Still not sure if I’ll be living in Cambridge or Tampa, but as I hand off my projects here and join conference calls with my new employer, there’s a sense of palpable relief in just falling back into the old jargon.
Most folks who shoot consistently well, regardless of wind direction / velocity, target movement. etc., etc., etc. have two things in common: They practice a LOT, and they are able to shut everything but the mechanics of the shot out of their heads. So, who practices shooting a LOT, and can erase that last missed mortgage payment from their minds for the time necessary?
Steely-eyed killers (and we have a lot of them, and need even more) come from all four services – Every Marine is a rifleman, Marine Force Recon have their own snipers, every Army Infantryman is a rifleman, every Army Ranger an expert marksman (and the Rangers have snipers as well), and the fellows at SFOD-D (the Army Special Forces’ Delta Force) and the Navy SEAL teams can make shots no one would believe possible…They do it every day.
These men are often sent on long assignments away from their families, and spend time in small teams, the members of whom become very close. We say and do things to each other that make normal people react in horror, for example, a Captain at Fort Ord who lived next to us, also branched Infantry, but assigned to the new Air Assault School the 7th ID stood up when they couldn’t get soldiers through the Army’s Air Assault School at Fort Campbell, grinned every time he saw me throwing my ruck and gear in the car. “Goin’ out? Field Problem or down South? Don’t worry, I’ll take care of your wife and my kids while you’re gone.”
Well, those, in my youth, would have been fightin’ words…But things like that, and much worse, are commonly tossed around barracks, housing, barbecues, you name it. It’s nothing but reverse psychology, really…In order to prove you trust your men to cover your back under fire, you have to prove you know they don’t really mean what they are saying.
So yeah, it’s stupid macho stuff, but it keeps morale up and increases unit cohesion, so huzzah. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
I’ve noticed on my past couple of calls with my new team that the same sort of vernacular is used…And many of us know each other from working together previously or by reputation, so one is on the hot seat right away.
I’m going to have to work on my trash talking.