Tam has an amusing post, “Imagine Airman Johnny’s disappointment……….” about farm tractors used by the military.
There are many of us who can relate if we grew up as cowboys doing those glamorous cowboy occupations, fixing and building fence, and stacking hay bales.
We head off to the US Army with great anticipation, expecting to drive tanks and shoot large guns. Once there, we learn of a military specialty called, “Combat Engineer”, where some aspects are building barbed wire barriers and stacking sand bags. Little training is needed by cowboys.
We spent one entire week learning about barbed wire entanglements. First, you have your basic barbed wire and specialty anchors.
Then you have some truly nasty stuff called concertina wire.
After building the barrier, you learn how to defeat it.
One unpleasant fact you learn is Combat Engineers are primarily assault troops, clearing the way for the Infantry through barbed wire and mine fields. Gee, isn’t that special.
After spending a week wrestling with the wire, you must gather it up and store it properly, so the next trainees can use it. You didn’t think the training cadre was going to do it, did you?
Back to the training. About two hours into the course, Private Cowboy is taken aside by one of the Staff Sergeant cadre teaching the course. The conversation goes something like this.
SSG: “ Son, you have done this before. I’m going to make you an Assistant Instructor.”
PVT: “Yes, Sergeant. So when these dummies over tighten the wire and it breaks, it will wrap around my legs instead of yours?”
SSG: “I KNEW you were experienced.”
PVT: “Yes, Sergeant.”
SSG: “You see son, I can’t Whomp these dummies along side the head. If you decide to Whomp one, I won’t see you do it.”
Those 60’s era Army NCOs were a kind and gentle group, oh yes they were. Just ask one.