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Archive for November 10th, 2007

I’ve read one-liners like:

Even military.com’s newsletter, Military Insider jumped in titleling their video, “Iraqi Cadets Can’t do Jumping Jacks. ” 

Disconcerting as the video as it is, even more disconcerting is the fact that to some, it only verifies their conviction that we’ve lost the war. Though as you will see below there’s a parallel in principle of coordinating exercise and coordinating combat, I find the real humor is if someone actually used this video as premise of their argument (I doubt it but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was at least one- there’s alway one.)

But really the first thing I thought of though when I watched this video was boot camp. I flashbacked to the numerous times DI’s were yelling at us for not doing things in sync during PT. I thought to myself, “Now I know why they got so mad at us,” because we look stupid, and it’s good training.

Although some might think about the zombie-like robot-stupid killing-machine mentality of the military, I really think there’s two benfits to doing jumping jacks in sync.

First point is that coordinated exercises is another oppurtunity to become one.  In combat, being in sync and coordinated is key. If you can’t even do coordinated jumping jacks with ten people, what about a platoon? What about a company? If 10 people can’t do the same thing at the same time, why expect the same 10 to do different things, in a coordinated way, at the same time?

“My argument can only be taken so far though. Obviously a group of construction workers would be coordinated in making a parking lot, but would less coordinated doing surgery. It takes practice. But at the same time, the more a group of people become one, the more quickly the group learns to adapt and overcome different tasks. As my heavy-hat, former SSgt Hernandez said, “The platoon just clicks.” That’s the essence of boot camp. Learning that the key to succeeding and surviving involves everyone- you’re weak people, you’re slow people, you’re strong people, you’re fast people– the point is they’re all you’re people. It’s very much like how the Christian body succeeds and grows:

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,  from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
Ephesians 4:11-16

Success then is in the unity of the different parts, and in that unity the group will be able to overcome all.

My second point is of course survival. In a school of fish, in a herd of caribou, the one that decides to run in a different direction, or stick out in any way is the one that gets killed. Why make the job of a sniper easier? Don’t stick out by looking different.

Reiteraing what I said earlier, though it’s a useful tool for training, jumping jacks certainly is not a reliable measurement of how the war is going.

Laugh at the video, but don’t laugh too hard. Seriously.

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