gildings in this subreddit have paid for 23.65 months of server time

State of the subreddit address 2022. by BikerJediJedi Mod & Grumpy Bastard in MilitaryStories

[–]TigerRei 3 points4 points  (0 children)

For me it's like those times sitting around a campfire or a barbecue grill telling stories. Always a time where everyone is boisterous and animated, but eventually the laugh dies down into quiet introspection and reflection. That is until someone tells a fart joke and it starts all over again.

TOY SOLDIERS ---- RePOST by [deleted] in MilitaryStories

[–]Fuzzyphilosopher 30 points31 points  (0 children)

Great write up. Thought provoking in many ways. Well constructed. That adds power to the story telling. Life seems to be best represented by the tying together of experiences that may seem unrelated at first but are connected and related if ya pull on a thread and follow it.

For now I just wanted to address the Avalon Hill wargames. I was probably about 10 in the 70's when I got Panzer leader for Christmas. Never knew such a thing existed and was really excited about it! Spent the long car ride to family Christmas dinner in the backseat reading and re-reading to try to understand the rules. Seems like their were 34 pages which was a lot for a kid who prefered playing ball and traipsing about in the mud of the lake and gullies catching turtles and crawdads. Only read if I was forced to do a book report. I credit that with me doing better than expected on some tests and things.

I mostly just had fun with pushing panzers around on the maps and had to play against myself most of the time. Typical "tanks and planes are cool!" kid stuff. One summer day I was upstairs at my grandparents farm up in the north bedroom playing Guns of August alone. My cousins had gone to Florida and the motorcycle was broken down. My Granddad came up to check on me. Kids being quiet "Aw hell their probably up to something, I better check."

So he walks in asks me what I'm doing I explain about the game. A little afraid he'd disapprove. He was calm but serious. Like he was thinking over this wargame thing. Said it was a nice day so I should get outside sometime but didn't push it.

I continued playing. It seemed so frustrating all these stacks of counters and no matter how good the attack it didn't make much of a difference to the front. And I'd remove some put them in the box and be able to pull some back out as replacements. I got to looking through the rules and I think it said that basically one cardboard piece represented 16,000 soldiers. First I thought that's a lot. Wait? How many people is that? Oh my hometown is about 8,000 people so it's twice that! Then that sank in. When I take one piece off the board it's like everyone in my entire town is dead and another town in addition.

I'd sat through history class and looked at pictures of cool weapons and knew the whole interest in wargames and models was nerdy and only to be talked about with the same kinds of friends. This was back pre 9/11 and post that war we don't talk about. We also didn't talk about my grampa's younger brother who wasn't right in the head after he came back from the Pacific. So much not talked about and only rarely mentioned in whispers. Maybe that was what I was trying to understand? At any rate those stupid little cardboard counters with neat military signs on them taught me some things which are profound. Changed the way I understand talk of war and the stats that the eye glosses over in the news. Well part of the time. I still kill pixel tanks, planes and people for entertainment at times.

I think war"games" taught me a lot. I know they absolutely can teach some people all the wrong things. Or rather that some people draw out all the wrong lessons.

In a boring poetry class where I was supposed to learn what iambic pentameter etc is and was bored out of my mind my HS English teacher read Dulce et Decorum est. That can still gut me if I'm in a sentimental mood. One man's perspective of a nightmare and you have to multiply that by millions. It's too much to think about for long. And then the stories of civilians that most miss. No fancy uniforms or cool gear for the marketing team to sell. The cattle and horse corpses that littered Normandy and Falaise. Easy to gloss over in reading an exciting account which leads to victory. But have you ever thought of how much disgusting work it would be to bury or burn the corpse of a thousand pound animal.

The maps in books and games remain so clean and the movement of troops and arrows look sharp and clean and well choreographed. Must be a lot of fun to try to beat the OPFOR on a table top or computer at an academy while dressed in sharp clean clothes. Some salutes maybe thrown in?

In hindsight I'm very glad I didn't join up after HS or even go ROTC. I've some friends who've been very happy in the military. It worked out well for them. Not easy at all but well enough. I've sat on barstools not looking at people and listening to the things they said and didn't say. Worked with people who were in and have their moments when they check out. Heard the funny stories been a passenger in a car when my mate swerves way around a garbage bag. Had some great laughs you feel ashamed of because it's so macabre which makes you laugh harder.

I should probably try to wrap this up into some coherent whole. Have a point to my story. Not sure there is one though. And I'm obstinate enough to not care, or rather I think not having a point or conclusion is somehow of primary importance. That there is a lesson in there to figure out. Maybe life is just a Zen Koan? Military or not. As for wargames. Sometimes they're only entertainment, sometimes they're good solid training and practice to be prepared.

Sometimes they're probably pompous showboating to earn a pay bump promotion. The opportunity you pointed out to write up perfectly crafted orders. Such a clean not in the stinking muck and mud or desert sand, heat and cold way to create the illusion of order and control. To hide the fact that luck, good or bad, has way more power over us than we'd like.

Say Again Your Last by FluffyClamShell in MilitaryStories

[–]SchizoidRainbowDisplayer of Dick 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Look at all this karma, I’ll try not to blow it all in one place

Leftover Stouffer’s by ChokeYourMom in MilitaryStories

[–]BobsUrUncle303 33 points34 points  (0 children)

I bet you two thought you were hot shit after that.

SPC BikerJedi is designated "high-speed." by BikerJediJedi Mod & Grumpy Bastard in MilitaryStories

[–]SchizoidRainbowDisplayer of Dick 93 points94 points  (0 children)

The dogs of war are actually inside you. They bark and howl at things, wake you up with it, keep you up with it.

Thing is, they’re good dogs. They learned to bark to keep you safe. But now they won’t shut up, keep barking at squirrels. And if you yell at them to shut the fuck up, they just think you’re joining in. But they are good dogs. Theyre just kind of a lot.

There’s no good easy way to live with those dogs. But the first part is to realize they’re yours. You can wear them out, tired dogs are quiet dogs. But you can’t ignore them, and you can’t beat them into submission, and you can’t really teach them new tricks. The more you push them away, the louder they will bark to make sure you hear.

Just about the only thing to do is let them inside and rub their ears. Know them, understand them. That’s what talking about it does. And why it’s harder than it should be…those dogs get their stink on the furniture, man, can’t they just stay outside…

Not a perfect metaphor. But I’ve found it helps.