Go Freddie

A friend of mine Fred Schoeneman wrote a good post at his blog. Pretty funny!

“For those of you who haven’t been enlisted swine, officers aren’t always like Clancy writes them. They aren’t wooden, super-patriotic, whipsmart, selfless, barrel-chested or even particularly brave. The guys from West Point were smart but arrogant; and the guys from ROTC were dumb and arrogant, even though they were supposed to be more laid back. Most of them were just cheese, nothing like Jack Ryan.

Jack Ryan is the kind of character that a former insurance salesman who has never been in the military would have created. And he was. Jack Ryan is total pornography. If you don’t believe me, go check out Rainbow Coalition Six. I did. It was a total blowjob of a book, about a politically correct commando team; it was so bad I couldn’t finish the first chapter. I had to put it down and pick up one of Ann Rice’s vampire novels. Yeah, Lestat is so sexy. Goth Porn gets my juices flowing.”

5 thoughts on “Go Freddie”

  1. Let me start by saying I’ve never been enlisted swine. Or swine of the officer breed either. I think we need to be careful about perceptions though.

    Arrogant young officers are not unique to the military. They exist in every profession. Ever deal with a fresh grad from a prestigious college? They’ve had a good education and they know it. You can’t tell them anything. They usually have to smack into the brick wall of reality four or five times before they get the message that other people may know something too. Even that guy working a metal lathe, that woman in marketing who’s done a hundred presentations, the finance guy who’s been telling you the budget is out of line and has recommendations (from experience) on how to fix your problem, and on and on.

    On the other hand, is it worthwhile having someone around who knows what a Pickett’s Charge is and why it shouldn’t be repeated? Officers who know enough math they can read and decipher charts and graphs? People with enough science background that when someone says “electromagnetic interference in the 10 gigahertz band” they have some clue what that means and how it happens. Of course.

    I mentioned in Sylvain’s post a few days ago Col. David Hackworth’s About Face. In it, he describes the training of freshly minted officers.

    “Lt. Newbie, this is 1st Sgt. Beentheredonethat.”,
    he’d say. “Sgt. BTDT has forgotten more about leading men and training soldiers than you may ever know.”

    The Sgt. would have been hand picked by Hack as his best and most experienced soldier. The noncom would be expected to maintain strict discipline according to rank, but would mentor the young officer on how to be a soldier and lead soldiers in the real world. The Lt. would learn to appreciate the experience of the Sgt. and would benefit from his hard earned knowledge.

    As for Clancy, I liked his early work the best. I think Red Storm Rising was a terific book. What I liked best about it mirrors your comments exactly. It was full of mistakes and miscalculations. Carrier battle group commanders, believing themselves invulnerable, get their clocks cleaned by Russian naval aviators; first decieving them, then overwhelming them with air-to-surface missles. Each side consistently ‘misunderestimates’ the other. For each strength, the other side has a plan for attacking its weak point. Everyones initial plans go awry and each side is forced to innovate new plans on the fly, compromise objectives, accept and recover from tactical defeats, counter unexpected enemy tactics, and so forth. Very real world.

    His later stuff is just tripe by comparison.

  2. Mr Schoeneman,
    “spend 2 years as enlisted swine before they get their commissions?” Why not, indeed?

    Your post earned my Quote for the Day


  3. In Viet Nam one night I was the jeep driver for the sargent of the guard. The sargent was an old man, probably 40, and was an E-6. We were sitting in the guard shack when one of his buddies dropped in. Their conversation became a discussion of “officers they had known”.
    The sargent of the guard remembered:
    “I had this young first lieutenant once, he was a nice boy but he wouldn’t listen to me. I said to him, ‘Lieutenant, if you go up that hill you’re gonna get your shit blown away.’ But he wouldn’t listen and he went up the hill and got his shit blown away. And it was too bad because he was a nice boy.” (Probably not an exact quote but to the best of my memory)

    Smart new officers always listened to their experienced NCOs.

  4. “smart new officers always listened to their experienced NCOs”

    Yep- they had better listen, because the NCOs are the ones training their asses out in the real world.

    We had a lecture on this at the NCO Academy…

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