If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.”

I heard a similar sentiment expressed by a foot soldier who had fought in Afghanistan:

“If you find yourself in a fair fight, you didn’t plan your mission properly.”

It seems that American soldiers have been in active combat, somewhere around the globe, for the last fourty or fifty years.  Through this time, veteran combat soldiers have developed an effective a method of passing along vital tatics to new recruits entering the battlefield for the first time.  The war in Iraq produced this sage advice:

“Incoming fire has the right-of-way.”

Then there is the corollary to that rule that says:

“If the enemy is in range, so are you.”

On occasion, one can find examples of irrefutable military wisdom that has old, even ancient origins.¬† Ambrose Bierch, an American¬†writer in the mid 1800′s, is given credit for a quote that is more relevant today than it was in post Civil-War America:

“War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.”

I have a buddy that served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, and I can tell you that the term “ex-Marine” is an oxymoron ….. once a Marine, always a Marine.¬† He sent me a bumper sticker recently that combines Marine Corps¬†battlefield objectives with today’s propensity for political correctness:

“It’s God’s job to forgive Bin Laden – it’s¬†the Marines¬†job to arrange the meeting.”

And, that’s all I have to say about that.





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