Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Friday, October 15, 2004


Froggyruminations has this take on an article about an Army reserve motor transport platoon's alleged refusal to undertake a resupply mission. He expresses his (absolutely correct) concern that the refusal of troops to undertake a mission simply because they view the mission as "too dangerous" is something that cannot be tolerated in wartime. While I agree completely, I am not sure we have enough facts to judge this platoon's actions- yet. See my comments to his posting (and his response).

Also troubling to Froggy is the possible use that might be made of this situation by Mr. Kerry and his accomplices:

I predict that this will be spun by Kerry on the stump as the President not
sending enough Humvees to Iraq to protect our troops or some other tripe. This
is tailormade for democratic victim-mongering, and Kerry is the candidate who
was born to do this work. He is very familiar with the concept of backstabbing
your comrades in war, and he will take to this issue readily and with vigor. But
do not be deceived, war is an uncertain business, and force protection while
being a worthy goal, is secondary to victory.

I share his concern. If you read through this blogsite, you will become very aware that I am not a Kerry fan, nor do I place much faith in the "big media" to report the story without "spin."

The only effective counter to that spin is to be "firstest with the mostest" in terms of getting actual facts
out. If this platoon's mission was so vital to an operation that the risks involved to these particular troops was outweighed by the importance of the mission, say so. Loudly and clearly. Then, regardless of all other factors, there is no excuse for these soldiers failing to move out smartly irrespective of escorts or equipment condition.

However, the more difficult response comes if these troops were not on such "mission vital" tasking but were, say, supposed to go on a routine resupply run, albeit one one without normal escorts because those assets were being used
somewhere else for a job deemed more important than convoy escort.

Then their apparent "refusal" requires much more investigation. If I were conducting the investigation I would need details that are now unknown, including whether or not the troops involved reported, in advance of this mission assignment, that their equipment was in such poor condition that they could not use it to perform any
mission (not to bore you with details, but there are required reports up the chain of command that address this issue).
If the troops were reporting their concerns and their reports were being ignored by higher levels, then we praise the
troops and seek to see if more senior personnel failed to act on the reports to correct the problems identified.

However, if the troops didn't make such reports up the chain of command then they have no basis to complain when a mission comes up because it is their fault in failing to report their inability to perform their duties. By way of analogy, imagine a explosive ordnance disposal technician who breaks his hand while skiing and then, when being called on to defuse a bomb, for the first time announces he can't perform the task because of his hand. If the command, not knowing of his condition, was relying on him to be able to do his job, it will require a great deal of scrambling trying to get someone else in place to cover for him.

Readiness reports exist for a reason...

Update: Fixed links
Update: FoxNews Coverage provides some more info
Update: BlackFive weighs in with proper questions about where "middle managment" was in all this.BlackFive
Update: Unit Commander Reassigned at her own request, the unit's commander has asked to be reassigned...

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