Friday, August 26, 2011

"Why I Fight" - Sgt Raab's Post

Since I don't wish to color his declaration in any way, I'll not provide a selected quote, rather read the whole thing for yourselves . . .

There's also this . . .

As to my perspective, consider that I volunteered at 18 for the USMCR in April 1975 the same month that Saigon fell. I served into the mid 1990s in various capacities - reserve, active duty, civilian US Army. I'm a small town Southern conservative who left the GOP in disgust due to Iran-Contra in the mid 1980s. I think the country would have been far better off had George W. Bush remained an obnoxious drunk and not found religion or a political "calling".

Never fired a shot in anger, never really, physically risked my life, or maybe, but hard to tell. Still, if you consider I was in Berlin in the late 1980s . . . with my family. And we wouldn't have given up. Whatever the Cold War's worth in the pecking order of US wars . . .

World War II's definitely on top, but there are not too many of those vets left anymore. Korea? Nobody asks. Cold War's not even on the list.

Vietnam looks a lot better than it did 40 years ago . . . What exactly that's due to I'd ask Publius to go into . . .

Iraq, Afghanistan, the whole Global War on Terror? I just wish they would all end. That maybe some politician might say, "It's time to come home America and fix the country!" Don't hear anybody saying that!

Still, given the right point in time, maybe, a soldier might say . . . something different and unlike all the times in the past, it might make a difference . . .

Finally, simply, I don't really recognized what this gentleman - Jonathan Raab - is talking about.


  1. Seydlitz, at a certain level, I know what this kid's talking about, but I've gotta tell you, I've tuned all of it out. The primary reason why most sane people have gone to war over the years is to somehow put an end to what's essentially the most stupid endeavor on this planet. Until now. What this kid's telling us is that he needs war, that he's addicted. That's why he's going back. And it's not uncommon among the breed.

    You mention Vietnam. Well, Vietnam doesn't look any better in the rear view mirror. Whatever gloss we may put on it now is just more lipstick on the pig. By now, that old whore is so caked with makeup and lipstick, it's too repulsive to even think about embracing. So I do not embrace Vietnam. Curiously, however, I am not ashamed of my service there, nor do I believe it was all wasted for me personally. I know exactly what this young kid's talking about, but I'm also disheartened to realize that young citizens in what's turned out to be a dishonest and duplicitous nation still have these primal urges.

    We didn't know any better. Forty years ago, there was still some innocence left. OTOH, these kids have seen their government lie, cheat and steal from the American people throughout their lifetimes. These kids have seen all of this, yet they still have this need to be part of the action. It's even worse once they're seduced once: then they feel left out, they feel the war can't be fought properly without them. They also miss the rush and the comradery.

    As I've remarked many times before, although I respect them, I don't honor these kids' service. They've wedded themselves to a clapped up whore and they end up with nothing but grief. I look at the KIA, the WIA, the suicides, the PTSD, the broken families, and I could just cry. What is with these kids? Why the fuck did they not learn from us? From all those goddamned graves?

    No, Seydlitz, Vietnam doesn't look any better.

  2. It is all about social cohesion and tribal identity. Once you are in the game, you are willing to sacrifice yourself for something useless rather than be embarrassed in front of your peers.

    Our hunter-gatherer genetics have been co opted by the civilized state.

  3. I was party to even less-honorable bits of business; the cynical "invasion" of Grenada and then I spent several years in Panama watching my country fatten that pig...and then butcher it when it wasn't useful anymore.

    Somewhere in Dave Grossman's "On Killing" he talks about the fundamental types of people in war. Most people are sheep. Nice, pleasant, domesticated...but they will fight, and kill, only when they absolutely have to.

    Some people are "sheepdogs"; perfectly capable of killing at will, but unwilling unless the need is apparent and immediate, after which they are perfectly happy to return to being house pets again.

    But some people are "wolves". They enjoy the actual fighting and killing for it's own sake, much as this young man seems to. I don't buy that it has anything to do with what is being fought over or who is doing the dying or the killing. Some people would gleefully fight for Stalin as for the Dalai Lama. Always have, always will. Doesn't "make a difference", doesn't have to - except as a sop to the modern feeling that war is something somehow unnatural and freakish, so that the war-lovers have to find a reason and a Cause.

    And Vietnam?

    The North was a vicious dictatorship. What makes Vietnam "look better" is that we've forgotten the Diems and the Thieus and the Kys and all the other vicious, corrupt, rapacious motherfuckers we backed there for fifteen years. Had the South won, it'd probably look a hell of a lot like Burma, or Indonesia. Not horrible, but not all that much worse than the PRVN today; run by a bunch of senile kleptocrats.

    Nope. No better from here, either.

  4. I'll throw in a quote from the article:

    "It is about knowing that I traded another year of my prime to go stand and face hardship and the enemy like a man, faithful not in politics or policy, but in God and the infantrymen in my platoon."


    Enemy? Which enemy? AQ? Gone, baby. The Talibs? Which Talibs? The Talibs who are in this to revenge your being in their country? To just gain local power back? For some sort of Islamist jihad against the Great Satan? Pakistan? Which of these enemies do you mean - or is the "enemy" whoever your higher tells you it is? If so, then you're thinking not like a citizen but like a soldier.

    God? Where the hell is God in all of this? In the bullet-exploding brains of a dying man? In the shredded guts of the "collateral damage" blown to pieces in a drone strike? In the rags that were a woman dismembered by a suicide bomber? Fighting for God is like - in the words of the Vietnam slogan - fucking for virginity.

    "It is about shrugging off the anger that sometimes bubbles up when I think about how so few have given so much for so many."

    And, frankly, if you asked most of the many they'd tell you thanks, but no thanks. If that's what you're "giving", we'd rather have you back in the armory than fiddle-fucking around central Asia.

    I'm with Ael on this; it screams tribalism all over. It sounds like a guy who has no purpose outside of war, who is only complete when he's with the troopers. That may be a great soldier - it IS a great soldier - but it's a very poor reason for a citizen.

    This sheds no light for me. I know why some guys go back again and again. What I need to read and hear and see is WHY; what good reason should I, as a citizen, ask this man to do this.

    From what I can see of the 'Stan, they're trying to make bricks without straw. This poor bastard is very likely to end up very, very bitter...

  5. And as a USAR/ARNG type, I can tell you that the "old days" are gone. The idea that you can be a "citizen/soldier"? Forget it. If you wear the uniform, you're gonna be away for anywhere from 12 to 18 months unless you're too sick or lame to cut it.

    That's a job- and a career-killer. Talk all you want about how the civilian employers are supposed to "support the troops" and then explain to a boss how he's gonna have to hire someone, train them up to do the job, then fire them a year-and-a-half later when Johnny comes marching home.

    An assload of our RC people are practially full-timers now.

    The bottom line for me is that if we're going to change the RC paradigm we should be honest about it and do it. Right now the RC is being used as a back-door draft, and that's neither honest nor decent...

  6. Publius: then they feel left out, they feel the war can't be fought properly without them.

    I've tried to compare the "tribal behavior" of the AVF with that of the draft period. First off, "getting out" was the norm for the bulk of the military population, to include those who "enlisted", since most often, their enlistment was (or officer accession program) an action to influence the terms of their service. Saying an ETS farewell to comrades in arms was a normal part of service, even in the combat zone of VN. Life, for most of us, meant going permanently back to "The Real World", and another, fully qualified troop would fill your billet. "ETSing" was not abandoning your comrades, but simply the end of your contractual obligation. A normally occurring part of the military tribal experience.

    I would imagine that the combination of the AVF, unit cohesion programs, Stop Loss and the endless run of the current adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan have made the "tribal norm" staying in. It is not the statistically prevalent pattern that most members of the Armed Forces are transients, who are simply fulfilling a mandated obligation. The underlying subtext is that you are there because you want to be, few volunteer replacements are stepping forward, and without you, the guy on your flank is exposed.

    So, all other considerations aside, perhaps the tribal expectation, overt or not, is that one should not abandon the tribe. Almost a sociological entrapment. "The Real world" doesn't understand us, and our comrades need us. Futility becomes noble.

    I'm not offering that this is THE major force behind retention, but I am damn well convinced it is a significant one. Is Rabb saying "Why I fight" or is he trying to explain "Why I don;t get out"?

  7. Thank you for the comments gentlemen.

    Publius, in regards to Vietnam looking better today, I was thinking specifically of the revisionist current COIN view that "we could have won it since Abrams understood COIN and would have except for the liberals and the hippies" argument, described well by Gian Gentile. I did a post on his paper a couple of years back if you recall . . .

    The pig does indeed look bad, but how comes it still sells so well?


    I think what I have a hard time understanding about Raab is not the blood and guts stuff, but the resentment. It comes out especially in the second essay I linked, but the quotes Chief pointed out show the same as well. There is absolutely no questioning here, no consideration of the whole tainted history, or the dubious interests that got us where we are and keep us there now. Just "little ole righteous me" and the "(liberal) backstabbers".

    Simple question: what's the difference between this guy and the Taliban?

  8. Al-

    ""The Real world" doesn't understand us, and our comrades need us. Futility becomes noble.

    I'm not offering that this is THE major force behind retention, but I am damn well convinced it is a significant one. Is Rabb saying "Why I fight" or is he trying to explain "Why I don;t get out"? "

    Excellent point. But it's not just that the "real world doesn't understand" is it?

    Amazing too how the Taliban start coming across as rational . . .

  9. seydlitz-

    Well, the good SGT went to some lengths to demonstrate how "the folks back home" (What we called "The Real World" during VN) could not comprehend what he was doing, but then his perception of what he is doing is skewed well off "reality".

    First off, most of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan were not "enemies" of the American people. They were enemies of our forces, and any subsequent unstable regime we foisted upon those two countries. And SGT Rabb is not going off again to kill "enemies of the American People", he's putting himself into the role of enemy to whoever it is that he's going to shoot at.

    By the time I was in flight school, knowing the next stop was Viet Nam, I had completed my basic 6 year military obligation. I had no illusions that I was "defending the folks back home". I was an instrument of US foreign policy. I fought against the enemies of the people of South Viet Nam, and by our policy of supporting the South Viet government, the enemies of the US Armed Forces. That was my job. I was no longer a draft motivated volunteer, but a free will volunteer. I had no qualm about obeying LAWFUL orders pertaining to the execution of foreign policy. Nor did I consider myself in the category of "how so few have given so much for so many".

    As far as you are concerned, SGT Rabb, you are serving because in 1972, We, The People decided that military service was not a general responsibility, but rather, an individual opportunity, complete with better than median wages and a robust benefit package far greater than 55% of the general population. We created an AVF so that those who wished, could sit it out. If you haven’t figured that out by now, well sorry to burst your bubble. You are not currently a defender of anything American except foreign policy. It’s the NY Guardsmen and women gearing up for Hurricane Irene that are really protecting the folks back home. They are the "few who are giving so much for the many".

  10. "War is the best fucking drug I've ever had."

    For me, when I heard that, I just stared at the vet.

    Vietnam vet.

    That was the weirdest conversation I ever had with a vet, and mind you, I've talked to hundreds, and this guy...was the first one I ever heard say exactly what a few of the others only alluded too.

    The impression they left me with was that they felt the most alive in the middle of the shit...and for me, the one time I stared down the barrel of a SKS being held by a very angry man...I could understand somewhat...but for me, that is an experience I would never, ever want to be repeated.

    so color me the doubter in the sanity of people who want to crawl back to the cesspool called war, and take another hit of living on the edge.


    I prefer the soft yielding flesh of a cooing woman I've known for years in a quiet neighborhood awash in a techicolor splash of life that has never known the sound of anger.

    Some men need to kick that war habit...because as I've come to find...there is nothing wrong with living a quiet life.

  11. Al-

    "It’s the NY Guardsmen and women gearing up for Hurricane Irene that are really protecting the folks back home. They are the "few who are giving so much for the many"."


  12. sheer-

    I can tell you that combat flying was the most "productive" I ever felt in my life. There is no way to explain, so I understand that much of what SGT Rabb pines away about. Troops need to be told that there is nothing wrong with the folks back home not understanding. In the Corps, the combat vets told us that, in Army flight school, the combat vets told is that, and lo and behold, I found out for myself that such was the case. It's an occupational hazard. I went knowing that it cannot be experienced vicariously and fought seeing that such was the case. Doesn't bother me one bit. My wife can talk all she wants about labor pains, but I still cannot understand it. I really don't care if the uninitiated do not understand what we experienced, as I do not need that to validate my life.

  13. I read Sgt. Raab's second article when it was published in the Times. And found nothing inexplicable about it, but remember thinking that it was too bad that he hadn't been introduced into that high country as part of a more useful organization -- something on the order of Médecins Sans Frontières. But then we don't get much of a choice by way of vehicles.

    It's self-defeating -- that hunger for the clarity and the rush -- and sooner or later one's luck runs out. But even now, as an old man here in Mexico, I find myself drawn to the frontier, blasting through pre-dawn Reynosa, hitting the topes at 70 mph, not letting anyone pull alongside, poised to do the old rum-runner's U-turn (parking brake hard on, steering full left) in event of a road block. Crazy I know, but as someone who saw a bit of the civil rights movement and who later played a more dangerous role in anti-Vietnam protest activity, the impulse and the reward are the same. When it's over and the angels stop singing, you look around and say, "Goddam, made it again."

    I guess we're hopeless at the individual, psychological level. But the appetite for risk has its broader uses. As Aviator pointed out, the civil rights movement was a positive thing both for those who were privileged to take part in it and for the nation.

  14. Al,

    I see your point and raise you a moment of illuminated clarity...

    My wife with our first born was giving birth, five hours of labor, and I'm all baby is in pain, and there isn't a dam thing I can do about it...but feel for her.

    And then I saw what happens to a woman's vagina, and I had my moment of illuminate clarity:

    "Thank G-d I'm a man."

    Yes, all empathy drained out of me...and I looked at the life being birthed, and the woman who gave birth to him, and I didn't feel a damn thing except relief that I, me, selfish male that I am, did not have to experience that.

    When our second was being born, again, the wife had five hours of labor, but this time...I was the fucking comedian in the birthing room.
    Lady next door was howling like a she-wolf stuck in a leg trap, and her chart, observable from my wife's room, indicated some nasty ass contractions that a lift off much like a Trident II missile punching off the surface.
    After listening to the other woman howl, beg, barter, offering all sorts of sexual wonders to her husband if he would just take her home because she didn't want to do this anymore, my wife complained, "hey, I'm in pain too."
    I, looking at the tiny little blip that indicated a contraction compared to the atlas rocket liftoff of the lady next door, I said, 'no your not, that graph says you got a case of gas."
    Obviously, I got smacked, and deservedly so, but it shows the perspective.

    I don't need to know what war is like, I can see it, and judge that it is shit without ever firing a shot in anger.
    Unfortunately, I wish I was a soldier who could say, "yeah, I know" but I'm not...I was a civilian puke watching from the safety of Sunnyvale as a FB111 delivered our rebuke to Saddam and his command and control network which for that day was in a bunker in Baghdad.

    Soldiers get a high from the exhilaration of combat, and the "booyah, bitch, today was your day, but not mine!"
    But civilians, like the ones the Iraqi's pulled from the bunker, are the ones who do not get that wild exhilaration of life, they just get kill'd wondering "why?".
    And for me...yeah, the glow and glory that I used to think was war died as I watched on the evening news the handiwork of our technology being piled on the top of the dead mother that awaited her dead daughter.

    But I'm not a soldier, and that, Al, is a memory that I will bear for eternity with shame because when I saw that...I saw the future die, and with it, a part of my soul.

  15. Here's another viewpoint


  16. Just lost my entire posting, so I will be uncharacteristically brief. 3 theories why he is going back.

    1. Social and tribal identity, well said ael.

    2. DC Skeptic theory. He is the spokesman for a very well known and vocal Vet group?? These guys are on TV, social media, etc. Maybe he is working up some street cred with the organization and its constituents, maybe he will blog and write from over there and then a book?

    3. Employment. Pays good.

    Probably a combo of all 3.

  17. bg-

    Great to have you commenting again, too bad we won't be able to read your full thoughts.

    I'd put the center of gravity on 2. He's looking to make a career from the GWOT industry in the area of marketing . . .

  18. To all,
    Per Rabb,Why would any sane person want to return to risk life and limb in a war that has no clear objective and faltering popular support?
    Here's a crux point.This joker reflects America. Do we find popular support to be more important than the just war concept?
    Hitler invading Poland was very popular in Germany, but wasn't exactly a just war, in addition it had clear objectives but this didn't make it right. We hung a lot of those planners.
    Here and now even if we had clear objectives, which we don't that wouldn't mold the turd that is the PWOT into anything constructive.
    This guy is typical and confused. His basic concept is twisted- popular and lacking objectives are not even relevent.

  19. jim-

    "Here and now even if we had clear objectives, which we don't that wouldn't mold the turd that is the PWOT into anything constructive."

    Nice. That's what struck me as well, it's all about him and his justifications, no thought of how it affects the country as a whole ($$$) or how to deal with the entire history post-2001, just regurgitated and self-serving bushshiz . . .

    Btw, Hitler's invasion of Poland wasn't popular in Germany, quite the opposite.

    "There is no excitement here in Berlin. There was, we are told, in 1914, and it was tremendous. No, there is no excitement here today, no hurrahs, no wild cheering, no throwing of flowers - no war fever, no war hysteria . . ."

    William Shirer, September 3, 1939, broadcasting from Berlin.

    Shirer continues to describe the worsening attitude after the French and British declarations of war . . . "the [German people] are grim".

    The difference being that the Germans who had lived through WWI knew what was at stake, what a world war meant for themselves and the whole country. They didn't have the option of simply packing up and going home, let alone of not having their country and people become the target, as Poland's country and people were then the target . . . but then Germany in 1939 was a totalitarian dictatorship.

  20. seydlitz,
    I know that there was a lot of opposition to Hitlers invasions within the Army. They weren't opposed, but rather objected to the time tables. At least that's my read. This was among the professionals and not the population.
    I will amend my cmt that if it wasn't popular at least it had a clear objective. To this i'm sure Rabb would get his panties wet.
    All i'm saying is that we are really misdirected on this war thing.

  21. Ranger: "All i'm saying is that we are really misdirected on this war thing."

    Too sadly true, Ranger. As is your comment about popular v just war. The American public wouldn't know a "just war" if it bit 'em in the ass. Worse, politicians and soldiers such as this confused young man don't seem to have much of a grip on the difference, either. Our sergeant here plainly limits himself to a utilitarian view of life, which is pretty much the standard nowadays.

    Seydlitz, so far as I'm concerned, the less said about Vietnam the better. The revisionists who think their COIN nostrums would have saved the day were it not for the cowardly homefront are lost in the gauzy haze of flawed memory. Our nation was coming apart at the seams. The Army (and, yes, the Marines, too) might have soon reached the stage of mutiny. It astounds me that anyone old enough to remember the summers from 1965 to 1968 can try to sell such snake oil as, "Oh, boy, we coulda won, we coulda been a contenda," when the major cities of our homeland were ablaze. And then the Democratic convention of '68, Kent State, you name it.

    The country was falling apart. And old fucking generals sit around sermonizing about failure of will on the home front. They're wrong: There was lots of will on the home front, most of it having to do with avoiding generals and colonels like the plague. Fuck them. I knew some of those assholes. And at the age of 23 or so, I already knew they couldn't pour piss out of a boot. Yeah, if they'd gotten their way, I figure we could have welcomed the Indochina expeditionary force back just in time to move 'em on over to Afghanistan as the Southwest Asian Geriatric Expeditionary Force.

    And now we have the new generation of idiot pundits and generals peddling their snake oil to poor confused kids like this sergeant.

    You know, up until the fall of the wall, the American people and even most soldiers—career or not—knew the death merchants for who they were. Certain bargains were made, understandings were reached. It's kind of disheartening to think that modern military personnel and the bulk of the American public have unlearned the lessons of 200 years, which can be summarized as: "Never trust the government."

  22. publius,
    I'm reading Whites-Making of a president 1972 and it's really an eye opener. ISTM that we're still in 1972.
    I might do a book report when i finish the book.

  23. Publius-

    You are soooo right! I saw it as a young 18 year old Marine Corps private in 1975. They had Separations Barracks at Camp Pendleton with Marines awaiting BCD's sleeping under the building, never even bothering to bathe, or show up for formations. These guys were getting the boot by the 100s and at that late date. They would throw trash all over the place and then the SNCOs would gather us young bloods up to clean up the mess, being mocked the whole time by the "shizbirds". I remember being begged by a Gunny to clean out a pisser as I was getting into a cab to make the drive to LA airport and home. It was quite an eye-opener for a young and motivated Marine just out of FST - Field Artillery Batteryman's course.

    I don't think I ever took the military THAT seriously after that. There was obviously a lot of bs going around and it was also clear that the Marine Corps was in trouble, and it didn't have anything to do with the hippies or "liberals" . . .

  24. Ranger, Teddy White wrote these "Making of the President" books every four years from 1960 to 1972. He skipped 1976 and did another one in 1980. I read the first four (Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon(2) years ago. Don't recall if I read the '80 version (Reagan). '72 is of course the Nixon Watergate election. I'd definitely like to see your review of this because as I recall, White was kind of an establishment guy—which is how he got access—and didn't give us the really good shit. Like Nixon was totally bat shit crazy. But as you know, I am even older than you and, even though we know it's not true, there is that old thing about the memory being the first to go.

    One of my go-to guys back in the day when I took my Poli Sci degree seriously was David Wise, who wrote "The Politics of Lying," which is focused on old friend Nixon and his fellow travelers in government. Wise always sourced pretty well, too, so if you want juicy stuff, he's good.

    Seydlitz, you broke the code early on. The key to the military is to never take it that seriously. It's a liar's game and it's home to many serious socio and psychopathic personalities. Always has been, always will be. Frankly, I've always believed the best possible reason to support universal military training, i.e., the "draft" is to assist Joe and Jill Normal American in breaking through all of the self-serving horseshit that's been strewn around the military, the police, the FBI, the CIA, ATF, et al, so that they can understand the truth about "security" in the U.S. Not to say we don't need these outfits or that the majority of folks serving aren't decent human beings. I just think we need to demythologize (new word) all of these "patriots" and understand the truth about them. But then, I've never truly understood why someone would buy a T-shirt or cap with "FDNY" on it. Or "Notre Dame" if you didn't go there. Or any college team if you didn't go there.

    Just another "hero" here......

  25. Publius said:
    "The Army (and, yes, the Marines, too) might have soon reached the stage of mutiny."
    Well, some maybe, but it's hard to mutiny (other than to throw the occasional frag), if you'tr torqued out of your mind on drugs/alcohol. The mutinies were mostly racial. I saw the black/white shit early, the drugs not so much. I did re-entry to the World on 1 June 1967, so things not so critical attitude-wise.
    There was an instructor in our Staff NCO academy class who was in RVN in 69'. He said that troops would go out on OP's and ambushes on speed, weed, H laced cigarettes as well as anything else available under the sun. The uniforms on duty resembled the costumes of Escape from new York. Security went to shit.
    He went back during the evacuation of Saigon. If anyone remembers the happy snap, he was on the front page of either Time or Life, pictured on the wall of the embassy preventing a frantic Viet who was trying to squeeze through the Wire entanglement.
    As for staying in, or returning to the theater...Pffttui. My last year was in a security detachment at HQMC in Arlington VA. We were all grunts all back from the non-world, all cpl's and sgt's with a few lance coolies thrown in for good taste. Only one person re-enlisted during that time. he was so ashamed of doing it, he kept it a secret, and just disappeared one day. I thought we were buddies as I had visited his home on two occasions. He was a grunt, but had been a bridge guard his whole tour. I guess he felt bad about that and wanted to see the real shit.
    Opinions are like assholes, everybody's got one. The one common thread that ran along all of our Det's Jarheads was: "These fucking politicians, and fucking Lifers don't take this war shit seriously...., and they expect us to, FUCK that Schnoizze! Folks were just more cynical in that era, and despite the fact that Marine Corps grunts were younger than their present contemporaries, they would win any contest of situational snap. Moreover, the 60's cohorts were not Warriors; which, I propose, alleviated the dull wittedness displayed by today's Generation of Type A killers. Salutations and tributes to the Gods for that Huss.
    I think BG's got the line on this cat. The Rabbster is greasing the skids for the possibility of future long green, a gig as a cub reporter, (Jimmy Olson style). He shows up at the armory in an ever so chic Dylan Kliebold sweat with a hoodie. Gag me Bra'. Hey Chief, I disagree, this Hombre's no Wolf. He is, however, selling big time Wolf tickets; and the fey caballeros of the press are buyin' em' by the gross.

  26. Publius,
    I'm reading 72 b/c my head was in a much different place than it was back then.

    I've read all the White books before , but wanted to re-examine the time frame.
    My from the hip cmt is that nothing has gotten better- the selection of VP candidates is a example.

  27. Seydlitz,
    As an instructor in the Ranger Dept 71/72 we officers were req'd to empty garbage cans b/c VOLAR demanded this sacrifice.
    For sure RLTW.
    BTW when the West Point cadets visited they were exempt from these onerous duties.

  28. Publius-

    "It's a liar's game and it's home to many serious socio and psychopathic personalities. Always has been, always will be. Frankly, I've always believed the best possible reason to support universal military training, i.e., the "draft" is to assist Joe and Jill Normal American in breaking through all of the self-serving horseshit that's been strewn around the military, the police, the FBI, the CIA, ATF, et al, so that they can understand the truth about "security" in the U.S."

    That's beautiful.

    I remember too the kinda scared jokes about the BCDs, or "Big Chicken Dinners" at the time. Quite a different military in 1975 than what came 10 years later; I consider/remember the US Army in Berlin. As fasteddiez mentions "the mutinies were mostly racial". We had problems in Berlin too in the late 1980s as you probably remember . . .

  29. jim-

    "I think BG's got the line on this cat. The Rabbster is greasing the skids for the possibility of future long green, a gig as a cub reporter, (Jimmy Olson style)."

    Agree. A career move . . . better than teaching.

  30. seydlitz,
    When i was bde. duty officer in 69 Baumholder i was req'd to check the EM club.
    I had a 45 but NO AMMO. I carried a live mag in my piece and be damnded.This was my mag and ammo. I wasn't gonna get knifed in a drunken brawl.

  31. Don't comment on this blog too often any more. Not made any easier after losing internet access for almost a week because of Irene.

    FD's much earlier comment about the RC being a civilian career killer was right on. Only place where there is an advantage is if you work for the government. In the 60s, what with the draft, business was used to the idea of people disappearing because they were drafted or at Guard of Reserve training. Not in today's business climate. Business used to stockpile talent, now it's all a spot labor market. If you can't be there, you're not part of the team and will be marginalized.

    I've been part of ESGR for several years and get to visit RC units from all services. Command slots are too often Reservists on active duty. Where do they come from? AGR or technicians. Given the up or out nature of the military it doesn't take much to realize that there's no place to go after you've been in a while.

    This is one positive side to this: My civilian career was with a public utility. One middle manager was a NG MG armored division commander. I was involved with numerous Bn, Bde/Grp, Div exercises for the headquarters elements. Just as squads need to practice their battle drill, these headquarters elements need to be exercised often to practice their skills. I don't mean only the staff officers and supporting NCOs, but the commanders as well. Too often, at that level, they were terrified of taking microphone in hand and personally leading the unit. Things must have gotten better is that area.

    Given the Army's brigade organization, the cold war echelons above division structure is gone. Until there was a recent reorganization, armor battalions had organic engineer companies. Not a numbered separate company but a lettered company per TOE. Now that company is a lettered company in a brigade support battalion. The nondivisonal hierarchy of units no longer exists. Where is the career progression for these support personnel? Unless you wear idiot sticks or butter knives you are toast.

    I had a conversation with an AC Signal Corps LTC. Said that there were almost no Signal Battalions in the force structure.

    So much for my rant.

  32. Eddie -

    Your comment about Raab 'selling wolf tickets' was right on IMO.