Tag Archives: ARMY TRAINING

Authentic Barbie Vs. Real GI Joe

You may have seen the latest bit of silliness about wanting Barbie dolls to better reflect reality, and cease their horrific crime of fat-shaming.

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A controversy is brewing over a request to remake Barbie in way contrary to the iconic image so many girls knew growing up.

Plus-Size-Modeling.com is suggesting Mattel create a plus-size Barbie. While some say more realistic curves would be a better role model for girls, others say an overly large Barbie would be an unhealthy example.

Always a stalwart supporter of equal opportunity, Craig suggested to me this morning that what we men really need is a GI Joe that more truly reflects some of the people we served alongside.

  • Intel Analyst G.I. Joe with glasses and a kick-butt World of Warcraft character.
  • Personnel Actions Clerk who loses paperwork. And “Profile” with hands formed best for 12 ounce curls.
  • Realistic Supply Sergeant that won’t issue toilet paper.
  • SPC Mafia that excel in shamming and Caspering, and Buffer Rodeo and getting arrested for minor in possession or disturbing the peace.
  • Chain smoking motor sergeant who refuses to issue repair parts, fearing depletion of PLL.
  • 77F fuel handler who loses the key to the lock on the gas pump.

What are some of your suggestions for a more realistic GI Joe?

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Filed under ARMY TRAINING, Humor

Paella

So, this week’s food thread at Ace’s place features the tasty Spanish mainstay paella.

Many, many moons ago, my Dear Sainted Mother made a wonderful dish of paella for a small dinner party. And it was wonderful. It tasted like pure joy. It was a very, very memorable evening.

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And because that evening was so memorable, just about every time I managed to come home on leave from the Army, Dear Sainted Mother would carefully, and lovingly recreate that dish with the rice so richly infused with that most expensive of spices, saffron. And as a Loving Son, I would dutifully eat every bit served to me.

See, there’s a reason that first service of paella was so memorable. It turns out of all the multitudes of foods in the world, the only thing I’m apparently allergic to is saffron. Within an hour of eating paella that first time, I was laid low by the most horrific pains and gastrointestinal unpleasantness.

Dear Sainted Mother’s memory somehow managed to remember that paella was significant, but failed to recall that “significant” does not always mean “good.”

And so, being the dutiful Loving Son, I would eat what was served, and again find myself tormented by that golden spice, saffron.

Eventually, I took to writing home to remind DSM that paella, lovely and tasty as it was, would eventually overcome my considerable constitution, and kill me dead. And that if she wanted to achieve that, there were less painful, less expensive alternatives.

Too bad. As it really does taste great.

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Filed under Humor, Personal

Enlisted

So, Fox has a new comedy debuting on January 10 titled “Enlisted.” And boy howdy, when the trailer first hit the internet, did vets let Fox know they weren’t impressed.

So the production team behind the show decided to seek constructive criticism.

Blackfive also has a portion of an interview that the producers did with Doctrine Man.

What’s my take? Glad you asked.

This isn’t a show about the Army. It’s a show about people, one that just happens to be set in the framework of people in the Army. The Army setting is simply the vehicle used to tell stories about people. And while the veterans community is large enough to be heard when complaining about the show, it isn’t large enough to carry a show on a major network. The writers have to make the show accessible to the general public, who have little or know knowledge of what the Army is like. Further, the need to tell human stories means that sometimes, creative license will have to override accuracy in depicting Army life. And I’m pretty OK with that.

Do you recall the reams of people up in arms over The Office’s faulty depiction of the reality of the paper products industry?

Was Scrubs (where the producer worked before) a true to life depiction of the lives of health care professionals?

Sometimes, the best stories take a kernel of truth and stretch it to the absurd conclusion.

As long as the majority of the cast is shown as decent people, dedicated, if not always squared away, that’s fine. It’s one thing to mock or hold up for ridicule “that guy” from time to time (and every unit has “that guy”). But if the show makes a sweeping generalization that everyone in the Army is a dolt, that would be unpardonable.

I don’t really know if the show will be good or bad, successful or cancellation bait.

But I’m not going to call for heads on pikes just because the cast isn’t fully versed on AR 670-1.

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Graf

The Armorer shared this little video of Grafenwoehr Training Area, in Germany. GTA has long been the primary live fire training area for US and German units in Europe. Indeed, as the video shows, it’s been fulfilling that mission since before the First World War.

I’ve been around the track there a time or two. How about you? Any memories of GTA?

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Soldiers learn pitfalls of bomb training – Fort Hood Herald: Across The Fort

Soldiers learn pitfalls of bomb training – Fort Hood Herald: Across The Fort.

Hoohah!

3-8 Cav conducts IED training

Lt. Col. Esli Pitts, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, talks to soldiers of the battalion as they conduct a training exercise Wednesday, July 3, near battalion headquarters at Fort Hood.

While other units were jogging down Battalion Avenue in formation and singing cadences during morning physical training, “Warhorse” soldiers were in full battle gear as they prepared for confrontation with an opposing force.

Soldiers were tracking a potential bomb-making facility, and had to maneuver through enemy forces, while providing wide-area security, to find the facility and disarm the threat.

The idea behind the July 3 training scenario of 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, was to provide all the components of a full-scale operation with a physical training element thrown in, said Lt. Col. Esli T. Pitts, battalion commander.

“I’ve always found that you can do a lot of tactical training during PT. It’s a couple hours in the morning when everybody is dedicated to PT anyway, so it’s easy to just do tactical operations with PT,” he said.

Last week’s training incorporated the entire Warhorse battalion, as well explosive ordnance disposal soldiers from the 79th Ordnance Battalion and human intelligence collection teams.

“The entire battalion is out and it doesn’t get any better than that,” Pitts said.

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Filed under army, ARMY TRAINING

Chinook

(Repost from 2009)

We’ve covered helicopters here before, such as the Huey, the Blackhawk, the OH-58 Kiowa and of course, Cobra and Apache gunships. Let’s talk about the big boy on the block. The Chinook. Or as it became known almost instantly in the Army, the Shithook. The CH-47 is the Army’s largest helicopter, used to transport critical logistical items, troops and artillery around the battlefield.

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The Chinook has been around for a long time. It’s first flight was in 1961. But the issues surrounding its development deserve a little attention. In the late 1950s, the Army and helicopter designers began to realize that piston engines would never become a very efficient way of powering helicopters. Gas turbines (jet engines that provided power through a driveshaft, rather than thrust) were finally becoming a practical option for military use. With the advent of these new engines, the Army took a long look at what the next generation of helicopters should look like. Just how big should they be? At the same time, the concept of “air assault” or landing troops directly on the battlefied started to form. What was the best way to move troop unit? Should you use a smaller helicopter that could lift a squad? Or would the better bet be to use somewhat larger helicopters that could lift 15-20 men?  Smaller helicopters would cost more in the long run, but losing one helicopter in the assault wouldn’t result in as many casualties. The Army first decided to go with the larger helicopter, of about 20 men. The Vertol Company (later bought by Boeing) provided the Model 107. But the debate in the Army over helicopter size raged on. Some thought that the new UH-1B Huey could be scaled up to carry a full squad. That would handle most air assualt requirements, and still have a relatively cheap helicopter. The Model 107 would be larger than was needed. The other half of the problem was moving artillery and supplies. The Model 107 was just a bit too small for that job. The ideal was to move a 105mm howitzer, its crew, and a load of ammunition all in one lift by one helicopter. Boeing went back to the drawing board. The Model 114 was the result, and was soon bought by the Army as the CH-47 Chinook. And it wasn’t very long before the Chinook found itself in Vietnam, as part of the airmobile 1st Cavalry Division.  With Hueys to conduct the initial assualt, and Chinooks bringing in the follow-on elements and moving artillery, the Army’s pattern of air assault missions was set so soundly that it is relatively unchanged 40-odd years later.

But don’t feel bad for the Model 107. Even though it wasn’t selected by the Army, its development continued. Largely because the Marines didn’t have a lot of space on the Navy’s helicopter carriers, they were forced to go with  a somewhat larger helicopter. And the Model 107 fit the bill perfectly. They bought it as the CH-46 and operate it to this day.

Early Chinooks had engines of about 2,200 horsepower each. This was very quickly upgraded to about 2,600hp each. And improvements didn’t stop there. The rotor blades, rear pylon design, and transmission were all upgraded through the A, B, and C models to improve performance.  In the 1980s, the design was again refreshed, with attention focusing again on more horsepower, but also greatly improved avionics and better reliability, resulting in the CH-47D. Many “D” models were conversions from older models, but there were also quite a few new built airframes. These were delivered up until 2002.  And right about the time the last “D” model was delivered, the work on the latest model moved into high gear.

The newest model, the CH-47F is really an old model. While there will be some newbuild airframes, most will be remanufactured CH-47Ds. And since most of the “D” models were remanufactured earlier models, there will be some airframes well over 30 years old that will be expected to soldier on for another 20. Because of this, a large part of the program will be rebuilding them to make them easier to maintain, reducing vibration, making sure the components don’t have any fatigue issues, and making any issues easier to detect. Improvements in the avionics will include updating the instruments to the latest common “glass cockpit” standard, as well as building in the cabapility of operating in the Force XXI digital environment, which is the Army’s version of a battlefield internet.  Not surprisingly, the Army is going with more powerful engines as well. The latest version of the Chinook engines put out almost 4,900 hp each. The Chinook has gone from a useful load of 7,000 pounds in its early days, to over 21,000 pounds in the “F” modeland the new models are faster. Think about that. How many of us are faster and stronger now that we’re over 40?

By now, you ought to have figured out that the ‘hook is a pretty capable helicopter. Lots of other folks have reached that conclusion as well. Very few other nations have the same air assault capability that we do, but having a few heavy lift helicopters around is handy for them as well. Several other nations, notable Great Britain, the Dutch, and the Japanese have bought various versions of the Chinook. When Great Britain attacked to recapture the Falklands in 1982, they lost several Chinooks aboard the Atlantic Conveyor. Their one remaining Chinook was put to work, doing the job of several helicopters. In one instance, instead of carrying its normal load of 55 troops, the sole Chinook lifted 105 fully loaded troops. There are several tales of Chinooks in the Vietnam war carrying over 100 people (though usually lightly loaded Vietnamese civilians). I’ve been in a Chinook with about 40 other people- I can’t imagine just how crowded it was with over 100.

It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say that without  the Chinook, the Army in Afghanistan would be crippled. Many of the smaller outposts can only be reached by helicopter. Given the high elevations and hot weather there, Blackhawks, normally very capable birds, struggle to carry a useful load. The Chinook, with its greater power, is able to support these high/hot outposts.

With the new “F’ models just beginning to come into service, we can expect this long serving veteran to serve for as much as 30 more years.

Mind you, we’ve scrimped on discussing the gunship version, or the several special operations versions. But here’s  a last look at the bird for you.

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Filed under Afghanistan, army, ARMY TRAINING, infantry, iraq

Range Time

One of the things about the Army I disliked the most was its ability to take one of life’s more enjoyable activities, shooting, and suck just about every scintilla of pleasure from it.  Endless, repetitive safety briefings, rodding the barrel on the line, clearing again and again, unrealistic scenarios, uncomfortable firing positions (seriously, every range worldwide uses the same uncomfortable gravel- what’s wrong with grass?), rodding off the line, brass and ammo checks.

Life fire maneuver events were marginally better, but still less than they could have been. Sometimes because of range geography, maneuver was severely constrained. Other times, the risk aversion was so high, it led to unrealistic maneuver, reinforcing bad habits, rather than good training.

One of the big risk mitigation techniques back before the current wars was an absolute ban on any kind of fire while standing or moving. While troops did this all the time using blanks or during force on force training, it was utterly verbotten during any sort of live ammunition event.

Of course, that silly restriction has changed as the reality of warfare has led to changes in training.  But because teams often fire while moving, intense training has to take place.  The three big rules of firearms safety don’t go away just because you are headed for combat.

If you have a large enough area, it doesn’t take a lot to devise a useful close combat range, at least for small elements, from individual to team sized.

I find it interesting that the teams are composed of members from all services. I’m not knocking the other services, but defining teams by service would seem to decrease friction, and speed training. But that’s just me.

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Filed under ARMY TRAINING