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May 08, 2006

CDR Salamander is pleased, no doubt.

This stuff is right up his alley. Especially since the Navy seems to have some time on it's hands...

Heh.  Sailors grubbing in the dirt. I love it.  Watch out for the sand fleas, guys!

060405-N-4097B-023 Fort Jackson, S.C. (April 5, 2006) - Sailors are in the dirt with their M-16A1 by their side during the Navy's Individual Augmentee Combat Training at Fort Jackson, S.C. The fast paced, two-week course is physically demanding, and taught by Army drill sergeants. The course is designed to provide Sailors basic combat skills training prior to being deployed as individual augmentees, mostly to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility (AOR). U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 1st Class Jackey Bratt (RELEASED)

From USA Today - via the Army's Stand-To! morning news round-up.

Navy and Air Force personnel are replacing Army soldiers to carry out such duties as guarding convoys, patrolling bases and watching for homemade bombs, the top killer of U.S. troops in Iraq.

This is the official view:

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Carl Ey says the training gives commanders more flexibility and doesn't signal a shortage of soldiers.

There are, of course, confidently pronounced alternate views:

Andrew Krepinevich, a military analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, counters: "If the Army wasn't having recruiting challenges and exceeding rotation rates, we wouldn't be having this discussion." {snippage} Frederick Kagan, a military historian at the American Enterprise Institute, says training sailors and airmen to do the jobs of seasoned soldiers is "what you do only when you're desperate."

There is of course, a Third Way, that is a mixture of the two.

Making a more effective use of military manpower that currently sits idle, and makes them better able to defend themselves, freeing up Infantry for their primary role, and an adaptation to the Current Operating Environment. That it also eases deployment issues for the major ground component is also a nice benny.

Whole story here, at USA Today.

The fact that it might offer some relief to guys like these Guardsmen in Hawaii is not a bad thing. It's called sharing the burden.

As noted in this article by William Cole in the Honolulu Advertiser:

Isle Guard braces for exodus

By William Cole
Advertiser Military Writer

Following a difficult deployment to Iraq, the Hawai'i Army National Guard is working to overcome an expected 20 percent to 40 percent exodus from its ranks — a rate double its usual attrition.

Such a loss, if not stemmed by new recruits, could lead to units being stripped away, less federal money, fewer jobs and diminished capacity to respond to state disasters in future years.

You can read the whole story here.

We all take the same oath and work for the same employer. If spreading the burden shares out some of the downside, what's the problem? Like it or not, this is *different* and shouldn't be equated to what the Germans were doing by the end of WWII - but it is, arguably, close to what the US Army was doing towards the end of WWII, when it took aviation cadets, Air Defense Artillerymen, etc, and made them Infantry.

They were sitting idle, with little to do, and the prognosis looked pretty good for the outcome of the war.

The Air Corps and Navy were fully engaged, but the Air Corps had people in the training pipeline who it looked like they weren't going to need. So they became infantry.

So, there's more than one way to look at this situation. The truth is probably a meld.

Just sayin'.

By the way - those links come from the internal army daily newsbrief, called Stand To! (which you can subscribe to via AKO, btw). Internally we aren't afraid to spread among ourselves the bad news and the good. If you'd like to subscribe yourself - send a blank email from the email address you'd like to recieve it with "subscribe" in the subject line. Sure, there's internal-consumption propaganda in there, but you'd be surprised how we keep an eye on the bad or seemingly bad news.

Send it to:

Sailors choking on good Fort Jackson dust.  Whee!

060405-N-4097B-012 Fort Jackson, S.C. (April 6, 2006) - Sailors man their M-16A1s and sit a vigilant watch, as they conduct convoy exercises during the Navy's Individual Augmentee Combat Training course at Fort Jackson, S.C. The fast paced, two week course is instructed by Army drill sergeants and designed to provide Sailors with basic combat skills training prior to being deployed as individual augmentees mostly to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility (AOR). U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 1st Class Jackey Bratt (RELEASED)