24 August 2016

Re-run: The Arts of War and Parenting

The writer of the Red Bull Rising blog is currently on family vacation maneuvers at an undisclosed training area, somewhere in the Middle West. This re-post from August 2011 may or not be applicable:

The Iowa State Fair ended this past weekend. A couple of different days during the fair's 11-day run, Household-6, the kids, and I braved the heat, the crowds, the animals, the carnival rides, and the foods-on-a-stick. With Lena, now age 6, and Rain, age 4, we've moved beyond strollers and backpack kid-carriers. We travel more lightly now, if not exactly more efficiently.

In conducting our state fair maneuvers, I was repeatedly surprised how much Army techniques and tribal wisdom are applicable to parenting on the march:
  • "No battle plan survives contact with your kids."
  • Everyone in your squad should know the plan.
  • Move in buddy teams. Always maintain visual contact.
  • Conduct periodic tactical halts. Check buddies, equipment, supplies, and morale.
  • Always brief a "lost soldier" plan.
  • Always brief primary, alternate, and emergency means of communication.
  • Identify rally points.
  • Check fluid levels before, during, and after operation. Report all classes of leaks (I, II, and III) to a supervisor immediately.
  • Know your pace count. Recognize your kids' pace count may be 4 or 5 times your own. Your fastest speed is that of the slowest member in your squad.
  • "Strategy is for amateurs. Logistics is for parents."
  • Basic combat load is one day's supply of water, wipes, cleanser, and clothes.
  • Hasty decon is a squad-size operation which sustains the combat potential of a contaminated force by limiting spread of contamination.
  • "This is my kid. There are many like him, but this one is mine."
  • "I am responsible for everything my kid does and fails to do."
  • "Never leave a kid behind."
And, finally, to paraphrase the ancient military philosopher Sun Tzu:
  • "The supreme art of parenting is to subdue the enemy without fighting."

17 August 2016

Re-run: Overheard in the TOC ... or at Daycare?

The writer of the Red Bull Rising blog is currently on family vacation maneuvers at an undisclosed training area, somewhere in the Middle West. This re-post, from those heady pre-deployment days of December 2010, may or not be applicable to our current family banter.

There are any number of comments that seem to have equal application, whether spoken in a military unit's Tactical Operations Center ("TOC") or in a children's daycare setting. In other words ...

"At the TOC or Daycare? You Make the Call!"
  • “Who told you do that?”
  • “Why didn’t you do what I told you to do?”
  • "Was that a good decision or a poor decision?"
  • "How many can YOU count?"
  • "If I take away this many, how many do you have left?"
  • “Where did you last see it when you lost it?”
  • "How do you draw a ..."
  • "Time to take a nap!"
  • "Where were you when you saw the bad stranger?"
  • "Hey, that's mine!"
  • "Stay on your side!"
  • "Clean up your things."
  • "Everybody--QUIET!”
A quick shout-out to Saber2th for the inspiration for this. I should note that, despite what people think, he really does play well with others.

10 August 2016

Re-run: 'Dude Ranch' or 'Forward Operating Base'?

The writer of the Red Bull Rising blog is still on family vacation maneuvers at an undisclosed training area, somewhere in the Middle West. This re-post from June 2014 seemed applicable:

Back in 2012, I wrote a post comparing and contrasting "Summer Camp"—what old citizen-soldiers in the National Guard still jokingly call annual military training—with "summer camping."

Recently, the Sherpa clan rounded up the extended family for a week's vacation in southeastern Arizona. Soon after getting boots on ground—faster than you can say "Huachuca"—I began to notice potential comparisons between daily life on a Dude Ranch, and that of living on a Forward Operating Base ("FOB") downrange.

In other words, I felt right at home.

Here are a few of my notes:

*****

LOCAL EATERIES
  • If you are eating regularly in a "chow hall," you are on a Dude Ranch.
  • If you are eating regularly in a "dining facility," you are on a FOB.
*****

INDIGINOUS FAUNA
  • If you are on constant lookout for rattlesnakes, you are on a Dude Ranch.
  • If you are on constant lookout for camel spiders, you are on a FOB.
*****

REQUIRED HEAD GEAR
  • If you observe people who are playing cowboy wearing white Stetsons, you are on a Dude Ranch.
  • If you observe people who are playing cowboy wearing black Stetsons, you are on a FOB.
*****

LITTLE PINK HOUSES
  • If you are living in a pink building and shooting at tin cans, you are on a Dude Ranch.
  • If you are working in a pink building and living in a tin can while other people shoot at you, you are on a FOB.
*****

BARREL ROLES
  • If "clearing barrel" means executing a successful maneuver on horseback, you are on a Dude Ranch.
  • If "clearing barrel" means a safety device into which you pull a trigger, you are on a FOB.
  • Bonus tip: If "Trigger" is your horse, you are on a Dude Range.
*****

WATER POINTS
  • If drinking water is plentifully supplied in plastic bottles, you could be on either a Dude Ranch or a FOB ...
  • If the plastic bottles are re-supplied daily by Housekeeping to your room's refrigerator, you are on a Dude Ranch.
  • If the plastic bottles are stored in bulk and located under a plywood lean-to near a corner of your building's exterior, you are on a FOB.
  • Bonus tip: If there is an ice machine where those bulk plastic water bottles would be located on a FOB, you are on a Dude Ranch.
*****

FRIENDLY SKIES
  • If there are A-10s flying overhead, you could be on either a Dude Ranch or a FOB ...
  • If the A-10s sound friendly and outgoing, you are on a Dude Ranch.
  • If the A-10s sound angry, you are on a FOB.