posted on Sep, 14 2004 @ 11:05 PM
I thought I'd throw in my two cents. (Please note that I was injured at the USMC's School of Infantry a few weeks before I should have joined the
2nd batallion, 5th Marines, so I've can't speak first-hand for training in "the fleet").
From experience as well as from being a bit of a military buff, I can tell you the following about our strengths and weaknesses:
Strengths: Our strengths seem to come from two places: 1. We have the money to give first-rate training and equipment to our men. 2. Especially in the
Marine Corps we have strong traditions to cling to.
1. Our infantry places a very high emphasis on marksmanship.
2. We introduce every marine, rifleman and otherwise, to basic fireteam and squad tactics.
3. We place an emphasis on first aid training which saves lives and keeps less-severely wounded men combat-effective.
4. We familiarize with certain weapons we may not regularly carry or fire. For example, every infantryman fires the training-version of an AT-4
anti-tank weapon and recieves instruction on the weak points and methods of firing on tanks. This makes our men a little more flexible.
5. Our military, especially the Marine Corps, has developed the concept of combined arms heavily. Marine Infantry works in the MAGTF (Marine Air
Ground Task Force) organization which ensures that Marine infantry is filling its intended roll, and being supported by armor artillery and airpower
as is necessary)
6. We have a volunteer military with personal loyalties not only to their nation but to their service and its history. Marines don't fall break in
the face of "shock and awe"- whatever may be coming they know all about Marines past who have been there, done that.
7. America has developed a very strong NCO corps which has been a long standing advantage over soviet-style militaries. Especially in the Marines,
America has succeeded in creating a capable manuever-warfare force by pressing tactical decisions (and the training to make such decisions) to the
8. Equipment is distributed appropriately- every fireteam has a base of fire weapon and an indirect fire weapon (the M249 SAW and M203 Grenade
Launcher.) Radios and Night Vision goggles are fairly common equipment.
9. America places an extremly high emphasis on fighting at night. Our capability to do so is probably second to none, in the infantry and
I could go on a bit more, but thats a pretty good start right there. Basically America enjoys tactical and organizational advantages over most
non-NATO forces at the very least. Our men are generally more dependable and disciplined than those of forces which rely on conscription. Last but not
least, our men have the tools and they know how to use them.
1. America over-generalizes training. Cooks and Infantryman are held to the same marksmanship and fitness standards.
2. Basic training does has been softened and does not provide the necessary temptering and sorting of recruits. Failures should be weeded out more
strictly and to certain extents it should be acceptable to strike a recruit or restrict food and sleep.
3. The academic ability of Americans as a whole is sinking, and the military reflects this. This is a military issue which will have to be addressed
in the civilian sector.
4. The American military sometimes feels invincible. Patrols may fail to vary their routes, officers may underestimate opposition, and generals may
fail to finesse their planes enough. If "hey-diddle-diddle, right up the middle" becomes our standard approach, just because we have the technology
to slug it out and win, eventually somebody clever is going to beat us.
5. The American military allows too many distractions for the first-term enlisted men. It's time to ban marriage in the first hitch and do away with
off-base housing. The Spartans who invented western military discipline would roll in their graves.
6. Nobody to my knowledge has really figured out a good system for operations in a chemical environment. They can BS somebody else about 8 hours of
sustained operations in MOPP gear. If you've read JARHEAD you will remember that you can't even play a friendly game of football in your MOPP
7. American infantry weapons are high maintance. If an American unit were in harsh conditions (severe rain/mud) for several days of heavy fighting, I
would expect to see things shift in favor of an enemy using the AK-47, unless US forces succeeded in cleaning their weapons frequently despite the
constant contact with the enemy.
8. America keeps sending this message that there's going to be hell to pay if the men do something that looks bad on CNN. We can't have people
hesitating to do whats needed. I don't care what you say, if I had an enemy officer I'd cut him apart piece by piece until he told me where his
artillery observers were if it meant i could save the lives of my men in my unit- just as an example.
(Don't Geneva convention me either... I don't want to hear about the rules of war which are named for a city in a nation which played ball with Nazi
So America has weaknesses in the whole population which weaken the quality of our men, and we have some matters of perception to sort out- political
correctness, complacency, and the like.
When it's all said and done, I can name 3 forces on this planet I'd want to be among in a warzone. 1. The US Military (especially Marines) 2. The UK
Military (I won't specifiy marines because it's a special operations force for them). 3. The ROK Marines (Republic of Korea... thats the south for
those of you who dont follow). ROK Marines are some hardened and sick individuals if I can trust what my drill instructors used to tell me. They used
to taunt us for being 3-month recruits... ROK Marines spend a whole year in basic.