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March 28, 2005

A Differential Theory...

[ed: this has been around, morphing bit by bit, for a looong time. And it's passed over the internet in waves, too. But it will be new to many of you non-military types, and it's always funny to us people who wear/wore tie-dyed clothing!]

...Concerning US Armed Forces Encountering a Snake in the Area of Operations

Sarge B. is waxing philosophical on the essential differences between the services with regards to the myriad uses of Sergeant. However, there are more fundamental differences in the services, particularly with regards to close encounters of the reptilian kind...

Infantry: Snake smells them, leaves area.

Airborne: Inadvertently squashes snake with 80-pound rucksack during PLF.

Armor: Runs over snake, laughs and looks for more snakes.

Field Artillery: Kills snake with massive Time-On-Target, utilizing three Forward-Deployed Artillery Brigades with DivArty in Direct Support. Also destroys recently-restored 8th Century monastery as unavoidable collateral damage. Mission is declared a success and all participants, to include cooks, mechanics and clerks, are awarded Silver Stars. [Only Good Cooks get Silver Stars, the rest get Bronze. ed]

Combat LifeSaver: Wounds snake in initial encounter, then works feverishly to save snake's life. Story headlines front page of the Sunday “Stars and Stripes.”

Supply: Posts notice to the effect that all anti-snake equipment is on backorder.

Cook: Snake sneaks into chow hall and dies of food poisoning. [see Bronze Star, above. ed]

If your Service, Branch, or Military Specialty has not yet been outraged, Click Extended Entry/Flash Traffic and it will be...

Special Forces: Makes contact with snake, ignores all State Department directives and Theater Commander Rules of Engagement by building rapport with snake and winning its heart and mind. Trains snake to kill other snakes. Files enormous travel voucher upon return.

Ranger: Plays with snake, then eats it.

Combat Engineer: Studies snake. Prepares in-depth doctrinal thesis in obscure 5-series Field Manual about how to defeat snake using CounterMobility Assets. Complains that maneuver forces don't understand how to properly conduct doctrinal CounterSnake Ops.

Corps of Engineers: Researches climatological data on the region from the preceding two centuries, surveys entire AO for planned remediation of flood plain and produces exhaustive environmental impact study. Shelves five years’ worth of work because the snake is now on the endangered species list.

Military Police: Gives snake a sobriety test for not moving in a straight line.

Signal Officer: Broadcasts 200-megawatt radio transmissions in support of anti-snake missions, accidentally electrocutes snake in the process.

JAG: Snake declines to bite, citing grounds of professional courtesy.

Navy: Fires off 75 Tomahawk cruise missiles from 50 different ships, kills snake. Makes 86-slide PowerPoint presentation to Senate Appropriations Committee on how Naval forces are the most cost-effective means of delivering Anti-Snake Force Projection “…From the Sea.”

Navy SEAL: Expends ammunition and calls for naval gunfire support in failed attempt to kill snake. Snake bites SEAL and retreats to safety. Hollywood immediately makes film in which 5 SEALs kill 12,000 Muslim extremist snakes.

Marine: Kills snake by accident while looking for souvenirs. Local PETA chapter demands removal of all US forces from hemisphere. Story makes page 3 of the Sunday “Stars and Stripes” European edition.

Marine Recon: Follows snake, gets lost.

Combat Controller: Guides snake elsewhere. Story makes page 27 of the Sunday “Stars and Stripes.”

C-130 Pilot: Receives call for anti-snake equipment, delivers two weeks after due date.

C-17 Pilot: Unavailable to haul anti-snake equipment (on crew rest).

C-5 Pilot: Aircraft aborted mission (coffeemaker failed on climbout). Five-page interview with heroic pilot is published in “Airman” Magazine.

C-141 Pilot: Aircraft grounded (Dining Facility failed to install Lo-Fat salad dressing in crew’s in-flight meals).

F-14 Pilot: Drapes snake around neck at TailHook Convention to impress the chicks.

F-16 Pilot: Finds snake, drops two CBU-87 cluster bombs. Bombs miss snake due to intervening clouds, hit Chinese Embassy instead.

B-2 Pilot: Has 12-digit GPS coordinates to snake with Special Ops ground team lasing it. Can't find snake. Returns 2,000 miles to base for refuel, crew rest, manicure and awards ceremony on the White House lawn.

B-52 Pilot: Pulls ARC LIGHT mission on snake. Kills snake and every other living thing within two statute miles of target.

CH-47 Pilot: Sling clevis breaks in flight while slingloading anti-snake equipment, pilot punches off slingload. Slingload lands on snake and kills it. Crewchief uses dead snake to replace broken clevis.

AH-64 Pilot: Unable to locate snake because snakes don't show up well on infrared and TADS can’t point straight down, anyway.

OH-58D Pilot: Finds snake, but is unable to prove it to TOC because 8mm film was on the C-5 flight.

UH-60 Pilot: Finds snake on fourth pass after snake starts bonfire to mark LZ. Rotorwash blows snake into the fire.

Minuteman Missile Crew: Lays in target coordinates to snake in 20 seconds, but can't receive authorization for nuclear release from National Command Authority.

Deployed G-2: “Snake? What snake? Only 4 of 35 indicators of snake activity are currently triggered. We assess the potential for snake activity as LOW.”

Now it's time to pick on me:

OH-6 Pilot (Vietnam): Finds snake. Lands, picks up snake and tosses it into left seat to keep observer company. Snake dies of fright during normal recon of suspected NVA small-unit base camp.

AH-1 Pilot (Vietnam): Finds snake. Lands, picks up snake and tosses it into front seat to keep gunner company. Snake dies of fright during rocket run on suspected NVA battalion base camp.

UH-1 Pilot (Vietnam): Finds snake. Lands, picks up snake and tosses it into chin bubble to stop the wind through the bullet holes from blowing his cigarette out. Snake dies of fright during combat assault into confirmed NVA regimental base camp.