** I’m former Army (13F), as is pretty much every male in my family going back to my grandfathers. You expressed being in the Army as “unpleasant”. Aside from crappy food, asinine procedural bullshit, piss-poor leadership in many cases, hurrying up and waiting, sleepless days and nights, being in a combat area, dealing with IED’s…what’s not to like?
Suck it up!
And stay safe, troop. **
Aahh… no comment.
** Fascinating thread - thank you for it and thank you for your service.
How do actively military personnel discuss politics? By that I mean: it is a basic value that the military supports the US, unquestionably, regardless of politics. So what are the “rules of engagement” when politics come up or you feel especially strongly about the political situation back home - in general and its effect on the war effort?
Given all the complexities, I would assume one just doesn’t talk about politics, even amongst yourselves, but that doesn’t sound right either… **
The general consensus is that you don’t discuss politics and you don’t discuss religion. The religion rule gets broken way more than the politics one. Interestingly I currently have a soldier who worships the Norse pantheon and Gaia. But the politics rule gets broken too and that can lead to some serious arguments. Nothing ever gets resolved because you gotta realize halfway through to just give it up.
** It seems like at least half of all the casualties we hear about are caused by IED’s. How do you decide who has to get in that first Humvee? Is there a rotation or something to spread out the risk? **
Generally the squad leader on the patrol takes the lead vehicle if we’re using them. The crews(driver/gunner/dismounts) change though. When moving dismounted I rotate between my two team leaders though I have on occasion taken point in some pretty bad areas with historical IED presence.
** What kinds of things do you do in an average day?
What’s the goal or misson of your unit (catch baddies, train people, build a school, fight a nearby enemy unit, etc, I dunno)?
If America won the war, what would that look like, or how would you know you’d won? **
What we do each day changes. We rotate on patrol and security cycles and some days the work details are worse than others. A quick breakdown though: 2-3 patrols a day, maybe a night time ambush set up, pulling tower guard if it’s your turn(or sergeant of the guard for squad leaders like myself), training our Afghan Army counterparts, or just getting done whatever work needs doing.
All of those.
We’ve won once the Afghan Army can take over and we’re no longer needed. We will recognize it when it gets to be like my last tour in Iraq where every time something went down either the Iraqi Army or Iraqi police already had it under control by the time we showed up.
Anymore? You guys are much better than my Dad’s geography students.