Morris 1Brooke MorrisEnglish 101Professor Bolton22 April 2013World Superpower Can’t Handle a Technology Failure?Since the war on terrorism began, American and other allied troops have beenfighting to save the lives of innocent people around the world. One of the first SpecialForces Groups deployed to Afghanistan’s main objective is to wipe out the Talibanforces. These few men are highly trained men using new precision technology. Thetechnology used in “Death on Call” is a hand-held GPS receiver which displays soldiers’current location on Earth and the operator programs the target coordinates into it. Aftercalculating the distance between the two, the information is then relayed to the pilot,who transfers it to the bomb that will be dropped from the plane (Casey 67-68). This isgreat piece of technology to have until the battery dies, which happens in the story“Death on Call.” The operator quickly changes the battery, but when it powers back uphe is not aware that the screen displays their own coordinates as the enemy. Thetarget coordinates are received and the pilot of the plane drops the bomb; the SpecialForces Group and about two dozen Afghans are bombed by their own airplane. Thereare very few survivors. Although the U.S. military is one of the most highly trainedmilitaries in the world and assist in training other countries’ militaries, they can still makemistakes that could have been prevented. Every American should care about thisbecause these are the people who protect them from terrorism and their freedoms asAmericans. Even though the U.S. military has become one of the most highly trained
Morris 2militaries in the world and helps train other countries’ militaries, they can still makemistakes that can be prevented with some additional extra training.The U.S. military has evolved in many ways. With new technology, weaponry,and training, it has become one of the best militaries in the world. Many books havebeen written on each war the U.S. has been involved in and how the Army hasimproved and changed. Retired U.S. Air Force officer, and author of many booksRobert F. Dorr, describes every aspect of the U.S Army in his book Alpha Bravo DeltaGuide to the U.S. Army. The training of the armed forces has evolved from beingmilitias of untrained men to very well trained men and women: “the Americans (theColonials, the Rebels) fought in unconventional ways, often not because of genius, butbecause they were unfettered by military practices and traditions” (Dorr 17). During theWar for Independence the militias were untrained men fighting against a well trainedBritish army. The Virginia Company expected their men to be armed and ready to fightat anytime: “the Virginia Company expected its male settlers to be armed and preparedto defend themselves” (Shenk 8). This method was considered unreliable and avolunteer militia was put in place. By the time the Civil War broke out, General WilliamSherman of the Union understands that a war is fought needs to be changed: “he simplyunderstood that modern warfare could no longer be conducted on the battlefield alone”(Dorr 99). Every time the military changes, so does the training. As time goes by, andeach war passes the U.S. military becomes well trained: “The American soldier of todayis probably the best trained, best prepared, and most seasoned combat soldier ever totake the field against a foe” (Dorr 8). The American soldier that fought during theRevolutionary War and the American soldier that fights today are two entirely different
Morris 3things. From fighting with guns that did not have interchangeable parts to usingmachine guns that can fire more than five hundred bullets in one minute. Many of theenlisted soldiers today have more than a high school education: “the average enlistedsoldier has college study time under his or her belt, and many have a college degree”(Dorr 8). The military of today is now well trained, uses new technology, and hascollege educated soldiers. Entering into the twenty-first century, the military does notrequire a huge armed forces because of the advances in technology. The militarykeeps well trained men and women trained and ready to be deployed when needed, “Anessential element of that mobilization would be the highly trained Reserves and NationalGuard” (Shenk 173). Reserves and the National Guard were implemented to be trainedand ready to fight, but yet have other careers. The U.S. military is one of the mosttrained and technologically advanced militaries in the world. The more technologicallyadvanced the military has become, the more trained the soldiers have become.The U.S. Military uses their knowledge of training and technology to trainmilitaries in countries with no military or that has a poorly trained military. Countrieswithout high-quality militaries are vulnerable to attacks. The U.S. spends very smallamounts of money to develop these countries’ militaries for something they considermuch more important. Programs like the International Military Education and Training(IMET) and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) assist other countries in training their militaryin return for allies in periods of conflict, and they consider that more essential thanmoney. Training is an important base for developing militaries: “training is thefoundation on which all modern militaries are built” (Ibarra 138). Modern militaries arewell trained. El Salvador is one of the many countries the U.S. trained: “half of the
Morris 4officers and a quarter of the non-commissioned officers from El Salvador’s latestdeployment to Iraq were trained by the United States” (Ibarra 138). The more militariesthe U.S. trains, the more possible democratic allies they will have. Shortly after the waron terrorism began, the hunt for Osama bin Laden, leader of Al Qaeda, was put in thebackground so the Americans could focus on getting the Iraqi military ready to fight fortheir people. President George W. Bush who served in office from 2001 to 2009 gives astatement that is in the film Iraq: the Making of an Army: “as we pursue the terrorists,our military helping train Iraqi security forces so that they can defend their people andfight the enemy on their own.” President Bush realized that if the Americans did notstep up and train the Iraqi security when America pulls troops out of Iraq, nothing wouldbe changed. The terrorists groups like the Taliban and Al Qaeda will still rule thecountry.A U.S. soldier is put through a lot of training before being deployed: “The UnitedStates (US) Army Combat Engineer (ENG) course is a physically intense, 14-weekcourse designed to develop basic soldiering skills, introduce Army values and lifestyle,and impart engineering knowledge and skills that are used in combat operations”(Knapik, par. 1). An Army Combat Engineer is trained to build bridges, demolishanything in the way, and use explosives. The last few weeks of their training isdedicated to their special field:Physical training continues and other activities include operation of heavyequipment, construction of fighting positions, erection of obstacles and defensivepositions, placement and detonation of explosives, route clearance of obstacles,use of fixed or floating bridges, preparation and installation of firing systems for
Morris 5demolition and explosives, and training in techniques to detect mines eithervisually or with mine detectors. (Knapik, par. 1)With all of the training Combat Engineers go through, it does not require them to knowwhat to do when the technology they use fails. That should be a requirement.Technology is never fail proof, and probably never will be. If technology is going to beused in combat situations, soldiers need to know how to react when it fails. Many livescould have been saved that day if the Combat Engineers had a simple, genericunderstanding of how to handle dangerous situations when technology fails. It may notseem like a big deal when the battery goes dead in a simple piece of technology, butwhen this GPS technology is connected to a bomb the situation gets serious. I wouldthink that the most highly trained military in the world would know how to handle asimple technology failure, but they do not. The men in “Death on Call” did not knowhow to handle this serious situation; the GPS sent the wrong coordinates to the pilotbecause the battery died. The officer in charge of the GPS quickly changed the batterybut did not do anything about it sending the wrong coordinates. If he would have simplynoticed it sent the wrong coordinates, many lives could have been saved.American soldiers are suppose to be the best, but yet they do not know what todo when they are about to get bombed by U.S. pilot. The military that trains othercountries’ militaries and is considered one of the best in world should at least have alittle understanding that technology can fail. Especially when this piece of technologyrelays information to a bomb! The U.S. military today has practically has evolved fromnothing into a world superpower. Adding extra training for safety precautions will only
Morris 6make the military better. Through this research I have gained a new respect for theU.S. military, they are not perfect but they do a good job protecting American freedoms.
Morris 7Works CitedCasey, Steven. “Death on Call”. The Atomic Chef. Santa Barbara: Aegean PublishingCompany, 2006. 63-75. Print.Dorr, Robert F. Alpha Bravo Delta Guide to the U.S. Army. Ed. Walter J. Boyne.Indianapolis: Tekno Books, 2003. Print.Ibarra, Jose, and C.E. Taylor. “Why International Military Education and Training?Cooperation Training Helps Operation Iraqi Freedom Partners”. The DISAMJournal 28.1. (2005): 138. Military & Government Collection. Web. 5 April 2013.Iraq: The Making of an Army. Minoru Flims, 2006. Films On Demand. Web. 05 April2013. <http://digital.films.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?aid=3503&xtid=51923>.Knapik, Joseph J, Bria Graham, Jacketta Cobbs, Diane Thompson, Ryan Steelman,and Bruce H. Jones. “A Prospective Investigation of Injury Incidence and RiskFactors Amoung Army Recruits in Combat Engineer Training”. Journal ofOccupational Medicine and Toxicology. (2013): n.pag. Academic OneFile. Web.4 April 2013.Shenk, Gerald E, and Henry L. Dethloff. Citizen and Soldier: A Sourcebook on MilitaryService and National Defense from Colonial America to the Present. Routledge,2011. eBook Collection. Web. 5 April 2013.