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January 10, 2005

A couple of updates.

First off, remember last week, when someone leaked a memo from the LTG Helmly, Chief of the Army Reserve, telling the Chief of Staff, Army, GEN Schoomaker, that the Army Reserve was under serious strain, possibly even to the breaking point?

Well, if you'd like to read the memo itself - here you go, download it here.

I find the memo extremely instructive, and LTG Helmly simply appears to be doing his job - being the 'expert' on the Army Reserve, as well as it's leader. He's executing his 'staff responsibility' to make it clear to the active component that they don't understand the Army Reserve - and giving concrete examples of how that manifests itself in policy.

He is also pointing out that a regulatory system developed post-Vietnam, with only incremental changes, and the ad-hoc nature of managing this war has produced a self-reinforcing death spiral for the Army Reserve.

Especially instructive there is his discussion on the insistence on using only quote - volunteers - unquote to fill individual manning requirements. Something the planners in the Pentagon aren't considering is while that looks good to them (and ameliorates the 'backdoor draft' argument) the net effect back on the homefront where the soldier lives with spouse and employer - "You are choosing to leave." where (as has been reported elsewhere) sometimes that isn't really the case, and there have been reports of reservists being pressured to sign the 'voluntary recall' papers when in fact, they weren't - coming back all that voluntarily, that is.

So, I see this as LTG Helmly doing his job. I'm more interested in who leaked the memo...

Now, on a semi-related note, here is installment 4 (and final) of the Equipment update brief.

Download file

It covers the new weapon lube, personal gear, some tactical decision aids, etc.

And, in an amazing bit of "deja vu all over again" we re-realize that light infantry can sometimes use some help moving stuff around... if only all the batteries they have to hump these days. So I give you the Small Unit, Multi-Purpose Trailer.

They are a bit lighter that some of the older varieties... like this shot and this shot from the National Infantry Museum of the WWI (and slightly beyond) Machine Gun Trailer. Then there's this: the WWII Airborne Handcart. For a picture of the handcart in context, go visit the 505th PIR Historical Association webpage.

Of course, "The Soldier as Mule" takes on a whole new context here, doesn't it?

John | Permalink | Comments (7) | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
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