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Monday, May 08, 2017

A tradition, now lost

Fred Reed recalls Marine boot camp, circa 1966:
A recruit was standing on a roof at Parris Island in the burning sun at parade rest. His DI had put him there to work on the roof and somehow had forgotten him. A passing sergeant noticed, stared curiously for a second, and bellowed, “Git down from there, prive.”

The private didn’t move.

“Goddamit, git down here,” bawled the instructor, unused to being ignored.

Nothing. The private looked deeply unhappy, but didn’t so much as twitch.

Another DI came along and yelled, but nothing moved the recruit. He gazed desperately ahead, either deaf or crazed by the sun. A group formed on the sidewalk, including a warrant officer, a lieutenant, and, finally, a passing light colonel.

The colonel snapped his crispest order. The private stared ahead. The crowd conferred, decided they had a mental case on their hands and prepared to send for a struggle buggy and some big corpsmen. Then the private’s DI returned.

“Jaworski, Ten-hut! Git your butt down from there.”

Down came Jaworski. From parade rest, you see, the only acceptable order is “attention”. The manual of arms says so.

“You see,” a drill instructor explained to me, “a recruit’s in a place he doesn’t understand at all, and nothing ever works for him. Back home, he knows the rules. Maybe he’s a big dude on the block, got it made. Not here. Everybody’s yelling at him and he can’t ever do anything right.

“So he figures he’ll do exactly what he’s told. It’s his way of protecting himself. If something goes wrong, he thinks at least it’s not his fault. This is what a drill instructor’s got to learn — nothing’s too crazy for a recruit to do if he thinks it’s what you told him. And you really got to think about it. Otherwise you can get him hurt.

“One time in winter a friend of mine, Sergeant Grunderling, had evening duty at some building and he wanted to go take a leak. So he tells this recruit who’s with him, ‘I’m going out for a minute. Don’t let anyone in who doesn’t know the password. You got that?’

“The recruit says, ‘Yes, sir,’ so Grunderling relieves himself and realizes he can’t remember the password. So he hollers, ‘Minter, open the door.”

“What’s the password?”

“I forget. Open the door.”

“I can’t do that, sir. You told me not to let anybody in who doesn’t give the password, sir.”

“Goddamit Minter, now I’m telling you to open the door.”

“‘No sir, I can’t do that.”

“Minter, it’s cold out here.”

“No, sir, I can’t do that.”

“By now Grunderling’s mostly frozen and so mad he can’t see straight, but he sees threats ain’t going to help him.

“Please, Minter, let me in. I ain’t gonna yell at you. I won’t do anything to you.”

“Aww, you’re trying to trick me.”

“No, Minter, honest, I ain’t trying to trick you. Open the door.’

“You’re gonna yell at me, aren’t you sir?”

“No, Minter, I promise.”

“Finally, old Minter opens the door and Grunderling nearly kills him. But he should have expected it. A recruit does exactly what you tell him.”
Societies in decline are always shocked to discover that their militaries are no longer what they once were when they run into a harder, more disciplined enemy. Just consider Athens after attacking Syracuse. Or the Spartans when they confronted the Thebans.

Today's Marine Corps may have more advanced weapons, but it seems highly unlikely that the changes in its preparation will prove to be for the better.

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64 Comments:

Blogger JohnofAustria May 08, 2017 8:47 AM  

Right now the discipline is being continued almost on the sly, and it seems like the senior leadership knows it can't really train people the way they need to, so they pay lip service, and accept that a few of them and a few DI's are going to get burned along the way.

Blogger Dirk Manly May 08, 2017 8:51 AM  

The pendulum will swing back shortly. During this month's training last weekend, while in the company CP tent, I overheard the 1st Sergeant telling another senior NCO that normally he doesn't fill out army in-line surveys, but when the opportunity recently presented itself with regard to the subject of New privates coming back from Basic Training + MOS school, he had to fill it out because otherwise problems aren't going to get solved.

Anonymous VFM #6306 May 08, 2017 8:54 AM  

It may be a missing tradition, but it might not be lost forever. US troops were undisciplined and easily defeated in Africa until Patton came in.

The trouble is right now, there is no Patton and if there was he'd be imprisoned in sensitivity training.

Worse, getting back some semblance of the mojo will likely come at an unnecessarily steep price.

Blogger Nate May 08, 2017 8:57 AM  

All of my sons are fascinated with the military. The eldest has always wanted to do it.

No way in hell I would let them. I'll be damned if one of my sons is gonna march down a street in high heels.

Anonymous Sam the Man May 08, 2017 9:01 AM  

From speaking to folks who I used to know in the National Guard, the July 2016 order regarding transsexuals has not been rescinded. That order mandated acceptance of such.

I believe women are still allowed into all combat elements, which is very detrimental to good order and discipline. A bunch of guys by themselves will bond, throw a fertile women into the mix and every body is trying to get laid.

Until

1) Homos are out again, or a return to don't ask, don't tell
2) Women are out of anything but service-support elements.
3) the entire transsexual acceptance (whatever that is) is rescinded

I will not believe things are going back to the days of old (which I never experienced, but saw the bad side of the new order).

Blogger James Dixon May 08, 2017 9:01 AM  

> Worse, getting back some semblance of the mojo will likely come at an unnecessarily steep price.

That's historically been the case, yes.

Anonymous VFM #6306 May 08, 2017 9:02 AM  

On the other hand, Dirk Manly, if the military is relying on voluntary surveys to determine whether or not discipline should be restored...isn't that self-defeating?

Blogger Dirtnapninja May 08, 2017 9:04 AM  

Let America 2: The Brownening fight its wars with the mexicans, muslims, blacks, women and trannies it so adores.

Blogger DeploraBard May 08, 2017 9:07 AM  

That is the correct stance Nate. 19 years this month. I have hated every minute of the last 3 years. Unbearable convergence. My boys will not be serving.

Blogger The Z Blog May 08, 2017 9:13 AM  

Fred should do a better job keeping track of his fictional military acquaintances.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/739268/posts

Or at least explain how they went from Marine Sargeant to Army Major.

That password story is an old Vaudeville gag. I think the Three Stooges did a variation on it.

Blogger Chris Lutz May 08, 2017 9:36 AM  

@3 He almost got canned for slapping a couple of soldiers during a war. He wouldn't last 5 minutes in today's military.

I've been reading a book on the Korean war. In just five years, the Army went to seed and was almost run out of Korea. I don't expect much better the next time we have to actually fight. One interesting point the author makes, and he wrote this in the early 60's, is that while the Marines were better prepared, they had been ignored by the press and powers that be and would show later they would cave to the slightest pressure just like the Army.

Blogger dc.sunsets May 08, 2017 9:37 AM  

As the .mil browned, I'm frankly happy that discipline is going south and that reliance on high tech (read "dependent on supply chain") weapons rose.

The last thing America needs is what amounts to fielding an army of Visigoths, training them well and equipping them with long-lived weaponry that renders the small arms of the citizenry impotent.

Does the .mil have stand-off weapons? Of course. Does it field weapons that make a rifle useless? Naturally. Do I want to see those weapons capable of being run entirely by either the minority-majority in uniform, or commanded by a vanishingly small elite who have transcended the need for popular consent by removing their dependence on the industry that feeds their armory?

Oh HELL no.

Blogger James Dixon May 08, 2017 9:38 AM  

> That password story is an old Vaudeville gag.

So Fred repeats an apocryphal story from his early years. What is your exact problem with that? And are you surprised there are multiple versions of it in circulation?

Blogger JohnofAustria May 08, 2017 9:38 AM  

I'm glad to be a reservist, because I can now avoid the worst of the dildo. The S/NCOs are maintaining the standard (USMC at least), but it's harder every day, IMO.

Blogger dc.sunsets May 08, 2017 9:50 AM  

When our discussion of the future includes the possibility of breaking up the USA's polity, it's inescapable to question what role the most expensive military machine in human history may play.

I consider the "military-industrial-(congressional)-complex" to be simply another case of buying off the Middle Class.

Welfare buys off consent of the underclass, but there are several mechanisms for buying off consent from the Party Members.

Most of the jobs in the "military" are not uniformed, and most of them pay quite well. This makes the "military" just like the "medical-services-insurance-cartel." It's one of the last vestiges of Middle Class employment, and both are paid for almost entirely by borrowing.

The Navy, the USMC, Humana, BCBS, Mayo, Cleavland Clinic, etc.............(etc.).......(seemingly forever)....are simply artifacts of the monetary system that held sway for over 50 years. Their exponential growth rates were Exhibit A for this grand folly.

The degradation of military discipline is simply evidence that the ostensible, top-line purpose of the military is tissue-thin veneer over its real purpose, which is to move money around our society and provide a rationalization for structures that make no sense whatsoever.

"Consent" for all levels of society has been put on the National Mastercard for decades and decades.

What happens when consent can no longer be bought with plastic?

Blogger Cail Corishev May 08, 2017 9:55 AM  

USAA is an insurance company that serves military personnel and their families, and it runs commercials during some sporting events. Saw one yesterday during the hockey game. To judge from their commercials, most US soldiers have a Mexican accent, and very few of them are white, though many of them do have attractive white wives.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother May 08, 2017 9:59 AM  

The 1970's was a total disaster for the US Military, and it recovered. Good leadership was all it took.

Mark Green obviously wasn't it.

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus May 08, 2017 10:13 AM  

So what Fred is saying is that Gomer Pyle USMC really was the authentic Marine Corp experience?

Anonymous a deplorable rubberducky May 08, 2017 10:14 AM  

For my sons I reserved a fallback path to "make a man out of ya" if all else failed. First, when they were young, the Boy Scouts. Later, the armed services.

With great pain both have been scratched off the list during the past decade. Masculinity's nearly a private affair now, shunned out of public spaces. We've still got some sports, but they are rapidly converging.

Dads have almost no public support, and increasingly even resistance from the moms if what I've anecdotally seen points to a larger trend.

Blogger James Dixon May 08, 2017 10:17 AM  

> So what Fred is saying is that Gomer Pyle USMC really was the authentic Marine Corp experience?

There's a reason stereotypes exist. :)

Anonymous Nathan May 08, 2017 10:47 AM  

@16,

I'm "shocked" that they wouldn't show the herds of dependapotamii that live on a military base.

Blogger JP May 08, 2017 10:56 AM  

In the reserves, you have limited time to train on useful skills needed for your unit to function... And then you have all of the libtard requirements. Naturally, we focused on the latter.

Rather than do PT, weapons training, or job training, at least half of our time was sucked up by sexual harassment training, equal opportunity training, and to counteract the effects of the other two classes, suicide prevention training.

The other half of the time, our leadership was stuck in meetings, so training or monthly tasks was largely ad hoc and run by lower NCOs on personal initiative.

The oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic clearly has not been followed. One was until recently a president, and we clearly have many others in the chain of command.

Blogger Sheila4g May 08, 2017 11:04 AM  

@4 Nate: My older son was also fascinated with the military and guns from a very young age, and idolized his late career Army-officer grandfather. We let him join the guard at 17. For various reasons {with which I strongly disagreed} he re-upped once after his initial service. He gets out in less than a year and cannot wait. Wanted to serve a country that he now recognizes is no longer America. Quality of people has changed dramatically in just 8 years. All the older guys are urging him to stay and get his 20 years in for retirement. Do they really think their promised $ is going to be there when everything collapses? Same with government pensions - my husband has two high-school buddies both due to retire in the next few years {both are capable and qualified engineers but neither has had any real work to do in the past 5 years} and they're already counting their shekels. My husband has tried to tell them not to count on those pensions past a few years' time, but it falls on deaf ears. Everyone is convinced that the way it is now is the way it has always been and always will be.

@16 Cail Corishev: We have been insured with USAA for years {FSOs count as military officers for coverage}. I got a loan for my first car from USAA. Things have definitely changed. It used to be limited to officers and there was a slightly more expensive version for officers' adult children. As the military shrunk and old guys died off, they expanded it to enlisted and just about everybody else they could think of. All their ads are heavily vibrant these days, and the quality of their service has dropped dramatically. I used to call for a quote or to change our policy and speak with White, well-trained and capable people. They've pawned those calls off now on a contract workforce of all Negroes and Mexicans, and getting a straight answer or anyone who knows what they're talking about is a real crapshoot. Totally converged, just like the military itself.

Blogger Bobo #117 May 08, 2017 11:06 AM  

@DC sunsets

Exactly.
I grew up near, and recently moved back near, a major Army base somewhere between Texas & Mississippi.
It serves as the Fed govt life-support tit for the entire region.
Morons who are too stoopid to hold a real-world lawnmowing job can work for a mil-contractor,doing dick-diddly, at $30+/hr plus benefits.
Thousands of them.

Blogger dc.sunsets May 08, 2017 11:07 AM  

In the reserves, you have limited time to train on useful skills needed for your unit to function... And then you have all of the libtard requirements. Naturally, we focused on the latter.

Who are you training to defend against? The Mexican Army? The Canadian Army?

Against the Operation Overlord amphibious assault coming from Iran?

FFS, how does this Cargo Cult discussion pass the laugh test? Yet here we are, how many decades after The War Department was rechristened the DoD?

"Hey Frank, how goes your production of bamboo radios and palm-leaf cargo planes?"

"Ray, let me tell you. The bosses keep pulling us aside to 'splain how we're not supposed to grab the girls' grass skirts. How the heck are we to get anything done around here with that crap?"

Blogger dc.sunsets May 08, 2017 11:12 AM  

@24 I'd give a lot to get one of those jobs. :^(

That said, sometimes these discussions make me feel like I'm so deep in this hole that no one even bothers to notice, much less discuss, that all we do is bump around in the dark.

What do I make of a world where my entire adult life was lived under conditions so estranged from reality that Lewis Carroll couldn't imagine them?

Blogger bw May 08, 2017 11:12 AM  

"Serving" as the spear point for Globalism since Havana harbor.

The US military failed when it didn't turn its guns on NYC and DC at the turn of and the first part of the 20th Cent

Blogger JohnG May 08, 2017 11:31 AM  

My second kid has thankfully exited the Army, Fort Hood has a way of killing people's desire to make a career out of the military (Fort Drum and Fort Polk have similar effects). It's a running joke that there are Sergeant Majors running around in the war zones telling troops that "SHARP (sexual harassment and rape prevention) will win the war!" Basic is easier than it was when I went through in 85. A lot of the problems were having with the military, whether its in the way we fight or do Basic Training, is because the leadership outsources thought/training development to outside "experts". Counterinsurgency is mostly "lets be nice to the enemy and he won't want to kill us as much" conceived by Kilcullen, and cribbed by Petreus. The training institutions basically follow whatever pop-psych new-agey crap is coming out of colleges. There was the "Global learning method" for a while and now its all group discussion as opposed to lecture (because a group of ignoramuses talking together can somehow divine how something they've never done is supposed to work). Basic training and discipline in the services has followed suit, DIs can't curse (as much), are limited in the amount of PT they can make a private do, they allow them to have phones now. They developed a new physical training regimen to reduce injuries, but basically it didn't provide much in the way of exercise, so troops are getting fat... I think we're going to be in a lot of trouble if we tangle with somebody somewhat competent. For as rough as it's been for the (combat arms) troops over the last 15 years, we've not face somebody that can accurately place mortar and artillery fire or even use the sights on their weapons.

Blogger JohnG May 08, 2017 11:33 AM  

*faced

Blogger Chiva May 08, 2017 11:33 AM  

"I'm "shocked" that they wouldn't show the herds of dependapotamii that live on a military base."

Never show the dependapotamii herds. It may scare away prospective recruits.

Blogger Jourdan May 08, 2017 11:39 AM  

No need to speculate on U.S. military weakness. It's 16 years after 9/11 and President Bush's ultimatum to the Taliban, and the Taliban are still a powerful, fighting faction in Afghanistan.

Blogger Jourdan May 08, 2017 11:47 AM  

Reed's recruit stories remind me of my time in Navy boot, Great Lakes circa 1983.
One night, close to graduation, I was on fire watch in the recruit compartment in the early morning, around 3am. I'm standing in my guard post square, marked off by a red floor marking, making the rounds of the compartment and updating the watch log as instructed.

All of a sudden, the doorway at the end of a hallway which is used exclusively by the Company Commanders (Navy version DIs) opens. That hallway is dark at night. I could see a man walking towards my post, but not who it was.

I did exactly as I was trained to do. (I quote from memory):

Me: "Halt![brandishing rifle] Advance and be recognized!

Man: Jeez, Jourdan, it's me, Smith.

Me: Advance and be recognized [rifle still leveled]

Man: [Steps forward into the dim light around the guard post]

Me: [Now able to verify that it is indeed Comp Cmdr Smith]

-- Salute Arms
-- Saying: Good morning, Sir. Officer of the Watch reporting. All's well, log is updated.
-- Return to watch arms position.

Smith: Goddamn it, Jourdan, you smart motherfucker. I just walked in on every recruit company in this building and you're the only one who got it right. Good work, glad you're in my company.

Me: Thank you, sir.

I very nearly did not follow instructions and went right to saluting him because I, of course, recognized his voice. I'd know his voice anywhere. Hell, I can still hear it in my head.

The other 5 guards on duty that night all got extra PT the next day. Boy, was I thankful I held out!

Blogger dc.sunsets May 08, 2017 12:03 PM  

@32 Never was I in the .mil (or its predecessor) but it's beyond obvious to me that the difference between a citizen militia (or any 4GW entity) and an organized military unit is that the latter's personnel will follow orders that grossly conflict with conscience, common sense or self-preservation, and in the Grand Strategy, sometimes that's essential. Obedience to almost a robotic level is the difference, even in 3rd gen military units where unit initiative is valued.

I find discussions about the military just as insightful as I do discussions about the monetary system, the asset markets, the economy and the full spectrum of social fads.

All of them, discussions of the seen, actually reveal much about what is unseen. We can tell very much about a society by noticing that which is studiously ignored to the point of invisible elephants in the living room.

Anonymous I'm about to cry May 08, 2017 12:06 PM  

“I wish I could tell you. You see, a Wampus is unusual in one way: It only runs backwards. It’s one of the mysteries of science. A lot of people have seen the back end of a Wampus, but nobody’s seen the front. That’s why you gotta run your tents from east to west, so the Wampus cat doesn’t back into it. And let me tell you, if you ever see the butt end of a Wampus cat coming in, you better kiss your ass goodbye, ’cause it’s all over.”

Blogger James Dixon May 08, 2017 12:09 PM  

> ...but it's beyond obvious to me that the difference between a citizen militia (or any 4GW entity) and an organized military unit is that the latter's personnel will follow orders that grossly conflict with conscience, common sense or self-preservation, and in the Grand Strategy, sometimes that's essential.

That's pretty much the definition of a soldier. Officers are supposed to be held to a higher standard wrt to the conscience and common sense parts. YMMV.

Anonymous Stingo May 08, 2017 12:09 PM  

I went through Navy recruit training in 1972. The Navy was eaten up with Political Correctness even then. There were still quite a few competent officers and enlisted guys, but you could see the system was winding down. The military is just a reflection of the larger society, particularly when the military is large.

Blogger Johnny May 08, 2017 12:15 PM  

Going by my experience in the military plus reading a little history, my take is that militaries are often poorly run. That is why a genuinely well run military can kick butt so effectively.

Rating our US armies through the years on the A to F scale, I would say we have most often had armed forces that rated around a B. Not commonly the best but usually pretty good.

Currently we seem determined to undermine our own military effectiveness through the implementation of these exotic social rules. I suspect the military services are still in working order, but I wonder how long that will continue given current trends.

Blogger Jourdan May 08, 2017 12:31 PM  

There are some great comments in this thread, thanks all.

It's especially important to note, as many have above, the the U.S. traditionally has a poor army during peacetime, gets its butt kicked the first year in a major conflict, then our industrial advantage kicks in and we mop up.

However, this pattern is uncertain given today's vastly different political landscape and a now 40+ year record of miserable DoD failure and loss.

Sheila - So good to see you here. You won't be surprised to hear that under new S exactly NOTHING has changed. Business as usual, and the IVs are flying out the door as fast as we can print them.

Blogger Johnny May 08, 2017 12:32 PM  

We tend to extole the citizen soldier, the amateur, for reasons that are self serving. The reality is that in the great majority of situations the full time trooper who has no good second choice for a role in society will outpreform the transitory trooper. The reason is not so much this or that training or disapline, it is explicitly because they have no good second choice. If they wash out as a soldier that wash out at life. The two commonplace examples of a professional army are those where the majority of the troopers are career guys, and societies where every man is a warrior.

Anonymous Orville May 08, 2017 12:55 PM  

@11 Don't know about going to seed in 5 years. My dad joined in '49 and was a SGT by the time Korea started. He said it was common to take a problem recruit out behind the barracks for some "hands on" training.

Blogger Frank Brady May 08, 2017 1:09 PM  

In July of 1960 I spent several hours atop the Mess Hall at Fort Leonard Wood in the midday Missouri sun, astraddle of the peak, because I was stupid enough to throw a cigarette butt on the ground in front of a platoon sergeant as I got off the bus from the enlistment center. Ah, the memories... Thanks Vox (and Fred).

Anonymous Sam the Man May 08, 2017 2:01 PM  

Societies where every man is a warrior do not work out well. Case in point the Zulus in 1879. First battle won destroyed the army, they were completely ineffective after Islandwana.

Societies where men aspire to be soldiers are much more resilient. Look at the Germans in WWII. Being a soldier was high status in that nation. Even in 1944, when they suffered three devastating defeats (Western front late July, eastern front early July, Romanian collapse in August), they managed to hold the line on the frontier and fight another 9 months. Quite an incredible record for a county weary from war and whose best "warriors" had been moldering under the soil for 2 years already.

Soldiers fight with a purpose when warriors run or attempt to die valiantly . It is all about discipline, good leadership and small unit cohesion. Our modern military with its calls for political correctness and pro women/gay/transgendered has lost a lot of the bonding influence in the combat support and support services. I suspect the front line troops have not lost that ethos, but they may have been worn down with 16 years of near continual deployments.

In any case a defeat may be needed to set things right. That is the great lesson of history, armies improve because of defeat, not victories.

Anonymous rienzi May 08, 2017 2:21 PM  

In '68 my Navy boot camp company in San Diego had an abysmal barracks inspection. We were marched out onto the parade ground. Put at attention, and left there for fourteen hours. If you were caught twitching or shifting your weight you got rapped on the back of the head with a clipboard. I can still close my eyes and see every house on Point Loma. All of our inspections after that were exemplary.

For our big formal graduation, we marched past the reviewing stand carrying old WW1 Springfield rifles. When my son graduated Navy boot camp in 2000, they carried folded raincoats. God only knows what they carry today. Feather boas probably.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr May 08, 2017 2:21 PM  

The Victory Disease worries me. Particularly since the U.S. has another issue...if you look at our history, the American public will not support a war much beyond three years. 36 months after the beginning of major combat operations, they will demand to see either a victory within reach or a disengagement being attempted.

Which means that taking a year to regroup after getting the snot beat out of us isn't such a good idea.

The good news is that SECDEF Mattis knows this. I suspect Trump gets it, too. And while it'll take time, there are a lot of staff-grade officers who get it.

Anonymous A.B. Prosper May 08, 2017 2:44 PM  

I'm hard pressed to actually care about decline since the US is the second largest cause of instability on the planet, second only to Islam

If they were defending the actual Constitution of the US and our borders , that would be another matter but as it is, decline is probably, sadly better for everyone.

Anonymous Sam the Man May 08, 2017 2:56 PM  

A.B. Prosper,

In fairness to the US, It is really hard to say any other nation would act differently:

Would the British empire be much different?

How about Russia, if they had our power?

How about France when they had an empire, or Germany if they had every actually mastered having one?

Lastly do you think if china becomes an empire they will be altruistic?

The US being in a position of Global empire power may be a horrible idea, except it is less worse than any other possibility.

At least that is how I console myself when I hear of some drone bombing mess.

Blogger Cataline Sergius May 08, 2017 3:17 PM  

I think the military is doing quite well.

All the veterans who joined r after I got out, were all in Special Forces.

That's impressive.

Anonymous CarpeOro May 08, 2017 3:48 PM  

Went through Great Mistakes in summer of '85. Heat conditions frequently that summer. Regarding the sentry bit. I recall the CC asking one recruit what the 13th general order of a sentry was. The entire company was on the floor in push-up position at the CC's count, must have been for 10 minutes until he the recruit finally realized there are only 12 general orders. 10 minutes may not sound like much, but with the heat and slow count there were good size puddles of sweat beneath us at the end. Some how, I doubt boot bares any resemblance to what I went through years ago.

Anonymous CarpeOro May 08, 2017 4:08 PM  

@36 YMMV. I've read accounts where 72 was a low point for the services due to Vietnam and the state of society at that point. Things started to turn around in the '80s but I think the current slide into oblivion started with the Draft Dodger in Chief. The rot of 8 years of the top being subverted by someone who wouldn't have passed a background check and appointing the people who set policy, not to mention the "conflicts as cover" evil perpetrated by him... can't say because I was out in '90, but from the outside and the tail end of my experience (coed OTS - I didn't have the mindset for dealing with it and they were looking for ways to reduce the numbers graduating). At that time in my life it was a low point, but serving under Clinton may have been worse.

Blogger Jourdan May 08, 2017 5:32 PM  

@47 - Thread winner, right there.

Blogger Gospace May 08, 2017 6:00 PM  

James Dixon May 08, 2017 9:38 AM
> That password story is an old Vaudeville gag.

So Fred repeats an apocryphal story from his early years. What is your exact problem with that? And are you surprised there are multiple versions of it in circulation?


Just because it's an old gag doesn't mean it didn't happen, nor does it mean it doesn't happen. Repeating the last order you received can often be used as an excuse for doing something stupid.

Had a young seaman who went AWOL and returned the morning we got underway. Missing movement is a far more serious charge then AWOL for a week or two. As soon as we dived, the CO started Captain's Mast, and the young seaman called 3 witnesses- I was one of them, and the only petty officer; the other 2 were also non-rates. Had no clue why I was there.
CAPT: Where were you?
SN: In Maine, sir. (We were in San Diego...)
CAPT: What were you doing in Maine?
SN: Getting a haircut, sir.
CAPT: (in a confused voice) Getting a haircut?
SN. Yes, sir. I was going out the hatch and my LPO asked where I was going, I said to get a haircut, and he said "Good. I don't care where you get, just make sure you come back with one!" My witnesses saw it. So I went back home to my favorite barber.

Laughter broke out. And, he did have a fresh haircut.

CAPT: Petty Officer G, what did you see?
Me: Well, Captain, pretty much just like he said. Petty Officer Smith did tell him he didn't care where he got the haircut...

CAPT: Guilty. 15 days restriction.

Note- at the time restriction could be stood underway, nowadays the days only count in port. Coincidentally, we had just got underway for 15 days.

CAPT: Dismissed. Petty Officer Smith, stay. You and I need to talk.

I suspect the talk was rather one sided, but there weren't any witnesses to it.

Blogger James Dixon May 08, 2017 7:15 PM  

> Just because it's an old gag doesn't mean it didn't happen...

I didn't say it didn't. Something very like it has probably happened several times. Noting that a story is apocryphal doesn't mean it has to be false. An equally valid and possibly more accurate word might have been archetypal. I should probably have used it.

Anonymous Überdeplorable Psychedelic Cat Grass May 08, 2017 7:18 PM  

@Jourdan

That's disgusting yet sadly unsurprising. I suppose me washing out last year arguably one of the times I've been closest to getting to A-100 was a blessing in disguise. Keep up the fight!

Blogger Thucydides May 08, 2017 8:02 PM  

I wonder if the idea of "Distributed Operations" might not inadvertently bring back a lot of the sort of cohesion and fighting spirit that many on this thread say is sadly lacking these days?

Being stranded far away from help, logistical support or even the ability to talk on the radio (since that is the end result of dispersing troops far and wide) may provide the crucible to forge a new and much different fighting force.

Of course there still is the huge and flabby headquarters apparatus which is not subjected to these sorts of evolutionary pressures......

Anonymous Avalanche May 08, 2017 8:32 PM  

#2 "I very nearly did not follow instructions and went right to saluting him because I, of course, recognized his voice. I'd know his voice anywhere. Hell, I can still hear it in my head.
The other 5 guards on duty that night all got extra PT the next day. Boy, was I thankful I held out!"

I got a private laugh in (Navy) Officer Candidate School. They gave us a couple of 'regular books' that we were to treat as if they were classified -- so, within site if we weren't using them at that second, and locked up when we had to lose sight of them. Yes, it seemed silly -- they were engineering workbooks... but if you want to play the game, you have to follow the rules! (Vox's Dark Stream tonight notwithstanding.) (Oh, I MISS the Constitution!)

So, I locked them up (using a combination lock on my closet) whenever I left my room. So, one day while we were all out in class, the Company Commander 'raided' ALL the rooms: I was one of only two (or of 30 or so) ensigns-to-be who had locked up the "classified" material and had NOT stored either the key or the written down combination to the lock in the DESK next to the closet door! So, I had a lovely evening by myself with no extra duties or marching...

(To me, it was salutary lesson. Judging from the whining by the others -- we were the last all-girl squad through Newport -- they had not 'gotten' the lesson; just the extra work! "It was unfair!" "It was mean" Alas, women DO ruin everything!)

(Oh, and total vote on USAA having gone completely to the devil!! When I "joined" -- it was the Navy and Marine Corps OFFICERS' insurance co. Expanded and expanded and expanded... So much for a very high repayment, very low claim, educated, mostly honorable, cadre of members... Now, anyone what has ever seen or walked past a uniform is eligible to get in.)

Anonymous Avalanche May 08, 2017 8:44 PM  

p.s., as MUCH as I loved the Navy -- and I did -- I came out (after 6 yrs active) knowing for 100% SURE that women DO NOT BELONG in the military!!

Useful (rhetoric?) for helping people see that when they claim that "women can too do everything"; I (nicely disagree but then) point out that -- in the Navy -- shore billets are pretty hard to come by. Most sailors spend most of their careers on ships at sea, away from family. I had 60 sailors in my unit, 28 were female, 18 were PREGNANT (only 2 of whom were married!) and I could not use the preggo ones on yard craft (tugs in a shipyard; the whole POINT of the unit!); so I had two in the toolroom, two on the front desk, one on the phone watch, one loaned up to the shipyard office, and others assigned around doing make work...

That meant the guys -- the ones who managed to GET a shore billet and live with their families for two years before going back to sea -- ALSO had to double up on the actual work! They worked extra hours and multiple 'jobs' to keep the shipyard support going. All because "we" had let women INTO the military, and then did not chuck them out the minute they got pregnant! (This has NEVER OCCURRED to all those leftie-libs -- not to most conservatives! -- for some, it makes them see it differently.)

Anonymous Avalanche May 08, 2017 8:47 PM  

@40 " He said it was common to take a problem recruit out behind the barracks for some "hands on" training."

And nowadays, girl "soldiers" (ack! it burns my fingers to even type that!) can give a pink card to the DRILL SERGEANT when she doesn't think she can handle being yelled at today!!

Anonymous Avalanche May 08, 2017 8:49 PM  

@41 "I was stupid enough to throw a cigarette butt on the ground in front of a platoon sergeant"

At the firefighting ans metal working school, we had huge metal-scrap dumpsters out in the sun on the cement... When a sailor came in too hung-over to work/weld in class, he was assigned to the metal dumpster to pick out the butts that got thrown in with the metal... Worked REALLY well; they only had to do it once!

Anonymous Jonathan May 08, 2017 9:19 PM  

@16

"USAA is an insurance company that serves military personnel and their families, and it runs commercials during some sporting events. Saw one yesterday during the hockey game. To judge from their commercials, most US soldiers have a Mexican accent, and very few of them are white, though many of them do have attractive white wives."

They're running a commercial now with a white female veteran mudshark with a few mudshark kids. It's a disgusting commercial.

Blogger Tom K. May 09, 2017 1:57 AM  

In high school, my youth pastor had been a sniper in Vietnam (two tours) and finished his service as a Drill Instructor at Camp Pendelton. Talking to him one evening, he mentioned he'd been court-martialed.

"Court-martialed? You? Was that before you were saved, Mark?"

"No, I was a Christian."

"What happened," I asked, fascinated to hear the story of how my youth pastor had been court-martialed AFTER being saved.

He said, "I was in charge of the firing range. There was this one recruit who was just messing up bad! I mean, he was bringing the whole platoon down and you can't have that.

"One day he's on the range doing everything wrong, so I walked right in front of the firing line, in front of every recruit. I get to where this private is and I look at him and say, "Private! Why don't you do yourself, me, your platoon, your company, and the entire United States Marine Corp a favor and shoot yourself!" And I turned away.

"Right then I hear , 'Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam!' I turn around and this kid has just shot two of his fingers off! I dove at him, knocked his weapon out of his hand and wrestled him to the ground!"

"And they court-martialed you for that?" I asked. "Why?"

"Because, I gave him an order. He was just following it. They gave him a psych eval and mustered him out on a Section 8."

I was still kind of stunned they court-martialed Mark. He said, "Well they first offered not to charge me at all if I agreed to re-enlist. I told them, No way! I've been called into the ministry. Besides, I'd had enough of those guys! It was a summary court-martial and took just the afternoon. Two weeks later I was OUT!"

Blogger James Dixon May 09, 2017 6:18 AM  

> ...knowing for 100% SURE that women DO NOT BELONG in the military!!

The reason women don't belong in the military is simple biology. One woman can have one child every two years or so. One man can sire multiple children per year. A race can get survive with only a few men to have children. It can't survive without a significantly greater number of women.

The fact that we allow women in the military just shows how suicidal our society has become.

Blogger The Z Blog May 09, 2017 11:40 AM  

@James Dixon

I did not mean to make you cry.

Blogger James Dixon May 09, 2017 2:34 PM  

> I did not mean to make you cry.

Get real.

Anonymous Charlie Baud May 09, 2017 10:38 PM  

Considering George Washington tolerated neither profanity nor blasphemy among his men, I'd say the above anecdotes are proof that discipline has been declining for much longer than many would care to admit. It's always amusing to hear boomers pine for the 60's and 70's, as if America hadn't been in a state of decay for decades at that point.

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