Cover photo: Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, U.S. Army Pacific commanding general speaks with a Soldier currently training on the Gulkana Glacier near Black Rapids, Alaska, March 10, 2015. (Sean Callahan/US Army) Taking care of Soldiers. That’s a favorite catch-phrase used by leaders, usually of the sergeants major variety, to describe any number of things: extra duty, … Continue reading Taking Care of Soldiers: What Does that Mean?
Everything we do in the Army seems somehow dehumanizing. We remove individual identity at basic training, in order to meld individuals into a cohesive group. Individuals are referred to by their rank or just their last name. Our entire careers can be summed up on one or two sheets of paper (usually incorrectly). While … Continue reading Battle Staff Made Human
There’s a common phrase among military members who have deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq as part of the Global War on Terror: Fobbit. It is a play on the words “hobbit,” from J.R.R. Tolkein’s fantasy works, The Lord of the Rings, and the acronym for Forward Operating Base: FOB. Fobbit tends to also be synonymous … Continue reading How Forward Operating Bases Created the Illusion of War in Iraq and Afghanistan
This post first appeared on the blog Point of Decision. It is no secret that the U.S. Army is in a time of change and disruption. It is desperately seeking to emerge from an era unprecedented in Army history: fourteen uninterrupted years of direct conflict in a counter-insurgency (COIN) environment in two theaters, with mobilizations … Continue reading All Things Old are New Again The U.S. Army and the Changing Operating Environment
On the morning of September 15, 1862, the fate of the Civil War was held in the hands of Union Brigadier General Dixon S. Miles. Those hands were probably shaking slightly that morning, although not from fear, but from the delirium tremens. You see, Miles was a drunk. A graduate of West Point, Miles had not done his … Continue reading Drunken Disaster at Harper’s Ferry
Last week on the Twittersphere, a discussion began on the impact of sensory perception on memory. It was started with this tweet: https://twitter.com/CombatCavScout/status/564959464034668544 https://twitter.com/CombatCavScout/status/564960295001804800 https://twitter.com/CombatCavScout/status/564962272624525312 You can see the tweet he was referring to, and the subsequent discussion, by clicking on the link, but in short, it was a photo of a dead Taliban commander … Continue reading Memory as an Engagement Area, and what memory tells us about ourselves
“Show me a soldier who’s not bitching and I’ll show you a soldier that is a liar,” said someone, once, maybe. Regardless of the truth of this statement, any commander knows that when soldiers stop complaining then things are getting dangerous. Complaining, bitching, kvetching, whatever you want to call it, it is a staple of … Continue reading The Top 10 Reasons I’m Thankful for the Army
When I sat down to write this post, I had planned to say a few things about current veterans’ organizations and ask where the new generation of veterans fits in. However, in doing my research on past veterans organizations, I found that veterans issues have been rife with problems since the very founding of our … Continue reading We know Old Soldiers just fade away, but where do Young Soldiers Go?
When I was a shiny new soldier, fresh out of Army basic and advanced training, I was placed in the rear detachment of a unit that was forward deployed. There were a few other brand new soldiers in the detachment, but quite of few of the soldiers were coming off of Active Duty into the … Continue reading Location, Location, Location: How shared locations bond two generations of U.S. military veterans
I will be perfectly honest (unlike a certain Senator): the inspiration for this post was spawned by a Washington Post opinion column by retired Army Lieut. Gen. David Barno. The opinion piece can be found here and I highly recommend it. Barno makes a series of excellent points concerning the so-called "end" of the thirteen years of … Continue reading Hurtling Towards Mediocrity: The Army “Garrison” Initiative and the Death of Innovation