Does the Army really understand the TA?

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by Hyperion, Sep 20, 2009.

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  1. Having just read Mr Traceys comments on another thread, he struck a chord with me as it's a view I have been harbouring for a while. The Army 'thinks' it understands the TA but isn't the old adgage that 'a little knowledge is a very dangerous thing' relevant here?

    Everything I see on a daily basis suggests to me that the volunteers who have more than one life is a complete mystery to the average Regular, including those who have served with the TA. As they exist in a monocular world, complete with housing, pensions etc, their concept and understanding of the key 'drivers' for a TA soldier etc is extermely limited - many admit to me that 'they simply don't understand why we do it'.

    This is OK to a point - better to have a little space between us (women from Venus and Men from Mars territory) than to be in each others pockets but surely, this works to the disadvantage of the TA in turbulent times?

    In the early noughties, it was clear that the Army was prepared to overlook all sorts of things to get IRs, even relying on cr*p legislation and the goodwill of the volunteer to get them out of a hole. We showed loyalty to the cause. Now, times are hard and I get a deep sense that we are being shut out, closed off, as the cupboard doors are being pushed shut. Cuts are required so the first place they look is their part timers. Loyalty be damned, we don't have a vote, so get rid.

    Is it time the TA stood up for itself? Who else will?
  2. Pretty much what a lot of folk have already posted.

    Quite how we are supposed to "stand up for ourselves" escapes me though. Our few senior officers appear to have less backbone than the average amoeba - and a number of folk on here are posting thoughts along the lines of " its tough, but knuckle down and it will all be fine in the end..."

    B*llocks. The Regular Army have no idea. They broke their own Army now they are breaking ours.

    On the other hand, its Sunday night , that Hardys Shiraz is good and I'll be in a less cynical mode tomorrow.
  3. Hmm - Hardy's Shiraz? I have resorted to a Chilean Merlot which is OK but it's not Bourdeaux.

    Anyway, to the matter of 'standing up for ourselves'...interesting thought. I can't help but agree that the time may be here (or approaching) when someone should stand up and say 'actually chaps, there comes a point where enough is enough'. I can't see the regular force taking any pain at the moment other then travelling second class to nod at the T&S restrictions.

    That said, what else can we do? Soldier on? - as in the words of DRes(A) in TAQ6? ...or perhaps we just stop soldiering until they get their act together but in that simple act we undermine the very ethos we stand for...and in any case, no-one probably wants to go down that route (or is that part of their cunning plan?).

    Personally, I shall keep going until someone has the courage to tell me to stop - at which point, I will stop. I feel valued?
  4. I think you'll find that was various politicians and the MoD......
  5. ..but maybe they should have stood up for THEMselves at the time? The sky is turning black with chickens returning home looking for somewhere to roost....
  6. As many are saying how exactly can a volunteer force stand up more for itself? I am probably falling into the "lets gets on with it and do what we can" crowd. I don't see what the alternative is, certainly being bleak and pessimistic isn't going to help my unit, and forgive my uncharacteristic optimism but I really do believe that despite all sh*t that we get, burying our mutual heads in the sand and sulking that the regulars don't understand us, isn't the solution.

    I'll keep going until I run of toys in the trainset, and troops to ensure that I don't break the toys or the trainset :-D
  7. No.
    I think that the CoC, past and probably present have a lot to answer for. Failure to say out loud what is required to win in Afghanistan/Iraq is top of the list. Failure to fight our corner on Crown Immunity, H&S etc is another.
    Failure to have the b*lls to be unpopular is one of the biggest. MOD has caved on every single issue that hit the papers - bar maybe low flying and Nucs - neither Army issues. Generating Bad Publicity is the easiest way to change Defence Policy .... Very close to top of the list are issues like allowing the Army to get buried in peacetime paper-generation or accepting being run by the CS accountants....

    I'd agree that Gov should take the blame for failing to put us on a war footing - but the CoC let them get away with it.


    Edit to say - Lacrabat, If you really are riding in the back of the 4 tonner ( Your signature) I hope you are either siting in the hugely expensive fairground ride kit that makes you "safe" or carrying the ( 2 Star ?) exemption letter that lets you sit on an old-fashioned wooden bench ? A PERFECT example of the money wasting pish the CoC have allowed to cripple us.
  8. I've struck a chord? There's a first time for everything!

    Listen mate, you're spot on but then I would say that wouldn't I? :)

    T'is true - the regular Army is convinced it understands us which is why they don't. I had hoped that with the passage of time and increasing IR's, they would 'get it' but they don't. Indeed, it has probably made matters worse in that by supplying IRs, we have moved the TA towards the Regular Army, and as such, undermined our, before Dukey etc savage me from a keyboard somewhere up a mountain, I don't mean that the TA should be 'independent' of the regular Army (although we were in a lot better shape then) going forwards but the gap between the two codes has been irreversibly bridged. Note that the regular Army has not moved one millimetre in our direction! Many will argue that this is good but I'm afraid that to use an other oft quoted phrase, 'familiarity breeds contempt'.

    The TA is different - it should rejoice in that difference, not try to be the same. By being the same, we will be indistinguishable and eventually disappear. Maybe that is what is happening - consciously or not. On that basis, the TA might as well be 15,000 to generate the now required 10% of every deployed force and we should close most of the TACs and disband the Corps structure and have done with it.
  9. I think we've hit rock bottom, blaming the regulars, as you say, isn't going to solve any problems. This is a period where we need to be selfish and look after number one. Attempting to be this all singing dancing organisation providing support to the regular armed forces is akin to running before we can walk (and with MTD budget cuts effectively shooting us in the knee - we also need to look at how we can walk again).

    Some random thoughts I've had over the last week:

    Coming last in a competition is not a failure, when the methods and conduct meant you won in every other respect (long term sustainability).

    Enablers vrs Soldiers: When the average age of your patrol team is over 30+ and the 'enablers' are 20+ or 45+, something is wrong (can we have future arrse threads on this subject hitting the point please).

    PQO's know your limits (and subject matter/target audience)

    Having been to a really bad place recently, the amount of comradship and support I recieved from fellow TA soldiers was unprecedented. This must be on of the great strengths of the TA and I can't thank them enough.
  10. An example is the constantly shifting dates for Phase 1 training. I've just been informed that Autumn Challenge ( a one week long Phase 1 course) may be cancelled at short notice. This is apparently under the control of regs even if they are TA attached. Now in my case this is not the end of the world because I work for myself but picture the guy who has had to book annual leave to take the course and then gets it cancelled at the last minute. He can't just take another week off next month instead. "get on the bus get off the bus" is all very well but when it starts to mess up people's home and work lives then it's TA that gets the push.

    I think this sort of thing where Regs have a hand in TA training either directly or indirectly is one of the easiest things to fix but one that causes or can cause a great deal of trouble.

    As has been said on other threads; the Army is being asked to do to much with too little. The TA however, IS fully understood by those in powers in the same way that the regular toms are. We WILL keep going and get on with the job regardless and the MOD etc fully understand this which is why they are getting away with taking the p!ss.

    As MSR has often said on here, the TA is now purely a factory for battlefield casualty replacements/ willing guys and gals who will step in and do the sh!tty jobs in far too many scenarios.

    I am fiercely proud to wear my uniform and to serve in the Army of my Queen and Country but I feel very strongly that we (and I am speaking purely about the TA now) are being badly let down.

    It needs to be recognised who we are and what we actually do. We need to have equal rights, respect and responsibilities to the regulars whose jobs we share and work alongside in the most extreme circumstances our country expects of us. To be described as 'casual labour' is a disgraceful insult and I would hope that Her Majesty would step in and sort that appaling state of affairs out.

    With respect to the original post, I think the majority of the regulars DO understand us but are in the same boat. They are having to do more and more with less and less and are at full stretch. In simplistic terms; if you are in a sinking boat and someone sends you a bloke with a bucket; you'll put him to work and not worry about what his pay and conditions are. :roll:

    Something needs to be done and raising publicity for the sorry state of affairs is the only practical way I can see forward.

    To the Journo's who read and use this site here is a question for your paper/ TV/ radio station to ask: Is it right or proper that the TA, who are fighting and dying alongside our regular brothers are regarded and treated as 'casual labour' by this Country?
  12. Isn't it funny how TA Inf units did the whole mobilise the company, except one unit- 4 PARA, with as much of a TA command structure as was thought prudent to the unit. Granted some with more sucess than others but with standards and operational effect increasing with each deployment.

    With this we played to our strengths and it was a slow process but we were/are very close to reaching ramming speed. The culture in the TA changed to reflect this (an example of this is having the pick from soldiers coming back from tours and wanting to go on command courses because they WANT to be a 2i/c, section Comd or Pl Sgt on the next tour).

    And yet the template for the TA Inf future is being based on one unit!

    New mk 7 tin foil hat on!

    Basically we are all f**ked as this is being driven by cuts- not by a lack of respect for work carried out or commitment shown. As such all we can realistically do is keep our heads down and try and weather the storm as best we can.

    I'm not sure if this is an actual legitimate quote from a roman soldier but it pretty much sums up the TA from 2003 to present in my opinion:

    We trained hard . . . but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization

    Edited to add: just found out the quote was actually a guy called Charlton Ogburn, Jr. He was a junior officer in Merrill’s Marauders in WW2.
  13. Excellent quote