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This is a question War

Pooflake says: Tell us your stories of conflict. From the pettiest row that got out of hand, through full blown battles involving mass brawls and destruction to your real war / army stories.

(, Thu 31 May 2012, 11:55)
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I have a war story that involves me in a very, very small way,
and is one of the most humbling experiences I think I've ever had.

A very good friend of mine is a corporal in the army. He's done a couple of tours of Afghanistan with the Household Cavalry. He loves his job, and is the very definition of a professional soldier. If you were to talk to him about it, you'd think that the army was just one big drinking session with your mates in various hot countries around the world. I've heard it said that the lads who get into the serious shit over there are the ones that don't really ever mention it...

So, last november, my friend comes to me with a request. It's remembrance day and his unit are laying a wreath for one of their friends that was killed in action. But the picture they have for the middle of the wreath is a shit quality and they don't have any means to print a better quality version out. He knows I work with Photoshop, and so he asks me if I could redraw the picture for them. No problem. He sent the file over and I redraw it at a higher resolution. The picture is the insignia for the Brigade Recon Force. It took me about 20 minutes to do. I sent it back. It was literally the very least I could do.

A couple of days later, and I received loads of messages from my mate, and the other lads in the unit saying how grateful they were to me for redrawing it and how much it meant to them that I'd (a civvie, no less) taken the time to do it for them. It took me 20 minutes.

I don't really understand my own feelings on the subject if I'm honest. To receive all these messages thanking me for a job that took 20 minutes from guys who go and fight - and die - so that I don't have to fills me with a variety of conflicting feelings that I find hard to process. Pride, guilt, sobriety, thankfulness... And for something I (re)drew in my bedroom to be placed on the Cenotaph as part of memorial day... It just forced me to see, in very, very sharp focus, just how very fucking privileged I am. Its an experience I wish everyone not already in the armed forces could have. Especially that little cunt Charlie Gilmour.

Here's the wreath:


The soldier's name was Jo Woodgate. I never knew him, but I am privileged to have played a very, very minor part in keeping his memory alive. His death was in all of the newspapers owing to him being a close friend of Prince Harry (The Household Cavs are his regiment).

He was, by all accounts, an amazing guy. My friend says he was the best human being he ever met. If you have a minute, you should read about him and think for a second about what people like him do, and have done throughout the years, in order to give us the lives we lead.
(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 12:27, 10 replies)

(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 12:49, closed)
Not enough time to read it...
...but enough time to post a comment at the end stating that you didn't have time to read it?
(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 12:55, closed)
Just ignore it.
It's a cunt.
(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 12:58, closed)
Well, I liked this, so clicked ect.
There's too much shit thrown at our armed forces these days, because people disagree with the conflicts we're involved in, but the bottom line is we need our armed forces and to do their job there needs to be a culture of following orders.

They're all heroes in my book, and have my utmost respect; my beef is with politicians.
(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 13:00, closed)
The fact is, it doesn't matter if you disagree with the war, they're there in case we need to defend ourselves as a nation. We're just lucky we're living in times when we aren't actively falling out with any nations that can pose a major threat to us.
(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 13:02, closed)
Dunno what's so heroic about performing a job.
The real heroes are the nurses
(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 13:06, closed)
People don't shoot at nurses.

(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 13:08, closed)
Not that nurses don't deserve utmost respect though...

(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 13:08, closed)
If you don't want to be shot at don't join the army

(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 13:10, closed)
I won't.

(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 13:13, closed)
You're far too
obvious Rory.

Your amoebic responses are pretty much expected now.

You should keep it to one or two a day. You'll get more attention then.
(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 13:13, closed)
Sorry for pointing out the obvious
Crying grief monkeys blubbering on about 'all our boys bein the reel hero's' don't really appreciate that there hasn't been conscription since the 1940's. Having your balls, prick and legs blown off doesn't make you a hero, just unfortunate really.
(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 13:17, closed)
I think it's fair to say
that doing any job that is done in betterment of the nation as a whole, in fact any job that revolves around you doing something to make life better for other people - whether they're from the same country as you or not - makes you a hero of some kind. If you get killed whilst doing that job, then even more so. Conscription doesn't even come into it.
(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 13:27, closed)
I'm just tucking into a box of Cadbury Heroes, I think it fair to say that makes me no more a hero than your definition of it

(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 13:37, closed)

No, what that makes you is a pedantic prick. But I think that's common knowledge round these parts. Still, full marks for consistency.
(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 13:39, closed)
I've eaten most of the twirls now, they're my favourite

(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 13:46, closed)
Save me the caramels
(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 15:26, closed)
No it fucking doesn't.
Rory is 100% right. Being a professional soldier and then seeing military action in which you get injured is par for the course. It doesn't make you a hero. Chances are all it makes you is a down-on-his luck, poorly educated Northerner with few other employment prospects. Boo fucking hoo, I say.

The real heroes are me and my mates, because we can drink 15 pints each without being sick.
(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 14:51, closed)
Most of the squaddies I know
can do that as well.
(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 15:07, closed)
That's not what I was implying.
I was saying anyone who takes up a job that directly improves the overall quality of life for other people should be looked up to. For that, see doctors, nurses, teachers, soldiers.... I happen to agree with you in that injured=hero is ridiculous, which is the way the Sun would have it. A big part of which I sense is to try and deflect from the thought that we're fighting a war that shouldn't directly involve us. If you ask most injured soldiers most of them say "I was just doing my job". And yes, you join the army, you get shot at. Nobody here is disputing that.

But, if you get killed trying to clear an Afghan town of rebel fighters that will happily shoot innocent people for not doing what they're told, then you deserve to be considered heroic. Just like if you stopped someone from getting mugged in the street. I'd say that's pretty heroic too.

The flip side of that is, there are pricks like you that seem to think "you signed up so you deserve it". That's like saying "you crossed the road, you deserved to get hit by a car". not that black and white I'm afraid, and personally, I hope your names are at the top of the list when they eventually bring conscription back.
(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 15:18, closed)
I think it's fair to say your wreath was shit, and that twirls are definitely the best cadburys hero ever
nuff said
(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 15:26, closed)
Let's not
feed the trolls . . .
(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 15:54, closed)
Yes, I do apologise.
It had me going for a moment until it started being far too blatant, then I twigged. It won't be getting any more from me.
(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 18:14, closed)
You're starting to sound dangerously like a socialist here.
Who cares what happens to the lower castes? They're uneducated and reactionary, they should be grateful they're even allowed to get paid for their work.
(, Sun 3 Jun 2012, 20:28, closed)

they do in porn films
(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 13:10, closed)
Sorry, but I don't buy it.
The "armed forces are our saviours" stuff, not the character of this dead soldier.

Our armed forces have been fucking up the world for centuries. Many of the problems we and other countries have are a result of our use of military force to suppress and oppress peoples round the world. The armed forces made a complete mess of Norn Iron - a political solution three decades earlier would have saved thousands of lives. And now our brave boys and girls are out there in the middle east, supporting one dictatorial faction over the others in a country we have no right to be in. Nice one folks. We'll be dealing with the aftermath of this for a hundred years.

World War 2? Yes, I am very glad we fought and won. But I think it's important to note that it was conscripts from we-the-people who did most of the fighting and dying, not a professional army.

So there.
(, Fri 1 Jun 2012, 23:47, closed)
I agree with you for the most part.
But as someone rightly pointed out up there, the politicians are the evil ones, not the guys who risk their lives on their behalf.

I think it's important to make a distinction between the army and the soldiers it consists of. The primary function of a military force is to defend the nation. Some might argue that the war in Afghanistan is an interventionist war - hitting them before they hit us so to speak. But then that argument could be used to invade whatever country we wanted. Personally, I don't think we should be over there at all. But that's not to say I don't respect the people that go there to fight. And as I've said, I believe that anyone who takes a job that serves the betterment or protection of the public (and I'm not talking Baristas at Starbuck or anything like that) should be respected.

An armed force is a necessary evil whichever way you want to look at it. And whilst we have no business in Afghanistan, we are actually doing some good over there, even if it is something of a short term solution. It;s not just fighting that the army does over there, a lot of it is providing medical support to one of the poorest nations on Earth and establishing local law enforcement that can provide some semblance of regional stability. I think anyone who dies whilst improving the lives of others deserves to considered heroic.
(, Sat 2 Jun 2012, 0:29, closed)
I'm not sure "Dies while improving the lives of others" quite defines it...
By that token, if I fell off a ladder, broke my neck & died while painting my disabled neighbour's lounge I'd be a hero.

You already mentioned that most soldiers just think they're doing their job... in my eyes the heroes are the ones that go above & beyond that, like for instance the guy who disobeyed an order to retreat & saved a load of wounded colleagues' lives.

But then again, what do I know? I'm not even a real professor :)
(, Sat 2 Jun 2012, 9:18, closed)
Again, I agree with you
The Sun are the ones responsible for this idea of a soon as you get injured you're automatically a hero. I know that a lot of soldiers themselves aren't comfortable with that.

I'm aware mine is a bit of a fuzzy definition. I suppose what I mean is people who do jobs that shape and define a person's or people's entire life. Painting your disabled neighbours lounge, whilst a lovely thing to do for someone, isn't going to have a dramatic impact on their entire life. A paramedic who saves someone's life after they've been stabbed, however...

I think anyone who risks their life by fighting the Taliban, in order to provide a better quality of life for the people of Afghanistan - because that's what they're doing when you get down to a human level, regardless of whether you agree with the motives for going in the first place, or even any ulterior motives that may or may not exist - should rightly be thought of as a hero.

Jo was killed by a Taliban fighter who threw a grenade at him from behind a wall. What wasn't mentioned in the papers was that the Taliban recruited children, knowing that the Army wouldn't shoot kids, to point out where the soldiers were. A little kid, who was being used as a pawn by the men they were fighting, gave their location away and the grenade was thrown, hence the "behind a wall" part. That is the type of person they are fighting, the sort of person who would put a kid on the frontline in order to gain a tactical advantage. Make no mistake: they're evil. Regardless of what you think about the bigger picture, the men they are fighting are monsters, and they make life hell for the innocent people that live there.

Just like people say it's par for the course that soldiers join up knowing they're going to get shot at, they also join up knowing that they're probably not going to be punching Nazis in the face on the shores of Normandy any time soon. The Army's main role, for a long time now, has been as an international peacekeeping force and you won't find a single soldier who didn't join up without being aware that they'll probably end up fighting someone else's fight in some arsehole of a country somewhere. And yet they join up anyway.

I always love the argument that some people like to level here (not your good self though) that the reason they join up is because they come out of school with no qualifications or prospects and the army is the only place that will take them. That is true to an extent, but I live in an area of Manchester with the highest unemployment figures in Greater Manchester. In an age where a startling amount of people leave school and then do nothing at all other than sponge off the taxpayers, and I live next door to a woman who does exactly that with 5 kids, I think they deserve some respect for at least doing something that contributes to the nation as a whole instead of sitting on your fat fucking arse, screaming at your kids for existing and practising all day at full volume for your X Factor audition, like my neighbour (I'm not exaggerating here).
(, Sat 2 Jun 2012, 12:20, closed)
Well said, dude

(, Sun 3 Jun 2012, 23:55, closed)
It's the best qotw trolling I've seen in some time

(, Mon 4 Jun 2012, 9:18, closed)
Do please let us know
when you have done something of value to society. I won't be holding my breath.
(, Tue 5 Jun 2012, 19:04, closed)
They are only evil because they are them
If we'd been invaded by Herr H, I bet we'd have had sweet, doe-eyed children all over the country pointing out concealed Germans to the brave, noble, heroic resistance. Medals would have been given out for it.
(, Mon 4 Jun 2012, 9:39, closed)
Well yeah, thats probably true as well...

(, Mon 4 Jun 2012, 11:14, closed)
We do what we have to
and they do what they have to. During the war the losers complain that the winners are breaking the rule; afterwards the winners complain that the losers broke the rules.

Wouldn't it be lovely if we could all just get along?
(, Tue 5 Jun 2012, 9:36, closed)

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