"LET ME TELL YOU HOW TO FIGHT"
WHAT??? ARE YOU NUTS??
Lt Don Keith contributes an all-too-familiar
"Headquarters Knows Best"
During the latter part of 1968, the "higher-ups" decided to issue directives on how troops in the field should fight. While on patrol one fine day, our CO got word that new rules of engagement were to be followed. Here ya go:
"You are not allowed to have a round chambered in your weapon AND you are to have the safety on."
"You are not allowed to shoot a fleeing person dressed in black PJs."
"You could not fire unless fired upon".
Well, I can assure you that we never followed those rules. Hell, let the all-knowing brass come out and take our place.
Flash forward to 1971; a directive came down to my unit to remove all blasting caps from every claymore. I had 110 around my Two Bitts fire base. That meant it would have to be done 220 times every day. Obviously (to us), we could blow up a brother red leg that was removing them at daybreak and again while putting them back in for night defense. It further meant that we would not have a perimeter defense in the event of a daytime attack. How stupid is that?
Enough is enough. I went to meet with MG Hubert Cunningham and showed him his order. He hit the fan. His order was to remove the hand held initiator (trigger), not the caps. On the same visit, I also told him I would refuse the directive to lock up the grenades during the day. What the hell do you do if you are attacked during the day and your g-d grenades are locked up? He also agreed with that.
Just goes to show what happens when a general's staff, who never went to the field, start telling field troops "how to fight".
And some wonder just how 58,000 names got inscribed on The Wall. Here's a clue, Sherlock!
Lt Don Keith
Note. As the Vietnam war reached its final stages, the transfer of the battle to
the local forces
was begun....totally in vain. This led to some ludicrous directives from those in the
Headquarters offices (whose heads were too far up their hindquarters) issuing directives
to the soldiers who knew how to fight.