General, you might want to spread your troops out a bit


Ran across this photo when the U.S. Army Tweeted it out in celebration of National Selfie Day — which apparently is a thing — earlier this week.

It shows Gen. Robert B. Abrams, commander of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, posing with some of his troops.

All I could think was that in a combat situation — and the way they’re decked out it certainly looks like a combat situation — a formation like this would be suicidal. One mortar round, and that’s it.

I’d just feel a lot better if they were spread out in a proper skirmish line.

Beyond that, it just looks ridiculous… it sort of cracked me up.

6 thoughts on “General, you might want to spread your troops out a bit

  1. Mark Stewart

    What’s ridiculous is the fairly recent explosion in the number of different military camo patterns – they are now always looking mismatched. Slovenly almost – as shown here.

    And don’t get me started on the Navy’s ill-considered me-too with the blueberry uniforms! Freakin’ ridiculous!

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I just really, truly cannot understand the concept behind that.

      The only time such a uniform would help you blend into your environment is if you fall overboard while under way.

      And in that situation, you want to be SEEN so you can be rescued.

      It would make more sense to put them in day-glo orange…

      1. Mark Stewart

        The sailors aren’t allowed to wear the camo uniforms at sea anymore. Turn’s out the material is too combustible for shipboard wear. One just cannot make this stuff up.

  2. Burl Burlingame

    It makes me crazy in movies when infantry is on patrol, and there’s only a few feet between each soldier.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Like “Saving Private Ryan” — all that attention to detail, the talk about defilades, the realistic gore, and they walk through enemy territory all bunched up and chatting with each other.

      It poses a particular challenge for directors, I suppose. Spread them out in a proper skirmish line and it’s hard to get them in the picture so that you can see faces…

  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    The photo just has this silly, absurdist look to it. It reminds me of something. Was there a Monty Python skit that looked like this?

    The one specific thing it made me think of was the scene in Woody Allen’s “Take the Money and Run” in which he and several other guys on a chain gang escape. They’re able to get ahold of some clothing to change into, but they can’t cut the chains that hold their legs together.

    So they shuffle around together in a bunch, and try to pretend that everything is normal…


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