Friday, June 13, 2014

History's rhyming like a sumbitch

So, back in the dark ages, when I was a PFC attending the Basic Korean Course at the Defense Language Institute, we got a new class across the hall from us.  It was small, consisting of (IIRC) three or four Master Sergeants, two majors, and a bird colonel.  It was explained to us that it was a Gateway Class, and we should all behave.

Gateway courses were (still are, for all I know) intended to teach GIs enough about a host nation's language and customs  that they won't cause any international incidents.  I was told, but never had confirmed, that German Gateway was mandatory for all GIs reporting to the Bundesrepublik of Radland1 who didn't have a Defense Language Proficiancy Test for "GM".  They didn't teach in in Korea; any officers and senior NCOs heading to high-level Eighth Army staff positions that might need it, got it at DLI.

Anyway.  The roach coach would show up mid-morning, and we'd all go outside and get coffee, or whatever.  It was a designated "No headgear, no saluting" area.  So some classmates got annoyed when my roommate and I saluted the bird colonel anyway.

I was annoyed that I had to explain the significance of the little blue ribbon with five stars.

He was annoyed when our classmate asked him how he got it.  "Doing my job when someone was watching" was all he'd say.

Later the word came down to us (roommate and I) "Good job, but he would really prefer you didn't", and to classmate "Don't be a douche.  BTW, he flew the last Huey out of Saigon."

So now, watching Obama fiddle while Iraq and Afghanistan burn, I'm wondering if I'll meet the last pilots out of Baghdad, and Kabul.

I doubt they'll have medals, though.

The poltroons in the Pentagon seem to be so politicized that, even though they started their careers about the same time I did, and had the same instructors, with the same sensation of watching the Republic of Viet Nam fall and negating whatever sacrifice we made, if anyone were to suggest that they should be standing on the Resolute desk, demanding that we at least make air strikes and making supply runs2, the most they'd do would be to look sad and mutter things about "civilian control."

Unfortunately, I just don't believe that they're even making the effort to advise the Spineless Quisling In Chief of the long-term fallout of expecting "stern diplomatic notes" to have any effect at all.

1. I had a couple of different roommates over the years that used the term; Germans were referred to as "Rads", short for "kamerad", so in typical GI fashion the Bundesrepublik Deutschland was called... 
2. Note that the proximate cause of the fall of the Republic of Viet Nam was that the Republican president had so little political capital that the Democratic-controlled congress refused to authorize air strikes or supply runs.


Anonymous said...

It's a damn sad Friday the Thirteenth, Sergeant Drang. I feel like I should go down to the local VFW (I'm not eligible), and buy a round, plus for absent friends, from the front door.

I might have to go find out where my closest VFW is.

Getting sadder by the moment thinking about it. I wish I thought there was anything I could do by buying a plane ticket to that corner of the world. Poor bastards stuck over there. I shoulda looked into a contract job years ago, but I've known for the last few years that it was more risk than I wanted to take - risk of getting stranded. :(

I'm not a believing man, but: God help them. I don't know who else will, I hope they're doing all they can for themselves.

-Erik from Seattle

NotClauswitz said...

I feel awfully bitter about this shit happening again, defeat is their game-plan and everyone should know it and make them own it.