Posted on Jan 14, 2014
SFC Platoon Sergeant
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Since I joined the Army, I have noticed that unit pride has sharply decreased. This is not at just one unit I have been to, but across the board. I watched as the Airborne tab above Old Abe and the Soldiers ability to wear jump boots was threatened. Units today tend to show up to work and thats it. Commands attempt to hold events to boost morale, but they almost have to be mandatory to get any participation. I've seen a one of a kind unit that Soldiers can't wait to get out of. There is even an increased lack of pride in unit areas. It seems like its all about the paycheck instead of the willingness to sacrifice. We contract everything out from lawn maint to God knows what else. Maybe they should cut those contracts and use Soldiers like we used to.
Posted in these groups: F1cce07a Sacrifice
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SGT Land And Ammo Ncoic
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Absolutely.  But it may not entirely be the Soldiers' faults.  Once upon a time, before any of us were in the Army (I have yet to see a WWII veteran on RP), elements maneuvered and fought as regiments, with their battalions and companies in close proximity.  These elements developed intense espirit de corps that few units today can match.  It also helps to be in a specific unit for a significant period of time instead of being kicked around the Army like a pinball. 

Under the Brigade Combat Team concept, battalion-sized elements were vomited all over the place with no truly coherent organized structure, leaving a complete mess of a unit with multiple heritages all jammed together.  Sure, it made for a mobile, effective, balanced force, but it completely destroyed regimental identities except in some unique cases.  When we look at the breakdown of 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, for example, we find it composed of the following:

1 BN, 5 IN
3 BN, 21 IN
1 BN, 24 IN
5 SQDN, 1 CAV
2 BN, 8 FA
25th Support Battalion
D Company, 52 Infantry
73rd ENG
176 SIG
184 MI

If you can make heads or tails of that mess of units jammed together, I'll give you a cookie.  I feel (and I could be dead wrong about this) that this group of units, bearing their own distinct lineages, separates elements at the battalion level (or company level, in the case of poor D Company) rather than drawing them together as a single regiment as seen during WWII and earlier conflicts. 

It also doesn't help when some paper-pusher in some office decides to redesignate units for reasons unknowable to the line grunt.  In one specific instance, I was present when 1BDE 25ID was re-flagged to 2d SCR.  During the casing of the colors, 2d SCR's guidon was (quietly, but especially noticeably to a young grunt) booed.  Veteran NCOes from 1/25 took great offense at being redesignated as Cavalry.  Especially strong was the argument that we were Infantrymen after all, not Cavalry, and the argument made a lot of sense considering the mission change.  In 1/25, we maneuvered with Strykers, dismounted and fought as Infantry.  Compare that to 2d SCR's mission where we maneuvered with Strykers, dismounted and...fought...as...Infantry...  Oh.  Ahem.  Seems to be the same mission there.  Moving right along!

The change in unit designation, as I stated, was met with fierce (ineffectual) resistance by men proud to have been with the old unit.  Even later, after the change, our old 1/25 battalion history was lauded while our new identity as a squadron in 2d SCR was met with disdain and open scorn.  It took roughly 24 months and a combat deployment for folks to begin being proud of our unit's identity.  Soldiers are, I suppose, a stubborn lot.
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SFC Platoon Sergeant
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I feel your pain with the casing. When I was with the 101st, all we ever heard was how they are going to take away the Airborne tab and the jump boots because the 101st doesn't do Airborne OPS anymore. For me, even though I'm not Airborne qual, I felt a great sense of pride wearing that patch. Solely because of the history and men who came before me and what they accomplished.
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1SG Calanski Brunson
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In my humble opinion today Soldiers don't know anything about Army history so there is no foundation to begin with. Some Soldiers can't sing the first verse (not talking about the chorus) of the Army Song to save their lives. So how can we get the Soldiers to take pride in their units if they don't understand their history? While todays Soldiers are some of the smartest (book and computer smarts), they would rather sit in front of a computer and play video games all day then hang out with their peers at a unit social event. Its sad but the ugly truth, lets implement Army history training in Basic and AIT. Then when a Soldiers come to a new unit have a right of passage ceremony at the unit level where they explain all the unit history and custom and courtesies and have them complete a task (maybe an 8 mile ruck march with the CSM and 1SG teaching them certain events at certain waypoints). Then its the NCOs hob to explain the importance for going to certain events. I tell my guys the more the CSM and 1SG sees you participating in unit events or volunteering the easier it will be for waivers for promotion or when they go to the board because they see you taking time out of your personal time to support the unit. I remember the first unit had a Military Ball my E-7s paid for my ticket and told me I was going. I had a great time and learn a lot, and ever since then I have always went to every Ball since then. Once I made E-7 I always paid for a Soldiers ticket to the any ball function. The last function my unit had I support 3 Soldiers and they all had a great time. 
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MSG John Duchesneau
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Gee, what's happened in the last 5 to 10 years? The Ops tempo has significantly decreased. Units that served in combat have a lot of pride, morale and comraderie. Units that are training for an "in theater" mission have a sense of purpose and urgency. As more units are reverting to "peacetime" training their soldiers don't have the level of intensity they used to. Trust me - its nothing new. The Army goes to sleep between wars and readiness and morale suffer. I would suggest some demanding but fun training like obstacle courses, simulated combat and weapons qualification. Soldiers like to do soldier things.
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