Thursday, August 23, 2018

A Few Not-So-Random Thoughts

Like ants at a picnic, when I write a thoughtful post, oh, the derp.
(Not naming names or pointing fingers; just check to make sure you didn't roll in it, or wipe yourself off, if it applies. If not, drive on.)

There are doubtless an uncounted number of well meaning folks (along with some not-so-bright), who want to "get on" with "getting it on", despite some rather conspicuous lack of necessities on Team Freedom's side of the ledger.

So for the two hundredth time, a few reminders:

I) It ain't time to switch from ballots to bullets. Yet.

II) When it is time, you won't need me (or anyone else) to clue you in to that reality.
(If someone does need that, come the day, they're too many decks below the hole in the hull to save. Walk away with a clear conscience. If anyone floats to the surface afterwards, you can circle back and pick them out of the water.)

III) If you're not in combat, you're improving your position.
Dig, wire, mine, train.
This is why the indispensable personal sidearm for 3000 years of military history has been the personal shovel.

Too metaphorical for some folks?
Let's break it down for you then.

1) Are your teeth all fixed?
2) What's your best time for a three mile run? How many push-ups, pull-ups, and sit-ups can you do? Could you max a military PFT/PRT? Why TF not?
3) How much can you ruck?
4) How far?
5) How fast?
6) What's the BZO on your primary weapon?
7) How many pairs of broken-in boots do you have? And how many pairs of extra socks?
8) Got your spare eyeglasses and prescription meds sorted out?
9) Are your will, finances, and legal affairs in pristine order? Got a cash stash? Work may be scarce for a few years...
10) How much medical training do you have in your head (the only place it'll do you any good), and how much equipment and expendable supplies do you have handy to support your potential needs? E.g.: you have four limbs and two lungs, and bullets frequently both enter and exit in different places: so how many tourniquets do you have, and how many chest seals, and how many battle dressings?
11) Got a real no-$#!^ gas mask handy (not some relic from the flea market)?
12) Got Kevlar? Plates? Phone books and floor tiles duct-taped together? Something??
13) We've talked about bandaids. What's the status on your beans?
14) Bullets?
15) Got comms?
16) Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency?
17)  How's your Tier One gear plan looking?
18) Tier Two?
19) Tier Three?
20) What's the status on Fort Apache?
21) What's your actual Convoy Plan to get from wherever you are, to there, if you need to?
22) What IPB (look it up - wait, let me help you out) have you done?
23) Who's the enemy in your area? Not generically, I want names, Order of Battle, organization, maps, plans, the whole effing enchilada, or else you don't know.
{Hint: it's probably enemies, as in multi-focal free-for-all, not a binary Us/Them game. Got Area Study?. [Second Hint: You want Appendix G there.] WTF not?? You can't tell the players without a program.}
24) Okay troop, you're barely deployable at this point, but tell me, what are those above twenty-three answers for the rest of your people? Do you have them locked-on too??
25) You do have people, plural, underlined, right? You didn't think you were going to be An Army Of One??

And that's a bare-bones skeletonized pre-inspection deployment checklist.
The detailed version looks like twenty seven company-grade officers and SNCOs crawling in your mouth and walking through all the way to the other end of your alimentary canal, to literally make sure you've got your $#!^ squared away.

Everything from your extra socks and underwear, to no holes in your sleeping bag, spare parts for the armory and cleaning kits for every rifle, a f**kton of spare batteries, and heaven knows how many cans of gas, tubes of toothpaste, and rolls of toilet paper, the supplies for the first re-supply wave, the second, the third, who to call when the tire's flat, where the spare is, and how many extra spark plugs and radiator caps you'll bring in case you lose one. And that's the most cursory glimpse of what we're talking about.

Hence the phrase, written in blood,

Amateurs talk tactics; professionals talk logistics.

The master plan for D-Day looked like the 2016 Federal register stacked in a pile.
the sub-unit plans were another pile, each.

And even with all that, it damned near turned into a total $#!^-show, and Ike was ready to cancel it, then ready to accept responsibility for it failing, then it worked anyways and a million and one things STILL went wrong. thought you were just going to grab a rifle and a bandolier and head out the front door?

Sh'yeah, when monkeys fly outta your butt, that might work.

It's nice if, after nailing that down, you can manage a coherent four-man patrol, because you know the Five Paragraph Order format cold. (It might help, at that point, to have three other guys. Just saying.)
But what are they going to eat on Day Two?
Where will they crap on the first night?
And if you forgot that, who's going to treat their dysentery on Day Three?
Where's your log train, your medical evac, and twenty-seven million other things you didn't think about, plan for, or lock down cold, as if this stuff hadn't been a thing since before the Babylonians, except you never learned that, because you never served, or never made it (mentally) above PFC, and you're just a literal babe in the woods?

If, God forbid - and I mean that sincerely and literally - things go from grim to actually Sporty, in your lifetime, on your home turf, exactly what army are you planning to pull whole right out of your fourth point of contact to deal with things then?

I get around, I talk to people, and the internet is everywhere.
I not only haven't seen anyone with the 101st effing Airborne Division anyplace, I haven't even seen Easy Company. I doubt most folks could scrape up even a fully-manned two-man foxhole, most days.

A thousand, even a million, or even (in your wildest fantasies) ten million individuals are not an army.
They're not even a coherent flash mob.

Now see if you can figure out why, along with PT, weapons skills, and tactics, some of those good folks in the upper right column are constantly on about reconnaissance, intelligence, organization, auxiliary, underground, and logistics, Logistics, LOGISTICS!!

If you can't shoot and move and communicate, in coherent groups, you can't operate, and you won't be a mobility kill, you'll be a stupidity kill.

"The Defense Department regrets to inform you that
your sons are dead because they were STUPID!"
Have that classic movie line put on a dogtag, and carry it on your neck chain with the real one, so when they nail together the little cross to mark your final resting space, you have an epitaph all ready for the occasion.
If we're anywhere like as close to things getting serious as some people evidently lust for, isn't it time for you to get serious about getting ready for that day?
Or did you just figure you'll just order a bucket of Dehydrated Airborne Division from Wise Company after the balloon goes up? Y'know, like you can now.
yeah, that'll work...NOT!
A little less enthusiasm, and a helluva lot more preparation, might be indicated at this point in the discussion.
I went through a CG inspection, two floats, and three deployments - two of them intercontinental, and four major training exercises with stone-cold professionals, who've been doing this stuff for eighty friggin' years, and it was still an unmitigated clusterf**k much of the time, every time.
And you think you're just going to free-lance that on the fly, and out of your tailpipe?
A line frequently uttered by those who were there in reference to A-stan and the Sandbox comes to mind:
"Yeah, we saw a lot of that at the beginning. The stupid ones died early, and fast."
Try not to let that be the summation of your life at the wake.


On The Beach said...

You are one of my daily reads. I'm almost 70. My knees are shot. I don't think I'll be doing much running with a 50 lb. pack. Seems like I don't have much choice but to hunker down on my place with my guns, ammo, food and supplies. But even if I was more mobile, how does one find a group.....militia....or whatever....that doesn't have at least one government informant in it?

Aesop said...

Knowing your limitations are limitations, you're still ahead of the game.
people with your years generally know they should focus on what they can do and what they must do, and not on what they cannot.

It bugs me only that people who should know better think they want a war to start, having made absolutely no preparations to do anything in such a thing except soak up a few bullets.

If you place is far away from trouble, be a refuge.
Trust me: If you build it, the refugees will come.

If it's not, imagine the things a man not perceived as any military threat by an opposing military could see, and to whom he could pass along such information, come the day.
And where he could go, and who he could take along with him unbeknownst, and none of TPTB any the wiser in either case.

Read the stories from back in your youth told years later, by men who had received a weekly haircut and shave from the old man in the nearby village, only to one day discover that when they finally bagged the One Shot Rice Paddy Sniper who'd plagued them with casualties for months, it turned out to be the same smiling old gentleman who'd had a razor at their throats every week.

Does anyone really think it matters for ultimate victory if the enemy battalion gets taken out by Audie Murphy in half an hour, or by Simo Häyhä over three months?

As for government informants, time sorts that out. They're in it for the short term: either for bonus money, or to get out from under something pending that's hanging over them like the Sword of Damocles.
If you don't do anything illegal, the odds of them hanging around for months to years hoping you will do so someday diminish by the week. (It doesn't guarantee that you won't be bothered by feds looking to get a notch on their gunbelt, but it certainly makes it far less likely.)

You want the secret?

You should start by finding people your trust with your life, five years ago. Sorry, but that's the truth of it.
It isn't too late though. Start now, and see who's still around in a few years. We may have as long as that, perhaps more.
If we don't, and things get ugly faster, it really doesn't matter, does it?

Anonymous said...

I'd like a link to that "bucket of Dehydrated Airborne Division from the Wise Company"

Aesop said...

Sorry, this was the closest thing I could find...

You'll need about 50 buckets to get a whole division though, and they may prove to be too small to meet the challenge.

Anonymous said...

Jeez Aesop, who/what wound you up? T'was/is BRILLIANT stuff but looks a bit like you lifted the safeties on #2 boiler, there.
One note; I'd druther have some damn good LCpls and Cpl's than a buncha SNCO's and Company-grades running around. I just want the Gunny someplace elevated and half-pistol shot away overseeing the preps and available for consultation.
Yeah, I'm well past my physical prime but I'm working out every day and attending to my planning/training/acquisition responsibilities as well as my IPB. I can fill a two-"person" hole 24/7 and she's coming along very nicely thank you, - as is the next generation fire-team.
Returning to the place-of-my-youth has reconnected me with "shovel-and-quicklime" friends of past decades; they too have gotten older but that really means they've learned a LOT.
As I noted in comments a day or so ago; every day it doesn't start is a day to prepare. I'm hoping it doesn't ever start but that's not the way I'm betting.
Thanks for your blog
Boat Guy

The Gray Man said...

Oh nice. You asked numbered questions. I'm heavily compelled to give numbered answers! Here we go!

1: I need to get two wisdom teeth removed, and that'll be it.
2: Have never timed my 3 mile run, but my two mile run is about 14 minutes. I've maintained that rate of speed for almost 5 miles several times. So I'll conservatively estimate that my 3 mile time is 22 or 23 minutes.

3: I can tuck a M249 SAW and a full compliment of ammo and spare barrel, wearing body armor, sidearm, in boots, sleeping set, small tent, water, E-tool, wet weather gear, etc.

4: I can ruck it a long way. I think the longest in training in one sitting was 13 miles or something, and I stopped because the march was over. I don't really know how much longer any of us could have gone with it.

5: How fast? I can ruck that a mile every 15 minutes or so. My first mile is closer to 13 minutes.

6: Got my zero on irons and optics on AR-15.

7: Got 4 or 5 pairs of broken in boots and at least 2 new pairs.

8: I have 2 or 3 pairs of glasses that are a good prescription, 2 or 3 that are passable, plus a pair of good prescription sunglasses, plus my old Army BCGs that still allow me to see plenty well enough to shoot at 300m. I don't have any prescription meds, neither do my wife and kids.

9: Have a will, have no legal affairs, finances are pretty good, and I do have a cash stash, though it's only about 20% of what I think I will need it to be.

10: I'm a RN who currently works in the ER, but I've also got several years of work on a trauma/surgical floor dealing with gun shot wound treatment and other treatments on various traumatic injuries and surgeries. I've got quite a stash of tourniquets and chest seals and other medical gear that I've acquired.

11: I've got a fairly new military issue gas mask that the Army screwed up on and issued me two. Then later only asked for one back. So I've got one. Also a bunch of the little 3M respirators.

12: I have two Kevlar helmets, but no body armor right now.

13: Got a bunch of rice, beans and salt and pepper. A bunch of sugar. I have some Mountain House stuff. I'm growing about half of the vegetables we use and my wife cans a lot of fruits and veggies as well. We stock up and can stuff every few months.

14: I need more bullets. I've got in the four digit range, and I am sorely lacking. I will say though, I've been hitting the practice ranges hard lately. Really hard. I went through 600 rounds of 9mm this week, alone.

15: Commo? Ugh, I'm a Commo dunce. I've got several different sets of two-way radios, but when it comes to radio theory and CB and ham and all that, I'm not joking when I say that I'm a dunce. I'm working on it but it's not my talent, to be sure.

16: We are still talking about Commo, right? See above. I'm working on this though. Thing is, who am I trying to communicate with? My group? I don't have a group. I want a group, but I don't have a group.

17-25: I'll keep this to myself for OPSEC reasons but I'm willing to admit that while some of the answers are satisfactory to me, others are nowhere near good enough.

Aesop said...

That's the point. It's a self-evaluation exercise, with the underlying point that there's no such thing as "enough".
You are where you are, and you'll do what you can, where you are, with what you've got, as will we all, but more than anything, most people have to realize how piddling and bankrupt their imagined readiness for anything like what they imagine actually is when seen in the light of day.

"Because you see, when the Zombpocalypse happens, the first question they're going to ask is not going to be, 'Does he have a hat?'"

I suppose it's a little bit Zen, but the starting position should probably be to realize that the only thing we've done, is that we've done nothing.
Or near enough to it as makes no difference.
And work upwards from there.

Dan said...

All the planning, PT and preps are a foot up if you're planning an insurgency ala the Viet Cong etc. Another path things may take is more akin to "The Resistance" in Europe during WWII where you live a "normal" life of a subject during the day and act in small groups or individually (a secret known by two or more is no secret) when opportunity presents itself. And sometimes you must lay low following path 2 till you have the resources and support to move too path 1.