As if the Stryker didn’t have enough problems, what with it being a deathtrap and all, now an insidious new problem with the brigade has been uncovered: Some brigade soldiers do not always blouse their boots correctly. Also, some of them use profanity on occasion.
The 11th ACR, which normally runs the National Training Center, has arrived in northern Iraq and brought their microscopic attention to detail with them.
This hasn’t been 100% popular with everyone. A crackdown on failures to comply strictly with military dress policy ensued, much to the chagrin of Stryker Brigade troops.
The attire flap had nearly blown over before an unfortunate incident last month that confirmed many infantrymen’s worst stereotypes. An information operations officer venturing outside for just the second time discharged his M-16 assault rifle inside a Stryker attack vehicle. About 20 bullet fragments and pieces of the metal floor lodged in a battalion commander’s leg.
The major who fired the weapon belonged to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the new unit that instituted the disciplinary changes. Many soldiers quickly seized on the irony.
“It’s almost humorous how far they go with this stuff,” said Staff Sgt. Steve Siglock of the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment. “I mean, you’re coming back from a patrol. You might have been shot up, you might have had your vehicle blown up and you’ve got some dude telling you to fix your uniform.
“Let me put it this way: They shot our B.C. in the foot. They got bigger problems than how we blouse our boots.”
Every once in a while you gotta reel it in and say, ‘Let’s get back to reality,’ ” said Command Sgt. Maj. Ricky Pring, who enforces military regulations for the 11th ACR. “And I think that’s what happened when we showed up. It was kind of like, ‘Okay, everything has slowed down, and let’s look at ourselves. What can we do better?’ ”
Pring described the Stryker Brigade as “the best unit I’ve ever seen” but was unapologetic, saying, “Discipline makes our Army stronger than any other army on the planet.
“I’ve been in the Army 27 years. A happy soldier is a bitching soldier.”
Yeah, but are all “bitching” soldiers happy soldiers? Murdoc thinks there is a middle ground here, somewhere.
Some troops refer to the area around the palace, which is adorned with the 11th ACR’s black stallion logo, as the BHPZ, or Black Horse Pedantic Zone.
You gotta love it when the ground pounders start using words like “pedantic”. They must really be irritated. God bless ’em.
Pring, the command sergeant major who enforces the regulations, denied that the issue pitted rear-guard soldiers who focused on small rules against those who venture outside the wire.
“I’ll bet you 10 bucks I’m outside this FOB just as much as any soldier” in the Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Pring said.
“I’ll see his 10 and make it 20,” said Spec. Robert Layton of the 3rd Battalion.