Monday, October 30, 2006

Major John and CSM Bones excellent weekend adventure, er, meeting

Hail, hail the gang was all there... Darn near the entire leadership of the Army National Guard in Illinois gathered this past weekend. CSM Bones and I were there - and the CSM had been there for two days already. A lot of information, and a lot of Powerpoint slides.

However, we did have some very good things come out of this meeting. We heard some good "lessons learned"from a recently returned Infantry Battalion commander (Iraq) and saw just how the State is going to try to deal with upcoming deployments. My own unit draws ever nearer to the ready and go lists.

War is a great, um, focuser (?) of perspectives. We have seen what we did wrong (and some things right too) and we have moved to correct these things. Soldiers are much better informed about possible deployments, and we are trying to make sure when soldiers return that we handle their reintegration better. That last one still draws a little bit of a bitter reaction from me - but I do see we are improving.

I will have to say that the Illinois Army National Guard is very much more serious and focused now than at any time I have seen in the near 22 years (off an on) I have been part of it. As I said, war will make you focus.


Anonymous jordan said...

I just re-watched the video, and two things stuck out:

1. The uniform speaks for itself
2. The misery of combat is overwhelming

This calls to mind the only way civs can approach knowledge of this -- through film. One recent TV show depicted a young officer in the heat of battle, getting a face full of dirt as the mortars fell, yet carrying on a conversation with his buddy about quitting the Army.

As explosions hit all around, fragments hit his helmet, he's bewildered by his friend's idea of quitting. Face smashed up against the trench wall, smiling through dirt encrusted teeth, he yells, "I love the Army!"

(Can't remember the show's name.)

If you think there are some efforts or measures the public should be taking to press for better reintegration programs, please post. If there's a shortfall there, it should be addressed, and two weeks before an election's a good time to do it.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Major John said...

Reintegration wasn't handled as well in 2005 as it is now. The lessons leanred were to a small extent learned from what happened to me and mine. We are moving in the right direction.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

You, and all who serve are in our prayers


7:51 AM  

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