Thursday, December 23, 2010

When Experience Might Be Better than Some Book Learnin'

I love that Star's & Stripes is pondering the shortage of folks going through the Ranger School pipeline because so many guys have been getting experience in Afghanistan and Iraq.  I learned in my year in the Pentagon that lots of army guys would go through Ranger school to get the tab (badge that goes on their shoulder) and then never serve in a Ranger unit.  It was a status thing.  Now, lots of folks apparently are not going to the school since they are seen real combat, heaps of it.  They don't need simulations of combat, they don't need to learn combat skills at school.  They are getting it under fire. 

While there are lots of stories raising questions about how the experiences of Iraq and Afghanistan may be breaking the military due to folks being over-extended and stressed out, this kind of story is actually a bit of the positive side--that the US military has heaps of combat (and non-combat) experience, that the next generation of leaders (those who stay in) will have a better background for what they have seen and done.  Worrying about too few folks in Ranger School is a good problem to have as it is not really a problem, unless one's ego is invested in tabs on shoulders.

By the way, I never got my Acronym tab or my Powerpoint tab.  I earned them, but never got the stuff to sew on to my suit shoulders.

No comments: