RANGER AGAINST WAR: Smooth Operators <

Monday, August 10, 2009

Smooth Operators


Eligible, not too stupid
Intelligible, and cute as cupid
Knowledgeable, but not always right
Salvageable, and free for the night
--A Chicken With It's Head Cut Off,
Magnetic Fields

Magnificent desolation
--Buzz Aldrin, on viewing the moon
_______________

The year was 1969 and this happened sometime around the first moon walk.

Little 1 LT Ranger takes over the 8th Division Advanced Marksmanship Unit after being reassigned from an Infantry Battalion with feet planted firmly on the ground, sort of, when one day a full Division alert was called. The entire ball game rolled out to forward designated defensive fighting positions.


Not knowing nor having a Standard operating procedure, Ranger was clueless as to the 8th Division's AMU alert responsibilities, since we were not a tactical unit.
So it is off to Division G-3, whom we worked for, to see what needed doing. Ranger drove from Mannheim and was admitted to the G-3 area at Div. HQ, Bad Kreuznach.


Here is where it gets weird. Everyone was running around like chickens with their heads cut off because no one could find the Nuclear Weapons Employment Plan. Moreover, the actual weapons were being deployed down to appropriate Unit level. Keeping in mind that during full alert one never knew if it was real or simply practice.


Again: the Nuclear Weapons Employment Plan went missing. But no sweat -- 'twas just a practice run after all.


After witnessing this, Ranger slipped quietly away and never asked again what the AMU should do during alert. The G-3 had bigger eggs to crack, and the AMU never mustered for alerts.


As an aside
, the G-3 was a senior Lieutenant Colonel who retired a LT General. Naturally, a West Pointer. Who should sweat over a few loose nukes? Ranger never lost a Top Secret weapons plan, and he did not retire an LTG.


The point? Citizens assume the military is responsibly handling nuclear weapons, and this is not always the case. The U.S. should worry and fret about the nukes that we have, rather than obsess over nukes that the Iranians don't have.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Peter of Lone Tree said...

Minot AFB Clandestine Nukes 'Oddities'

And here's the Search Link for north dakota louisiana missing nuke.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at 8:52:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

POLT,
The 8th Div nucs were not missing, they were where they should be- it was the employment plans that were awol.
All the overlays/predictions etc... likely targets etc...Oh well, why sweat the small stuff?
I wonder if the CG was even informed?
jim

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at 9:03:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Publius said...

I think it was an Army guy who coined the phrase "shit happens."

Lots of bloodcurdling stories out there, all guaranteed to scare the shit out of those who haven't been in the military. If you have been in, and especially if you made it a career, well, then you know, "shit happens." No, it's not defensible, but it is what it is.

Fortunately, tac units only got small stuff.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at 10:41:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger bigbird said...

When I arrived at VII Corps HQ I found it to be full of confusion, and terror. Best I could tell, this came from the top as a way to manage. If you were a Colonel that knew that you had become all that you could be, you could cope. For those looking for the next promotion it was an impossible place.

Employment Plan? In late '68 I went to a conference on ADM employment. The basic problem was the logistics of a barrier plan and ADMs were a shortcut. How early could we plan on using them? Couldn't get an answer on that as it was a political question. So, how can you plan on employment.

My first unit had an ADM platoon and shared guard duty of a 'special weapons' site with a Pershing outfit on the other side of town. When I got to Corps, we discovered that the ADM platoon went out of sector, without weapons, the weapons didn't belong to anyone, and all the guards disappeared. We kept this out of command channels, but it was frustrating.

I was there when we sent a 'general nuclear release, smoke em if you've get em' message to the Corps. Let's say that the switchboard lit up. The officer involved, from the G3 shop, shortly thereafter left on a planned rotation, with a Legion of Merit. Go figure.

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 2:42:00 PM GMT-5  

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