Carters’s Army, or maybe BOHICA?

| July 31, 2011

J. D. offers up some history and perspective at his place.

I Remember Carter’s Army

I remember President Carter’s Army. I remember Carter’s gasoline lines. I remember Carter’s interest rates. I remember his turn your thermostat down and wear a sweater energy policy speeches. I remember him really showing the Russians how tough we were by boycotting the Moscow Olympics. I remember his policy of restraint while Americans were held hostage and abused by Iranian terrorists. I remember his cheerleading for the “moderate” religious man to replace the “despotic” Shah of Iran. I remember his amnesty and upgraded discharges for military deserters and draft dodgers, most of whom got a better welcome home than our Vietnam combat veterans did.

But his closing paragraph encapsulates the meaning of BOHICA quite nicely…

Let me see if I can sum it up. Reduce defense spending by nearly one trillion dollars. Usher in “moderate” Middle Eastern governments. Abandon missile defense, abandon space, abandon development of future combat systems and use the military as a tool to normalize homosexuality. Mr. Carter’s Army is looking pretty good about now.

Not much to add. We can’t be certain yet whether this piece is prophetic or  just a warning, but…

Category: Congress sucks, Disposable Warriors, Historical, Jimmy Carter, Military issues, Politics, Terror War

Comments (26)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. TARGET cease FIRE. Yes and I remember the Carter Air Force also! No parts,no fuel. BS alerts hanging “CONCRETE” bombs etc, etc, etc.

  2. OldSoldier54 says:

    Things ain’t looking good.

  3. Doc Bailey says:

    Dear God, I certainly hope not. Though if he gets a second term I have no doubt that it will happen.

  4. Arby says:

    Well, BOHICA is certainly in keeping with the spirit of DADT.

  5. @#5:
    Best monday morning quote I have seen yet.

  6. Old Trooper says:

    While I remember Carter’s Army, the one thing that isn’t revealed is what the morale of the troops under Carter was. Go ahead and whittle down the armed forces to a shell of their former selves, but the real loss is in the ranks. You can only keep telling yourself that you have to make do with what you have for so long before it starts eating at your morale level.

    When I went to basic, we were the first cycle to start using more live ammunition in training. Before us, they would get 20 rounds of live ammo for weapon qualifying and that was the only live ammo they shot their entire time in basic. You can’t properly train if you are using blanks or making a bang sound when doing your small unit tactics training. I mean, the reason we are the best is because we train as we fight. Or; do we want another Desert One in our future?

  7. I recently pissed off a former high-ranking officer who served during that time, by telling him that the reason I turned down my commission back then was Carter and the state of the military. Seems he had been one of the Carter clique, and didn’t like what I had to say about Carter or the conditions of the day. He didn’t see it that way, which tells me all I needed to know about him. Cost CwtT some support, but that’s okay too. Wonder if he would have even been more upset to learn that I’m a Georgia boy (and to my shame, supported Carter’s campaign while a foolish and impetuous “Yute”) and that most of Georgia can’t stand the anti-Semetic old fool either.

    That situation can’t be allowed to happen again. I agree with Doc, however, in that if there is an Obama second term it will be the best we can hope for and will likely be even worse. Training, operations, and care — after all, those are just murderous thugs who couldn’t get a real job — will go down the tubes. The good news is, we do have some who will give it the good fight, and if you haven’t seen Alan West’s comments you need to find that video.

  8. Claymore says:

    As a kid, I always remembered my grandparents and my mother talking about how Carter was such a “good man” and he was a real “Christian”…my dad never really said much one way or the other, until Reagan’s campaign. To this day, my mother still maintains her position on this loser and can’t bring herself to admit what a colossal waste Carter really was. What’s ironic is that the whole time growing up in the Carter era, it was some seriously lean times for my family. My mother seems to forgotten most of that shit, but I didn’t.

  9. NHSparky says:

    I love it when these kids come on here and try to tell us how horrible the Bush years were and that what we’re going through now is merely an extension of 2001-09.

    Stop. Hurt. Sides. Laughing.

    Little ones, you don’t know shit. This is about 1977 or so. You think it can’t get worse with Obumbles at the helm? Okay, wait until they compare 2011 with 1931, with tax increases, rising unemployment, tanking economy, and nothing but more of the same in sight.

    At least America was smart enough to shitcan Jimmuh the Peanut after four years, and smart enough not to elect his asshole buddy Mondale in 1984. 2012? If they buy Obama’s bullshit twice, America deserves what it gets.

    And oh yeah–at least we got drug testing out of the Carter years. Other than that, not so much. I’m still trying to think of one positive thing the military will get out of four years with Obumbles, especially after Admiral Mullen is telling our troops in A-stan over the weekend they might not have been paid had no debt deal gone through.

  10. Doc Bailey says:

    you know why the Bush years sucked? because we went to war with Clinton’s Army/MC. But we got a number of substantial pay raises, compared to Clinton Era. We fought well, and gave our all, and if you remember it was an absolute emergency to grow the force (by less than we’re planning on shrinking it) because some units (like the broken TV) were going overseas so often that they were not only having manning emergencies but also Gear. Some units were so broken, that their missions just fell apart.

    The reliance on SOCOM, and the reliance on drones will only take you so far, and we will reach that time rather sooner than we might think.

  11. jerry920 says:

    I was in during the Carter years. The Armor did training in jeeps, we had no parts, we had to get a motor officer signature to get more than 5 gallons of fuel, and when we rolled to the field we left 1/3 of our stuff behind because is was broken, or we didn’t have the people to drive it.

    My thoughts on Jimmy are well known here.

  12. GA Knight says:

    Army training in the Carter years and pre-rebuild Reagan years in a word:


    That is all.

  13. Whitey_Wingnut says:

    I have a feeling that we are going to consistently be under a “budget crisis” because they want to cut all of the defense budget and put it in programs that haven’t shown no real gain since they were started. We won’t even be able to simulate, simulated exercises. The Navy will have to borrow a few board games of Battleship, Army and Marines will use the little green Army men and the Air Force will use toy planes while making jet noises.

  14. USMC Steve says:

    That is because the current shit-for-brains we have in the white house is almost a carbon copy of that imbecile Carter. So it follows that very similar actions would ensue.

  15. AW1 Tim says:

    I have told this before, But I think it merits repeating.

    Each year the P-3 Orion crews were required to qualify with torpedo delivery using warshots. Under Carter, the funding was so reduced that we were only allocated 2 live torpedoes per squadron. Each squadron had 12 combat air crews at that time.

    I vividly remember having to attend a crew muster where the skipper put 12 numbered chits into his ball cap, and had the Command Master Chief pull out the two who would each get a warshot. The other 10 crews had to qualify in the simulator.

    We were also forced to cut back on flight time and sonobuoys and use the simulators to keep current when not actually deployed.

    In 1978, I was part of a crew that flew out to Burbank to pick up a reworked P-3 from Lockheed and bring it back to Brunswick, Maine. Over Nevada, we received flash traffic and were told to land at Hill AFB, Utah, and await orders. We thought the balloon had gone up for sure. We landed, and the PPC & TACCO went up to Base Ops to find out what was up. They came back and told us that were to remain at Hill for the next 5 days because the squadron had run out of gas money and flight hours. We had to wait until the start of the next fiscal quarter just to get home.

    These are the sorts of unintended consequences that happen when jackwagons who haven’t a clue about how the real world works get a hair up their ass and start slashing defense budgets in favor of welfare queens and union thugocracies.

  16. The Old One says:

    You guys should give Carter some credit…because of him, we got those really cool bedspreads,ate lots of PB&J and baloney sandwiches,chili mac and Dolly Madison pies, rarely cleaned our weapons because we never fired them and all those other wonderful things Jimmy did for us…just sayin…

  17. I remember Reagan’s military 🙂 Joined USA at 17 in 1981. I was in basic, on KP duty, at Dix the day he was shot. Moved to USCG in 1985 and had a teeny-tiny hand in the Challenger aftermath. Good years, all things considered after hearing old hands/salts talk about the Carter years.

    Can’t imagine being in now with all the big green weenies and big blue fids are troops are taking up the rear these days.

  18. Cedo Alteram says:

    #11 “The reliance on SOCOM, and the reliance on drones will only get you so far…” could not agree more with this statement.

    Gates already factored in cutting out the first 400 billion before he left office and then warned against anymore serious reductions in funding. This floating of a second 400 billion cut came from the White House, that is just under a trillion dollars. The problem is there isn’t that much waste, we’re begining to hit muscle.

    We won’t have a “hollow” force again because what they will do is shrink end strength down. Lets see in Iraq, excluding the “Surge” we had between 3-4 USA Divisions(manpower wise) and 1 USMC. Look on the strain on the force of that commitment. Just off the top of my head we had 8-9 Divisions in both Korea & Vietnam, and both are considered “medium” not World Wars.

    We won’t have anything on the shelf for any other contingency.

    Hey, good thing we added MARSOC to SOCOM!

  19. Doc Bailey says:

    Cedo I want to point this out to you, the US Army has 10 active divisions, not counting specialty brigades like sig or ADA, SIBs inclide the 173rd, 172nd, 2nd SACR, 3rd ACR. There are 6 Airborne brigades, 3 heavy brigades in 1st AD (don’t ask me WHY 4th bde 1st Armored Div is LIGHT but there you go) 1st Cav, , 3rd ID, 4th ID, 1st ID has (or at least had) one BDE that was tasked to MTT, so it had no real vehicles to speak of and one light Bde, 2nd had 2 heavy Bdes, but one of those is ALWAYS in Korea. Strykers: there’s one in Hawaii, two in Lewis, 1 in Germany, and one other one somewhere I think. There are 4 Air Assault BDEs which have the TOE of a light unit, but relies so much on AVN assets it might as well be a heavy BDE. All the rest, including 2 BDEs in 25th, 4 in 10th, every other “Heavy” division has at least one light Bde. Notice I said nothing about Reserve/NG. That is because in the event of an emergency you need significantly more time to mobilize them, train them up etc.

    That’s Generally where the Army stands now. Heavy BDEs have about 4,500, Strykers about 3,200, and Light is about 2,500. I think Airborne is actually less than that. Keep in mind that this number includes support troops.

    To my knowledge the USMC has 3 divisions, but their TOE is different from the Army. There are 7 MEUs, I’m not sure how they fit into the division, but they’re generally a large jack of all trades unit, but are NOT designed to have sustained combat ops, and its debatable how well they could actually assault a contested beach (something we really haven’t had to do since Inchon.) Indeed in ’91 the Marines were used as a DIVERSION, and didn’t actually do an anphib assault.

    So that’s generally the state of the shooters. They’re talking about cutting end strength in the USA by 45,000? that’s 10 HEAVY brigades +/-. I don’t doubt that those left will do what is required of them. They will fight hard and die hard. And many many more mothers and wives will weep than necessary.

  20. Cedo Alteram says:

    Hey Doc, your missing the entire point of my post! I was not debating quality or combat effectivenes(another argument). I was showing how the US fielded an Army, twice the size of that in Iraq. I was counting raw bodies. American ground forces are not many, if you cut those formations, they won’t be available on the shelf, in the immediate future. You will be forced to reexpand the Army again and that won’t be easy or quick.

    In the aftermath of World War II where our ground forces atrophed nearly out of existence. WEcreated the spine of the USA/USMC in Korea, mostly by calling up alot of second World War vets. We were extremely lucky that demobilization occured less then five years before(started 46′), there was a pool of experience to pull from.

    In Vietnam since LBJ refused to call up the reserves or seek any kind of realistic selective mobilisation, the active Army had to grow and fight at the same time. Our NCO Corps was dangerously thinned through death and expansion. By the second half of the war, it was effectively attrited out of existence in the line units. Thats where the half fast measure of the Shake and Bakes were created for. This does not make good small unit leadership.

    Doc, I know how the Army was structured and how it is structured today, a couple tidbits aside. Couple of points.

    A)Yes there are 10 Divisions, but when you add the odd brigades its just over 11. Four in Europe, 173rd, 170th, 172nd, and 2nd Dragoons(Stryker). One at Hood the 3rd ACR, which is slated to also become a Stryker brigade. I’m not counting the 11th ACR at Irwin which is the OPFOR, despite its one deployment to Iraq.

    Division and brigade TO&E(organisation) is fluid and changes or is altered overtime. A better measurement of raw combat strength is the number of combat battalions. Yes we have more brigadestoday then we did ten years ago, the one problem outside the stryker brigades, is that they are smaller. Mech/Light brigades only have two manuvuer battalions each instead of the old minimum of three. The RSTA squadrons is hybrid entity, not a fullfledged battalion.

    e could tweek our organisation by cutting the total number of Brigades, but making existing formations larger. That would adjust HQ staff to combat power ratio. We could REDUCE remfs, SAVE money, and MAINTAIN current combat power. Everybody wins!

    B) We do have 6 Airborne Brigades but one is the 4/25 in Alaska. When you count the total end strength of the Army, that is tallied with the 25th Infantry Division, not as a seperate brigade. That brigade really should be disbanded, along with the OPFOR at Polf taken off jump status, which it doesn’t need. A battalion worth of billets should be sent to the 173rd and the rest to the 82nd. Down at Bragg, since there will always be one down brigade not at full strength, combined with the extra slots, should allow each brigade to have 3 battalions.

    C)Current Division organisations are influx at the moment.
    1) The 3rd & 4th ID each have three mech brigades and one light.
    2) I haven’t seen anything about the 1stCAV except it has units slated to go to Afghanistan. The 1stArmor will have 2 mech brigades, a light brigade, and one yet to be converted stryker brigade. This TO&E is just stupid, it should be left as is.
    3) Since the 3rd ACR is slated to be converted to a Stryker Brigade anyway, send it to Ft Lewis. Send the 2nd ID Headquaters back to Washington state. Have the 1/2ID in Korea swap colors with the 3rd ACR. The Cav/Mech brigade in Korea will be severed from the newly reunited 2nd ID, who will all be stryker equipped. I still say we shouldn’t have bought that piece of crap and we don’t need anymore such units. NO MORE STRYKERS!
    4) As regards to the 82nd, 101st, and 10th Mountain, see above about brigade organisation.
    5) Not ignoring the 25th ID, but don’t have anything to say unique about it, I haven’t stated about other formations.
    6)As far as I’m aware the 1/1st ID is no longer the MITT brigade, but has been rebuilt as another manuvuer unit. The Army had a concept of “mentoring” brigades, where certain regular Army units were given additional redundant personel, to be used as advisors with counterpart ANA formations. Then the Augumented ANA formations would pair with that specific brigade’s combat elements. Awhile back the 4th/82nd pulled this duty, have not heard much about it lately though. It conceptionally was still in flux.

    By my count the 1st ID should have 1 light brigade and 3 mech.

    D)USMC is mandated by Congress to maintain three Divisions, but since the end of Vietnam, its more like three Divisions HQs. I know before 9/11 the 3rd Marine Division, in the Pacific, had only one full regiment and two battalions of a second. The Marines came out of the peace dividend of the early 90s, well compared to the other three services. Though the 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions, each lost an infantry battalion, going from 9 to 8. When they expanded post 9/11 I thought they brought back those battalions, but I’m willing to admit that I’m as not as familiar with their current structure as with the Army’s. There is also the USMC coming reduction of force, how that fits in I don’t know, though General Conway commented awhile back on this.

    P.S. Apologies for any typos, its hard to go back and correct. Don’t know if its the format or my machine.


  21. Doc Bailey says:

    Cedo: I would point out that EVERY brigade operates separately these days. indeed it’s not unknown for battalions to be sliced off their parent BDE and sent to another BDE in theater, creating a hodge-podge BDE that may have 2 light BNs a heavy cav BN, or any mix there of. Just because you train with a unit does not mean you’ll stay with that unit when you’re in theater.

    In both quality and quantity, there are issues. My Brigade was stood up and deployed within a year. I guess it was to see if it could be done. It was done, but there were. . . issues. Our BDE commander lied about readiness and we deployed with 70% strength and a lot of boxes checked. I’d also like to point out our BDE and some BN commanders and staff were not exactly A list. The small unit leaders were *mostly* damn good, which saved the BN and BDE command a LOT of scrutiny, but, we had well as I said issues.

    I would like to point out there that in this day in age the power really is at the company, and platoon level. BN and BDE commanders are not in direct command of troops anymore, as we focus more and more on COIN, companies are acting as autonomous units, making your point about small unit leaders even more important. LTs and CPTs have to hit the ground running or the mission WILL fail.

    As far as the TOE, well I think there are a few errors in your rundown but generally you have it right. 2/1 took over the MTT teams, and 1st stood up. Why i have no idea but Ft Riley had a really big deal about training up the MTT teams, going so far as to “import” ING IA, and NP officers and men to help train the trainers. If they’re doing it for Afghanistan I don’t know, but I do know that’s where Sailors and Airmen are being trained up to fill in 11B slots. The fact that that happened at all ought to tell you something.

    as far as the Marines. . . well if you remember back in 2008 on or about there was talk in the Navy of creating “Naval Infantry” to free up Marines stationed aboard ships. They are barely keeping up the manning requirements, though they’d never admit it until they broke down.

    On a personal note it is a bit annoying to have to contemplate back to back 15 month deployments and hear Marine bitching about 7 month deployments (not going to even START on the AF 4 month deployments) my two deployments match up to 3 Marine deployments, and I didn’t even finish my second one. If I had it would have equaled 4 Marine deployments. Personally I think it would better for the Army, having such extreme deployments back to back, that they just leave them there for the duration with regular R&R, but that’s a whole other debate.

  22. Cedo Alteram says:

    Hey Doc, out of curiosity what brigade were you in again in the 1st ID? I know you’ve said somewhere else but I can’t remember.

    Like I said before, the advisory brigade concept, replaced the one brigade of the 1st ID, as a general slush for the advisors. If I remember correctly, though equipped like any other combat brigade(light/mech), it had additional personel assigned, so they wouldn’t pull from the existing brigade structure. The other notable issue is that the brigade, didn’t have an AO of it’s own persay, but was married up with where ever Afghan units were. Was that just a region or the whole country, I don’t know. Though the 4/82nd had troops paired with ANA in both the south(Kandahar & Helmand) and the west(near Herat).

    “As far as the TOE, well I think there are a few errors in your run down…” um, I would say its pretty close to accurate, but tell me where I’ve errored. I wouldn’t in anyway say I’m an exact chronicler for every brigade in the USA, but my info is at least reasonably accurate for the last 18 months or so.

    As for the Marine’s tour lengths, they’ll never admit that the Army was under far greater strain then they were. That the Army had to OPCON a brigade to them while they were out in Al Albar, or was involved with the second battle of Fallujah, or that Colonel MacFarland with the 1/1 had anything to do with the awaking/taking of Ramadi. It was Marine intelligence that said Al Anbar was lost in 06′ not the Army. Don’ worry Doc, some Marine will be along shortly to tell you about your jarhead envy or how your out for their Marpat or something.

    Okay, now back to the brigade TO&E topic. I think we’re talking past each other. Yes brigades sometimes swap units or have some ad hoc organisations during a deployment, but then again so do companies and even Divisions have in the past. I’m saying that ratio of sheer HQ staff to combat personel has sky rocketed, we have more people supervising roughly the same about of combat power we did ten years ago.
    This is a waste, especially when we’re talking about force reduction. There is no reason we can’t keep the brigade combat team system manned by brigades of 3 battalions, instead of 2. In a conventional war that third battalion will be the brigade reserve. This goes back to the old 3-5 rule of subordinates to superior.

    “… companies are acting as autonomous units, making your point about small unit leaders even more important.”, hey Doc you want to make them more autonomus? Raise the size of our squads…. no wait, better stop myself from going into another tangent. Nice discussion overall.


  23. Cedo Alteram says:

    Meant Al’ Anbar above. Knew there was something wrong with that spelling.

  24. Doc Bailey says:

    there was a lot of re-flagging, and moving so I’ve lost track in the last year or so.

    I was in 4/1 Dragon Brigade. What a load of craziness.

    As far as “Jarhead envy” I know one thing. Marines may win Battles but it takes the Army to win Wars. Read up on operation Coronet sometime. USMC was at best only a third of the actual op. Operation Olympic, the Marines were even a smaller percentage.

    I would like to point out that Division staff these days do little more than manage a bunch of disparate brigades. I’ve actually heard of instances where a majority of the division deployed without HHC/HHB Division. I haven’t a clue what the hell Corps does and Army command? Might as well be nothing more than a paper formation.

    I know that the SPC, the SGT will go out in the usual way. And Die in the usual way.

  25. Cedo Alteram says:

    I’m not saying the HQ are useless, I’m just stating we need less of them and their personel.

    That is sometimes the equation between the way the brigades stand up and deploy compared to when Division HQs do. Nothing really wrong with it, since it will be rare when an entire Division and all of its components will be ready to fight at the same time in the future.