Letter in Soldier Magazine - Wah or Not!!!?

#1
Just read this letter in the latest Soldier magazine, now this is either a wah or the Lt Col has really got a bee in his bonnet about unkempt looking troops, mind you, he does admit he came from a harder age!! He even gets a bit about Gene Hunt sideys in!!!

Here's the linky:


http://www.soldiermagazine.co.uk/ll/mail1.htm


For those unable to open link here's the text of it: (My Bold)


Front-line cool takes grip

WITH regard to the Annoyed RSM and the toy monkey business (Talkback, recent issues), at least the Coldstreamers appear to have shaved and look uniformly professional, unlike Prince Harry and his crew.

The look and state of those who have endured the privations of service “down range” in Afghanistan has, regrettably, given rise among many of those in theatre to a genre of boys trying to be men. Yes, the dress state of some British troops away from the front line is pretty appalling and, like the issue DPM It Ain’t Half Hot Mum shorts, often a source of embarrassment.

Even some of the Army and Royal Air Force personnel living in the relative luxury of Kandahar Air Field have those who try to look like dodgy extras dressed by the local Army surplus store in a cross between Life on Mars and the Wild Geese, with Gene Hunt’s sideburns and sports bra pistol holsters.

Why do they do it? Or more depressingly, as the RSM alluded, why do officers and SNCOs tolerate it? I don’t know, but Afghanistan has its fair share of Walter Mittys and wannabes.

But as with trying to find out why soldiers buy food when the cookhouse is open and free, or spend money on kit, the replica of which is on issue, you are wasting your time. The answer is elusive.

As explained by a senior staff officer of the incoming HQ 16 Air Assault Brigade, the boys just want to look a bit “ally”.

There is probably a syndrome to explain it – military grunge? There were even those who returned from R and R unshaven and with long hair. I guess they just want to blend in again quickly.

It’s excruciating, weird, even dysfunctional, and certainly poor operational discipline, but the chain of command lets them get away with it and if it makes them feel better about themselves, part of the team and at one with the desert, then why not?

Being the product of a harder age, the regimental sergeant major and I may not recognise it, but we probably need to move on. After all, these boys and girls are all we’ve got, and the vast majority are doing a terrific job in trying circumstances whatever they look like.
Moreover, they have stood up to the plate and put selflessness before self. And that’s what really matters. – Lt Col (UKA) R S Combe, SO1 J7 FD.
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#2
probably not a wah, this bloke likely thinks that when deployed on operations the lads should look spanking smart in red jackets and pipe clay! :)
 
#3
I can here the harrumphing and rustling of the Telegraph from here!

msr
 
#4
Actually, I just think in a roundabout way he is saying.

"RSM. We're getting old"
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#5
I know a serving female who has better side burns than the lead singer of Mungo Jerry and Afhganistan had no influence upon them.
 

chimera

LE
Moderator
#6
Valid points though. Nobody expects the guys and girls up ont he front line to be bulling the boots, but there is no reason why a bit of military discipline shouldn't kick in when they get back into a support base, or back home on R&R.

But nothing new really. Years ago when the only show in town was Northern Ireland everyone knew that the blokes drooging around Lisburn in tatty jeans, trainers, lumberjack shirts, dodgy haircuts and excessive facial hair were just the cooks and bottle washers, as the real "men in the cars" never went near the place, and if they dressed like that on the ground they would have lasted about 10 seconds.
 
#7
err did you guys not read it all the way yto the end or did you give up as being "outraged" ?

It’s excruciating, weird, even dysfunctional, and certainly poor operational discipline, but the chain of command lets them get away with it and if it makes them feel better about themselves, part of the team and at one with the desert, then why not?

Being the product of a harder age, the regimental sergeant major and I may not recognise it, but we probably need to move on. After all, these boys and girls are all we’ve got, and the vast majority are doing a terrific job in trying circumstances whatever they look like.

I think he is more slagging the likes of the SRDG and their ilk rather than the guys up the front
 
#8
I've read the article twice over, and I both think that you're missing the point.

"WITH regard to the Annoyed RSM and the toy monkey business (Talkback, recent issues), at least the Coldstreamers appear to have shaved and look uniformly professional, unlike Prince Harry and his crew."

He is writing in response to another article regarding the Coldstreamers keeping up their appearance despite others not doing so.

"It’s excruciating, weird, even dysfunctional, and certainly poor operational discipline, but the chain of command lets them get away with it and if it makes them feel better about themselves, part of the team and at one with the desert, then why not?"

I think he is trying to play down the fact that some squads out there don't always look as smart as maybe they should, but in the end of the day, does it matter so much, as long as the job is getting done?

"Being the product of a harder age, the regimental sergeant major and I may not recognise it, but we probably need to move on. After all, these boys and girls are all we’ve got, and the vast majority are doing a terrific job in trying circumstances whatever they look like.
Moreover, they have stood up to the plate and put selflessness before self. And that’s what really matters"

I feel this letter was to say "ok...maybe the Coldstream guards washed/shaved everyday......these bunch aren't, but times have moved on, the jobs getting done, maybe a clean shaved face everyday isn't as important as it used to be?

That's my taking on the article, maybe I'm wrong?
 

chimera

LE
Moderator
#9
REgards said:
probably not a wah, this bloke likely thinks that when deployed on operations the lads should look spanking smart in red jackets and pipe clay! :)
read it again. That is not what he says. He says Ops is Ops, but base wallahs shouldnt join the party, and why keep it up on R&R!
 
#10
There are far better things to worry about when on tour other than the length of somebody's side burns. Service test; do the length of my sidies affect the operational effectiveness of the Army? Probably not I'd say. I haven't seen much in the way of laundrettes at the FOBs either. Granted, at KAF there isn't any need to be wandering around looking like the camp trampbut why go on about shoulder holsters. If somebody wants to use a shoulder holster because it is more comfortable for them go for it.

I think this is just general chuntering from the exercise generation!
 
#11
chimera said:
REgards said:
probably not a wah, this bloke likely thinks that when deployed on operations the lads should look spanking smart in red jackets and pipe clay! :)
read it again. That is not what he says. He says Ops is Ops, but base wallahs shouldnt join the party, and why keep it up on R&R!
Because beards are for winners!!
 

chimera

LE
Moderator
#12
jack-daniels said:
Because beards are for winners!!
And girls. Depending on which part of the Army you are in.
 
#14
Maybe they have impetigo and the "grow your a beard in 7 day" chit .....
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
I read that in his article too - he's complaining about the fact that REMFs and the like are dressing down and going unshaven like the guys at the very pointy end. For that, there is no excuse, but there is for the guys who haven't the water for shaving, or a spare plug socket for ironing, or for that matter, the time to do a bunch of personal admin.

I'm curious about the language - deffo reads like a squaddie/arrser.
 
#16
It may well be, but R Combe is in the position of SO1 J7 FD at the moment.
 

Trans-sane

LE
Book Reviewer
#17
For me it reads like Cuddles in full extract the urine mode. Is that part of the training? And another thing. Could it be possible that the writer is being serious AND taking the piss at the same time? I have a habit of doing that. I can't be the only one out there.
 
#20
Official ruling is, the only time you are not required to shave is at a recently constructed FOB or PB that has no access to a well.

People will be walking around KAF with side's and long hair, but I bet you, there apart of some Brigade recce who probably don't spend much time at all there, before they head back out. However, the rule at Bastion was any more than 24 hours then you had to have the chop, and before RnR. However in KAF seniors are only interested in if you have your boots bulled (if you chose to wear black boots) and berrys brushed to not give a slack image off to other foreign services, even though the place gets it's incoming now and again.

Prince Harry's lot made us shave at Garmsir, it is only when they left when we brushed aside those rules at the new commanders discretion. HCR were actually quite anal.

End of the day, job gets done and the lads get to have a bit of fun and much needed morale boost.
 

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