I have not been to your website in the last few years (five or so) and I was pleasantly surprised to see a huge new military section up about various topics. I started reading several of the military articles about 3 hours ago and I cannot stop and it is all of your fault!! Although I have read only a few articles, I have come across so many refreshing ideas in such a short time that I am asking myself several times did you really only serve a few short years, then I look twice and I do not see the career mindset that so many military officials of today have combined with the Political Correctness that permeates today’s military.
I wish to thank you again and again for the openness and candor from a former West Pointer that obviously cares about the military and its operations even if you are not an “expert”. I do have a couple of comments to make on your article for the draft which I thought was extremely complete and spot on. First, my background is as a “George” who joined the active duty Army for 2 years and then spent 11 more in the Army Reserves all as a Military Policeman. I mainly joined the Army for money for college and to prove myself. I started as an E-2 since I enlisted 2 friends from high school and ended up E-6 who decided against reenlisting when I was up for my E-7. Over time, I obtained my 2 year and my 4 year degree while in the Army and Army Reserves which included getting called up as a college student for Desert Storm. Thank god, I was active duty first, I love what one of your articles said about active duty vs. the National Guard or Army Reserves. I left the military 11 years ago and I keep informed by reading as much about military events, particularly Army events.
That was many moons ago, today, I have added a Graduate Degree to the mix along with about 50 pounds or so overweight, so I think at some point I may have morphed into “Jake” instead of “George”.
I did not see you address the aspect of women in the military as much as I would have liked, particularly women getting drafted or not if the draft is reinstated since the military has integrated women since you left. What are your thoughts on this topic, do you think “Diversity” is needed to prove women have equal rights like men do by fully drafting women into the military and serving alongside men? Do you think women cut the mustard? I shock friends and family all of the time by saying that the draft is needed and I have said it for years since 2003 or 2004, and that when it comes back women should be drafted 50-50 along side men and made to bear the same service as men do in all positions. Please note that I think this is what should be done, if only to make everyone aware of that the military is not the place to play social games and it is a place where people get hurt and men get paid to break things and kill people and most of all win wars. I advocate drafting women into all roles, that way when Americans see them dying they really can decide how important “Diversity” is to them and ‘Equality”. I would prefer not to do this, to draft men only, and let them do what needs to be done to win wars.
Please note I am the proud father of a young daughter, but as you eloquently stated in your article it is time for the Nation to serve as a whole and to learn what shared sacrifice is.
I also read the article on Jessica Lynch; it is 100% spot on except I think my reserve unit used a different kind of lubricating oil when we cleaned our weapons back in Desert Storm. When I was Active Duty for 2 years in Germany, I served on a sensitive repair facility on the Rhine that repaired radars and guidance systems that also was a former missile base. This was in the mid 80’s and we worked hard and trained hard for the real thing, which served me well in the Army Reserves when it came time for war. In the Army Reserves, we had 1 of the highest rated units as far as readiness for training (at least this is what we were always told) so when Desert Storm came along we were 1 of the 1st Army Reserve units to be called up which was a shock. One of the top single priorities for our unit, was cleaning your weapon daily and we did this no matter what time of day we were working or how long of a day we had – we generally did this asap upon getting back off of patrols. As soon as the Lynch story broke, I knew what happened. They had a sorry Reserve unit that she was in, weapons maintenance was not a focus and they never thought they would have to fight at all so that explains the total unpreparedness of her unit and section and that does coincide with what I found years before in Gulf 1.
As a MP in Gulf 1 war we were assigned to patrol other units around their bases and check their defenses and help assess what was needed and be a force to help respond if they needed help. A typical MP unit of 1 patrol humvee consisting of 3 men has enough firepower to equal a 10 man infantry squad. As a young Corporal, I learned more about defenses and perimeters than most LT’s knew and when we would stop and check out a new unit the commanders would freak out when after a lengthy conversation they would find out they were dealing with someone with such a low rank. As a Combat Support Unit which MP units are, there are also Combat Service Support units and I am quite sure that is what the Quartermaster unit was that Lynch was in. I would say that with 100% certainty that even after all of these years, after doing patrols and checking on the defenses of so many units that Combat Service Support units were horrible at being prepared to defend their base and that the people in those units were even worse – untrained to defend themselves, and a lot of those same people never believed in their wildest dreams that they would go to war and even when they were in theater and war started still did not think anything would happen. Crazy huh??? Since my MP team would patrol and have numerous checks to do on other units (and where they were based at) we usually would get offers to stay and relocate with the units we checked on. Why? Each MP Humvee team had an M60 machine gun and a majority of those units either had no machine guns or 1 and the commanders were usually desperate for more firepower.
I have not read the Pat Tillman article that you did, but I am looking forward to reading that.
Yes, you may certainly quote me. My experience with women was the whole 13 years I spent in the military and that started in 84 and ended in 97 and for the most part they were handled with kid gloves back then, I am sure it is worse now. A pristine example was my small unit of 44 MP’s on active duty only had 2 females on a small post of about 1000 people (the old 8th ID). There were very few females on the whole post until one day our unit won the lottery and unexpectedly received 22 females all fresh out of MP training. It turned not just the unit, but the entire post upside down since there were all of a sudden “single women" on our little post. Others may comment better on this than me, but especially in the Army, women move up the food chain. An ugly gal becomes cute, a cute gal becomes very attractive and an attractive gal becomes a beauty queen. I was a shy guy and just observed the lunacy of about 100 guys chasing each girl (it sure seemed that way at the time) and I figured no chance here, I had better luck with German gals and I did. Go to a restricted area like Korea and even ugly gals were automatically treated like queens with 1000 guys chasing after them and living in heaven for a while.
In my opinion, there were way too few of the women I ever encountered that were well trained and outstanding, very competent and could do their job. I will summarize that in the Reserves (not when I was Active) it was common for a 3 man MP team to have all new privates carry the M60 machine gun and be the machine gunner on the Humvee. The other 2 positions were team leader and driver. After a period of at least a year or maybe two (Reserves were slower to move people around) they might move up to driver when they prove themselves and as a slot opened up. Inevitably two things would happen to cause resentment. First, the female would be on the fast track to driver and only be a machine gunner for about 6 months or so and then be switched over to a driver position with a driver who had already done the same job probably 2 or 3 years prior going back to the machine gunner’s position. Second, whenever company headquarters platoon wanted any female or that female was tired of being an MP they got transferred over. This typically meant after they got a chance to go to annual training and do some really hard training for 2 weeks they would last 1 AT (Annual Training) or if they were lucky 2 AT’s and then they would be tired of actually training and decide they wanted an easier job and be transferred over to HQ. Either way, they got an easier job and instead of having a fully trained MP learning about life as an MP, HQ got a new administrator and the taxpayers got screwed because all of the training would go to waste. I have no doubt this still happens all over the military today.
I know that they typically got kid glove treatment, even when I had commanders who were Article 15 happy. I know in Gulf 1, we had a clear case of insubordination and other charges of one female corporal team leader who several times decided she was tired of patrolling around and would refuse to lead her team on patrol. After a short scramble another team or team leader would take her place but nothing would happen. If a male did the same thing he would have been hit with charges ASAP. On another note that I did see when I was Active Duty was out of the 22 females we had, around 8 were lesbians. I became friends with 1 of the 2 females and it turned out she was a lesbian and she clued me in on who was who. This blew my mind when I was so young, but our unit I think clearly knew what was going on but instead of kicking some of them out looked the other way. She clued me in on the many women on the basketball team who were not interested in men at all and gave me a lot of insight that I was totally clueless about. There was a ton of favoritism going on then as now. This is from my perspective after serving in 1 Active Duty unit and 2 Reserve units and while working my way up from a lowly Private to a Squad Leader and running a platoon as a Platoon Sergeant as well so I can see a much bigger picture now than when I was younger and the net affect on team/squad/platoon and even unit readiness and cohesion. I did not bring up a host of other issues in order to try and keep this brief.
Recently, of the top 1 or 2 preferred MOS’s for females right now coming out of West Point/ROTC is MP. I think it is because most Combat Arms are excluded and the MP Corp as a whole has seen a push to expand their size since they are too dependant in the Reserves/Guard and Combat Service Support MOS’s are not sexy. One last note. I am 100% convinced that the single hardest thing anyone can do is to serve in the Army Reserve or Guard and try to get your 4 year degree at the same time. No one in the military cares once you enlist that you are in college, and no one in college cares that you are in the military. I had that perspective back in the early Nineties and I am sure it is only worse now.
The needs of the Army/Military would work, too bad it makes too much sense !
Thanks for your analysis and very very thought provoking ideas !! They are nothing short of fantastic, you are a gem and your articles should be required reading for the brass and numerous others.
Former SSG Greg B.
I appreciate informed, well-thought-out constructive criticism and suggestions. If there are any errors or omisions in my facts or logic, please tell me about them. If you are correct, I will fix the item in question. If you wish, I will give you credit. Where appropriate, I will apologize for the error. To date, I have been surprised at how few such corrections I have had to make.