Palaver from Persimmon Crossingwith Warren Faulk
US Forces are well equipped and have the benefit of fine training facilities. Powerful air and naval forces will support our ground troops whereever possible. But remember that private soldiers and young officers must carry the bulk of any ground battle.
There is not a young soldier in our forces with any actual combat experience. Even our mid-career personnel have very little battle time and even that did not harden them to seeing their friends die or to killing at close range.
The potential foe in Afghanistan may look to the unpracticed eye like a ragtag force, not that heavily equipped or well fed. What the camera does not tell you is a well conditioned, battle tested ground force looks just like that. The excess equipment and clothing has been worn out or left behind. There is no fat and those that did not measure up to the rigors of infantry combat have been run off or shot.
What you see left standing is the polished combat soldier who knows what he really needs and how to use it. He knows he is lucky and yet may die. His best weapon is his experience and he knows that too.
Our troops will do our bidding. At first, even they will not understand what it is that we have asked them to do. We who have the luxury of staying home have a tremendous responsibility to spend their minds and bodies wisely. Those that survive will come home with the experience they lacked initially, a profound sense of lost friendships and a very clear understanding of how we at home measured up when the crucial decisions were being made.
-- Warren Faulk
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