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Army persons

  1. Jun 19, 2005 #1
    Anyone who was/is miliatry personal here? How do you feel in battle field fighting someone who has not/has done anything bad to you? Do u feel very patriotic(as shown in movies)? Do you feel disgusted? Do you just shrug it off as a part of your work(like a butcher who kills many animals)?
    In a miliatry base in a lonely part of the world(e.g. Siachen- the worlds highest battlefield) isolated, etc how do you feel?
    Do u feel happy that you are serving for your country?
    Or are u sad that no one really (I mean 100% sincerely) appreciates your difficulties, etc and go spend lots of money on film starts, etc.?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 19, 2005 #2
    When you join an army, you swear an oath of loyalty, this is a sacred oath and is taken with the upmost severity.

    When called upon, you go to battle and you do what you are trained to do - perhaps it is be a medic, be an armourer or perhaps it is as you bluntly hint - to kill.

    If you are there to kill - you do so as this is your job - you signed up for it. Many of the men I served who's job it was to kill did not feel overjoyed at the thought of killing somebody - however, they did not feel deeply saddened as they knew what their purpose was - and if they had not killed - they themselves would have died. Personally, when I opened fire on an opposing force I did so knowing that people far above me in the COC had ordered it and therefore it must be necassary.

    Now, this is in the British Army, and without sounding pompous, the Brits have never been gun-ho, throughout training, at Sandhurst, and elsewhere the ROE are explained and emphasised thoroughly to prevent such attitudes forming. In hand with this the soldier is taught not to become too absorbed in the emotion of killing and the sadness this can bring - and to some extent this is not needed in the middle of the firefight. For when you are stuck with fire from all sides you do not have time to think anyone's mortality except your own. 'If you think you're dead'.

    However, after battle is the time most soldiers become saddened, they have to live with the fact they killed somebody, and that somewhere their is a son or daughter with no father, and a wife with no husband. Most men can rationalise this as it they new from day 1 this was what they would have to do - others cannot do the same and are forced (either by concionce or by superiors) to leave front line duty or the force. However, the latter is becoming rarer as the enemies states face now tend to be oppresive regimes, or terrorists, and so there is not as much of a guilt over killing. This may sound awful but I remember a quote from a TV show at some point which was :
    "Why is a Kundonise life worth less than an American one?"
    to which the reply came "I don't know it just is" . I think the message of this is not that the life of a foreigner is worth less than that of a national but rather than that of a non westernised national is worth less than someone of your own country. Again this is awful but true in the minds of most people if they think about it.

    I was stationed in a lot of places, and some of them were very remote (cannot go into details) and sometimes the moral was awful- however for some reason you knew that if wherever you were was remote - you were safe and so that was a joy somebody - for example in Iraq at the moment -would not have. Added to this, increased commmunications around the world mean it is hard to ever be truly alone! Now, I know that many people have felt suicidal in outposts that are remote - bu tI have never felt that way - perhaps because I'm always happy!

    RE: Serving my country. I feel immense pride that I serve my country and that I have protected her interests throughout the world - however, in my service i have seen many other peoples who give so much more than me that I feel privilidged also to have served with them.

    And as for the film stars - am I sad? No. They have all sorts of different pressures on them - and also they have a job to do - to entertain so my philosophy is let them do it! And I feel that people do care for our sacrifices, people frequently go to the war cemetaries in Normandy and in Arlington - so I think it daft to think that people do not care - I think it is more a case of people not thinking about us! And perhaps wanting to avoid the taboo around death.

    If you have any more questions do not hesitate to ask.

  4. Jun 19, 2005 #3


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    Well said and thank you!

    India has little to be proud about although the "untouchables" fair a little beter now as socialism yields to a market economy.

  5. Jun 20, 2005 #4


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    Some of these questions don't make much sense, but I'll try....
    US Navy....
    I'm not sure what you mean - do you mean on a personal level? On the battlefield(yes, the sea is a battlefield), you know you are a professional and an instrument of your government, and your enemy is an instrument of his government. For everyone except infantry, you can disassociate yourself from the idea that you are killing an individual, but rather that you are killing an enemy ship, tank, plane, truck, etc.
    Though I have never been in a battle, I'm proud and feel patriotic about my service - but movies are movies.
    No. Had I witnessed a Mai Lai type event, I probably would.
    Most in the military know exactly what they are doing - there are no illusions. And a butcher doesn't necessarily disassociate himself with his work either. You seem to be implying there is something morally wrong with both. That is an opinion, and not one generally shared by those in the military (nor, I'd venture to guess, with butchers).
    Proud, yes.
    Some people do appreciate it, but appreciation isn't why people do it.
  6. Jun 20, 2005 #5


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    I've read that in a non-conscript army people join up for 1 of 4 reasons;
    1) Following in a family tradition
    2) Patriotic fervour
    3) As a job to earn new skills and earn money
    4) To kill people legally
    How any one individual would answer in response to your questions would I think depend on which of the above was their motivating force.
  7. Jun 20, 2005 #6
    I was in the British Army many years ago and I joined for a number of reasons:

    Firstly, I was too short to become a policeman (I originally wanted to become a detective).
    Secondly: my father and grandfather were in the Army.
    Thirdly: 'As a job to earn new skills and earn money'

    I worked along side Americans a few times and their military mentality is chalk and Cheese to the British Army mentality. They tend to be trained to act as a whole group whereas a member of the British forces are trained to be individuals acting as part of a larger whole. There is a subtle difference.

    From my personal experience, The British Army has strict guidelines to when a weapon can be fired and, if I can remember correctly, the first rule of engagement was 'If yourself, a fellow soldier or a civilian is in iminate danger you're allowed to fire in order to neutralise the threat'

    We're also taught to not allow emotions to influence decision making (as was mentioned before: 'leave the emotions until after the crisis situation is over')
    The issue of 'not thinking' during a combat situation is solved by constant training again and again in as many different ways as possible until you no longer have to think about a manuever you just do it by instinct.

    Before the first Gulf war we started training at a faster pace (and in more specialised ways) 6 months before we new for certain we were going.

    This is why I believe constripts have no place in today's military campaigns. To be blunt, they are more likely to be cannon fodder and cause unneccessary deaths on both sides.

    Saying that, I also believe it would be better if school leavers and unemployed people serve a minimum of 6 months - 1 year in a military training facility.

    I think I've gone of my original point though:

    Americans: Fight for their country
    British: Fight to prevent themselves and others getting killed.

    I know that is a bit of generalisation that that's my opinion from personal experience.
  8. Jun 20, 2005 #7
    I was reading this and have to say that yes these reasons are valid (except 4 - for if your a psycotic bent on killing you wouldn't get far through training - in UK at least) however i would also stress that the army is job like any other and people join the army because they like the job and feel it is something they want to do.

    The idea of Daminc about cannon fodder is a very apt one. If you look at the infantry kill ratios of a British Force and American Force the Americans lose a lot more people than the British and this is due to the calibre of the soldier. This is no disregard to the American soldiers who work hard and to the best of their abilities and training, but the british, as they are fewer in numbers, are trained to a higher level so that they can perform better. As a result, the British fair much better in infantry battle (Please note the word Infantry as the figures for remote warfare (smart bombs etc) regularly cloud the issue).
    I have heard it said, especially from the higher-ups, that a British Soldier from a normal regiment is worth 2 Americans from the same sort of regiment, level and rank.

    Last edited: Jun 20, 2005
  9. Jun 20, 2005 #8


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    I was in the US Army and served during the first gulf war. Your "questions" are coming across to me as a sarcastic statement of some kind, but I'll answer anyways:
    First and foremost, the military does not dictate policy. The politicians do. If there is a battle/war then there has supposedly been a lot of stuff happening before the armed services get involved. No one enjoys going into battle. There may be the occasional psychopath that does, but they are rare. If we are in battle with someone, there is a reason. They personally may not have anything to do with it, but they work for the people who were.

    You have to shrug it off and do your duty. That is the only way you make sure you are the one that gets to go home to their family. Choose a better analogy than the butcher comment. That is borderline insulting.

    Being in the field or at a remote location does wear on you. You adapt and do your best to make due.

    I never regretted it for one second.

    There are times when you are in the arm pit of the world and you see that life back home is continuing without you. It's tough and some thoughts along those lines enter your head. Then there is usually something that happens that reminds you of why you are there.

    The last person that wants to go to war is the soldier/sailor. They are the ones who are going risk their necks, not the politicians.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2005
  10. Jun 20, 2005 #9


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    What films have you been watching, chound? Most of my favorite war films (Apocalypse Now, All Quiet on the Western Front, From Here to Eternity) don't exactly depict happy, willing soldiers that feel particularly proud about what they're doing. The typical Hollywood war film since the early 70's at least has been anti-war. Hell, take something like Platoon or Cold Mountain, which depicts soldiers turning on each other and terrorizing civilians just for the fun of it. Hardly patriotic films.
  11. Jun 21, 2005 #10
    "Saving Private Ryan" had one of the most memorable beginnings. It represents well the chaos that occurs in combat.
  12. Jun 21, 2005 #11


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    You mean, that thrill when the knife hits the bone and goes "thump" ?
    Gee, forgot to take my tablets this morning... :redface:
  13. Jun 21, 2005 #12
    1. On topic and mature as always Geniere.
    2. Socialism and Caste system are absolutely identical.
    3. Ever heard of the Gurkhas?
  14. Jun 21, 2005 #13
    Gurkhas are amazing people. I worked with a few whilst I was in the Signals and I've never met a more dedicated bunch of squaddies. All around 5'3" who seem to eat curries all the time. With a constant smile on their face they will gladly back you up in a fight no matter what the odds.

    It really pi**ed me off when the British government refused to repatriate them as British citizens (pension etc).
  15. Jun 21, 2005 #14


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    I agree, I think though the British gov't has always been slightly embarrassed about them as it leaves them open to charges of employing mercenaries.
  16. Jun 21, 2005 #15
    I have worked closely with the Gurkhas and they are damn fine men and damn fine soldiers.

    I was in battle with them on a number of occasinos and have two stories which exhibit their skill and guts.

    The first was when one of my men took a hit and a Gurkha medic came over to give him assistance, it turned out it was an GSW that gone through an artery. The Gurkha repaired the damage expertly in heavy fire conditions without breaking a sweat. I went to see him later to thank him on behalf of the regiment and he said to me,
    "That is my job but that man had no stomach."
    I replied - "Excuse me?"
    To which he explained "He only had a gun shot wound, and he cried, he had no stomachy (no guts)."
    This is not a story of Gurkha snobbery but rather the level of pain that they believe they can withstand and expect others to withstand - they are awesome. Their motto is "Better to die than be a coward"

    The second is to do with the Gurkha Knife. Every Gurkha carries a knife (an 18inch curved blade called a kukri) and it is tradition never to remove it from its sheath unless you will take blood with it (if they take no blood in battle they cut themselves to fulfil the tradition). Serving on a different occasion with some Gurkhas where QCB was likely, they unsheathed their knifes and I turned to my collegues and even among the most battle hardened men I saw a look of amazement and dread. When the fighting began - they fought immensely , without fear and with a great intelligence and awareness. They were also ruthless. The kill count turned out very high, the Gurkhas taking over 60% with knifes.

    The phrase don't mess with a Gurkha is almost as valuabler as don't mess with The regiment.

    Last edited: Jun 21, 2005
  17. Jun 21, 2005 #16


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    BTW The Gurkhas are recruited exclusively from the Gurkha people of Nepal not India.
  18. Jun 21, 2005 #17
    :grumpy: hmmm... my mistake.
  19. Jun 21, 2005 #18


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    I don't think it was intended as like a mad axe murderer lol. Probably a good example would be snipers. I believe they are all volunteers and go through intensive psychological evaluation to ensure they do not have scruples about killing people coldly and dispassionately who do not necessarily present an immediate threat to them and that they will not suffer anxiety afterwards, something I understand most soldiers find hard to do if not in the heat of a battle.
  20. Jun 21, 2005 #19
    Snipers are a special breed - I have heard a few stories from men I have served with. Firstly, if, on the final assesment if the whites of a sniper's eyes are seen they fail, if they fire and miss, they fail. I immediately thought woah! And then I was told about a multitude of tests snipers go though (for Spec Ops) they have to remain in a 0 degree celcius plunge pool for one hour and then take a shot, they have to be able to control their heartbeat on demand and tests are done on this - and my favourite was that they were told to shoot a tennis ball a mile away, but hit it so that it fell into a basket just to the right - and they can do it!

    On the psycological side, I think snipers have to be able to remove themselves more than any other soldier, for when they take a shot, they HAVE to hit - it is in their blood that they HAVE to hit - so they 'zone out' and focus intensely - lowering their BP to >64 to enable them to get a shot.

  21. Jun 21, 2005 #20


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    The statistics I saw said that there is 1 battleground casualty for every 12,500 rounds fired compared to 5 killed for every 6 rounds fired by snipers. Which in $ terms equates roughly to $1600 vs $0.17 per kill ( this is after allowing for the difference in the cost of the bullets used)
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