19 August 2009

Common Sense? There's no such thing.

From the Soldier side: Over the last few decades I've learned a few things. Even though I've been a civilian cop for 30 years and a soldier on and off since 1974, I still learn something new every day. What still amazes me is the lack of something that some of us mistakenly think everybody was issued--- that's common sense. I've come to the conclusion that there is no such thing. At least, not everybody has it, so it is therefore not common.
The other thing I've learned about how to survive as a cop and a soldier is it takes training--- good, well thought out, relevant, common sense training. Opps...there's that word "common sense".... which if we all agree is not common.
My last posting was about Jeeps and how they could roll over so easy. The Jeep was narrow, light and became top heavy when loaded with more than 100 lbs of anything. The Humvee was supposed to solve that problem.
When my old National Guard unit first got Humvees in the early 90's, I became a driving instructor for them. I am also a police driving instructor. I have found that if you train smart people on how to properly drive a vehicle, and they act like adults, you lower the chance of a crash. (There is no such thing as a vehicle accident...they're almost all caused by a driver.)
So, does this sound like common sense so far? Take a vehicle that you're going to have soldiers or cops drive, and train them on how it works...drive it in all kinds of areas, take it to the limits and train how to avoid it doing bad things.
Well, before we went to Iraq, the unit I was with decided that they needed to train soldiers on how to drive a Humvee. I thought it was good idea. Here's where they failed...and almost got a friend killed.
There are several different configurations of the military Humvee. The basic cargo model, the M998, has canvas tops and doors. It can come in a 2 door (with cargo bed) or 4 door (smaller cargo area) set up. The canvas will not stop things flying through the air, like bullets and bombs. It weighs about 6,000 lbs. It is normally aspirated with a 3 speed automatic.
The Up Armored version is the M1114. It can stop small arms fire and small bombs. It has a turbo charger, overdrive automatic and an improved suspension...and weighs over 12,000 lbs. Then when you add a gun, gunner and other crap, it gets even heavier.
At Ft Lewis our brilliant folks trained the troops on the lighter Humvee. The drivers training consisted of driving around a flat dirt road for about 15 minutes. No training on the heavy armored Humvee.
When you take a fully Up Armored M1114 with gun, crew, spare ammo etc and get it up to speed...maybe 65 MPH, then come to a turn in the highway in Iraq, and the turn is in a ditch...and the poorly trained kid driving the Humvee hasn't been taught to slow to almost a stop before making a turn in this situation...the vehicle will roll over.
Now think about this...in the gun turret is a young soldier standing up (Steve), holding onto the machine gun. He has no idea that the vehicle is going to roll over, but he's hanging onto the gun to keep from flying out of the truck.
By the time the vehicle is listing over at 90 degrees, the momentum is too great for the gunner to duck back into the truck. You know about an object in motion tends to stay in motion...etc.
The truck continues 180 degrees and rolls onto it's top. Crushing the head and face of the gunner.
We got an e-mail later that day telling us that the gunner was going to die.
He didn't. He still comes to drills, but is still not 100% OK.
If they had trained the driver properly, that Humvee should have not rolled over.
So, now guess what they did to "fix" this training problem while we were in Iraq. They had us all take a driver safety class....on line. There's no friggen way you can learn how to drive anything by taking a test online. You need to train the troops on the equipment with hands on.
See what I mean about Common Sense? If it's not issued, it will not be around when you need it most.


Anonymous said...

5 senses...even a 6th for some. ...but common? Nope.

Coffeypot said...

Yep! That’s the O level in the service. Not as dramatic or dangerous as your example, but we were headed into port in Long Beach after being at sea for three weeks. Part of our OI (Operation & Intelligence) Division maintenance space was the bulkhead and decks (walls and floors) outside the bride and the radar shack. Our division officer, and O3 LT, wanted a wash down before we entered port - with salt water. The whole ship is a floating salt keg after three weeks at sea, three storms, high seas breaking over the bow and broad siding us, and he wants it washed down with salt water. Said it would help scrub the rust and stuff off. Washing it down with fresh water with less pressure would do the same thing in half the time. But he was an LT, which in his case stood for Little Talent. Guess who questioned him on it and got two weeks mess cooking for the inquiry…

Anonymous said...

1. The online driving course is an admin master stroke!
2. No resources other than HTML need be allocated.
3. Lends itself to Power Point presentations to higher.
4. What's not to like?
5. Did similar cheesy things myself, when desk bound and tasked with solving the insoluble.
6. Had an NCO who spent his reenlistment bonus on a jeep CJ-5.
Informed us all that his was a real jeep, not a piece of garbage like the AM Motors M-151.
7. Rolled it that very night. Totaled. The fake roll bar didn't collapse completely, saving his life.
8. Training is what makes the difference between our military and the paper mache' outfits I've seen just about every where else.
9. All through training, we heard: "what you do in training is what you'll do in combat."
10. I found that exactly correct -except that newbies usually freeze on first contact and need encouragement to get going. 11. Once moving, we all do what we're trained to do.
12. Schwartzkopf said of the Iraqis after Gulf War I, "If they had the same equipment that we did, we would still have kicked their butts."
13. You know the truth of that better than I.
14. Training may not be everything, but it's a big bunch of what makes the US Military the Primary Ass Kicking Organization it is.
V/R JWest

CI-Roller Dude said...

There's the "Right way" the "Wrong way" and the "Army way" (Army can be substitued with Nave, Air Force or Marines.)
Our New Army has come up with dozens of on line courses that are mandatory for soldiers to take. Some of these courses are so simple, but there's no way to short cut and go right to the test...you have to suffer through the entire crappy class. Some of them are topics that I'm a Subject Matter Expert on...but have to take them anyway.
It seems that all these classes require about 2 days of time each month. We have 2 days to train each month....so they expect us to take these silly classes on our own time without pay.
Any none of them do a darn thing to make us any better at our jobs.

Red said...

It is the opinion of this out-spoken red-head that most of the on-line courses required by the Army are just plain useless! This driving course is a prime example...

Opus #6 said...

There needs to be some type of roll bar if the vehicle has that tendency. I am BIG on safety. Not cool to have the gunner hanging his melon up there in a situation like that.

CI-Roller Dude said...

Yep...but I have to tell you, riding in the gunner's spot is about the most exciting thing I've ever done in my life....and the dumbest thing being the team leader.
But I was taught don't have your people do something you wouldn't do...
I can look back now and laugh...at the time it wasn't very funny.