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Showing posts from February, 2016

Who Fights Our Wars? Command Sgt. Major Christopher Kepner

Command Sergeant Major Christopher Kepner, the top NCO of the 28th Infantry Division, is a big man with a big personality.On any duty weekend, 28th ID soldiers can expect to see Kepner anywhere—on a range, in a dining facility kitchen, in a motor pool, or walking into an administrative section office.He strides faster than everyone one around him.It’s usual to see him striding down a hallway with a soldier breaking into a trot to keep up.And just as usual to see this marathon runner with a Ranger Tab stop in mid stride to correct a deficiency or encourage a soldier doing a good job.
In 2010, soon after Kepner became the top in Command Sergeant Major in the 28th Combat Aviation Brigade he led an NCO Development course for all the sergeants in the brigade.He began that course saying, “You need to do only two things to be a leader in the United States Army. First, keep the men safe as much as possible. Second, make sure your soldiers maintain standards in every area. And how will you know i…

Tell Me About Your Favorite Top Sergeant

Command Sergeant's Major Christopher Kepner may not look like a funny guy, but here is my favorite quote from him:

Soon after Kepner became the top in Command Sergeant Major in the 28th Combat Aviation Brigade he led an NCO Development course for all the sergeants in the brigade.He began that course saying, “You need to do only two things to be a leader in the United States Army. First, keep the men safe as much as possible. Second, make sure your soldiers maintain standards in every area. And how will you know if you are doing these two things?

Not Looking Good for Another Year in the Army

This weekend, I found out my application for another year in the Army has not yet been approved at the state level.  And after that, it would have to approved by National Guard Bureau at the Pentagon.

I can't say for sure, but if I were betting, I would bet against me getting the extension.

Yesterday, I turned in a lot of my field gear and went on what may have been my last flight in an Army helicopter.

The field gear that remains for me to turn in during March drill weekend has my name on it and the name has to be cleaned off.  Of course, when I was issued this field gear, my unit said write your name on it.  So I did.  Now I have to erase it or I will have to pay for it.

That's the Army!!


Americans in West Germany During the Cold War: Don't Piss Off the Polezei!

During the height of the Cold War in the 70s and 80s, West Germany had a higher population of American citizens than ten states.One million Americans including 250,000 soldiers and airmen and their families, lived in West Germany.The 1970 census says more Americans were living in West Germany than in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Alaska, Hawaii, both Dakotas, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.
Most of those Americans lived in “Little America” military communities, shopped on Base/Post and never learned German.Sometimes, they were rudely introduced to differences in German culture.
In 1977, I drove from Wiesbaden to Frankfurt Airport to pickup the wife and child of one of my soldiers.The post-draft Army recruited very different soldiers from when I enlisted in 1972.During the draft, although mostly Southern, I met people from the entire country. By 1977, that was over.Every new soldier on my tank crew or in my platoon was from the South or the West.
When I went through basic training in 197…

Tank Gunnery 1976, Part 7, Final Engagement HEP-T at 2000 Meters

HEP High Explosive Plastic, muzzle velocity 2,450 fps.  


In this night-fire picture, the flat trajectory of APDS is very clear.   HEP-T at 2,000 Meters looks very different.


Now we reached the end of Table VIII Tank Gunnery 1976.The last engagement was a house—an 8-by-8-foot panel between 1,500 and 2,000 meters from the firing position.The ammunition is HEP-T—High Explosive Plastic-Tracer, the slowest round that tanks fire.The actual rounds we fired is not the service ammo pictured above but the powder-blue inert rounds.
This final engagement was truly different from the preceding three main gun rounds because it was the longest shot with the slowest round.When we fired APDS “SABOT” rounds at the moving tank target at 1,000 meters distance, the round is traveling just over a mile per second leaving the gun muzzle.Even allowing for wind resistance, the time to a target roughly 3,300 feet away is less than a second.The trajectory is essentially flat.For a tank-sized target, it is poin…