A quick note for today: I am in the process of formulating a new method for training soldiers. Part of it will involve drunken chimpanzee-grappling and the return of the catapult, but I’m not going to get into that right now. What I would like to discuss, albeit briefly, is proper instruction of radio procedure. And, more specifically, that the use of “ebonics,” regardless of rank, is unacceptable on any radio transmission, but especially those used during a convoy outside the wire. Seriously, where do people think that it’s ok to talk like this in a formal setting? Or is it wrong for me to “aks” that question…?
Today was pure agony, as we sat and listened to the team who was running the convoy trying to communicate with one another, made particularly nail-biting by a certain female E-7 who apparently learned to use secure-line communication in a crack house. The saddest part of the story is, of course, that she was one of the “leaders” of the operation. It made me weep for humanity.
So, a few quick pointers for radio novices who are going in to the military or already there:
1) The use of a “break” during a long sentence when speaking on the radio was originally designed so that enemy forces could not triangulate your position because you were on the net for too long. As we are currently fighting an enemy that doesn’t even use radios, on top of the fact that EVERYONE knows where you are, this is a completely unnecessary technique, and very, very annoying (e.g. “We are loaded up, break”… “and ready to roll. Break.”…”let me know when, break”…” you are ready. Over.”). After two or three minutes of that, you will want to shoot someone in the face.
2) If you are inside the wire, the use of “break” is doubly annoying for – what I should hope would be – obvious reasons.
3) If you are having difficulty communicating between trucks and you are still inside the wire, it may be beneficial to just, I don’t know, perhaps walk the 20 meters over to the other truck and talk to them face to face. Just a thought.
4) As previously mentioned, ebonics, regardless of the setting or rank held by the communicator, should not be tolerated under any circumstances. This includes the above referenced “aks,” as in “I need to aks you a question,” as well as such gems as “fo” and "yooz,” the latter referring, of course, to one or possibly more people, as in “whut yooz need dat fo?”
Somehow this type of nonsense has become not only accepted, but somewhat normal. The Army somehow finds endless hours which can be dedicated to useful things sexual harassment classes, yet most don't have a clue as to how to use simple radio procedures. But hey, we're six months into this tour and I haven't raped anyone, so...
Since my spell check is now shooting fire and making strange noises, I think the lesson will end there. Tune in next time when we will cover muzzle awareness, Iraqi style. What, you mean those things aren't supposed to just randomly fire?