All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


Hot Brass

Yesterday my group managed to get done by 09:30.  This meant that we were free to go home for the day.  Normally the work day is 12 hrs give or take.  Every once in a great while fortune seems to smile on me.  I have today off, so getting off early yesterday would have meant that I would make the 200 mile drive home in time to eat with the family.  It sounded good in theory to me at the time.

Enter the general.  Apparently the US Army has men dedicated to the task of messing up other people's plans.  These men get stars pined on their uniforms.  Someone with a career, (not me) and thus a motive for impressing his betters, found out that he had a GENERAL coming to observe his training scenario.  To make matters more urgent, this was a genuine honest to gosh full ONE STAR GENERAL.  I'm under the impression that a one star general is the lowest rank of general.  However if the low ranking general signs off as having liked your little training program, you get more little training programs to run in front of higher ranking generals, which in turn gets you more government largess.  Key the suck up department and que up the ingratiation teams.

Needless to say, I didn't get off early.  What I did get was to be part of a VIP program for a ONE STAR GENERAL.  Probably a National Guard General, nobody would say who he was in command of, nor did I ever find out if anyone knew his name.  He had the magic stars on his BDU's, in the Army nothing else seems to matter.

The way our little program works is we have little groups of people assigned to tasks in each training scenario.  We have COB's (civilian on battlefield, my job), Role Players (native speakers), Op 4 (4 man insurgent teams) and the soldiers receiving the training.  The OC's we have assigned to run the training happen to be special warfare types.  Judging by the way the regular army guys genuflect to them they might be the real deal.   Each training scenario gets one team.  Except if a general is involved.  Then you get three teams.  That way the general gets to see a realistic representation of the training the troops are receiving.

The way things had been going is that the cohort of soldiers assigned to the training station had been on the wrong end of an operational butt kicking at the hand of the Op 4 guys all morning.  By butt kicking what I mean to convey is an absolute total embarrassment on all fronts ALL MORNING. Which is why they were having to repeat the exercise ad nauseam. This was accomplished by four kids from the Indiana National Guard, none of whom are old enough to drink off base.  For example, Op 4 stole an unattended hummer.  Then they stole a hummer with the gunner still in it manning his post.  They killed all of the army's team several times.  The tactics Op 4 used were unconventional, at least for the Army.  We used the same tactics playing Cowboys and Indians when I was a kid.  Apparently upbringing matters.

I should mention that I really did and do feel sorry for the OC.  He had a general coming and like he said, "generals like to see the good guys win".

So we set up a new and improved scenario for the general, with lots of extra people.  It looked very top notch and I was impressed with the job our guys were doing in the village.  I was able to see parts of it from my position in the shoot house.  My job was to be a civilian hostage during the Op 4 last stand.  In other words I was to try to not get shot. 

Everything went mostly according to plan.  The general came.  The troops rolled into the village.  We had lots of flyover traffic. They had a meet and greet.  Eventually they discovered that insurgents had control of a house in town.  The first Op 4 guy was ordered to make his stand in the open courtyard and most importantly, to die there quickly.  Which he did.  Guard pvts do what airborne Sgts say.  Even though he was 40 ft max from a bunched up platoon apparently none of the rounds fired from his gun hit their target.  The house was breached.  The remaining insurgents managed to not kill off too many of the soldiers.  This was accomplished by the OC "killing" off  one of the remaining insurgents in advance of the soldiers. 

On que I steeped out in front of the advancing squad.  I was yelling "don't shoot me" in Arabic.  They shot me anyway. So In my death throws I chucked some furniture in front of them to block their advance.  In turn the squad kicked and trampled my dead body, and then used my rotting corpse as a bullet sponge to hide behind. They fought off the insurgents that were now behind them, in the part of the house they forgot to clear in their hurry to shoot me.  In my roll as bullet barricade, I received some minor bruising, powder burns and lots of hot brass on bare skin.  I loved ever minute of it.

When the general was on his after action walk through, he was informed that all the dead civilians (me) were actually enemy combatants.  Being dead at the time, I didn't contradict the story.  The wounded civilians had been shot by the insurgents, who were using the house as cover.  The general was informed as my roll as cover.  He gave me a hard look, saw the foot prints, powder burns etc and smiled and gave me a thumbs up.  Judging by his smirk, I have to say that generals know that story they get is heavily filtered.  Generals after all like to see the good guys win.  This is most expediently accomplished by cheating.

I get to go back to playing war games for cash tomorrow.

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