Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.
January 21, 2004

Salutes and Stupidness

Hello All,

Salutes are a big deal in the Army. They are a custom that dates back to medieval times and symbolize courtesy and respect. They are reserved for officers and with good reason; officers are the educated class of the Army and are our leaders appointed by congress. They are, allegedly, a higher order of soldier and I still hope to be one when this trip is over.

However, just as the Bible says, there is a time for every season and that goes for salutes as well. The standard has always been that you don't salute officers in the field or forward areas; the reason being that snipers love to pop officers and the easiest way to identify one at a distance is to watch for salutes. Makes sense right? Always did to me and that's the way I've always trained. In fact, if an officer ever wanted a salute in the field when I was training (back in the day) I'd smile, whip one out and announce, "Sniper check, SIR!" That usually broke the offending individual (see Prima Donna) of his/her ego problem.

Well, you're never going to believe this shit. A platoon sergeant (for those that know us, he's my favorite NASCAR redneck) was walking out of the PX yesterday and walked right by a major. He didn't salute the major (wouldn't be much of a story without a point, right?).

"Soldier!" the officer called after him.

"Yes, sir?" the sergeant asked. Looking at the major's starched uniform and blocked cap he thought to himself, "This guy MUST be new around here."

"Don't you think I deserve the courtesy of a salute?"

To his credit my friend did NOT fall down laughing. He didn't even crack a smile. He thought for a moment, whipped out a fast salute and then hit the deck saying, "Sniper check, SIR!"

The best part is that the platoon sergeant remained on the ground as he explained to the officer that this is Iraq and a 'no salute zone.'

The major did not get the joke. He didn't even make the CONNECTION, and as I understand it, he didn't take it very well either. In fact, I believe that he turned beet red and marched his petulant ass to post headquarters to find out why this is a 'no salute zone.' If you think this is funny you'd be right because I think it is too. Well, I thought that it was funny until I heard that there are posts up North that ARE salute zones. Initially I called bullshit because KNB (see Paradise in Kuwait) was a 'no salute zone' and it doesn't make sense to salute in a forward area.

Apparently officers up North like being targets. I haven't heard about too many troops being killed by sniper fire so the whole salute zone might not be true, I hope not, but you never can tell with the Army.

No news on that light headed my way, and they say that no news...

I love you all,


PS - It sounds like the general in charge of the Army Reserve just made the connection and is worried about retention (see Keeping Troops in Boots). You know he's gonna take the blame when it's someone else that needs a kick in the ass. I'm glad that he gets paid well.

05:12 PM | TrackBack (0)

Ahh Will I could tell you some stories about a stupid Colonel (see Reserves for I'm so excited about being in charge that I must throw my birds around) and who is really screwing the troops training/waiting to deploy - but then I'm sure you know the story.

Needless to say I believe the referenced Major must be in the same frame of mind. I'm glad Sgt. Nascar hit the dirt and I hope he doesn't get in trouble. Ever notice how the rules change without notifying the troops that they relate to???

I heard today on the news that the Reserves were reviewing policy since they ONLY gave some troops 5 days notice to get their affairs in order before they had to deploy for the rotation. And they wonder if there is going to be a mass exodus - go figure.

With all its faults we're still the greatest military on earth. We just need more guys like you for officers.

Take care!

Posted by: IRA on January 21, 2004 07:47 PM

Thanks for the laugh Will!

Nice to hear you aren't ranting about anything affecting you, per least not at the immediate moment.

May the light get brighter, and have no engine behind it, m'boy!


Posted by: Judi on January 21, 2004 08:48 PM

Try to stay as far away from Mr. 'Major Pain In The Ass' as possible. He sounds like a walking danger zone. Too funny.

I wonder if these folks know how silly they are?

Maybe if you attached a bell to him you could hear him coming--like we do to the cats to warn the birds???

Glad to hear you are safe and sound. Come home soon.

A soldier's mom,

Posted by: Katherine on January 21, 2004 09:42 PM

It's TRUE! At the CPA palace in Baghdad (the very same one which has recently become a mortar target-practice favorite) we had to salute officers. This started when Gen. Sanchez showed up and said he was going to make the place more "military." Uh, okay. I was glad to be out of there soon after that.

Posted by: Charlie Foxtrot on January 22, 2004 02:00 AM

Oh, I should mention, the reason you didn't hear about troops being sniped up north is because the troops who are snipable aren't saluting. The FNG (Florida Nat'l Guard) guys who lived in our compound, but along the river, didn't salute inside their area.

Of course, Gen. Sanchez didn't bother to visit that side of the camp. If he had, I'm sure he'd been unhappy to discover all the "improvising" they'd done with Iraqi equipment--which gave them a/c and regular electricity when the main palace was still sweltering.

Posted by: Charlie Foxtrot on January 22, 2004 02:08 AM

Loved the story!
That is definitely the smile of the day! :)


Posted by: Mels on January 22, 2004 11:51 AM

Anyone else seeing a scene from Stripes in all of this? Can only hope the guy gets assigned to an Artic post....
Keep us updated on that light thing. By my calcs, we should be into double digits if the word holds true. Probably just jinxed it for you didn't I? I hope not.
Continue to keep your spirits up and your head down.

Posted by: Shell on January 22, 2004 12:23 PM

That's to funny!
Hope you light will be getting brigther soon!
Take care keep head down!

Posted by: Chris on January 23, 2004 12:38 PM

Good to hear you're ok Will. I gotta try that sniper check some time on my brother. Keep well, that light will show up soon and take you back to the land where everyone knows your name, (your house).

Posted by: Ryan from Canada eh? on January 23, 2004 12:39 PM

Many thanks for your service and this blog. As a Vietnam vet, I wanted to say that I've heard most of your stories before and have seen some of them acted out. The stories are just as funny and pertinent as they always were. A change of scenery gives them fresh life.
Greet veterans with a smile, a handshake, a thank-you, and a "Welcome Home".

Posted by: Charlie Wortham on January 23, 2004 02:50 PM

That is awesome. Why do I always miss the opportunity to have my fun with these asshole brass wearing MFs!!! My good friend, take care. Europe is great. I wish you were taking some time to leave that hellhole. We are having a good time with the guys in thought. We know how precious every minute is there. Tell the guys hello and we will see them in a couple of weeks.
Email me with some news of the unit and getting/not getting out of Iraq.
Take care and see you soon.

Posted by: Stolp on January 24, 2004 12:20 PM

Hello Sergeant,
beh now we know that if a day will meet us instead of greet you with three kisses,how is our habit we will greet you with the salute "Sir, sergeant",ahahah.
Glad to know that you commit oneself with italian(see Prima Donna)because it is a italian word,we ask what does this word mean,it translate means (see First Lady).
CIAO to soon Sergeant, Milena and Adriana

Posted by: Milena,Adriana on January 25, 2004 12:11 PM

Hey Will - you are missing out on a foot of snow here.....

Posted by: Shell on January 26, 2004 09:18 PM

Well.. Its possible some officers elected to draw out snipers with salutes..


Question:What are the qualifications for the Iraqi Insurgant Sniper School?

Answer: Being able to hit something with a bullet.

Question: Anything?

Answer: Yes.. anything.. including the planet.

Sorry.. ina wierd mood :)


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Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.
~General George S. Patton
Who's Will Anyway?
What's All This Then?
As most of the regular readers of know, I have a few friends that have been sent or called up for the soon-to-be-conflict in Iraq. One such friend is Will aka Will not weasel or Will from Omaha or whatever other moniker he's using on my site that day.

Will is a pretty good writer and this is the collection of his writings. It'll be interesting to hear updates from a soldier's point of view, so I'll be posting them for all to read.

Take care Will

~Captain Rooba
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