What makes a Soldier a Soldier?

Brand new 2nd Lt's in my TA unit were usually put with section corporals to learn the ropes. Quite honestly some of them didn't have two brain cells to rub together. I even had one bloke on exercise suggest to me that we snare a few rabbits!!!

When I joined the Squadron there was a 2nd Lt who was called "Rent a pip." I have mentioned this officer on another post, even the CO and other officers didn't like him. To cut a long story short he got sent to another unit thank god, then years later our OC was posted to regiment and guess who we got as Oscar Charlie? Rent a pip! He was made up as a Major. I commented to the SSM at the time, "John watch morale drop like a lead ballon." I didn't like him and he didn't like me. Once he threatened to reduce me to the ranks, he didn't like it when I told him that he hasn't got the power, it takes at least a Colonel to do that and even then I'd opt for a court martial. I got my bounty that year and left the unit. My biggest regret is that I didn't put in a redress against him, even if he was found innocent, it goes on his record and affects his promotion. True to form the man ruined a very good unit which closed down a couple of years later.

I'm not saying all officers are idiots, but it seemed we got more then our fair share.

In the RAF we had two basic types of officers, aircrew and ground crew. Aircrew officers were usually nice chaps (with a few exceptions), while ground crew officers could be quite obnoxious at times. Our section CO at Wattisham was a fantastic chap, if I remember correctly he was a navigator on Canberra's. He was very fair, he backed his blokes all the way and never asked them to things he couldn't. However, mess him around and you'd be looking at the inside of a cell.
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I forgot to mention, after I had left the unit the Squadron was carrying out section attacks with live firing. When the attacking section reached a certain point the BREN ceases fire, all well and good until rent a pip pokes his oar in.

He had his young lady with him who was a civi, when she asked (pointing to the BREN) "May I fire that please darling?" "Of course dear" rent a pip replied. The section attack went in, but instead of ceasing fire the dozy ***** kept firing. The SSM kicked the BREN out of her hands, rent a pip turned on the SSM and shouted "THAT WAS OUT OF ORDER SERGEANT MAJOR." The SSM read him the riot act. Rent a pip wasn't fit to command a scout group, in all honesty he should have been in front of a court martial and cashiered.
Outrageous! Ive heard similar stories mind you- medical officers on exercise firing without looking.
It's understandable- we are all human and they probably never were threatened with grievous bodily harm should they do it again.
But letting your missus jump on the gun while the boys are downrange deserves an uppercut regardless of who you are. That could never happen with our range control. Ive seen a staff seargent turn a CO off the firing mound to be taken through his toats.
Lets not turn this into some strange officer bashing thread. There are plenty more soldiers out there that have done plenty worse. Although these guys are usually sorted out by their felliw soldiers.
We had two National Service Officers in our Company and they were great and at the the end of their terms of enlistment they both put in for regular commissions in the British Army and were turned down. My platoon officer Bob Hennessey went and joined the Australian Army and became one of their most decorated Officer since WW2 in the Vietnam Conflict and rose the rank of Colonel. The other other one went and joined the Canadian Army and commanded a tank Regiment in Germany then ran the Canadian Staff College for many years and retired at the rank of colonel.
Lets not turn this into some strange officer bashing thread. There are plenty more soldiers out there that have done plenty worse. Although these guys are usually sorted out by their felliw soldiers.

On a range day one of the blokes in the butts pulled himself up and waved to blokes on the firing line.................while rounds were coming down range!!!
Our old Oscar Charlie shut down the range and physically dragged the idiot out of the butts. He was thrown out of the TA.

Then there was the time I nearly got killed. The Squadron was having its annual inspection, any rust on the trucks had to be got rid off, painted with red lead then painted over. One of the worse places for rust was where the spare wheel was bolted to the chassis which incorporated a winch to winch the spare down. One driver asked me how to drop the spare wheel, so I unbolted the securing bolts, stuck a wheel spanner on the winch, took the strain and then released the ratchet. I then asked the driver if he had got the idea, he nodded, so I told him to take hold of the wheel spanner, he said he had hold of it so I let go. Next thing I knew the spare wheel went crashing to the ground, the wheel wrench was doing a billion RPM, flew off and just missed my head. I ran and got the wheel wrench and chased the pillock across the yard throwing the wheel wrench at him, which sadly missed. I shouted at him, that if I saw him again I'll kill him. The SSM poked his head out of his office window and said to me, "Calm down, you'll have a heart attack." I was not a happy bunny.

So yes, there are OR's who are total and complete idiots.

Our old Oscar Charlie before "rent a pip" was a cracking officer. He visited the Squadron just before I resigned, we shook hands and I asked him when he was coming back. He smiled and simply said "I wish I could Corporal." He was a good bloke, he knew the pro's and cons of each man under his command.
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Harold Coyle:
Their collective efforts would never bring about an end to war. But so long as there were soldiers, men and women who were willing and ready to place themselves in harm’s way, the nation they served and the world they lived in would continue to prosper. Call it dedication, call it commitment, but whatever it is, it takes more than simple courage to stand a watch and sally forth into harm’s way. MORE THAN COURAGE