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03 April 2014


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That's best kept for a night by the fire with a mason jar of Tennessee's finest. (If my supplier of same ever comes through again). Of course you know our wives will be doing their version of the same......



No, IMO it IS an Army problem, an Army mental problem. This is not something new. I remember my platoon sergeant when I was an infantry platoon leader telling me how it had been in Korea. He was in the Wolfhounds (27th Infantry Regiment) His company had lost a beloved commander to a Chinese night attack on the Yalu River. When they got back to below the 38th Parallel, they went into reserve to re-fit. Within a few days the men started to fight each other with guns, knives, hand grenades. They would fight over trivialities of dress, position in the mess hall line, imagined slights. This only ended when the new company commander arrived. This was Millett. This company had a bad case of what the French Army called "Le Cafard," (the bug). It is stress induced and the stress need not come from direct experience of combat. I saw the same thing any number of times in 27 years. pl

The beaver


I won't mind reading the stories and experiences :-)
It could be an eye opener, considering that some of those same female soldiers who did transfer to the private sector (at least in the industry that I am in) had made life h--l for us- civies in the corporate world.

The Twisted Genius


That's a frightening story. I'm thankful I've never witnessed anything like this among our soldiers. However, I've seen shit that'll turn you white in the Chouf Mountains in 1983. (to quote Ernie Hudson in Ghostbusters). I guess it would have been more accurate to say that this is not exclusively an Army problem.



If we practice SWMBO OPSEC we may, but no guarantees. Many good men have been lost in these exercises of one upsmanship.



We had it easy. I was commissioned in 1962 with over three years service as enlisted in the National Guard before VMI. At that time a 2nd Lt. with no prior service was the recipient of $222/month plus about $50/month in subsistence allowance in lieu of field rations plus either quarters with maintenance and utilities or a fixed quarters allowance. In those days there was no variable housing allowance and so the allowance was often inadequate in differing locations. We were lucky. my new bride and I moved into a unfurnished nice little brick duplex for company grade officers. It had a vaulted living room/dining room, a kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom. it was located on El Caney Road behind colonels row at Ft. Devens. My NG service raised my base pay to a princely $35/month. Life was good. pl

scott s.

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to
for service as set forth in the following
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the repeated risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company E, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, in action against enemy aggressor forces at Ipsok, Korea, on 27 November 1950. Captain Desiderio’s company was given the mission of defending the command post of a task force against an enemy breakthrough. After personal reconnaissance during darkness and under intense enemy fire, he placed his men in defensive positions to repel an attack. Early in the action he was wounded, but refused evacuation and despite enemy fire continued to move among his men checking their positions and making sure that each element was prepared to receive the next attack. Again wounded, he continued to direct his men. By his inspiring leadership he encouraged them to hold their position. In the subsequent fighting when the fanatical enemy succeeded in penetrating the position, he personally charged them with carbine, rifle, and grenades, inflicting many casualties until he himself was mortally wounded. His men, spurred on by his intrepid example, repelled this final attack. Captain Desiderio’s heroic leadership, courageous and loyal devotion to duty, and his complete disregard for personal safety reflect the highest honor on him and are in keeping with the esteemed traditions of the U.S. Army.



"The three soldiers had a candle burning in the upturned cavity of a steel helmet. A rubber poncho stretched over their little hole. The temperature inside their shelter was a pleasant fifty degrees Fahrenheit.
The rest of the platoon were scattered in similar holes across a stony, wooded hilltop. A few men were rotated every hour to listening posts to guard against a surprise. The heavy weapons “sat” outside the granite holes well covered against the weather. That protection and the arctic lubricant they had been “dressed” with would keep them in order.
Laine waited for O’Connor to start again. It was going to be a long night. “Desiderio?” he prompted.
“We were on a low rise. We looked down across a half mile of frozen, open ground to the river. Manchuria was on the other side. The ground was solid. We dug all day to get holes not as deep as this. The regimental command post was right behind us, maybe two hundred meters.” O’Connor leaned forward staring into the small yellow flame.
Light danced on the grey, lichen encrusted rock around them...
One of the squad leaders stuck his head in under the poncho to say that the outposts had been relieved. Shapiro called the company command post on the sound powered telephone line to report this.
“And?” Laine asked.
“About midnight a wave of infiltrators came right into our holes. They crawled most of the way from the river. There were hundreds of them. I mean it, hundreds. We fought them in every hole and outside the holes. Gun butts, entrenching tools, fists; we started throwing chunks of frozen dirt at them before it was over. We lost a third of the company in the first attack but they kept coming back. They must have attacked a dozen times. After every attack, The Old Man came around to each position. He was hurt bad but he came to ask us to hold on, to ask us not to give up. After a while he was crawling to our holes, asking, begging for the same thing.
When the sun came up we saw we were ‘buried’ in the bodies of big yellow men in quilted blue uniforms. Their two-humped camels were down the slope where they left them. We collected them to use for pack animals and to sling stretchers between. The Chinese had entered the war and these guys were from Mongolia. We found The Old Man with a couple of these blue men lying across him. His .45 was in his hand. He had bled and frozen to death… His face was stuck to the ground. We poured warm water on his face to free it. He got the Medal of Honor. Twelve years now, twelve years. The company loved him. I loved him. That is why it was so hard for Millett to take over when we got back to below the 38th parallel. You remind me….”
O’Connor got up and went to check the position." From "So Long to Learn." Homage to The Wolfhounds. pl


I imagine you could also get a number of female soldiers sitting around telling stories about male soldiers also. "Well there was this one male who...." Women like to gossip as much as men, but I don't think we brag as much.


nancy K

We now have two threads for this. cross post on this and I wlil give you a few examples in both categories. pl


Nancy when did you serve?



We didn't live like princes but you could have yourself a nice nest egg at the end of four years and not pauper yourself in the interim. Ill be the first to admit that junior enlisted need to be watched like hawks though by their team leaders so they're not getting in the shit financially.

Seemed like single E6 was the sweet spot in pay v responsibility, but then again you could get yourself in a mess if you weren't careful and didn't have that family to consider.


Col. Lang,

A Third year corporal would get about $57,000 per year but you would need to take into account tax breaks for dependents, subsidies and allowances to establish take home pay and make a comparison.

All I can say is that We do not seem to have a poverty problem among soldiers here, or at least not one that I am aware of in the Army or elsewhere for that matter. The minimum wage is about $14.50/hr or about $660 per week.

The actual rates tables can be found at this link:


Charles 1

Good points, all I heard was 4 months in Iraq, I'm not competent to apply or judge any soldiers scale of horrible combat suffering sufficient to establish causation and entitlement for benefits I don't pay.

You know I disdain police, I take your points - apples and oranges, and resource limits - all those outside the wire, Respect, where and when do I salute or shut tfu.

All I know, as I tried to make clear in a post on addiction and mental illness, is that every ones dark is tritely different.

Its clear to me people in general seem not as tough as you and your peers were and are, nor as apt to suffer in silence and deference to duty, honor, authority, etc. I have pondered returning soldiers in the past and their integration upon return. In almost complete ignorance.

I have however concluded that human suffering is real, and of all citizens, surely vets, along with
our insecure or infirm elderly, merit all the medicine, compassion and taxes we, er, you, can reasonably direct their way.

Not up to me to sort that one, and were it so, and did I have your expertise etc., I trust we'd divine different allotments.

Its crazy for me because you've convinced me the pleasures and virtues of a few guns, yet I still think either you got too many, or theres something in the water or coming out the radio because you shoot at each other in numbers no other industrialized country does.

This guy was about mental health, not guns, tho mebbe he shouldn't have had one. To the extent his mental health is a function of his service, its an army problem too.

I don't have enough data to opine whether trying to treat them all to some extent short of lifetime disability pensions amounts to a greater net savings by harm reduction then just triaging the acutely ill, and doing whatever with them you're willing, and boot the rest. I am a big a believer in harm reduction.

Charles 1

on a more bucolic note, you wrote this other great little scene, was back in training, out all night, poncho'ed up against a rock outta the wind with a fire with a couple buds, feasting on baked beans I think it was like it was the finest bbq on china plates. . .


The smug ones understand the science perfectly, this is the adherence to an ideology of equality. It is, to paraphrase Thomas Mann, not a natural callousness of the aristocracy, but an encultured callousness of the academic elite who refuse to bear the burdens of society yet demand to rule it. To them the armed forces exist as an instrument of government to end 'discrimination' and allow 'advancement' - as they define it; for them the armed forces are not about violence and destruction in the service of the state (to use the Col's term).


Yes indeed; both of my younger sister's could add their tales. I'll send them the link.

Augustin L

@ Tyler what is wrong with diversity ? It is one of the primordial principles of life, has been in effect since the first human beings radiated out of Africa. As far as I know the principle of polarity is here to stay: Brass is a binary alloy of copper and zinc but it displays far superior mechanical properties compared to its seperate constituent metals. BTW, some of the world's strongest fighting units the world has ever seen were socialized through sodomy and pederasty on the banks of the Aegean sea.

joe brand

It's possible he married with more rank and then lost it.


Imagine he was not allowed to marry and he would still have committed this crime: would you then say that this is an expression of his "sex deprivation syndrome"?

As a side note an interesting article: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/anger-management-self-control

John Gavin

This is a mental health problem and an Army problem.

I am still on Active Duty, with 23 years of service. The Army is suffering a mental health crisis. There are all manner of opinions as to why, running from too much combat to low recruiting standards. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

The real problem is that the Army does not know how to address the problem. The typical response to any issue is to force soldiers to undergo training, which is usually delivered in the form of a check-the-block Powerpoint presentation that each soldier must view annually. At last count there were 56 such annual briefing requirements.

In addition, soldiers believe that self-identifying for mental issues will result in adverse action, as they see the opposite all the time.

If a soldier does self-identify, or is referred for evaluation and treatment by peers or supervisors, that soldier quickly becomes a pariah. There is an institutional bias which results in the soldier seeking treatment generally being suspected malingering.

The economy is not strong, and the Army is in a drawdown. Soldiers seeking treatment know that they will likely face discharge.

I guarantee that whatever steps the Army takes to further address this will not improve the situation, and will almost certainly make it worse.


John Gavin

"If a soldier does self-identify, or is referred for evaluation and treatment by peers or supervisors, that soldier quickly becomes a pariah." I am sorry to say that I think this is inevitable in a profession that requires dependably stable mental states for mission accomplishment. The reductions in force that are inevitable in the ground forces make such a process even more inevitable as discriminators are sought for elimination of surplus people. It has always bee thus. Look at the giant RIFs that followed VN. pl



Being unmarried has little to do with "sexual deprivation" in American society. Some might argue that unmarried men are probably more likely to have frequent sex than those who are married. Perhaps you are from a culture in which the opposite is true. pl


joe brand

He was busted from a higher grade? I have not seen that in the record thus far. pl


Charles I

You don't understand the "back in training," thing. Your image of "training" seems to be derived from war movies in which the All American Platoon made up of the all American Boys collection (Blacks, Hell's Kitchen Irish, the wiry little Italian guy, Puerto Rican kids who speak broken English, the Jewish intellectual, etc). are shaped up by Sergeant Trask for the big scene at the end where the climax of combat is faced by this crew and all fades into black at "The End." Well, maybe that was true in the Civil War or WW2 but that does not equate in any way to life in the Regular Army. The US Army as an institution is a readiness institution. Its units train not toward "The End" but rather toward a state of being in which the unit and the individuals in it are prepared in terms of knowledge, physical condition and attitude to be committed under the Joint Chain of Command to sustained combat. Achieving that state of readiness is an all consuming process that occurs in a cycle that repeats itself year after year. When I was a lieutenant a woman friend of my mother in law asked what it is we did in the Army. This was in 1963. I told her that we trained. She looked blank. "Train for what?" she asked. "Train to be prepared to fight," I replied. "Well maybe you will find a real job someday," she said. "Try to be a good provider." pl

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