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US Army (or Military), Pos report from a Frenchman no less!

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Old 06-03-2011, 04:09 PM   #1
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Thumbs up US Army (or Military), Pos report from a Frenchman no less!

Sorry this is long- but worth reading! (I HATE email fwds but this ones actually good!)

Through the eyes of that French OMLT (Operational Mentoring Liaison Teams) infantryman you can see how strong the bond is on the ground. In contrast with the Americans, the French soldiers don't seem to write much online - or maybe the proportion is the same but we just have fewer people deployed. Whatever the reason, this is a rare and moving testimony which is why I decided to translate it into English, so that American people can catch a glimpse of the way European soldiers see them. Not much high philosophy here, just the first hand impressions of a soldier in contact - but that only makes it more authentic.

Here is link to the original French if you want to double check.
Article, http://omlt3-kdk3.over-blog.com/article-22935665.html_
(http://omlt3-kdk3.over-blog.com/article-22935665.html)





and here is English translation :

"We have shared our daily life with two US units for quite a while - they are the first and fourth companies of a prestigious infantry battalion whose name I will withhold for the sake of military secrecy.

To the common man it is a unit just like any other. But we live with them and got to know them, and we henceforth know that we have the honor to live with one of the most renowned units of the US Army - one that the movies brought to the public as series showing "ordinary soldiers thrust into extraordinary events". Who are they, those soldiers from abroad, how is their daily life, and what support do they bring to the men of our OMLT every day? Few of them belong to the Easy Company, the one the TV series focuses on. This one nowadays is named Echo Company, and it has become the support company.

They have a very strong American accent - the language they speak seems to be not even English. How many times did I have to write down what I wanted to say rather than waste precious minutes trying various pronunciations of a seemingly common word? Whatever state they are from, no two accents are alike and they themselves admit that in some crisis situations they have difficulties understanding each other.

Heavily built, fed at the earliest age with Gatorade, proteins at places like Waffle House and McDonalds - they are all heads and shoulders taller than us and their muscles remind us of Rambo. Our frames are amusingly skinny to them - even the strongest of us - and because of that they often mistake us for Afghans.

Here we discover America as it is often depicted: their values are taken to their paroxysm, often amplified by the loneliness of this outpost in the middle of that Afghan valley. Honor, motherland - everything here reminds of that: the American flag floating in the wind above the outpost, just like the one on the postage parcels. Even if recruits often originate from the heart of American cities and gang territory, no one here has any goal other than to hold high and proud the star spangled banner.

Each man knows he can count on the support of their whole people who provide them through the mail all the things that an American could miss in such a remote front-line location: books, chewing gums, razorblades, Gatorade, toothpaste etc.

Every man is aware of how much the American people backs him in his difficult mission. And that is a first shock to our preconceptions: the American soldier is no individualist. The team, the group, the combat team are the focus of all his attention.

And they are impressive warriors! We have not come across bad ones, as strange at it may seem to you when you know how critical French people can be. Even if some of them are a bit on the heavy side, all of them provide us everyday with lessons in infantry know-how. Beyond the wearing of a combat kit that never seems to discomfort them (helmet strap, helmet, combat goggles, rifles etc.) the long hours of watch at the outpost never seem to annoy them in the slightest.

On the one square meter tower above the perimeter wall they stand the five consecutive hours in full battle rattle and night vision goggles on top, their sight focused in the directions of likely danger. No distractions, no pauses, they are like statues nights and days. At night, all movements are performed in the dark - only a handful of subdued red lights indicate the occasional presence of a soldier on the move. Same with the vehicles whose lights are covered - everything happens in pitch dark even filling the fuel tanks with the Japy pump.

And combat? If you have seen Rambo you have seen it all - always coming to the rescue when one of our teams gets in trouble, and always in the shortest delay. That is one of their tricks: they switch from T-shirt and sandals to combat ready in three minutes. Arriving in contact with the enemy, the way they fight is simple and disconcerting: they just charge! They disembark and assault in stride, they bomb first and ask questions later - which cuts any pussyfooting short.

(This is the main area where I'd like to comment. Anyone with a passing knowledge of Kipling knows the lines from Chant Pagan: 'If your officer's dead and the sergeants look white/remember its ruin to run from a fight. /So take open order, lie down, sit tight/And wait for supports like a soldier./ This, in fact, is the basic philosophy of both British and Continental soldiers. 'In the absence of orders, take a defensive position.' Indeed, virtually every army in the world.

The American soldier and Marine, however, are imbued from early in their training with the ethos: In the Absence of Orders: Attack! Where other forces, for good or ill, will wait for precise orders and plans to respond to an attack or any other 'incident', the American force will simply go counting on firepower and SOP to carry the day.

This is one of the great strengths of the American force in combat and it is something that even our closest allies, such as the Brits and Aussies (that latter being closer by the way) find repeatedly surprising. No wonder it surprises the hell out of our enemies!)

We seldom hear any harsh word, and from 5 AM onwards the camp chores are performed in beautiful order and always with excellent spirit. A passing American helicopter stops near a stranded vehicle just to check that everything is alright; an American combat team will rush to support ours before even knowing how dangerous the mission is - from what we have been given to witness, the American soldier is a beautiful and worthy heir to those who liberated France and Europe.

To those who bestow us with the honor of sharing their combat outposts and who everyday give proof of their military excellence, to those who pay the daily tribute of America's army's deployment on Afghan soil, to those we owed this article, ourselves hoping that we will always remain worthy of them and to always continue hearing them say that we are all the same band of brothers".


(sorry took your idea (email fwds) MT Madman, something things are just worth sharing!)
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Old 06-04-2011, 04:59 AM   #2
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Good read OP, Thanks.
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Old 06-04-2011, 05:09 AM   #3
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Great article, If any of you remember the backlash over the french not wanting to get into Afghanistan early on, I hope this puts it to rest. While ours and the NATO ISAF missions differ in scope, the guys (and gals) over there are there for the same reasons.

"We consider this as part of our duty to defend humanity against the scourge of intolerance, violence and fanaticism." -Ahmah Shah Massoud
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Old 06-04-2011, 05:24 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by kinetik873 View Post
Great article, If any of you remember the backlash over the french not wanting to get into Afghanistan early on, I hope this puts it to rest. While ours and the NATO ISAF missions differ in scope, the guys (and gals) over there are there for the same reasons.

"We consider this as part of our duty to defend humanity against the scourge of intolerance, violence and fanaticism." -Ahmah Shah Massoud
I remember lots of backlashes with the French and the whole "Freedom Fries" vs. "French Fries" back at the start of 911.

Thats one thing I always enjoyed about deployments. Out on patrol no one cares about unit, branch, nationality, or even military vs. mercs- everyone covers each others ass and responds accordingly when lives are on the line.

Early on we would do route clearence (combat engineer), before anyone knew what IED's really were and before any of the equipment existed. We would go out knowing and expecting to get hit because we had better armor then the support guys that were running around in the old bolt on steel. Drive the route, 2-3 IED's hit your patrol, turn around come back and call it clear. Later we started getting buffalos and huskeys and were able to do it right. But before that you took the hit so the guys w/less armor and less guns did'nt.
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Old 06-04-2011, 08:38 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by farbio615 View Post
Wow, what a nice read. I am stationed about 500M North of a French training compound and they seem to be a very friendly fighting force. Nice to see they think the same.
They get to drink tho which kinda blows

lol Yeah there was issues with that on Balad sense they got alcohol and no one else did.
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Old 06-04-2011, 08:38 AM   #6
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Thanks for sharing; had the pleasure of working w/ some French commandos years ago, top notch troops for sure...
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Old 06-04-2011, 05:06 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by shane100700 View Post
We seldom hear any harsh word, and from 5 AM onwards the camp chores are performed in beautiful order and always with excellent spirit.
Doesn't sound like any American Soldiers that I have ever known.
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Old 06-04-2011, 05:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cakmakli View Post
Doesn't sound like any American Soldiers that I have ever known.
Funny how troops will normally follow thier leadership. The senior officers and NCO's set the mood for the unit. They yell at joe for doing something wrong and then turn around and do something else wrong themselves (hands in pockets), joe learns to not follow examples.

Good leadership= good troops
Bad leadership = bad troops
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Old 06-04-2011, 05:31 PM   #9
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Great post OP! To all of you still serving, Thank you and God Bless and Keep You Safe!
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Old 06-04-2011, 11:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cakmakli View Post
Doesn't sound like any American Soldiers that I have ever known.
Error in translation from English to French back to English...
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Old 06-05-2011, 05:32 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by shane100700 View Post
Funny how troops will normally follow thier leadership. The senior officers and NCO's set the mood for the unit. They yell at joe for doing something wrong and then turn around and do something else wrong themselves (hands in pockets), joe learns to not follow examples.

Good leadership= good troops
Bad leadership = bad troops
I'm not talking about doing anything wrong, uniform violations, good or bad leadership. I'm just talking about the general everyday bitching, grips, and moans. Soldiers are always going to find something to complain about. It's not a bad thing, it's just something they do. Don't tell me that when you are hanging out and shooting the shit with the other Platoon Sergeants you guys don't find anything to bitch about. Anyway, while it's a nice feel good story I don't buy it. I doubt it was written by a Frenchman. It's written like something written by James Fenimore Cooper.
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Old 06-05-2011, 06:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cakmakli View Post
I'm not talking about doing anything wrong, uniform violations, good or bad leadership. I'm just talking about the general everyday bitching, grips, and moans. Soldiers are always going to find something to complain about. It's not a bad thing, it's just something they do. Don't tell me that when you are hanging out and shooting the shit with the other Platoon Sergeants you guys don't find anything to bitch about. Anyway, while it's a nice feel good story I don't buy it. I doubt it was written by a Frenchman. It's written like something written by James Fenimore Cooper.
Yeah I don't know if it was a French guy or not, obviously I wouldn’t know him. Nor do I speak French but there are people out there capable of writing intelligently other then the author of The Last of the Mohicans. Getting published or writing a blog is not that hard to do. Even as a ground pounder I was able to get an article published in the Army Times. Not to knock your opinion but I don’t feel you are looking at it from the perspective of a Soldier of another nationality working alongside American Soldiers. As far as bitching about stuff, sure everyone does. But you should remember the old adage, only bitch up or across and never in front of your Soldiers. How many times have you (especially deployed) stressed to your Soldiers not to bitch or show any kind of attitude in front of another platoon, unit, or even country. We keep it in house. The same guys that bitch about their unit will still take a swing someone in another unit for saying the same thing they just said across the FOB to their buddies. I could easily see my Soldiers bitching behind closed doors but at the same time putting on a different face to a foreign military located on the same pad. It's the way we are and what we do.
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Old 06-06-2011, 04:30 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shane100700 View Post
Yeah I don't know if it was a French guy or not, obviously I wouldn’t know him. Nor do I speak French but there are people out there capable of writing intelligently other then the author of The Last of the Mohicans. Getting published or writing a blog is not that hard to do. Even as a ground pounder I was able to get an article published in the Army Times. Not to knock your opinion but I don’t feel you are looking at it from the perspective of a Soldier of another nationality working alongside American Soldiers. As far as bitching about stuff, sure everyone does. But you should remember the old adage, only bitch up or across and never in front of your Soldiers. How many times have you (especially deployed) stressed to your Soldiers not to bitch or show any kind of attitude in front of another platoon, unit, or even country. We keep it in house. The same guys that bitch about their unit will still take a swing someone in another unit for saying the same thing they just said across the FOB to their buddies. I could easily see my Soldiers bitching behind closed doors but at the same time putting on a different face to a foreign military located on the same pad. It's the way we are and what we do.
You are 100% correct. As far as my Soldiers were concerned "Everyday was a Holiday and Every Meal was a Feast" to me. Now among my close friends who were my peers it was a whole different story.

Don't get me wrong, I did appreciate the post. Thank you for posting it. It did make me proud to have served with some really great people. And I'd like to think that is what Soliders from other countries think of us. I trained quite a bit with NATO and have a lot of respect for them and I'm sure they did of us as well.

And I see you are at Fort Dix. I was there for Basic in 1984 and visited last it in 2010. Some really big changes.
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Old 06-06-2011, 05:14 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by cakmakli View Post
And I see you are at Fort Dix. I was there for Basic in 1984 and visited last it in 2010. Some really big changes.
I can't comment about changes but it is def different then any other post I have been on. It's run by the AF now and the Dix side is run by the NG. With only 2 active duty units on here it's def a new experience!
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Old 06-06-2011, 06:00 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by cakmakli View Post
You are 100% correct. As far as my Soldiers were concerned "Everyday was a Holiday and Every Meal was a Feast" to me. Now among my close friends who were my peers it was a whole different story.

Don't get me wrong, I did appreciate the post. Thank you for posting it. It did make me proud to have served with some really great people. And I'd like to think that is what Soliders from other countries think of us. I trained quite a bit with NATO and have a lot of respect for them and I'm sure they did of us as well.

And I see you are at Fort Dix. I was there for Basic in 1984 and visited last it in 2010. Some really big changes.
Hmm, I was basic at Dix in 84 as well, small world...
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Old 06-06-2011, 08:13 AM   #17
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Hmm, I was basic at Dix in 84 as well, small world...
Not trying to hijack the tread but what company were you? I was E-5-3, Aug - Oct.

My Barracks is now part of the prison
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Old 06-07-2011, 06:46 AM   #19
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Not trying to hijack the tread but what company were you? I was E-5-3, Aug - Oct.

My Barracks is now part of the prison

Really small world, I was A-2-3, Aug - Oct, then on to Jackson for AIT. Final destination was 7th ID(L) at Fort Ord, so two of my three bases have been closed (or close enough to closed). Even Admin school at Jackson is no more.

My barracks at Ord is now boarded up, you can see it on Google maps. I heard they had a problem with homeless people breaking into the barracks and living there, so ground floors are all boarded now.
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Old 06-07-2011, 07:44 AM   #20
Finally made it - U.S. Army Retired
cakmakli is one of the sharper tools in the shedcakmakli is one of the sharper tools in the shedcakmakli is one of the sharper tools in the shedcakmakli is one of the sharper tools in the shedcakmakli is one of the sharper tools in the shedcakmakli is one of the sharper tools in the shedcakmakli is one of the sharper tools in the shedcakmakli is one of the sharper tools in the shedcakmakli is one of the sharper tools in the shedcakmakli is one of the sharper tools in the shedcakmakli is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Army: Military Police
Joined: Dec 2008, #11514
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Age: 47
Gender: Male
Posts: 428
cakmakli's Tacoma Gallery
Bout every post I was at have been hit by BRAC. FT Dix NJ, Fort McClellen AL, FT Ritchie MD, and Cakmakli Turkey.
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