Do you know a “Major” Pain In The Ass?
I’ve been reading Karl Marlantes New York Times Best Selling novel, Matterhorn for a few weeks now (It’s a long book, so lay off me!). The novel is about a unit of Marines in the Vietnam War. I met Karl at the James River Writers Conference in Richmond this past fall. He is a great American, Marine, and author. If you’re looking for something to add to your reading list, I highly recommend his books.
There was something in the book that stirred me and made my mind race: Corporal Aran and his faithful German Shepherd scout dog, Pat. They are subjected to the same lack of food, water, and rest as the entire unit. Many of the men succumb to various ailments. Pat’s body completely shuts down. Corporal Aran carries his 75 pound dog through the dense jungle canopy. Much of the unit’s agony on this seven day patrol is caused by the Battalion Operations Officer, Major Blakley, who pushes the unit hard, for questionable results
This scene brought me back to 2010 in Afghanistan when we were having trouble with some unit leadership that bordered on abuse. There definitely was improper use of their dog teams. I had many discussions with unit leadership on how to use their dog teams properly. Training leadership on maximizing the dog team’s capabilities is critical for getting the most out of these dogs.
Most of the unit leadership was terrific and receptive. Those units had the best results with the dog teams. We had one particular unit and one particular battalion operations officer who was consistently a royal pain in the ass. Our dog teams loathed supporting this unit. Arrogant, abusive and strictly results oriented, he listened to no one. He reminds me of Major Blakley from Matterhorn. Different war, different services and units–but some things never change!
How do you think dogs should be employed?
There are Major Blakley like people throughout every line of work.
Do you have any “Major Blakley” stories to share?
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