I read this article from the WP yesterday and thought how far are these reporters going to take this to find something negative or condescending to write the military. I'm sure this reporter thought he was writing one of those "look at how low our military has had to sink due to the war in Iraq" and look at these poor, pitiful soldiers. After you read this story tell me if I'm just too jaded but it sure seems to me to be a backhanded type of story. Maybe the reporter doesn't even realize what he's doing?
But just what is wrong with training burial teams in 2 days? Ok maybe the optimum time could be better but who cares? It's getting done.
The 99th, based in this town just west of Pittsburgh, doesn't have a full burial team. Until the Iraq war, it didn't need one. Now, it can be called on to perform at the funerals of soldiers from reserve units in Maryland, Virginia, the District, Delaware, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
That means that Dziegielewski, the command's casualty officer, relies on volunteers he fondly calls "pencil pushers" -- the administrative assistants and supply clerks whose usual job is to get other soldiers ready to deploy.
OMG - so pencil pushers in the Reserves are going to be trained for this duty. This is the first example of condescension.
Yet no matter how often the group went through its moves, Sgt. Sarah Williamson was almost always a half-step behind -- late in swiveling, late in bringing up her rifle, late in getting off the shot. Sometimes she never got it off at all.And let's single out the poor single female soldier in the group. Cause, well isn't she just pitiful! And isn't she just in the Reserves for the benefits? Bah - why would she want to do something with her life and how on earth could the Reserves do this?
Slight and soft-spoken, she joined the Army 2 1/2 years ago not just for the benefits that would make being a single mother of a 5-year-old boy easier, but because "I wanted to do something with my life."
At the end the soldiers did a fine job but I'm not so sure that was the point of the story or was it?
For Soldiers' Farewell, a Crucial Drill