I am finally back after a solid month of Army training. It was an odd adventure for an Infantryman, as I wound up being attached to a support company because my unit bought too much weaponry and myself and a couple of supply Privates had to take care of it. I had never really served alongside females before, I had never had hot chow just about every day in the field, and I had never been in a unit where discipline was in such short supply. The whole ordeal has utterly destroyed my motivation to reenlist or finally drop that officer packet I’ve been busy putting together.
First of all, while I am totally against females in combat arms, I wasn’t fully aware of how biased in favor of females the Army was until last month. The commanding officer of the support unit is a female. She didn’t wear her body armor (weighs about 35 lbs), and she let the other females in the unit keep their’s off because “it hurts.” The men wore it though, although a few rebelled and went without it, something that would warrant a solid smoke session or perhaps even an Article 15 nonjudicial punishment in just about any Infantry unit.
The females had total run of the place, they could get away with murder. If a man did something wrong, he might get his ass chewed, usually by a platoon sergeant because lower ranking NCO’s in POG units are basically higher-paid Privates and don’t seem to lead much. If a female did something wrong, it was completely overlooked, or she would be told politely or even pleaded with to stop. One female Private told a Specialist that his rank “didn’t mean ****” because he wasn’t a Sergeant, and said she wouldn’t obey a thing he said. In the Infantry, that’s insubordination and an Article 15 would be forthcoming, but not for a female Soldier, especially not one in a support unit.
The same female, a cute, short Hispanic girl we’ll call “CQ Princess” because she likes to hang out at the Infantry barracks CQ desk during her down time even though she is married, also lost her weapon for over 3 hours, an automatic Article 15 in my unit for sure, but she was chided and the 1SG said he “didn’t have time” for such things. A male Soldier also lost his weapon (I’ve never seen Soldier’s lose weapons like these POG’s managed to regularly) and also didn’t get an Article 15, but he was made to panic about the fate of his career all day, which is something. CQ Princess also flirted with everyone profusely to get everything done from lifting her own bags to having someone turn in her ammunition for her. The female CO, who is very attractive, also had no shortage of fans. After seeing how the females were treated, I know I have to get out of the Army before the Infantry becomes a total hellhole rife with co-ed issues. I am sure some conservatives “called it” back when women were first allowed in the military – to those old time conservatives, know that you were 100% correct and I can confirm your fears were well-founded.
There were a few good things about being attached to a co-ed unit. They were a support company, so that meant they had cooks, which meant I didn’t need to eat 3 MRE’s a day. A great, filling breakfast is the way to start a day, and the cooks were friendly and seemed to go out of their way to make sure everyone was well-fed and taken care of. When the Infantry units had a chance to get hot chow from them, they slaved away extra-hard in the kitchen because they know the Infantrymen were working their tails off and they wanted to alleviate their burdens however they could. The cooks really knew their mission and how to go beyond the basics.
Besides good meals, the atmosphere was a lot more relaxed than what I am used to. I hope it didn’t make me a little lax myself. As I said, no one got smoked, people rarely got yelled at, and no one encroached on my business. Me and my two POG’s were able to form a logical plan of our own making for guard rotation and other duties, and we found we had extra time to contribute to the support company’s mission to make their job easier. However, I found myself ground guiding all kinds of vehicles at night, because the majority of the support company was very unprepared and didn’t have helmet mounts for their night vision goggles, or NVG’s (when I found 50 in one of my company’s supply boxes they seemed mad that I gave them all one, thus giving them no excuse not to use their NVG’s). I also found myself hoisting millions of pounds worth of stuff onto trucks, but I didn’t really mind because I wanted the exercise.
The relaxed atmosphere and freedom to make my own plans made my task easy and organized, but the lack of discipline such an atmosphere brings is definitely not worth the tradeoff. The support company was easily overrun by OPFOR (opposing force – a group of Soldiers who are designated to play as the enemy during a war game or training exercise), and me and my guys were lone survivors one early morning after an assault. It wasn’t hard to stay alive, it was just the support Soldier’s didn’t know their ass from their elbow. A lot of them decided to stay in their tents and sleep rather than get up during the attack because “notionally dying” wasn’t “so bad anyway.” Real warrior spirit there…
Anyway, I don’t believe support units were always this bad, and I do believe that a lot of their problems are on the horizon for combat arms units. All wars come down to what the US Army calls “individual Soldier tasks,” or IST. We can have a massive technological edge and plenty of numbers, but if the IST’s are not being executed to standard and beyond, while enemy soldiers execute their tasks with zeal, we’re in trouble. Money and technology didn’t carry King George and Great Britain to victory over the Colonies, after all. The military is going south, and it’s trying to cover over its problems with solutions such as stricter grooming regulations and tattoo policies that give an appearance of cracking down or becoming more disciplined, when much greater problems are growing. If you or some young ‘un you know is thinking about the military these days, steer them clear, now is not the time to get involved, and if they really want to, make sure it’s at least not the combat arms which is bound to become weaker and thus less safe. I plan to write more about why one shouldn’t join the military, and what Army life is like, in the future, but as a successful Soldier who planned on having a long career with the Army before retiring I do not feel the Army is worth joining or staying in any longer that one needs to in order to fulfill contractual obligations.