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May 18, 2006

Transformation, OIF style.

I wrote this post *before* I heard the news about the Canadian Gunner dying in an infantry firefight. It's been a while since an artilleryman has died at the hands of another artilleryman.

I have a buddy from the old days, recently selected for Brigadier General. Back in the day, while sitting in our Hummers, watching the Toad fumble his way down the Central Corridor to die on the obstacles of the OPFOR out by The Alligator at the NTC, we talked of the future.

Of course, He Who Just Got Selected For BG was sure he was going to get passed over for Major and ruminated on what he would do after he got off of active duty.

Obviously, that didn't happen. I retired first (does that mean I won? Hardly.) He got picked for the ultimate Redleg jobs, Direct Support Battalion Commander, Division Artillery Commander - and he got to take his DIVARTY to war.

Ooops. Did I say DIVARTY? Well, that would be wrong. He took his Brigade Combat Team to war. And fought as Infantillery. Good thing we paid attention to our maneuver brethren when we were OC's...

The artillery does a lot more of this now...

Spc. Milton Gonzales, B Btry., 1-9 FA, smashes a gate open during a raid in Baghdad that netted several wanted insurgents Oct. 8.

...and this...


...than they do of this...

After receiving the call for a counter fire mission, April 25, in Mahmahdiyah, Iraq, Sgt. Timothy Olsen lifts the rear of the Howitzer and moves it quickly to acquire the appropriate range of the fire. From the time counter fire is called over the radio, the Soldiers of 1st Platoon, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery, have a maximum of three minutes to be ready to fire on the target, the quickest time the platoon has been laid and ready to fire was an astonishing one minute and 42 seconds. (Photo by Spc. Kelly K. McDowell, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division)


...or this...

...or this.

Just sayin'. Ubique. As Rudyard Kipling noted...

"Ubique"
Royal Artillery

There is a word you often see, pronounce it as you may--
"You bike,""you bykwee," "ubbikwe"--alludin' to R.A.
It serves 'Orse, Field, an' Garrison as motto for a crest;
An' when you've found out all it means I'll tell you 'alf the rest.

Ubique means the long-range Krupp be'ind the low-range 'ill--
Ubique means you'll pick it up an', while you do, stand still.
Ubique means you've caught the flash an' timed it by the sound.
Ubique means five gunners' 'ash before you've loosed a round.
Ubique means Blue Fuse, an' make the 'ole to sink the trail.
Ubique means stand up an' take the Mauser's 'alf-mile 'ail.
Ubique means the crazy team not God nor man can 'old.
Ubique means that 'orse's scream which turns your innards cold!
Ubique means "Bank, 'Olborn, Bank - a penny all the way" -
The soothin', jingle-bump-an'-clank from day to peaceful day.
Ubique means "They've caught De Wet, an' now we shan't be long."
Ubique means "I much regret, the beggar's goin' strong!"
Ubique means the tearin' drift where, breech-blocks jammed with mud,
The khaki muzzles duck an' lift across the khaki flood.
Ubique means the dancing plain that changes rocks to Boers.
Ubique means mirage again an' shellin' all outdoors. drift -- ford
Ubique means "Entrain at once for Grootdefeatfontein."
Ubique means "Off-load your guns" - at midnight in the rain!
Ubique means "More mounted men. Return all guns to store."
Ubique means the R.A.M.R. Infantillery Corps.
Ubique means that warnin' grunt the perished linesman knows,
When o'er 'is strung an' sufferin' front the shrapnel sprays 'is foes;
An' as their firin' dies away the 'usky whisper runs
From lips that 'aven't drunk all day: "The Guns! Thank Gawd, the Guns!"
Extreme, depressed, point-blank or short, end-first or any'ow,
From Colesberg Kop to Quagga's Poort - from Ninety-Nine till now -
By what I've 'eard the others tell an' I in spots 'ave seen,
There's nothin' this side 'Eaven or 'Ell Ubique doesn't mean!

Or, as CAPT H notes: "Ubique= All over the place!"