And start smiling when the Sun breaks through.... Wouldn't you?
Remembering that Media and Politicians must have your attention to sell advertising space and become richer than whatever, remember that Earl doesn't sell space. I just occupy it.
We had a perfect rehearsal, full blown all equipment and men, and it was perfect. Vertical assault on an airfield in enemy territory simulation, actually Fort Bragg, NC. So we go through it all for REAL and the Soviet Defense Minister, who happens to be a General in the Soviet Army the following day.
What a difference a day makes.
Everything felt the same, just a little more tension from the top - this was for the Soviet DEFENSE Minister. But for the paratroopers, of my unit, they were going to get to jump, assemble on the howitzers, break them free, set them up and fire (LIVE!!) from the Drop Zone into the impact area. This is braggin' rights and beers tonight stuff, all for God and Country and the glory. How did I feel? Fine, I was a Senior Sergeant, I knew my men, the mission and I was only there for the glory. So, the green light comes on and out we go.
And the Air Force in its best Airman Murphy way, puts us over the trees off the drop zone, I could see that from the door as I went through. Must have been a major wind change, but for sure as much as I tried to slip back towards the Drop Zone I was going to come down in the trees (do you have any idea how many years I have been jumping without going into trees? About twelve... not enough for the Air Force) not only that but the trees I kept trying to slide between had this reflective shining surface around them WATER! Thank you Lord., I get tree and water landing on the same jump on the same day, may Your Mercy ever find me. Amen.
So my parachute hangs in the tree, but I am close enough to the little creek to get out of harness and get my feet wet, get my gear and weapon into action and leave it all behind, since my men and the mission were a quarter mile in that there direction. Get that airborne shuffle working, lots of sand to suck on my boots.
I get there, as I get closer I see most of the Heavy Drop Equipment is rolled over or on its side - it must have been a freak wind. But everywhere paratroopers are working on making it right, assaulting the objective and taking it down with the men and equipment available. Each minute more showed up, and then finally that howitzer round, LIVE! from the Drop Zone to the impact area.
The entire time the visiting dignitary and escorts in their open vehicle drove around the area, looking at what we would call chaos and mayhem seeing little groups of guys busting their butts making it work - reminded me of that operation in Normandy long ago and many real bullets back (June 1944) - the comment from the Defense Secretary of the Soviet Union, how many officers did you have to dress as privates to make this happen. Meaning that privates couldn't have done the correction and take down without more oversight and motivation. Shucks, I could have done this operations with nothing but trained Specialists and Privates. Which is true, it would have come out the same.
But that is the power of the American Military - we don't need no stinkin' officers, certainly not the ones that only want to please the boss, think their waste products don't stink, or won't fight when needed. Now I love a great leader, but they aren't all officers and certainly all officers aren't leaders, most certainly not. So I have over my life in uniform, followed and assisted leaders, and I have encouraged and developed leaders of all ranks and kinds.
The country America, and the United States of America, which aren't the same have exactly the same ability to make it work, and work well, no matter how screwed up it gets from those that should have known better and adjusted but didn't. There will be no years without rain, no end to good looking fools and folly, no end to folks that want to run everyone's life for their own power and the victim's good. No end of them, and the work around reality will automatically start. Just like running between the rain drops, you will get wet, but the distance will be less by the speed of traverse.
Ivan the Awesome (Terrible), Peter and Catherine the Greats, Stalin and Putin are a problem in their country, they can make some things happen, but will never be able to make ALL things happen. Only the people of the country could, and they must be allowed power to do so. In American History, only the people save us, great leaders show up and we follow, but time moves, the wind changes and what worked yesterday is off the mark, more power to the people - less trying to make it exactly what it was, and if banks fail let them fall. The fear is the country has become dependent on stupid folks doing what worked yesterday and trying to make it work today... when the wind changed. Believe in the people they will make it work out.