Thank god we are fighting low-tech shitheads
Published on July 23, 2008 By greywar In War on Terror

     The core mission of any Army is to have it's soldiers kill people and break things. That is what Armies do best. the farther you stray from those core competencies the worse off the fighting force becomes. I have posted about this many times before but here is the most recent idiocy:

 

"Army civilians will become multi-skilled civilian leaders of the 21st Century who personify the warrior ethos in all aspects, from war-fighting support to statesmanship, to business management." (emphasis mine - GW)

 

     I assure you that there will come a day when we will actually need distinct lines between fighting forces and civilians serving under pogue rear echelon officers who want to pretend that they are "warriors leading warriors". That day will likely come too soon.

    If you are managing a server farm you are not a warrior and neither are the civilians your are nominally in charge of.

 

 

 

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Comments
on Jul 26, 2008

I think the KBR Sri Lankan laundromat guys and Pakistanis (Tell them I said Aye jay and donyabad (hello and thanks)!) in the chow hall totally exemplified the Army values and the warrior ethos. I would not want to go to war again without them.

Our sergeant major was a true example of the battle captain, and was a vital part of the team. I dare say he might have served even better in a Army civilian position. Hooah!

on Jul 28, 2008

I agree. War without KBR and company would suck massive balls.

on Jul 28, 2008
The core mission of any Army is to have it's soldiers kill people and break things.


An over used Limbaughism. The mission of the infantry is to close with and destroy the enemy. Artillery is to rain pee-bringing steel from above. Armor is supposed to do the cruising around breaking stuff up. Mister Limbaugh is good at repeating things he has heard others say often enough to make people think he originated it.

Now to the point of my reply...WHAT THE HECK HAS HAPPENED TO MY ARMY??? For years they did away with soldier positions and replaced them with civilians (shudder) and now there are a large number of contractors who have been notified that at the end of their contract their positions will be filled by military personnel.

I recognize the sarcasm, Grey, but I really don't understand what the heck is going on. We apparantly can't have soldiers pulling KP, they are needed to sit around for days waiting for funds to develop for training. Since Army cooks are only required to boil water for Traypacks, we do need professionals to stir the beans in the mess hall. Almost all the 3 and 4 shops are civilian contractors...Army mechanics are nothing more than parts changers.......oh heck. Now see what ya done? Got me all riled up, again. Sorry, Grey, didn't mean to spoil your thread.
on Jul 29, 2008

Well I can tell you what happened here and HW will probably agree with the key points:

(bullet points for bonus Army-ness)

o The promotion system radically changed in the early 90's (maybe another article there)

o The drawdown prompted a massive exodus of experienced personnel which continued on even after the first Gulf War

o The result was an upended hierarchy where the top of the enlisted food chain were inexperienced and unskilled in their primary fields

o Now with no one to mentor incoming troops training became a check-the-block affair that taught almost nothing while standards for testing were lowered every calendar year since 1990

o Let the above ingredients simmer for 15 years along with a huge wad of resentment for Swartzkopf's cadre of officers from the first Gulf War (most left shortly after the war and few are left at all) and...

o You get Gen Shinseki and his ilk (along with a looooong string of eunuch Sergeants Major of the Army) whose crowning military strategy was to "make the whole Army an elite force" by giving them a different hat

o The contracting came about because the level of professionalism in the Army has fallen so low that we can't even rely on the cooks to cook! Much less the so-called tech MOS soldiers to actually do anything technical. Shit, I was regarded as a SME in SIGINT and I didn't know a fucking thing (after 13 years too!).

 

     Shinseki's ideological sycophants were still running the show even into the first half of the Second Gulf War (thankfully we are fighting some of the least organized morons on the planet) but are slowly being replaced by Petraeus's cadre.

 

     This is a good thing but without a massive event (huge loss of troops, lost battle, lost war) there simply isn't any way that Petraeus will ever have the political capital to make the changes necessary to bring the Army around.

 

     If you ever need to make a quick check on Army culture you just need to walk into the III Corps HQ, look at the carpet by the parade field doors, and see if soldiers are allowed to walk on it. No = bad and Yes = Good.

 

An over used Limbaughism.

I assure you that quote was around long before Limbaugh. Probably originated with Gengis Khan.

on Jul 29, 2008
Wow, Grey, your response was as good or better than the article! Flesh it out and post it.
I was aware of a lot of your points, we had similar problems with senior personnel in the ramp up to DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM. I was around when the "Peace Dividend" started stealing people and money away from needed projects.

After the first Gulf War the drawdown inflicted a fatal wound on the combat service support troops even more than the shooters. You would think they would have learned...in Gulf I we bought a whole herd of new Peterbuilt tractors off the docks at Dammam and put 11Bs behind the wheel to transport M-1s to the desert. Yessir buddy, even with every available truck company from the States and most of them from Germany, we still didn't have enough trucks to move the warfighters to the front. Convoys of every imaginable kind of truck were streaming down the hardball from the Port to the desert...and when we crossed the line...we had enough fuel on the ground forward to support TWO WEEKS of manuevering. Lucky the war only lasted one.

Yeah, HW fills me in all the time, I was being a little sarcastic. The promise of "no more Vietnams" was as solid as "the checks in the mail". The politicians tie the hands of the military in so many ways. They cut the money, get rid of the real warriors and promote the "politically correct" to lead the force.

Good to have you back. HW made the cut for E7 for August. He is the First Sergeant of his company...LH made him a sign for his door...E6 stripes with a diamond in the middle that says "Yes, I AM the First Sergeant".
on Jul 29, 2008
After the first Gulf War the drawdown inflicted a fatal wound on the combat service support troops even more than the shooters.


It was amazing to me even as a young private. We were paying combat vets with 15 years of experience to leave and promoting young chuckleheads who had never done anything into their positions!


Wow, Grey, your response was as good or better than the article! Flesh it out and post it.


I probably will in the near future.

Glad to hear HW made E7:) He will make a great 1SG.
on Jul 31, 2008
An over used Limbaughism. The mission of the infantry is to close with and destroy the enemy.


Mr. Limbaugh uses that phrase because when he was visiting army Special Forces it was told to him by SgtMaj. Haney I am not sure of the spelling. If you ever watched the show the unit you will see his name. The show is based on his book so it has been a widely circulated phrase. I believe the phrase is, the job of the soldier is to kill people and break things.

I think the good SgtMaj got it from some WWII grunt who was trying to explain the acronym F.U.B.A.R. and S.N.A.F.U. but don’t quote me on that, I was in the Marines. You know, when the world dials 911 it rings in the White House, when the president dials 911 it rings 8th and I street. Or how about; the Marines, when it absolutely positively has to be destroyed over night.

These motivational sayings have been around since there was a military. Who starts them no one knows but God. You just listen to Rush too much or not enough.

It was amazing to me even as a young private. We were paying combat vets with 15 years of experience to leave and promoting young chuckleheads who had never done anything into their positions!


This is true but remember we can’t play with the kids anymore. The stuff they do now makes what we used to do look like the stone age. When we were attacked on 9/11 my first reaction was to go back into the military. My wife pointed out that I already had one bullet hole too many, it was not until I did a three mile run to prove to myself I was in shape that I discovered that I had gotten old, and that round was a shape. Even if the corps would over look my disability I can’t run through the desert with my M-16 like I did as a young Marine and sitting behind a desk is a waste of knowledge. Talking to the young marines and soldiers that left SpecOps and went to other government departments like where I work with now, I know from I could not keep up with them anymore as much as I hate to admit it I will never be able to shoot someone in the face again.

So we have to promote the young ones and hope they will learn fast, just like when we were young. Yes, we will get the usual 10% that would do a better job working for the enemy but that is the cost of doing business.
on Jul 31, 2008

This is true but remember we can’t play with the kids anymore.

 

The problem here is that we aren't really talking about the combat arms brances as much as the the bloated wreck that supports them.

The grunts are still in good shape but they are massively outnumbered by the support Army. Support "culture" is leaking rapidly into the Combat Arms branches and it is dramatically weakeneing them.

 

If we want support troops to do complicated technical jobs witht the same level of expertise as a civilian contractor would then they need to devote the same percentages of time to training those tasks under *expert* instruction.

 

More appropriate is to stop trying to do anything other than kill people and break things with soldiers and just let the damn contractors corps do the rest. They are doing all anyway and the "support troops" are doong it in name only while wasting gigantic amounts of money and Army time.

 

This also generates wads of idiot support officers who can't swallow the fact they they arn't a combat leader or even the next Patton. these chumps dilute actual combat strcutres and culture through aggressive denial of their own poguedom and then branch transferring into CA as a mid-grade officer (waaay more common that it used to be).

 

 

Leave the stuff handling, intel gathering, and commo to people who do it for a living and leave the shooting to the soldiers. Mixing that up just fucks up both sides of the equation.

 

on Aug 01, 2008
The problem here is that we aren't really talking about the combat arms brances as much as the the bloated wreck that supports them.


Sorry I misunderstood you. You are correct, shitcan them all. Not to be boastful but the army can take a few lessons from the marines. I have noticed how bloated the army is and have complained for years as I have seen my beloved Corps try to emulate the army in ways that are harmful. Back when I was in, (Christ was just a Corporal then.) The Marines was streamlined by the beloved General Louis H. Wilson, Commandant and father of the Wilson sisters also known as heart. If it did not kill the enemy we did not need it. It has always been tight, we have no medics, and admin personnel are kept to 3% or less. Almost all of our officers are naval personnel augmented to the Marine Corps. We don’t have much that is not used to kill the enemy and even our cooks, back then we still had cooks, were required to qualify with their rifle and one of my SgtMaj’s was a cook and also a three time purple heart winner who was required to fight on the lines between meals, while the grunts were eating the cooks manned the lines.

We went the opposite way of the Army, we did not have any special operators, and every marine was and is a basic rifleman. The motto of the Women Marines was to free a Marine to fight. So even when we brought women into the Corps, we did so with the express purpose of freeing the admin guy to go into combat. When they restarted Recon it was still a basic infantry MOS of 0311. We did not have special tags on our uniforms to designate us as special or different.

The Army went the way of the Air Force and had specialist for everything. This created the mess you have now. Let’s make everyone more special by giving them black hats? My GOD the inmates are running the asylum, and I would laugh if it were not so serious. Please don’t misunderstand me; I am in no way putting down the Army or Air force. They serve a vital purpose to our nation and without them the marines would not look as wonderful as we are. (Sorry had to throw that in) Your support people are two thirds of your branch of service, support is necessary you need one support person for every 20 fighters. Support should never become a growth industry in the military.

If I remember my charters correctly the Marines are the only branch of the military that is strictly offensive in nature. The army is supposed to come in and hold what we take so we can advance some more. I know in WWII the army went after Hitler and the marines went after Japan and that caused a slight change in our charters but they are still written that way. This may be why the army is so bloated with support people. If that is the case then there is nothing you can do about it. They have become a necessary evil but one that should be kept in check. Did this rant make any sense?
on Aug 01, 2008

I have noticed how bloated the army is

 

Indeed the Divisional Wedge of the Army is just ridiculous.

on Aug 01, 2008
Indeed the Divisional Wedge of the Army is just ridiculous.


Well President Obama will fix that if we are lucky.
on Aug 03, 2008
My point about Mr Limbaugh was that he repeats it every chance he gets and never gives credit for where he got it. He repeats it enought times and his adoring audience thinks he is a tough guy and a genius...he is neither.

As for the rest, I don't know whether to be in agreement or be offended. Inter-service rivalry has been around for a while, too. I don't want to fall into an us vs them conversation here, so I will just state some truth. I believe that the move to contractors to do the service support missions was a BIG mistake. We used to train soldiers to do combat service support and they usually did a pretty good job. Truck drivers could drive, cooks could cook, typists could type, etc. The big advantage was that you could always tell them to put down the spatula and pick up a gun. Yes, Mr. Marine, the Army trains all of its soldiers to be riflemen, too. But when the poo-poo gets in the propellor, the contractors will not, can not, do the same. My major complaint about the way the Army is managing this nowadays is with the level of training and the lack of same in those specialty fields. They think the answer is to increase the number of people who aren't doing anything. As I pointed out earlier, the 1:40 ratio is still fairly close. And you can not run an Army or any service with less. That number, btw, is based on ALL services. Just because a Marine isn't doing it doesn't mean SOMEONE isn't doing it. The supply chain has many layers and it is easy to criticsize the numbers of people involved, but it takes people to move men, equipment, and supplies to the front...they don't just walk up on their own...

I spent 26 years moving troops, cargo, fuel, ammo and toilet paper to shooters all over the world. I have a pretty good perspective on what changes have worked and what haven't. Civilian contractors are just that...civilians. Send 'em home.
on Aug 03, 2008
My point about Mr Limbaugh was that he repeats it every chance he gets and never gives credit for where he got it.


I have to disagree with you. The reason what I recounted was what I remember from his show. He has mentioned it three or four times since I have been listening to his show and each time he credits Sergeant Major Eric L. Haney who Rush had met while he was still on active duty.

Just because a Marine isn't doing it doesn't mean SOMEONE isn't doing it. The supply chain has many layers and it is easy to criticsize the numbers of people involved, but it takes people to move men, equipment, and supplies to the front...they don't just walk up on their own...


I think you misunderstand what I wrote or I was not clear. The marines had no medics, but we had cooks, now just like the army it is contracted out. The supply chain is still run by marines, when recuperating that was where they stuck me. I understand supply and logistics because I worked them and was certified as a load master for ships. The point I was making was that the grunts are becoming the smallest factor of the military because they have forgotten the basic reason they are there, to kill people and break things.
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