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Anybody have a title to two to recommend?

I would recommend a book about operation Anaconda in Afghanistan. It is titled "Not a Good Day to Die; the untold story of Operation Anaconda" by Sean Naylor.

It is a very good read.

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saw the first episode. i actually found it enjoyable. my buddy's a marine in Iraq, and he says the series is pretty on target with what he has to put up with too

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I've seen two episodes now. Having read the book, I'd say they are doing a good job of faithfully sticking to the book. The book was one civilian reporter's view, so I don't imagine the series is trying to step too far from that vein.

Things seem very technically sound as fas as I can tell. Since I am not, nor ever have been, in the US Marines recon, I can't vouche for the true authenticity of any of it.

It is worth watching in any case, based on the two episodes I've seen.

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I would recommend a book about operation Anaconda in Afghanistan. It is titled "Not a Good Day to Die; the untold story of Operation Anaconda" by Sean Naylor.

It is a very good read.

Thanks Enigma,

I've read that one too. :)

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I haven't manage to catch any of the episodes yet but I read "My war" by Colby Buzzel just a few days ago and it was very good.

It a mix of him telling stories and posts from his web log that he ran throughout his deployment in Mosul. It's not your average war book but more like a diary. I guess enjoying punk/metal music and not having a problem with colourful language helps. If Henry Rollins ever took part in a war, "My war" would be the book he wrote.

-C-

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Haha, thanks Hot Tom. I will I wrote most of those remarks with a hot head, but I still think that the American soldier is stereotyped a little unfairly, at least from what I gathered from that clip.

I mean, Audie Murphy didn't listen to rap music when he went on his patrols and play Grand Theft Auto. Yes, culture has changed, but I think Americans have always had a sense of fighting in them. Plus good training doesn't hurt...

Oh boy. You're in for a big shocker if/when you ever become a platoon leader in a combat arms branch.

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I haven't manage to catch any of the episodes yet but I read "My war" by Colby Buzzel just a few days ago and it was very good.

It a mix of him telling stories and posts from his web log that he ran throughout his deployment in Mosul. It's not your average war book but more like a diary. I guess enjoying punk/metal music and not having a problem with colourful language helps. If Henry Rollins ever took part in a war, "My war" would be the book he wrote.

-C-

Not a big fan of this book. There is only so much whining, bitching, and complaining I can take when reading.

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Having now read the book and watched the first couple of episodes on HBO, I agree the series so far follows the book quite faithfully...but that doesn't mean it is without faults.

The good stuff: The dialog is very realistic. The jargon used by the troops is dead on (if anything, it's not colorful enough; soldiers have a unique way of expressing themselves that is not totally captured here), the military acronyms (which never are explained, poor civilians) are accurate, the RTP (radio-telephone procedure) is highly accurate (on-line SB players could take some serious lessons on how to talk on a military radio net; if nothing else, listen carefully to the radio transmissions played over the credits at the end of each episode).

The weapons, the vehicles, the tactics, the procedures all ring true (although the part showing the Marines buying their own NVG batteries at the PX while complaining the Army comes fully equipped is an inaccurate perception -- my soldiers spent a lot of money out of pocket to buy what the Army should have provided).

Not good: The officers and senior NCOs are cardboard and stereotypes. The platoon leader and especially the platoon sergeant come across as realistic but the company commanders are portrayed as borderline dangerous idiots. Granted, the story is an enlisted man's view of the world and I was an Army officer, not a Marine officer. But even during Vietnam, which was my war, you had to be highly competent to be given a company to command, especially in an elite unit. Same with the sergeant major. The good ones are VERY professional. This guy is portrayed as a clown. I seriously doubt that was true.

This is a common problem with "embedded" reporters without a military background. They have no base line for judging what they hear. I suspect the Marines with whom he was riding (especially the platoon sergeant) are accurately portrayed, the platoon leader's portrait probably is pretty close but as we move away from that vehicle and that platoon, the credibility of the author's views and descriptions suffers.

All in all, I would give the TV series, so far, a definite thumbs up: Flawed in places but generally way above Hollywood's usual treatment of the military (this was put together by the same crew who did "The Wire" on HBO, which I also found to be quite realistic -- and highly entertaining).

HT

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I wish they'd tone down the Platoon Commander's captain America crap. He's got a real stick up his ass. Even I wasnt that bad when I was a 2LT. :-)

I think the idiot CO is an interesting twist on the story. But man, that guy is DUMB.

I like 3rd Platoon's Platoon Commander, funny guy. Total psycho.

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Not a big fan of this book. There is only so much whining, bitching, and complaining I can take when reading.

He he.. yeah I know the feeling. I felt that way about the Chris Ryan book "The one that got away"... man that guy was whining.

Does anyone know about any similar (translated) books on Soviet conflicts? It would be interesting to see the level of whining that goes on in a conscript unit.

-C-

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the military acronyms (which never are explained, poor civilians) are accurate, the RTP (radio-telephone procedure) is highly accurate (on-line SB players could take some serious lessons on how to talk on a military radio net

HT, one thing I ceep hearing on their radio net is "how copy"

well Copy I get, we got that in sweden to... but the "how" ? is it How as in "how do I do this?" or is it another how? what is the meaning of How in that sentence?

/KT

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I believe the sender is asking the receiver "did you read my transmission" when he says, "how copy". This isn't really necessary. If the receiver doesn't understand something, they just come back with "Say again, over". If the sender wants to ensure the message has been received correctly, he can add a "read back" to the end of his initial transmission.

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"How Copy?" means "how did you hear me and were you able to write it down?" It usually is the end of a message that begins "Prepare to copy," which alerts the receiver important stuff follows and he or she should take notes.

The proper response is "Good copy" or "Lima Charlie" (loud and clear) or, if you didn't get it, "Say again."

As Tacbat notes, it probably isn't needed but it is required that every transmission (unless it ends in "Out" in which case no response is wanted or needed) receive a response, even if it is just "Roger. Out."

Instead of "How Copy?" it also is correct to use the term "acknowledge" to remind the recipient at least a "roger" is expected. If the sender doesn't receive a response, he may ask: "Do you roger my last?"

http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:iKr0o9HWstsJ:featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/entertainment_tv/files/gen_kill_glossary.doc+Marine+Corps+jargon+Oscar+Mike&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=4&gl=us&client=firefox-a

There's a "Generation Kill" cheat sheet I stumbled over.

There are some terms unique to the Marine Corps. "Oscar Mike" means on the move, a term I never heard in the Army (maybe it snuck in after I retired) but one you hear a lot on this show.

Marines also use the term "actual" to mean commander. If a company's net call sign is Dragon, they would call "Dragon Actual" if they want the CO. In the Army, it would be "Dragon Six" because six always is the numeric suffix for a commander at any level.

HT

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We use 'actual' in the Army as well.

A few things that BUG me ALOT in the radio speak of Generation Kill

"How Copy?" - no, thats not propper. we're not a copy machine, and we dotn work at kinkos.

"Oscar Mike" - no no no no. Redcon 1 or 'we're moving'.

"Roger that" - nooooooooooooo. you dont say 'that' after saying roger.

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"Actual" is used since the commander doesn't carry the radio, usually. When you call Dragon 6, you usually get the RTO or someone in his vehicle . They make radio calls using the Dragon 6 callsign, or perhaps something like Dragon 6 Romeo (RTO), or LIMA (loader) etc. The commander may identify himself in calls by saying something like Bandit 7 this is Dragon 6 actual. Or someone (usually a higher cdr) will say let me talk to the actual or Dragon 6 actual.

"How copy" occurs when the message also occurs when the sender expects a reply and doesnt get one.

Although most would like to believe otherwise, radio procedures gets lax and many informal calls get accepted and used. Aviators are particularly bad for it. Many pilots will start a transmission with the word "and", usually quite protracted. "AAAAAnd Wolfhound 42, this is Renegade 36" The belief that SINGARS type radios are untrackable or unjammable has led to very extended transmissions on the radio. Against what everyone is taught, but again, it happens.

The platoon leader and especially the platoon sergeant come across as realistic but the company commanders are portrayed as borderline dangerous idiots. Granted, the story is an enlisted man's view of the world and I was an Army officer, not a Marine officer. But even during Vietnam, which was my war, you had to be highly competent to be given a company to command, especially in an elite unit. Same with the sergeant major. The good ones are VERY professional. This guy is portrayed as a clown. I seriously doubt that was true.

HT

I haven't seen the show. Perhaps I'll get the inevitable DVD. The belief that all CDRs, and even senior NCOs are always competent is not always the case. Just sayin.

Mog

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I think that the biggest movie/TV screwup platoon leader that I've ever seen was the lieutenant in "Platoon". I mean, I felt sorry for that guy at certain points in the movie. I was pretty young when I first saw it, but I think that that movie was the first time where I thought the radio communication sounded "authentic" or at least "good", and put into the context of that particular lieutenant, I've always had the impression that if the C/O wants to talk to the "actual" platoon leader... it wasn't to tell him how good he was doing.

________________

On topic of "Generation Kill" though, I've only managed to catch the second episode, but I thought the show was good enough to spend an hour a week watching. Hopefully there'll be a marathon of a few episodes at some point so I can get a better idea of the storyline though.

The one scene that really caught my attention in this episode was at the bridge where the platoon was exchanging fire, and the officer came by to chew them out for stalling the tempo of the offensive.

You guys'll be able to put this on more human terms than I can, but man, I immediately put that into the perspective of gaming and A.I. buffoonery, surprising myself that that was the first thing that popped into my mind. It also occurred to me that sometimes I wish I could hit time-compression to speed something along... soooooooooo.... it's time to get outside a little :)

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Mogwa, maybe that "AAAAand" is due to using voice-activated radio? that bugger makes you add all sorts of vowels since it just won't transmit your whole message otherwise.

HT, there are incrediblly bad COs. They are not that common, but I had the honor of meeting such. other than that, the higher up the chain a particular CO is, the more his soldiers expect him to be better. when that doesn't happen, the soldiers consider him much worse than he really is.

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Mogwa, maybe that "AAAAand" is due to using voice-activated radio? that bugger makes you add all sorts of vowels since it just won't transmit your whole message otherwise.

HT, there are incrediblly bad COs. They are not that common, but I had the honor of meeting such. other than that, the higher up the chain a particular CO is, the more his soldiers expect him to be better. when that doesn't happen, the soldiers consider him much worse than he really is.

I never would argue that point. Both the best and worst bosses I've had were in the Army.

But I have a little trouble believing a company commander in an elite unit (and Marine Recon certainly qualifies) in a combat zone would be quite as awful as this guy is portrayed.

Those types of commands are highly coveted, the competition for them is very stiff and, if the battalion commander is concerned about his own career (he says his greatest fear is disappointing the First Marine Division CG), he would get rid of his duds very quickly.

Most (not all) company commanders I knew had their stuff very much together (and hopefully my troops felt that way about me when I commanded a company). If they didn't, they were quickly relieved and replaced.

Being popular with the troops, by the way, is not a test of a good commander. Being competent (technical and tactical proficiency is the term) is.

On another front, in 28 years hanging around the Army I never heard the term "actual" used on the radio. It must have crept in after I retired (13 years ago). If you called a unit commander on the radio and his RTO answered, he would say, "This is Dragon Six Niner." Niner was the suffix we used for RTOs. The only one who would identify himself as "Dragon Six" would be the CO (the actual CO ;)).

I also agree terms such as "copy" are not in the list of official prowords but were commonly used in my experience. The "official way" to say "Prepare to copy" is to say "message follows." But we generally said "prepare to copy," emphasizing the importance of writing it down. The uses change with units and locations.

HT

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Ok, to radiospeak:

One, Apocalypse31 (you need to change your d*mn name, Bronco 5!), Redcon 1 does NOT mean 'we are moving'. It means readiness condition 1: we can move out in less than 5 minutes. It irritated me to no end when people would receive a redcon 1 and then roll out INSTANTLY. That's not 5 minutes. Just because I'll be ready in 5 minutes doesn't mean I'm ready this godd*mn instant. *grumble*

Two: as far as the usage of 'actual', in 3/2 SBCT, we use it to denote the commander of a vehicle. SO, if you call for "Bronco 6", anyone on the vehicle can respond. If you call for "Bronco 6 actual" you want the commander (in this case, the vehicle commander happens to be the CO), delta for drivers, golf for gunners, and eagle for dismounts (not sure how 'eagle' was selected for that. Mind you that the vehicle commander wil often dismount, leading to the 'actual' being on the ground and the 'golf' being the guy in charge of the vehicle!

But like I said, I can only speak for my unit (and Apocalypse 31... who ironically just took my job! I'm headed to career course, and he's now in my former position as my old Troop's XO. Small world, eh?)

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But I have a little trouble believing a company commander in an elite unit (and Marine Recon certainly qualifies) in a combat zone would be quite as awful as this guy is portrayed.

That's true, but it is not impossible. politics can get into that. being able to put on a good show for superiors while being lucky enough to have subordinates that save your ass can help. it isn't always too easy to spot duds before you test them under fire.

There's one Coy CO that comes to my mind in this conversation. He was my Coy XO at one point, and a CO of another company later on. He's a nasty person, that doesn't care at all for his troops, and his NCOs could have done anything they want to without any control. he was a bad person and a rather bad CO. it got to the point of rebelion a few times when he was a CO. he commands a battalion now, that bastard.

Being popular with the troops, by the way, is not a test of a good commander. Being competent (technical and tactical proficiency is the term) is.

of course, but some popularity helps with motivation problems. anyway, an incompetent commander is not very popular, usually, aspecially in operational units, where everyone realizes that having an incompetent commander might cost you dearly (although he might be a nice guy).

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