It’s An Enlisted Man Thing

The following quote is from this article (dead link).

Last night, while you were sleeping, the teeth of hurricane Isabel came through this area and tore hell out of everything… We have thousands of trees down…power outages…traffic signals out…roads filled with downed limbs and “gear adrift” debris…We have flooding…and the place looks like it has been the impact area of an off shore bombardment. The Regimental Commander of the U.S. Third Infantry sent word to the nighttime Sentry Detail to secure the post and seek shelter from the high winds, to ensure their personal safety. THEY DISOBEYED THE ORDER…During winds that turned over vehicles and turned debris into projectiles…the measured steps continued. One fellow said “I’ve got buddies getting shot at in Iraq who would kick my butt if word got to them that we let them down…I sure as hell have no intention of spending my Army career being known as the g—-m idiot who couldn’t stand a little light breeze and shirked his duty.”

Then he said something in response to a female reporters question regarding silly purposeless personal risk….”I wouldn’t expect you to understand. it’s an enlisted man’s thing.”

And then…

While we slept, we were represented by some d–n fine men who fully understood their post orders and proudly went about their assigned responsibilities unseen, unrecognized and in the finest tradition of the American Enlisted Man. Folks, there’s hope….The gene that George S. Patton…Arliegh Burke and Jimmy Doolittle left us…survives.

It’s an enlisted man thing. George S. Patton, Arliegh Burke and Jimmy Doolittle were great military men. But they did not leave us with the tradition of the enlisted man. They were all officers. Officers and enlisted men serve different missions in the military and that was the point the sergeant was trying to make. The Commander had sent word to stand down the watch. It was the Enlist Men who would not be relieved or retired. The tradition belongs, not to the officers of our great military but to the enlisted men and women who stand the watch.

Military history seldom remembers the enlisted man short of those who do fantastically heroic things. History remembers the Officers who make the decisions and not the enlisted men and women who are responsible for the difficult execution of those decisions. History remembers the Officer who commands that a hill be taken but seldom remembers the names of enlisted men who died in the execution of that decision. It is the enlisted men who remember. It is the enlisted men who remember our shipmates still on watch on the USS Arizona. It is the enlisted men who remember the names of men still on patrol on Iwo Jima. It is the enlisted men and women who remember the names of men and women who will remain forever on duty in the sands of Iraq. It is the enlisted man who will remain at his gun providing cover fire so that all of his unit can get to cover even in the face of fierce enemy fire.

It’s an Enlisted Man Thing.