Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Posted on r/army on Reddit. Are we, the Soldiers, ready for "real" war?

 Are we, the Soldiers, ready for “real” war?

BLUF: After 20 plus years of absolute dominance of the battle space, in regards to aerial, medical, sensor, intelligence and response/QRF forces from mega bases against a limited insurgency, are our SMs emotionally, physically and mentally ready to live and die in the mud, if a conflict resembles Ukraine today.

Note: I’ll be changing some small details of this story to protect the person.

I was recently traveling through an international airport that, with effort, could be used to transit to Ukraine. Killing time in the airport I noticed a man sleeping amongst the seats. This dudes clothes, kit and raggedy demeanor screamed dead exhausted.

I couldn’t help but notice when he woke up, he woke up fast hard and reached out for something that wasn’t there. Exactly how I constantly checked for my weapon in basic in that goofy way everyone knows.

Hearing him take a call, I could tell he was American.

I introduced myself and just started making that airport single serving friend small talk.

He was an Iraqi ( surge era ) vet who was also a recent returnee from Ukraine. Dude didn’t want to give any of this up, wasn’t braggy and tbh if I didn’t know what to ask for or about I would have missed most of the context. I had a feeling he was relived talking to another American military dude but was quiet, a bit awkward and the opposite of most of the volunteer returnees I had read about.

We had the same connection location and I saw him again at the layover. Over food, he opened up a bit about the fighting.

Long story short, he was terrified and was leaving the fight because of it.

He painted a picture of crushing incoming mortar and artillery fire, Lack of medical response and trench warfare similar to WW1. Flanking enemy positions, clearing trenches by banging them out and finding them refilled the next day with new enemy soldiers.

He had seen some shit during Iraq, ( and his timeline and my Iraqi experience validated a lot of this ) and apparently Ukraine was shocking and overwhelming, more than he imagined or felt ready for.

Dude just wanted to get home.

We parted ways, I told him I wished him luck and to see help if needed and he just sorta nodded, telling me he just wanted to get home.

After all that, I had a long ass flight to think about my war time experiences and how different they were.

Near instant MEDEVAC, constant radio connectivity and C2, 6 different aerial platforms in the stack waiting to be called on. Having a wild night when there was 6-7 inaccurate mortars that hit close by, not on, close. Nightly FaceTime sessions from the USO.

No peer threat, small percentage of loss of combat power or of fellow troops,

I guess what I’m asking after all that is what would our transition from 20 years of GWOT be on our morale, mental and physical state? Would we be ready?

It's here if you want to read some of the comments.  Full disclosure.  The patriotic flag waving kinda pissed me off.  The spectator effect is strong with some in this crowd.

The story itself captured my attention and I couldn't help but think that the person being described (here I go playing doctor from thousands of miles away) was displaying classic symptoms of what was once called "shell shocked".

But except for the poor bastards in the Marine Littoral Regiments this will be a naval/air battle in the Pacific.

The horrors will be totally different.

Trapped below decks and burning/drowning before they can get out and you being on the otherside of the hatch hearing the screams.

Assuming you make it off the ship the idea of spending days (hopefully if you're lucky) in the open ocean watching your shipmates getting picked off one by one by groups of sharks that are attracted to the blood in the water.

Even commanders will face life altering decisions.  Do you preserve that surviving destroyer or do you make a sortie to try and save the crew from the carrier that was sunk.

Even politicians.  They could have provided proper oversight but didn't so the Navy never got its shit together.

A war in the Pacific will be different and will bring a totally different set of shit show.

To answer the Soldiers question. No.  The entire DoD isn't ready. They're politically correct but politically correct doesn't win wars.

Bonus.  It just occurred to me that the Iranians firing missile barrages at our troops in Iraq is a good primer on how ground forces will suffer in a real peer vs peer war.  You'll have to multiply what the Iranians did by 1000 but you get the idea.  

No comments :

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.