Rangerettes are Back At It.

One of the "one time only" admittees from Class 6-15 in April, taking her PT test. Most of the women passed the PT test that day. It was downhill from there, and now we're seeing pressure to lower standards.

One of the “one time only” admittees from Class 6-15 in April, taking her PT test. Most of the women passed the PT test that day (we dunno about this gal, but her pushup form looks OK). It was downhill from there, and now we’re seeing pressure to lower standards.

On 21 June a new Ranger Class (8-15) kicked off at Fort Benning and RAP Week is on. Among the trainees are three Day One recycles from Class 7-15, all women. Two men were also offered a Day One recycle after failing the Darby phase, but declined the recycle and went either back to their units (if they came from troop units), on to the next stage of their initial training cycle (if they were newly accessioned officers and had training schools still ahead), or, if they came from Ranger Regiment, back to haul their gear across base to a non-Ranger unit.

Whatever we can say about these women, two lieutenants and a major, you can’t criticize their guts. They haven’t, however, done well leading patrols. There are a number of reasons for this, but one of the ones no one seems to be considering is that leadership is not for everybody. The Army is pretty good at teaching its people to fake it till they make it, and even introverts can be effective with the simple checklist leadership taught at Ranger School.

A common beef is that, as the women don’t come from combat arms, they can’t be expected to know anything about patrolling or, say, warning orders. That’s nonsense; patrolling is necessary for any unit to secure its perimeter, and writing warning, operations, and fragmentary orders is a common skill at all officer and NCO leadership levels. One of the struggling candidates is a major, for the love of Mike, and therefore has ten years in a wartime Army, and is ambitious enough to want to pursue this badge on the theory that it will catapult her into high command. Can’t do an operations order?

Maybe this gig is not for you.

ranger_school_sign

The press reaction has been about what you might expect. The Christian Science Monitor carefully explained that these women who failed are better than the men who passed, because feminism or something. The Washington Post went to one of its go-to experts on the military, Ellen Haring:

Ellen Haring, a reserve Army colonel, expressed disbelief that none of the 19 women who originally qualified to try Ranger School has succeeded. ….

Haring said that the longer that Ranger School is left open to women, the more accepted it will be in the ranks and the more likely it is that a woman will graduate. She questioned how men who do not come from a combat arms background can pass Ranger School after attending a preliminary courses at Fort Benning, but no woman has.

The Post elides a lot of Haring’s background. They say of her:

She’s a leader of No Exceptions, a campaign organized by the non-partisan Truman Project and Center for National Policy that calls for all jobs in the military to be opened to women who qualify.

The Truman Project is so non-partisan it’s named for the Democrat who rose to the Presidency by accident (and stayed there largely by wit) and is the nearest thing to a saint today’s irreligious Democrats recognize. Start a timer now, stop it when the Post writes “the nonpartisan Reagan Institute….”

And Haring’s “No Exceptions” is a group that argues for the elimination of standards so that careerist women officers — we’d say, like Haring, but she’s a Reserve officer, well over 50 years old, so what career? — can rise “proportionately” regardless of merit.

Haring herself has tried to sue herself to military advancement, a fact well known to the Post’s dishonest Dan Lamothe, but left out of Lamothe’s article. Of course, manipulating regulations and threatening and executing lawsuits are a common tactic among careerist women; these typically female passive-aggressive behaviors are more or less the opposite of markers of leadership potential.

“If you know your enemy, but don’t know yourself,” Sun Tzu wrote, you’re not going to win consistently. This absence of self-knowledge is evident in the subtext of the following paragraph by Dishonest Dan:

Sources familiar with the assessment said some of the final eight women were shocked and frustrated when they learned they didn’t pass the next part, the Darby Phase. It is known for its daunting Darby Queen obstacle course, but includes a variety of exercises in which Ranger students take turns planning and leading foot patrols through the wooded hills of Fort Benning. That’s where most, if not all, of the female students were dropped.

Ranger students are graded by both peers and Ranger instructors (RIs). The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to concerns about damaging their careers, said many of the women who made it to the Darby Phase were graded well by their fellow male Ranger students — a process known as peer reviews — but informed at the end that they had failed at least two patrols and wouldn’t be able to continue.

The anonymous sources Dan is relying on to tell his story here may or may not exist. The Post frequently makes up military news using phony “anonymous sources.” The one thing that ID’s this guff is that it always fits The Narrative™. Remember “Jessica Lynch, Amazon Warrior Woman?” That story was made up by the Post’s Dana Priest using the fiction of an anonymous source. (Lynch was unconscious during the battle where Priest had her singlehandedly slaying the Iraqi Army, then being captured).

“There’s the sense that no RI really wants to be the first one to pass a woman,” one of the sources said.

Let us fix that for you: “There’s the sense that no RI really wants to be the first one to pass a woman,” Dan Lamothe said. Note the passive, evasive construction. Hell, maybe his source is Haring but based on the Post’s usual ways of military reporting, it’s 100% anal extraction.

Male students who had women in their patrols also failed at an unusually high rate, the sources said. The average Ranger Course typically sees a few dozen soldiers wash out during the Darby Phase, but eight women and 101 men did so in the class that begin Ranger School on April 20. Thirty-five of those men failed to meet the standards to try again, but the rest were allowed to “recycle” and try it again later in May, Army officials said.

Again, Dan’s cryptic “sources” are probably primarily Dan, with a Greek chorus of some members of the Careerist Female Officer Sisterhood.

But if there is an element of truth in the claim that men with women in their squads fail at a higher rate, there is a plausible explanation (if a speculative one. Note that we, unlike Dan Lamothe, tell you when we’re speculating).

In Darby phase, all patrols are small — squad sized. Frankly, many would-be leaders have their hands full keeping track of 5 to 10 other soldiers. And one thing that comes with leadership, in Ranger school, is consequences. If Ranger Smedlap falls asleep in a security position or otherwise fails to perform, the consequences to Smedlap, who is in an ungraded follower position in a patrol led by Ranger Slobotnik, can be severe: a major minus Spot Report. Spot Reports do a number of things — they blot the Ranger candidate’s copybook, in a way that he (or she) has to soldier out of, if possible. Too many and you get dropped (two major minuses, IIRC. Dunno — we only got one Spot Report, a Major Plus). X number of minor minuses add up to a major minus (again, we seem to recall the number was two, but we could be wrong). Worse, from the candidate’s viewpoint, is that a Major Minus Spot flags all the other RIs that this candidate bears watching. One secret to success in Ranger School is to be the grey man. That possibility evaporates once you get a Spot Report, positive or negative.

But the consequences to Ranger Smedlap are secondary to the consequences of Smedlap’s screwup to Slobotnik. Slobotnik gets a no-go, unless he (or she) has done something that mitigates the potential consequences of Smedlap’s failure.

See, you can do everything right yourself, but if your subordinates fail, in Ranger School (unlike many, many places in the Army) you own it. To us, that is the most probable reason that adding females to the squad causes patrol failures, given that none of these females have really demonstrated they’re any good at this.Guts only take you so far. In the end, you have to perform.

Or you can be Ellen Haring, and sue.

Update

One of the commenters on the Post site nails it, in light of comments we’ve already heard from Chief of Political Staff Ray Odierno:

And just like clockwork, here’s Phase II of the entirely predictable campaign to lower standards for women until they can compete, without regard to the consequences of such a policy.

Phase I, of course, is to admit women to the competition under the express condition that standards will in no way be lowered even if every female candidate fails. Phase II is, when all of the female candidates fail, immediately start pressuring everyone concerned to say that obviously the women failed because of discrimination. Phase III will be to create a loophole or different scoring system so women who fail the course are deemed to have passed anyway.

Phase IV will be sending soldiers home in body bags because members of their unit couldn’t hack it but were included anyway out of political correctness, but we never talk about Phase IV. I mean, even less than we never talk about the first three phases.

 Amen.

Update II

In the New York Times, a response to the snoozefest that is the WNBA:

There is one easy way to inject excitement into the sport and get these athletes more of the exposure they deserve.

Lower the rims.

The women who play college and professional basketball are amazing athletes — but they’re also undeniably shorter than their male counterparts. Both in the pros and the college ranks, the men have about seven inches on the women.

Got that? The same no-one-in-my-family-ever-served-or-would media drones who want to stuff women into the military, want standards lowered for them in sport.

Because equality.

Update III

Jonn Lilyea at This Ain’t Hell also examines the Post article, and he too remembers Haring. By the way, as you might expect for a bitchy, litigious slug underachiever who still made O6, she is an Academy grad, married to an Academy grad.

50 thoughts on “Rangerettes are Back At It.

  1. robroysimmons

    And this is the cream of the crop or so you have written I believe. Unless some new, new super warrior tribe of Amazons have just recently been discovered the next few classes for women should be sparsely populated.

    While the details are interesting, just stepping back and looking at this in a macro view, it is amazing how stupid they look. Kind of like the cartoons of the old Army draft induction test where a moron is trying to jam a square peg into the round hole and someone off screen shouts “officer material.”

    But on the other hand as far as propaganda goes they have pretty decent talent in putting the lipstick on the pig.

    1. Miles

      From Hognose’s posts from years ago, this has been an effort over the past three years to get some women into Ranger School.

      As someone else posited awhile back on another forum. It took three years of filtering who knows how many women (but we know it’s a number well into hundreds) to finally wind up with eight to have passed RAP week to actually start Ranger School. And those eight couldn’t cut the mustard of the first phase twice and are now only three are left.

      If three years is any indication of the time needed to find enough women to simply try it means that the well, for now, is probably dry.

      And it will very likely be so for another three years, or, quite possibly, a lot longer. This example of failure rate, and God knows how many of these women have suffered long term, or even permanent physical damage, will probably discourage more than a few women who may have considered an attempt.

      1. Hognose Post author

        Miles and guys —

        They thought they were going to have 100 women standing tall with ~300 men on Day 1 of Class 6-15.

        They figured they’d be able to winnow out the best from thousands of volunteers. They barely got 100 volunteers (138) from the entire female officer corps, and about half of them were persuaded to sign up in the last gasp of the thing and crammed into the last available RTAC (pre-Ranger) class. Which produced the same six or seven marginal passes as had classes with only twenty-something women.

        Without RTAC, and commissars, and handholding, you could have dragged all 138 to the first formation and at the end of RAP week they’d have been gone.

        1. Miles

          Which, IMO, is basically making the point from a different angle.

          How long will it take for the SJWs to get a similar quantity of women to volunteer to go through the whole process again so they can get some through RAP?

          How many women graduate ROTC/USMA, come in through other commissioning methods, each year to give a new working base number? They apparently sifted through all the O1-O4 women on active duty to get where they are right now. So that cohort, except maybe for some individuals who decided they wanted to PT some more or observe the first group as a learning experience, wouldn’t enter the equation.

        2. Tom Kratman

          One suspects they got a stat for the percentage of female officers – or possibly idiot Woops cadets – who _said_ they wanted to, so long as the prospect was dim and distant, and then multiplied that by the number of women in the Army.

    2. robroysimmons

      I’m going to guess that the Rangerette movement can be strategically divided and handled. On one side will be the true fanatics, ideologues of purity or destruction, on the other side would be women who would like to run their own little Army fiefdom, their own little training battalion as their stepping stone and trying not to look stupid as they move up the Army ladder.

      But the conservatives couldn’t divide a six pack if they tried.

  2. DAN III

    This “Rangerette” debacle only solidifies my dislike for “the weaker sex” being in the military. As I’ve written before….give 500-800 female grunt wannabes11B/0321 training; create a provo INF BN. Pack their asses off to the ‘stan, drop them in the hills for 30-45 days with an OPORD to hunt down Hajii. Oh, and no, none, Nada, Zip, male support or advisors tagging along except some soon to retire senior NCOs, 11B and 18 series, as evaluators. We’ll see how well Suzie Rottencrotch performs then.

    As far as lowering the standards ? You’re not surprised are you Hognose?
    None of this is about the Spirit of the Bayonet. It is about the Marxist mantra of Social Justice. And this female equality crap will get many good, male soldiers and Marines killed !

    Females. Get them the hell out of the military all together.

  3. Tom Kratman

    My guess is they’ll coddle the female major through, as being the most politically dangerous. It’s an idea not without it’s benefits since, if A woman, even one, can pass the course, they can claim there’s no pressing need to gender norm the course for women.

    For a while. Until the PC-Fascisti insist on more. And the moral Eunuchs we pin stars on agree.

    But, what the fuck; maybe the horse will learn to sing if we can delay the day of judgment long enough.

    1. Miles

      The question becomes: How many women are the SJWs going to try to sacrifice on the altar of PC to get that one (1) woman passed and, after awhile, how many women are going to be willing to be those sacrifices when they figure out the SJWs don’t really give a damn about them except as to how they will advance the agenda?

    2. Hognose Post author

      She’s the most likely to be physically broken by this point. She must be a physical specimen to be hanging in at this point, because while a male in his early 30s (MAJ age) is close to his physical peak, a female has been in physical decline for at least a half-decade. Sexual bimorphism again.

      Meanwhile, we’re starting to see a drumbeat for transgender soldiers, or as we like to call them here, the mentally ill.

      Personally, I’m Napoleon trapped in a stout retiree’s body. Able was I ere I saw Elba! Will no one give me an army to command? Help, help, I’m bein’ repressed!

      1. Tom Kratman

        One suspects she is either physically and mentally very tough, or has been ID’d to be coddled through, or both. An advantage to easing the female major through is they can stick her right into RTB staff, dump a number or even all of the Zampolits, and say, “See? See how politically correct and multiculturally senstive we are?”

        Thing is, though, it’s going to take a LOT of coddling. These girls all failed on patrols, but the serious starvation and sleep deprivation hadn’t even begin to kick in yet. And I just don’t think they’re made for that shit. Indeed, _we’re_ made to do that shit so they don’t have to and can concentrate on the important matter of producing the next generation’s machine gun (formerly spear) fodder.

  4. Gray

    Is there a point in time when the men will simply turn on their heel and say “I am done, no more, not ever”?

    At what point does assisting (by any and all ranks) in all of this social engineering become treason?

    1. Hognose Post author

      I don’t know. History suggests that when institutions become feminized men lose interest in them to a greater or lesser degree. Consider colleges, for instance; a pretty hostile environment for a normal healthy male these days. You can get accused of rape when a woman gets the bad feels afterward about consensual uggle-dee-boo, or you can get accused of rape by a bat-guano-crazy woman like Emma Sulkowicz because you didn’t give her the uggle-dee-boo she was seeking. Lot to be said for learning a trade and avoiding offices full of passive-aggressive, backstabbing, entitled females.

      1. Kirk

        “History suggests that when institutions become feminized men lose interest in them to a greater or lesser degree. Consider colleges, for instance; a pretty hostile environment for a normal healthy male these days.”

        To a degree, I think that this is at least a goal that is in the background for a lot of the people behind this whole thing: They ultimately want to destroy the institution, and I think that they’re well on their way to doing it. I’m already hearing things that make me think that the sort of men who used to make up the backbone of the forces are losing interest in service, and I can’t say that I blame them. The integration of homosexuals is another part of this, because sure as day follows night, there’s going to be colonization by the worst sort of gay men, and then much like the Catholic Church, we’re going to see scandalous sexual abuse cases stemming from those men. Once this happens, the majority of young men are going to find something else to do with their time, and the services are going to go to hell in a handbasket.

        This is one of the trendlines that was present in the late Roman Empire. Not the gay thing, but the loss of interest in service by the class of men who’d formerly made up the backbone of the legions.

        The armed forces are going to be unrecognizable to the majority of us who served during the last thirty-forty years, and within a generation. My guess is that this whole thing is going to result in a collapse of US international power and prestige within that same time frame. What comes after, I won’t even speculate–But, I will predict that they’re well on their way towards breaking the force.

        And, for what? Do we really benefit from having women wearing Ranger tabs, or gays serving openly? Were we that short of qualified personnel that we had to take these steps? Nope–This is purely being done on ideological terms, and for ideological reasons. The effects of these things being actuated? It won’t be for the benefit of increased military efficiency, that’s for sure.

        1. Tom Kratman

          Thing is, there are some grounds for hope. You may recall that, at one time, females were allowed as officers in non-tube artillery. That didn’t last long before they were eased out (which was, i think, unfair to them, the promise having been held out). Project 100,000 died a richly deserved death. Even the Airborne Mafia were eventually overcome and their baleful influence (think: Pentomic) shitcanned.

          1. Kirk

            Rhetorical device…

            I think the assholes responsible know exactly what they’re doing. The trouble is, the perfumed princes we have running the Army are too stupid to recognize it. Nor do they care to defend the institution. Because, in the final analysis, they don’t give a damn about it, or its core mission.

          2. Tom Kratman

            Oh, I suspect they actively hate that core mission and the object of that mission. Remember, but for us, Communism would have won.

      2. JHP

        As I opened up my web-browser at work, I saw a picture on AKO with the caption, “U.S. Army Soldiers during the Ranger Course on Fort Benning, GA., April 21, 2015. Soldiers attend Ranger school to learn additional leadership and small unit technical and tactical skills in a physically and mentally demanding, combat simulated environment.” One of those students has longer hair (and better form) than the others… yet there is no mention that the most interesting part of the picture is not the poor bastards POW-walking, but the female student participating. The normalization process begins now.

  5. Tom Stone

    Lowering the standards is an obscenity.
    I don’t care about the gender ( Or genders if hermaphrodite), you can cut it or you can’t.
    There’s a place for women in the US Military but it isn’t in a Ranger battalion.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Again, the Ranger Regiment and its Battalions are not at risk yet, this is about the Ranger School.

      I probably should have noted in the review of Darby’s Rangers that at the time the movie was made (1958) the Army was dead set against elite infantry units like the Rangers. They had Paratroops (still several divisions’ worth in ’58), they had SF to do sneaky-Pete stuff, they had a Ranger school to impart skills to leaders who would then take them back to their units. They didn’t want to create a constituency for new Ranger units. sSo the Army’s support for the film was really half-hearted.

      The Army’s opposition to Ranger units came as a result of lessons learned in Italy in WWII and in Korea. In Italy, Ranger Battalions were thrown away as line infantry attacking German static positions, only without all the support stuff a line grunt unit has. The Rangers were annihilated (including Darby’s battalion) and the units were disbanded; survivors went, briefly, to the 1st Special Service Force as replacements. (It too was disbanded, on 5 Dec 44 in the South of France).

      In Korea, Ranger Companies were given to Division commanders as attachments, and most of them were used, again, as line infantry. 8th Ranger Company suffered particularly staggering casualties. So the Army decided since commanders were going to use them as line infantry, they might as well get line infantry instead, with its organic fire, engineer, etc. support.

      Meanwhile, the Ranger School was kept going. It’s been subjected to a few fads over the years, including lots of guerrilla warfare content in the late 60s and a Desert phase and an abortive attempt at including a live fire assault in the 1980s.

      1. Kirk

        As usual, you can see the typical Army response to a problem: The commanders misuse the painfully built elite units, so we’ll ban the creation of such units. The idea of disciplining the commanders for misusing the units in the first place? Never enters their beady little minds.

        The mentality pervades the institution, and it has done damage for years. You’d damn near think that the Army has a set of secret “core values”, one of which is “mediocrity”. There is no room for the different, the better, the environmentally adapted. Take 10th Mountain Division, for example: As soon as WWII was over, that highly specialized and exquisitely trained formation was shut down, and all that institutional knowledge pissed away. In the modern Army, there are almost no specialized mountain warfare units, at all. We have a thin leavening of mountain-trained individuals out there, and a couple of schools, if you count the ones the Marines run, but no units that are based in the mountains or which routinely operate there like the German Gebirgsjager or Italian Alpini do. And, that’s the key thing: The units need the experience, not just the men. Environmental issues like mountain or jungle warfare require a different institutional mindset, different equipment, and different tactics, while we persist in treating them as generic places any unit can operate. Institutionalized mediocrity.

        The mentality pervades the entire service. Why don’t we have Master Gunners for small arms issues out in the line units? Can’t have that, it smacks of mastery of the art, which can become elitism, which we simply cannot have.

        God, I loved the Army, and still do, but it was an essentially dysfunctional relationship based on abuse, to be honest.

        1. Tom Kratman

          Elites are problematic anyway. A certain amount can be useful, but they tend to suck up high quality human talent and, eventually, to expand to suck up so much of it that the rest of the force becomes much less effective.

          1. Kirk

            Ah, but you miss my point: The anti-elite attitude winds up being expressed as a general anti-excellence attitude. You can’t have anyone who is better than the rest of the Army, nor can you push your unit to excel, because “…you’re the only one doing that…”.

            The US Army has managed to institutionalize mediocrity to a point that it’s become absolutely impossible to overcome it and strive for excellence. Even local commanders can’t overcome this, in their limited time in command. Want to build a truly excellent unit? Guess what, friend: It will be dissolved as soon as you leave, and the next time-server takes over. You see this time and time again, from company level to brigade. Nothing lasts, nothing stays fixed.

            Korea used to be a microcosm of this, because of the short 1-year tours. Nothing got fixed, nothing got done, because by the time you figured out what to start fixing, you had maybe a month or two to do it, and then you were getting ready to leave. And, when you came back, later in your career? Same thing you found screwed up would be screwed up again, if you’d managed to fix it. The attitude breeds complacency and despair, because you constantly have to reinvent the same wheels, over and over and over again…

            There are fundamental flaws in the Army, ones I’m not sure how to fix short of breaking it and starting over. From the looks of things like this “Girls in Ranger School”, we’re well on our way to accomplishing the breakage.

          2. Tom Kratman

            Not so much missed it as made a different one; elites mutate and grow like fungus, until someone takes out the organizational Tinactin. IOW if there’s an anti-excellence attitude, look to the elites themselves as a likely source for it.

            Moreover, I’d suggest that some very good results can be achieved with non-elite units, like the old 193d, in Panama, if you are ruthless enough and toss enough resources their way.

            It can’t be fixed short of breaking it and starting over again. Hmmmm…now where did I put that….hmmmm; ah, here we go:

            http://www.everyjoe.com/2014/07/14/politics/military-problems-will-not-get-better/

            Hog, you gonna leave that in moderation hell very long?

  6. Stacy0311

    In 30 years and counting of military service, women at Ranger school has got to be the ultimate stupidest thing I have ever seen. And I survived the Marine Corps ‘experimentation’ with V-neck t-shirts with Charlies, rank on utility covers AND the wooly-pulley debacle of the 80s….

    1. Hognose Post author

      Heh. We liked the woolly-pullies in Group, and wore them (British surplus ones) under our cammies on a catch-me-f-me basis. (They were not legal in the Army, you were supposed to make do with a t-shirt and shiver. In f’ing Norway). After about five years of troop agitation for them, the Army adopted one — in black, v-neck, for office workers in Class B uniform. “Nothing’s too good for you field dogs.” Transmission received.

        1. Kirk

          If that’s the one I’ve seen before, it doesn’t even touch the tip of the iceberg that is the stupidity and folly. It mostly addresses the appearances and fads in uniform items, no?

          The fundamental idiocies are the things like the constant repetition of the same mistakes, over and over and over again…

          When the OG107 uniforms were made for Vietnam, one of the issues encountered was a poorly-designed crotch that blew out on the initial iterations. That got fixed with reinforcements and a flap on the inside of the fly. You’d think they would have taken notes, but, no… The same mistake was repeated with the hot-weather BDU uniform, causing the same problems with people’s testes hanging in the wind. And, again the fix was a reinforced crotch… Came the new ACU, same issues were there, same problems: Balls hanging in the Afghani winds. Fixes implemented, same ones.

          They can’t learn, so they keep repeating the same mistakes. The other problem is that they’re wedded to the old designs, not updating them with a modern gusseted crotch like they put in Karate gi, or in some brands of workpants. That fix alone would save a bunch of money that winds up being spent on pants that wear out before their time, but, no… Too ‘effing simple.

          1. Tom Kratman

            Nah, it’s a whole page of various short histories on the subject, in which fad plays a part but egregious stupidity often plays a bigger one.

          2. Kirk

            Got a link to it? It’s not nice to mention something like that, and just tease us with it–A Google search ain’t helping me, here…

          3. Kirk

            Damn… That’s what I get for not hitting refresh. You’ve already posted that link…

  7. S

    Didn’t the US Army once upon a time have lovely warm wool winter uniforms? It’s simply stupid to insist on being uncomfortable, and criminal to force it on others needlessly.

    1. Tom Kratman

      I was issued wools in early 75, yes. We didn’t use them much at Campbell, though. And even going to Reforger 76, which was pretty cold towards the end, we still didn’t use them much. Why? Ya know, I don’t think the question of why we didn’t use them much ever came up. They _were_ pretty uncomfortable, stiff, and smelly, and they were damned heavy once they got wet…and for many months of the year, Campbell was a misery of rain and drizzle.

      1. Hognose Post author

        We had “field pants and OG shirt” in Group and thought it was a pretty standard US Army uniform. In fact, we wore it sometimes to blend in with conventional forces, as nobody ever put distinctive insignia on OG shirts as far as I know.

        I read some PhD thesis years ago, that postulated that armies always adopted the uniforms of their enemies, with a few twists, after a decent interval had passed. Certainly the US Army green uniform 1957-2007 (?) owed a lot to the Wehrmacht service uniform.

        1. Tom Kratman

          We had the field pants, too, and a few of the guys used them. Mostly not, though. After all, the old cotton sateen OG107 fatigues were cheap enough that they could be replaced. And then, in Panama, of course, they were just too fucking hot to wear and, besides, jungles down there were TA-50 so who cared if they wore out in the field.

        2. Tom Kratman

          I note at least that armies adopt the uniforms of the most recent winners. Note that the standard uniform around the world is western, and we and the Brits wore pickelhaube after the Franco-Prussian war.

          Personally, I’m inclined to say that imitation is the sincerest admission of inadequacy.

          1. Kirk

            Root problem is that the end users are never the ones involved in choosing the uniforms. It’s always some rear-echelon type who has been given the job because they’ve pretty much fucked up everything else they’ve been tasked with.

            From what I have heard about the adoption of UCP for the ACU, that’s pretty much the story there, too.

          2. Kirk

            What cracks me up about the whole UCP fiasco was this: At the time, all of us out in the field were like “Oh, a new pattern? Must be that Scorpion BS they prototyped for Force XXI… Well, that’s a decent pattern, and usable a lot more places than woodland BDU (whatever the hell the name of that actually was) is…”.

            When we saw what the new pattern was, most of us were in a state of shock. Hell, I thought the guy showing it to me was pulling a fast one on me–“No way, man… This is factory-second MARPAT, right… Right? Tell me this is a joke… For the love of God, man, tell me this is a joke…”. It wasn’t.

            Still, UCP has its points: It’s great camouflage at night in urban areas. Daylight? Not so much…

            Funniest thing is, though? Had the idiots actually listened to us out in the field, we’d have had the new new camouflage back then, and UCP would have never seen the light of day. I still don’t know how the hell it did, either–I’ve heard some really bizarre stories about how the decision was made, and I don’t know a damn thing about which one is true.

      2. Kirk

        The US Army wool uniforms were pretty much dress clothes. Had someone had the sense to copy over the German (Bundeswehr mid-1960s or so) wool uniforms, I’d have happily cut throats to get at them. For years and years, I had a couple of sets of those things for hunting and cold-weather work outdoors, and there was nothing finer. The knees were triple-layer, with a waterproof membrane so you could kneel in the snow, the wool was heavier and WARM, and the damn things were sturdy as hell. The design echoed the US Army field pants, but in wool and with design refinements we never incorporated. Lovely things, those pants–I’d happily spend up to a hundred and fifty bucks for some new ones, could I but find them these days. At the time I was in high school, they were being blown out by surplus stores for something like $20.00 a copy.

        The ones the US Army issued me? Dress slacks. Utterly useless, and never left my dufflebag for wear, ever. The shirts, though? Lovely–Wore the hell out of those things, when we could.

        1. Hognose Post author

          Try the Waffen Frankonia or Frankonia Jagd catalog website; you can get even better quality hunters’ clothing, made in Germany. Mind you, it’s not cheap.

  8. Mac

    I was a weekend warrior in the Navy during the 80s. As a frame of reference the training pipeline had a few competitive schools; Aircrew Candidate School, SAR Swimmer School.Point being there were a couple of times I was in an environment where there were obviously standards and one in which I could have faced elimination. I wanted to move to the front seat of the helicopter and transferred to the Army Reserves. The culture was somewhat different. One thing stood out. A good friend was formerly 5th Group. Early on he would use the phrase, You are a no-go at this station.” I came to understand the meaning both from him and, more importantly, from the training program. To me, encapsulated in that phrase was something significantly more exact. The standards for just about everything were clearly defined and the consequences for failing were clearly defined as well. At least that was my understanding. I fouled up the instrument checkride. As per regulations I was given more instruction and a second chance. Failing that checkride meant certain elimination. The students on the re-check had the callsign Wild. The air traffic controllers knew this and were easy on us. One student I will call Pam was Wild 14. At one point ATC came up and transmitted, “Wild 14 I have you 10 miles south of the Dared Intersection. What are your intentions?” The two students in our a/c sagged as we knew that meant Pam missed her hold and was now busting airspace to an extent ATC had to get involved. She had failed and that sucked. I flew ok, no great ace. The guy I was with did virtually nothing right. Elimination to him meant reverting back to driving a truck as an E-5 unaccompanied on some coral craphole in the Pacific. Deep down he knew he failed. We walk in for the debrief and Pam is across the room grinning from ear to ear. Upon getting the fail news, and in an understandable last act, the student I was with mentions how he flew better than Pam. The instructor jumped in his stuff so hard for bringing that up I reckoned he was not happy with a memo he had received concerning standards. That story is black and white and experienced by me in first hand . The rest is second hand. As I previously hopefully made clear, you had one checkride in each phase, failing that an elimination ride and failing that, elimination. Period. Full stop. Instruments were always a killer. It became readily apparent that women and minorities would not fail out. One person of color was supposedly given 6 tries to pass instruments, the standards be damned. That was in 1990-1991. Does anyone think a career minded flag officer in th
    is environment would be more inclined to adhere to standards than 20 odd years ago?

    1. Hognose Post author

      Flight checkrides are (or are supposed to be, at least) “criterion-referenced tests.” An instructor does no favors when he upchecks an underperformer, because the FAA standard (and presumably the Army one?) is 70%, in an environment like instrument flight where even 90% may not be good enough in hard IMC.

      This guy was never in the military, but one of the two pilots on the plane that killed Senator Paul Wellstone was a minority guy who was a nice guy. Everybody liked him but he was not very bright and he never once passed a checkride with a first time Go. On every single flight check in his career, presolo, private pilot, instrument, commercial, multi, type rating the guy took from two to five (!) attempts to pass. The other pilot on that flight? A criminal, who did time in prison for fraud, and while he was there, penciled thousands of hours into his logbooks.

      http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Pages/AAR0303.aspx
      http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Reports/AAR0303.pdf

      One of them had been fired by a skydive operator (! those noted paragons of safety culture) because he couldn’t master proficiency on the Cessna 182 (!).

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