Monday, June 07, 2010

A Hard Road

I'm gonna pack up my suitcase

Put my misery inside

Throw in a bit of pain and trouble

And that's the road I'll ride

--A Hard Road
, John Mayall

Bewildered, Bewildered

You have no complaint

You are what your are

and you ain't what you ain't

--Dear Abby
, John Prine

You can't handle the truth

--A Few Good Men

A lot of soldiers were in transit at the Atlanta airport last week. On layover, Ranger approached a large group of 101st Airborne troopers all of whom were all on R & R from Afghanistan.

First some sundry observations, then to the main point:

  • Many of the soldiers had tattoos on their necks and arms. No comment.
  • All of the soldiers had high and tight haircuts, not just the 101st people. Not one had hair that could be combed.
  • All of the troops returning from Afghanistan looked healthy. None appeared exhausted or in need of R & R, at least physically.

But this is the main observation: None of the soldiers had CIB's, CAB's, jump wings or any combat-associated items on their uniforms. They did have right-sleeve combat patches and unit left sleeve patches, and some had Ranger tabs.

"So why don't you troops have jump wings, air assault badges or CIB's/CAB's?" After all, they are returning from a combat zone.

Answer: They all had these items authorized, but command policy was that they were not allowed to wear them on their uniforms while traveling on Conus R & R.

WTF? These soldiers
fight, get wounded and die getting these badges and then they are not allowed to proudly wear and display them on their uniforms. What kind of wrong-headed thinking inspires such a policy?

Is the intent to hide the fact that these soldiers are in combat? If sanitation is the case and we can't handle the visual truth, then Ranger suggests it is time to just bring the troops home, rescind their awards and call it quits.
When an Army authority can deny a combat soldier the honor or proudly wearing his CIB home on leave, then that Army is dealing duplicitously.

It is a policy which has lost my heart and mind. This policy is so strange that an idiot could not have developed it; it took an Army General to devise it.



Anonymous Labrys said...

Also, I feel the news is again sanitizing things to hide the dead...perhaps in line with the "hide combat decorations" nonsense. The sites I have been using to search names of the dead have made it harder to find them...CNN no longer displays a by date list; you have to KNOW a name to look it up now. Dirty pool is about the nicest thing I can call it....but I have plenty of field language to use.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010 at 1:20:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Thanks for seeing the angle that applies to your efforts.
Glad that you're still on the flanks.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010 at 10:08:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Labrys said...

Oh, I'm still out here on the darkening edges and constantly more pissed off. CNN's mew default is still glitzy bs, but they finally got a list option back up. But overall, the emphasis seems to be devolving to a sort of hagiographic "honor the troops" ideal instead of hanging onto any thought of getting the living men and women the hell OUT of there.

I'm surprised they haven't ordered them all to travel in civvies to be still less noticeable. (BTW, have you read "The Unforgiving Minute" by Mullaney? I'd like a few of his "ST-1s" to use on the press.)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010 at 11:29:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Nobody on Memorial Day will ever say these things , will they?
Bacevich did a piece in the LA Times that was fairly close to what we've been saying for 5 years.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010 at 2:30:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Mad Celt said...

Patches...I don't need no stinking patches; as long as my M4 is in tune and my Brothers know the score, "all's well" in the world.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010 at 5:18:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ranger, I take your point and agree. I also agree with Labrys's observations on "sanitizing" the war and hiding the dead and severely wounded.

On the other hand... Maybe Command is afraid of terrorists in the "homeland." (I guess it's just me but the designation "homeland" just about gags me.) Command surely can't be worried that there are enough Americans with military experience to identify a Combat Infantry Badge.

It's been a long day and my 20 year old Arabian has pulled up lame, again, so please forgive my cantankerous mood.

Jay in N.C.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010 at 6:23:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Chief said...

I belong to a Yahoo mail group that consists mostly of Navy folk, quite a few of which are retired. What we have in common is that we all served in Antarctica.

I would like your permission to take this post and send it as an email to the group.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010 at 7:34:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Labrys said...

Don't open the "Memorial Day" can of worms...I don't have time to rant that much on one cup of coffee. And I am in worse mood than usual. My youngest son comes home Monday night. We have three days before he leaves to deploy to Afghanistan. Yes, morons will be slaughtered at will...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 11:13:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

You are always free to use my writings for any legal venture.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 3:35:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

My best wishes for your son.
Get an Appy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 3:36:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I think this all very strange.
How can the Army deny a soldier the right to wear an authorised award.
The lord giveth and the lord taketh away.
Strange brew.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 4:01:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I ain't talkin' about no stinkin' patches.
I done be talkin' badges.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 4:03:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LABRYS, my young and handsome nephew just returned from Iraq and I've a sinking feeling that it won't be too long until he gets orders for Afghanistan.

JIM, YOU get an App! I am finally rid of the stubborn, semi-autistic, recalcitrant, jug headed SOB that I had for many years. Jaysus, man, I am too old to have to make a horse do every little thing! I didn't think I would be partial to Arabians but 15 years later and I'm a believer. The only thing better than an Arabian (Polish not Egyptian) is a mule and I am definitely too old and stupid to start breaking and training a mule. You have to get up early in the morning to out think and out plan an Arabian or a mule but the Arabian outwits you with such charm that you can't hold a grudge. :)

Yes, I know what you are saying about the awards and I agree. I guess it's just another proof of the sorry state of our country.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 5:14:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We don't heve to show you badges.
We don't need no steenkin' badges."


Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 5:34:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Seriously, i had a App mare for 26 years and she was one of the only females that understood me.
I mourn her passing.
I'll never have another horse.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 6:02:00 PM GMT-5  

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