Murphy's Law: September 1, 1999


: Comments allegedly overheard at the NTC (U.S. Army National Training Center.) The NTC provides very realistic training for U.S. Army combat brigades. There is an OPFOR (Opposing Force, the enemy) brigade permanently based at the NTC to provide an extremely able opponent. Using the same laser tag systems employed for small unit training, and a completely wired (electronic sensors everywhere) battlefield, units going through the NTC get a very realistic dose of what real combat is like. The following comments show the "reality check" NTC has on peacetime unit, as well as the unpredictability and chaos of any battlefield.

"As usual, 2d Brigade is across the river having champagne brunch while my brigade is still pulling their tanks forward with oxen." Brigade Commander 

"No offense to 1st and 3d Brigades, but we'd prefer to stay behind 2d Brigade; they have a better track record for providing security." Aviation Brigade S3

"I wouldn't get up from an electric chair to do this again." Soldier from a Field Artillery Brigade

"The OPFOR has positioning authority for the Brigade." Brigade commander establishing how decisions are wargamed. 

"Time for me to get the S3 up so he can be here when the CG calls." Air Defense Battalion Commander immediately after a devastating OPFOR air attack (CG- commanding general.)

"People in the night shift are different than people in the day shift." Sign posted at a brigade TOC (tactical headquarters) detailing instructions to be given by night shift

"Based on my outstanding freakin' situational awareness, I've assessed our coverage of 1st Brigade is not good." Air Defense Artillery Battalion Commander

"Just consider it a dynamic tasking...that's Force XXI terminology for "the division is screwing you again". Division staff officer telling a brigade to give up their unmanned aerial vehicles to the division ("Force XXI" is the army program for creating a 21st century ground force.)

"Sir, we have a minor problem with the MCS...we have a split screen that reflects the east in the west and the west in the east." Brigade Commander to his Commanding General on why he could not give an accurate situation report. (MSC, a computer terminal showing the tactical situation.)

Maneuver Brigade Commander: "I won't give them back to you until you pry them from my cold, dead hands". Aviation Brigade Commander: "Roger.... How soon will that be?"

"The good news is that we are going west. The bad news is that the enemy is going east." Division Commander anticipating events on the battlefield

"Stupid stuff will not be tolerated in this machine." Sign posted on a Maneuver Control System (MSC) terminal. 

Brigade Intelligence Officer: "Sir, I suspect the enemy knows our plan." Brigade Commander: "What plan?"

"What do they mean by BYOB?" "Bring your own Bridge" Overheard in a brigade

"Hey, we are operating according to our SOP: we are clueless!" Division Staff Officer

"What happened to the Battle Update Briefing slides this morning?" "I don't know, maybe they were hit by El Nino!" Overheard at a Division Main Command Post

"I always get this itchy feeling every time things are going's like something tells me bend over time is coming." Division Commander on the art of command

Senior Leader: "Where is the CG?" Major: "He's definitely at the Division Main...or maybe at the Division, he is at the brigades...oh hell, I don't know sir."

"1st and 2nd Brigades are still going according to plan..... ....and that's scary!" Astonished Division Planner

"Our deception plan is to convince the enemy that we are not going where he thinks we are going, which is exactly where we are going." Plans Officer explaining his deception plan.

"Oh no ...... I think they found us!" Last words of a BCT RTO after notification of 3 TBMs inbound to their assembly area.

"We can't go with the original LD, because I am forward of that LD and I am not going back to cross that LD again." Anonymous Brigade Commander (LD- Line of Departure, where units and deploy into tactical formation and head for the enemy.)

"Never trust a Cav guy to tell you when he can execute a mission, remember - the Cav thought the COFM at Little Big Horn was favorable." Anonymous Battle Captain




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