Veterans Day Etiquette

Andrew’s Note:  Today we take a step back from discussing preparedness and feature an article on Veterans Day Etiquette that I wrote several years ago.  Republishing this article has become an annual event here at Prepography in order to honor those who understand that selfless service is required to keep our Nation free.  Veteran’s Day freebies from retailers are nice but a heartfelt word of appreciation or recognition from our fellow citizens certainly means more to us.  Happy Veterans Day!

For the first sixteen years of my military career there was little need for a primer on Veterans Day etiquette as there was little public recognition of the day other than a few restaurants that thanked our Nation’s Veterans with a free meal and a Federal holiday.  All that changed in September 2001… since that time there’s been a renewed gratefulness from the U.S. population towards its current and former military service members.  That gratitude has played out in many ways and one of those ways is by a renewed interest in Veterans Day.

Before we explain Veterans Day etiquette, let’s look at the history of Veterans Day

History of Veterans Day

President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

Unlike Memorial Day which honors our war dead, Veterans Day is a day set aside to honor our living veterans.  The timing of Veterans Day grew out of Armistice Day from World War I.  Although the peace treaty wasn’t signed until June 28th 1919 the armistice went into effect the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month (1918).  This armistice was the end of the over-optimistically named ‘war to end all wars.’  President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the  first “Veterans Day Proclamation”  in 1954 at the urging of Congress to officially expand the observance of Armistice Day into Veterans Day.  You can read more about the history of Veterans Day at History of Veterans Day – Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs

Veterans Day Etiquette

Here’s one old soldier’s guide to Veteran’s Day etiquette based primarily on my family’s traditions, as well as my own feelings and experiences. (more…)

Gender Equality Battle Even Feminists Don’t Want To Fight

One of my daughters reminded me recently that even with all the strides women have taken towards gender equality in opportunities and benefits, there’s one gender equality battle that even the most die-hard feminists don’t seem to want to fight and that’s for the obligations of registering for Selective Service, our military draft.

Beside a picture of a woman improperly wearing the Army Combat Uniform (ACU) the Selective Service program offers this explanation:

Women Aren’t Required to Register

Here’s why:

THE LAW

Selective Service law as it’s written now refers specifically to “male persons” in stating who must register and who would be drafted. For women to be required to register with Selective Service, Congress would have to amend the law.

THE SUPREME COURT

The constitutionality of excluding women was tested in the courts. A Supreme Court decision in 1981, Rostker v. Goldberg, held that registering only men did not violate the due process clause of the Constitution.

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

 Following a unanimous recommendation by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced, on January 24, 2013, the end of the direct ground combat exclusion rule for female service members. The service branches continue to move forward with a plan to eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service. Ongoing project is still underway.

The Selective Service System, if given the mission and modest additional resources, is capable of registering and drafting women with its existing infrastructure.

While the Selective Service tells us why we don’t require women to register for the draft it doesn’t give us any insight into why this battle for gender equality isn’t being fought.

Even as the Army graduates the first women from the Special Operations capable Ranger Course and the Marines conclude their year long evaluation of posting women to infantry units women have never had more opportunities in the U.S. military services but women have yet to equally share the obligations of registration for Selective Service.  Why do gender equality activist ignore this blatant and obvious form of discrimination…is it because it’s an obligation…and not a benefit?  To me the two should go hand in hand.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the Army opening up the Ranger course to women and the Marine Corp’s evaluation of women in infantry units there are a few key points that seem to come out of data, studies and anecdotes coming out of these programs:

  1. Women’s bodies in general have a more difficult time operating under infantry combat load and the female injury rate was significantly higher than the male.  Like it or not gender differences in upper body strength, muscle mass and the ability to carry ridiculously heavy loads for days at a time are a reality.
  2. The failure rate in Ranger School and the unit success rate in the Marine Corps pilot program were significantly higher in multi-gender units. In the Marine Corps program this meant that units were less capable of accomplishing the objective and in the Ranger School classes that had female soldiers there was a significantly higher failure rate among the men than in male only classes (the female failure rate was even higher).
  3. Some women could hack it. It wasn’t a large percentage but there are women capable of operating at that level.

Now I’ll admit that I was raised in an era when we were taught that women were special, people to be prized and catered to.  When I first left the infantry and began serving with female soldiers I had to keep myself from extending courtesies that had been engrained since childhood like opening the door for them and assuming the heavy, dirty and unpleasant tasks that men have historically tried to protect the women in their lives from…I taught myself to treat them like any other soldier, no better, no worse.  Over the years I have served for, with and led a number of female soldiers.  Some were capable, some were not.  Some tried to use their gender, even their ‘feminine wiles’ to shirk their duties while others were hesitant even to take a soldierly helping hand because they didn’t want to be perceived as less capable.

Potential unit and individual performance issues in infantry units aside, women can and do perform almost all military tasks as good as their male counterparts.  With the male military eligible population at an all time low, maybe as low as 25% (age, illness, obesity, criminal history, drug use, & educational requirements) we need women in our ranks now more than ever and even more so should we need to activate a Selective Service Draft.  Why is the gender equality crowd nearly silent on this important national security and gender equality issue?  Why is the Draft the gender equality issue even feminists don’t want to fight?

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

Forty years ago today, Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam fell to communist forces more than a year after the withdrawal of the last U.S. combat troops.  The butcher’s bill from U.S involvement in Vietnam was tremendous and we honor those sacrifices at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

Let’s pray that our Nation’s leaders carefully consider our National goals and interests prior to committing combat troops and once combat forces are committed that we keep the politicians out of their way and let our men and women in uniform crush our enemies and win the peace.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

Today in Texas They Celebrate An American Story, An American Hero

Today, Texas celebrates Chris Kyle day as declared by Texas Governor Greg Abbott…of course in the rest of the U.S. it’s just Monday…

If you aren’t familiar with the story of Navy Seal Chris Kyle, check out the links below…his was a hell of a story… a historical story, a military story, a family story, a human story…an American story…

A video of Chris Kyle’s memorial service is available.

Nuts

Today is the 70th Anniversary of the most intriguing series of correspondence in military history.  On December 22nd, 1944 the 101st Airborne Division, under the acting command of Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe, found itself in defense of Bastogne, Belgium and encircled by a greatly superior German force after the German surprise attack known as the Battle of the Bulge.  The enemy commander sent the BG McAuliffe the following:

To the U.S.A. Commander of the encircled town of Bastogne.

The fortune of war is changing. This time the U.S.A. forces in and near Bastogne have been encircled by strong German armored units. More German armored units have crossed the river Our near Ortheuville, have taken Marche and reached St. Hubert by passing through Hompre-Sibret-Tillet. Libramont is in German hands.

There is only one possibility to save the encircled U.S.A. troops from total annihilation: that is the honorable surrender of the encircled town. In order to think it over a term of two hours will be granted beginning with the presentation of this note.

If this proposal should be rejected one German Artillery Corps and six heavy A. A. Battalions are ready to annihilate the U.S.A. troops in and near Bastogne. The order for firing will be given immediately after this two hours term.

All the serious civilian losses caused by this artillery fire would not correspond with the well-known American humanity.

The German Commander.

According to the accounts from those present when McAuliffe was given the German message, he read it, crumpled it into a ball and threw it in the trash while exclaiming, “Aw, nuts”.  After a short deliberation on what the official response should be, McAuliffe and his staff accepted the suggestion of Lieutenant Colonel Harry Kinnard that BG McAuliffe’s first response summed up the situation pretty well.

To the German Commander.

NUTS!

The American Commander

Of course, the German’s being Germans…didn’t understand the message and asked the American officer delivering the message what it meant…”In plain English? Go to hell.” was the response.

The day after Christmas the U.S. 4th Armored Division reinforced the 101st Airborne and drove the Germans back. To this day the anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge is celebrated in Belgium by the gift of nuts. May you never have to fight a desperate battle against incredible odds…but if you do, think of BG McAuliffe, a liberated Belgium, the 101st Airborne Division and…Nuts.

Veterans Day Etiquette

Andrew’s Note:  Today we take a step back from discussing preparedness and feature an article on Veterans Day Etiquette that I wrote several years ago.  Republishing this article has become an annual event here at Prepography in order to honor those who understand that selfless service is required to keep our Nation free.  Veteran’s Day freebies from retailers are nice but a heartfelt word of appreciation or recognition from our fellow citizens certainly means more to us.  Happy Veterans Day!

For the first sixteen years of my military career there was little need for a primer on Veterans Day etiquette as there was little public recognition of the day other than a few restaurants that thanked our Nation’s Veterans with a free meal and a Federal holiday.  All that changed in September 2001… since that time there’s been a renewed gratefulness from the U.S. population towards its current and former military service members.  That gratitude has played out in many ways and one of those ways is by a renewed interest in Veterans Day.

Before we explain Veterans Day etiquette, let’s look at the history of Veterans Day

History of Veterans Day

President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

Unlike Memorial Day which honors our war dead, Veterans Day is a day set aside to honor our living veterans.  The timing of Veterans Day grew out of Armistice Day from World War I.  Although the peace treaty wasn’t signed until June 28th 1919 the armistice went into effect the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month (1918).  This armistice was the end of the over-optimistically named ‘war to end all wars.’  President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the  first “Veterans Day Proclamation”  in 1954 at the urging of Congress to officially expand the observance of Armistice Day into Veterans Day.  You can read more about the history of Veterans Day at History of Veterans Day – Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs

Veterans Day Etiquette

Here’s one old soldier’s guide to Veteran’s Day etiquette based primarily on my family’s traditions, as well as my own feelings and experiences. (more…)

Practice Noise, Light, and Litter Discipline – The Army Way

A Prepper should know how to move through dangerous territory without being noticed or leaving evidence of your presence behind.  The Army does this pretty well when it wants to…but we leave a mess when we don’t.  Something else the Army does will is breaking down complex procedures into digestible tasks so let’s not reinvent the wheel and learn from our men and women in uniform.  Here’s Practice Noise, Light and Litter Discipline – The Army Way.  Links have been added to facilitate further reading or research.

Task Number: 071-COM-0815
Task Title: Practice Noise, Light, and Litter Discipline
Task Type: Individual
Proponent:
Task Data
Conditions: You are member of a mounted or dismounted element conducting a tactical mission and have been directed to comply with noise, light and litter discipline. Enemy elements are in your area of operation.
Standards: Prevent enemy from locating your element by exercising noise, light, and litter discipline at all times.
Safety Notes: In a training environment, leaders must perform a risk assessment in accordance with FM 5-19, Composite Risk Management. Leaders will complete a DA Form 7566 COMPOSITE RISK MANAGEMENT WORKSHEET during the planning and completion of each task and sub-task by assessing mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available-time available and civil considerations, (METT-TC). Note: During MOPP training, leaders must ensure personnel are monitored for potential heat injury. Local policies and procedures must be followed during times of increased heat category in order to avoid heat related injury. Consider the MOPP work/rest cycles and water replacement guidelines IAW FM 3-11.4, NBC Protection, FM 3-11.5, CBRN Decontamination.
Environment:
PERFORMANCE STEPS
1Exercise noise discipline.
aAvoid all unnecessary vehicular and foot movement.
bSecure (with tape [usually 100 MPH Tape] or other materials[ranger bands for example…buy them or make your own from inner tubes]) metal parts (for example, weapon slings, canteen cups, identification [ID] tags) to prevent them from making noise during movement.
NOTE: Do not obstruct the moving parts of weapons or vehicles.
 
cAvoid all unnecessary talk.
dUse radio only when necessary.
eSet radio volume low so that only you can hear.
fUse visual [hand & arm signals] techniques to communicate.
2Exercise light discipline.
aDo not smoke.
NOTE: The smoking of cigarettes, cigars, etc., can be seen and smelled by the enemy.
 
bConceal flashlights and other light sources so that the light is filtered (for example, under a poncho).
cCover or blacken anything that reflects light (for example, metal surfaces, vehicles, glass).
dConceal vehicles and equipment with available natural camouflage.
f. Use visual techniques to communicate.
3. Exercise litter discipline.
aEstablish a litter collection point (empty food containers, empty ammunition cans or boxes, old camouflage) when occupying a position.
bVerify all litter has been collected in preparation to leaving a position.
cTake all litter with you when leaving a position.

Ballad of the Green Berets

Ballad of the Green Berets

By SSG Barry Sadler

Fighting soldiers from the sky
Fearless men who jump and die
Men who mean just what they say
The brave men of the Green Beret

Silver wings upon their chest
These are men, America’s best
One hundred men we’ll test today
But only three win the Green Beret

Trained to live, off nature’s land
Trained in combat, hand to hand
Men who fight by night and day
Courage deep, from the Green Beret

Silver wings upon their chest
These are men, America’s best
One hundred men we’ll test today
But only three win the Green Beret

Back at home a young wife waits
Her Green Beret has met his fate
He has died for those oppressed
Leaving her this last request

Put silver wings on my son’s chest
Make him one of America’s best
He’ll be a man they’ll test one day
Have him win the Green Beret

Hand and Arm Signals – The Army Way

Communications MeansBeing able to communicate silently in the field using Visual Signal is good skill survival skill whether you’re a Soldier or a Prepper.  I was lucky to learn about hand and arm signals, a subset of Visual Signals (also includes light signals, flags, panel systems and the like) at the Fort Benning School For Boys.  In fact, the Army has developed an entire Hand and Arm Signals vocabulary and this hand and arm signal vocabulary is actually pretty intuitive.  This vocabulary is also worth learning to keep in that preparedness library between your ears.

Scroll through the gallery below to review a selection of U.S. Army Hand and Arm Signals that I’ve gathered for the Prepper crowd from the September 1987 edition of the Army’s FM 21-60 Visual Signals.  This manual has been “Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.”

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I hope that you’ll find some of these Hand and Arm Signals useful and don’t forget to practice with your preparedness group or family because while most of these signals are pretty intuitive… to most people…not all are of the signals are intuitive…and neither are all people.

Check out  FM 21-60 Visual Signals if you need additional signals for maritime operation or mounted operations.. there’s even an entire vocabulary for tracked vehicle operations..  FM 21-60 does a good job covering one of the five tactical communications methods.  Just as an aside, the other methods of tactical communications can be useful to the preparedness community as well.  They include: Wire, Sound, Radio & Messenger.

First Aid To Clear Object Stuck In Throat – The Army Way

The Army does a good job of breaking down complex procedures into digestible tasks but the Army doesn’t always call things by the same name as civilians…civilians would call this the Heimlich Maneuver but the Army calls it First Aid To Clear Object Stuck In Throat.  Links have been added to facilitate further reading or research.

Task Number: 081-COM-1003
Task Title: Perform First Aid to Clear an Object Stuck in the Throat of a Conscious Casualty
Task Type: Individual
Proponent:
Task Data
Conditions: You see a conscious casualty who is having difficulty breathing because something is stuck in his throat. This iteration should NOT be performed in MOPP.
Standards: Clear the object from the casualty’s throat by giving abdominal or chest thrusts until the casualty can talk and breathe normally, you are relieved by a qualified person, or the casualty becomes unconscious requiring mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Safety Notes: In a training environment, leaders must perform a risk assessment in accordance with FM 5-19, Composite Risk Management. Leaders will complete a DA Form 7566 COMPOSITE RISK MANAGEMENT WORKSHEET during the planning and completion of each task and sub-task by assessing mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available-time available and civil considerations, (METT-TC). Note: During MOPP training, leaders must ensure personnel are monitored for potential heat injury. Local policies and procedures must be followed during times of increased heat category in order to avoid heat related injury. Consider the MOPP work/rest cycles and water replacement guidelines IAW FM 3-11.4, NBC Protection, FM 3-11.5, CBRN Decontamination.
Environment: Environmental protection is not just the law but the right thing to do. It is a continual process and starts with deliberate planning. Always be alert to ways to protect our environment during training and missions. In doing so, you will contribute to the sustainment of our training resources while protecting people and the environment from harmful effects. Refer to FM 3-34.5 Environmental Considerations and GTA 05-08-002 ENVIRONMENTAL-RELATED RISK ASSESSMENT.
PERFORMANCE STEPS
1Determine if the casualty needs help.
aIf the casualty has a mild airway obstruction (able to speak or cough forcefully, may be wheezing between coughs), do not interfere except to encourage the casualty to cough.
bIf the casualty has a severe airway obstruction (poor air exchange and increased breathing difficulty, a silent cough, cyanosis, or inability to speak or breathe), continue with step 2. 
NOTE: You can ask the casualty one question, “Are you choking?” If the casualty nods yes, help is needed.
CAUTION: Do not slap a choking casualty on the back. This may cause the object to go down the airway instead of out.
 
2Perform abdominal or chest thrusts.
NOTE: Abdominal thrusts should be used unless the victim is in the advanced stages of pregnancy, is very obese, or has a significant abdominal wound.
Note: Clearing a conscious casualty’s airway obstruction can be performed with the casualty either standing or sitting.
 
aAbdominal thrusts.
(1Stand behind the casualty.
(2Wrap your arms around the casualty’s waist.
(3Make a fist with one hand.
(4Place the thumb side of the fist against the abdomen slightly above the navel and well below the tip of the breastbone.
(5Grasp the fist with the other hand.
(6Give quick backward and upward thrusts.
NOTE: Each thrust should be a separate, distinct movement. Thrusts should be continued until the obstruction is expelled or the casualty becomes unconscious.
 
bChest thrusts.
(1Stand behind the casualty.
(2Wrap your arms under the casualty’s armpits and around the chest.
(3Make a fist with one hand.
(4Place the thumb side of the fist on the middle of the breastbone.
(5Grasp the fist with the other hand.
(6Give backward thrusts.
NOTE: Each thrust should be performed slowly and distinctly with the intent of relieving the obstruction.
 
3Continue to give abdominal or chest thrusts, as required. Give abdominal or chest thrusts until the obstruction is clear, you are relieved by a qualified person, or the casualty becomes unconscious.
NOTE: If the casualty becomes unconscious, lay him down and then start mouth-to-mouth resuscitation procedures.
 
4If the obstruction is cleared, watch the casualty closely and check for other injuries, if necessary.

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