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October 23, 2004


This is kewl on several levels. It's a joint and combined op (Joint means multi-service, Combined means multinational). Brit Infantry, US Air Force Spectres. (We spell Spectre the way the Brits like, too).

THEY called it “Spectre baiting”. Sergeant Craig Brodie, 33, sensed his men’s nervousness in the grim little joke as their Warrior armoured vehicle crawled down a darkened street in the southern Iraqi city of Amara. They were keyed up for action and concentrating for all they were worth.

Lurking in the shadows ahead was a group of rebel gunmen from the Mahdi army of Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shi’ite cleric. Brodie’s job was to lure them into the open so an AC-130 Spectre gunship overhead could destroy them with its cannons and howitzers.

The rebels would show themselves only if they were attacking the British Warrior, so it was no surprise to Brodie that the atmosphere in the vehicle was tense.

By contrast, the American voice in his earphones could not have been cooler. “Steel rain on call,” drawled the controller of the US special forces gunship circling in the starry night sky and waiting for the moment to strike.

There was a pause as the Warrior edged forward. Then the controller, codenamed Basher 75, came back on the radio. Six to eight armed men had been spotted with the Spectre’s night vision equipment. They were preparing to ambush.

What's the other kewl thing about it? Given how the Brits used Commonwealth Troops in the Boer War and WWI - now they are getting the kinds of jobs that used to be reserved for Aussies and Canadians. Ya think I'm making this up? Go do a little reading and see how the Aussies and Kiwis strove to keep their troops under national commanders - even through the fighting in the Western Desert during WWII. They were living the lessons of the previous two wars - when Brits get casualty-shy, they had a tendency to send in the Colonials. This time they're 'going in.'

Colonel Matt Maer, of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (PWRR), had given special written authorisation for the Spectre to open fire even if his own troops were within the potential blast area. This was to be the first such “danger close” engagement signed off by a British commander since the Korean war.

Things are different now - but this does have a nice little whiff of metaphorical grapeshot to find Brits in this position.

It also speaks volumes to their trust in us - trust we'll have to work to maintain!

Read the whole story here. It's worth it. Hat tip to JMH for sending it along.

Coupla things...

In 1983, the opening salvo of the Global War on Terror (US as target) was fired.

23 October, 1983 a suicide truck bomb killed 243 US military personnel in Beirut, mostly marines, but some soldiers and sailors died, too. Since no one left a declaration of war on our doorstep, we gathered our dead and left.

Photo by Ron Williams.

We'd take a few more bloody noses before we did much more than just 'push 'em back' like a playground fight. How do you like us, now, Islamofacist? America, F*&K yeah!

Then there's this picture of Iraqi ordnance, prior to being destroyed by Marine EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) personnel. The thing I've noticed about armies around the world - you want to get a basic idea of the level of discipline and pride and basic soldierly qualities they have - look to their weapons, vehicles, and ordnance. Don't look at their uniform standards, or whether or not they have shiny boots. All sorts of gangstas have plenty of bling-bling. How do they treat the tools of the trade.

It can be beat up. It can be worn-looking. But you can tell, almost at a glance, if it's serviceable. And if it ain't serviceable, then there are problems. And I'll freely include in that assessment those pictures of US LOC (line of communication - logistics) troops during OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) who were nervously scanning the horizon, their personal weapons wrapped in plastic bags so they wouldn't get dirty. There is a unit whose leadership did not take the soldiering side of soldiering seriously. Which gets your troops killed needlessly.

Yes, the Armorer failed his own test when I let my 155mm round get into this condition - but I never let it get into THIS condition... and while this particular cache may have been sitting in the open or buried for a year or so - a lot of the Iraqi stores we found during and right after OIF were in this condition.

October 22, 2004

Hoist the Red Ensign!

The Flea's Militant Band of Canadians (with a token sinister lawyer) and their fellow-traveling Southrons are sitting at Myrick's place this week, quaffing brews and skewering self-important lefties, defending the Victoria-class subs and gabbing about all sorts of what-not, all the while being very polite about it all. Well, except for some of us rubes to the south...

In an unrelated note, you gastrognomes should run over to Inside Allan's Mind, Carnival of the Recipes #10 is up!

Update: If you missed the previous Carnivals, here's a link to them.

Briefly keeping to a food theme, remember the Pizza Crusader? The Dane that Roared? The guy who refused to sell pizza to German and French tourists in his shop? The one who went to jail for doing so? Got out of jail, went to work at another pizza joint - and got fired (properly, you don't get to use your politics this way as an employee) for still being a refusenik when it came to selling pizza to citizens of the Axis of Weasel? Well, he wants to sell pizza to you! Direct! Via the Internet. Tim Worstall can tell you all about it, and you can visit Aage Bjerre's website here, and, if your employer won't mind - visit his Cafe Press store here!

Last but not least, if you haven't already been there via the Instapundit link or at IMAO directly - Frank J has sold out, and is writing anti-Bush radio ads. Damn effective ones, too. I'm going down to the courthouse to try and get my ballot back! Damn Halliburton to hell, anyway!

October 21, 2004

The answer to the teaser...

Okay. The teaser I posted was pretty tough. A lot of thought went into most of the responses. If you're new to how I do this... *usually* not always, but usually, there are clues in the Arsenal photo album. In this case, the answer was there, as I had already uploaded all the photos while I was still doing a little research to flesh out the post.

It's a tround. From Triangular Round, seen here with a Brit WWI-era .303 MkVIIZ ball round. The Tround was developed by David Dardick, who developed a revolving pistol that could be magzine fed. Yep. A magazine fed revolver (see picture links below)

The tround uses a strong plastic (some sources also assert aluminum-reinforced) cartridge of triangular section. The gun is a revolver, but the chambers are open to the outside. The cylinder was wrapped in a casing (which is why in the picture below it doesn't look like a revolver), except where the cartridge was loaded and the case ejected, similar to the drawing here, from Chinn's series of books on machinegun development (ya want those books or CD if you are into machineguns). That's the innovation that makes it possible; the cartridge drops straight into the chamber through the gap in the casing, rotates in line with the barrel and when fired is supported by both the cylinder and the casing, which in combination act as the more traditional chamber.

Primer view. (click the link, you guys from Sixgunner - I do too know the bullet end from the primer end!)

The Dardick pistols and carbine were produced in Hamden CT, from around 1959-61 There were 3 different pistol models, and a carbine modification.

Model 1100: This came with two interchangeable barrels for the .38 Special and .22 Long Rifle. The barrel lengths were 3.0 inches. It could hold 11 trounds.

Model 1500: This also came with 2 interchangeable barrels for the .38 Special and .22 Long Rifle, but had 6 inch barrels and could hold 15 trounds. I have seen sources which also say the 1500 only carried 11 trounds.

Model 2000: The Model 2000 held 20 rounds.

Rifle Conversion: Remove the barrel and the pistol frame could be fitted into a stocked rifle.

Numrich/Gun Parts Corporation also produced Dardick pistols, but what little info I've found on that indicated they never worked reliably due to manufacturing flaws in cylinder timing.

There are three types of trounds, of which I have two. The first, and the kind I don't have, is really a carrier for the standard cartridge, which slipped into the tround. The second, of which the black one I used in the teaser is one, were purpose-built, with a primer, powder, and bullet integral to the tround. Tround are reloadable. Reloading would have been relatively easy, as there is no case expansion and thus no need for resizing or crimping. Simply replace the primer, load the powder and press the bullet in place. There is an internal cannelure in the case to hold the bullet and provide enough resistance for the initial pressure build to ensure a more complete powder burn and reliable tround-to-tround perfomance - though I have no idea how many times you could reload one.

The example in the Arsenal is a .50 caliber dummy, part of a bunch made for the development of a tround-loaded light machine gun in the late 80's early 90's.

The other tround in the collection is the one which had the most commercial success. It was developed for a drilling device for rock drilling. This is a salesmans sample. Sarco has 'em for sale I believe - they want $100 which is a heckuva lot more than I paid for mine at a gunshow.

Made of clear plastic, it has three ceramic 'bullets' in it, with a common powder charge and primer. To quote from Sarco's website:

Super rare 20mm rock drill cartridge - Dardik's only commercial success. This was a rock drill gun and if drilling hit a snag it shot three ceramic bullets in to the holes to pulverized [sic] the snag.

I think it was Gunner of No Quarters who asked me if I knew anything about trounds. Now you know pretty much all that I do. Sorry if I was a little slow, Gunner!

Works for me...

...and squares with what little interaction I have had on the subject from 'inside'.

General Tommy Franks on Osama, Tora Bora, and the Democrat position.

On more than one occasion, Senator Kerry has referred to the fight at Tora Bora in Afghanistan during late 2001 as a missed opportunity for America. He claims that our forces had Osama bin Laden cornered and allowed him to escape. How did it happen? According to Mr. Kerry, we "outsourced" the job to Afghan warlords. As commander of the allied forces in the Middle East, I was responsible for the operation at Tora Bora, and I can tell you that the senator's understanding of events doesn't square with reality.

Sure, General Franks is also looking to his legacy - but his is a voice with more gravitas than Senator Kerry's on this issue.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

October 20, 2004

Checking Six for the Guard and Reserve...

If you don't check out Jason Van Steenwyk at least once a day, you usually miss something good.

I wish to God the Army could figure out a way to get its mind right vis-à-vis the ARC components.

Now, what I know about the Army you could fit in a helmet bag, but it seems to me the active Grunt powers that be could figure out a way to tap a resource and exploit a talent pool a little better than they have up to now.

As a blue-suiter, I'd scratch my head about that a lot. Maybe it's the nature of the skill sets and how we (the Air Force) fight at the trench level.

Airplanes pack a pretty significant punch. A standard complement of Mk-82 500-pounders--6 on the A-10--when dropped approximates every 105 in an arty BN firing simultaneously and landing on the same spot. So, even when we fly around in two- or four ships, while the killing power approximates a respectable ground maneuver unit, it's still a small unit tactic skill being brought to bear. Which sounds like the Army Guard experience--really good in small groups because that's their training process. In other words, the combat power brought to bear in an Air Force platform doesn't require a s**t-load of trigger pullers trained up for battle. The Army, on the other hand, does. Not because their lesser beings (for all you arrogant fighter jocks out there)--it's the nature of the work.

That said, if they're going to rely on the Reserve Components (Guard or Reserve)--and it's pretty clear to most that they're going to have to--you'd think the Army Staff would commit the resources, eh?

Talking to my Guard buds, I've heard numbers as low as 35% on funding for the ARNG (this is, admittedly, hearsay but let's assume for the moment it's somewhere near the mark) while the ANG bucks received from the Air Staff is in the high 80s, if not the 90-percent range. Hmmmm.

To illustrate the benefits if committing to a true Total Force, allow me bore you with two war stories...

As a squadron commander in Europe, I had the dubious honor of running the only dedicated CAS outfit in theater. OK, "dubious" is probably the wrong word--I'd kill for the chance to do that again.

During the first dust-up in Bosnia (Operation DENY FLIGHT), things were a bit challenging, OPTEMPO-wise--one kid had over 300 days TDY because he and one other chap in the entire Wing had some much-needed classified skill sets, etc., etc. To make a long story short, after about a year of rotations that were beating the heck out of the jets and putting a dent on our training requirements, we were spelled by both Guard and Reserve outfits that allowed us to return home to do some much needed repairs and re-hone the boys' CAS skills.

No one was the wiser on the ground--totally transparent performance over the AO (OK, there were a few hiccups but overall a fine show). Here's the kicker--the Guard guys were so well supplied they left us PALLETS of spare parts. That's right...the Guard was resupplying the AD toads. Heh. Not the case today, I'm sure...remember, this was under another Administration...but I was impressed and will not forget it anytime soon.

Second story--the Reserves this time. Graduating from my Corps ALO tour, the 3AF/CC offers me the Vice job at Mildenhall...and the carrot was getting to fly the Hog again at Spangdahlem as "guest help." "Help" was a gross overstatement, but I don't think I scared anyone (too badly). So I go to requal at Barksdale...yeah, the bomber base and 8AF HQ. Well, the A-10 RTU is there. And, as a Colonel, I get sent there instead of Davis-Monthan where they train the community's lesser mortals. Whatever--flying as a Colonel is, well, it's good...and rare, so I'm not going to complain.

Best damn A-10 training I ever experienced.

Just freakin' superb. One of the IPs started out as a crew chief, got his commission and a pilot training slot and came back as a flyer. At an out base he changed his own nose gear tire once. And he could fly that jet...and instruct in his sleep.

One guy who launched me fairly often had been with that tail number since it had been delivered from the factory. He knew his jet. And coming back with a squawk was an almost personal affront.

We used Razorback Range in Arkansas...utterly pristine. The only range I've even been to that looked like it had when it was first built (well maintained) and the rangers had been doing this for about as long as I had been alive. The owners? The Arkansas Guard.

Like the Army, we have our bozos but they're rare. I chalk it up to commitment on both sides, active and RC. I hope the OEF/OIF experience will be a positive catalyst for the Army's evolving relationship with its reserve brethren.

Final word: This is NOT a slam on anybody. I just think we can do better (because it works) and if there's a good example of a learning organism, it's the US military (really). Probably only a matter of time before the Army ends up teaching us a thing or two...


A little teaser.

This is the subject of an upcoming post.

Have fun.

Cool news from the front.

Shadow UAV provides ‘eye in the sky’

By Sgt. Kimberly Snow, 196th Mobile Public Affairs Division

FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARHORSE, BAQUBAH, Iraq -- Gathered in the Tactical Operations Center (TOC), all eyes were glued to the video screen.

Soldiers of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team watched as four 500 pound bombs dropped on carefully chosen targets, the live video feed courtesy of Alpha Company, 101st Military Intelligence Battalion and the RQ-7A “Shadow” Unmanned Aerial Vehicles they operate and maintain.

Literally the “eye in the sky” for the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, Soldiers from the 101st Military Intelligence Battalion stationed here help the brigade commander keep “eyes on” the surrounding area for at least 10 hours every day.

The UAV is a reconnaissance drone used primarily for IED sweeps and reconnaissance for the Ba’qubah Task Force, said instructor-operator Staff Sgt. Lucas Johnson. Alpha Company keeps four of them here, three used as primary flyers and one in reserve, which can also be used for parts.

The team normally schedules two 5.1 hour flights per day, keeping only one bird in the air at a time. However, when requested, they can launch the UAV within an hour. They can also fly more than one aircraft at a time when continuous coverage is needed.

“On the 24th of June, we had about 12 hours worth of coverage on one area, we just kept sending bird up after bird,” said Johnson. “We were able to pick up a sniper, report his location, and they were able to shoot a 203 round (40mm grenade) into the window and kill him. We also monitored the insurgent’s movement through the city of Behritz.”

While RQ-7A has a “textbook” range of up to 50 kilometers, the team has tested and flown the aircraft to almost 80 kilometers out, said Johnson. GPS systems on the aircraft and on the ground antennas “talk to each other,” triangulating the UAV’s position, and allowing the operator to control the UAV from the ground.

The aircraft is launched using a system that combines a hydraulic launcher with nitrogen gas. A compression chamber builds up pressure and shoots the UAV into the air from the launcher’s 30-foot rail at about 70 knots - or approximately 130 mph.

The UAV is brought back down to the landing strip using a Tactical Automated Landing System.

“It’s basically a remote control,” said Johnson. “You hit a button and a little ray dome [sic] takes control of the plane. It tells it to go up, down, left, right and it brings it in.”

The entire operation, consisting of an Air Vehicle Transporter - which houses three aircraft, spare parts, tool boxes, the TALS and fuel - the launcher and ground control station, is designed to fit inside a C-130 airplane for rapid deployment, said Sgt. Francisco Huereque, the maintenance chief. It was also designed to be set up quickly once they’re on the ground.

The crew is relatively new to the system and has been working together on the RQ-7A for only five months. They cross train in order to better understand the system and simply to help one another out.

“The whole system is basically designed so even the operator’s are able to set things up,” said Heureque, a Prineville, Ore., native. “We don’t fly, of course, but we need to know the basic stuff to be able to test the payload and things like that.”

While the crew performs the majority of the maintenance, they also get help from field service representatives who deploy with them. Because of their in depth knowledge of the system, many times they act as trainers and help with troubleshooting, he said.

Together they have had their hands full working out the bugs. They have had four UAVs go down because of mechanical problems and equipment malfunctions. Although cleared of responsibility, they take the accidents personally.


“It’s heart wrenching for us,” said Huereque. “They’re like your children sometimes, and when something happens, you feel real bad about it. And when it’s first launched, you’re all nervous, like when your kid rides a bike for the first time. So we take it pretty serious.”

A former military police officer, Huereque said he foresees a great future for the system, including civilian applications such as police and search and rescue work. And he enjoys helping to work the bugs out of the system.

“I feel like we’re kind of like in on the ground floor, we’re like the beta testers here,” he said. “Because every time we discover something, in a week or even sometimes a day or two later, a new bulletin will come out saying, ‘do this or do that.’ So we’re helping build the system.”

October 19, 2004

Holy Bejeebers! I almost forgot this...

It's entirely possible that there would be no Global War on Terror (and you can take that however you like) if this event had not happened on October 19, 1781.

Lord Cornwallis' surrender to General Washington at Yorktown.

Immediately after the surrender Lord North, the British Prime Minister, resigned. The Brits decided that it was no longer in their best interest to continue the war, and Britain recognized the United States and promised to remove all its troops from the country under the accords of the Treaty of Paris. 8 years after the Declaration of Independence, the United States of America was fully established as an independent nation. And we're war-weary after two years now?

While I credit the combat assistance and sacrifices of the soldiers and sailors under the command of General Rochambeau and Admiral de Grasse (amply repaid I would say) I would note that during the negotiations at Paris, the the French set the tone for Franco-American relations that would in this century make money for John J. Miller of National Review fame and his co-author, Mark Molesky. Congress told the American negotiators, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, and Henry Laurens, to follow the advice of the Comte de Vergennes. It soon became obvious, however, that Vergennes did not have the best interests of the United States first on his agenda, as is perhaps understandable - and ain't nothing changed since - except our own national naivete'!

A nice summary of events can be found here.

October 17, 2004

Note to Mr. Annan -

1st Infantry Division soldier hands out candy to Iraqi children. (Photo by TSgt. Lee Harshman)

You have a 'vision' problem.

Perhaps the campaign in Iraq has not made the world safer.

The problem is, you are conflating a campaign with a war.

The 'war' with Iraq is a campaign of a broader war.

Words mean things, Mr. Annan. When you understand the terms, then you'll understand the strategy.

The war is an on-going thing, and comprises the efforts of the intel communities, law enforcement, the civil servants, the diplomats, and the military - and most of all, the citizens. But don't mistake a battle for a campaign, and a campaign for a war.

Just as Guadalcanal didn't make the world safer in WWII, nor, initially, did Normandy. Or Anzio. Or Stalingrad. They were all parts of a greater whole - which is of course, the part that the governments you represent are worried about. Don't think you represent the people, Mr. Annan - you represent the governments. Many of whom fear the outcome of the war - and want to end it before it burns their feet, too.

And if we had quit after Guadalcanal, had we not pressed forward to Germany after liberating France, had the Russians not marched west after Stalingrad - it would have been demonstrably less safe overall.

Weekend Reads...

...wherein I shamelessly pander to better bloggers than myself!

Erik, at ¡No Pasaran! points to the voice in Iraq the MSM ignores, Iraqis. I particularly like the scorn that Iraqi Pundit heaps upon La Dowd. He then channels Oscar Wilde, to twit some detractors, and, finally, a little note about sincerity...

If you want a glimpse of the Enemy, Jennifer has it for you. NOT for people who are easily knocked out of their Happy Groove for the day. If you'd rather keep it lite, she offers up General Franks on Kerry, and a joke you Legs won't appreciate.

This is a link for the Instapilot. He's got some history here. And probably a story or two to share.

Aaron is in fine form with Photoshop today. Someday I'm going to have to really learn how to use it.

Airborne Combat Engineer has discovered the mechanism for the October Surprise! Of course, in DEMSPEAK, if they aren't in power, then the government must suspend all operations worldwide during the months of September and October, or it's cheating. If they're in power, well, that's different.

AlphaPatriot has a round-up on the Watcher's Council submissions - a good little one-stop if you haven't chanced across the Duelfer Report yet. (Hint, the French are really, really, really bribable, and probably cheap, too).

Just in case you haven't caught it in comments around the Conservative side of the 'sphere... Slaglerock wants you to know "America's Most Highly Decorated Living Veteran Calls Kerry 'a Man of Benedict Arnold Qualities'" Just in case you missed it. 8^D

Jeff Quinton at Backcountry Conservative notes that Al Franken isn't popular - with his fellow-travelers.

Blackfive points to an article where the Canadians serving in Afghanistan found they were sleeping next to a huge arms dump. We've been there two years, people - and they find something like this. Who knows what else is in both Afghanistan and Iraq, waiting to be discovered?

While I don't think military service should be pre-requisite to citizenship (ala Starship Troopers) I do think this new group of citizens have a greater appreciation of what they have just gained than most native-borns do.

Over at Blaster's Blog, the Pittspilot is concerned about the political divide. While I share some of his concerns, he and Jack at Random Fate should probably go have a beer together!

Jay Tea at Wizbang finds some historical parallels that I agree with. Hopefully, the wartime re-election bit will come true, too.

Ahhhhh. Ironbear is back at Who Tends the Fires. If you're skimming, deciding which single link to read, this is it.

Well, they're certainly practiced at it, I suppose.

I changed my mind. Read this one, instead. From triticale, the wheat/rye guy, comes a link to DenBeste's analysis of poll trends. If this isn't tinfoil-hat stuff, it's disturbing. Not for the trends, but for the source of the 'noise'. Or it could just be nothing.

The Canadians at the Western Standard's Shotgun blog have a different take on the October Surprise. There's also a bit of bitterness regarding the funding and staffing of the Canadian military.

As ever with the Commissar, just start here and scroll down.

Citizen Smash comments on the draft. Amazing, the Dems know they're lying through their teeth, but they've decided it's got traction among the college kids, so off we go!

Accurate or not, real or no (too lazy to Snopes it, I'll let my fact-checkers have at it), comes this little morsel from Tom Paine at Silent Running - on the Peoples Democratic Socialist Republic of Berzerkely.

I've skipped the O'Reilly thing. For the record, I think O'Reilly was an ass - but I also think the woman involved was playing this for just this purpose. I think she could have shut it down. But that doesn't mean I don't mind seeing O'Reilly squirm. I'll entertain contrarian views on the subject. Pam has a good thread on the subject over at her place. Pam's also a little grumpy with how FEMA is handing out relief money.

e-Claire notes that Kerry is wrong. Terrorists aren't a nuisance. They're a fantasy, concocted by politicians to preserve and expand their power!

At Ghost of a Flea - Winston Review #15 is up! The Flea also likes Team America!

Gotta add this - a good, old-fashioned Army story at Mostly Cajun. Those of us who have broken track can relate.

by John on Oct 17, 2004

Another view of the "Mutinous Platoon".

This was in the comments to the post below, but I thought it presents a view of the issue that should see a broader light of day.

From SangerM:

Just for the conversation: Once, while in the field on a REFORGER, I refused a lawful order given me (several times, clearly) by my PSG. I was a SGT on the 6-list, he was a SSG. The details don't matter, really, but this may be instructive for those who have never done so, or felt they had to.

1) I did NOT do so lightly.

2) I told my subordinates they should not get involved, that it was my issue, and that they should make up their own minds. Because it was not a situation where they could get killed, I did not feel compelled to lead them as they set out to do what I refused to do.

3) I reported to my 1SG, with whom I had an extremely close relationship (he was a mentor, in some ways father-like to me). I told him all of it, and why I did what I did. He was not happy, and he made no bones about telling me so (this was a man who had been field commissioned in Vietnam, and was RIF'd back to E-7, made E-8, and was on his way to be a SGM at the new Kaserne in Bremen)

4) It was night, I was told to find a place to sleep and it would be resolved in the morning. I went off by myself and cried a fair bit. Not because I felt sorry for myself but because I felt I'd had no choice, and because I had had to tell my 1SG what I had done. I also felt my career was over.

5) Fortunately, the shithead proved himself the moron I knew him to be while he was out doing my job. He made my team work the radars in the cold and snow all night while he sat inside a nearby Gasthaus and drank beer. Then he crashed in the jeep until the sun came up and my fellows woke him up to pack out. For some reason, he thought they wouldn't rat his ass out when they got back. Right.

6) He was canned & I became PSG.

7) To this day, I remember exactly how I felt when I decided to say no. I was not joyous, or proud, nor even a little fun. I was sad, scared, and extremely aware of the fact that I had broken the most basic rule the Army has: Follow the order, fight about it after the fact, but follow the order!

8) On reading the article about the folks in Iraq, I am forced to wonder what set of circumstances drove those soldiers to the decisions they made. Certainly it was not purely fear, because the whole group refused. Was it the PSG or Team Sgt's fault? Did he tell people to disobey or did he take a stand that he felt important and refused to lead?

As everyone else said above, it's hard to know without facts, but I do know this. NCOs in Today's Army wouldn't refuse legal orders without a DAMN good reason. This is not Vietnam, and that was not Company C.

Personally, without more facts, my thoughts tend to wonder about the NCO and Junior Officer leadership in that unit. Soldiers--and nowadays that means NG and AR--don't just say no without feeling they have a good reason. This just feels like something that has a WHOLE lot more to it.

BTW, though I know this could generate a lot of commentary, I want to say this: If you never had to disobey a lawful or legal order, you just _can't_ know how someone who considers himself a professional soldier feels when he does. I was right, but even 25 years later, I still remember how that felt.


As I said in my bit on the subject: It's a potentially serious offense, and the system will deal with it - and not always in the way the conventional wisdom would have you believe.