Steven Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 1:43 pm Post subject: Re: BRITISH ARMY OFFICERS - YOU KNOW YOU'RE INSTITUTIONALISED WH


strewth wrote:
from Gremlin
"And also due an apology from Jorrocks, may I point out.

Its rude to point!!

Yes but putting "And also due an apology from Jorrocks, may I indicate out." makes you sound insane.

Nothing wrong with being insane of course but still.

Sabres at dawn Steven? Ze voizes in my head say I will triummpffff!!
strewth said:
from Gremlin
"And also due an apology from Jorrocks, may I point out.

Its rude to point!! :)
My four year old daughter has, for about twelve months, been "indicating" not pointing!

Like Outstanding, I plead guilty to most categories on Poppy's list. I would also like may others (own pair of red trousers, have tweed suit, shoot, hunt, have labrador AND springer, drink masses of port et cetera)b to be TIC...
box-of-frogs said:

Your girlfriend is stored in your mobile phone address book as '0A'
Not in mine!!!![/quote]

Ah, then you have her as I do??
So what was your answer? Don't be shy.

We had a similar 'moral' integrity scenario put to us at the factory with a DS solution attached. Think it involved a respected platoon sgt/cpl on operations getting back from a patrol and realising he had lost ammunition. You're the only one who knows and you know you can cover up. Question was whether you would blind eye or report it.

The DS solution was to charge the Sgt, do not pass go, do not collect 200 pounds. That didn't sit comfortably with me for some reason.

I later put the dilema to a retired Para Reg officer who had been in the Falklands and was talking to us about Moral courage in war. Great lecture and he joined us for a beer afterwards. He was a man with more wisdom and experience than I so I put the question to him. He pointed out that the difficult moral questions are when there are a number of ways of dealing with something and they all appear to be right. In this case, it would be right to report the loss AND it would be right to show loyalty to your men and not report it and not stunt the career of a great NCO. He was on the spot but gave what I felt was a great answer -his suggestion would be that you as the officer commanding that patrol would report the loss of ammunition but take personal responsibility.

It struck me that reporting it would be easy, not reporting it would be easy. Taking responsibility for a mistake made by one of your men - that's seems to involve real courage.

Appreciate your dilema was quite different. Sounds like something that I hope you would trust your OC/CSM to sort out appropriately, hopefully at a local company level. You as an officer are there to ensure these types of things don't happen so you have to deal with it. However, I also believe you have a duty to look after your guys too. Stop what is happening, establish the facts, deal, be seen to deal, is there an issue with this guy? Is he likely to do it again? Are there other issues that make an 'A1' SNCO behave in this way? If not, move on.
Cheers Fella

Appreciate such a reasoned response.

Agreed-one problem can, and more often than not does, have many correct equally moral and honest solutions. I believe that Moral Courage does include the will to portion out suitable solutions, to create the overall best, for all parties concerned.

Suppose it comes down to that ol' professional 'gut feeling' at the time, and then after still being able to look at yourself in the mirror (pick your cliche here)

Yes-Loosing equipment is different than violence towards civilians, but the 'integrity' point is clearly the same, and I took something from your example, so thanks for that.

My answer? Well, never been in an Operational setting, but honestly my 'gut' told me in order to: 1. Stop the physical offence 2. Make sure the Iraqi chap was medically ok 3. Question SNCO+likely verbal bark at him on such behaviour 4.) Write up report+send him to the acting Adjutant just for 'processing' for his part in the incident but 5). When news of the incident invariably got back to 'The Army'/CO from the local community, I said I would wish to accept overall responsibility for the offence as the OC (Flapping a bit, I also tried to mitigate damage by saying that I would get on the blower to ALS and Media Ops to hopefully try to put 'The Army' in the best light possible)

Col said: Ok, but if you take the blame that ends your career"
I said: "Oh"
Col said "So would you be prepared to end this man's career?"
I said: "If necessary" and that Standards must be [and be seen] to be maintained"

I still feel a bit dirty after this exchange...
You have my sympathy waitihaveanidea, I can understand why you feel dirty! Sounds like you gave a reasoned and balanced response, better than I would have done at that point in my career!

In practice, I only once had a career stopping moral question to deal with. Unfortunately, I didn't trust my OC so I dealt with it myself. Still don't know if it was the right thing to have done but at the end of the day, I did what I felt was right. My OC was a lifer and would let nothing get in the way of his progression and I did't trust him or the system not to string up a young soldier for a foolish mistake. I on the other hand was not a lifer and my first priority was with the guys, not my career. Which is just as well! Soldier in question is still serving and has been promoted.
These "problems" are always extreme, to simulate the demands of leadership. They can also be somewhat poorly phrased. A contemporary of mine on RCB was asked if, pinned down by enemy fire and running short of ammunition, would he send back a man to collect more ammunition in the knowledge he would be killed? He replied "No". The DS was stunned and asked if he really meant that, thinking he had cunningly flushed a man lacking in moral fibre. Asked to justify himself, the man in the green bib replied that there would be no point, because if the man would certainly be killed, then he wouldn't get the ammunition back either. Better to keep him as bayonet power for the last ditch counter-attack he would unleash when the last bullet was used up!

The real moral challenges in my experience come when you want to do the right thing but the chain of command or "system" prefer to draw a veil over the issue. At one level, given the cost of training SNCOs and junior officers and the lack of steady supply, you can understand a reluctance to prosecute matters with the full weight of the law. However sometimes it seems that it is not concern for the perpetrator's career or usefulness but concwern for the careers of key members of the CofC. supervising a clusterf*ck is seen as being cuplable with actually taking part essentially.

On two occasions in my career I have been dissuaded from taking action by COs who I consider morally bankrupt. The first occasion revolved around a regular RSM and his attitude to the TA soldiers he commanded. He went on to be commissioned and subsequently, I believe, resigned 2the Queen having no further use for his services". On the second, I was prevented from taking action against a TA SNCO, because she was in the good lads' club and technically competent - despite being unfit to shoot or run!

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