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VladimirTarasov

Military service of soldiers.

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From my personal experience, I think calling it "propaganda" is a bit much.   You just learn to know the difference between what is important and what is not.   What makes you want to use the term "propaganda" anyway?   Also, your first question, the part about "for absolutely nothing" is an opinion not a statement of fact.   I would think such a statement would be rather insulting to most guys who got involved.  All that political crap is for Generals and politicians. 

 

My $.02

no but I say propoganda so you know what I'm talking about. If I said something different then you wouldn't know what I was saying, but you're way of looking at things is right.

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Re: Fear

 

It's like if you have to cross as series of potentially busy streets to get to work or do anything.  The anxiety builds from the "last time a bus almost ran me over crossing this one!" much more than the bus actually having almost run you over.  During the event you're too focused on the act of not being run over so not much fear there, and outside of circumstances that are a lot like the road you almost got run over on, there's not the context to expect that bus.

 

What can creeps up on you is when things start to align that look, smell and sound a lot like when the bus almost ran you over.  The human brain is awesome at detecting patterns so if stuff starts to really look like that road and that bus it can trigger a response.  Conversely that anxiety eventually goes away as it is readily apparent that the bus is no longer something to worry about.  

 

So in that regard there used to be stuff that I knew from Iraq to be bad signs (empty streets, piles of trash, guys filming stuff, loud noises etc) that would trigger low level anxiety back in the US (I wasn't flinching or hiding under tables, more like some corner of my brain stood to because something was up), but after a few July 4ths passed since I'd been to Iraq, fireworks and the like did not trigger any sort of response, and it has been a while since I had any sort of reaction.

 

I imagine someone with a much more traumatic trip overseas might take a long time to unlearn the really bad stuff.  But it's not like you live in eternal fear of all things, it's just much closer to anxiety.  

 

Re: Blood and gore

 

Only if you knew the person.  The smell of blood and generally body parts in general trigger some sort of "THIS IS BAD PLACE GO AWAY FROM BAD PLACE" response in the lizard corner of your brain.  Once you get over that part, if there's no danger to you (the attack is over), and you're not especially attached to the body parts source of origin it's just unpleasant.

 

I mean I carried a human hand from a suicide bomber around in my backpack (in a baggie).  I still use that backpack lots without any real feelings that the hand is HAUNTING MY ARMY BACKPACK OH DOG WAY.  The dead can't hurt you, blood carries infections pathogens, not bad juju so it's something best not to cover yourself in it, but it's not something to freak out about too much.

 

The much more unpleasant part is when you have wounded and you need to do "something" about it.  Because you're attached to the keeping someone alive and intact it's quite stressful when you're in a position where you cannot do anything for them (in my case just the practical reality that the medics were already working on them, and I had nothing to do with evacuating them).

 

Re: Propaganda and dogma

 

I received several times as much in the military, as I did in college.  The yay Army stuff was way less aggressive than GO TEAM GO during football season, and the "You are in Iraq to help people" was only mentioned in passing compared to the more realistic "You are in Iraq to help train and equip the blah blah blah partner units blah blah blah in conjunction with other agencies blah blah restore blah to blah."

 

Dissent was fairly freely expressed among peers.  There really just wasn't much of a sense of being indoctrinated.

man I hate that "anxiety," it's this paranoia that always makes you restless and makes life 10x harder. **** I hate fear, it's a soul stomper. But but you're right, if I think about it, if you're not emotionally attached to someone, and you get over the gore, it's not that big of a deal. But if its like your mom dying infront of you. It's gonna hurt.

Yea for the propoganda, I thought there would be more, but it's cool how there's not. Is it kind of the thing where the army guys just say "I'm just an army guy, i just do what they tell me, I don't deal with the bs politics."

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I have told about a shoot out I was in on the first page and during that I honestly have no idea if my bullets killed anyone but in that engagement I was engaged with a terrorist group so I didn't feel any bad for them, In fact in the moment I was just shooting at figures and muzzle flashes and I did not realize I was hit until afterwards but my vest saved me. Shoot outs arent scary when you see your comrades rushing up into a defensive line in front of you it actually gave me more of a boost, What is scary is if you lose a limb and have to live without it...

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I really like your response, it seems to be very honest.

But what about the killing? Did you ever kill someone in combat? How did you feel about it? Emotionally, i mean, not from a rational point if view. I hope that question is not too personal.

I have never killed a man. I can only somwhat image what it may feel like to shoot a man from my experience with killing animals. The first time i killed an anmial was when i was like 10, i was fishing with my family and i really found it difficult at fiirst. There is another living beeing, and may it only be a fish, that has eyes like you and bleeds like you and is able to experience pain and you are supposed to take a club smash its head in. I really found it difficult to kill at first. But after getting over that initial "barrier", i really liked it. I felt like a predator and catching my prey gave me some kind of satisfaction. Also i had a good moral justification for killing these fish because we barbecued and ate them afterwards :D.

see me I've heard two sides of the story. I am Lebanese and my country is complete ****, and my uncle was part of the militia during the war, and whenever I ask him and hear him talk about war, he always says war is the worst thing in the world, and that it's sick and ugly. Just men, who could be loving each other, hating and killing each other, even though they are the same, then I hear the other side of the story and this Vietnam war veteran talks about why he loves war, and I think I understand how both of them fit into the big picture.

http://public.wsu.edu/~hughesc/why_men_love_war.htm

And he is talking about the repression he hated living in the us, and he loved being able to do what he wants (that's something everyone wants), and he loved the brotherhood of the army, and he thought of it as a game, which was both horrifying and also exhilarating, but once the initial fun went away, that war was hard and dirty, just a game where you lose all your brothers one by one. And he also talks about the "us vs them" mentality and the group cohesion and how that felt like he was really home.

I'm kinda confused, but I have some of the pieces.

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Essential watching:

http://youtu.be/P_G2u1RrLOk

http://youtu.be/NdwsfTy_haM

Second video (here) was nominated for an Oscar for best documentary.

so the first 3 minutes would be more of the media propaganda, and they are exaggerating it, it's not like, you go into the army and you come out as a robot killing machine, haha, no the first 3 minute sounds kinda stupid.... Yea, in 1987, I don't think things change. Maybe it's just the outside looking in.

No no, this documentary is biased, its not like. People can't think on their own and have free will on their on, this documentary is bs.

Second documentary is better, it's sometimes 80% right and sometimes 60% right.

Edited by stealthsilent1

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Currently serving my 7th year in the RAF as a ground photographer. I've spent most of my career with the RAF Regiment and the Army so i'm not very "blue"

Ha one of the big four sf?

I wouldnt be slinging your "regiment" antics about too much. :P

Edited by Stagler

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I have told about a shoot out I was in on the first page and during that I honestly have no idea if my bullets killed anyone but in that engagement I was engaged with a terrorist group so I didn't feel any bad for them, In fact in the moment I was just shooting at figures and muzzle flashes and I did not realize I was hit until afterwards but my vest saved me. Shoot outs arent scary when you see your comrades rushing up into a defensive line in front of you it actually gave me more of a boost, What is scary is if you lose a limb and have to live without it...

Vladimir. I don't know who was on the other side of where your bullets landed but I wanna point this out: term terrorist was and is often used by different sides to trick the mind into thinkink killing your opponent is OK. You could easily tag certain terrorists as freedom fighters for example. It all depends which side is talking about them.

My grandpa was designated a terrorist by Italian and German soldiers in WW2 who in the eyes of the locals were the agressors and occupators. As a kid/teenager he was helping the partisans as a messenger between different isolated groups scattered in the mountaneous region of Slovenia so they could coordinate their operations better.

 

Partisans at the time employed warring tactics which gave them the most chanches of survival while doing as much damage to the enemy as possible and of course by doing so they mostly employed hit and run missions with full on engagements happening too but not so often. As such he was much praised in Yugoslav society back then and was of course not labelled a terrorist by the people who lived in Yugoslavia. But partisan deeds could justifiably be labelled as such by the way they operated, tactics the used.

It's a thin line between what determines you being a terrorist or not one. It certainly was and is the most abused term which enables soldiers to come out of the firefight with (more) unscatched concious, (more) soothed mind and a chance not to have nightmares after the war is over.

Edited by Hister

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As someone who studies war, and grew up in the US area that first revolted against British rule in 1776, my personal definition of "partisan" vs. "terrorist" is to the degree the individual has the support of the local population and international legal standing fighting against a force that has less of either or both. In other words, it comes down to a balance of who has more legitimacy to claim the territory being fought over. Part of legitimacy comes down to fighting tactics as well, since a group claiming to be fighting on behalf of a people should not be deliberately blowing them up.

The Slovene partisans fighting against Italian and German military occupation forces is a no-brainer. They had far more legitimacy than either the Italians or Germans. A far right paramilitary group is a terrorist since he has no measurable local legitimacy or legal standing fighting against a force that has both. Obviously in some fights, like in Ukraine, it gets very messy because each side views the conflict from its own biases. However, international opinion matters a whole lot, so if only one or two countries recognizes a group of armed men as "partisans" and the rest "terrorists", that is significant.

Steve

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Before we go super off topic:

 

The danger of the word terrorist is that it's a very handy tool to discard opposing forces and view points.  

 

The more useful definition is looking to the focus of the group's operations.  If it's fighting enemy forces in an asymmetrical manner (blowing up convoys, IED attacks, small unit ambushes), then insurgent or guerrilla is a more balanced perspective.  The focus of the terrorist is not so much fighting in an asymmetrical battle against the enemy's military forces, but in fighting the enemy's will to fight through atrocity.  Kidnapping and killing random westerners has virtually no impact on the mechanical ability of the west to drop bombs on ISIS, however in their own stupid little way they believe that the fear caused by their actions will cause the west to bow down to their demands.

 

So to that end, the old Islamic State in Iraq was terrorist (as their whole method of operations was seeing what could ft an IED, and get into a highly populated center of civilians), the Taliban is closer to insurgent/guerrillas.

 

Of course guerrillas can commit acts of terrorism (Taliban for instance, despite my distinction operates quite liberally with terrorist acts too), and terrorist groups can fight in more "pure" asymmetrical methods, but certain countries just stamp terrorist on anything that opposes whatever they're up to at the moment which rather takes any meaning away from the word.  

 

As an addendum too, I tend to exclude the perceived legitimacy of the party in question.  You can be a popular terrorist, or an unpopular guerrilla/insurgent/etc.  

Edited by panzersaurkrautwerfer

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Thanx for chimming in Steve.

 

It's good to know official designations for different situations.

 

Ukraininan military calling separitists terrorists is not really right/correct in my book. Same as is not rebels calling Ukrainian army fascists. But each side has got to villify the other in order to be able to pull the trigger more easily.

 

 

To return back to topic, my grandpa was once stopped by Italian commander and asked if he has seen any partisans in the area. He said he doesn't know or seen any. He was given a chocolate bar (that was a very rare commodity back then in those parts) and was patted on the chest. He was hiding a letter from one partisan group to another underneath his vest just on the spot where he was patted by the commander.

 

This commanders group was later engaged by partisans and this particular commander died in the firefight. I could feel in the voice of my grandad he was not at ease about this event. He was often tortured by Italian teachers at school for speaking Slovenian or singing Slovenian songs which was prohibited by fasist government at the time and had much hate for Italians in genera lbut this particular event disturbed him to some degree. It tells a lot in my opinion.   

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Before we go super off topic:

 

The danger of the word terrorist is that it's a very handy tool to discard opposing forces and view points.  

 

The more useful definition is looking to the focus of the group's operations.  If it's fighting enemy forces in an asymmetrical manner (blowing up convoys, IED attacks, small unit ambushes), then insurgent or guerrilla is a more balanced perspective.  The focus of the terrorist is not so much fighting in an asymmetrical battle against the enemy's military forces, but in fighting the enemy's will to fight through atrocity.  Kidnapping and killing random westerners has virtually no impact on the mechanical ability of the west to drop bombs on ISIS, however in their own stupid little way they believe that the fear caused by their actions will cause the west to bow down to their demands.

no, they aren't stupid, that's probably a media tactic. Of course they don't believe that people will give up because they are so afraid. It's part of the propaganda. See what they do is make all the countries around them afraid like hell with all their videos. I was in Lebanon this summer, and I've seen the beheading videos and my uncle's friend was beheaded and I was scared ****less of being beheaded. Pure terror.

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And seeing all that blood and gore for absolutely nothing, that must destroy you.

 

As White2Golf put it, I do find such a statement insulting. I saw my fair share of blood and gore during my time, and I'm still here, functioning normally. You just have to learn how to put in the background.

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As White2Golf put it, I do find such a statement insulting. I saw my fair share of blood and gore during my time, and I'm still here, functioning normally. You just have to learn how to put in the background.

so just like a doctor

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so just like a doctor

 

Working in an emergency room can surely be quite difficult too at times. Most people find it unpleasant to see others suffering.

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As someone who studies war, and grew up in the US area that first revolted against British rule in 1776, my personal definition of "partisan" vs. "terrorist" is to the degree the individual has the support of the local population and international legal standing fighting against a force that has less of either or both. In other words, it comes down to a balance of who has more legitimacy to claim the territory being fought over. Part of legitimacy comes down to fighting tactics as well, since a group claiming to be fighting on behalf of a people should not be deliberately blowing them up.

The Slovene partisans fighting against Italian and German military occupation forces is a no-brainer. They had far more legitimacy than either the Italians or Germans. A far right paramilitary group is a terrorist since he has no measurable local legitimacy or legal standing fighting against a force that has both. Obviously in some fights, like in Ukraine, it gets very messy because each side views the conflict from its own biases. However, international opinion matters a whole lot, so if only one or two countries recognizes a group of armed men as "partisans" and the rest "terrorists", that is significant.

Steve

 

 

Before we go super off topic:

 

The danger of the word terrorist is that it's a very handy tool to discard opposing forces and view points.  

 

The more useful definition is looking to the focus of the group's operations.  If it's fighting enemy forces in an asymmetrical manner (blowing up convoys, IED attacks, small unit ambushes), then insurgent or guerrilla is a more balanced perspective.  The focus of the terrorist is not so much fighting in an asymmetrical battle against the enemy's military forces, but in fighting the enemy's will to fight through atrocity.  Kidnapping and killing random westerners has virtually no impact on the mechanical ability of the west to drop bombs on ISIS, however in their own stupid little way they believe that the fear caused by their actions will cause the west to bow down to their demands.

 

So to that end, the old Islamic State in Iraq was terrorist (as their whole method of operations was seeing what could ft an IED, and get into a highly populated center of civilians), the Taliban is closer to insurgent/guerrillas.

 

Of course guerrillas can commit acts of terrorism (Taliban for instance, despite my distinction operates quite liberally with terrorist acts too), and terrorist groups can fight in more "pure" asymmetrical methods, but certain countries just stamp terrorist on anything that opposes whatever they're up to at the moment which rather takes any meaning away from the word.  

 

As an addendum too, I tend to exclude the perceived legitimacy of the party in question.  You can be a popular terrorist, or an unpopular guerrilla/insurgent/etc.  

 

So you are using the terms terrorist, partisan or guerillia as a description of the methods of operation of a specific group while Steves definition of those terms is more of a moral judgement. The interesting question is now: is it possible to commit acts of terrorism without acting morally reprehensible? Technically, by your definiton panzersaurkrautwerfer, the allied morale bombing campaigns of WW2 against japanese and german cities and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki could be considered acts of terrorism, because they were specifically designed to break the enemys will to fight through atrocity. On ther other hand, both the allied bombing campaigns against german and japanese cities and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are, by many people, considered to have been appropriate and legitimagte actions, given the nature and size of the conflict. I personally tend to agree with that view when it comes to the atmoic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki because it simply worked. The Japanese surrendered and probably there would have been more people killed -both Japanese and Allied- if the bombs had not been dropped. The conventional bombings of purely civillian targets though is more controversial in my view. Admittedly the technology of the time did not allow the accurate, surgical bombing of purely industrial sites or military targets, often whole city blocks had to be flattened to take out a single factory. Despite the large loss of civillian life, i think that since there simply were no lesser means available, no laser guided bombs that could have taken out the targets without masssive collateral damage, these bombings of strategically valueable targets were justified. The conventional allied morale bombing campaigns against Germany and Japan however did not suceed in shortening the war or breaking the enemys will to fight, so basically you had atrocities beeing commited without the reaching of the strategic goal that was used to justify these atrocities. So it comes down to the question: do you morally judge an action by the intent or the result? I would rather opt for the first option, but i know people who disagree with me in the specific context i am talking about above. Also this seems to be the answear to the initial question: is it possible to commit acts of terrorism without acting morally reprehensible? I really dont like the answear because i have nothing but despite for ISIS or Al-Qaeda or the Nazis and the like, but right at the moment it seems to me that: "Yes, you can be a terrorist and on the moral highground at the same time" is the logical conclusion. But if i despise terrorists like ISIS and Al-Qaeda or the Nzis despite the possibility of morally justified acts of terrorism, that must mean that the intent for why these organisations are commiting acts of terrorism must be morally unjustified, to which i can very much agree.

 

I am only considering the allied morale bombing campaigns as worthy of a discussion of their morale value for obvious reasons. I dont think anyone here is going to defend the Axis morale bombing campaigns anyways.

Edited by agusto

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It was a terrorist group not because I think they were but because you don't randomly attack a blockpost that is there to regulate and defend, We didn't provoke no one and we never did anything to anyone there, So of course the people I most likely killed were terrorists that had some sort of motive. I personally think they were Georgians. About the term terrorist, I think the main problem of how the word terrorism is used is that it is used with discrimination. For example on the news you never see a "American terrorist has killed a cop."   What you do see is "Russian terrorists (insert crime here)" Or "Muslim terrorists" but it is usually used against muslims from what I see. The definition of terrorism is the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce.

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I define terrorism (and therefore terrorists) much like panzersaurkrautwerfer does. The main difference between a group of insurgents and a group of terrorists (in my opinion) is that the terrorists use terror as their main weapon while the insurgents try to win a military victory.

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Re: Allied bombing in World War Two

 

It's a weird area.  I'm less than warm and fuzzy towards 1940's Germany and Japan so I have always tended to be a bit biased in simply chalking it up to reaping what they had sown over London and Shanghai.  Also if we want to get weird about it and start looking into Just War theory, I'm going to steal from the Catholic church and throw in that there must be serious chances of success to really call something "just" vs simply killing civilians.  The Allied host dumping bombs on Germany and Japan reasonably expected (and could be reasonably expected by impartial observers) to have a severe impact on either of those country's warmaking abilities.  Blowing up a market because ALLAH AKABR! does not have a serious chance of success in expelling the infidel and bringing back the caliphate.  The grand exception of "except in case of defensive war" does not really seem to wash in terms of most strictly terrorist groups in that they are not the legitimate representation of the party being defended (ISI as a good example, was certainly not defending Iraq and was a lot closer to a second batch of invaders).

 

In terms of nuclear bombing I don't even register it as something exceptional, it's a novel tool to achieve what was already being done at that point.

 

Either way it points out the fragility of the various rules of war.  You can see the very early painstaking attempts to avoid causing civilian deaths via bombing by the allies, but once the Germans started, there really wasn't a way to put things back together again (while the first bombing of London was accidental, other cities had already been freely bombed without hesitation or remorse).  Once the various powers were dropping bombs, no one was going to stop except for pragmatic reasons (like the sort of hiccup in Allied bombing when the bombing parties were at the lowest level of effectiveness, and German defenses at their highest).  

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That second posted documentary by Gwynne Dyer - A Profession of Arms has footage of me in it.  I was doing my artillery officer training in CFB Gagetown and we were told a CBC crew shooting a documentary would be shooting some footage of us doing our training and other activities.  

 

Obviously, a lot of that footage was left on the cutting room floor but when A Profession of Arms came out, I watched for myself and I am in the footage of the Regimental mess dinner at the end during the credits.  

 

Unfortunately, the YouTube version above cuts off just as the credits start, so, so much for my 15 minutes of fame on these boards.  :lol:

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No 'real service' here. In Finland every man will get their time as conscript. We have reserve army here. Served my time in -93. I was air artillery ZSU-23 mm (Sergei 23mm) as corporal for my gun team, served 365 days. I fired AK-47, sub machine guns, 12.7mm machine guns, pistols, and that 23mm Sergei. Boy that was fun. I love that gun! Even more fun when mounted on truck, nice mobile gun platform.

Also served in coastal artillery.

 

Now in reserve. My father served as UN soldier back in 70's in Cyprus. And grand father served in WW2 in continuation war against Soviet Union and grand-grand father did some more during the civil war back in 1917.

 

I stick to games. Much more safe to play war, happy this way. :)

Edited by De Savage

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Let's try not to get this thread too far off the intended topic.

I think we can all agree that some groups/individuals are clearly terrorists, some are clearly are partisans. Then there's the big gray area inbetween.

Note that the technical legal definition of a terrorist is different than what most of us have been saying. Targeting military or police personnel can still be declared an act of terrorism. For example, if I slip over the border into Canada and start killing members of the Canadian armed forces I would not be considered a "partisan" (freedom fighter, insurgent, separatist, etc.) even if I am carefully avoiding collateral damage. I, as an individual actor, do not have sufficient standing to justify my actions and therefore should be considered a terrorist. Er, under those circumstances :D Which is why I include local legitimacy as part of the definition of what makes a partisan a partisan and not a terrorist. Most people do even if they aren't fully conscious of doing so.

Steve

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Ha one of the big four sf?

I wouldnt be slinging your "regiment" antics about too much. :P

 

;) I wouldn't sing about the Regiment if you paid me too! They're a nice enough bunch but sometimes you do get a few braggers!

 

On the other hand they've allowed me to get a good grasp of basic light infantry tactics. Admitedly the time spent with the army was more interesting but was really nothing which I can translate into anything useful for Combat mission ;)

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Active-duty 24 year US Army Armor Lieutenant Colonel.  55ish total months deployed to combat zone, Kuwait, Iraq, AFG, since 9-11.  7 months in Bosnia (near Tuzla) as Tank Company CDR in 1st CAV in 1999 during Kosovo crisis.  200+ combat patrols in Baghdad in 2006 as Cav Squadron S-3.  Been hit by multiple IEDs on my vehicle, just missed getting SVESTed in Kunar AFG, shelled, mortared and RPG'ed on FOB and off, shot at, shot, rocks thrown at me, cursed, flipped off and given the evil eye on more than one occasion.  To the best of my knowledge no one has ever thrown a grenade at me or dropped a bomb on me.  Got to shoot my rifle at bad guys on exactly one instance in Kunduz, N. AFG in 2010.  Pretty sure I missed (got off about a half mag with my M-4 at 800ish meters at unseen enemy) but you never know.  Got shot in the chest by an IIS Iraqi Sniper with an SVD in Baghdad in 2006.  Bullet hit above my ESAPI and struck an aluminum rock climbing carabiner that was holding my M-4 on my vest.  Shattered that, and then penetrated 7 of 9 layers of flexible Kevlar in the vest.  Came in at a nice shallow angle so it didn't quite penetrate.  Knocked me A** over tea-kettle, and hurt me pretty bad.  3d degree burn on my chest from the impact, but 3 days recovery and good to go.  3mm left or right and I'm Maus tot (dead as a mouse).  Scary part is I know guys who got closer to dead than me.  Most fear I ever felt in combat was getting out of the armored HMMWV on first daylight patrol out after I got hit. 

 

Never scared when getting shot at, although apprehensive on a few instances.  Got in an ambush once - 'idiots' shooting at us in our uparmored trucks (baiting us into IED ambush - worked too!).  I saw a guy shooting at us, and my gunner was missing him.  I wanted so bad to open the door of the truck and snap one into his head with my M-4.  But I knew there were other guys shooting at us from other angles that I had not identified, and I decided (correctly) that my job was to lead the patrol, not get zapped shooting at the one damn insurgent I could see.  So I stayed where I was and bravely and brilliantly led the patrol straight into the IEDs!  My gunner got knocked unconscious (again) but thankfully no one else got hurt.  Extraordinarily frustrating to get hit with IEDs or shelled and be completely incapable of fighting back.  We were glad afterwards (including my gunner) that we at least got to shoot at them.   

 

On gore; slipped and fell on a chunk of fat blown out of a civilian guy's abdomen once at a VBIED scene.  If I hadn't fallen, I would have been out from behind cover when the 60mm round landed a dozen or so meters away a couple seconds later.  Fretted for months over the stain it left on my boot. Nothing would get it out.  We had to pick up an assasinated shia doctor once in Baghdad, whose body the insurgents left lying in the road.  Put him in a bag, just as his 20ish nurse daughter arrived on scene, going understandably nuts.  Naturally, she spoke fluent English and wasn't shy about laying blame for her father's death on the Yankee thugs who had invaded her country in the first place (as opposed to the Sunni insurgents who killed her dad just for being a shia).  Remember my troops became quite unhappy when I told them they had to put the body bag inside the HMMWV out of respect so we could take him to the morgue at the Iraqi hospital.  Doubly pissed at me when the bag leaked inside the HMMWV.  In Kunar, watched a guy pick up SVEST bomber's boot, leg still attached, and put in an ambulance.  War is gory.

 

Biggest fear - seeing kids get hurt.  I've dealt with seeing US troops hurt and killed - we all volunteered at some point, so it is bad but not unbearable for me.  Admittedly, never had a close friend killed while I was around, though an Afghan Army LT murdered my former company XO in AFG last year - I was pretty upset when I heard, but I was stateside at the time.  Adults getting hurt, well we all take our chances right?  It is a war.  Kids getting hurt sucks.  I have two kids.  I love them, and I just can't wrap my head around the idea of them or others like them getting hurt by us adult's messes.  My boss in Baghdad had a lady come up and ask him to get his medic to 'fix' her 1 year old son who got winged in the head by the AK round the insurgents used to assassinate her husband.  No, one year old kids don't survive getting 'winged' by an AK round.  He wound up gently holding this poor child's lifeless body for way too long, while trying to console her and explain that our medics could not bring him back.  I missed being there by about two minutes.  Have thanked God for that mercy ever since. 

 

Spookiest moment - clearing one of Saddam's command and control bunkers in Ameriyah.  Was very much like a scene out of Half-Life.  Big, dark concrete bunker that just looked like it belonged in a 1P shooter. 

 

Most vivid memory - locking and loading and doing last minute PCC's before rolling out the entry control point for patrols.  I remember the very distinct smells of diesel exhaust, Baghdad dust, FOB + local environment, the heat, the feel of the M4 in my hands, the 'tough' feel of my combat gloves, the weight of the HMMWV door, the taste of stale bottled water,  the tone of the radio speaker and the transition from casual Soldier banter to ready reports from the patrol and my crew.  The mental transition from relaxed and 'safe' on the FOB, to alert and singularly focused as we roll through the gate, accepting the grinding fatigue that we know is to come.

 

Concur with much of PzSauer's overall comments on US combat experience, leadership and psyche.  Love many aspects of the Army, hate others.  Best and worst leaders I've ever known were all US Army.  Constantly torn between the desire to go 'over' again and the love and opportunity of enjoying my life with my family.  Family is winning so far... 

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