By lex, on February 15th, 2012
The Navy’s EOD school gains some:
The phrase “Initial Success or Total Failure” has long served as the unofficial motto of explosive ordnance disposal technicians in the U.S. military.
Until recently, the slogan hung on a wall at the Naval EOD school at Eglin. It was removed after senior EOD leaders decided the words were insensitive.
“It holds some potential insensitivity and implies that our fallen and wounded EOD warriors have somehow failed,” said Joy Samsel, deputy public affairs officer at Naval Education and Training Command in Pensacola. “We don’t want to do that to families.”
Samsel said the EOD school has never had an official motto and has no plans to adopt one.
Rear Adm. Michael Tillotson, commander of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, took issue with the slogan and said that “to imply that failure is an option is unacceptable.”
Explosive ordnance disposal is an exceptionally stressful and rigorous profession, and those that have chosen that path are truly our nation’s unsung heroes over the last decade. But the truth of their profession is this: If you succeed at your task, a bomb is disabled. If you fail, you pay for it with your life. It’s binary. That doesn’t imply any level of personal failure – some of these devices are truly infernal – but it is a fact that if bomb goes off in an uncontrolled fashion the mission was not successfully accomplished. Ergo, “total failure”.
Warriors do not thrive when coddled, and flag officers used to have more substantive issues to concern themselves with.
Honestly, sometimes I despair of us.
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By lex, on January 16th, 2012
When our forces first went into Afghanistan, it was all about the kinetics. A couple of years ago, the mission moved to “hearts and minds”, firepower being eschewed in favor of making nice. Then came the “Afghan surge”, which never included as many forces as the forward commanders requested, but definitely resulted in increased presence and concomitant kinetics in places the NATO coalition had never been, or where they had been too thin on the ground to effect either a tactical or strategic difference.
By lex, on January 12th, 2012
Third Battalion, Second Marines is in the headlines, and not in a good way:
The U.S. Marine Corps is investigating a video that surfaced online today in which several Marines appear to urinate on the corpses of suspected Taliban fighters.
The video, which is less than a minute long, appears to show four men in uniform looking around before urinating on three dead bodies, at least one of the men chuckles as they do so.
“Have a great day, buddy,” one of the men is heard saying, apparently to a dead body.
The Marine Corps responded quickly after reports of the video surfaced, calling for a full investigation.
By lex, on March 17th, 2011
George Will writes that China’s economic growth is being underwritten in part by the US Navy’s beneficent guardianship of the international sea lanes of communication:
Whatever China’s navy becomes, some thoughtful people will be surprised. What they do (at the Naval War College) is scholarship, not intelligence — they devour the flood of Chinese military publications. And the scholars differ about the most fundamental question, which is: Will China, for the next three to five decades, concentrate on economic growth — on prospering from globalization’s unimpeded flow of raw materials, goods and services — and be content to let America bear the burden of policing this?
The answer will be yes — if China makes a purely economic calculation. But nations usually have deeper and stronger motivations. This is particularly true of ascendant nations feeling their oats and spurred by long memories of impotence and humiliations.
It may be difficult to thwart the aspirations of 1.3 billion people.
Perhaps Joss Whedon had it right.
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