Date Published: 19 August 2004
Because I'm stationed at the same base as my battalion and brigade headquarters ('close to the flagpole'), my platoon (and company) has to endure some silliness that units further from here do not. For instance, while back home, some of the major training activities that national guard units do include common task training (CTT), engineer qualification tables (EQT), army physical fitness tests (APFT), and weapons qualification (strangely, no acronym for this one). If I were at one of the other FOBs, it would be sufficient that I would be deployed in a hostile country and trying to perform my wartime missions. However, at this base, in addition to doing all of that, we're also supposed to do all of our peacetime readiness training. Now, I wouldn't bitch if everyone were treated equally, but when things are disproportionate because we happen to be near the flag officers, and it impacts our ability to do our actual wartime mission, I feel justified in saying that's f'd up.
On the plus side, doing EQT training today was a nice change of pace from our regular mission. We still got to blow stuff up, too. And as we continue the training we should get to do some more fun things that we normally couldn't do in the states (or at least my old unit in Ohio never would), like live fire drive by react to contact scenarios. That's pretty hooah stuff. There's a lot of less exciting things involved with CTT and EQT, though, that involve book learning and math problems. But that's life as an engineer soldier.
Something that strikes me as funny, though, since one of my duties at my old unit was keeping track of our readiness in the event we were mobilized, is that we're doing these pre-mobilization tasks while we're already mobilized and deployed. For example, failing the APFT or failing to qualify with a weapon within the last 12 months would make a soldier non-deployable (back in the 90s, anyway, before we decided that we needed to ship everybody with a pulse to Iraq). So, what, if someone fails the APFT here does that mean they get sent home? What if they can't qualify with their weapon? If it doesn't have any bearing on deployability or mission readiness, then what's the point? These things are at least included in the ratings of individuals, and they do affect one's ability to receive promotions and awards, so I'll grant that they're not completely useless. And having done them here it should make it easier for the units once they get back home since they won't have to jump through hoops to get all these annual requirements done next year. But my original point remains -- why isn't everybody doing these tasks if they're so important?
Steve is an experienced software architect and trainer, focusing on code quality and Domain-Driven Design with .NET.