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WELL-FED CANNON FODDER

 
 
Setanta
 
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2010 10:06 am
Should we insist that the military drop the discriminatory practice of insisting upon high physical fitness standards, and allow flabby fatties to join the army or navy and see the world? Fat boys and girls can draw enemy fire just as well as skinny ones. If i had to seek cover behind the corpse of a comrade, is it not reasonable that i would want as hefty a corpse as possible? Your thoughts?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 872 • Replies: 11
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2010 10:14 am
@Setanta,
My thoughts?

I think you're perfectly awful!

My brother told me there was an absolute epidemic of soldiers who tried to "eat their way out of the Army" several years back. They started prescribing extra PT to those with suspicious weight gain.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2010 10:23 am
In 1970, while i was a member of the Army Medical Corps, the Army announced a program whereby soldiers who admitted to a drug or alcohol problem would be given the opportunity to enrol in a rehabilitation program. In the event, those who did were usually just separated from the service, and that included a great many who were within a few years of meeting the minimum retirement qualifications.

I thought the Army as perfectly awful.

The training sergeant at that hospital would not have had a hope in hell of passing a PT test. He was the motor pool sergeant, and a crucial cog in the organizational wheel. I was sittiing in his office one day and asked him why we never had PT tests, and he just laughed.
PUNKEY
 
  2  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2010 10:46 am
No; all the fatties can work for local police departments. At least ours is full of fat-asses. Any kid could outrun these clowns.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2010 10:46 am
@Setanta,
The Army was perfectly awful to do such a thing.

I've heard tell of a BGeneral who missed promotion because his wife had a bit too much to drink at a party.

The Army is weird.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2010 10:50 am
@boomerang,
True, but probably no weirder that any other big, hierarchical organization. If you heard that some corporate VP missed a promotion because of his wife drinking too much, would that surprise you?

When I was in the Navy, we had a weight watchers like group on board. They would meet for weigh-ins, have support sessions, do PT together. The difference was that if you didn't make progress (slow, medically approved rate of progress), you wouldn't be promoted and were eventually discharged.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2010 11:01 am
@engineer,
Yeah, I think it would surprise me. Probably because I know a few head honchos who get mind bendingly drunk at parties.

I know that the military in general can be really hard on a person's body so making sure they meet a basic level of physical fitness makes sense to me.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2010 11:28 am
@boomerang,
Institutions liked that are seriously weird. Before the civil war, in "the old Army," it was like an exclusive club. John Magruder (whose descendant Jeb Stuart Magruder was one of Nixon's bad boys) used to while away the boring hours at various duty stations by staging amateur theatricals. He became known as "Prince John" Magruder, and they were still calling him that during the civil war. In 1862, when the Yankees invaded the Virginia peninsula, he didn't have enough troops to stop them, so they put "Quaker guns" (Logs painted black) in the fortifications, and he marched his men back and forth day and night, with flags flying and bugle calls. It worked, he finally fell back on Williamsburg just before the Yankees attacked and just as reinforcements arrived.

Lee became the great Southern hero first at the series of battles known as the Seven Days. Before that, he was known as "Granny Lee" because he was blamed for losing West Virginia, or "The King of Spades" because he made white boys dig fortifications, rather than calling up slave labor. In the Seven Days, his object was to destroy the "Grand Division" of Fitz John Porter, who was cut off from the rest of the Federal army by the Chickahominy River. Lee's plan was to roll up his line and crush him against the river. The plan failed. A week before, Stuart had ridden around McClellan's army, which was largely a stunt. Porter had warned McClellan that their base at White House on the Pammunky River was threatened, so McClellan switched his base to James River.

Porter packed up everything which wasn't needed right away, and when Lee's army attacked, his troops inflicted horrible casualties on the Confederates, and withdrew, fighting. A successful fighting withdrawal is the hardest thing a general can be called upon to do, and Porter successfully did it for five consecutive days.

But McClellan was not popular at the War Department, and so a "young turk" from the west, John Pope, as brought in, and a new army formed while McClellan withdrew from the position in front of Richmond. Lee, who had many faults as a commander, never lacked for decision (Harry Heth, in the days when he was still called Granny Lee said: "Why, his very name might be audacity!"). Taking a gamble, he hurried his army north, and sent Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson on a two day nightmare march to get in the rear of Pope's army. It worked, and Pope's Army of Virginia was crushed.

But this is where things got really bizarre. Porter, Burnside and McClellan were all friends, Porter had been at West Point with McClellan. Pope didn't like them and they didn't like him--especially since Pope was intended to replace McClellan. They complained about him to Lincoln before Lee attacked, and that was a political mistake, because Pope was Lincoln's buddy. It was even worse when Pope got his ass whipped, because the only thing more galling than getting advice you don't want is for the advice to turn out to have been right.

Pope was relieved, McClellan was put back in command, and he managed to trap Lee against the Potomac River--and then failed to destroy him. Unsurprisingly as these things go, McClellan then blamed Porter for his failure to destroy Lee's army. McClellan was now gone, and Burnside took command.

But few people in the old Army had been friends with Porter, who was an incurable gossip and much resented for it, and fewer still were his friends now. So, Pope, pissed because his career was over (they sent him to Minnesota to fight the Sioux), brought charges against Porter, arguably the best corps commander then in the Army of the Potomac, and Pope got on to his political cronies in Washington to bring down Porter. Pope was just being a prick, because nothing would save his career now. But Lincoln and Halleck were looking for scapegoats (for political reasons), so Porter went before a court martial and was convicted for allegedly refusing to follow Pope's orders in the battle which destroyed Pope's army. It was bullshit, and Porter was eventually exhonorated and reinstated, but his career was over then, too.

This sort of bizarre thing went on all the time. One of the most bizzare examples was Lee. Whenever Lee referred to a Confederate general officer, he referred to them by their rank--but he referred to the Federal officers by their rank before the war, in the old Armyh, on several occasions. During the battle of Chancellorsville, the Yankees crossed the river at Fredericksburg, and threatened his flank. A parson who was acting as a courier rode up in a lather to tell Lee all about it. Lee told him to sit down and rest, and offered him a glass of buttermilk. He then told the parson: "I've just sent General McLaws [CS Major General Lafayette McLaws] to call on Major Sedgwick [actually US Major General John Sedgwick]." On another occasion when some matrons in Virginia complained to him that the young ladies in the neighborhood had been to balls held by the Yankees when they had occupied the area, Lee said that he thought it as harmless fun, and said: "I know Major Sickles [actually, US Major General Daniel Sickles], and he will have only gentlemen about him." Lee himself always wore a uniform with the rank insignia of a Colonel, the highest rank he had attained in the old Army, even though he was a "full" General, and one of the highest ranking officers in Confederate Service.

It wasn't just that war, either. When the United States entered the First World War, Douglas MacArthur was the wunderkind of the War Department, but he longed to serve overseas. So, his mother, who personally knew General John "Black Jack" Pershing, began to pester the General until Douglas was promoted and posted overseas. Eisenhower (then a Major) was MacArthur's chief of staff in the 1930s, and MacArthur was often seen to roll his eyes whenever someone mentioned Eisenhower to him during the Second World War. His staff learned not to mention Eisenhower's name. The very nasty and public remarks that Patton constantly made about Field Marshall Montgomery (a true military troglodyte in my never humble opinion) were legendary, and always gave the press a good laugh. His most famous, i believe is when he told the boys in the Press corps, in regard to Montgomery's planned offensive: "Field Marshall Montgomery is planning to pounce on the wily Hun like a ferocioius rabbit."

Elaborate organizations, and not just the military, are always like that. You can't suppress human nature.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2010 11:39 am
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
I know that the military in general can be really hard on a person's body so making sure they meet a basic level of physical fitness makes sense to me.


Me too.

I think it should be performance-based rather than weight-based -- I know a lot of people who are quite fit even though they have extra flab. You can't always tell by looking/ weighing. Not sure how it works now.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2010 11:45 am
Here, i tagged this satire, so people wouldn't attempt to take it seriously.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2010 11:59 am
By the way, political chincanery and plotting is as old as the country. Read about the Conway Cabal, when cronies of General Horatio Gates attempted to get rid of George Washington. Washington was always properly deferential to Congress, so when he had quashed the cabal, and had gotten Conway cashiered, he sent Gates to the Carolinas to please Gates' rather clueless supporters in Congress. At the battle of Camden in South Carolina, Gates did wrong just about everything it was possible to do wrong, and his army was routed. He then rode more tha 150 miles in three days, making him the fastest and farthest to run away after the battle. His career was over at that point.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Dec, 2010 11:02 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:

My thoughts?

I think you're perfectly awful!

My brother told me there was an absolute epidemic of soldiers who tried to "eat their way out of the Army" several years back. They started prescribing extra PT to those with suspicious weight gain.
All that nonsense of the survival of the fitest does not fit with a modern society... The people who send men to war couldn't pass a paternity test, or a psychological examination, and my bet is that if the had as many sticking out of them as they had sticking in them they would look like a rose bush... My father who served in the pacific during WWII used to say that the fittest all became pilots who suffered a lot more casualities and death... Some times it pays to be less fit and more lucky...
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