an old saying, over here in Britain about old soldiers, with various
adaptations to suit circumstances but it always begins with:
soldiers never die they just learn to…” Adapt, carry extra ammo, use a
bigger hammer, keep their own council, grow bigger balls, I think you
get the picture.
favourite one is, “Old soldiers never die they just learn to listen and
bitch appropriately”. Younger soldiers and I include myself from ‘when I
were a lad’ do not; yes we listened but always had a knack of bitching
at the wrong time, “earning brownie points” instead of being the grey
man was a particular favourite past time of mine until I was rewired by a
‘kindly soul’ who I’m happy to say became a lifelong mate and I often
thank him for his ‘input’ as it has saved my life. Nobody likes a gobby
I moved up along the ranks, back down a few times and up again, I began
to see myself in the new kids coming through but the rules had changed,
we became soft pandering to the European rules of handling manpower.
Yes it eradicated most of the easy to see bullying but drove the more
persistent offenders to even more creative ways but more importantly, it
ensured that the recruiting process was delivered a blow from which I
suspect, it will never recover.
now I look back and see kids who were clearly unsuitable for service
weeded out, the knock on effect for commanders, commissioned or
otherwise, was a rough around the edges, soon to be professional person
who was serving because he or she wanted to and knew without a shadow of
a doubt what was expected of them.
rumour mill soon began to turn out stories of recruits being issued
with coloured cards to give to an instructor if they thought they were
being bullied; red, amber and green, red being the most severe and
stories of instructors not allowed to fail “students” but having to give
up of their own free time to coach sympathetically the “underperforming
student” as it was the instructors failing…
When had maggots suddenly become “students” and the process of farming out the “fluff” been hamstrung?
know the knock on effect, kids persistently late for work, turning up
pissed as farts, although I’ve never understood that saying, and kids
only once had ‘one of mine’ go AWOL, he was the kid who was quiet and
only had one mate in the gang; on his return from his journeys and the
inevitable Administrative Centre or brigg/stockade/prison to you fine
folks, he was some kind of hero with tales of how easy his time was. He
wasn’t so heroic when I explained to him and the rest of the gang it’s
not a badge of honour and that the days he was AWOL he owed the Queen,
therefore me and he wouldn’t be released from service for the full six
months plus ‘holiday’ time.
Old soldiers never die…
leads us to the fury being wasted on a U.S. Sergeant; I find it
incredulous that he achieved the rank although I believe the U.S. Army
has many different grades of Sergeant and he may well be a lowly grade,
never the less.
biggest problem though is the sickness that has infected H.M.Forces has
spread over the pond, or vice versa, where fear of ‘human rights’
breaches has effectively stopped the fluff farming allowing kids like
Bergdahl slip the net. He should have been eating lentils and tiptoeing
through the tulips at home with his parents because the sickening truth
about the matter, and I shan’t comment on any Political wrangling’s as
he’s not one of mine, is…
honest professional Soldiers who should be at home with their loved
ones, aren’t. And that makes this old soldier who refuses to die weep.