Bunker Mulligan "Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." ~Mark Twain

March 30, 2005

Back to Afghanistan

Filed under: Golf,Military — Bunker @ 11:15 am

Yesterday I took some time off. Birdie and I went to the golf course. The wind was still howling pretty good, but we enjoyed ourselves regardless. I shot 80 with no birdies and nothing bigger than a bogey. Birdie shot…. well, let’s leave it at that. It was his first time on a course in some time.

We got some time to talk about his deployment. He is really pleased with his new company commander. They spent ten days in the field recently and trained for the worst case scenario. Other companies were playing around with best case situations. Birdie is concerned that some will get complacent. Afghanistan is still a dangerous place. He will keep his soldiers on their toes.

He talked about how this trip to Afghanistan will be more of a training mission for the Afghan forces, and doing the same things he did with Iraqi soldiers. The Iraqis thought being in uniform gave them license to steal, and Birdie’s soldiers had to break them of bad habits. The Iraqi Platoon Sergeant was a good man, and good soldier, but was having trouble controlling his charges. So they “arrested” him and told the rest of the soldiers the same would happen to them. They whined about being abused, and demanded to speak with their lieutenant.

“We arrested him, too. Squad leaders are next if you don’t straighten up.”

All of a sudden they discovered religion. With that settled, the platoon sergeant came back and had no trouble turning them into a dependable force.

The things we take for granted with our military has to be instilled in others. With ours, we spend several weeks in training them intensely, or several years at our academies. And that is with young men and women who’ve been raised to think of things like stealing as wrong.

This will be a more demanding task for Birdie and the others than simply going in to fight. But they have to be constantly ready to do that, too.

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