01 June 2009

Be all You can be....in the Army...An Army of Many..

From the Soldier side: Most of my readers likely understand it it about time for me to retire from the "Army National Guard". Not because I've done so much, but because I've witnessed way too much stupid stuff.
There's Stupid and there's Army Stupid.
I originally joined the "real" Army in the 1970's. And after I did my 2 years, that should have been enough. But no, for some reason I thought I could make a difference. Stupid is as stupid does. There are levels of stupid in the Army that can never be matched by any military in the world! But somehow we still can get the mission done. Or, as I said on deployments: "we can get the job done despite the lack of leadership."
The Army Beret is another example of stupid. The Army allowed certain special units to start wearing colored berets in the 1940's. The Maroon beret was and is for Air Borne units. The Green Beret is for Special Forces (note: they do not call themselves the Green Berets) And the black beret used to be for Rangers. The Army screwed them and took it to issue to all troops.
I suspect that reason is because some consultant they hired said everyone would think they are cool if they all got to wear berets.
They are useless as far as headgear goes. They won't keep the rain off your head, or the sun out of your eyes. They make you look like you are from some other country. They suck.
And, to add stupid to stupid. When we were doing our months of useless training for Iraq in 2004, our Sergeant Major thought that we should continue wearing our berets during training. He thought they were cool, we couldn't wait to get rid of them. The Army regs say something about not wearing the beret in the field. Our Sergeant Major also came up with a brilliant plan for our uniforms. In those days we were still wearing the Woodland pattern in the states...and for Iraq we were issued the Desert Camo Uniform (DCU). As soon as we started training for Iraq, we assumed we'd just put our our DUCs.
But nope! The Sergeant Major felt that we wouldn't wear the DCUs until we were about 90% done with our training. He said putting on the DCUs would be an honor or some shit. We tried to tell him that we only brought a few of the woodland uniforms knowing that we'd switch the DUCs when they issued them.
The dumbass also wanted us to wear out berets once we switched to the DUCs...totally wrong. I am sure if it was up to him, he would have had us wearing berets in Iraq. (this is the same Sergeant Major who had 2 negligent discharges on the 50 caliber machine gun on convoy in Baghdad.)
The only useful thing you can do with a beret is wipe your nose.
It is right up there with:
1.) Be all you can be...join the Army
2.) US Army, we can do more before 9, than most people do in an entire day (changed to: "US Army, we can destroy more before 9 than most folks destroy in a lifetime)
3.) An Army of one. (what about the million other assholes around you when you go into battle?)
4.) There's Strong and there's Army Strong (or "there's stupid and there's Army stupid")
yep, I need to retire.


Anonymous said...

Well, if those berets are only useful for wiping your nose, I think first graders should have to wear them...

The Army wears you out before you even get started...no wonder you're ready to retire.

coffeypot said...

Sounds like you kind of agree with my last comment. For someone who has been in the sandbox several times and in the reserves training and stuff, plus being a police officer well versed in administering wooden shampoos, what are you going to do with yourself when you retire from both organizations? Teach? Sleep? Drink? Chase women? All the above?

Anonymous said...

1. The beret was a gift from Gen. Shinseki.
2. With the unified commands, that's about all the authority the chiefs of staff have, these days.
3. Back in the fifties, the army was gifted the 'Ridgeway Cap,' a fatigue cap that looked like a green French Kepi.
4. Ridgeway left and the army went to the baseball cap (my day).
5. The fatigue headgear they wear now looks like the ranger patrol cap.
6. Nobody would have worn those back in the day, just like nobody wore corks, unless they had the requisite qualifications.
7. Would have been presumptuous -and you would have been called on it.
8. When they took the black beret away from the rangers, gave them the the tan beret. Said that was what SAS wore and more prestigious than the black one.
9. Ranger reply: F the SAS, F prestige, F you. We want our black beret.
10. Worked with 2nd Rangers at Ft. Lewis back in the eighties. Still haven't gotten used to seeing fat, elderly troops wearing black berets.
11. Condolences on Sgt. Arizola. RIP.
V/R JWest

Red said...

Classic! I have heard so many gripes about the berets... and I have to say that as far as recruiting slogans go, the Army lags far, far behind the Marine Corps. Every time I see one of those knight-slaying-the-dragon-then-turns-into-a-Marine-in-dress-blues commercials I get chill bumps and want to enlist... why can't the Army come up with something like that?

CI-Roller Dude said...

I liked the OD Green Baseball cap we had before the woodland uniforms. I still have mine.
Funny, the Army comes up with stupid slogans every few years, berets, enlistment bonus and they still get too many dumbass leaders. The Marines teach you to be a Marine, give you ammo and make you proud...no beret, no bonus..and they still get enough recurits.
I didn't even go off about the new ACUs. The Army like the new Marine uniform so much, they had to copy it and mess it up. It was designed by a committee of some sort. Too many great ideas but they used cheap material. The damn thing will catch of fire when you get hit with and IED. The velcro sticks to everything...except for the pockets which tend to let loose and allow crap to fall out.
I vote for the Old OD Green fatigues from the 70's for normal wear. Then use the same material to make a field uniform with a bunch of pockets with buttons not velcro.

Anonymous said...

1. Yea Red. Bet you look good in chill bumps.
2. J. Walter Thompson used to do most of the USMC Advertising.
3. When I attended the Basic School at Quantico, our entire class did photo test shots with a JWT rep.
4. Was rejected out of hand.
5. Did some liaison work with Hollywood when Clint Eastwood was shooting "Heartbreak Ridge."
6. The Corps give him one of the old camps to shoot in (Horno?) and lots of our troops worked as extras.
7. When the rushes showed an actor shooting a wounded bad guy, the USMC withdrew their support for the project.
8. In the time-honored way of things, all of us that had anything to do with the project were then considered radioactive -and it was reflected on fitness reports.
9. One of my NCO's had a nasty scar that ran from the corner of his eye to the point of his chin.
He almost got enough camera time to qualify for a SAG Card.
10. He sure looked mean.
11. Last topic: The first step is a big one on the way out the door.
12. You may be aggravated by idiots in the Army and while doing police work, but you are on the inside.
13. Bitching from the outside isn't nearly as satisfying as from within.
14. A few of my idiot friends are doing PS in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
15. They can't stand to be out of the game.
16. Told one (ex SF, ex state security) that I was in better shape then he, he was about blind, about deaf and had reaction times appropriate for someone in his mid-fifties.
17. He said his vast trove of experience made him more capable than the young studs.
18. Told him that was going to do him a fat lot of good when some Pashto lad hit him over the head with a club from behind.
19. Am jealous, a bit.
20. Wife put her foot down on anything more risky than horse wrangling.
21. Know where I'd rather be.
V/R J West

CI-Roller Dude said...

I always enjoy your detailed, well thought comments.
Yep, I might miss being on the inside, but I won't totally retire-- I hope to still put on training for cops...hell, I'd do it for free as long as they let me shoot there ammo. (have you seen the prices lately?)
Heart Break Ridge was one of my favorite Eastwood films, even though they got it all wrong...it's Hollywood.
I looked at helping train the Iraqi Police, but there's no way they could pay me enough to go back there.
Wrangeling horses sounds good, but that's one thing I regret I never learned. For some reason people have assumed several times that I can ride a horse...nope, motorcycles.