Originally Posted by Pistolenschutze
You know, Terry, for most of our history the U.S. depended on a relatively small cadre military composed mostly of older, experienced, professional soldiers. In time of war the idea was to use those troops to leven the bread, so to speak, by integrating them--especially the noncoms--into newly formed military units to steady and train the youngsters answering the call to arms. I remember from my own experience just how valuable those older guys could be. In fact, I would be the first to admit that I would likely not have survived my first 30 days "in country" had it not been for one old sergeant on his third tour. BIT teaches useful skills for sure, but it doesn't really teach a newbie how to survive in a real combat zone. Only the wisdom of experience passed on by the older guys does that . . . and as you know yourself, a good deal of luck as well.
We were headed up route 1, with 5 tons of mortar ammo in the back of a 2 1/2 ton truck, and SFC 'Gooddeal' Waite, tells me "Smoke that little fat rascal", referring to an apparently young, Vietnamese boy, at the roadside; I hestitated, he grabbed my rifle, and empties a mag, then stops, about forty yards short.
'C'mere, as he slaps my head, repeatedly, this is a survival lesson".
We walk up to a ten to twelve year old boy, now face down, and Gooddeal cuts the back of the field jacket in two; 38 pounds of two pound D-Blocks, detcord, caps, and clacker; I've been less than 60 days, 'in country'.
"When is the last time you saw a fat 'dink' kid"?, he asked.
Fair question; the answer, "Never".
The beginning of my education, we decapped, then confiscated, the explosives, but it was the start of my awakening; he was a fair mentor, he made me think, in ways the army never did. His perception was totally visual, in that he would 'step off' for a moment, and look at the total image, and pick out the flaws, then address them, as necessary.
One of my favorite movies is "Valdez is Coming", about an old Mexican man, on a 'mission'.
If you have not before watched it, do so; If you have, watch it again!
It pretty well states my position, in life.