Monday, December 21, 2020

Military Occupational Specialties

Mrs ERJ had to run into the Walmart after Mass yesterday. I had a few other errands to do. I finished up first and rather than try to find her in the store I elected to wait in the store's entryway.

A man was stationed at a table there. His job was to screen incoming employees for a fever.

The man behind the table had a gift-for-gab. An older gentleman was walking out and the man behind the table noticed his Air Force hat and thanked him for his service.

Soon, the two men were chatting like brothers. As they talked, I learned that the man behind the table had twenty years of military service in the Army and had four MOSs in that time. An MOS is a Military Occupational Specialty. Among other things, he had been a cook, an MP and had repaired tank turrets.

I visit some blogs where the owner informs everybody that the only people who are going to survive when things get sporty are the ones who have been in the military. Everybody else is doomed.

The conversation between the two gentlemen highlights that the reason the military is so effective. It is, in part, because the guys at the point-of-the-spear only need reach out their hand to find more ammo or a hot meal or a ride or a tank that works.

Those will be lacking during sporty times.

Another thing that will be lacking is any sense of confidence that the guy beside you is capable of doing his job. When you worked for Big Green you had confidence that the guy behind the wheel had been trained to drive the rig you were jumping into and you were confident that the mechanic who worked on the brakes knew his job and had adequate parts.

The military functions with many short-timers. They work around that by fragmenting jobs into many small, easier-to-train slivers. The price is that the soldiers and Marines who don't reenlist might have a misconception about the complexity of "everything else".

I am not slagging the military. They did what they had to do considering the duration of enlistment.

But I am slagging the bloggers who had four years of active duty, spent two months in a FOB and thinks they are going to rock-the-world during spicy times.

Frankly, NOBODY is going to rock-the-world in spicy times and it will be impossible to predict who will survive long-term.


  1. Comments on blogs are frequent. Most of the commenters have zero military experience, or like myself, it was 44 years ago, and had nothing to do with weapons handling or tactics. We are terribly unorganized and trained. If it ever does kick off, I hope we are lucky.

  2. Yeh, I'm guessing the metal working skills I acquired 1968-80 in the Air Force wont be too terribly useful. Most Air Force guys dont learn much, if anything, about firearm usage or unit tactics either.

    1. If you survive Tsgt Joe, you will be useful. If you can translate that knowledge and skill into say, making cooking pots, making candle holders, think much like early 19th century with tinsmiths and farriers.

  3. I figured I can use what skills I learned in the Boy Scouts (Before being pozzed) and what I learned in the Lean, Green Fighting Machine and while a nurse to survive with and try to protect what kin and kith and supplies I have I will figure I am lucky.

  4. At 77 I won't survive. I just hope they find me in a pile of empty brass.

  5. Mental resilience is a key attribute as is being mentally agile with an inborn perseverance gene, if you then have some basic skills you are years ahead of the pack. Great examples can be seen on reality tv, Naked and Afraid comes to mind, the blowhards proclaiming “I’m gonna make this jungle my Bitch! Are usually the simpering little mamma boys who tap first while the 22 year old swamp girl just grinds through eating snails, snakes and spider eggs.

  6. I've given this some thought, and us OGs (Old Guys, not Original Gangstas) might be something the younger set should seek to preserve, at least in part. We've completed the "been there, done that" part of life, and can serve as teachers when needed. Additionally, we can do the things that don't require a lot of physicality, such as monitoring communications, stationary guard duty (just have us a porta potty nearby), watching kids, cooking and the like, freeing up the younger and more physical folks to go to tip of the spear things or garden.

    Just try not to develop any maladies that require modern medicine, like I have. For me, I plan on being Horatius at the bridge.


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