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Thread: Zero-Defects Mentality

  1. #21
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    McNamara'a whiz Kids promulgated it but it was aimed at DoD industrial efforts, it did not permeate the Army as the mid 70s re-issue did... :d :d
    Nah that ain't it...... in 64 you hadn't been out of the Marines long enough to understand advanced Army thinking yet.

    Go to the link below and scroll down until you come to Zero Defects and you will find that on 25 April 1966 it Exploded onto Ft. Jackson and had an annual celebration 21 April 1967.


    http://www.jackson.army.mil/Museum/H...PTER%20IV.html


    A lot of folks have a problem with the fact that the Army won the Cold War and The Race To The Moon all by themselves!!!!been going downhill since then by listening to the wrong folks.
    Last edited by slapout9; 01-13-2010 at 09:11 PM. Reason: stuuf

  2. #22
    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    What about venturing into a chow hall without a reflective belt or daring to move a HMMWV on a military base without a ground guide? C'mon now.

    Here is a great article published in October 2001, but with much of the interviews and observations made prior to 9/11. This really captures the insanity of the Army before reality was thrust upon us.
    Great article. Missed that one in 2001. You can see a lot of the roots of our OIF/OEF problems about approaching the population and risk that continue to haunt us. As a retired 3-star recently said to me, that generation is going to have to retire before ours can make change.

    Best quote of the article was from the Brit who observed about avoiding failure vs. seeking success.
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  3. #23
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Talking Nah, yo'sef. You're wrong again...

    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Nah that ain't it...... in 64 you hadn't been out of the Marines long enough to understand advanced Army thinking yet.
    I'd been out of the Corps for over ten years by 64 and had been in the Army long enough to be a PSG E minus seven type. However, a little later, at the critical time in 1966, I was playing around in the SE Asia War Games and I sure missed whatever was important and going on at Ft. Jackson. Fortunately, I have never been stationed at Ft Jackson so I probably missed a lot of cutting edge stuff.
    A lot of folks have a problem with the fact that the Army won the Cold War and The Race To The Moon all by themselves!!!!been going downhill since then by listening to the wrong folks.
    Yup, particularly those that are convinced that a poor exit will give you twists in a T-10.

    Units, Slap, units. ATCs weren't units in the true sense of the word. Foat Bragg didn't pay much attention to Third Army.

    Does Frank Borman know the Army did all that? Hmmm. Well, he may, he was a West Pointer...
    Last edited by Ken White; 01-13-2010 at 09:35 PM.

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    Council Member BayonetBrant's Avatar
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    that article was the one that caused so many of my peers to really look hard in the mirror and finally turn in their paperwork to get out. It was the Oct 01 issue but was on newsstands in August and I know more than a few people that said "screw this - this isn't how I'm spending my next 15 years" and they left.
    How many got out before 9-11 or tried to come back after 9-11 I don't know, but I do know that reading that article put in black-and-white what many had felt for a while, and they didn't want to feel that way any more.
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    Council Member Hacksaw's Avatar
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    Default Sobering Stuff...

    As someone who grew up in the Army described (and as an editorial note: thank you very LITTLE to CAVGUY for making me feel old by disclosing when he joined the officer ranks)... while I think/believe (and even have anecdotal evidence that I wasn't that guy), I can't help but recognize that in small ways I fell as victim as anyone to the "be careful what you measure" syndrome...

    All my vehicles were on-line, chalked, drip panned, topped off and "ready to go to war" each Friday afternoon.... hmmm.... it seems I assumed we'd always go to war on the weekend (probably half right given Murphy's Laws)...

    I too kept very close tabs on medical/dental readiness because that was everyone's obsession... but I actually think that one makes sense based on pre-deployment goat screws I participated in sooooo many times...

    But I also paid close attention when the leadership classes were taught that said underwrite honest mistakes... take responsibility for the failings of those in your command... pass the credit, but not the #### downhill... give guidance, but let subordinates surprise you with their ingenuity (nearly always rewarded)....

    All that said, I probably also roger out on too many things I should have said what about our contemporaries in the next battery... It was all fun for a commander, not necessarily for everyone else...

    I don't know... I'm not convinced it was all bad then and all good now... I just know this two very enduring principle holds true.... People do well what you check... and... be careful what you measure it might produce the opposite effect...

    e.g. If I tell a Motor SGT... your team doesn't go home until that truck is off the deadline report, and the part to fix the truck is not in... I have no one else to blame when they get caught acquiring the part from some other unit's vehicle...

    Need a beer after that soul bearing missive...
    Hacksaw
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    Council Member Pete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    People do well what you check...
    "The troops do well what the boss checks" is said to have been one of Bruce Clark's sayings. I heard that he was a holy terror in the late '50s and early '60s.

  7. #27
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    I'd been out of the Corps for over ten years by 64 and had been in the Army long enough to be a PSG E minus seven type.
    Thats exactly what I mean..........See how you began to excel with that good old Army training

  8. #28
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    "The troops do well what the boss checks" is said to have been one of Bruce Clark's sayings. I heard that he was a holy terror in the late '50s and early '60s.
    That is what Zero Defects was meant to do........be oriented on equipment.....wasn't designed to work as a tactical combat method against a reacting opponent Thats what you got Straegy and stuff for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    e.g. If I tell a Motor SGT... your team doesn't go home until that truck is off the deadline report, and the part to fix the truck is not in... I have no one else to blame when they get caught acquiring the part from some other unit's vehicle...
    Wow. Your mechanics were ambitious. Mine would have just tried to convince me that the fault was misdiagnosed and that the part is no longer necessary.

  10. #30
    Council Member Pete's Avatar
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    Slapout, Bruce Clark was Old School Army and not a zero-defects guy. He commanded CCB of the 7th Armored Division during its legendary stand at St. Vith in the Battle of the Bulge and was commander of USAEUR in 1960-1962. A battalion commander of mine said his temper was legendary. A biographical sketch of him is in the link below.

    http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/bcclarke.htm

  11. #31
    Council Member Hacksaw's Avatar
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    Default Schmedlap

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    Wow. Your mechanics were ambitious. Mine would have just tried to convince me that the fault was misdiagnosed and that the part is no longer necessary.
    I was about to type something tongue in cheek and realized it would be a disservice to SFC Oh and many others... yes they were very ambitious, very good, and a large part of my unit's great success... weren't much to look at in Class A's but I bought many a pitcher of beer for guys who got vehicles operational (broken down in convoy) when others couldn't...

    So yes they were ambitious, and loyal to a fault when they were called into the Bn Cdr's the following day and I went in first and took all the heat and they walked... funny thing was a week later the Bn Cdr bought me a beer and told me he'd have been disappointed if it had gone down any other way...

    So they weren't all zero defect, just the overwhelming perponderence

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  12. #32
    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Nah that ain't it...... in 64 you hadn't been out of the Marines long enough to understand advanced Army thinking yet.
    Are you saying senility is a requirement for understanding the Army's advanced thinking skills?
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  13. #33
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    If I tell a Motor SGT... your team doesn't go home until that truck is off the deadline report, and the part to fix the truck is not in... I have no one else to blame when they get caught acquiring the part from some other unit's vehicle...

    Need a beer after that soul bearing missive...
    Hey Hack,
    The only time I said something like that, I was lucky enough to have my motor sergeant respond with something like, "Sir, I what I heard you say was 'We can't do any more productive work tonight 'cause we don't have the right parts. Knock off and I'll buy you a beer. Just make sure you are at the class IX warehouse first thing tomorrow to get the parts you need.'" And I was also lucky enough to understand his response.

    But then I ran an admin use motor pool, not a tactical one. I only had to make sure of a couple of simple things:
    • the shuttle bus got around to all the kasernes on schedule every day so troops could go on sick call, solve pay problems at finance, and get their mail at the consolidated mailroom;
    • the MPs had enough patrol cars to maintain "law and order" (chasing down sheep in the pastures around the kasernes and finding good spots to sleep late at night);
    • the unit supply sergeants had trucks so they could do their runs to the QM laundry for the troops to have clean linen and clothes; and
    • the "choke and puke" (AKA dining facility) could get to ration breakdrown/TISA to pick up enough food to prepare the 10,000+ meals a day we served (Did I mention I was also the food service officer and my branch was not QM, OD, or TC?).
    Unlike the guys in the armor battalion and 2 FA battalions whose motor pools were next door, we weren't too concerned about stopping the Group of Soviet Forces, Germany (GSFG)'s 3rd Shock Army or 1st Guards Tank Army when they decided to come rolling down the Fulda Gap (like that was ever really going to happen). We were a TDA outfit and didn't have to worry about those damn USR reports saying we couldn't do our wartime mission without a bunch of circle Xs.

    Time for me to join you with that beer.
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  14. #34
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Er, no, you got that wrong too...

    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Thats exactly what I mean..........See how you began to excel with that good old Army training
    I had as much responsibility and was more trusted as a Marine Corporal than I had/was as a PSG in the Army. Of course, I was far more trusted as a PSG than I was as a 1SG or a SGM -- or even as a mid to upper grade DAC. I know most of that less trust was due to passage of time and erosion of values plus general suspicion of DACs. Thus, I guess your comment; "A lot of folks have a problem with the fact that the Army won the Cold War and The Race To The Moon all by themselves!!!!been going downhill since then by listening to the wrong folks." is correct. Question is who were and are they listening to...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    I was about to type something tongue in cheek and realized it would be a disservice to SFC Oh and many others... yes they were very ambitious, very good, and a large part of my unit's great success... weren't much to look at in Class A's but I bought many a pitcher of beer for guys who got vehicles operational (broken down in convoy) when others couldn't...
    I know exactly what you're talking about. I had a love-hate relationship with my mechanics. Hated them in garrison. Loved them when deployed. Getting them to do anything even half-assed in garrison was as hopeless as trying to unmelt ice cream. While deployed, it was like someone pulled the q-tips out of their brains. Putting a thrown track back on while under fire (despite my telling them to just skull drag the damn thing), pulling pack on an almost daily basis in a tiny patrol base that literally got mortared every fricken day, doing all of the emplacement and recovery of concrete barriers around polling centers and getting attacked several times in the process; filling Hescos and emplacing barriers at newly established outposts throughout our AO at night and then going back to fixing vehicles during the day; recovering damaged vehicles under fire, etc, etc. It was not glamorous, but it was hot, miserable, dangerous, and tedious.

    A buddy of mine who recently deployed asked me what I would have done differently on that deployment, had I been the CO, rather than the XO. I told him, "I'd meet the support platoon everyday as they delivered LOGPAC and I'd thank them. And I'd meet the mechanics everyday on their maintenance pad to thank them for the day of work that they were about to put in." I had a lot of respect for the guys who did that miserable work and then re-enlisted.

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    Hack:

    "e.g. If I tell a Motor SGT... your team doesn't go home until that truck is off the deadline report, and the part to fix the truck is not in... I have no one else to blame when they get caught acquiring the part from some other unit's vehicle..."

    In one of those armor battalions in Germany in the 70's, we learned the essential lessons of Soviet economics---stockpile other stolen parts to use for trade for the ones you needed----heater parts at Graf in February were always worth their weight in gold. (OK, so I date myself, but not some much that Ken's don't make me feel young and chipper).

    This Army training was all very helpful to me in later economics courses---I really understood command economies, and the black markets essential to make them work.

    Steve

  17. #37
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Thus, I guess your comment; "A lot of folks have a problem with the fact that the Army won the Cold War and The Race To The Moon all by themselves!!!!been going downhill since then by listening to the wrong folks." is correct. Question is who were and are they listening to...
    They (Army) failed to develop Congressional political influence cadres to the extent that the other services did......so we got beat out of a lot of stuff come budget time after we did all the hard development work. Ask 10 people did they know that the Saturn 5 that went to the moon was developed and built by the Army..... they would laugh at you. Ask them did they know that the Interstate Highway system that they take for granted was designed by the Army not just use in peace, but war and natural disaster, they would still be swimming in New Orleans if hadn't been for that. And after all that they would't even give us one slot of the original Astronauts And the Pershing II is still the baddest missile system out there.....pinpoint accuracy from 1500 miles on internal guidance.....no GPS required!

  18. #38
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve the Planner View Post
    In one of those armor battalions in Germany in the 70's... (OK, so I date myself, but not some much that Ken's don't make me feel young and chipper).
    M4A3E8, M26 or even an M41A1C at the newest...

  19. #39
    Council Member Pete's Avatar
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    Slapout, what you say about the Army as a developer of high-tech systems has an element of truth. Although the Cold War Army was dominated by the Armor and Airborne cliques, for a while in the late '50s and early '60s the Redstone Arsenal guys with their rockets and missiles gave the "I rode with Patton" and "I jumped with Ridgeway" factions a run for their money. Air Defense Artillery eventually became a branch of its own in 1968 when their tubes had been replaced by missiles. Maxwell Taylor's book The Uncertain Trumpet in 1959 argued that the Army had to get away from an over-reliance on massive retaliation and high-tech and get back to old-fashioned Infantry soldiering. In more ways than one that is what this forum is all about.

    With that having been said, what I want to know is whether Ken wore his Ridgeway cap with the brim stiffened or natural and wrinkled.
    Last edited by Pete; 01-14-2010 at 04:20 AM.

  20. #40
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Brim? You mean the sides, right...

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    With that having been said, what I want to know is whether Ken wore his Ridgeway cap with the brim stiffened or natural and wrinkled.
    It wasn't really a Ridgeway cap and few in the Army called it that, it was a Lousville Spring Up (LINK) (well ,the good ones were, anyway). In the linked page, the two MPs in the top picture have Spring Ups; the one with the silver leaf is a Spring Up while the guys loading the truck in the bottom pic have stiffened field Caps.

    Lot of people made fun of it but it was about the only headgear ever worn by the US Army that wasn't copied from someone else. It was a pain to wear and carry regardless of the web page's contention it was popular; that was sort of a mixed bag...

    The original field cap which Ridgeway and the whole Army wore was worn 'natural and wrinkled' -- sort of; people applied their own mutations which is why Ridgeway wanted something done to improve uniformity and appearance (proving even the really good Generals can get wild hairs about inconsequential stuff...). The first fix was a flattened and folded newspaper or manila folder; the second was a plastic stiffener which cost $.35. Then came the Spring Ups. Of course, in Airborne units, even that wasn't enough so you had a plastic stiffener in your Spring Up and then shrunk the fabric so it was perfectly straight and unwrinkled...

    The sacrifices one makes for ones country...

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