America’s Promise: Bring the MIA Home

by Guardian 6            

Dateline August 13th, 2018

While the media continues to focus on less than serious news to undermine President Trump and his administration, there is a tremendous achievement as it relates to North Korea that is somewhere between under reported and not reported by the Main Stream Media. President Trump has gotten Chairman Kim Jung Un to not only release three American hostages held by the state as a precondition to the Singapore Summit, but North Korea has honored part its commitment to begin repatriating the remains of Americans killed in the Korean War. Sixty Five years later, the North Koreans have returned what is believed to be 55 sets of American remains. Forensic examination is still needed but this is a significant achievement by the Trump Administration to honor America’s promise to their troops never leaving a fallen soldier behind. 

I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.

America’s families are not only owed a debt of gratitude for their sacrifice, they deserve our full measure to bring home the fallen. This is one more promise that President Trump has kept personally involving himself in the request of North Korea to repatriate our fallen. There is much more work to be done here as there are over 7700 Americans missing in the Korean War with the majority of them believed to have fallen in North Korea territory. 

The Trump Administration needs to keep the pressure on the North Koreans to repatriate all our missing troops while President Trump works to get Kim Jung Un to denuclearize. While we applaud this first good faith measure by the North Koreans, they must do more to bring all our troops home. America’s families deserve this closure. 

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“Words Don’t Hurt. Bullets Hurt.”

by James Hasson, former Army Captain

New Army Transgender policy, combat multiplier or introducing new risk to the formation, readiness and morale?

Insightful article written by a veteran examining  Army policy that appears to be more concerned with placing the needs of a few over good order and the dignity of the majority in the formation.   

 

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Glory Days – “Lariat Advance”

53rd Regiment News Reports

Dateline March 19th, 2017

Telephone Rings at 0135 hours, somewhere in Germany, circa 1987

 “Lariat Advance, Lariat Advance, Lariat Advance as of 0130 hours!”

Soldier picks up the phone and responds, “Roger, Lariat Advance as of 0130 hours.”

The Cold War was on. Units and Soldiers in the Federal Republic of Germany maintained a high state of readiness. The United States had approximately 250,000 US military personnel stationed in Germany during the 1980’s. If World War III were to break out, Germany was expected to be ground zero.

The Soldier picking up the phone would grab their Alert Roster and execute their portion of the phone tree passing the command on, “Lariat Advance, Lariat Advance, Lariat Advance as of 0130 hours. Battalion Commanders called their Company Commanders, Sergeants Major, and Battalion XO and S3; Company Commanders called their Platoon Leaders and First Sergeants; and Staff Officers called their section NCOIC and key leaders. And so the command was passed down the line for troops living on and off post. For troops living in the barracks, CQs (Charge of Quarters) woke Soldiers up with the same command banging on doors and yelling “Lariat Advance” up and down the hallways.

The sound of that German phone going off at 0130 in the morning was like a five alarm fire. It was loud and startling and you felt like it would wake up the whole neighborhood. Soldiers were given a designated period of time to be on post in their go-to-war uniform, secure their weapon & MOPP gear and get their vehicle/M1A1/Bradley PMCS’d, lined up in designated march order and conduct communications check and provide a status report.

“Kilo 3 this is Kilo 2, comms check, over?”

“Kilo 2, Lima Charlie, out.”

“Kilo 3, this is Kilo 2, as of 0300 hours we are at 75% strength.”

“Kilo 2, 75% strength, roger, out.”

 Racing to get on post, troops never knew if the alert was an exercise or the real thing. This was a well-rehearsed battle plan where units would prepare to execute their General Defense Plan. Units and Soldiers were evaluated from start to finish. Sometimes we would roll out to our Local Training Area for days at a time or leaders would conduct a Key Leaders Recon and rehearsal exercise briefing battle plans through a MAPEX.

There was never an ideal time for Lariat Advance. Back in the day you grabbed your gear, hugged and kissed your wife goodbye and said, “See you soon. I love you, I’ll call when I can.”

“Lariat Advance, Lariat Advance, Lariat Advance as of 0130 hours!”

 

 

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Glory Days — The Wall Falls

53rd Regiment News Reports

Dateline March 5th, 2017

 “General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate.  Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate!  Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”Ronald Reagan, address at the Brandenburg Gate, June 12, 1987

The Cold War was on. The United States had approximately 250,000 US military personnel stationed in Germany alone during the 1980’s. If World War III were to break out, Germany was expected to be ground zero. Every US unit, German unit, British unit and other NATO units stationed in Germany, had their portion of the General Defense Plan (GDP) to prepare for and we exercised this battle plan routinely.

As a relatively new 2nd Lieutenant stationed in Germany in May 1987, the prospect of war was very real. Every event trained for their Go To War plan, how they would fight and their responsibilities. This included REFORGER exercises where   thousands of stateside troops deployed to Germany in support of the GDP, Tank Gunnery Exercises at Graffenwohr, or combat maneuver exercises at Hohenfels against Opposition Forces (OPFOR). For two years, preparing and training for war was a way of life, with many trips away from my German home along the Main River in Aschaffenburg.

On November 9th, 1989 everything changed. President Reagan’s outreach to Secretary Gorbachev led to real dialogue and Gorbachev himself had written a book called Perestroika, offering the prospect of new thinking and openness for the Soviet Union and satellite countries. Then, somewhat out of the blue, and unexpected on November 9th, 1989 the Berlin Wall fell when the communist party of the German Democratic Republic (divided East Germany), announced that its citizens could travel to the West freely, and travel they did. More than 2 million East Germans travelled to West Berlin and into free Germany in the coming days. People began using hammers and picks to knock down the wall. Berlin would shortly be reunited for the first time since 1945 and the end of WWII.

            As a young soldier, it was an amazing time to be stationed in Germany, when east and west began the journey and struggle in reuniting. Being on the autobahn and watching families of East Germans travel west in their tiny Trabant cars was surreal, and a sign of how communist countries had failed their citizens. Trabants were noisy, slow and about 5 decades behind western car technologies. It must have been shocking to the eyes of East Germans to see how the West lived, how much more advanced the Federal Republic of Germany was and in the end, to now understand that their communist governments had been lying to them.

Much more change was coming for US units stationed in Germany as a new normal, a time of uncertainty was settling in. No one really knew what to expect next. However, there was a war brewing on another continent and many units from Germany would soon be deployed to fight in Operation Desert Storm.

 

 

 

 

   

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Glory Days – “BOLO”

The 53rd Regiment News

Dateline: March 1st, 2017

Army troops know the term. No one wanted to BOLO a training event, fail a land navigation course or be associated with some Army training event or exercise that they failed in. No one wanted to be a “BOLO.”

BOLO is a pejorative term meaning failure. It also has some history meaning “Be on the Look Out,” but this is not the meaning in modern day units. In my “glory days,” BOLO was directed at failure or a person who couldn’t get their act together meeting the lowest of standards. One might hear:

  • “Hey Smith, what the hell happened, BOLO again?”
  • “Hey Sir, on the range today we had 29 qualify and 3 BOLO’s”
  • “Jones, what a major BOLO”

I also found a reference stating that BOLO was a term used in WWII for American trained Philippine guerrilla forces that failed to achieve basic marksmanship proficiency with a rifle. They were issued “bolo” knives instead of firearms to preserve ammunition. Hence, they were perhaps the first “BOLOs.”

In basic training, BOLO was a favorite term among Drill Sergeants for recruits among other words or terms that were not very  pleasant. BOLO was actually one of the kinder words one could be called by a Drill Sergeant for failure. This was back in an era before sensitivity training, Consideration of Others Program (COOP) training or before present day college Safe Spaces.

The 53rd Regiment would like to hear from you about your glory days. Be heard!

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Glory Days – “ENDEX”

53rd Regiment News

Dateline February 26, 2017

As you would expect, Soldiers, troops, veterans of US Service Departments have lots of memories deep in their minds about their days serving our country. In many regards, these memories are the glory days whether they are good or bad recollections. The other day while driving home from work, a word from my past came into focus while thinking about being stationed in the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1980s. That word is, “ENDEX,” meaning end of exercise. The Army has a very unique vocabulary that combines proper English, slang and acronyms to form powerful, succinct, abbreviated statements that get the message across with brevity. Clear, concise commands are critical in combat situations to understand and execute orders. ENDEX is one of those words clearly understood and usually met with tremendous approval.

So what is ENDEX? To put it into context, after being in a field environment training for perhaps two, three or four weeks, this single command tells the complete formation the training exercise has ended. The command ceases all operations and begins recovery operations. Commanders and key leaders will then gather, conduct an After Action Review (AAR) and subordinate leaders and troops will begin executing the recovery and redeployment plan.

How is ENDEX delivered to the command? It is given over Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence networks. Back in the glory days, it was principally given over radio nets. The command directive went something like this delivered over the Operations & Intelligence (O&I) radio network and repeated on other networks as required:

O&I Net: “Guidons, Guidons, Guidons, as of 1400 hours, we have ENDEX. Commands, acknowledge.”

“Sierra 3, Alpha 6, ENDEX as of 1400 hours, Roger.”

“Sierra 3, Bravo 6, ENDEX as of 1400 hours, Roger.”

“Sierra 3, Charlie 6, ENDEX as of 1400 hours, Roger.”

“Sierra 3, Delta 6, ENDEX as of 1400 hours, Roger.”

“Sierra 3, Echo 6, ENDEX as of 1400 hours, Roger.”

All subordinate commands on the network acknowledge ENDEX and subsequently inform their formation and begin the next phase of the operation.

The 53rd Regiment would like to learn about your glory day word that is unique to your military experience. Be heard!

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