Infantry: July 24, 2005


While Iraq is providing American troops with lots of combat experience, the troops are complaining that there is not always time to pass it on to the new guys. Units going back to Iraq for a second tour, still have about fifty percent of the troops that were with them the last time around. But there are also all those new troops, and many of the new guys became aware that much valuable combat experience left with the veterans they missed. What troops would like is some coordinated effort to get them into a new unit for a little while, so they could get some instruction, or just discussion, with the combat veterans, before the vets depart for new assignments, or exit the service. For many of the departing troops, its impossible to hold them over. If someone is getting out of the service, or has to start school somewhere, they are on an inflexible schedule. But many of those off to new assignments, do have some flexibility, and some of the units arriving back in the states are trying to keep combat veterans around long enough to spend some time with, or even conduct some training, for their replacements. This is crucial because each combat battalion contains many different types of subunits, and each one picked up different kinds of combat experience. Its especially important the combat experienced NCOs pass on their experience, as NCOs tend to keep, and organize, combat experience better than lower-ranking troops, or even officers. Combat experience comes in many different forms, depending on the job the troops are doing. Infantry and truck drivers will have different combat experience to pass on to their replacements. So the more experienced troops, in the greatest number of different jobs, that you can hold for a few days, or weeks, to pass on their experiences to the new troops, the better prepared the unit will be when it returns to combat.


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