16 June 2013

US ARMY: 238 YEARS OF TRADITION ….Happy Birthday US Army..

From the Old Soldier side: When I was in the “regular Army” back in the 70’s, we had changed many of the sayings and motto's for the Army and our Battalion.  It was something I carried on many years later when I joined the California Army National Guard. 
Some of those old sayings we changed: “US Army, we can break more shit before 9, than most people break in a year” or my favorite: “US Army, we can waste more time before 9, than most companies waste in a month.”
Spec 4 CI Roller dude somewhere in Vest Germany
The only US Army patch with the name of a city on it

I was in West Berlin for the July 4th parade in 1976.  We had every Soldier who could walk (and a few who couldn't  march in that parade.  “I love a parade….as long as I don’t have to march in it.” Was our motto for the day. 
"There's DUMB and there's ARMY DUMB"

One of genius Spec 4’s (E-4, now just called a “Specialist” because they did away with Spec 5, 6’s and 7’s) came up with something I never forgot: “The US Army, 200 years of tradition, history and shit unchanged by progress or common sense.” 
I continued using that motto, just updating the years for the rest of my career.

Some of the silly shit the US Army does is just baffling.  Some of the leaders I had to work for were very good, and I’d follow them anywhere…but many others were less than useless.  Why anybody would have put some of these dummies in charge of people was something I could never figure out.  Usually what I heard was: “I’m the senior ranking person here, so I’m in charge.”  In my last years in the Guard, on deployments, fires, earthquakes etc, that sort of system failed many times.  In some cases, the smarter bosses wouldn’t put the dummy in charge even if he did have more stripes.

Never sleep when the rubber chicken is loose...

Well, we can look back at the last 238 years and see what our Army has done…where it’s been, what it’s done.  How much it’s changed history (along with the Marines, Navy and Air Force.)  I still read history books about past wars…and I still wonder if our leaders have read any of them.  If you don’t study history, you are doomed to repeat it.  It seems like we have at least a few times.
There were many stories I’ve read of past wars and thought that the players were the same, just different equipment and different enemies…but the story seems to repeat.  I read a story about soldiers in the civil war being issued food rations for 3 days…then eating them all the first day because they were so hungry.  One training mission we did at Fort Irwin many years ago, we were issued MREs for 3 days to get us through the “battle”.  By the end of the first day, half my guys came up to me and said: “Sarge, we’re starving.” 
I just looked at them and thought that the troops really haven’t changed over the years….just the crap we carried.
Ft Ord about 1990? Getting ammo ready for the M60 range

The US Army uniforms have changed many times since the 1770’s.  Many times in the Army’s history the uniforms and weapons they were using at the beginning of some wars were not what they were using by the end.  This history lesson repeated around 2005.  Our unit was wearing BDUs’ before Iraq (we wore them in Bosnia). Then for Iraq we were issued DCUs.  Part way through our deployment, troops were arriving wearing the ACUs’. 
The ACU’s are the worst piece of shit uniform ever issued in our Army’s history.  Polyester and Velcro that fails when needed the most. 
In my Army / National Guard career, I wore 4 combat uniforms.  In 1974 we were issued 2 sets of Class A’s (dress uniform) with a  Class B (minus the green dress jacket) 2 sets of khakis, 4 sets of OD Green fatigues, and a set of PT shorts and shirt…and  2 pairs of black combat boots and 1 pair of black low quarter shoes.   

For more History of Army uniforms:        

How come the Marine uniforms always look better?