Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Army taking all the fun out of torturing people

Messing with new soldiers is a long Army tradition. There is a long list of military practical jokes to play on privates. Such as (explanations in parenthesis for the civilians)-

Telling a private to go to supply to get a box of grid squares (grid squares are the parallel lines drawn on military maps).

Having a private go ask the 1st Sergeant if commo has any prick E8's (a PRC-77 is a radio that grunts call a prick-77, and the 1st Sergeant's pay grade is E-8).

Getting a private to 'index' the turret on a Humvee (the turret spins on ball bearings, but you can usually get a new soldier to believe that is spins on threads like a screw and that he needs to spin it 50 times clockwise to pull the turret off).

Giving a private a ball-peen hammer and having him check for soft spots in the armor of an Armored Personnel Carrier (the armor is steel, so you would need an X-ray or an electron microscope to find soft spots).

Sending a private to supply for a piece of special equipment called a Bravo Alpha eleven hundred November (written in military, it spells BA110N, or balloon)

Sending a private to the platoon sergeant for chem light batteries (chem lights-crack 'em and shame 'em and no batteries needed).

But now you actually can put batteries in a chem light-
The Krill Lamp by Kriana Corporation was developed as a battery powered replacement for chemiluminescent lightsticks (Cyalume and Snaplight, both brand names manufactured by Omniglow Corp.). Using a pair of AA-cell batteries and electroluminescent ("EL" for short) technology, the Krill Lamp addresses some of the shortcomings of traditional chem-lights.

Chem-lights have long been a handy and useful survival tool, as well as generally useful in many circumstances. Available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and brightness they have become almost ubiquitous in the military and law enforcement, and among outdoors and survival enthusiasts. With relatively long storage life for the standard units, light weight, cool, safe in potentially explosive atmospheres, and easy to use, these chem-lights supply needed light in many situations, emergency and otherwise. Many have come to use them as a standard lighting source for some types of operations.

The idea isn't bad. A small portable light source that turns on and off, and conserve the battery unlike most flashlights that burn through batteries faster than a politician breaks campaign promises. I used one of these at annual training this year and it was nice to think that I could put just two batteries in for the whole two weeks. But still, the tradition of sending privates to supply for a box of chem light batteries is now just a memory.

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