Archived material is restricted to Rantburg regulars and members. If you need access email fred.pruitt=at=gmail.com with your nick to be added to the members list. There is no charge to join Rantburg as a member.
Posted by trailing wife 2012-03-15 09:55||
#2 Misuse of soldiers. They aren't international welfare workers.
Posted by Shimble Guelph5793 2012-03-15 10:53||
#3 I recall hazily that there was a study from the time of WWII, that suggested that the average good soldier had a certain number of days in the field. When his time was up (that time being different from soldier to soldier, of course) he was no longer effective. Even if you sent him to the rear for R&R for awhile, it didn't matter.
Complicating this was that if you did rotate the soldiers regularly you could (for some) extend their effective time. That was the rationale for pulling units out of the line when possible. But even then, at some point the soldiers no longer could function in the field without significant psychological problems.
My point: here is a soldier in his 4th field deployment. I do truly believe that our military psychiatry people are good, that our officers and NCOs are more aware of these issues then ever, and that our people are making a good faith effort to detect and handle problems.
We missed on this one.
So it begins to beg a question: should we be limiting deployments ("Three and you're done, solider!")? If so, how do we square that with a smaller military with continued high demands for deployment? And, how do we ensure that soldiers who are at their maximum deployment level continue to have careers and advancement?
Tough questions and I certainly don't have the answers.
Posted by Steve White 2012-03-15 12:55||
#4 Paul Fussell said 200-240 days on the front line was the limit in WW II, but this apparently more scholarly article says:
Swank and Marchand's World War II study of US Army combatants on the beaches of Normandy found that after 60 days of continuous combat, 98% of the surviving soldiers had become psychiatric casualties. And the remaining 2% were identified as "aggressive psychopathic personalities." Thus it is not too far from the mark to observe that there is something about continuous, inescapable combat which will drive 98% of all men insane, and the other 2% were crazy when they got there. Figure 1 presents a schematic representation of the effects of continuous combat.
I know the USA has done a lot of research on the time on the front line and the time in a non-combat environment to "recover" before re-entering combat and this has supposedly extended the total number of days a soldier can be in combat over multiple tours, but can't find any links. Without doubt, we are pusing our soldiers, and their families very hard. When the job of the rest of the nation is to go shopping, this has to take a toll.
Posted by Nimble Spemble 2012-03-15 13:21||
#5 And, how do we ensure that soldiers who are at their maximum deployment level continue to have careers and advancement?
There's always reclassification into a different specialty in the service. From combat arms to combat support to combat service support. However, if you give them priority over those who never did line duty in slotting and promotion in CS and CSS, it would result in a statistical distribution that fails on PC standards for 'groups'.
Posted by Procopius2k 2012-03-15 14:04||
#6 Maybe being a soldier should not be a life-long pursuit or career.
Posted by Aware of History 2012-03-15 16:48||
#7 Maybe being a soldier should not be a life-long pursuit or career.
Maybe our idiot civilian leaders should plan our wars so they aren't multi-decade slogs.
Posted by DarthVader 2012-03-15 17:07||
#8 Maybe we shouldn't elect anti-American civilians to run the country.
Posted by Aware of History 2012-03-15 17:09||
#9 You owe me a new keyboard, AoH. I shot coffee out of my nose at that post.
It's only funny 'cuz it's true.
Posted by DarthVader 2012-03-15 17:32||
#10 Unfortunately, Darth, it's not "ha ha" funny.
Posted by Rambler in Virginia 2012-03-15 21:08||
#11 Hadn't heard the stat about soldiers being in combat too long but I have read opinions about the US population growing weary of war after 4 years. Almost all of our major wars were four years long or less and the population supported them. Vietnam went longer and support collapsed about four years in. The Iraq war's support lasted roughly the same amount of time.
Posted by rjschwarz 2012-03-15 22:04||
#12 ...except we were at war from our inception along the western frontier for nearly a hundred years with a small constabulary army.
Frontier Regulars: The United States Army and the Indian 1866-1891 by Robert M. Utley
Some excerpts: Chapter 3: The Problem of Doctrine. "Three special conditions set this mission apart from more orthodox military assignments. First, it pitted the army against an enemy who usually could not be clearly identified and differentiated from kinsmen not disposed at the moment to be enemies. Indians could change with bewildering rapidity from friend to foe to neutral, and rarely could one be confidently distinguished from another...Second, Indian service placed the army in opposition to a people that aroused conflicting emotions... And third, the Indians mission gave the army a foe unconventional both in the techniques and aims of warfare... He fought on his own terms and, except when cornered or when his family was endangered, declined to fight at all unless he enjoyed overwhelming odds...These special conditions of the Indian mission made the U.S. Army not so much a little army as a big police force...for a century the army tried to perform its unconventional mission with conventional organization and methods. The result was an Indian record that contained more failures than successes and a lack of preparedness for conventional war that became painfully evident in 1812, 1846, 1861, and 1898.
Chapter 4. The Army, Congress, and the People. Sherman's frontier regulars endured not only the physical isolation of service at remote border posts; increasingly in the postwar years they found themselves isolated in attitudes, interests, and spirit from other institutions of government and society and, indeed from the American people themselves...Reconstruction plunged the army into tempestuous partisan politics. The frontier service removed it largely from physical proximity to population and, except for an occasional Indian conflict, from public awareness and interest. Besides public and congressional indifference and even hostility, the army found its Indian attitudes and policies condemned and opposed by the civilian officials concerned with Indian affairs and by the nation's humanitarian community.
Sounds rather familiar.
Posted by Procopius2k 2012-03-15 22:34||