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Crouching Stryker, Hidden Soldier

Heh. Anyone remember REFORGER (REturn of FORces to GERmany)? When we put 200K troops and multiple heavy divisions rollicking across the heart of Germany? I played in REFORGERs 80-84 while in Germany, and 86 and 88 deploying with the 1st Infantry from Fort Riley. Can you imagine what the tin-foilers in this country would do if we tried to mount something like the Louisiana Maneuvers (a proto-REFORGER exercise that took place in the South prior to WWII) now?

A U.S. Army Soldier from 2nd Troop, 2nd Cavalry Regiment pulls security in a Stryker armored vehicle during a decisive action training environment exercise, Saber Junction 2012, at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, Oct. 17, 2012. Saber Junction 2012, the U.S. Army Europe's premier training event, is a large-scale, joint, multinational, military exercise involving thousands of personnel from 19 different nations and hundreds of military aircraft and vehicles. It is the largest exercise of its kind that U.S. Army Europe has conducted in more than 20 years.
 A U.S. Army Soldier from 2nd Troop, 2nd Cavalry Regiment pulls security in a Stryker armored vehicle during a decisive action training environment exercise, Saber Junction 2012, at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, Oct. 17, 2012. Saber Junction 2012, the U.S. Army Europe's premier training event, is a large-scale, joint, multinational, military exercise involving thousands of personnel from 19 different nations and hundreds of military aircraft and vehicles. It is the largest exercise of its kind that U.S. Army Europe has conducted in more than 20 years.

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Let's not dismiss suspicion of this current Administration and its use of Title 10 forces quite so blithely.  The "tinfoil" types would not have such concerns, (which are shared by many who are NOT that type) it it were not for:

Scenarios used for "full spectrum operations" that include a legal and law-abiding political party posited as the enemy.

A National Defense Authorization Act that contains language in direct violation of the restrictions placed on Federal forces, which only late in the legislative process excluded American Citizens

Senior Military leadership that is politically supplicant and far more concerned with pleasing their masters than supporting and defending the Constitution for which they took an oath.

A Joint Chiefs Chairman who believes it is proper to stifle lawful free speech of a private citizen as a part of his duties of office.

An administration and political spectrum that treats political opposition as enemies (and calls them that) while treating our enemies as mere political opposition.

Federal Law Enforcement that openly targets those holding that opposing political viewpoint as being potential terrorists.

Defining our enemies as "violent extremists", instead of Islamic extremists, not coincidentally using the same language which Chuck Schumer and many others have used to describe the NRA, the Tea Party, Republicans, gun owners, Christian conservatives, and those who disagree with abortion and global warming.

Other than that, no.  There is no reason anybody might have the slightest suspicion of large scale military exercises in CONUS. 

 
I was over there for the 84 and 86 ones, the 86 was cancelled 1/2 way through because of weather and related damage as I recall.
 
Once again we hear from Army Public Affairs reporting from their alternate universe.  Of course, there is no such unit as the "2d Troop, 2d Cavalry Regiment" in the U.S. Army that we know, except perhaps in the video game world.  Perhaps they meant to say, 2d Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment, since that unit is stationed in Germany and is equipped with Stryker.
 
 REFORGER 84 2AD from Hood. Came back with 6 days left  till ETS, and orders stamped Emergency clearance. Oh the joy of dumping filthy TA-50 on CIF and they Had to take it, Canteen Cup still had burned ravioli in it.
 
REFORGER '82 (Carbine Fortress), with 1-22 FA, 1AD.  This was my first major FTX right out of OSUT at Ft. Sill.  Had a great time .... even as a 'cruit on advanced party.  LOL  Didn't rain until the very last day. Lots of good memories, but one of the things that stands out most is that one of our section chiefs got caught by a low-hanging apple tree branch, and it dragged him and the TC hatch cover and the .50-cal mount off the gun.  Something ended up slicing him all the way from his belly button around to his back.  The medic who patched him up got an impact ARCOM out in the field.  John, do you remember this?  I think you might have been the S-1 at the time.
 
 URR - when I was working MSCA/WMD stuff at 5th Army back in 98-99, the tinfoilers were out in force because of "2 Chinese divisions in the woods at Fort Lewis (Japanese battalion on a training exchange), Black Helos pointing cannons at them near Fort Polk (Blackhawks with refueling probes), the UN Army in Arkansas (UN-marked M113s railing for the ports after having been rehabbed at Red River Army Depot in Texas).   

Same stuff with same signal-to-noise ratio during the Bush admin, too.

Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar.  Doesn't mean you don't keep an eye on the guy smoking it in the motor pool by the mogas tank.
 
I have pictures somewhere of my Dad down in Lousiana during those maneuvers in 1940, with the 165th New York Infantry regiment (what had been The Fighting 69th).   He was drafted in January 1941 (at the age of 24!) for a one year term of service. Events...intervened.  They finally let him out in 1946.  
George V.
 
Last one I did was 88.  Major letdown from previous ones as it had been seriously downsized,  As a AF Combat Cameraman still had fun going out and finding Army units to vidoetape.
 
I did REFORGER '80 with 3/325 Inf out of the 82nd ABN.  It was pretty cool:  we flew nonstop from the US to Germany and jumped into Lower Saxony southeast of Hanover.  We were part of the Orange forces, simulating a Russian airborne unit jumping in ahead of a Soviet advance to seize bridges over the Mitteland and Hildesheim Kanals.  (Without intact bridges, a canal full of water makes a dandy tank trap.)

It was us and a couple of British TA battalions (one from the Royal Green Jackets and one from the Worcester and Sherwood Foresters,) against two heavy brigades of the BAOR, and we started calling it "Operation Little Arnhem" while we were still in rehearsals back at Bragg.  But it was fun while it lasted, and the jump was freaking spectacular.  One of our chalks cleared 73 jumpers and two jumpmasters from a C-141 in 19 seconds, and I don't think that any chalk took more than 25 seconds to empty the bird.  Wish I had a copy of the video someone shot from the edge of the DZ.


 
Played in those from 80 up to the Great Unpleasantness of August 1990....   Got to launch Hogs  off the autobahn a few times........
 
Found a picture from Reforger '80 with someone in it I actually recognize. 

"September 1980 - Captain Saunders, of the United States Air Force 317th Combat Control Team [attached to the United States Army 82nd Airborne Division], uses a field radio to direct an approaching C-141 Starlifter aircraft into position for a troop drop during Reforger 1980."


And the actual picture can be seen here.

 
 Gotta love the cammied face and bare arms...
 
lvncenturion, not sure what 'alternate universe' you're referring to for Army Public Affairs. As PA, we don't necessarily know the name and nomenclature of every unit and piece of equipment in the Army inventory. We're smarter than 99% of the rest of the Army, but we don't know everything. We rely on the units we are covering to give us the correct info for the cutlines. Sometimes having to ask several times, and getting different answers every time. Usually, when we ask what unit, the response is, "2nd of the 2nd." So if there's an error, USUALLY, it's because of bad info PA gets from the Soldiers, not the other way around...
 
1sg Keith

You make my point.  Ignorance is no excuse.  PA troops are supposed to be professional soldiers, especially in their chosen MOS.  Soldiers may use slang, "I'm in 187 Infantry battalion", but professional soldier journalists are expected to be able to translate this into the correct, 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment.  It's Army 101 stuff. Of course, the sloppiness is not limited to unit designations, ranks are frequently screwed up as well. You cannot imagine how foolish this makes PA look to knowledgeable readers, especially when it's easily corrected by a quck check with public websites, primarily the official Army web site.

If you are or were a First Sergeant, then I now understand the true nature of the problem.  When leaders don't enforce standards, the standards disappear.  Of course, civilian journalists and their editors no longer care about accuracy either, so I don't suppose that we should expect military journalists to be any better.

 

Wow!
Since when was mindreading an MOS, Invcenturion?  Did a PAO misspell your name in a glory shot one day or something? 
 

 
Well, John, apparently the quality of your readership has dropped since the last time I was here. I try to explain a reason as to why it was listed this way, and this asswipe makes it personal? He doesn't know me, or my standards. Since he continues to bash PA, my guess he was too stupid to be PA and is extremely jealous. I'm done...
 
Sheesh.  Shift to new offices, miss a few emails while making the move, and shite blows up.

Lvncenturion is a retired Purple Heart-bearing Colonel of Infantry, who, like MSG Keith, has earned his opinion, if he was a bit more abrupt in his response than I am accustomed to seeing it.  But his response is also indicative of a frustration we both have felt when dealing with DVIDs products.

Bad captioning, especially regarding unit designations, but sometimes just basic terminology or fact (usually regarding equipment, is more common than you may realize, Keith, and is obviously more pronounced when the sailor journalist is writing about tanks, or the Army guy is captioning AF stuff, as happens with the deployed units.  And I have found that there is *zero* interest in correcting captions, when the errors are pointed out, and often, there is some real hostility when someone does respond. That's anecdotal, but it is personal experience. 

I've had some blistering emails from senior NCO journalists who pull the chickenhawk card on me, when pointing out a captioning issue.  And you know me, I'm generally pretty polite about that, especially to people I don't know, and to someone in the sandboxes. 

But those captions are going to be *history* in the not too distant future, as in historians will be mining the pictures and associated data.

No, a 100% correct rate isn't expected.  But a greater interest in getting it right when it's pointed out would be useful.

I can understand catching the errors intially can be a challenge, when the checkers may not know much more than the submitter.  And I wouldn't be surprised in this age if there wasn't a lot of stuff that just gets uploaded direct (I admit I don't know the process) - but there is a problem, if aught else, with the perceptions of the problem depending on where you stand or sit.




 
The stock in trade of Army Public Affairs has long been the Hometown News Release.  These have no doubt fallen into disuse with the demise of print media in general and small town newspapers in particular, but these little efforts were an important part of telling the Army story.  So too, the modern equivilent on a webpage, twitter feed, or facebook entry. Simple facts make a difference.  Get the name right, get the hometown right, get the rank right, and get the unit right.  Its really not hard, our young soldier journalists are up to the task. Just train them and check them.
 
Give me some examples. What kind of ranks were wrong? PA uses AP Style Guide ranks, NOT Army ranks. Just because it says Capt. and not CPT means it's wrong. Units and weapon nomenclatures are a little harder. PA Soldiers ARE expected to reserach and get it right. However, especially in a joint environment, it idioitic to think that PA Soldiers are 'expected to be able to translate.' I've had different Soldiers of the same unit give different answers as to what unit they belong to, or what piece of equipment they use.  But, if anyone finds a caption on DVIDS that's wrong, and you can prove it's wrong, let me know and I'll get it fixed. But I'm willing to bet, out of the tens of thousands of captions out there, the error rate is pretty low. And, John, even if the Infantry Colonel above had earned the MOH, I'd still call him an asswipe for attacking me personally and doubting MY integrity because I disagree with him...
 
I'm not attacking your integrity.  I am making the point that the reason young soldier journalists make mistakes about unit designations is that their leadership doesn't think that it's very important.  I thank you for continuing to make my point. If you continue to insist that it isn't your job to train your subordinates to get it right in official news releases and official photos, then be my guest. Meanwhile, I remain proud to be proclaimed an asswipe by Army Public Affairs.

BTW, no need to address this issue through an intermediary, you can address me directly. If you'd like to take it off the forum, you can reach me at:

bennett.dickson@wildblue.net
 
I, for one, would appreciate it if you gentlemen were to take it offline at this point.  All the public points that need making have been made, methinks, and this has become a personal discussion.
 
John,

He's an AIR FORCE officer.  Hell, it was all we could do to get them to wear camoflage uniforms and sleep overnight in the woods.  After all, in the woods there is no Club to which one can repair for Happy Hour.  And in the woods your bed does not have clean dry sheets and there are seldom if ever hot showers. Plus, in those days doing a tour as a TALO was NOT thought of as being "career-enhancing" for most Air Force types.

On the other hand, there were a lot of times when we put on camoflage face paint to pretend we were actually playing by the rules, because we knew that in reality camoflaging our arms would be a waste of effort and resources, like when you're standing next to a 1/4-ton in the middle of a largely featureless 1000 meter x 4000 meter drop zone explaining to the guys driving the C-141's how to find you, and there are about 3000 spectators around the edges of the area...
 
But, Blake - as this thread has shown in gory glory - the details matter.

And you are gonna be lucky if Dusty doesn't read this far down.  He takes comments like yours personally, having been the commander of the the USAFE/USAREUR ALO types.  

You'll probably get him reminiscing about Kosovo and he'll start telling you "There I was..." stories about the Army.

With full hand gestures.  It's amazing how he gets the sense of the hand gestures in.