Monday, February 4, 2013

First Month as PL

Hard to believe I've already been a PL for a month, and in Korea for three months, a full quarter of my tour (but who's counting? Other than literally every soldier in Korea?).

I haven't been around long enough to have a clue what I'm doing, but I have been able to make some basic assessments about my unit. My platoon is probably not representative of the US Army, but as one of the six Infantry platoons in US Forces Korea, I will venture that we are representative of an Infantry platoon in Korea.

I was worried about showing up knowing nothing about the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, but it's okay, because pretty much no one else does, either. Ten guys in each company would be a generous estimate. Don't worry, I'll learn more the next time we take them out of the motor pool. Which would be gunnery.

At the risk of sounding like that 60-year-old E-7 complaining about how nobody knows how to build tank traps or collect rain using boot laces anymore: The soldiers lack some basic soldier skills. I don't mean all the Skill Level 1 Tasks, which are the Army's helpful benchmark/fantasy of skills all soldiers should have (if you think you're actually at the standard, ask your favorite soldier how to react to depleted uranium). I mean that a number of them can't move under a load very well... which is the most elementary and vital task for infantry other than knowing how to use their weapons. Physical fitness in general is pretty low.

If we went to war here, I assume the Bradleys would get shelled by the North Koreans or probably just break down later, and we'd be on our feet in the mountains. The Brigade (and Division?) Commander must have the same concern, because my company does an extraordinary number of air assault missions considering we're mechanized.

Which suits me just fine, for now, because as you should know, 1) I don't know much about mech, and 2) I'm good at rucking, and now I have a good reason to push the platoon until they're good at it, too.