The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

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The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby Gears » Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:05 pm UTC

Hello, xkcd. In the past some users have asked me questions about the military, and I have seen a few military members on here, so I thought service members should have a place to come talk about fuck-fuck games or a place where users may inquire about the military.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby broken_escalator » Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:14 pm UTC

My only question at the moment is what is a fuck-fuck game...?
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby Gears » Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:19 pm UTC

The stupid things you're told to do. Like today. Some NCO spilled bleach on the wall. So I was told to make all the walls the same level of 'faded'. With a wet paper towel.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby broken_escalator » Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:34 pm UTC

I was expecting something more... fun, if you know what I'm saying!
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby pseudoidiot » Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:37 pm UTC

There were also "GI Parties". Or that's what they were called when I was in Basic Training.

Our entire barracks (60 soldiers) had to move everything that wasn't bolted down from the second floor down to the formation pad on ground level. This included all beds (which had to be made to standard) and foot lockers. Everything lined up just so. I believe we had about 30 minutes to do so.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:14 pm UTC

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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby Gears » Sat Feb 19, 2011 12:14 am UTC

General_Norris wrote:I notice a lack of counter-arguments and a lot of fisting.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby Oregonaut » Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:48 am UTC

They need to blend in with the ship. Every ship is equipped with a forest. Every. Single. One.

I've never understood why they made us wear polyester that melts when so much as blowdryered.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby Midnight » Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:13 am UTC

Oregonaut wrote:They need to blend in with the ship. Every ship is equipped with a forest. Every. Single. One.

I've never understood why they made us wear polyester that melts when so much as blowdryered.

I assume because "no pain, no gain" or something similarly inane.

What is with the military fixation on pain? No pain no gain. 'Pain is weakness leaving the body' is another criminally stupid one.
Maybe so one can better deal with pain when shot or something? I dunno.

Furthermore, why do soldiers and other people in such crazy positions not have immediate access to quality mental health facilities? If I were to undertake a job like that I'd want a fuckin' shrink on deck at all times.

Also also, I still haven't technically registered for selective service--I'm not gonna get arrested for something so stupid, right? I mean, I know I should do it at some point, I just forget.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Sat Feb 19, 2011 3:39 pm UTC

I'd love to know the reasoning for finally retiring the Iowa class ships, and indeed for abandoning naval gunfire support in general, When it was considered preferable to Missiles/Bombs for supporting amphibious landings?

I'd also love to know why it is that US forces last used a bayonet charge in 1950, yet UK forces continue to use them?

Both questions which are unlikely to get a definitive answer, but interesting to discuss nontheless.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby Coffee » Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:44 pm UTC

I think most of the questions that we can't find answers to regarding dress and appearance issues that don't make sense involve an officer needing an OPR bullet.

Here's my question; why can't we walk and drink (coffee, water, whatever) while in uniform? Does it really make sense to stop, take a sip, take a few steps, stop, take a sip, etc? Not to me...

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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby Gears » Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:27 am UTC

Pain is weakness leaving the body: Simply put, the enemy doesn't care if your feet hurt. There are people who train every day to kill us. We aren't going to stop a patrol because you're tired. I've hiked 9 miles on a broken toe. Hurt like a mother, but I did it for the greater good. It was a training hike, and I could have stopped. I can't stop in Afghanistan because my foot hurts. Train like you fight.

Most NCOs are there to help you if you need it. If not getting to a shrink isn't that hard. The reason most soldiers don't go is because they are afraid of getting kicked out of the military. Getting a Section 8 makes it damn near impossible to find a job in the civilian world.

Not sure about Selective Service. I don't think they really care anymore, but you might as well so you don't get in trouble.

I'm on a naval base, I'll ask some squids about the battleship thing. (I love big gunz too)

We (Marines) still train to fight with bayonets. I would love to get to use one. We don't charge because it's awkward in an urban environment (85 pound combat load) and flaks provide limited ability to move.

I dip and walk. Idontgiveafuck. Chesty Puller once said "A Marine with cold hands and warm pockets is a fool." I'm pretty sure those rules were made up by some POG in an air conditioned office. I dip and walk. Idontgiveafuck.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby Midnight » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:01 am UTC

Gears wrote:We (Marines) still train to fight with bayonets. I would love to get to use one.

See, that shit freaks me out a lil' bit.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby theGoldenCalf; » Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:13 am UTC

Gears wrote:The reason most soldiers don't go is because they are afraid of getting kicked out of the military.


I served 3 years in the IDF, and seen more people fight really hard to get to the shrink BECAUSE THEY WANT TO get kicked out of the military. Or at least be repositioned to somewhere where they'll get more than 5 straight hours of sleep a week and won't have to shit in their helmets while on ambush.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby EdgarJPublius » Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:18 am UTC

TheKrikkitWars wrote:I'd love to know the reasoning for finally retiring the Iowa class ships, and indeed for abandoning naval gunfire support in general, When it was considered preferable to Missiles/Bombs for supporting amphibious landings?


The main reasons all boil down to range and versatility. NGFS is only available within less than a hundred miles of the shore, whereas a tomahawk or aircraft delivered bomb can hit any target within more than a thousand miles of shore (for a tomahawk) or nearly five thousand miles of the nearest airbase (for bomber delivered munitions).
Meanwhile, a bomber or CAS aircraft is capable of selecting just the right weapon for the job on the fly out of whatever has been loaded and can deliver the ordnance precisely to the target on demand. And a tomahawk can perform certain missions much better than an artillery shell, such as widely dispersing submunitions and both can be re-directed to other targets on the fly if needed.

Really, 16in guns were never ideal for NGFS anyway, being too large to be used effectively in support of friendly forces. The navy is scrambling for more 5 and 6 in. guns (such as the AGS slated for the Zummwalts) which are much more useful for NGFS, but amphibious assaults aren't exactly common practice anymore, and the 5in. guns on the Arleigh Burkes seem to have done alright. In littoral zones where NGFS typically takes place, a Battleship is just a large, easy target for boghammers and exocets, smaller cruisers and destroyers can operate more safely, without drawing as much attention, and dispersing so as not to present a singular, massive target.

The real purpose of the Iowa's 16 inchers was gunnery duels with enemy battleships, which was barely even a viable role in WW2 as the advent of carriers showed that aircraft were faster, and could deliver more ordnance, farther and in less time.

In the era of nuclear hunter-killer submarines with reliable guided torpedoes and supersonic guided anti-shipping missiles available to any tin-pot warlord with a beach house, the Iowas are vulnerable and decrepit, too expensive to operate and not doing anything that needs to be done well enough to justify the cost.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Sun Feb 20, 2011 12:54 pm UTC

Gears wrote:We (Marines) still train to fight with bayonets. I would love to get to use one. We don't charge because it's awkward in an urban environment (85 pound combat load) and flaks provide limited ability to move.


Look up Lt. James Adamson, who recieved the MC for his conduct in afgan; having run out of ammunition in killing one insurgent, he then proceeded to charge an enemy position at bayonet point and kill the remaining insurgents in close combat and The "Battle of Danny Boy" in which a patrol from the Argyll and Sutherlanders were pinned down by an ambush, and whilst holding out for reinforcements executed a massed bayonet charge against an enemy force of 100 (nearly five times their size) taking 28 Mahdi Army dead and 9 prisoners for no Casualties of their own.

There's also an Aussie Sergeant who took two MG nests at bayonet point (and destroyed a third with a grenade) after intentionally breaking cover simply to draw fire away from wounded collegues, and recieved the VC for what the Citation calls "demonstrating extreme devotion to duty and the most conspicuous gallantry with a total disregard for his own safety".
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby Gears » Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:51 pm UTC

Midnight wrote:See, that shit freaks me out a lil' bit.
I don't think I can explain this to a civilian without coming off as barbaric.

The wanting to get kicked out thing comes with not having an all-volunteer force. In the American military, we're all here by choice.

On bayonets: Those are cool stories, but perhaps Brits carry less ammo than we do? At a bare minimum you carry 7 mags. It's a brave thing to do, but I'm not doing it until I'm completely out of ammunition. It's just an outdated tactic.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby SurgicalSteel » Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:14 pm UTC

Sort of riffing off of Midnight's comment and Gears' response, I'm curious what other military people think of Lt. D. Grossman's research on the psychology of killing and being a soldier. I read a user review of one of his books on Amazon and one reviewer said that the entire military community considered his research and conclusions to be lies, but that could be just some random idiot, or some insecure person afraid of having to admit they aren't the made-of-stone killing machine we've been led to believe soldiers are until recently.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby SecondTalon » Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:34 pm UTC

Gears wrote:The wanting to get kicked out thing comes with not having an all-volunteer force. In the American military, we're all here by choice.

There's still plenty of soldiers who take a look at what they signed, realize they're no fucking way they can do another three years of this shit, and do whatever they can to Get Out.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:20 pm UTC

Gears wrote:
Midnight wrote:On bayonets: Those are cool stories, but perhaps Brits carry less ammo than we do? At a bare minimum you carry 7 mags. It's a brave thing to do, but I'm not doing it until I'm completely out of ammunition. It's just an outdated tactic.


That's quite possible, Though in the battle of danny boy they were cut off from their reinforcements, and had to do *something* before they were overun, I believe they had a lot of small arms fire support to make the actual charge. I supect it's more due to being stretched thin all round (for both personel, materiel, and logistics) than specifically the amount of ammunition issued to individuals.

Out of interest, how would you feel if you had to face a line of 20 screaming men running at you with sharp pointy objects from behind a hail of gunfire? Because I'm sure that feeling is the only reason why such a seemingly outdated tactic continues to work...
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby rath358 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:42 pm UTC

What do you guys think of conscientious objectors?
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby Gears » Sun Feb 20, 2011 11:13 pm UTC

I wouldn't be that scared of 20 screaming men because every fireteam has a SAW.

I don't understand why a conscientious objector would join the military. I don't hate them. Every job in the military supports killing in one way or another so I'm not sure why they would join.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby EmptySet » Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:41 am UTC

Gears wrote:I don't understand why a conscientious objector would join the military. I don't hate them. Every job in the military supports killing in one way or another so I'm not sure why they would join.


Don't they only join when they are conscripted, and the alternative is being branded a coward and a traitor and thrown in jail? Or trying to dodge the draft, I guess.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby CombustibleLemons » Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:58 pm UTC

what caused you to join your branch of the military over another?
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby Gears » Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:44 pm UTC

I wanted to be the best.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby Aaeriele » Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:36 pm UTC

Gears wrote:I don't understand why a conscientious objector would join the military. I don't hate them. Every job in the military supports killing in one way or another so I'm not sure why they would join.


I thought the entire point of "conscientious objector" status was to avoid joining the military?
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby Gears » Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:46 pm UTC

I thought we were talking about the ones that do join the military. I haven't met any, but I'm sure they exist somewhere.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby Fantastic Idea » Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:22 am UTC

i feel similarly about gnomes.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby Carnildo » Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:49 am UTC

Midnight wrote:Also also, I still haven't technically registered for selective service--I'm not gonna get arrested for something so stupid, right? I mean, I know I should do it at some point, I just forget.

They won't arrest you unless they re-institute the draft. The reason most people register with Selective Service these days is different: you can't get a college loan or a federal scholarship if you don't.

TheKrikkitWars wrote:I'd also love to know why it is that US forces last used a bayonet charge in 1950, yet UK forces continue to use them?

Bayonets are great for very-close-quarters combat and crowd control, and a bayonet charge is a relatively non-lethal way of dispersing enemy forces (historically, bayonet charges almost never ended in close-quarters fighting: one side or the other broke and ran first).

Gears wrote:I thought we were talking about the ones that do join the military. I haven't met any, but I'm sure they exist somewhere.

The ones that join generally do so as medics.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby theGoldenCalf; » Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:08 am UTC

I once had sex with a conscientious objector. Felt pretty damn good about it.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby Oregonaut » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:18 pm UTC

Gears wrote:I wanted to be the best.


Should've gone AFSO then.

I tease. But really, I prefered working in a joint environment anyway. One of the best missions I went on had three Squids, two Jarheads, and a raving lunatic from the Army.

What I'm still trying to figure out, and can't for the life of me, is why Brass can't get over the JF series. Yes, the avionics on the 22 were a bit wiggy at times, but be damned if that plane was going to be taken down by anything flying now or in the near future. Every war we've won has been won, in large part, due to air superiority being maintained. The Pentagram just does not seem to want to support the Air Force the way it should be.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby Coffee » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:53 pm UTC

Why did I join the Air Force? *shrug* Dad was in the AF. And I like that as a networking guy I'll be expected to do what I was trained to do rather than fill sand bags/dig ditches/etc. As for being the best... well, I do my best to support the mission and at the end of the day I pray it's good enough.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:10 pm UTC

Oregonaut wrote:
Gears wrote:I wanted to be the best.


Should've gone AFSO then.


By which you mean the men who don't step on the big green foot, surely.

Oregonaut wrote:What I'm still trying to figure out, and can't for the life of me, is why Brass can't get over the JF series. Yes, the avionics on the 22 were a bit wiggy at times, but be damned if that plane was going to be taken down by anything flying now or in the near future. Every war we've won has been won, in large part, due to air superiority being maintained. The Pentagram just does not seem to want to support the Air Force the way it should be.


I'm going to guess that various interests in the supply chain that's producing them don't want to lose their contracts simply because they're producing an inferior product... and have made representation to the required Politicians (including the ones that wear nice blue uniforms with shiny buttons) in order to keep said contracts.

It puzzles me why the MoD has asked to buy in on the JF, a plane which doesn't really suit the current or future needs of the Fleet Air Arm, when we have both the expertise and manufacturing capacity to develop our own; Plus even the russians sell a better carrier borne fighter than that, and they only have one heavy cruiser sized carrier.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby Oregonaut » Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:17 pm UTC

TheKrikkitWars wrote:
Oregonaut wrote:
Gears wrote:I wanted to be the best.


Should've gone AFSO then.


By which you mean the men who don't step on the big green foot, surely.


Kind of. I was under AFSO too, but PJs were my idols. PJs fall under AFSOC, and are the awesome.

As to the planes, developing the joint airframe allows all NATO countries to familiarize themselves with a standard model, and it brings everyone closer in terms of capabilities. That's the excuse. The problem with that excuse is that the JF series sucks the monkey wang. I wouldn't want to trust it with CAS, personally.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby Kaelri » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:03 pm UTC

Here's a question, then: having been in the military, do you have any idea why they love acronyms so much?
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby Oregonaut » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:22 pm UTC

Brevity. Time is precious, which is why "Hurry up and wait" is something every military member knows. In the time it takes to say Rocket Propelled Grenade, it is already visiting where we are. RPG is much faster.

CAS, close air support, is another thing. Yes, it doesn't take much time to say it aloud, but CAS rips out faster, meaning I can move on to more important things, like keeping my team alive.

SAW, Squad Automatic Weapon, aka "the hog", is a big fucking gun that dispenses death. SAW is easier to say fast.

Air Force Special Operations Command, or AFSOC, or shortened to AFSO when not speaking of the command level, is easier to say. It becomes habit, it's a language of its own, or at least a dialect.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby podbaydoor » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:31 pm UTC

I think it's something you encounter in government in general, and organizations with lots of things with long names and titles. It becomes tiresome to say Office of Administration over and over again in a five second thought so "OA" is shorter and trips off the tongue easier.
tenet |ˈtenit|
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a principle or belief, esp. one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy : the tenets of classical liberalism.
tenant |ˈtenənt|
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a person who occupies land or property rented from a landlord.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby Oregonaut » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:41 pm UTC

podbaydoor wrote:I think it's something you encounter in government in general, and organizations with lots of things with long names and titles. It becomes tiresome to say Office of Administration over and over again in a five second thought so "OA" is shorter and trips off the tongue easier.


As long as you aren't talking about The Watchers. Oa isn't easy to say, either. It's tongue twisterish.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby podbaydoor » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:15 pm UTC

No, it's not. It's two vowels that require only a slight reconfiguration of the lips. Or maybe that's just me.
tenet |ˈtenit|
noun
a principle or belief, esp. one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy : the tenets of classical liberalism.
tenant |ˈtenənt|
noun
a person who occupies land or property rented from a landlord.
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Re: The Smoke Pit - Military Q/A

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:43 pm UTC

Oregonaut wrote:
podbaydoor wrote:I think it's something you encounter in government in general, and organizations with lots of things with long names and titles. It becomes tiresome to say Office of Administration over and over again in a five second thought so "OA" is shorter and trips off the tongue easier.


As long as you aren't talking about The Watchers. Oa isn't easy to say, either. It's tongue twisterish.
Oh-Ah? Home of The Guardians? Office of Administration.... yeah, same difference. To be obeyed without question, dislike of insubordination or questioning orders, often balding, blue.... wait..
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