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VladimirTarasov

Military service of soldiers.

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As an armor guy we never stayed in one place for more than a day or so, even it if was just moving a few KMs down the road.  

 

Starvation in training events is pretty rare in the US military.  You might be living on MREs but usually you get fed at least twice a day even when things are "hard."

 

Ranger school is the exception, but I never felt so inclined to attend as I'd signed up for tanks, not for light stuff.  

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I have a question for US soldiers, Did you guys get beat up during your army service? And would you guys mind telling me what was the hardest part of your service for you personally? I always wondered what the US soldier would go through.

During my duty in Japan, while I was on temporary assignment to the Military Police, Navy Criminal Investagation Division (CID) asked me if I'd be willing to go undercover in a recruit training platoon in Parris Island to gather evidence on an allegedly abusive Drill Instructor (DI). Even though I'd continue to receive my corporal pay, I graciously declined the offer. There was no way I wanted to go through Marine boot camp again. During my own boot camp, a DI laid me up the side of the head with the butt of my M-14 because I called him "you." The exchange went something like "You? You? Private, do you know what a you is? Sir, yes sir, a female sheep sir! I look like a female sheep? Do you want to $&@% me? Sir, no sir! What's the matter, aren't I good enough for you?" Bam, lights out. Guess that's what you call a "no-win situation." One of our DI's was arrested and courtmartialed for burning a recruit on the neck with a cigar.

As a rule, abuse wasn't tolerated even in the 1960's.

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As an armor guy we never stayed in one place for more than a day or so, even it if was just moving a few KMs down the road.  

 

Starvation in training events is pretty rare in the US military.  You might be living on MREs but usually you get fed at least twice a day even when things are "hard."

 

Ranger school is the exception, but I never felt so inclined to attend as I'd signed up for tanks, not for light stuff.

It might be different now, but our enlistment contract was said to guaranty us "one meal and 2-hours sleep per day."

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What they didn't point out was that was an average...

Actually, that wasn't really such a bad thing. Some of the combat rations (C-Rats) I got in 1969 were packaged in 1945. But, I ate them anyway:-) It was said that Marines would eat anything that didn't move quickly enough to get away. Made our "steel pots" very useful.

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I have a question for US soldiers, Did you guys get beat up during your army service? And would you guys mind telling me what was the hardest part of your service for you personally? I always wondered what the US soldier would go through.

 

I wonder, what's the benefit for the system or training results that beating up the recruits will give?

 

When I was a conscript in Finnish army in 2001 (light motorized infantry), we never had any fear for physical violence, but for extra physical training and especially extra duties on your limited free time. Guard duties during nights, chopping firewood and taking care, cleaning and maintance of platoon equipment were the most common.

 

Once when we were in shooting range in combat excercise, our platoon drill instructor noticed that me and my mate had unshaved one-day "beards". As a result, he gave us one hour time to run back and forth to the barracks (4km one way, so total of 8km) in full combat load and shave ourselves. Nothing too bad and we made it in 50 minutes. 

 

We never starvated in combat excercises, but problems in supply line and low supplies were simulated with modest selection of food and rations. Once, the only food I had and ate in three days was apples and dried bread, crispbread or "näkkileipä" in Finnish. We were never supplied with combat rations in excercises, MRE or similar stuff, but we always had a big box (few kilos) of crispbread and about 15 litres of water in our APC and that crispbread was also stuffed to messkits and your combat load too. Most of the guys also had some privatetly bought canned food, like tuna and spam mostly, and some choclade in their equipment.

 

Always in excercises, our four men "rations and food squad" in company's supply platoon (I don't know the correct term in english) made up to three warm meals in a day to the whole company with their field kitchen. All the guys were professional cooks so the the dishes were sometimes very delicious, depending on what ingredients and spices they have gotten from the brigade's supply depot. :)

 

Some of their field kitchens were actually quite cool. Few pieces were relics from WW2, from our winter- and continuation war, made in 1930s and early 40s, but that wasn't a problem. Far from it. :D

 

The old models were very simple in structure, well made and designed and very rugged in the field. Our cooks said that they never had any problems with them (as long as you had chopped firewood readily available). If I remember right, the old field kitchens were modernizied only from the chassis, so those could be towed with higher speeds during the marches. Later models were more complex and considered too fine for field use, so more problems and failures also occcured.  

 

Little different topic to discuss, but as a regular rifleman, your company's field kitchen is more closer to your heart and everday life than some fancy and scare tanks or aircrafts in some distant unit, which you have never seen, except in paper.

Edited by wee

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There were always stories about difficult soldiers being "taken to the woodline" meaning getting beaten up by NCOs,but I never saw or met anyone who actually did or had it done to them. So I'm thinking they were just stories. When I became an NCO, I would never even consider disciplining my troops in such a manner. It was much more effective to have them dig holes or do many dozens of push ups, sit ups etc. to wear off that extra energy young soldiers seem to have in abundance.

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There were always stories about difficult soldiers being "taken to the woodline" meaning getting beaten up by NCOs,but I never saw or met anyone who actually did or had it done to them. So I'm thinking they were just stories. When I became an NCO, I would never even consider disciplining my troops in such a manner. It was much more effective to have them dig holes or do many dozens of push ups, sit ups etc. to wear off that extra energy young soldiers seem to have in abundance.

 

I like your style. :)

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Tangent: I just recalled my one disciplinary action in the military was for actually striking a soldier, but that was rather a long and silly story.

 

But yeah in line with what Splinty was saying, taking people to the woodline or "wall to wall counseling" was referred to, but usually as a reference to what we would have done with someone back in the day when men were men, and stuff was hard.  The only NCO I ever knew who out and out struck a soldier was heavily disciplined for it, lost rank and likely only stayed an NCO because outside of hitting that one guy, he'd been a stellar soldier and excellent tanker (and still was when I was working with him).

 

He used to tell the whole thing as a cautionary tale about how beating soldiers never fixed anything, and was a failure to be a good NCO.  Sharp guy.  Great tanker.  Hope it pays off and he gets promoted again.  

 

While I was usually the end of the line for most things, I usually followed the "everyone gets their one" philosphy and stuck to assigning extra duty and restricting folks to post.  Guys tend to offend less when they still have things to lose, and I always found the "I am disappointed in you and you're smarter than this" line to work better than the "you are a terrible soldier and I hope you get herpes from the ville"

 

Re: Field kitchens

 

Related field kitchen rambles:

 

1. The newer US Army field kitchens are called "Assault Kitchens."  It's actually not a terrible idea in that it's less a kitchen and more a large heating vessel in a small trailer (if I remember right it's about the size of the smaller utility trailers.  You plop in whatever the warm parts to the mean are in vacuum sealed bags, and then tow the thing behind a HMMWV.  Serve on arrival.  Kinda neat in that it's not really cook intensive.  On the other hand, whoever thought "assault" and "kitchen" belonged next to each other is a special person.  

 

2. One of the benefits to doing field exercises in Korea, is most Company sized elements had a "mah" from the Korean word "Ajumma" (Old Lady) that would follow them to the field.  Your mah milage varied, but as a general rule they'd set up a camping style grill and make food for sale.  Our mah was pretty awesome in that she had a full on tent with a heater, and in addition to food brought along cigarettes, and other similar comfort type items.  

 

I mean if we went to war we knew we'd be eating MREs, crapping in bags and the like.  All the same I do like my bulgoggi egg and cheesy, and the training value of eating MREs for a week is dubious.   

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the training value of eating MREs for a week is dubious.

I think the only value there is to keep from repeating those poor guys in the 1960s who had to eat stuff packed in 1945 :D If you keep eating into the stock pile during training the stock pile does not get older and older.

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Thanks for the information guys,  The exercise I was talking about was suppose to be a rapid response I was sleeping and at 3 AM they woke us up and said we were going to war, I got scared thinking world war 3 started or something, And then when we were packing out parachutes they told us it was a drill and I had that quick sigh of relief :) But anyways we were practicing a big war type scenario we are not usually starved during a drill, But it was to see how a airborne company would hold out in a situation like that. 

There are two types of punishments in my opinion in the Russian army :) first type is things like, "Assigned to kitchen duty", "Clean the toilets", "Guard duty" "Put on your gear you're running the base 10 times" and then there is the you are screwed punishment which you do not want to get into. 

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Friend of mine related to me that his punishment when in the infantry ( SA army ), was to carry a 25 pound smoke shell 4km to the artillery park to ask them if it was actually a smoke shell. Then bring it back.

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Thanks for the information guys,  The exercise I was talking about was suppose to be a rapid response I was sleeping and at 3 AM they woke us up and said we were going to war, I got scared thinking world war 3 started or something, And then when we were packing out parachutes they told us it was a drill and I had that quick sigh of relief :) But anyways we were practicing a big war type scenario we are not usually starved during a drill, But it was to see how a airborne company would hold out in a situation like that. 

There are two types of punishments in my opinion in the Russian army :) first type is things like, "Assigned to kitchen duty", "Clean the toilets", "Guard duty" "Put on your gear you're running the base 10 times" and then there is the you are screwed punishment which you do not want to get into. 

 

Наряд - so much in such a small word.  :lol:

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I shouldn't even mention it, because my time in the service was nothing compared to most of you, but I did spend eight years in a reserve MASH unit, starting in 1983. Mostly what we did was go out in the in the field and practice putting up GP large and GP medium tents. I got out shortly before Desert Storm. The unit I was in did get called up and went to Iraq. I think the army has decommissioned all MASH units now, in favor of taking the wounded to larger field hospitals. I suppose transportation is so much better now that there isn't much need to have a MASH unit tagging along close to the front.

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I shouldn't even mention it, because my time in the service was nothing compared to most of you, but I did spend eight years in a reserve MASH unit, starting in 1983. Mostly what we did was go out in the in the field and practice putting up GP large and GP medium tents. I got out shortly before Desert Storm. The unit I was in did get called up and went to Iraq. I think the army has decommissioned all MASH units now, in favor of taking the wounded to larger field hospitals. I suppose transportation is so much better now that there isn't much need to have a MASH unit tagging along close to the front.

No you should mention it, 8 years of service is not a joke :) 

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Served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 17 years. Started in the artillery as a gunner, then went officer after a few years.  Served in 1 Royal Canadian Horse Artillery and 3 Royal Canadian Horse Artillery at various times in my career.  Current status is retired, rank of Captain.

 

Memorable moments:

 

Served as a peacekeeper in Bosnia in 1993.  Back when it was more 'peacemaking' than 'peacekeeping'.  Got lots of stories that I can tell about that experience.

 

As a forward observer, adjusted and fired a 'Fire Mission Division' during one of the few Division exercises the Canadian military did during the 1990s.  About 40 tubes of 105mm and 155mm fired some 160 rounds total rounds for one fire mission.  I am one of only a few artillery officers who have fired a division fire mission from that time period.  I don't think that Canada has done a Division live fire exercise in the last 20 years, near as I can tell, since I took early retirement in 1996.

 

Did a winter exercise for three days of winter warfare training (winter infantry training and living in tents)where the temperature varied between -45 C and -55 C and one of those days, the temperature with windchill was -83 C.   Discovered at those temperatures that a book of matches will burn out while floating in a bowl of white gasoline (used as fuel for lanterns and stoves).

 

I remember the one year where I was unlucky enough to go on three winter exercises back to back and literally, except for two weeks, I humped the boonies and lived in a tent from the beginning of January to the end of March (nearly 3 months) on exercises in Alaska, the Northwest Territories (northern Canada) and Manitoba (center of Canada and the coldest of the provinces in winter).

 

I have been mortared by the 1 PPCLI mortar platoon by accident, fired on by an American 155 gun battery by accident, shot at by a German Leopard 1 tank by accident, and bombed (with practice bombs thankfully) by the Canadian Air Force by accident.  Yeah, training accidents with live ammuniton do happen and can be deadly serious affairs. Had some pretty close calls in Bosnia but someone was actually trying to kill me in those cases, but such is the case in a war zone.   My wife says I got more lives than a cat.

Edited by BlackMoria

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I was in the Danish Army for a short while. Did one deployment to Iraq.

We got mortared a lot (never very close), and shot at a few times. Mostly shoot n' scoot where they are gone before we realized what hit us.

My company got into 2 real firefights, I only took part in one, which went fine, in the other we lost a guy :(

Luckily for us, that day where I took part, a journalist was riding along with us, so we made the news back at home:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=1d3_1200103810

This was in 2006, before Denmark started losing a lot of soldiers in Afghanistan, so back then Danish soldiers in a firefight were still newsworthy.

Edited by puje

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Had some pretty close calls in Bosnia but someone was actually trying to kill me in those cases, but such is the case in a war zone.   My wife says I got more lives than a cat.

 

This is actually pretty interesting to me. A lot of my instructors here at the academy were in the Balkans in the late 90s and early 2000s, and I have never really heard about a lot of combat between US forces and forces in the "peacekeeping" missions. One of my former instructors, a LTC (engineer), had to clear minefields in Kosovo in the late 90s, but that is the extent of anything I've heard in regards to any activity. And I knew one MAJ that was an armor officer in Bosnia, but I'm not sure what operations were going on between the NATO(?) forces.

 

I'm very ignorant about this haha

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Наряд - so much in such a small word.  :lol:

 

I can think of a couple with so much more  :D

 

И бесплатно машины водить,
И по компасу с картой ходить,
И в мишени лупить
Из взаправдашнего автомата,
Самому уложить парашют,
Овладеть карате и ушу,
И могучей палитрой
Великого русского мата.

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This is actually pretty interesting to me. A lot of my instructors here at the academy were in the Balkans in the late 90s and early 2000s, and I have never really heard about a lot of combat between US forces and forces in the "peacekeeping" missions. One of my former instructors, a LTC (engineer), had to clear minefields in Kosovo in the late 90s, but that is the extent of anything I've heard in regards to any activity. And I knew one MAJ that was an armor officer in Bosnia, but I'm not sure what operations were going on between the NATO(?) forces.

 

I'm very ignorant about this haha

 

I was a Canadian peacekeeper, not American and it was the early '90s ('93 for me) when it was 'peacemaking', not 'peacekeeping' as the public envisions it.  The late '90s was when it was more traditional peacekeeping.

 

The Serbs and Croatians shot at us or would shell us with mortars. Both groups didn't like us being there, despite agreeing to the accords and articles that all sides have to agree to before the peacekeepers come in.  With one exception, (the Medak pocket, where Croatian and Canadian troops actually fought each other), the nature of the shelling or shooting was more of harassment than an attack.  Typical pattern was to drop a few mortar rounds on our OPs and then stop, or fire a couple dozen small arms rounds at us and then stop.  As I said, more of a harassing fire to see how we react and to test our resolve and attempt to rattle us. 

 

That said, it doesn't matter if the shots or shells are harassing or a deliberate attack, when you get a bullet striking something beside your head or a mortar round land a dozen metres from you, it is unsettling and a matter of concern.  One of the other officers from my unit took a Russian 14.7mm round through his lower leg as he sat in a vehicle.  It took him about 5 months to recover from that injury to the massive shattering and splintering of the bones of the lower leg.

 

It was the mines and booby traps you really had to be alert for.  They were everywhere and most of the peacekeeping deaths were caused by these weapons.  So when I went on patrols, not only did one have a head on a swivel around you for hostile forces, you had to constantly scan the ground in front of you before you moved your feet.  Nerve wracking to say the least.

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This is actually pretty interesting to me. A lot of my instructors here at the academy were in the Balkans in the late 90s and early 2000s, and I have never really heard about a lot of combat between US forces and forces in the "peacekeeping" missions. One of my former instructors, a LTC (engineer), had to clear minefields in Kosovo in the late 90s, but that is the extent of anything I've heard in regards to any activity. And I knew one MAJ that was an armor officer in Bosnia, but I'm not sure what operations were going on between the NATO(?) forces.

 

I'm very ignorant about this haha

 

I was a medic with a Canadian Infantry Company serving in Sarajevo in 93. I went back in 2000 when nothing was going on. Also did 2 tours in Afghanistan, 2005, and back again a year later mid 2006. Speaking from my personal perspective based on what I experienced, in the Balkans for that early 90's tour was probably the most... acutely profound experience (for a lack of better words) of my military career.

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For your amusement, I will relate this story from my peacekeeping tour in Bosnia in '93.    It is funny (after the fact for me) but has a lesson in it.

 

I was doing OP duty and had around 10 soldiers under my command.  Our group was in a heavily sandbagged structure on a hilltop.  It was just the crack of dawn and the night shift was going to ground to catch some sleep while the soldiers just waking up were going on shift.

 

One of the soldiers was going to the latrine and only grabbed his weapon instead of also putting on the flak jacket and helmet.  Now in '93, the Canadian Forces didn't have modern body armor so we were provided with bulky flak jackets.  They were big, heavy and uncomfortable as hell to wear.  The rule was, you didn't need to wear it in hardened structures but if you were outside, a helmet (soldiers refered to them as pisspots) and flak jacket was expected to be worn.  Soldiers, including myself didn't like the wearing the flak jacket.

 

Back to my story.  So I look out the vision slit of the bunker and see this soldier heading for the latrine with just his rifle and blue beret.  This has happened a few times now and I haven't said anything.  Remember me saying there is a lesson here and that is the danger of complacency.  One can get too accustomed to the routine and short cuts happen.

 

The soldier come back and I dress him down for not wearing his flak jacket and helmet.  As the officer, I must lead by example so I don my flak jacket and helmet as I need to take a wicked dump at the latrine.  I head to the latrine, pants down and adopt the squat to push out the aftermath of last night's rations.  Just then a mortar round impacts about a dozen metres behind me.  I feel a hard hit in the middle of my back and I know I've been hit.  

 

I race for the safety of the bunker with weapon in one hand and trying to pull my trousers up from around my knees.  It was quite the athletic event according to the soldiers, as they were amazed that someone can run that fast with their trousers around their knees.

 

So there I am standing just inside the bunker door, my pants now fallen around my ankles but I barely aware of it as I am concerned that I am wounded.   Flatly, in a loud voice, I say "That gentlemen, is why we wear our f^%$#* helmets and flak jackets when we go outside this f%$#@ bunker!!"

 

I took about a two inch by half inch fragment into the flak jacket but was otherwise unharmed.  Other fragment cut a very shallow channel along the left side of my helmet.

 

Needless to say, for the rest of the tour, flak jackets and helmets where worn without complaint by the soldiers when they went to the latrine.

Edited by BlackMoria

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Retired as a United States Navy Commander after 29 years military service. 13 of that overseas. Showed the flag to 50 countries. Naval Parachutist. Deep Sea Diving and Salvage Officer (HeO2). "HOO-YAH!!" Qualified Docking Officer. 

 

War Stories?

 

..Beirut, Lebanon the summer of 1983. I landed by plane and spent a month watching tracer fire, rockets and artillery. I left by ship before the truck bomb killed my marine buddies. A few weeks later in Rota, Spain I was courtesy "escorted" back to the ship by the shore patrol in handcuffs for offering my souvenir Soviet wristwatch to a barmaid for certain services...

 

...Northern Arabian Gulf, 1991, sweeping 29 mines (acoustic/magnetic Russian and Italian mines purchased by Iraq)...we painted the "kill markings" on the bridge wing... 

 

...Gulf of Salerno...2000...caused a small diplomatic crisis when I had one of my USN salvage ships try to recover a sunken Sherman Duplex-Drive tank from 110 FSW...I did a few dives on her, she was in great shape!

 

...underwater search and recovery...2002..successfully located and recovered an F-14 and SH-60 from 14,000 FSW off of Crete. Including human remains recovery.

 

Chased a lot of good looking women, did way too many power point presentations. But never went to DC like they told me to! :D

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I've got two stories to share with you guys.

 

 

When Slovenia separated from Yugoslavia in 1991 I had 7 years, my dad was an officer in Slovenian territorial defense army. He was charged with having to make sorrounded and demoralised Yugoslav people's army pockets surrender. Being negotiator he went through some heavy stuff including having a pistol pointed at his forehead from a frenzied Yugoslav post commander to being shot at by his own subordinate soldiers who thought he was part of a JLA push trying to break through the ring when on his way back from negotiations. He was lucky and jumped behind a rock which barely defended him from the bullets which whizzed inches from his head. Many bullets were fired until his guys heard his screams and realized in shock what they just did.

 

I remember him holding a kalashnikov on 3 occasions that I saw him return home briefly with magazines some of which had red and blue tape markings on them. Dunno what those were for, gotta ask him.

 

He said he will defend his country and us until the end, my mum was crying being afraid him and us wouldn't make it. Situation was grim indeed. Odds were against Slovenian army at the time but luckily Federal yugoslav army wasn't deployed for real and only smaller skirmishes happened and the fighting ended in less then 2 weeks.

 

When alarms went off, me, my sis and mum hid in the basement of our house. We also had gas masks with us who were provided to us in case chemical warfare would ensue. I was excited as a kid and tried to encourage my mum.

 

Luckily it all turned way better then in Croatia and Bosnia. War sucks big time. Wished Slovenia wouldn't give a precedense to all the rest - should have been resolved with negotiations and no arms.

 

There was this one time when my granddad who also lived in our house lost his nerves and started shooting on bypassing Yugoslav migs who were provokating by flying so low whole house would be shaking - he was ex policeman, guarded Tito on some occassions back in the day and had the right to pack a gun which he used against the planes. Luckily no retaliation would ensue but I remeber my dad and some other villagers being mad at him for provoking the hornet to drop bombs on our village.

 

 

I was never enlisted as a soldier because in Slovenia we got "prefessional" army and there was no more general draft. Those born in 1983 like me were the last generation who was still inspected for health and asked in what army branch we would like to serve. We were aged 17. Since I had horses at home on our farm who I rode back then I asked them if I can enlist in a cavalry forces, hehehe. They were laughing like crazy and I was like, erm, don't you have horses any more in the army? Gosh was I stupid, hehe. Well, in my defense I was not interested in anything military related back then.

 

When we were inspected we had this ritual originating from Austro-Hungarian times when we would hop on the decorated trailers who would be towed through villages in the valley. Those trailers were packed with booze and a traditional music was played with harmonica. It was a ritual of passage when boys became men.

 

At the time I was agains alchocol and was by then never drunk. I was bullied to drink on that trailer and got drunk for the first time in my life. He he. Things got interesting - I was told I was singing and wawing the flag a lot. Don't remmeber that part but I do remeber the event when our guys stopped a postman who was driving his car and turned the car on the roof. We also were stopping traffic saying they have to pay if they wanna pass. Police made a blind eye 'cos this things were supposed to happen.

 

Since the professional army was established no such ritual exist and you now never really get a ritual that would make you a men. A shame.

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