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Ask a Soldier

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Flying Pig, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Moderator

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    This thread is a chance for people to ask any questions they like about all things military. As many of you will know, I spent the best part of my life in the British Army (specifically the Parachute Regiment, see my user title), enlisting as a Private soldier and rising through the ranks to hold every rank (except, to my continued regret, Regimental Sergeant-Major) in my regiment up to Captain, and later on became a Major. I fought in more places than I care to remember; the Falklands and Northern Ireland being among them.

    I understand that this thread might get heated, so here are a few rules:


    • All questions and posts must be civil. I don't want anything along the lines of 'how do you feel about being a murdering <insert insulting word here>', because not only will that get me and the mods annoyed but I think a civil, fairly calm thread will be more useful to people with genuine questions

    • There are certain questions I will not answer. For example, I'm refusing to answer anything like 'did you know my brother/son/father? The other question I will not answer is 'were you in the SAS?', first because I get it far too much at work already and it's a non-question, since everyone will answer no.

    • No Politics. Politics starts arguments, and after a while does my head in. I have to read this thread more than anyone else, so with respect to my sanity please keep away from it.

    • You can ask anything, on the condition it fits in with the above. I'm not much good on non-British armed forces or the Navy/Air Force, but veterans or members of those services are welcome to add their input. I do, however, reserve the right to say I won't answer a question

    • All posts must be either questions or answers. This is not the place to have an argument, so please don't go looking for one. You can ask for clarification if I say anything you don't understand, but don't start debating the politics of a particular war or anything like that.

    • If you want a question answered in confidence, you can PM me. I understand that some people want to ask things that they would be ashamed or embarrassed to talk about in public, so the online equivalent of my office is my PM box. I'm normally pretty good at responding in good time, so feel free to ask anything.
    From now, ask away!
     
  2. Eretz Yisrael

    Eretz Yisrael Korean Conscript

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    You were in the Falklands? Wow, impressive.
    In battles did you articipate over there?
     
  3. tycoonist

    tycoonist Deity

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    did you support all the conflicts you fought in? were there any that you thought that Britain shouldn't be fighting in?
     
  4. Azale

    Azale Deity

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    Why did you join?
     
  5. J-man

    J-man Deity

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    Have you been in Afghanistan? What do you think about the current British mission in Helmand province? Particularly about the lack of proper equipment (or supposed lack).
     
  6. Nobody

    Nobody Gangster

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    Did you ever kill anyone? If yes did you keep count? How many? do you have dreams and stuff about them.

    What wars/conflicts did you take part in?
     
  7. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Moderator

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    Most of them, I think: Goose Green sticks out. I was with the 2nd Btn, so you can probably look it up better than I remember.

    I don't think it's really my place to have an opinion on what I'm doing, but most of the time I thought our goals were good ones (especially in Ireland and the Falklands) although very rarely you start thinking 'is this place really worth all this?'

    I thought it looked like a fun, rewarding job. It was really as simple as looking at my prospects and deciding whether I wanted to stay and run a farm or go off and see the world.

    I retired in 1985; long before then (although I did go to Kuwait in the early days). The mission is a good idea, but I think we would do better by leaving and letting the Afghans look after themselves by now. I mean, where's the point in building a stable country be nannying it all the time?

    I never kept count, but I killed a lot - maybe too many - of people. I don't generally dwell on it, because as far as I'm concerned they were all threatening my mates and comrades, and I value the lives of my friends and my men more than I value the lives of the enemy. I don't think I ever killed anyone I shouldn't have.

    Quite a few - I remember Op. Banner, the Falklands, Borneo and a nice trip to the Caribean island of Anguilla
     
  8. holy king

    holy king Deity

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    coming back home from an environment where it is not only allowed but encouraged to kill people, is it hard to blend into british society again?
     
  9. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Moderator

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    I don't think so, but I know a lot of people find it very difficult. To me, the basic rules of life still hold wherever you are; I wouldn't start a pub fight on campaign, so I won't do it at home
     
  10. Munch

    Munch Benevolent Despot

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    What do you think about the future of the British military? Do you have a strong opinion on trident for instance? Should we invest in equipment which is more useful for the kind of campaigns we are currently in e.g. drones or should we spend on (I can't think of a better term right now, hopefully you know the contrast I am trying to make) Cold War style massively expensive weaponry?

    EDIT: any thoughts on cyber-warfare spending?

    Since you mention it, is it not difficult to suspend judgement on the missions you are sent to perform?
     
  11. Ziggy Stardust

    Ziggy Stardust New Englander

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    Was fighting in Northern Ireland psychologically harder for you than going to more distant places to fight?
     
  12. Gelion

    Gelion Captain

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    What is the stance of the current British military ideology with regard to Russia? Are they still viewed as potential enemies? [as far as you can determine of course]
     
  13. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Moderator

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    I don't think that any military force should economise and specialise to the point that it becomes unable to do a certain type of action. For that reason, I think having a 'core' of well-trained infantry (the new Rifles regiment and the Paras are good examples) supported by special forces (the recon, damage and intel gathering that the SAS can do is unbelievably valuable) and versatile armour is the way to go, and I think that senior commanders are thinking the same way. I don't understand cyber warfare, so I'm not really willing to say much about it.

    Not really; I trust my superiors to only fight a war where it is justified.

    It was only hard because popular opinion was very much against us for most of the operation; when we entered Port Stanley in 82 the barmen gave us free drinks, while when I first went to Ireland none of us could find a bar that would sell to 'redcoats'.

    I'm not a politician, so I'll reserve judgement if that's OK
     
  14. Gelion

    Gelion Captain

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    I was asking more about the "feeling" you get being inside the military. If you are unable to answer, its okay.
     
  15. caketastydelish

    caketastydelish Hawks4life

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    I know that just because you've got soul dosen't mean your a soldier.

    However, can it work the other way too? Like, if you're a soldier do you have soul? No? I don't know.
     
  16. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Moderator

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    When I left it was still the USSR, and there was a rumor around every other week involving wars in Russia, but I think they've given up on it now.

    I don't understand that, sorry.
     
  17. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

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    You served during Konfrontasi-Confrontation presumably. What do you remember of it?
     
  18. MobBoss

    MobBoss Off-Topic Overlord

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  19. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Moderator

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    I didn't enjoy it; I never much liked work in the jungle. The training's fine (I'm rare in that respect) but actually working there is 99% hot, steamy and boring and 1% terrifying, but you have to be on your guard the whole time.

    I think a lot of people miss the point of nukes. No civilised nation keeps them as weapons; the reason they are there is so that other countries know that if we do get hit by a nuclear strike we can hit back, and so they will be less likely to attack us. I think the logic works, and I would argue against disarming them (I mean, they're hopefully never going to be used anyway).
     
  20. REDY

    REDY Duty Caller

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    Sorry for lot of questions. I dont know nobody who served so some my questions should seem silly or non-relevant. Also sorry for my English.

    As teenager, have you been interested in military history? When have you decided that you will work as soldier? Have you studied in some military school/acadaemy?

    How important was for your decision patriotism and serving your country? What was your stance towards communism (since you have been soldier in Cold War era, I find it relevant)?

    After military briefing, have you ever had bad feeling that you dont know what to expect?

    Have you been injured? Have been some of your friends injured?

    Have you dreams about your service? If so, which ones? Have you revisited places where have you served? Are you sometimes nostalgic?
     

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