Sunday, May 31, 2009
Tanks for the Memories
Shortly after joining Echo Company I realized that part of my suffering in 2009 would simply be showing up in the motor pool. The glacial pace of motor pools, the problems that can only be diagnosed by experienced mechanics, the whole fellowship-of-the-falling-apart-truck is something that excites me just as much as death-metal music, sitcoms, comedy movies, and zombie movies.
So I spoke to my squad leader already about the form 4100 evaluations we will be receiving in the fall, that's when Sergeants are evaluated for promotion to staff sergeant. I am already at the top grade of 63J so I will have to be retrained to be promoted, as an air conditioning mechanic, a wheel mechanic, or a generator mechanic.
So I had the bright idea of submitting my paperwork in my job specialty from before 19E--actually 19E30, tank commander/section leader. That way when we got back to the states I could revert to the job I had when I left in 1984, get familiar with the new tanks and finish out the final year of my enlistment working on a vehicle I get to shoot at least a couple of times per year.
An armor unit just moved in. I had a latte with one of their soldiers last night and ate dinner with two soldiers today. They both told me about a "chat" they had with their sergeant major saying tanks are being phased out in the Middle East and probably someday from the Army in general.
It makes sense. Tanks were invented in World War 1 as land battleships. They dominated land combat in World War 2, were massed to fight World War 3 in Europe, then in Viet Nam, Afghanistan (Soviet) and our wars, they are not exactly central.
So I'll have to think of something else. As tanks disappear from armor units, the soldiers who want to stay in armor will compete for fewer and fewer slots. So at least for me, by the time I get home, tanks will be on the way to being just memories.
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