LABOR DAY: The Other End of the Spear

September 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: On the Job in the Service

U.S. military leaders often talk about the “tooth to tail” ratio between combat troops (the tooth) and the forces needed to support them (the tail). Planners are always looking to reduce the size of the tail to economize — without reducing the effectiveness of the fighting forces.

Simply put, it takes a lot of truck drivers, cooks, clerks, technicians and mechanics to support the trigger pullers, the so-called “sharp end of the spear.”

But today is Labor Day in the United States, a public holiday that honors working men and women. Here at 4GWAR we thought we’d take the time to pay tribute to the working men and women of the armed services, who have plenty of guts — working long hours around dangerous chemicals, machines, fuels and ammunition, often in difficult circumstances — without much glory. When was the last time you saw a movie about a cooks or ground crews?

(Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Joe Kane)

Sailors assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard perform maintenance on mooring lines Aug. 30, 2011.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joe McFadden)

Airman 1st Class Ashley Taylor checks the signals on a satellite receiver/transmitter at Hurlburt Field, Fla., on July 7, 2011. Taylor is a mission systems journeyman assigned to the 1st Special Operation Component Maintenance Squadron.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Denny)

Staff Sgt. Donald A. Bartlett, manager of the Camp Schwab mess hall in Japan, performs a line inspection before opening for the next meal. Bartlett, assigned to the 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, has been recognized as the Marines’ 2011 staff non-commissioned officer food service specialist of the year.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christine Clark)

Air Force Airman 1st Class Roger Walters (right) and Senior Airman James Perry pack parachutes at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti on Oct. 12, 2010. They are both aircrew flight equipment journeymen with the 82nd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron and support pararescuemen by maintaining and issuing flight equipment, night-vision goggles, oxygen systems and parachutes.

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Logico)

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Hector Floresdiaz demonstrates firefighting techniques to students attending the Center for Naval Engineering Learning Site Pearl Harbor at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Floresdiaz teaches naval engineering, basic and advanced damage control, aviation and machinery room firefighting tactics at the Center for Naval Engineering.

(U.S. Defense Dept. photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathen E. Davis, U.S. Navy)

Army Capt. Rebecca Carden (left) calms a horse as Pfc. Angela McCormick prepares to give it a vaccination during a veterinary visit to a farm in Costa Rica during a humanitarian mission Aug. 22, 2010.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Rashaun X. James)

Marine Corps Cpl. Robert Calderon prepares to test a pair of night vision goggles at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, on July 6, 2011. Calderon is an avionics technician with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 40.

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Dominique Pineiro)

Petty Officer 3rd Class Miranda DaRae, assigned to the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18), hooks a cable to a crane while unloading a rigid-hull inflatable boat  while underway in the Pacific Ocean on Aug. 12, 2011. The New Orleans and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit Maritime Raid Force are conducting pre-deployment work-ups as part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group.

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Tony Curtis)

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Antonio Hart, assigned to Helicopter Marine Strike Wing 70, scrubs down the tail of an MH-60R Seahawk helicopter aboard the guided missile cruiser USS  Gettysburg (CG64) underway in the Atlantic Ocean Oct. 24, 2010.

(U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Michael Syner)

Army Spec. Daniel R. Tohil (left), a mail clerk with the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade mail room, delivers a package to Army Sgt. Nicole Trevino, a 10th CAB paralegal on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 5, 2010.

(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Michael J. MacLeod)

Army Sgt. Tyler Clausing, a truck driver with Company E, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Advise and Assist Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division (try saying that three times fast!), hooks up a trailer to a Palletized Load System truck after dark, June 11, 2010, Camp Khalid, Iraq.

SHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.

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Entry filed under: National Security and Defense, Photos, Skills and Training, Traditions, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

FRIDAY FOTO (Sept. 3, 2011) OPINION: The Cost of War

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