Thursday, October 4, 2007

Brothers in Arms

A message from Frater Ron, who is in the Army Reserve:


Greetings from Fr. Leonard Wood! Some of the skills and adventures I've had so far are: Trained to shoot on an M16 A2 rifle; learned how to administer an IV, suffered in a CS (Tear gas) chamber, hiked a 2km, 7km, and 8km road march bearing 50 lbs of gear and equipment, ran several obstacle courses, repelled from a 3 story (45') structure, killed a bunch of rubber manequinns with my bayonet, and TKO'ed a guy from another platoon in Pugi Sticks (ask Bill Parker about this). And Basic Training is only half way through. Boy, am I sore.

In St. Philip,
Ron S. Clemente
A left front view of the XM1 Abrams tank, which replaced the M60 series, during a demonstration on the test range in 1979.

1 comment:

Bill P. said...

For the unitiated, a pugil stick is a padded long stick that you beat the tar out of your opponent with (and your opponent returns the favor, of course). It is a nonlethal form of bayonet training. See YouTube for what a drill instructor thinks if you try being a wimp at pugil stick training:

There really is no tactic for pugil sticks, you just have to charge into battle, take your licks and keep on hitting.

For you non-violent types, this type of combat is absolutely essential - it teaches you how to get up close and personal with the enemy, get the wind knocked out of you, or whacked in the face or in the back of the skull, and to get up and keep on fighting. In our soft society, we have to be exposed to blinding pain... and the will to take it, survive and overcome.

Ron's TKO is impressive because he defeated the unknown while being cheered on (with adrenaline flowing) by his unit.

In essence, U.S. military training is the living embodiment of Patton's statement:

"The object of war is not to die for your country. The object of war is to make the other poor SOB die for his country."

Ron, civilians will never understand the courage it takes to do all the things expected of you in boot camp. Your labor is the reason why we enjoy the fruits of peace in this country. If it weren't for the warriors in our nation, we'd all be speaking Arabic by now and bowing with our fannies in the air five times a day.

I'm adding you to my rosary prayers -- my own personal form of boot camp.

-Bill Parker