1 Apr 99

Some have heard me say this already. This is a quotation from the May-Aug 1998 Issue of Infantry Magazine. It is taken from the “Commandant’s Notes” section and is authored by Major General Carl F Ernst, Chief of Infantry, US Army.

“We are the keepers of the Warrior Ethos. Our disposition and our very character must embody the mental and physical toughness required to dominate the personal and brutal close fight. This means the Infantry, more than any other branch, finds its focus and fundamental values completely on the individual soldier”

Great stuff! However, on the very next page of the same article:

“Manning the (Infantry) platoon has always been a challenge. The percentage of fill, the diversion of 11-series MOSs, and a variety of other reasons (all high-sounding I’m sure) contribute to unmanned squads. Our Army currently has no forcing function to drive the manning of these squads. Vehicles and key weapons are crewed. Low-density positions are filled, and POL trucks are manned, all with Grunts, but the maneuver element remains weak, with essentially no tough incentive to reverse the process.”

It looks pretty grim, despite all the high-sounding rhetoric! I, for one, believe the Warrior Ethos is embodied, not in our “all-volunteer” Army, but rather in the dedicated American Gunmen with whom I work every day. We are the ones who are really serious about our skills and who are really dedicated to the advancement of the Art.