Nearly one-fifth of the 4,000 Regular Army captains screened by retention boards that met in September are being put on notice they will be involuntarily separated or retired later this year.
The 740 affected officers, all captains of the Army Competitive Category, Nurse Corps and Medical Service Corps, will be notified between now and Feb. 25 of their pending release by a general officer or other senior leader in their chain of command.
Separations and retirements will occur not later than Dec. 1, and will contribute to the end-strength reductions slated for fiscal 2016 and 2017.
Every time there is a snowstorm or rain or something in DC everyone sends up pictures of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknowns still out there walking. And it chokes me up too. But the Tomb Guards aren’t the only ones to work their asses off over there at Arlington.
Most of you have friends that live there now. I do certainly. SSG Robert Burton. CPT Lawrence Yacubian (who’s birthday would have been last week.) My two best friends have their fathers buried there, and I just went there for my own personal hero, Colonel Henry Cook, a special forces legend from Vietnam. And it’s not the guard guys who take them to their resting place, it’s the Caisson guys, and their equine battle buddies.
Ordinary Infantrymen (11Bs) join the platoon, learn the skills, and have the honor to escort American heroes to their final resting place.
Here’s the important part- TSO has set out to provide challenge coins to the current and future members of this fine unit. He’s looking at a cost of $3000. You have an option here. You can donate $5, or $10 or whatever. But if you donate $50, you’ll have a chance to win some pretty impressive swag. Go and read the whole thing.
I was fortunate that I only got tapped to serve as a machine gunner a couple of times. Unlike the USMC where Machine Gunner is a specific MOS, in the Army, every 11B is a potential gunner (or, worse job, the Assistant Gunner, who gets to carry the spare barrel and the tripod).
For those who have fond memories of the M60 machine gun, the fact is, it wasn’t a very good gun. The rate of fire was just a bit low. Worse, it was very easy to reassemble the gas system incorrectly, and end up with a single shot weapon. And worst, it had a very unfortunate tendency for the trigger assembly leaf spring to fall off, which would inevitably lead to the pistol grip trigger assembly falling off. I’ve spent more than a couple hours searching the woods for a trigger that some unfortunate gunner didn’t notice had dropped away. The M60’s replacement, the M240B, might weigh a skosh more, but it is a far more reliable weapon.
Still, it was pretty fun to shoot. And for all the hoopla about 1ooom sniper shots, hitting a man sized target at 1100m with the M60 was not very hard at all with a burst of six to nine.
Now, I’m not going to mock these guys for their performance. The thing about the military is, it’s hard to explain in words. In fact, I’d love to see more people given a chance to do just this sort of thing. It is relatively quick and cheap to do, and while not representative of the totality of military life, it is representative of a basic combat skill. Simply moving on the battlefield is a tough, grinding marathon.
The Russian Ground Forces has completed the reactivation of the 1st Guards Tank Army in Russia's Western Military District (WMD) and is to form two new armoured divisions, the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced.
A session of the Defence Ministry Board, chaired by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, discussed the reactivation as part of the development of Russia's quick reaction force. The session also revealed that Russia will form two new armoured divisions near the cities of Voronezh (in the WMD) and Chelyabinsk (in the Central Military District: CMD) in 2016.
That's a bit of a hash of reorg.
Russian ground forces were, for a very long time, based on a regimental/divisional model. And unlike most Western forces, they skip the corps as an echelon above division, and use field army headquarters to control subordinate divisions and supporting arms. In recent years, Russia had been making a move to a separate brigade model (much like our own US Army Brigade Combat Teams). So a Russian force would chain would go from a field army skipping two echelons all the way down to the brigade level.
Combined arms at the regimental/brigade level makes a lot of sense, and the Russians have done that for a long time. The US Army effectively did that with the "divisional slice" model throughout the 1960s to the early years of the 21st Century. It wasn't until the BCT model, however, that it became organic.
The problem with a Russian brigade based force is span of control. A field army directly controlling a field army's worth or brigades has to control anywhere from 6 to 9 brigades. And that's simply too many subordinate commands for any commander to effectively control, all while trying to synchronize the support of other combat multipliers. The US Army, during the Pentomic Division era, found that even a "battle group" with five companies was too much for one commander to wrangle. And so, the US went back to no more than three or four maneuver commands in an organization for a given level.
But if you only have three or four brigades, a field army headquarters is too much staff for too little combat power. We'll have to keep an eye on further changes in the Soviet, err... Russian order of battle.
The downside is, it's going to reduce the time between deployments for the rest of the carrier air wings.
But there is an upside. The personnel in the wing and its associated squadrons will be spread around the remaining 9 air wings.
The question is, would you rather have 10 partially staffed wings (and squadrons) or 9 fully (or nearly so) manned wings?
Of course, the risk is that this is the beginning of a trajectory. Once force levels start shrinking, it's hard to stop that. I remember a time when 15 air wings with about 86 aircraft each was considered the bare minimum to support the mission. And that was at a time when we weren't fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, and the Chinese PLAN fleet was 1950s era Soviet junk.