2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A cut above the rest...

The epic movie "Saving Private Ryan" has been on a few times this week on one of the cable channels.  I have watched it many times, but the scene I always have trouble watching is the one where Private Mellish is killed is still painful to watch...

I don't know...maybe its the way Mellish tries to plead for his life but the German won't relent (in all truth I doubt Mellish would of done any different and he did, after all, want to kill this particular guy earlier in the film) while the German offers this almost whispered delivery to him as he drips sweat and plunges his bayonet into Mellish's chest...
"Give up, you don't stand a chance! Let's end this here! It will be easier for you, much easier. You'll see it will be over quickly."
Maybe because its just because its simply its too horrific to think about dying like this.  Just thinking about knowing your life was about to end by this guy hovering over you and there was nothing you could do to avoid the pain of that blade being sunk into your body.  I know why Speilberg put this in the story, to show the personal horrors of war and all, but still I feel almost a "survivors guilt" type feeling that I never had to endure this type of event.  I know that sounds lame but its as close to an explanation that I can come up with.  

For Thousands of years death by a blade on the battlefield was the norm. I mean, before firearms, military forces really didn't have any choice.  Hell, as a form of honorable death many societies allowed captured soldiers to fall on their own swords instead of being executed.  Today though, the thought of having to get that close and personal to your target is not something most of us feel comfortable with.  When using a firearm there is much more distance between yourself and the physical body your are about to assault, at least in most cases the affect of not having to pit your strength and agility against your opponents directly.  

When I went through US Army Infantry training in 1987 we were still preoccupied with the thought of fighting a large mechanized war in Central Europe against the Soviets.  Hundreds of thousands of charging commies unleashing a wall of automatic weapons fire from their AK's and armored vehicles at us.  Not a whole lot of thought as to what would happen if you actually got close enough to one to tell they type deodorant he was wearing (trick question, they didn't wear any).  We got a day or so worth of training with a bayonet attached to a rifle to include the infamous assault course which guys actually went to the PX and got bars for their qualification badges with...wth?  Drills ate those guys alive when they found that shit out on their Class A's during pre-graduation inspections!  Hand-to-hand was about the same, a day in the saw dust pit to check a box off of a list in order to get us our treasured blue cords and discs....not a whole lot more than that. 
Current and former grunts know what this signifies....
Nowadays there is a whole new emphasis on going one-on-one with your enemy.  Lower intensity conflicts and a more urban combat space lately have caused more than one bad breath distance encounter to end at the point of a knife.  I think the USMC should be rightly credited for bringing hand-to-hand back to prominence across the board despite the fact that all special ops types have had advanced combatives taught for years.  Their Marine Corps Martial Art Program - MCMAP - has been well received by the Marines and has in my opinion caused the Army to follow suit with its Modern Army Combatives Program - MACP. 

From what I can observe through videos and documents on the net, both "styles" are more "MMA like" in their approach and do not strictly adhere to one particular philosophy or style or fighting.  There are a few differences that I can make out though. 

  • The Marines place a lot of emphasis on a rank structure than the Army does, even awarding different colored belts to be worn with the duty uniform (all belt colors are "tactical" in color and shading).
  • The Marines teach a lot more of their program in their boot camp than the Army does in BCT, its more of unit program in the Army.
  • The Army seems to do more ground work than the Marines do, and the Marines seem to incorporate more weapons training.

Check out the vids and decide for yourselves...



These are just a few casual observations from a guy who has watched some video, please do not take them at face value as an evaluation of one style over the other.  The important thing is that the services are teaching something other than what I was given access to as a young private.  Learning a combatives art like either of these allows for personal discipline and a warrior attitude to be built.   Those are important things in times like these where we may just send our young warriors into harms way and a knife or shovel may be all they have to fight with at the worse of times. 

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