Sunday, April 19, 2009

Of Old Men and Exercise

The 100th Division has been having its Warrior Training Exercise this week. (As an aside, the recent trend to tack the word "warrior" on anything involving service members strikes me as tiresome. To me, a warrior is someone who continually works to hone combat skills, whether that person is employed as a soldier, or not. But now the Army has the "Warrior Leader Course" that every sergeant is expected to attend, whether they may lead troops in combat, or are expected to direct combat dishwashing and food service. I also don't think of people miles from the front who push buttons as warriors, even if the button-pushing results in death to an enemy.) My battalion met at Fort Gordon with other battalions from the 100th Division, and we have done classroom training, medical exams, PT Tests, and weapon qualification over the course of the last three and a half days. During our final formation of the day yesterday, division coins were handed out to soldiers who had excelled in one of several different areas.

The awardees had all marched to the front of the formation together, but after all of them were awarded, someone realized a soldier had been neglected. We are a training command, and so are mostly composed of senior NCOs. When they called the troop's name, the man who stiffly ran out was definitely one of the most senior, in age, if not in rank. He trotted out like a game old dog, and ran to the end of the line of award recipients.

The general was obviously exchanging a few words with each soldier she was awarding, but none of what was said was audible from where I stood in formation. The old sergeant was being awarded for hitting 38 out of 40 popup targets, at distances ranging from 50 to 300 meters. Since the sergeant was at the far left of the line, I could hear just a few words the general said to this old rifle expert, after he had replied to her initial comments.
"Poaching? Poaching people?"

Rock on, sergeant.


Old NFO said...

Heh- Probably had a "little" practice in his past... when the targets were shooting back! :-)

J.R.Shirley said...

I thought of him more as an old-school meat hunter. You could be right, though.

HollyB said...

"Age and cunning will overcome youth and enthusiam eveytime."
I think that's a paraphrase and I cannot remember where I heard it first. Still...

On a Wing and a Whim said...

Heh. My father used to say - still does - "Old age and treachery will triumph over youth and enthusiasm, every time."

It only got worse as he got gray hair and more experience at practical jokes and whipping young whelps into shape and into doing what was needed, enlisted and butterbar alike...

I may fly better than him at this point, but he can still out-think, out-last, and out-shoot me.