Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Further Proof that We've Won the War

This is all the proof that I need that things are getting better in Iraq:

MOSUL, Iraq -- Famished and sleep-deprived after a 48-hour combat mission, Spec. Rusty "Doc" Mauney shed his heavy body armor and headed for the chow hall. He was near the door when a booming voice halted him.

Where's your headgear, soldier?" said the sergeant major.

Mauney stammered that he had been out on a mission all night and hadn't brought along his cap.

"You're not coming in here," snapped the sergeant, according to Mauney. "Just because you're in a combat zone doesn't mean you can blow off Army regulations."

Yup, we've won. If anyone has time to worry--to get really "concerned"-- about this stuff, then obviously they've got some time on their hands.

The article talks about the distinction between REMFs and grunts. And apparently our always inventive soldiers are creating a new lexicon of put-downs for us "chairborne ranger" types. Its good to see that sarcasm is alive and well in Iraq.

At CENTCOM in Qatar, I was about as much of a REMF as you can get, but we still felt our share of chickenshit. The camp was covered in officers. You couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a field-grade, but we still had to salute everyone. Your arm got worn out walking to work or chow. I was like a salute marathon. Everybody thought it was stupid, especially the foreign officers who thought we were crazy. The Aussies were especially amused, and the Air Force guys made a point of executing the most slacker-tastic salutes that I've ever seen (my buddy Quizmo being prime offender). But, we kept right on doing it because this was an Army camp damnit.

Maybe two days into the war, an email came out from some CSM with a bad boy list of those who needed a PT test. It was scheduled for two days later. At that point most guys were lucky if they were only working 12-16 hour days. Hell, I don't know if the G-3 planner slept the whole time. He looked like some reject from a George Romero movie, and he comes down on this stupid list.

There we were making sure that the invasion of Iraq goes well, and this bullshit tries to interject itself. Everyone was pissed. Luckily there were a bunch of colonels on the list so the PT test was postponed...indefinitely.

Then there is the great ongoing "Oakley" controversy. I won't even get started on that.

I keep this quote from Stephen Ambrose's Citizen Soldiers on the wall in my office:

"Chickenshit refers to behavior that makes military life worse than it need be: petty harassment of the weak by the strong; open scrimmage for power and authority and prestige...insistence on the letter rather than the spirit of ordinances. Chickenshit is so called -- instead of horse -- or bull -- or elephant shit -- because it is small-minded and ignoble and takes the trivial seriously. Chickenshit can be recognized instantly because it never has anything to do with winning the war."

This link has the chapter from the book where I got the definition. It also puts chickenshit in context with a discussion of history's greatest chickenshit artist: Patton.

Phil Carter over at Intel-Dump also posted on this. He delves into the "great camelbak controversy".

Update: Bobby at Bobby's World has an interesting post on this. He makes some good points about things like removing SAPI plates from body armor. I can see his point, but I will still wear my Oakleys.


At April 05, 2005, Blogger J. said...

I remember an incident in the field - I was a BN chemo in a light infantry unit. The HHC 1st SGT was pissed at me because I wore my promask carrier over my shoulder so the carrier was against my chest. Not only was this a legit use of equipment, it was in the BN SOP (and as the BN chemo, I was trying to explain that to Top). But it was HHC's intent that everyone had to wear the mask on the hip, and no one violating that edict could get chow.


At April 05, 2005, Blogger armynurseboy said...

I have a very strong memory of my time at Al Asad in early OIF 1. It was summer, 140 degrees outside, and we had to wear full uniform (as usual). Well many soldiers would unblouse thier boots and roll up their sleeves a bit to let air circulate. Our SQD Cdr tacitly agreed to it (heck it made sense), but had to change the policy once the Regimental TOC moved to our happy little FOB. Can't let the old man know we were adjusting uniform for the environment....

At April 06, 2005, Anonymous Bobby said...

Great post.

I posted about this story on my blog, too. Since I served with the Blackhorse back in the day-- and have been thinking of this since I used to work at active duty, National Guard, and special operations camps in OEF-- I tried to be fair to what I think was their intent, but my anti-uniform sympathies were still pretty hard to suppress.


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