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Thread: More training, less parading urged.

  1. #21
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default Short, Sweet

    And to the Point, Well Put Rifleman !

  2. #22
    Council Member jonSlack's Avatar
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    Default That's the Army in which I should like to fight.

    "I'd like to have two Armies -- one for display, with lovely guns, tanks, little Soldiers, staffs, distinguished and doddering Generals and deal little regimental officers, who would be deeply concerned over their General's bowel movements or their Colonel's piles; an Army that would be shown for a modest fee on every fairground in the country.

    The other would be the real one, composed entirely of young enthusiasts in camouflage uniforms, who would not be put on display but from whom impossible efforts would be demanded and to whom all sorts of tricks would be taught. That's the Army in which I should like to fight." -- Jean Larteguy
    Major recurring formal and ceremonial events requiring formal drill and ceremony should be handled by speciality units like the Old Guard. For recurring ceremonies and events, major installations should form a garrison "Old Guard" instead of "tasking" units in the garrison.

    One of the biggest kicks in the junk is having to cancel a week of training on no notice so that you and your Soldiers can go stand in formation for a week for a ceremony and the numerous rehearsals required before hand.

  3. #23
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    Drill does seem to have its benefits, though an excess of drill does not pass pass an excess of benfits.

    The drill we use now was developed to aid and enhance a certain type of warfare or fighting. Perhaps it is time for a new form of drill. Best would probably include the speed, endurance and dispersion of soccer along with a built-in trigger to unexpectently switch the person calling commands.

    Leave the parades to the drill team and the volunteer octet. Also, the drum major should be required to polish off a full glass of port upon finishing retreat as in Bugles and a Tiger (Col. J. Masters).

  4. #24
    Council Member nichols's Avatar
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    I would agree with COD being needed for crowd control, other then that where does it fit into today's dispersed asymetrical battlefield?

  5. #25
    Council Member nichols's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    Hi Nichols,



    Do you feel that it has no place in moral and building an esprit du corps? I agree that as a combat drill, it is useless, but I think it still has an important moral function.

    Marc
    Marc,

    I feel that COD promotes centralized command & control. Building moral is achieved through successful real world and training mission where the individual small unit leader made instant decisions without waiting for higher authority to tell him or her what to do.

    We push for Commander's Intent in order for the subordinate to operate without micromanagement yet we love a parade.

    To a person with a hammer, every problem is a nail.

    COD bad, rapid decision making good.

  6. #26
    Council Member nichols's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JHR View Post
    Leave the parades to the drill team
    Eventually they end up in front line units.

    Nothing like having a leader that can show you how to march in circles perfectly covered and aligned but can't navigate his way off of the drill field.

  7. #27
    Council Member nichols's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rifleman View Post
    To the extent that D&C can instill and reenforce a sense of primary group it remains a good thing.
    I respectfully disagree with you on this point.

    Sorry guys but this COD madness is like fingernails on the chalk board for me.

    Training seastory time.

    For just under five years I was granted the privilage of being a Platoon Sergeant to a Regimental Sniper Platoon that did not have a T/O on the books. We would detach from the Regimental S-2 and attach to C Co 3rd Recon operationally. We would give C Co 5-6 six man additional recon assests that had guns. The teams were large because of the radio requirements, 77/ky for VHF, 104/ky for HF, 113/ky for UHF, 68 for sniper team comms, and a DCT.

    I always managed to find a way out of my requirement to hang out in C Company's COC and be a member of a team. My last mission with that unit had me locked into the COC, Budda smiled on me and one of the RTO's caught chicken pox so we left him at Camp Lester. The team that I inserted myself in was already short by one Marine (wish I could somehow blame this on COD). Due to mule shortage issues, this team didn't take the 113 so CAS was a non-player. I insert this team (with me) in an area that I felt wouldn't see to much activity and the Sergeant that was going to take my spot when I PCS'd, I put into an area that should have seen a lot of activity.

    Our SOP called for the shot to be taken while the bird was terminal dropping ord on target. The thought was that the bad guys would think that the bombs killed the Commander and give us time to E&E before they figured out that it was a 7.62.

    D+4 the aggressor Battalion to put up a COC in our playground. From our target profiles the Bn CO was clearly identified and targeted. The spotter and I stalked for a good 3 hours and waited for sunset to occur from our final firing position. 30 seconds before I pulled the trigger on my blank round 2 A-6s did a simulated bomb run on the COC. Once again Budda was smiling on me.

    The data was sent to the evaluators, the Bn CO was taken out of the execise for 8 hours and I was pretty happy with my last mission.

    It wasn't until 4 days after we were extracted that I found out that Budda had nothing to do with those A-6s showing up at the right time. My replacement with who I had been training with for the past 2 years called for the CAS and directed from 20 kilometers away. He did not have eyes on target but he knew that we didn't have a 113 and he also knew me.

    The closest that we came to COD in that platoon was during the occasional humps, other then that the training schedule always had us out in the field whenever a drill requirement popped up.

  8. #28
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    I'm going to cut against the grain somewhat and say that parades, changes of command, and the occasional retirement, do build esprit de corps.

    I have stood in my far share of retirement formations when I was a troop, for a retiree who I had never even seen before the first practice. Those can definitely go away, but for those old hands who are retiring out of a unit, I believe it is certainly appropriate to render him a proper send off.

    Very few Marines actually request a formal ceremony, with commander of troops, representative platoons, and a pass in review. For those that do, they typically have a good farewell speech, and that can be motivating enough, yet hard to quantify the exact effect. I would argue that the words of encouragement, thanks, and recognition (to the young men enduring the speech) serve to further solidify that bond we share. Should we emphasis close order drill training on a regular basis given the "long war"? I don't think so, but I can attest to the fact that Marines who seem to be challenged at drill aslo seem to be challenged when it comes to weapons-handling and other rote tasks. Perhaps those men could use it...

    It's almost hard to put the feelings into words, but a ceremony done right, and well-rehearsed, can really good evolutions despite the hours spent practising.

    I can remember clear as day the night that members of my platoon and I escorted the US Ambassador and Gen Shalishkavili from the USLO compound to the Paki compound a mile or so away in Mogadishu. The Pakistanis had it all laid out and spared no dog or pony that day. They must have had components of a drum and bugle corps, with an attachment of bagpipers, and they put on an impressive show for close to an hour before the VIPs engaged in a dinner meeting.

    Even then, I can remember watching the lower ranks loitering on the fringe of the ceremony. I could sense a level of pride swelling up in them, to the point that even sentries manning bunker posts were no longer maintaining observation, but mesmerized by the music and pageantry. When the music ended with what seemed to be the national anthem of sorts, the Pakistanis were at rigid attention. Long after the final note, it seemed as if their spirits were lifted, and the back-slapping continued until we left. Hell, my spirits were lifted, so let's not put away the ceremonies yet...

  9. #29
    Council Member jonSlack's Avatar
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    If you have time to do "drill" you have time to practice combatives, practice stacking and room clearing techniques, demo knot and breaching charge construction lessons, weapons assembly, disassembly, functions check, and reduce a stoppage drills, radio and ANCD classes, and a host of more relevant training that is easy to resource and execute during short garrison lulls.

  10. #30
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Jon,

    I've got to agree with JC on this. I do agree that training in something immediately operationally useful is very important. Still and all, "Man does not live by bread alone" - or, if you prefer Napoleon, "Morale is to materiel as three is to one". Regimental, corps, whathaveyou ceremonial is a "spiritual glue" that ties together those who have gone before, those serving now, and those who will serve in the future. Without it, there is no "sacred" reason for what you are doing; no "foundation story" or "elder tales".

    American servicemen (and women) swear to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States" which, if you look at it objectively, is nothing but a bunch of ink spilled on a parchment over 225 years ago by a bunch of guys who are now dead. What, other than your oaths, links you to them, and how can you "see" / "feel" this linkage? This is the importance of ceremonial rituals.

    Please believe me when I say that the REMFs who use those rituals as a way of polishing their own careers and justifying their own lack of actual combat skills / ability should be sent to Baghdad on 1 man missions. They are a disgrace not only because they do not have the skills and abilities they should have, and not only because they will lead their own men to death, which they probably will, but because they are breaking a covenant that streches back to your War of Independance.

    This may sound somewhat wonky, but I want to finish my reply with a poem, written by a Canadian at the end of WW I that, I think, really encapsulates why ceremonial is so important.

    In Flanders Fields
    By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
    Canadian Army

    IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
    Between the crosses row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.
    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  11. #31
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    What, other than your oaths, links you to them, and how can you "see" / "feel" this linkage? This is the importance of ceremonial rituals
    .

    It all just needs to be done in moderation, which is usually where the "operators" and the "garrison gurus" vehemently disagree.

  12. #32
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default One man missions, Drills and Ceremonies

    Please believe me when I say that the REMFs who use those rituals as a way of polishing their own careers and justifying their own lack of actual combat skills / ability should be sent to Baghdad on 1 man missions. They are a disgrace not only because they do not have the skills and abilities they should have, and not only because they will lead their own men to death, which they probably will, but because they are breaking a covenant that streches back to your War of Independance.
    Good Evening Marc !
    Career justification and polishing is far too kind. Fortunately for those, they rarely attend the finals, when skills and abilities become reality. For somebody that never joined the U.S. Armed Forces, you seem to already grasp the often too obvious and better yet, eloquently pen it herein !

    Regards, Stan

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    These men paraded. Only once at full strength to be sure, but they paraded. It didn't seem to hurt their bush skills any.

    "The Selous Scouts"
    I used to sit by the water's edge & watch the campfire glow
    & I'd listen to the night-birds cry & feel the breezes blow.
    My belly full of the meat I'd shot, I'd sit for hours & muse
    As the moon came up & the shadows changed to many different hues.

    I used to roam through this country wide in search of game so fleet
    & I'd listen to the lions roar as they too searched for meat.
    I'd make my camp on the grassy plain or in the mountains tall
    & I'd friends at every farm & store & every native kraal.

    But now when I near a river's edge or roam this country wide
    I've a lot of men to back me, & I think of them with pride.
    They're a scruffy lot to look at, but they've a tracker's skill;
    They're damned fine men in a follow-up, & damned good at a kill.

    The Scouts they're called, & well-named, too, for the man whose name they bear.
    Was the greatest hunter in this land, & these men fear no dare!
    For the game they hunt is vermin that would pillage, plunder and maim.
    & they do their job efficiently, with never thought of fame!


    Click on the link, turn the volume up, then click on the center photo.

    http://selousscouts.tripod.com/unit_profile.htm

    I just love hearing that!

  14. #34
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    These men paraded. Only once at full strength to be sure, but they paraded. It didn't seem to hurt their bush skills any.
    Being "on parade" seemed to be a common theme among all of the Rhodesian forces. Perhaps that's a regimental construct.

    Then again, the enlisted, staff, and officer clubs also seem to have been patronized way more than we do today.

  15. #35
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default What is a Vet ?

    Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing
    limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye.

    Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a
    bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or perhaps
    another sort of inner steel: the soul's alloy forged in the
    refinery of adversity.

    Except in parades, however, the men and women who have
    kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can't tell
    a vet just by looking.

    What is a vet?

    He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in
    Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure
    the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.

    He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden
    planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed
    a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of
    exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

    She - or he - is the nurse who fought against futility and
    went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.

    He is the POW who went away one person and came back
    another -or- didn't come back AT ALL.

    He is the Quantico drill instructor that has never seen combat -
    but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account
    rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to
    watch each other's backs.

    He is the parade - riding Legionnaire who pins on his
    ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

    He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons
    and medals pass him by.

    He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The
    Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery
    must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes
    whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or
    in the ocean's sunless deep.

    He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket -
    palsied now and aggravatingly slow - who helped liberate
    a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his
    wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares
    come.

    He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being,
    a person who offered some of his life's most vital years
    in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his
    ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

    He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the
    darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest
    testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

    One fine man probably summarized it best...

    "It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us
    freedom of the press.

    It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom
    of speech.

    It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, Who has given
    us the freedom to demonstrate.

    It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath
    the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protester to
    burn the flag."

    -- Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, USMC

  16. #36
    Council Member nichols's Avatar
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    All of you are bring up some valid points....but I will not change my mind. My last 18 months was at MCI. DL courses held low priority during the summer.

    At every parade I would watch the 03's in the marching companies do the art and remember how many times we were never at T/O in the fleet.

    FWIW, I can drill a platoon and call some wickedly motivating cadence, but I Still HATE COD.

  17. #37
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    At every parade I would watch the 03's in the marching companies do the art and remember how many times we were never at T/O in the fleet.
    So true, and yet every time a rifle is tossed in the air, it catches the imagination of a boy or girl, and they grow up to give something of themselves, and do great things as Marines.

    So marct, how does all this tie into totemism?

  18. #38
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi JC,

    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    So true, and yet every time a rifle is tossed in the air, it catches the imagination of a boy or girl, and they grow up to give something of themselves, and do great things as Marines.

    So marct, how does all this tie into totemism?
    Well......

    Totemism is really centered around "clans" and kinship group definitions. It sort of defines the relationships between clans, originally for biological reasons. Okay, most groups practice both exogamy (marriage outside of a specific smallish group) and endogamy (marriage within a larger cultural group) in their marriage practices. Clans, tribes, sibs, etc. all define exogamous groups and, in many cases, define the group where you should find your spouse.

    I many cases, a clan is "founded" or "represented" by a totem who gives their name to the clan. Sometimes this is a mythical creature, sometimes a real creature (e.g. Bear, Elk, Whale, etc.), sometimes it's a god or goddess and sometimes it's what is called an "eponymous ancestor" - someone who is claimed to have started the lineage.

    If you look at most regimental systems, they fall into that latter class. The Selous Scouts are a good example of this type, but most regiments that have a longish history would also be included. Another example would be the Roman Legions.

    Now these ceremonials and traditions are designed to allow people to "experience" what other people who have served in that unit experience. It creates a bond through space and time, a bond of "shared experience" and "shared tradition". Anthropologists call this bond "communitas" - a bond of comonality that transcends time and space and creates a community between the living and the dead. Sound like mystical BS? Well, it mostly operates at a sub-conscious level to motivate people. Think of phrases like "In the best traditions of the Corps", etc.

    Ceremonial for the sake of ceremony, however, is really an abberation. It can lock people into a single set of responses that, in a military unit, can get them all killed because they don't have the actual operational skills to survive in the modern battlefield. It's also highly attractive to a certain personality type that thrives on exact ordering and can't deal with "messy" reality.

    The really interesting thing about the use of ritual and ceremonial is that it doesn't have to be "formal". Stan mentioned this a couple of times with people getting straightened out by their DIs, and we've had a few discussions about how youngsters learn from elders in totally "informal", but highly ritualized, settings.

    I think JC hit it on the head when he said

    It all just needs to be done in moderation, which is usually where the "operators" and the "garrison gurus" vehemently disagree.
    Let me make one last comment about the use of ceremonials and then I'll shut up (for now ).

    I think JC raised a really important dichotomy between operators and garrison gurus. When troops are in garrison, ceremonial becomes more important, especially in peace time. When you have to go out in the field, it becomes less important, although some of it is still necessary to maintain the link to "why we are fighting" and to access and reinforce he "best traditions of the Corps".

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  19. #39
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Reber View Post
    Good Evening Marc !
    Career justification and polishing is far too kind. Fortunately for those, they rarely attend the finals, when skills and abilities become reality. For somebody that never joined the U.S. Armed Forces, you seem to already grasp the often too obvious and better yet, eloquently pen it herein !

    Regards, Stan
    Hi Stan,

    Maybe its the effect of having a degree in Sociology - the "science of the blindingly obvious" . Actually, most of what I wrote in that post came from discussions a long time ago with my Great Uncle who fought in most of the large battles of WW I. As a Canadian officer, he was treated as a barbarian by many of the British staff officers - a "colonial" whose troops were wholly expendable.

    He also told me stories about how he and other junior officers would try to bring new recruits up to speed once the hit the trenches, and about a fair number of the "rituals" they would use to try and give these people a chance to live longer that a day or two. Needless to say, COD was only partially used, but they did try to maintain it when they were away from the front as a way of cushioning people from the horrors of the trenches.

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  20. #40
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default When troops are in garrison

    Good Evening Marc !
    Oddly enough, I recently had a strange conversation (actually several emails) with a relatively young soldier perplexed about his boss. I intend to keep both names out of this.

    It took me several hours to think over my response. Although I've been retired for nearly a decade, I have not forgotten nor neglected what I was taught and when said lessons were appropriate (in the form of advice), etc.

    Yes, Marc, it's going to get more confusing, but you somehow already knew that

    I only know one of the them, but I chose to remain somewhat neutral with my response. Rather, I decided to tell the other what our primary responsibilities are, be it Drill and Ceremony with accompanied boredom at post, or abroad with upheaval and hostility, where we are at times measured as individuals, but still very much team members.

    I believe the other used the term "not this cat" in his response.

    I will PM you and you decide. I am more than interested and value your opinion (go figure !).

    Regards, Stan

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