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Please Tell Me My Friend is Wrong

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by ethics, Jan 6, 2003.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Had a conversation today with a former Sargeant, who was in Vietnam and Korea. Conversation of Reservists came up.

    He told me that the FIRST people US army sends are the reservists to "slow down the opposition till the trained men get to the frontlines."

    In other words, reservists are the sacrificial pigs.

    Perhaps things have changed but was this true in those wars? Is this true now?

    Thanks for any info.
  2. Frodo Lives

    Frodo Lives Luke, I am NOT your father!

    The politically correct term is "Cannon Fodder". I don't know if it is true or not but it wouldn't surprise me if it was.
  3. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    I don't think that's entirely true. In most cases, the reservist's are called in to fill the spots created by the active duty folks being sent to where the action is. Many will fill the spots here in the US until the troops come home.

    However, there ARE a lot of reservist's sent to the line along with their active duty counterparts.
  4. IamZed

    IamZed ...

    I was in the Guard. If you sent my company to anything but a kegger you were in for deep shit. The lack of preparedness was obvious. It would take a few months on the job to make troops of what I saw. But what a pig roast we could throw.
  5. midranger4

    midranger4 Banned

    LOL Zed. I could have liked being in your unit !
  6. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    How does it make sense that the reservist can be called up from his job, married up with his equipment, and transported to the front ahead of the active duty combat outfit. In the Gulf War the first units were the light outfits because their gear and lighter and they can fly everything. The airborne outfits and some Marine units are usually first.

    In Vietnam very few reservist were called up. One reason for the massive draft. Unsure about Korea but I know the first units were active duty from Japan.

    I will not say he was wrong, but in the paraphrased words of Nimitz from "In Harms Way", "He was a little short on being right."
  7. Andy


    Sorry, your friend is wrong....

    As much as MY old unit (Armor, you would think WE would be prime candidates for "cannon fodder", NO?) was chomping at the bit to go to the sandbox, we were forced to sit it out on the sidelines and watch the big game on CNN.....

    Although our main mission WAS supporting the 2nd Inf Div in Korea, that might have had something to do with that decision too:huh:
  8. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Great to hear, thanks all. :)
  9. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    Nah, Reserve Component gets the backfill position almost always. Doesn't exactly make a lot of sense for the services to have Active Components that can't make it into battle before the reservists do.

    3ID as a division has been called up, and they're Active Component. Who does this guy think he's kidding? Even in Vietnam, PACOM units were sent out first.

  10. MisManager

    MisManager Runs With Scissors

    I'd say that perhaps this was true in the initial deployment for Korea, and possibly (but a bit less likely) for Vietnam. It certainly isn't true now.

    In Vietnam, we crept in, 100 advisers at a time. When we began deployment on a significant scale, it was with existing troops and probably some reserves. In Korea, we had to get a mass of troops there ASAP, and we probably did throw reserves in along with anyone else, possibly as a stopgap until a proper defense could be mounted.

    Today, military doctrine (at least in the US) has changed. With the focus being on an all-professional force, and with a keen emphasis on low casualties, we deploy longer- range stand-off weapons. When reserves are called up, they are typically (at least at the start) doing things like flying cargo planes, manning intelligence and logistics posts stateside (while the regulars are overseas on deployment) and so forth.

    If your friend is right (and I really can't say one way or the other, so perhaps he is), I'd be inclined to file this under "you knew what you were getting into." By that I mean the following:

    A recent article in the Washington Post spotlighted the U.S. Navy Hospital Ship <i>Comfort</i>. It was leaving its berth in Baltimore for Diego Garcia, presumably in anticipation of conflict. The article quoted one crew member lamenting his deployment, noting that his wife had just given birth to twins. I'm not really moved by this because one should realize that by joining the Navy there is some probability of actually leaving home and sailing on a boat. Same applies to an Army reservist. It's not just a paycheck!

    That said, throwing unready troops into a battle as a speed bump is wrong and unconscionable in this age. War 50 years ago was different, and involved mass troops. My sense (hope?) is that, if this were the practice then, it is not now.

  11. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Eric, thank you for the additional input. :)

    This is exactly what I thought when I heard this:

  12. Jedi Writer

    Jedi Writer Guest

    Can't comment on all time periods or all branches but some of our best and most experienced pilots are Air Force reservists. The ANG has some people who are pretty darn good.
  13. saber11

    saber11 Veteran Member

    As one ANG pilot I know said, "First they send in the active duty, when they get their asses kicked, then they send in the reserves, when they go down in flames, then they send in the ANG to clean up the mess because chances are some of us NG boys have actually seen combat before."
  14. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Saber, why not send the ANG boys first?
  15. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    Because we'd like to win the war... :angel:
  16. IamZed

    IamZed ...

    Draft. That is when you get an infinite amount of force to apply to a target.

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