Thursday, May 18, 2006

Oh The Army

I have been holding off writing about the army in a negative light for some time now but I feel that my current situation warrants some type of discussion. First off let me make a few things clear. The army is a great institution and our country would be nonexistent without it. I consider myself privileged to be able to soldier it up for a few years. I feel like I have been allowed to join a group with a great history of men and women who have, throughout our history as a country, fought to preserve our way of life. With that said I want to voice a few concerns I have with the army.

A lot of people have a high-minded view of the military in general. Whether those people are ex-military or just plain old civilians they tend toward trusting those in the military, and while I don’t believe this is a completely unfounded belief I think that it is sometimes misled. People in the military are just people, plain and simple. We are the type of people you might see everyday in the work place, in school, or on the street. Those of us who are reserves and guardsmen are the people you see everyday and there is nothing really special about us. Granted we do a job that a lot of people are unwilling to do, or just plain not into, but other then that there is not much of a difference.

A week or so ago my father brought to my attention a post on Michelle Malkin’s website about American gang related graffiti in Iraq. He asked me what I thought about it and for the life of me I couldn’t come up with an answer. So what I thought, not everyone in the military is a model soldier fighting for high-minded ideals. There are people from all walks of life in the military including gang members, graffiti artists, wife beaters, racists, and as I like to call them “oxygen thieves.” Just because there are a few bad apples it doesn’t reflect on the army as a whole, of course that is unless you are a member of the MSM whereupon you would focus all of your attention on the acts of a few and draw irrational conclusions about the rest of the military.

So where am I going with all of this. Hmm not really sure but allow me for a minute to complain about the army. The army, like many civilian organizations I am sure, could be run much more effectively on the company level with less people. Example: My unit often times has to do PMCS (Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services) on our vehicles. Well we send out 20 people to do what 5 people could do but since there are so many people it creates confusion and slows down the process but hey I guess everyone feels like they are doing something. Oftentimes in the interest of fairness and equal opportunity an incompetent soldier will be ordered to do a job that they are physically and mentally unable to do. This practice leads to resentment and anger on everyone’s part. But whether that soldier is competent or not they will still make the same amount of money as the next soldier. These oxygen thieves cause a lot of problems on deployment. When you have soldiers like these it forces you to become a mother or father instead of a squad leader or commander.

Of course since the military pretty much takes anyone who wants to join problems are going to rise concerning the day-to-day effectiveness of individual soldiers. This is a problem for officers as well. I know several company commanders who I swear got their job by hanging a sign around their neck that read “Have college degree, will command troops for food.” The problem with leaders in the reserves and guard is that they could literally work as a computer programmer by day but come deployment time be responsible for 150 soldiers’ lives. Not that there is anything wrong with computer programmers but when they go from the cubicle to the battlefield where people’s lives hang in their hands then their newfound power can and will go to their head.

I believe the military has its own vicious cycle that weeds out the good soldiers and encourages the less than great ones to stay. Those who would make great leaders and long time soldiers, in my experience, tend to get out after a stint or two with the military because they can no longer handle the moronic and monotonous nature of the military. I am often times amazed that our army is the best in the world. I guess that just goes to show how jacked up all the other ones are. On the flip side some of those soldiers who like to stay are the ones who can deal with the constant crap slung their way everyday. Example: The other night I went to bed at 12:30am after working 2-10pm. I was awoken one hour later only to find that some MP unit was conducting a “Health and Welfare” inspection of my company and I had to dump all of my stuff so they could sort through it to make sure I had no alcohol or porn. After an hour of snide remarks about how much junk food I had and how stupid I was to have a Star Wars chess set in my room I was ordered back into my room after complaining that I didn’t receive a receipt for a bayonet of mine that was confiscated. Then I woke up at 5:30 for PT, which of course was canceled but that fact wasn’t put out until we were all outside ready to run. Then I had to visit my company commander for a counseling statement, which for those of you who don’t know is like going to the principle’s office because you were suspected of smoking in the bathroom on lunch break but they cant really do anything because they have no proof. After going to the CQ in my PT uniform I was informed that the commander was not able to talk to me since I wasn’t wearing my work uniform. So I went back to my trailer and changed clothes and then headed back to the CQ. Once back I was in the “man’s” office for all of 48 seconds before I signed a piece of paper and walked out. This chain of events took up almost all of my morning. Of course our mornings are the only personal time that we have. Press rewind and play to see what the day after this one was like. This is a typical day in the military and really not even that bad compared to some of the things I have had to do.

I do not want to harp on the good people in the military because I know there are a lot of them (just apparently not around me) and they do great things day in and day out. I have a great amount of respect for people who can make a career out of the military and not lose their minds as a result. We need more people like them but with the army trending towards more rules and regulations while at the same time coddling new recruits and allowing them cell phones in basic training I fear for the future of our fighting forces. The army needs to find a balance between meeting its recruitment needs while at the same time avoiding the alienation of the ones it already has by treating them like children and spanking them when they get out of line.

67 comments:

Praguetwin said...

From the looks of things, you may be getting some new people soon who are even worse.

Anonymous said...

Hey Sgt. Boggs- - looks like a world wide, every area of life problem to us, Blggs. Maybe a general dumbing down of the earth's human population. The pool to choose from is not maybe what it once was. Lack of high standards and not hurting anyone's feelings out here in civilian life doesn't exactly breed leaders. And when being able to burn your countries flag is more important than taking responsibility - - -and so on and so on. You know where I'm going - -you don't develop great character or patriotism. Schools don't teach kids to think much anymore. They just tell you what to think. Lots of reasons for your situation probably. Since we haven't been in the Military we will trust your first hand experiences. However, having been around the Military for many (more than I will admit)years I seem to remember hearing the same complaints going way back. One thing - -you men ARE different than us civilians, even with your flaws. I meet people every day that I wonder how they managed to dress themselves but they are not fighting to keep us free and secure. They are not risking their all for me or anybody else. They are takers and not givers. They are definitely not doers. I guess you will just have to go with the raw material you have Tim. And we never did think you were all perfect anyway. Life is not like that - -all perfect. But when push comes to shove - -we'll take our Military. We support you,duds and all. Maybe we civilians can do something to rid ourselves of the PC crowd so we can start teaching our people to think once again. Don't count us out yet! You are the best Boggs. Great blog! Hang in there.
We are still proud of you!!!
Ann

Anonymous said...

Does this mean we shouldn't send snacks anymore? Did they confiscate your coffee? Maybe they just want to make you lean and mean. Sounds like boot camp metality. Isn't boot camp where they harrass you like that to rid the Army of the mamas boys and those who malingner before they take you into battle? Not everyone used to make it through I have heard. Unlike you,it is a shame that we have so many civilians pointing out our problems and few stepping up to the plate to solve our problems. We are for doing what it takes to fix the problems you so nicely pointed out but we bet you will get lots of email from people who will relish bad mouthing our Military now. They are a part of the problem. Complainers and not fixers. But that is what we want from you - the good, the bad, the ugly. That way we know what to do here at home. I personally would enjoy going through all your stuff, Sgt Boggs, and I would confiscate your music. Remember, you ARE diferent than those sitting on the sideline complaining. And we thank YOU for that. Risking your life for mine is not something I take lightly. Please stay safe and we will work on reinstilling common sense and leadership in our schools.
Your grateful supporter,
Neatie

Anonymous said...

Are we right in assuming that you ARE NOT going to conduct an interview with your Company Commander for us, Tim?
A&N

mamaworecombatboots said...

Hello Tim
Your post made me laugh! I have a truly schizophrenic view of the military. I spent 20 years in it, defend it and its members fiercely but at the same time I notice I get fonder of it the farther I get away from it. Ah, I remember it well, the hurry up and wait.... Take care of yourself and watch out--you don't want any of those LOCs turning into LORs.

just passing by said...

You should have been around when they had the draft! You think you have problems _now_!

Some Soldier's Mom said...

Not much different in the RA either except that the people have a bit higher level of commitment (not many of them can say "I joined to go to college... I never thought I'd have to earn the money they gave me!") On the other hand, the RA has its share of oxygen thieves and (as I call them) bullies with rank -- some people wield power because they have to and others just because they can... the difference between a leader and a bully with rank.

best of luck to you.

t.h. snure said...

Hey Nephew,

Welcome to the real army! Its great to see that you are a real soldier, and a happy one to boot (the only happy soldier is the one who complains). I always was afraid when one of my sailors was quiet, and even more so when they smiled too much (I was worried about what they were up to and what they were on).

I have to agree that the army/military tends to keep a lot of less than desireable types, but they do manage to find and keep some really exceptional ones too.

When I was around we were given a great little tool called Administrative Discharge, we could do a periodic bottom blow and dump some loosers with no more reason than that they consumed more than their fair share of oxygen (or at least too much of my time "counseling" them). Of course most of my time was in "peace time" and recruiting was a little easier.

Oh well, keep up the good work, and keep your head up. Soar with the eagles and leave the turkeys behind.

Todd

kosovodad (Mike) said...

I’ve gone through your posts, like what I’ve read and offer you this: you said it yourself when you wrote, “people in the military are just people, plain and simple”. You’re absolutely right. Although I believe on the whole that the average soldier is something a little more special than average, this doesn’t mean we don’t have our share of folks that really should find another path in life.

I think your frustration isn’t necessarily with the Army. It’s life...everywhere and at every level. Hopefully your situation in its entirety is better than the story of getting woken up in the morning for the health-and-welfare inspection. On the other hand, I’m glad to see that some things haven’t changed since I was a junior enlisted, shift-working military policeman J

22 years ago I was twenty and was tired of sergeants that weren't nearly as smart as I was and officers that were wedded to the idea of doing things the dumb way just because it was their idea.

Ironically, it's no different as I get to pin on Lt. Col. next month. Only now, I can see it at both levels. I still see higher-level NCOs and officers picking the same wrong paths through the wilderness, still swearing never to listen to anyone whom they outrank. Only now I get to see specialists and junior officers as well.

You know, the ones who think their company commander has it out for them, just because they pulled their penis out on a subway and waved it around. Or the ones who swear their sergeant is racist because he expects them to stop rolling up to formation sixty seconds after everyone else in already standing tall. Or the lieutenant that thinks that some major doesn't have anything better to do than harass some hard working junior officer who really NEEDS to be standing in the middle of the convenience store shouting "fuck" into his cell phone at the top of his voice.

But you we don't do this job for those folks. We do it for the ones that aren't like that. You’ve said so yourself.

You know them as well. The specialist that goes back and does the task twice to get it right even though there's no chance anyone will find out if it was done wrong. Or the sergeant who goes out of their way to make sure the folks standing guard out in the rain get something warm to drink while they're out there…even when it’s only one private and no one else will know. Or the lieutenant who gets his ass chewed by his commander for sticking up for his soldiers--and never breathes a word of it to his platoon sergeant.

Nor is it any different in the civilian world...only there the negative repercussions are greater because there's no shared identity similar to what we have in the army. As I've sat here working at a civilian news organization for almost a year, I'm amazed at how little sense of camaraderie there is. Oh sure, they all go out “for beers” occasionally. But nothing compares to living next to a whole lot of people who share the similar views, values, and morals. It’s amazing how much you can tolerate when you’re around folks that are—for the most part but not all I agree—striving to make things a little better.

A leader that I had a great amount of respect for once told me that his leadership philosophy was simple. He thought leaders should help good soldiers out, and help bad soldiers “out”.

I absolutely believe that and agree with you that doing both of those things remains complex and challenging.

Greyhawk said...

Ever heard of the 80/20 rule?

Various versions:

20% of the people do 80% of the work.

But another 20% of the people cause 80% of the problems.

Those same people take up 80% of their leaders time - they are then left with about 20% of the needed time to make the organizatrion work effectively.

There are an unlimited number of variations on this theme. It is a law of human behavior. It has been around forever, and it wasn't developed by the US Army.

How to survive and thrive? Recognize it as something that comes with the territory - wherever your territory may be.

Do your best to make sure the top 20% get perks. Do your best o make sure the middle 60% aren't forgotten. Recognize that one screw up doesn't condemn someone to that bottom 20% for life.

And make sure that bottom 20% reap what they sow too. (This happens more often then you know - punishment is not always public.)

Good luck.

Elizabeth said...

Boggs: It was brave of you to write this under your real name. I suppose you might have sunk your career in the army for doing so (assuming you were planning a career in the army; maybe not).

I've worked for government funded non-profits and experienced the same types of things. Hence, I am now self-employed. I just couldn't take it anymore. I will say that organizations in the private sector were better in some ways (somewhat more efficient and less tolerant of incompetence) but worse in others (rampant sex harassment, unpaid overtime, etc).

Anonymous said...

bring on the rampant sex harrassment! Beats working with a bunch of limps.

Elizabeth said...

"anonymous" that is a totally ignorant remark...beneath contempt...

T. F. Boggs said...

I tried to post a comment earlier but apparently it didn't stick. If it comes back later then just disregard this one.
Funny thing happened yesterday-the army linked to this post on www.army.mil. I guess I didn't sink my career. How about that, even I was surprised.
All I said in my last comment was I couldn't have said it better then kosovodad did. I agree with him all the way as I do with greyhawk also.
I also wish I could excercise some administrative discharge like you could Todd, that is a great idea. Heck I could begin today.

Anonymous said...

Just trying to top you Elizabeth. Guess I didn't quite make it.

BUCK SARGENT said...

You really nailed it on this one, Boggsy. Trust me, this is even more true on the active duty side.

I also have a love/hate relationship with Uncle Sam's Army. I'll always be proud to have been a part of it, I believe in what they stand for, but it's sort of like any large extended family. There's a lot of shady characters you could just as soon do without and wouldn't mind in the least if they never showed up at any family reunions.

Sometimes the Army feels like an old senile uncle who paid your way through college -- but you still can't get over the fact that he molested you when you were nine.

What I really can't stand though are the "oxygen thieves" who go back home and are provided a media forum to badmouth their country by journalists who wouldn't know a good soldier if he was staring them in the face. I've seen this time and time again.

BUCK SARGENT said...

You really nailed it on this one, Boggsy. Trust me, this is even more true on the active duty side.

I also have a love/hate relationship with Uncle Sam's Army. I'll always be proud to have been a part of it, I believe in what they stand for, but it's sort of like any large extended family. There's a lot of shady characters you could just as soon do without and wouldn't mind in the least if they never showed up at any family reunions.

Sometimes the Army feels like an old senile uncle who paid your way through college -- but you still can't get over the fact that he molested you when you were nine.

What I really can't stand though are the "oxygen thieves" who go back home and are provided a media forum to badmouth their country by journalists who wouldn't know a good soldier if he was staring them in the face. I've seen this time and time again.

Anonymous said...

Friend,

I spent 14 years in the Army ('73-'87) as it transitioned from post-vietnam VOLAR to modern-day. The Army I left was better than the one I joined by untold orders of magnitude; however, I left mostly becuse I had simply grown beyond tired of doing stupid things for stupid reasons for stupid people, 18/7. And above all the Army had stopped being fun. When I joined, people still had fun, when I left, the fun had pretty much gone away; it had become boring beyond imagining, but that was before Gulf War I. Since then, as I understand it, things have actually improved, so that NCOs actually run things again, there is some fun to be had, etc. The best army in the world? Oh yeah! Man, you just have no idea what it was like when there was no war going on!

Trevor said...

It's completely and absolutely dependent on the character of the senior NCOs and officers who are supposed to lead your unit.

Some of them are piss poor human beings who are good at bureaucracy, and those will rise far in today's Army.

The best NCOs and officers put the morale and welfare of the troops above their own. The worst throw them away to advance their own careers.

And personally, I think the military's expectation that we all go without any sexual release for an entire year is completely idiotic and one of the most unrealistic expectations I've ever encountered.

Soldier's Dad said...

By design, the Military is an Authoritarian Regime, with a centrally planned economy.(Army's need to march in the direction they are told). As such, the military suffers many of the ill's of authoritarian regimes with a centrally planned economy.

It is a design tradoff, the necessity to maintain command and control, stifles innovation and efficiency.

Anonymous said...

These are extremely interesting comments on your extremely interesting blog, Sgt. Boggs. Made me think - even tho it is authoritarian in structure because of necessity it does have laws (rules) set by others than the authoriarians and I would think that is one big reason that the top man is a civilian. And although authoritarian, those with authority can be court martialed if they abuse their positions and power. It only makes sense that an army would reflect, in any case, the general condition of the Nation it comes from. An army created by a dictator will reflect a diferent personality than one created by a Democratic Republic. I think the great heart of our Military overall proves that. Perhaps the fact that not all of the leaders and men following them are great at their jobs is because we are not careful enought about who serves, their training and advancement. Maybe you have described a problem that needs to be faced, Sgt. Boggs. Maybe it is being faced. It is more difficult maybe to have a big enough base to draw from when Military Service is volunteer and when the Military is not respected enough or promoted enough by the general public, the media, the education system and so on. Thanks to all of you for your comments and I still come to the conclusion that our Military men are definitely the BEST and that we can without question be proud of them and support them 100%.

Antediluvia said...

Tim,
Some great eye-openers in that post. I had never really thought about the army in quite that light. Sure, I knew the "people just like you and me" part already, but never quite like that. It's sad to hear you ended up with so many "less competent" people. I don't remember you having the same complaints the last time you were in Iraq but correct me if I am wrong.

I must say, I am surprised you did not get in trouble for this post - yet :-)

Keep it up.

sunguh5307 said...

All this is true, but don't forget some units do a better job of weeding them out than others. SOCOM and other units with release authority are there if you want, they seem to do a little better about their selection and retention. However, when you find that place, you will have different problems.

Big Army will always have the oxygen thieves, but you gotta love it. Keep up the good work.

strykeraunt said...

Thank you for this post. Your words made me feel that they were coming out of the mouth of my nephew who served six years before hanging up the uniform and moving on. To be fair, I don't think that he every planned to retire military, however, I believe that this downside of serving in the military made it easier for him to leave.

Like some of the other commenters above, I have the upmost respect for the American soldier. However, as a civilian, this respect makes it more difficult to accept the fact that there are bad apples in our military, even when one of them comes along and smacks you in the face. Even though this bad apple has lied about everything, and emotionally and financially ripped off some people who are very close to me, it is the fact that he is deploying soon with other soldiers that upsets me the most. I can accept that there are people in this world who are cons and thieves. What makes it difficult is that I know of a con and thief who is deploying to a warzone with our fine men and women. I keep hoping that those who serve with him have a full understanding that he is not someone you want to trust with your life.

ET USN 71-78 said...

This was another excellent post, and you seem entirely within the bounds of reasonable civility, too. Rest assured, your observations of the army (military) are hardly unique or new.

Many of your greatest admirers are former military who KNOW what you endure, and observe you continuing to do your mission so well and with a decent attitude. It takes incredibly special people to remain upright and professional in your situation. This applies not only to you personally, but to your many fellow soldiers. You make us very proud.


BTW, you are fortunate to have an all-volunteer force, more than you may ever know. Just imagine what it would be like if the majority of those around you never wanted to be there in the first place. Do I think all soldiers are equal or perfect; of course not, but there are many more positive examples than negative in today's military.

Thanks to blogs such as yours and many others, the rotten apples cannot be portrayed by the MSM as typical examples of the armed forces. Granted, the MSM will try to smear the entire military, but they gain much less traction than in decades past. Bottom line: keep up the good work; not only are your comments enjoyable and enlightening, but they are important and have value, too.

Melinda said...

Good post yet again, SGT Boggs.

I know it's frustrating for my husband more times than he'd like and he repeats the mantra, "that's just the way it is; I knew it going in."

It's frustrating for those of us who love those who serve too b/c we only "signed up" in spirit and we'd like to just go in, clean house and tweak some things to make it work better!

Keep on posting!

Elizabeth said...

I was surprised to find out in your post that pornography is forbidden in the army. I had always assumed that pornography was one of the things that kept the army going. Is this the same all over the army, or is it because you're in the Middle East and it's part of some type of PR?

T. F. Boggs said...

Congratulations to Buck Sargent for having the comment of the year

"Sometimes the Army feels like an old senile uncle who paid your way through college -- but you still can't get over the fact that he molested you when you were nine."

I have read that for several days now and laugh every time. My sincere apologies for anyone who that offends.

Elizabeth- I don't think porn was ever the driving force that kept anything good going. And I am pretty sure it is a Middle Eastern rule.

t.h. snure said...

Elizabeth,
I'm amazed that a "journalist" such as yourself would actually admit that you didn't know something (like the fact that porn is not allowed in the army) usually media people just write whatever they conjure up in their head and run with it as if it were undeniable truth.

In fact, porn is not allowed anywhere in the military. There was a time when this was not enfroced to any degree, but now especially since women have won the "right" to be a part of combat units, out of respect for them (and for men who object to the stuff) enforcement is much more swift and sure. You might do a little research on this topic and see if a real story could come out of it. Of course no MSM outlet would touch it, it dosen't present the military in a bad enough light.

Once again nephew, you did a great job on this one.

Todd

Anonymous said...

If Elizabeth ever sends any care packages to our great military guys she will learn that you are forbidden to send porn, alcohol, or relegious materials among other things. The Military bends over backwards it seems to inforce these things. That is one reason why Tim has a cupboad full of snacks and coffee. We would send cigars but we don't want his mother mad at us. She might whip us. A&N

t.h. snure said...

Believe me. You don't want to get on his mom's bad side. She is my "big" sister and I know what she is capable of... I grew up under her iron fist.

But then why do you think Tim is such a great guy? It all comes down to parenting (of course a real cool uncle didn't hurt much).

The only thing that hurt a bit was when he chose the army over the navy. (oops, I forgot we don't have those divisions any longer... we're one big happy family).

Todd

strykeraunt said...

"Sometimes the Army feels like an old senile uncle who paid your way through college -- but you still can't get over the fact that he molested you when you were nine."

I have to admit that after the initial shock from reading the comment, I too gave out a chuckle. No offense taken, just surprise:D

BUCK SARGENT said...

Sweet! I got "Comment of the Year"!

I should clarify that this "Uncle" is someone who you still love and think fondly of, but you never get over that fact that he wronged you and most likely has a screw loose that can never be fixed.

It's a crude and imperfect analogy, but it seemed to fit based on what I heard and read from people who've had such real experiences in their lives. The dysfunctional family dynamic is a complex one that different people react differently too, and is no different in reference to the military. Some swear off all ties and choose to try and forget anything positive from the relationship, and others accept the wrongs as being wrong yet choose to forgive in the long run.

There's a guy that posts as "IRR Soldier" over on Greyhawk's site that apparently has nothing but contempt for the military and his prior service in it. Then there's guys like me and Boggs that recognize that the military is an imperfect institution made up of imperfect people, but by and large is a more positive force in the world than a negative one.

I think most people understand going in that the military is going to screw them to some extent, but you serve anyway because you know you owe the country something back for all it's given you. That was my understanding of it, at least.

That's why I have at least a modicum of respect for even the sorry cases that wash out of basic training (which these days is about as difficult as summer camp). At least they had the stones to give it a shot and put themselves out there, even if they did come up woefully short.

BUCK SARGENT said...

Oh, one other thing I almost forgot:

The idea that there's no porn in the military is absurd. Maybe it's more stringently enforced in mixed-gender units, but I can tell you from direct experience that there is no shortage of illicit magazines, images, or videos in infantry companies. We have guys wallpaper their entire CHU's with it and some even hung a full-size poster of Jenna Jameson in all her mammory-enhanced glory on the inside of their door, which was frenquently left open for anyone to see.

And this is on deployment; you don't even want to know what goes on back at the barracks. It's really no different than a college dorm or frat house.

I'm neither endorsing nor condoning this fact, just stating it as such.

As far as Trevor's comment about going a year without any sexual release, I'll avoid the unmentionable realities that conflict with this statement. You don't have much privacy, but you do have some. And besides, that's what mid-tour leave is for. It's basically a two-week long conjugal visit. Being married certainly has its privileges.

You have to feel for the single guys who spend all their overseas internet time on MySpace.com trying frantically to meet anyone with a pulse who lives back in their home state. I don't know anyone who wants to die a virgin.

I'm sorry if I've now ruined your credentials as a family-friendly blog, Boggs. But the military can be a crude & lewd institution. Some people have this "Disney" conception of it that simply is not the case. I'm not proud of this fact, but it is what it is. I'm sure it was no different in the old days; pilots used to paint pin-ups directly on their planes back then. We couldn't get away with that today in a public capacity. But what goes on behind the scenes has simply coarsened to match our general culture.

Anonymous said...

We're not stupid Buck and appreciate your - - -frankness. But please don't say college fraternities are like that!!! Ha! You certainly do keep the conversation honest and down where the rubber meets the road so to speak. You guys are great and after all we don't really believe in Disney. We too are realist but you know - -we just can't understand everything because WE haven't been there and lived it. Thanks for your comments and you don't shock us - -too much. We "innocents" back home need the truth of this war and of everything you go through over there and I have a feeling you hold back some to spare us what you think we just can't handle. Just watched Baghdad ER and it was tough. Maybe all Americans should see it. You guys have every bit of our respect - - -and we love you all. Thanks again A&N

t.h. snure said...

Buck Sgt,

I agree with your comment about the military being an imperfect institution. Those of us who choose to be a part of it in spite of that fact are there with the express hope that we can make at least a small difference and I see at least two guys in you and Tim who are making a little more than a small difference. I thank you both for the part you are playing.

Your right in that porn still is there, but you were also right in that it is illicit (i.e. against the rules).

My last active duty was in a mixed unit (a helicopter squadron) and then in recruiting (admittedly a disney like environment) and it was a long time ago. We were starting to make some progress in integrating women into (at that time non-combat) roles that had been all men, but it wasn't an easy transition.

If I were aboard a ship with all guys, I would probably look the other way unless it got out of hand (ie wallpapering the head or bunks). But in mixed units it really has no place. The only guy I would really hammer is the one who is in trouble for something else (use every tool he puts in the tool box).

OBTW: I, as Tim's uncle, did not pay his way through college.

T. F. Boggs said...

Great Buck, you prolly just got me taken off Hewitt's site for your comments. Just kidding for course but if he does drop me then you need to find me a new site that will bring me 100 people a day.

So yeah there is a lot of porn in the military, and yes my uncle is right when he says that it is illicit. Everyone does look the other way but any time you want to get someone in trouble you can always get them for porn. I think that was the thinking of the higher ups in my unit. I guess it had been too long without someone getting in trouble and they all had A15 steak sauce fever. Nothing can cure that fever better then a late night trailer raid.

As with anything in this world the military is imperfect like Buck said. But in general it is more positive than it is negative. Like I said in the actual post it just goes to show how jacked up everything else is.

BUCK SARGENT said...

"Great Buck, you prolly just got me taken off Hewitt's site for your comments. Just kidding for course but if he does drop me then you need to find me a new site that will bring me 100 people a day."

Well, I suppose I could always just link you to MY site...

Seriously though, you probably get more traffic than I do, seeing as how you're Hugh's new golden boy. He promised to add me to his blogroll but I guess he forgot. Bummer.

Actually, the only reason I don't have links is because I can't figure out any good place to put them. If anyone even remotely knowledgeable about HTML (which, compared to me, wouldn't be hard to beat) knows how to put links on the LEFT side of the blogspot page, please enlighten me. All that wasted space, and I can't do a darn thing with it.

Courtney said...

Tim,

I loved this post! It was really interesting to hear some of the things you go through on a day-to-day basis- as unfortunate as they might be. What is really unfortunate is the fact that they made fun of you for having a Star Wars chess set. Sounds pretty nifty to me.

As far as porn in the military goes- it is understandable- but as a girl- I don't like the idea. I think pornography is really disgusting. I also think one would have to be extremely ignorant to think that it would not be utilized in the military where these guys are isolated from interaction with non-military girls. Buck Sergeant’s comment about the frat house is probably really accurate. I'm sure the amount of porn in the military only reflects the day in age we live in.

T. F. Boggs said...

Buck since I am Hugh's new golden boy I'll just tell him to add you to his blogroll when he calls me later on for our daily round up of world events. He often calls me for the latest info and to find out what is really going on in Iraq. I am pretty much the ying to his yang.

Courtney-I bet they were just jealous that they don't have a Star Wars chess set like me. Haters, pure haters is all.

BUCK SARGENT said...

"Buck since I am Hugh's new golden boy I'll just tell him to add you to his blogroll when he calls me later on for our daily round up of world events. He often calls me for the latest info and to find out what is really going on in Iraq. I am pretty much the ying to his yang."

Cool, dude. Glad to hear it. Oh, but will you remember to thank him for me when he calls today for sending me that complimentary autographed copy of his new book "Painting the Map Red" (available at Amazon.com and book retailers everywhere). I don't recall even giving him my APO address, or even my real name, and yet it just showed up one day just as I was jonesing for something new to read. He must secretly work for the NSA. Or Google.

So just tell him thanks from Buck, ya know, whenever you talk to him next.

T. F. Boggs said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
T. F. Boggs said...

Oh you got one too? Good, I'm glad that I'm not the only one he is sending stuff to. It sure was nice of him to send that book and all the fan mail he receives about me from that time that he had me on his show. You know which show I am talking about right? The one that you wrote me about and even sent me the file so that I could listen to myself. I'll let him know that you appreciate the gesture.

I bet he would have sent it even if I didn't tell him to. He sure is a great guy.

The Ugly American said...

Ok Tim said it best but Buck said it funniest.

Be safe both of you.

Ps. Niether of you got to interview Hewitt but forgot to record it.

BUCK SARGENT said...

"Tim said it best but Buck said it funniest."

Okay, so now you're Hugh AND Rick's golden boy milblogger. And I'm just the comic relief. That's cool, I see how it is...

"Niether of you got to interview Hewitt but forgot to record it."

That's true, we've NEVER been that dumb.

But then again, I did just get hit in the nards three separate times yesterday with three different kinds of sports equipment (football, soccer ball, AND frisbee) while goofing around with the Iraqi Border Patrol.

I guess I really am the comic relief. I need a vacation.

The Ugly American said...

The Blogosphere wouldn't be the same without either of you Buck so keep your head down....And wear your cup damn it!

T. F. Boggs said...

I don't know Buck, last night I came walking out of the latrine and fell into a hole after running into a bright red box intended to keep me from doing so. I got cuts on my left foot, right knee, left thigh, and right forearm so I think we both provide comic relief. However, your hat trick is something to be admired and I will take nothing away from you.

I'll concede to you on this point though: If I wasn't from Ohio I doubt I would have made Hugh's links. You are a much better writer, I am just lucky.

Speaking of vacation mine is coming up in August, is that when we are going to take over the world?

BUCK SARGENT said...

"Speaking of vacation mine is coming up in August, is that when we are going to take over the world?"

I may alrady be stateside by that time (fingers crossed, rub the rabbits foot, shake the magic eight-ball...)

We should do a conference call on-air with Hugh and then hang up simultaneously in mid-sentence and blame it all on Rick.

Oh, and I'm gonna try and top your latest embarrassing moment. I tore my big toenail completely off last fall while tripping over the steps leading to the latrine in the dark. Okay, that's not really embarrassing, just really painful. I'll try again. A couple years ago in Afghanistan I had been pulling SAW duty atop an open thin-skinned cargo humvee (can you remember when we used to ride around in those like it was no big deal? Be nuts to do that these days)... anyway, so no s**t there I was sitting on a sagging MRE box with my legs folded under me, and after a few hours of course they'd start to go numb on me.

So suddenly my squad dismounts to go follow our LT though some obscure village and I grab my SAW and hop out to follow. Everytime you show up in these out-of-the-way villages in Afghaniland literally the whole town comes out to stare at you in huge crowds like it's the most interesting thing they've ever seen in their lives. (Probably because it is).

So there I am hauling ass down the road to catch up when suddenly it occurs to me that I still can't feel my legs under me which have been asleep for about three hours straight. Within about three seconds my upper body finally gets ahead of my lower body and -- in true Wile E. Coyote fashion -- I fall flat on my face without even time to cushion my fall with my arms. This happens in front of at least 300 Afghan kids.

Naturally, they think it's the funniest thing they've ever seen. (Probably because it is). But of course, the rest of my squad thinks I've been sniped and hits the dirt while I just lay there facedown too humiliated to move.

That story is probably still told around the village to this day. "Hamdi, remember when the American ate s**t and just laid there like he was dead?" "How could I forget, Hammad? It was the most exciting day of my life!"

T. F. Boggs said...

That is a great story and I cannot top it but I'll give you one more of mine.

On my last deployment I worked at the port of Umm Qasr and had to guard a small group of American soldiers that were there purifying water. Well since we were the only soldiers there it was pretty much up to us to keep people out and the area safe. So one day, as often happened, some Navy guys come rolling up in a patrol boat. They always escorted some civilian guys around (I have a guess who now) and would hang out at our wharehouse and rest for a while. Well as they pulled up I was in a tower right next to the water. Before I knew it I was staring face to face with a Navy Seal who had crept up into my tower. Well there I was with my pants around my ankles and my boots undone because it was about 130 outside. He took one look at me, asked me what we had for security, and then when I told him I was it he promptly had the rest of his men dismount and pull guard around me.

Ah the good ol days. I do remember riding around in soft top humvees and gunning with nothing around me. How the times change.

Anonymous said...

These are the two funniest war stories I have ever read! Maybe I should practice up with my shotgun - -just in case.

Anonymous said...

Loved the stories you and Buck wrote on the comment page of your last blog, Sgt. Boggs. You two should tour the country with those in August. Can't stop laughing. They are a must read by your readers.

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