I just posted this link in another thread talking about the french
Worth the read!
A French Infantryman’s View of American Soldiers
Posted on 15 December 2010 by Editor
Originally posted 2010-01-20 22:27:27. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
by Jean-Marc Liotier
American troops in Afghanistan through the eyes of a French OMLT infantryman.
The US often hears echoes of worldwide hostility against the application of its foreign policy, but seldom are they reached by the voices of people who experience first hand how close we are to the USA. In spite of contextual political differences and conflicting interests that generate friction, we do share the same fundamental values – and when push comes to shove that is what really counts. Through the eyes of that French OMLT (Operational Mentoring Liaison Teams) infantryman you can see how strong the bond is on the ground. In contrast with the Americans, the French soldiers don’t seem to write much online – or maybe the proportion is the same but we just have fewer people deployed. Whatever the reason, this is a rare and moving testimony which is why I decided to translate it into English, so that American people can catch a glimpse of the way European soldiers see them. Not much high philosophy here, just the first hand impressions of a soldier in contact – but that only makes it more authentic.
Here is the original French article, http://omlt3-kdk3.over-blog.com/article-22935665.html and below is the translation:
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“We have shared our daily life with two US units for quite a while – they are the first and fourth companies of a prestigious infantry battalion whose name I will withhold for the sake of military secrecy. To the common man it is a unit just like any other. But we live with them and got to know them, and we henceforth know that we have the honor to live with one of the most renowned units of the US Army – one that the movies brought to the public as series showing “ordinary soldiers thrust into extraordinary events”. Who are they, those soldiers from abroad, how is their daily life, and what support do they bring to the men of our OMLT every day? Few of them belong to the Easy Company, the one the TV series focuses on. This one nowadays is named Echo Company, and it has become the support company.
They have a very strong American accent - the language they speak seems to be not even English. How many times did I have to write down what I wanted to say rather than waste precious minutes trying various pronunciations of a seemingly common word? Whatever state they are from, no two accents are alike and they themselves admit that in some crisis situations they have difficulties understanding each other.
Heavily built, fed at the earliest age with Gatorade, proteins at places like Waffle House and McDonalds – they are all heads and shoulders taller than us and their muscles remind us of Rambo. Our frames are amusingly skinny to them – even the strongest of us – and because of that they often mistake us for Afghans.
Here we discover America as it is often depicted: their values are taken to their paroxysm, often amplified by the loneliness of this outpost in the middle of that Afghan valley. Honor, motherland – everything here reminds of that: the American flag floating in the wind above the outpost, just like the one on the postage parcels. Even if recruits often originate from the heart of American cities and gang territory, no one here has any goal other than to hold high and proud the star spangled banner. Each man knows he can count on the support of their whole people who provides them through the mail all the things that an American could miss in such a remote front-line location: books, chewing gums, razorblades, Gatorade, toothpaste etc. in such way that every man is aware of how much the American people backs him in his difficult mission. And that is a first shock to our preconceptions: the American soldier is no individualist. The team, the group, the combat team are the focus of all his attention.
And they are impressive warriors! We have not come across bad ones, as strange at it may seem to you when you know how critical French people can be. Even if some of them are a bit on the heavy side, all of them provide us everyday with lessons in infantry know-how. Beyond the wearing of a combat kit that never seems to discomfort them (helmet strap, helmet, combat goggles, rifles etc.) the long hours of watch at the outpost never seem to annoy them in the slightest. On the one square meter wooden tower above the perimeter wall they stand the five consecutive hours in full battle rattle and night vision goggles on top, their sight focused in the directions of likely danger. No distractions, no pauses, they are like statues nights and days. At night, all movements are performed in the dark – only a handful of subdued red lights indicate the occasional presence of a soldier on the move. Same with the vehicles whose lights are covered – everything happens in pitch dark even filling the fuel tanks with the Japy pump.
And combat? If you have seen Rambo you have seen it all – always coming to the rescue when one of our teams gets in trouble, and always in the shortest delay. That is one of their tricks: they switch from T-shirt and sandals to combat ready in three minutes. Arriving in contact with the enemy, the way they fight is simple and disconcerting: they just charge! They disembark and assault in stride, they bomb first and ask questions later – which cuts any pussyfooting short.
(This is the main area where I’d like to comment. Anyone with a passing knowledge of Kipling knows the lines from Chant Pagan: ‘If your officer’s dead and the sergeants look white/remember its ruin to run from a fight. /So take open order, lie down, sit tight/And wait for supports like a soldier./ This, in fact, is the basic philosophy of both British and Continental soldiers. ‘In the absence of orders, take a defensive position.’ Indeed, virtually every army in the world. The American soldier and Marine, however, are imbued from early in their training with the ethos: In the Absence of Orders: Attack! Where other forces, for good or ill, will wait for precise orders and plans to respond to an attack or any other ‘incident’, the American force will simply go, counting on firepower and SOP to carry the day.
This is one of the great strengths of the American force in combat and it is something that even our closest allies, such as the Brits and Aussies (that latter being closer by the way) find repeatedly surprising. No wonder it surprises the hell out of our enemies!)
We seldom hear any harsh word, and from 5 AM onwards the camp chores are performed in beautiful order and always with excellent spirit. A passing American helicopter stops near a stranded vehicle just to check that everything is alright; an American combat team will rush to support ours before even knowing how dangerous the mission is – from what we have been given to witness, the American soldier is a beautiful and worthy heir to those who liberated France and Europe.
To those who bestow us with the honor of sharing their combat outposts and who everyday give proof of their military excellence, to those who pay the daily tribute of America’s army’s deployment on Afghan soil, to those we owed this article, ourselves hoping that we will always remain worthy of them and to always continue hearing them say that we are all the same band of brothers”.
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Much of this the various veterans reading will go ‘Well, duh. Of course we do our ‘camp chores’ and stand our posts in good order. There’s a reason for them and if we didn’t we’d get our heads handed to us eventually. And, yeah, we’re in shape. Makes battle easier. The more you sweat, the less you bleed.’
What is hard for most people to comprehend is that that attitude represented only the most elite units of the past. Current everyday conventional boring ‘leg infantry’ units exceed the PT levels and training levels of most Special Forces during the Vietnam War. They exceed both of those as well as IQ and educational levels of: Waffen SS, WWII Rangers, WWII Airborne and British ‘Commando’ units during WWII. Their per-unit combat-functionality is essentially unmeasurable because it has to be compared to something and there’s nothing comparable in industrial period combat history.
‘The Greatest Generation’ WWII vets who really get a close look at how good these kids are stand in absolute awe.
So much of ‘The scum of the earth, enlisted for drink.’
Everyone complains about the quality of ‘the new guys.’ Don’t. The screw-ups of this modern generation are head and shoulders above the ‘high-medium’ of any other group. Including mine.
I wish to hell this would actually get reprinted in the NYT.
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I just posted this link in another thread talking about the french
"I figure we are gunman because we are better then most, and it beats branding cows or digging copper" -Appaloosa
Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property... Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.-Thomas Paine
Excellent assessment and well deserved...
Law enforcement officers must understand that armed citizens are there to defend them when they are outnumbered…and to outnumber them, if they enforce unconstitutional law.
300 AAC Blackout Chambering Cancelled:
Some time ago, Savage announced it would be chambering the Model 10 Precision Carbine in 300 AAC Blackout. Since that time, we have tested many variants of this cartridge in various barrel lengths and rates of twist. This exhaustive testing left us quite unsatisfied with the accuracy we were able to get from the subsonic loads in this chambering. Accuracy with the lighter, faster loads in this caliber was actually quite good. But we believe the real value in this cartridge lies in the use of subsonic loads for suppressed rifles. Therefore we have decided to scrap the project.
It is our understanding that pushing these heavy, slow bullets presents challenges not found in typical loadings and that our experience is not unique. Subsequently, many in the industry have simply adopted a lower standard for accuracy for these subsonic loads. While this does seem reasonable and we don't criticize any in our industry that have taken this approach, it just won't work for Savage.
Our brand was built on accuracy and we are too protective of our reputation for building the most accurate factory rifles available. We would rather walk away from this opportunity than sell a product that requires an explanation.
Retired, Burned Out :
Ex-Tool Room Machinist
Ex-Racing Engine Builder/Shop Owner
Ex-Funny Bike Builder/Competitor
Currently in 10th year as active duty Cranky Old Fart...
Made me laugh a couple times. I was thinking yeah sounds about right. Lol
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Having served with other nations military units, this article rang very true for me. While I may have some griping a time or two (mainly from service support types), all in all I think our military is very professional.
I like my women just a little on the trashy side - but my rifles are squeaky clean!
Thanks for sharing. Its nice to hear good news for a change.
Dead pig counter: 946
Great blog post! Shared on FB and quickly spreading by many of my friends (mostly pastors with lots of followers).
NRA Life Member
What most Americans don't know and won't even lift a finger to find out, without France's help during our Revolutionary War England would have defeated us. They also fought, and won their revolutuion shortly thereafter. As a gift for our frienship and in celebration of 100 years of mutual democracy they gave our nation the Statue of Liberty. Probably the most iconic and recognizeable statue in the world.
This article tells me that when people look for common ground, have a certain level of decency and keep an open mind they develop a mutual respect for one another. If they don't have or develop these traits stereotypes remain fixed in thir minds. I have an unusually strong craving for a relaxing vacation in the south of France and an exciting fling with a girl who never shaves.
from the 12th floor of the acme building
It's a great read. I have to admit at first I was hesitant to read it.
I can't imagine what it would be like to be a European Soldier, returning home to a feminized country that no longer values your contribution.