26 November 2009

Does this body armor make my ass look big?


From the Soldier side: As you enjoy your Thanksgiving turkey, ham, potatoes, yams, beans, bread, rolls, gravy, carrots, apple pie, pumpkin pie, beer, milk, coffee, coke, and all that other good stuff, think about how lucky we are today.
It was 35 years ago this month that I joined the Regular Army. I was very young and dumb.
I was so dumb, that when I joined, I didn't get a written guarantee for the job I wanted. Silly me. So, even though I scored very high on all the written test to get into the Army, I was placed into the Infantry.
I spent 2 years being an 11C- Indirect Fire Crewmen (in English- a mortar gunner.) I went through the Army Infantry School at Ft Polk, La. We had to go through all the stuff the basic riflemen went through and learn how to fire mortars.
I can still remember the drill sergeants on the mortar range with the 81mm gun. It was so f--ing loud, then when I actually had to stand next to it, holding a live HE round over the tube, then dropping it down the tube to fire....bending low and hearing that loud SOB go off. I thought:"shit, I have to do this for 2 years?"
I did get used to it. Maybe that's what dulled my feelings. But I learned to respect a lot of things...like throwing hand grenades. I learned to never throw them in thick wooded areas uphill because they will usually bounce off a tree and roll back to you.
To be cont.

4 comments:

Coffeypot said...

Good to know on throwing the grenades uphill in the woods. Kinda like don’t piss into the wind. But I'm surprised the Army didn't provide a baseball glove to catch it if it came back.

Anonymous said...

1. Hope your Thanksgiving was peaceful and uneventful.
2. Spent mine with the son, launching model rockets into low clouds. Only lost 1.
3. Most of the guys that were inducted with me were draftees. No choice of assignment offered.
4. My basic platoon all went to infantry or artillery AIT except two guys from Indiana who were linemen (bad job in VN- one didn't make it back)and one poor guy who had two years of law school and got orders for MP school. (Who says the Army has no sense of humor?)
5. My status changed from US to RA when I signed up for airborne school. That did not change my orders for Infantry AIT.
6. At the time the Army was tolerant of behaviors intended to lead to discharges for insanity or various physical disabilities.
7. Remember one fellow who tried pissing in his bunk, as bed wetting was said to be cause for discharge. Was told to sleep in it and some arrangement was made for his unfortunate bunkmate.
8. A common topic of conversation was how long their hair had been prior to induction and how long it was going to be once they got out. Bet you can remember that one!
9. The downside of this was: most of these people went through training with a foul attitude and learned very little.
10. At Infantry AIT, they were pumping them out. "Nobody bolos," was what the trainee leaders were told.
11. The down side of this was waking up with a blank adapter in my face, the agressor firing away and telling me I was dead and that the perimeter had been penetrated because everyone on watch had fallen asleep.
12. Fast forward six months, I crawl out from the perimeter to relive an LP and find the SOB asleep.
13. If the 101st had been accepting new in country, would have gone to an all volunteer unit that operated on a higher level.
14. They weren't. Were packing up as part of the draw down.
15. Most of the soldiers I served with were draftees -or losers for other reasons.
16. We remember ourselves as fit, competent young soldiers. Me too -keeping a wary eye on the members of my platoon who, by and large, I did not trust or care for personally.
17. The Army did not deceive me or fail to deliver on anything it promised.
18. In truth, it promised damn little.
19. I was the victim of youthful expectations derived from the movies and some association with military professionals.
20 Most of the latter managed to curb their enthusiasm about VN. The wheel turns as I observe military operations in the new century.
21. The big difference is the high quality of today's soldier.
Am impressed and then impressed again.
22. Pray their leadership is worthy of them. They may take them for granted -I know what they have.
V/R JWest

CI-Roller Dude said...

I sometimes look back and wonder why I joined the Army of my own free will.

chupacabra said...

I'd do ya.