Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

My Photo
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

REMF? No such thing any more...

When I was in Vietnam, there was a constant, usually at least partially friendly, competition between combat soldiers and "Rear Area M***** F********" - REMFs for short. The combat troops claimed, rightly so, that they were the ones under fire, suffering the majority of the casualties, and frequently getting the short end of the stick. Most of the USO shows hit the rear area first, and only a few actually made it up to the fire bases and base camps where combat soldiers spent the majority of their time.

No one denied that the guys in the rear were essential to support the guys out front, but only the more intellectually challenged would contest the truth that few of them ever faced enemy fire, and the casualty rate was a small fraction of that of combat units. The guys strutting in Saigon were not combat soldiers. The combat soldiers usually congregted in a few bars and tried to forget both where they came from and where they were going back to.

Today, our army is engaged in a totally different war. It's not only a war against a determined enemy, it's a war where there are no front lines, and every soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine is a potential casualty. There is no "rear area", unless it's Kuwait, Diego Garcia, or somewhere in Germany. If you're "in-country", you're a target. If you're not capable - and willing - to fight back, sooner or later you're also going to be a statistic. EVERYBODY in the sandbox is a combat soldier - at least, if they want to stay alive, and help their buddies stay alive.

The new warfare doesn't discriminate between male or female, against any branch of service, or any age, creed, color, or nation of origin. Polish men are just as likely to be killed as American women, and the enemy considers civilians working for aid agencies just as much a military target as an Army tank batallion.

This is a new kind of war in a sense, and our training program hasn't caught up with the demands. It's time our military forces become proficient in the skills of armed conflict, regardless of their branch of service, or their rank, or their gender, or their political or religious affiliation. Today, anyone in uniform is a front-line troop, and should be trained and equipped, both physically and mentally, for the task.


Post a Comment

<< Home