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General Powell: more being asked of this generations' warriors than WWII generation

cpwill

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Don't get me wrong, I know it's alot tougher in places than the little bit I have seen. My old Battalion has taken company's worth of casualties since deploying to Afghanistan; I've lost more Marines than I frankly want to think about.

But at Tarawa Marines had to wade through 500 yards of chest-deep water under machine-gun fire before they got to assault the beach. You've seen the first hour of Saving Private Ryan? yeah, that assault lasted hours after hours; and at Iwo Jima that kind of fight went on for 30 days. The same generation was in the retreat from Chosin as dropped into Normandy; when they went in there the analysts were predicting 80-90% casualties for those units, and still they went in. At the battle of Bastogne, the 101 was surrounded and attacked (as memory serves) by multiple Panzer divisions. Troops today get regular mail, have intermittent internet access, eat better (usually), are paid better, are better equipped for extreme weather.... about the only advantage they have on us is we have to carry a ridiculous amount of crap with us, and they (generally) didn't.

Look, Counterinsurgency isn't easy; it's stressful as crap, and I think that the 7-month deployment model is much better suited to it than the Army's year-deployment setup.

But those guys in WWII went through **** that would make my generation look like pussies by comparison. I don't think I could ever make this kind of claim.



"Do we ask too much of these men and women who go back deployment, after deployment after deployment after deployment -- and that's not an exaggeration," Smith wondered.

"Yes. No," Powell responded. "We are asking a lot of them. I've heard of some of them going back six and seven times. We are asking more of them than, even, the World War II generation because, in some previous wars, you might have some periods of quiet and then the battle comes, but in these two wars,the battle is there almost every day. You never know where it's going to erupt -- it's going to be an IED (improvised explosive device), not necessarily somebody shooting at you. … And so, we are asking a lot of them, but what is so wonderful about this current generation is that they give us that great deal, they go back."
 

MaggieD

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Re: General Powell: more being asked of this generations' warriors than WWII generati

Don't get me wrong, I know it's alot tougher in places than the little bit I have seen. My old Battalion has taken company's worth of casualties since deploying to Afghanistan; I've lost more Marines than I frankly want to think about.

But at Tarawa Marines had to wade through 500 yards of chest-deep water under machine-gun fire before they got to assault the beach. You've seen the first hour of Saving Private Ryan? yeah, that assault lasted hours after hours; and at Iwo Jima that kind of fight went on for 30 days. The same generation was in the retreat from Chosin as dropped into Normandy; when they went in there the analysts were predicting 80-90% casualties for those units, and still they went in. At the battle of Bastogne, the 101 was surrounded and attacked (as memory serves) by multiple Panzer divisions. Troops today get regular mail, have intermittent internet access, eat better (usually), are paid better, are better equipped for extreme weather.... about the only advantage they have on us is we have to carry a ridiculous amount of crap with us, and they (generally) didn't.

Look, Counterinsurgency isn't easy; it's stressful as crap, and I think that the 7-month deployment model is much better suited to it than the Army's year-deployment setup.

But those guys in WWII went through **** that would make my generation look like pussies by comparison. I don't think I could ever make this kind of claim.



"Do we ask too much of these men and women who go back deployment, after deployment after deployment after deployment -- and that's not an exaggeration," Smith wondered.

"Yes. No," Powell responded. "We are asking a lot of them. I've heard of some of them going back six and seven times. We are asking more of them than, even, the World War II generation because, in some previous wars, you might have some periods of quiet and then the battle comes, but in these two wars,the battle is there almost every day. You never know where it's going to erupt -- it's going to be an IED (improvised explosive device), not necessarily somebody shooting at you. … And so, we are asking a lot of them, but what is so wonderful about this current generation is that they give us that great deal, they go back."

WWII American KIAs -- 416,000
Korea American KIAs -- 36,000
Viet Nam KIAs -- 58,000
Operation Iraqi Freedom KIAs -- 4,427
Operation Enduring Freedom KIAs -- 1,379

One just can't equate one war to another in scope or loss or commitment. While one war's conditions are far different from anothers, what we can say, unequivacally, is that our American soldiers are brave hearts who, without reservation, throw themselves into battle and do what is asked of them. Every soldier on the battlefield is a hero.
 

Coronado

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Re: General Powell: more being asked of this generations' warriors than WWII generati

Don't get me wrong, I know it's alot tougher in places than the little bit I have seen. My old Battalion has taken company's worth of casualties since deploying to Afghanistan; I've lost more Marines than I frankly want to think about.

But at Tarawa Marines had to wade through 500 yards of chest-deep water under machine-gun fire before they got to assault the beach. You've seen the first hour of Saving Private Ryan? yeah, that assault lasted hours after hours; and at Iwo Jima that kind of fight went on for 30 days. The same generation was in the retreat from Chosin as dropped into Normandy; when they went in there the analysts were predicting 80-90% casualties for those units, and still they went in. At the battle of Bastogne, the 101 was surrounded and attacked (as memory serves) by multiple Panzer divisions. Troops today get regular mail, have intermittent internet access, eat better (usually), are paid better, are better equipped for extreme weather.... about the only advantage they have on us is we have to carry a ridiculous amount of crap with us, and they (generally) didn't.

Look, Counterinsurgency isn't easy; it's stressful as crap, and I think that the 7-month deployment model is much better suited to it than the Army's year-deployment setup.

But those guys in WWII went through **** that would make my generation look like pussies by comparison. I don't think I could ever make this kind of claim.



"Do we ask too much of these men and women who go back deployment, after deployment after deployment after deployment -- and that's not an exaggeration," Smith wondered.

"Yes. No," Powell responded. "We are asking a lot of them. I've heard of some of them going back six and seven times. We are asking more of them than, even, the World War II generation because, in some previous wars, you might have some periods of quiet and then the battle comes, but in these two wars,the battle is there almost every day. You never know where it's going to erupt -- it's going to be an IED (improvised explosive device), not necessarily somebody shooting at you. … And so, we are asking a lot of them, but what is so wonderful about this current generation is that they give us that great deal, they go back."
If he's trying to say that some individuals have it harder than it was in WW2, he may have a point. But comparing this generation to the WW2 generation, unquestionably the latter made the greater sacrifice.
 

samsmart

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Re: General Powell: more being asked of this generations' warriors than WWII generati

But those guys in WWII went through **** that would make my generation look like pussies by comparison. I don't think I could ever make this kind of claim.

How about dealing with gas warfare, or artillery barrages that would last for days, for trench raids where the fighting got so up close and personal that soldiers cut down their enemies with shovels, or going up against machine gun fire without any tanks because they hadn't been invented yet?

If we're going to talk about the harshest war ever fought, my mind always immediately recalls World War I, because those guys had to go through a bunch of technological innovation in offensive weaponry without any defensive innovations until the end of the war. In fact, those guys had to go through gas warfare, which was so horrible it hasn't been used ever since then. That's saying something.
 
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