Military Mindsets – just a few observations

I’ve heard some criticisms lately and wanted to throw my cracker in the soup and allow you all to do the same if you are inclined to. So I’ve chopped out some topics, below:


Yes, I do know that there are joint commands and that there is some training cross-over, but the Army philosophy and that of the Navy are very different because they have different roles. The Army Special Forces Q Course and the Navy Basic Underwater Demolition School, both entry level, both difficult, focus on completely different skills. Though it sounds trivial, the Q Course teaches you to be hungry and BUDS teaches you to eat. If you’re not eating your weight in pancakes (with butter & syrup), to offset spending the day in cold water, you’ll die of hypothermia. However it doesn’t end there. In my era (now past) in the Navy, there was no focus on learning foreign languages. You could go to DLI in Monterey and take a course, but it was up to you and everyone thought you were a little weird if you did that rather than participating in main stream SEAL stuff. SEALs are not force multipliers. They don’t parachute into remote locations, speaking the lingua franca and train locals to shoot rifles and toss grenades. The Navy focuses on direct action missions, supporting Marine Corps activities (light infantry) through amphibious warfare, and other littoral-related missions. Yes, there are some specialized missions where the Navy behaves like the Army, but they are not mainstream. The Navy has a Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) mission as does the Air Force, but the Army doesn’t have any focus on that, primarily because their rotors operate close to the edge of battle.

It’s really apples and oranges.

Blood on the Risers (What a Hell of a Way to Die!)

US Army Basic Jump School has been criticized for not being “deep training”. All the training and the five jumps are for is to try to keep you from breaking your neck in a static line jump using a T-10 parachute. Ok, they have moved on from the T-10, but you need to learn to pack the chute that you jump – and then jump it.  I have no idea how many people cycle through the school every year, but it’s a BIG number. The tactics haven’t changed much since WW2. The airplane takes a lot of you up with your chutes packed, you hook up to the static line and out you go. Once that skill is trained and demonstrated, most of the people who attend the school, will never jump out of an airplane again.

stick over water

Others will go on to train further – some with the Israelis who go out the back of the C-130 who toss the drogue out before they depart the aircraft at 500 feet above ground level. Or they’ll do water jumps with the Navy. Or they may actually do a combat jump and get a star over their jump wings. Navy (and Marine Corps) wings are made of gold, Army wings are made of lead.

Limp Duck

(photos taken by author 100 years ago)

The new US Marine Corps Expeditionary Warfare philosophy (Fighting China in the Pacific) calls for more airborne insertion and though there have been Para-Marines since WW2, it’s being given more emphasis in this modern era. And because the wind could blow Marine sticks into the ocean rather than the island they’re aiming at, it’s a skill they will need to master.

My point here is that the basic school is a BASIC school. Nobody thinks that soldiers are ready for a combat jump after a five-jump familiarization class, lead wings notwithstanding.

Comparing Militaries

The US doesn’t compare well to other militaries. For example, the British (Royal) Navy has about 33,000 active duty personnel. The US Coast Guard has about 41,000 active duty personnel. The US Marine Corps has about 185,000 active duty personnel. The British (Royal) Marines have 7,760 active duty personnel. I am not criticizing the British, but any comparisons are difficult to make in general matters. The comparisons become more difficult when you depart from Anglo-American differences and similarities. The US has adopted a global mission, to which no other nation is capable.

End of rant.


The Lady of the Lake

Offering a new caliber.


European countries with over 10% of their native born population living outside the respective country


Religious Qualifications

US states that require religious affiliation for public office.


Things get a little crazy when there is Whiskey in the Jar. Don’t fear the Sandman… And that’s all I have for the moment.

The End…


  1. The 100-year old photo is interesting. The stock of an M14E2 is peeking out over on the right.

    The last photo is interesting as well, for other reasons, but I digress.

    • We carried M-14’s, M-203’s and the cut down M-60’s. Sometimes you’d see a CAR-16, carried by a master chief who didn’t want to burden himself with a heavier weapon. Now that I’m old, I understand better.

      • I remember my Army Survival course and it brought back somewhat unpleasant memories… I survived it and for the most part was not hungry, I ate what nature provided. I look at bugs, slugs, ants and snakes differently now. What can I season it with to be more palatable… Being a farm kid and eating what ya shooting and skinning doesn’t hurt.

        • I really don’t like survival courses. Of course, if you survive, you bring skills away from the experience.

  2. Blood on the risers is also the title of good book on an Airborne soldiers 35 months in Vietnam.
    The last picture appears to be my soulmate and I didn’t even know it.

  3. C130 rolling down the strip
    64 jumpers on a 1 way trip
    Stand up, hook up, shuffle to the door
    Jump right out and count to 4

    I hate to think how many miles I have to that cadence

    • Pretty little birdy with a yellow bill,
      Perched outside my window sill,
      Coaxed him in with some crumbs of bread,
      Then I crushed his little head…

    • Back when I was flying C-130s, Army Jump School was a fun and easy week. We’d load ’em up (sometime engines running), run the checklists, make the circuit once or twice to get them all out, and land straight in. It was an interesting exercise in crew management. It was always interesting to hear them hit the end of the static line – thump, thump, thump,…,pause, thump-thump (someone didn’t want to go out the door), thump, thump,…. .

    • They do command respect, which is why people who will likely never do a combat jump apply for jump school. And they are given slots, because – you just never know…

        • FAC’s are crazy – in a good way. In the USMC, they are the ANGLICO. I went though the ABC basic course at Camp Pendleton but I never put it to use.

  4. I remember being adamantly advised to attend jump school while being an MP. I resisted. I didn’t mind flying in airplanes and helos, but I didn’t see the need to jump out of perfectly working aircraft unless it was not working perfectly…

  5. Be funny if the Army started randomly selecting those with jump wings and giving them a random test, including those presiding in the Pentagon.

    Kind of a selector for continued military service (or life, if things go wrong.)

  6. The only time I ever wore a chute was when I was taking jumpers up.

    And I absolutely HATE flying with a door off the aircraft.

    I got to go on a few photo missions with the door off the helo at Sea Launch, and I almost couldn’t move in my seat.

    I must have been checking my belts every 30 seconds……

    • It’s a learned activity. You become comfortable with it all in time, particularly hanging out the door of a helicopter in flight.

      • Maybe if I were younger, but I’d have to have one h3ll of a harness on me before I’d lean out the door the way the other photographer was doing.

        My pucker factor went to new levels of “Off Scale HIGH”…..

      • Exactly. Doors on helicopters = bad.

        You can’t see out, you can’t shoot out, and you can’t get out. Is why I was never comfortable with Chinooks.

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