30 July 2008

If you know one, ask them to tell a story....

From the Soldier side: Our WWII Vets are passing on at a very fast rate...so if you know one, have him sit down and tell you some stories.... I can almost guarantee that it will be a good one.
One of my dear old friends who died a few years ago was a Crew Chief on the B-17 Bomber.... OK, wait a minute, I should back up here...does everyone know what years the US was in WWII? (1941-45)
...Ok back on story. Anyway, my friend's job was to make sure all the .50 Cal M2 Browning Machine guns worked. How many of these wonderful weapons were on each B-17???? (Depending on the model) 2 in the front, 2 on the top ball turret, one on each side (waist gunners) 2 in the bottom ball turret, 2 in the rear for a total of 10 guns.... and he had to make sure each gun was cleaned, oiled, barrel set with correct head space and timing.
In 1999, he could still tell me verbatim how to take one apart, put it together and set the head space and timing. (If you don't set the head space and timing right, it will not shoot, or it will blow up!)
So what was in motivation to make sure each and every gun worked perfect? If any gun failed on a mission over Germany, my friend had to take the place of that gunner on the next bombing mission. He told me that he was highly motivated!
I used the same idea in Iraq. We had some Tech folks who were kind of lazy about making sure something we had on our humvees worked each day....a few times I caught them sluffing their duty because they wanted to sleep in.
I found the lazy E-4 and brought him outside in front of the Sergeant Major. I told the lazy ass E-4 about my friend from WWII who worked on the machine guns. I told the Lazy Ass E-4 that if the equipment failed, he was going to man the gun the next time out. He tried to tell me that he was too important...and the Sergeant Major spoke up and said that was a good idea.
Now he was motivated.

So, as history rolls on, the equipment changes, the guns change (except we're still using the same M2 .50 cal machine gun that was used in WWII)...but the old ways to motivate the REMFS are still good.


Chuck from Tacoma said...

I had the pleasure of taking my grand daughter to visit my father in the last few weeks. Dad is a WWII Army vet. An infantry soldier that walked across Belgium. She learned that two thirds of his unit was killed taking a bridge from the Germans. She got to hold his Purple Heart as well as other medals and ribbons.
She got more out of my father with two hours on his lap then I got in 56 years.
The respect and love she showed just warmed my heart

Chuck from Tacoma said...

Good grief, I just posted re this here last week.
Sorry. Grampa brain....

"D" AKA CI-Roller Dude said...

It's a story like that that just made this whole blogg thing worth the work. Thank you. I'm hoping to visit with a 10th Mountain Vet and sub jockey next week....and I won't leave until I get every story I can out of them.