Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Not strictly on the CF, but...

...this has got to be the most accurate, succinct description of the perfect officer/NCO relationship I've ever read:

I think big strategic thoughts and he stands on people’s necks until it happens.

It was written by a U.S. Navy officer doing CIMIC work in Iraq, talking about the Marine Gunnery Sergeant who was voluntold into a non-fighting job with him. But anyone who's ever served in a Western military knows the application is pretty much universal.

By the way, although this remains a blog about the CF, the first-person account of agricultural reconstruction in Iraq told chez Donovan is a good read. Here's a tidbit:

Moral of the story is: help the guys that know what they are doing. A few small projects for the poultry farmer goes farther in stabilizing the economy and creating jobs than does building stuff from scratch because someone asks you to. The only way to do this is to get out and about and see as much as you can. So we now have a list of five farmers who buy fish food from the Al Anbar poultry king. We figure since they buy feed, they have to have fish, and will track those guys down to see ground truth. Well anyway, the book for “Post-Combat Operations” hasn’t really been written yet, and its a lot of fun trying to build this airplane while its flying.

We drove past an Iraqi checkpoint and I saw a little girl hanging out there with her father, watching our three armed and armored HUMVEES going past like she’d seen it a million times. I thought about what a weird world she lived in, and how its one we’re hopefully making better for her children.

I read stuff like this, and wish, wish that Canadian soldiers felt as comfortable talking about what they do as their American counterparts. I know QR&O's are very different than the UCMJ, and our respective constitutional foundations of free speech are also different - both of which contribute to a reluctance by Canadian soldiers to say much on the record without prior clearance.

But the Canadian public needs to hear what our Canadian soldiers are doing every day, because while it's more geographically limited than the Americans, it's just as important to those we're helping on the ground.


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