Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Steve Hansen Lessons come from all quarters in military training

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 11:14 am, Thu Jul 22, 2010.

When I was in the Army, I took a course called "Escape and Evasion." It was designed to teach soldiers how to escape and survive — if captured by the enemy.

Fort Benning, Ga., was a hard enough place to exist in the summertime. Its gnats, fireflies and mosquitoes made sure no one was ever alone. Its humidity made hygienic showers a rather meaningless activity.

One evening, as dusk settled on the scene, a veteran war-worn Green Beret was ordered by a major to begin his lecture. His first instructional demonstration was decapitating a rabbit and mumbling something about "living off the land." Most of the troops were shocked and horrified by the needless Easter Bunny sacrifice. We began to wonder about the meaning of the act: Was it to show how heartless one must be to survive under war conditions, or was it simply to demonstrate the callousness of the venerable veteran?

The ghoulish sergeant continued: "If you guys don't remember anything else today, remember this: If captured, the sooner you escape, the better chance you have of being successful."

I took his words to heart. The cadre lined us up, and we began our march toward the wilderness. The sun had set, but there was no change in the hot humid temperature. As we came around a corner, some of us saw an opportunity and bolted for the snake-infested woods. The sergeant was yelling in the distance: "Not now, you @#% idiots! Wait until we get to the release point!"

We ignored his orders and continued on. I also remembered what he said about a beacon: "If you get lost, follow that light. It will lead you to the finish point." Soon, the other students, who had escaped with me, disappeared, and I was alone.

"Piece of cake," was my thought as I continued deeper into the forest. The next thing I knew, flashes of light were coming my way. Troops were yelling, as they advanced their night attack. I had wandered into another military exercise — completely foreign to my own! Fortunately, they were firing blanks.

One stopped and asked, "What are you doing here?" I told him my mission and asked if he knew where the home base was for E and E.

"Beats me," he said and ran off into the darkness.

I couldn't be off course. After all, the beacon was still in view. After 90 minutes, I came to a road. Soon, a car happened by, and I did what any escaped prisoner would do: I stuck out my thumb for a ride. A sergeant rolled down his window. "Can I help you, lieutenant?" he asked. I told him my story. He replied: "Hey, no problem. I'll take you right to those guys."

After a few miles, I got out of the car and charged up the hill to the finish line. There, in his tailored fatigues, was the blood and guts grizzled warrior — ready to greet me. I was the first student to arrive.

"How did you get here so quickly?" he asked. (I put on a fake panting act for effect.) "No sweat, Sergeant," I replied. "Just followed your directions." With a puzzled look, he asked me to sit on the bench.

As the other troops staggered in, one by one, he and his cadre were ready. They began their simulated torture with over-zealous exercises, wrathful waterworks and other unpleasant activities. I simply got to lean back and watch the show. It was my reward for being the first to finish the freakish follies.

As I rested my derrière, I wondered if whacking a little innocent bunny had blindsided the old warrior's intuition? How could a shave-tail lieutenant, such as myself, have pulled the wool over his eyes so easily? I also thought about the advantages of not following orders and using one's own judgment. It certainly worked that day.

Yes, I learned a lot from my military experiences — but it was not always what was printed in the field manuals.

Steve Hansen is a Lodi writer and satirist.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don't pretend you're someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don't insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.

Welcome to the discussion.

5 comments:

  • posted at 3:58 pm on Sun, Jun 27, 2010.

    Posts:

    To: Nextel. It is impossible for me to do "drive by slander". Slander is the spoken word, you are thinking of "Libel". Good luck taking that to court for anything I ever wrote. In court, truth is the premier defense in Libel cases. You would be carrying an empty briefcase.Dyan: The bunny thing is standard in some Army basic training sites. My daughter didnt like doing it either, but it was a requirement.

     
  • posted at 3:49 pm on Sun, Jun 27, 2010.

    Posts:

    Oh, I don't know Gray Cloud. There are a lot of guys who could kill an enemy without hesitation but would think twice about needlessly killing an innocent animal.

     
  • posted at 1:28 pm on Sun, Jun 27, 2010.

    Posts:

    Hey gray matter, what have You ever brought to these comment boards besides drive by slander???????

     
  • posted at 8:35 am on Sun, Jun 27, 2010.

    Posts:

    The bunny thing is standard. If you cant kill a bunny, you are in the wrong business. Poor Leonard, he can't find anyone to spew his angry, vicious and vile prose on.

     
  • posted at 3:56 pm on Sat, Jun 26, 2010.

    Posts:

    RALLY!!! RALLY!!! EALLYThe LNS has closed comments on its appalling decision to force readers to use their real names when commenting on articles.Those wishing to continue the discussion on this pending fiasco should rally at Joe Guzzardi's editorial.http://www.lodinews.com/articles/2010/06/26/opinion/columnists/guzzardi_joe_100626.txt#blogcomments

     

Recent Comments

Posted 11 hours ago by Jien Kaur.

article: Letter: Lodi’s post office needs beauti…

Abysmal service? Do you not receive your mail rain, hot sun, or winter cold and on time? You should witness mail service other places bef…

More...

Posted 15 hours ago by Heather Parker.

article: Letter: There should be limits on sett…

I agree with you and I live in the same area. We hear them every night. Huge booms going off. It's been like this every night for the pas…

More...

Posted 22 hours ago by Thomas Heuer.

article: Letter: Advertisement was inappropriate

If you were to pay attention I said "in my humble opinion" these are the rules I believe were violated, #4, #5 & #6. No rules…

More...

Posted 23 hours ago by Thomas Heuer.

article: Letter: We need to stop meddling, spend…

Spectacular job Ms Welch I am only sorry you had to suffer the experience. [thumbup]

More...

Posted 24 hours ago by Christina Welch.

article: Editorial: San Joaquin County must spea…

Agreed. I am glad to see the News-Sentinel express their opposition to the twin tunnels project. I wonder if the Stockton Record has done…

More...

Video

Popular Stories

Poll

Loading…

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists