From my own experiences, I can tell you that Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines all bitch about their leaders. They bitch about living in sand storms. They bitch about cold fake eggs for breakfast. They bitch about carrying a 40 pound ruck through the rain. They bitch about everything. Everything. Why shouldn't they? Life in the military is tough. And, as Greyhawk points out, it also won't get any better unless someone complains.
I can also tell you that most complaints are said with a dry sense of humor. When everyone suffers, it's almost humorous. When one suffers, it's detrimental to morale.
But I would bet you that, even with all of the complaining, the vast majority wouldn't say that their morale would decrease the effectiveness of the mission. Most would follow their leaders into hell if required (although they would probably bitch about the temperature).
I'll tell you what I think is the greatest fear of every Soldier, Sailor, Airmen, or Marine overseas and what would be the greatest detriment to troop morale - to be forgotten.
That's why the Ohio Patriot Plan is important to those deployed soldiers who will return to the Buckeye State.
That's why Phil Carter at Intel Dump is going to bat for mistreated soldiers. Some of you helped me to join a similar effort against Country Insurance.
You have the power to ensure that we won't lose the War on Terror. As long as those troops who are fighting for us know that they will come back to a greatful nation, their morale might be low at times but it won't take them out of the fight.
Update: Jennifer sends this question and link about someone running for President of the United States of America
What do you think this did to troop morale in Viet Nam?
Well, Jennifer, I am not a Viet Nam vet, but I doubt that it did anything positive for anyone.
One final note, I served under Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush. In my opinion, President Clinton was by far the worse for morale. Any in the Special Operations community will tell you that they believed that Clinton exhibited scorn for the military. Clinton was the epitome of the Cut-N-Run president - one that we hope won't return, ever.
We just ask that, if you commit us to a fight, you commit us to win that fight. I doubt that John Kerry, whether flexing with the opinion polls or his own non-decisive nature, could really make that committment.
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Tracked on Mar 29, 2004 7:59:21 AM
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Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
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Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
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Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
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Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.