Andrew’s Note: Today’s article on Veterans Day Etiquette was first published on Prepography for Veterans Day last year and proved very popular so we have reprinted it.
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
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
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. Continue reading
America’s veterans have served their country with the belief that democracy and freedom are ideals to be upheld around the world.
Former Representative John Doolittle
The U.S. Army’s own Insider Threat and jihadist,
Major Nidal Hasan was sentenced to death yesterday for his self-confessed and cowardly attack on a group of unarmed soldiers preparing for deployment to Afghanistan at Fort Hood, Tx.
Depending on who you ask, the Hasan attack was either an act of ‘workplace violence’ or a terrorist attack. You know, if a radicalized zealot attacks soldiers preparing for deployment to a war zone in order to protect our enemies (that was really his defense) from those soldiers I don’t care what you called it…he got what he deserved.
The fact that a traitor with his set of ideals could become a field grade officer in the United States Army is not just disturbing, it’s also an indictment of how certain elements of our armed forces have become so concerned about ‘sensitivities’ and being politically correct that they’ve forgotten that the armed forces primary mission is to protect this country and our way of life. Continue reading
While preparing the Field Manual extract from FM 21-75, Combat Skills of the Soldier (Approved for public release, distribution is unlimited) I recently published and called Observation Skills for Survival I kept reading after I’d finished the extract (and my introduction) and came across Appendix G. The authors of the manual called Appendix G, “Weapons And Fire Control,” but I call it the Infantry Arsenal Of Freedom (at least the first half covering the weapons that’s reprinted below).
The edition I pulled this extract from was published in 1984 and was the current edition when I joined the 82nd Airborne Division as an Infantryman. Some of the weapons would be familiar to soldiers from the modern battlefield… some would also be familiar to a soldier from Vietnam, Korea, World War II or even earlier but several have since been declared obsolete (or at least replaced in our inventories). This introduction is really just an attempt for me to justify publishing information merely for nostalgic purposes on this the 96th Birthday of the 82nd…not quite sure I pulled it off but what the heck… here’s the Arsenal of Freedom, Circa 1984 extracted directly from FM 21-75:
It’s been a long time since I was a young paratrooper in “America’s Guard of Honor,” the 82nd Airborne Division but I still remember the pride, sense of duty and esprit de corps of being in a unit with such a long and distinguished lineage. Earlier this year I made a pilgrimage back to Fort Bragg, NC and paid homage to my Airborne brothers who have made the ultimate sacrifice from the trenches of World War I to our perpetual ‘War on Terror.’ Happy Birthday to the “All Americans,” past, present and future!
American parachutists, devils in baggy pants, are less than 100 meters from my outpost line. I can’t sleep at night; they pop up from nowhere and we never know when or how they will strike next. Seems like the black-hearted devils are everywhere…
A World War II German Officer commenting on the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division in his diary which was subsequently confiscated; Anzio, Italy
I spent the day yesterday interviewing the widow of a World War II Army Air Corps pilot who was shot down over Hungary and detained in the infamous Stalag Luft III Prisoner of War Camp. Stalag Luft III was made famous by “the great escape” and infamous by the Gestapo’s subsequent execution of those prisoners recaptured. That story has been told in books and movies including the 1963 classic The Great Escape which had an all-star cast headed by Steve McQueen and James Garner.
I’ll talk more about the project that took me into that living room at a later date but wanted to mention something that we all know is happening…but bears mentioning anyway. We are rapidly losing what Tom Brokaw so correctly called “the greatest generation.” That generation of men and women who took an isolationist, agrarian former colony in the depths of depression and turned it into the worlds lone superpower in a single generation. Continue reading
This manual is dedicated to the soldier — the key to success on the battlefield. Wars are not won by machines and weapons but by the soldiers who use them. Even the best equipped army cannot win without motivated and well-trained soldiers. If the US Army is to win the next war, its soldiers must be motivated by inspired leadership, and they must know how to do their jobs and survive on the battlefield.
Preface to FM 21-75 (Aug 1984), Combat Skills of the Soldier (Approved for Public Release)
Jury selection begins today for one of the most important trials in recent memory…and no, I’m not talking about a neighborhood watch patrol turned deadly.
While the nation is riveted by wall to wall coverage of the George Zimmerman trial… coverage designed to play into one or more racial story-lines and apparently designed to divide our nation there’s a more important trial, from a national perspective beginning. I’m speaking of the trial of Major Nidal Hasan of course. Continue reading
Today’s discussion is on backwards planning and while the term ‘backwards planning’ may not be familiar to you… you are likely familiar with this common sense technique for ‘time on target’ or time sequence planning. Backwards planning is the Army’s term for this technique and like many aspects of common sense the Army has a formal method for teaching this technique to leaders and future leaders. Backwards planning is an important skill for anyone to know but is especially important for the prepper.
Every infantryman and Army leader knows the acronym OCOKA, pronounced OH-coke-A. It’s a mnemonic that helps soldiers survive on the battlefield and dominate the enemy by evaluating their terrain. OCOKA is also a key survival acronym for preppers and survivalists. You should use OCOKA to evaluate the terrain around your workplace and home (and your retreat if you have one) but you should also use it to evaluate temporary locations or positions you occupy even for a few minutes if you live or are operating in a degraded security environment. Today’s article will introduce some concepts that we will return to in more detail in future articles.
Andrew’s Note: Today’s discussion on Blood Agents, also known as Cyanogen Agents is from U.S. Army Field Manual FM 4-25.11, First Aid (Approved for Public Release). If you don’t think there’s any chance you’ll ever encounter a blood agent then think again. There are a number of commercial and industrial uses for these agents in addition to their use by foreign governments in chemical warfare. The most frightening use of these agents is by criminal or terrorist groups against an unprepared populace.
Cyanogen agents interfere with proper oxygen utilization in the body. Hydrogen cyanide (AC) and cyanogen chloride (CK) are the primary agents in this group.
I recently finished the book American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice. Kyle’s wife Taya wasn’t credited but also contributed significantly to the book.
When I bought the book I expected it to be an account of the weapons and tactics that led Chief Petty Office Chris Kyle of S.E.A.L. Team 3 to become the most ‘lethal’ U.S. sniper in history surpassing the legendary Marine Carlos Hathcock’s Vietnam era record by over 50%. I expected Kyle’s book to be very similar to Hathcock’s Carlos Hathcock: Marine Sniper : War Stories And Tactical Tips From The Master Sniper which is also a great read…but what I ended up with was a love story. Don’t get me wrong, Kyle’s book has lots of war stories and countless humorous anecdotes of his life as a Navy S.E.A.L., but he didn’t focus nearly as much on the mechanics of shooting as he did on the decisions, situations and loves that led him placed him in the positions that led to his lethal record.
I love a good military autobiography and the psychological makeup of snipers makes their stories particularly compelling. As I mentioned above I’ve read Hathcock’s book as well as the autobiography of Vassili Zaitsev, NOTES OF A RUSSIAN SNIPER which was made into the movie Enemy At The Gates. As much as I enjoyed those books Kyle’s was something broader and in some ways more compelling.
Kyle told the story of his life, his S.E.A.L training, peacetime duty, and his four tours of duty in Iraq (including his contributions to the Second Battle of Falluja, the Battle of Ramadi, as well as various incursions into Sadr City) interspersed with the story of and the conflicts between his three great loves.
The rules are drawn up by lawyers who are trying to protect the admirals and generals from the politicians; they’re not written by people who are worried about the guys on the ground getting shot.
Andrew’s Note: Rules of Engagement specify what actions (offensive, defensive, and other) service members can and can’t take in a theater of operations.
Andrew’s Note: Today we’re providing a lesson from the Army’s Combat Lifesaver Course (ISO871 Edition C Approved For Public Release) on how to properly apply a tourniquet. Before we get started let me be perfectly clear…this is a refresher for those that have been trained in the proper use of a tourniquet and a gentle prod for those who haven’t received any training to seek training through a first aid or wilderness medicine course.
Over the years the use of a tourniquet in first aid situations has fallen into and out of favor. Currently the military medical community is promoting the proper use of tourniquets as an important lifesaving skill and the incredible wound survival rates in our current and recent conflicts are based in part on the training and proper use of this lifesaving technique. That said…never use a tourniquet unless the life or the limb is in danger…and all other bleeding control measures (elevation, direct pressure and pressure dressing) have failed or aren’t suitable. Additionally, seek qualified medical care IMMEDIATELY if you have to apply a tourniquet.
This lesson teaches how to apply the Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT) but similar techniques can be applied to the much simpler and more reasonably priced Tourni-Kwik-4 (TK-4). I own and like both the CAT and the TK-4 but the CAT runs about $28.00 each and the TK-4 runs just $5.50. Both of these tourniquets can be applied one handed which is very important for self aid. The TK-4 is the one that rides with me every day in the car…accessible from the drivers seat…just in case…
America today is the only global superpower…. Only America has the reach and means to deal with Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein or the other wicked psychopaths who will sooner or later step into their shoes.
Former U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, December 9, 2002
Andrew’s Note: Been there, done that!