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Prior Military Vs. No Prior Military Service Re-enactors


giconceptsjw
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:think: Teach old dog new tricks? Maybe the non-prior service learn to re-enact better as they learn to do it the way drill was done in the 1860s? If you train in today's new modern army, drill is different and how you use the musket differs from today's rifles and other weapons. Have met soldiers who became marines and they had to learn a lot of stuff new to them and had the old ways ingrained to un-learn, seemed like raw recruits learned better as they did not arrive with the baggage of the other branch? :think: Sarge Booker of Tujunga

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo
:think: Teach old dog new tricks? Maybe the non-prior service learn to re-enact better as they learn to do it the way drill was done in the 1860s? If you train in today's new modern army, drill is different and how you use the musket differs from today's rifles and other weapons. Have met soldiers who became marines and they had to learn a lot of stuff new to them and had the old ways ingrained to un-learn, seemed like raw recruits learned better as they did not arrive with the baggage of the other branch? :think: Sarge Booker of Tujunga

 

Traditions of the US Army in the 1860's likely differs greatly to what you see today.

 

Tradtions of the US Army from WWII to today have remained fairly intact.

 

I cannot comment on anything prior to WWII because I have little knowledge of the technical and tactical differences, however from WWII on I have done a lot of research and comparisons. There is logic that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks, but you can teach an old dog old tricks because he already knows them.

 

Inter-service training and training within a service requres adaptation. It is easy to teach a modern Paratrooper Infatnryman in a short time how to be a WWII Paratrooper. It would take longer to teach an Army cook or truck driver because their occupation is different. A Navy Seamen, Coastie, Airmen and most Marines would take a little more time to adapt, except that drill and ceremony remains fairly constant. This point does not support the arguement that a modern soldier cannot properly relate to a WWII soldier. It's a lame duck argument aimed at discrediting the modern soldier who also reenacts.

 

For the life of me, I cannot figure out why reenactors try to discredit modern soldiers, especially guys like me who relate in a parallel way with my Airborne forefathers.

 

Rock

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Darktrooper
Aw rite, so it is a serious game then...Didn't see you guys in Rome June 4th for the 60th reunion, or last May in Florence, but hopefully see you guys in southern France for the 65th anniversary of Operation Dragoon....In a couple of days time... :thumbsup:

 

 

Sure You want to pay for my plane ticket? Most of us on this side of the pond cant hop on the train and take the chunnel over, or get on a hovercraft and cross the english channel or just drive there. Like some others on this forum Im not rich, heck im living on a Police Officers Salary (which isnt much).

 

Its not so much a thing of non prior vs prior service but the willingness to learn.

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Roger that T bone! That's what I am talking about as well as seems the "newer people" coming in now don't want to research history or slang of the period!

 

Scott

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Roger that T bone! That's what I am talking about as well as seems the "newer people" coming in now don't want to research history or slang of the period!

 

Scott

 

I agree Scott...I think at the end of the day, we all have different angles and reasons, as well as interpretations, we should celebrate that, however, sometimes some "re-enactors" disapoint me sometimes...

 

darktrooper, point taken, and I also agree, however, I am not rich also, a cheap flight for me (single parent) turned into an expensive trip next weekend...Of note, meeting an 87 year old Canadian pensioner there, and just picked up a current serving officer, they somehow got the money (not from the State)...It's just priorities I guess...There's folks in the UK who would rather go to a local event and strutt around in uniform than visit the actual battle fields they "re-enact"....Unless ofcourse it's "D-Day..Arnhem...The Buldge" (said in a rough tough voice)...

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giconceptsjw

Here is a brief example of what a “WWII guy” was really like;

 

My dad is a WWII & Korean War veteran. I lived with him every day for the first 20 years of my life. We still talk about his time in the service often, mostly because I’m interested and I ask him a lot of questions.

 

My father was drafted in 1943 when he was 18. He received his induction notice 2 weeks after graduating high school. After 4 weeks basic training he was sent to Oklahoma for a few weeks of gunnery school. From there he went to San Diego, then to the Pacific Theater. He was on active duty in a combat area overseas after being in the service a grand total of 4 months.

 

My father admittedly didn’t give a hang about the military. He took his job seriously and wasn’t a screw-off but he never would have enlisted in the service willingly if WWII hadn’t come along. The first thing he wanted to do after getting in the service was get a cool tailor made uniform so he could look sharp & pick up on girls. He was reprimanded for not saluting many times & said he just didn’t pay attention to things like that. He also said he never remembered what all the cloth & metal uniform insignia meant because he just didn’t care. He picked up on marching & drilling because he had been a swing dancer & jitterbug so it was like learning a new dance step to him. Several times he & his friends would throw lit firecrackers in the barracks in the middle of the night while everyone was sleeping, just for laughs. He stood guard duty in remote areas while overseas and when he got bored, he would shoot his .45 pistol at rats that crawled along a nearby fence. During his time in the military he was never written up, never in any serious trouble and never received any punishment other than a few verbal warnings. He actually moved up through the ranks rather quickly. During his entire time in the military, he couldn’t wait until the war was over so he could get out, go home and get on with his life. He wasn’t a screw-up or a SNAFU, he was just a typical 18 year old kid. I think his experiences were rather typical of WWII for men of all branches since I’ve heard similar stories from other WWII vets. However, I don’t know anyone who was in the modern post WWII military who had a military experience anything like that regardless of branch or occupation.

 

My father forgot to salute, he didn’t memorize rank or military insignia because he didn’t care, he wanted to drink, go dancing & pick up on girls and he wanted a custom made uniform so he could look cooler than everyone else doing it. By the end of WWII, he had been in the service slightly over 2 years so he wasn’t “indoctrinated” into military ways at all, he was not a professional military man and didn’t act military at all. Doesn’t that sound a little more like a re-enactor than an actual veteran? Again, all of those things are pretty typical for WWII veterans but not so much today.

 

That’s just my observation and not intended in any way to discredit any present or past military veterans.

 

JW

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My father forgot to salute, he didn’t memorize rank or military insignia because he didn’t care, he wanted to drink, go dancing & pick up on girls and he wanted a custom made uniform so he could look cooler than everyone else doing it. By the end of WWII, he had been in the service slightly over 2 years so he wasn’t “indoctrinated” into military ways at all, he was not a professional military man and didn’t act military at all. Doesn’t that sound a little more like a re-enactor than an actual veteran? Again, all of those things are pretty typical for WWII veterans but not so much today.

 

That’s just my observation and not intended in any way to discredit any present or past military veterans.

 

JW

 

It is funny to see it all spelled out like that, you just described the majority of the guys I was drafted with :)

 

A draft does funny things in how it casts its net, you get folks who find a home and a purpose (I admit I was one of those) and you get those who just are doing it because it beat the heck out of jail (but not by much according to a good friend). There were some who just fought the system all the way along and suffered every day of their service, and the 30 day a year reserve comittment.

 

It is hard when I explain to folks in the US Army what it is like to not have the CHOICE to volunteer.

I also find it hard when I deal with folks who VOLUNTEERED and then decide they were sold something very different than what they got, but I also blame recruiters for that.

 

I was drafted. However from that point on I volunteered for everything else, and looking back 22 years later I did not regret it. In fact I would do it all again even knowing what I know today.

 

As for if it makes me a better reenactor...I do not know. I do know that it colours the way I portray the draftee soldier...and the grizzled LIFER I seem to have turned into. The one thing I do know is that (outside of training) I never had an NCO, or Officer, yell at me (though I did have a few start laughing a few times). In fact the best were the quietest...and in some ways the scariest...but always the best. The way I rigged my kit was a matter of wide discretion, and it was most of the time minimal but heavy on ammo.

 

In closing for those of you who have never HAD to serve, be thankful everyday, though on another level I feel you were somehow short changed.

 

To those of you who have served, anywhere and anytime (by choice, by chance, however) you have my love and respect, you are my brothers and sisters.

 

Also remeberthe most dangerous guy does not look like Rambo, he, or she today, looks like your seventh grade teacher.

 

 

T-Bone

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Citizen soldier......rather the definition of WW2 soldiers,don't you think? Anyway to the real point. I have seen really good never served reenactors and really bad current serving reenactors, ( the Hooha'ing high and tight,Swarzenegger school of warriors musclehead) and all variables therein. A good representation of a WW2 soldier is a must during an event.Most reenactor groups I see do this. My ire is raised when let's say at a public event after the crowds leave,we loosen up,as all soldiers do when not in action or on duty and some muttonhead starts ranting on about it. Or,at a tactical after being relieved on the line as you route step away some yayhoo shouts at your group for not marching in formation away from the line and forgetting to salute some shavetail,ring-knocker. I am also adverse to some ninny at 06:00 believing we should all do P.T.,there are some parts of of being a soldier that are irrelevant,(particularly when only other reenactors are the only people present) and unneedful to portray.

Remember,though generally unspoken,throughout time soldiers have lived a with a single dictum; Never volunteer for anything,never run when you can walk,never walk when you can ride,never stand when you can sit,never sit when you can lie down,never be awake if you can sleep! Believe what you will,that is the core of the "average" soldier.

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo

"My father forgot to salute, he didn’t memorize rank or military insignia because he didn’t care, he wanted to drink, go dancing & pick up on girls and he wanted a custom made uniform so he could look cooler than everyone else doing it. By the end of WWII, he had been in the service slightly over 2 years so he wasn’t “indoctrinated” into military ways at all, he was not a professional military man and didn’t act military at all. Doesn’t that sound a little more like a re-enactor than an actual veteran? Again, all of those things are pretty typical for WWII veterans but not so much today"

 

 

Some soldiers forget to salute, but most don't. Everyone veteran I know may not remember the ranks now, but 99.9% of them knew it then. All soldiers want to drink, go dancing and pickup up girls (even today). All soldiers I ever knew want to look good in their uniform so they can pick up girls. Nobody says that you are "indoctrinated" or not. Everyone that enters the military becomes accustomed to working in a team environment. They put team first and take care of each other. Those that don't are considered selfish and treated accordingly. No matter if it's peacetime or war, guys must be able to count on you. Most military tasks are team oriented in the end.

 

The issue is not that you love the military or adopt a serious military attitude- Not all soldiers have the "lifer" attitude. Some don't like the military to varying degrees, and most dislike the military on different occasions within their term of service regardless if it's two years or 30 years. It's life. A soldier is a soldier and they have the right to complain and often do. I heart "Fu** the Army!!" more than once from Paratroopers that were in the all voluneer Army and were two time volunteers. Some of them went on to serve in more elite units and a few even made the Army their career.

 

To say that one man wasn't a professional military man or didn't act military may hold water. Most privates aren't professional military men and most of them don't want to act military until they have to. But they can't help acting like soldiers. It is true that during WWII the behavior that would get dismissed or a slap on the wrist, would get you kicked out of todays Army. Going AWOL, dicipline issues and such were brushed over, relatively speaking, if you were good at your job. I assure you that this is still done to a lesser degree.

 

No doubt the necessities of the time allowed for more leeway in behavior, and once a group of individuals experienced combat together, there was less emphasis on rank, saluting and what not- but that is more due to respect and brotherhood and that still holds true even today. All soldiers, recognizing that there are progressive levels of formality, will act accordingly. You may not always salute a second leutenant and he may not make a big deal of it. But if a Colonel or above comes along you may treat that different regardless of who you are or what your committment to professionalism is.

 

My bottom line belief is that reenactors that have been battling together don't need to call each other by rank other than to set an example to the new guys, or if the situation warrants formal behavior. Once the formality of the occasion ends, then do as real soldiers do and go by first name. Once a new guy earns the right to address guys by their first name then so be it.

 

Reenactors that don't want to salute. Who cares. Reenactors that can't march- that's not realistic. Reenactors that can't maneuver like their WWII counterparts- unacceptable in my opinion. Reenactors that don't think they need to have the capability to shoot, move and communicate like soldiers are fooling themselves.

 

Just and opinion,

 

Rock

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo

Honestly I disagree with the "avoidance issue".

 

Many reenactors believe that they can avoid learning about soldiers, or acting like soldiers would do. Some use blase' definitions of soldiers in order to avoid the work. Some take extreme examples of behavior (like Jake McNeices Filthy 13) and cite that as an example of why they're dirty, unshaven (in class a's), or non military in behavior. Then there's the pictures in the same book of Jake McNeice where he's clean, shaven, wearing a pressed uniform with proper insignia and placement.

 

So he may have been a rabllrouser that didn't pay attention to cleanliness at times in his time in the service. He is an exception rather than the rule. Even his guys were exceptions rather than the rule.

 

Rock

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Who wears a suit and tie when going out nowadays? A different mindset to back then...

 

Soldiers who go out on the pull go out in civvies, that is, in the UK....Again, different from WWII...

 

Looking at some re-enactors, (and ex army types aswell) in the Class A, they look a bunch of slobs...

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo
Who wears a suit and tie when going out nowadays? A different mindset to back then...

 

Soldiers who go out on the pull go out in civvies, that is, in the UK....Again, different from WWII...

 

Looking at some re-enactors, (and ex army types aswell) in the Class A, they look a bunch of slobs...

 

Styles change. Different mindset.

 

Soldiers today are not required to where uniforms on pass or leave.

 

Some reenactors are slobs, some ex military types are slobs, some slobs are slobs...

 

Most the guys I ever associated with in reenacting took decent to good care of class a's prep.

 

On the other hand I treated my class a's as though I were still in the military.

 

As I've said, reenactors don't care about what's truly important to soldiers and wearing class a's is a good point. Most guys don't know, or don't care to take the time to spit-shine their jump boots. Uniforms are not pressed. Brass not shined. They don't know what a gig line is. They don't take special care to tie their tie's with precision. Some don't shave and boot blousing (paratroopers) is sloppy.

 

Rock

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Styles change. Different mindset.

 

Soldiers today are not required to where uniforms on pass or leave.

 

Some reenactors are slobs, some ex military types are slobs, some slobs are slobs...

 

Most the guys I ever associated with in reenacting took decent to good care of class a's prep.

 

On the other hand I treated my class a's as though I were still in the military.

 

As I've said, reenactors don't care about what's truly important to soldiers and wearing class a's is a good point. Most guys don't know, or don't care to take the time to spit-shine their jump boots. Uniforms are not pressed. Brass not shined. They don't know what a gig line is. They don't take special care to tie their tie's with precision. Some don't shave and boot blousing (paratroopers) is sloppy.

 

Rock

 

I have noticed a few times aswell...the wee small points, as ye say...The brass, the unpressed sleeves, shirt, and trousers....The unpolished boots also...

 

But what get's me, and I am anal about it I know, is the trouser blousers that ex army types wear, yes I know some wore rubbers (does though, seem to be an Airborne thing), but when ye look at the original photos of them in their wools be it Class B, the majority folded their trousers to produce a T, and the ends of them at the bottom "make wings" as one old vet told me (symbolism?..Paratrooper...wings...)...I've seen photos of company photos of Airborne, all from late War by the looks of it, wearing what appears to be trousers rubbers, but guess wot, ye look at the older guys and they blouse their trousers which way?....sorry guys, I am anal....LOL...

 

Hats where worn to the right, not straight or resting on yer eyebrowse...I had someone here send me a "I got a photo" of a G.I with his hat on his eyebrowse...Well, I have a photo of a G.I wearing his hat back to front, one with his from side to side like Napoleon, does that mean I wear it like that?...no...Ye go with what was the norm....

 

The ties, ohhhh...Don't get me started!....Heheheheh...I hate to see those big fat 1970s knots....Or the buttons showing, "it's too tight, it's uncomfortable" I have heard that one....

 

My point about suits, people nowadays dress down to go out on the pull, it's a completely different mindset, I would say the majority of folks who dress in suits today, do so reluctantly, and when they do, they feel uncomfortable and can't wait to get out if it (ok, I guess they couldn't wait to get out of their suits then, but for different reasons lol)...

 

What about them that wear they beanie caps back to front?....Has anyone seen that?

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giconceptsjw

As long as we’re airing pet peeves, I have always had a few that seem to reoccur over & over through the years;

 

The “cop” style moustache. Yes, they wore moustaches in the 40’s. Take a look at Clark Gable, he had a great one. Take a look at some original photos. They did wear moustaches but they weren’t the Tom Selleck Magnum P.I. look. It doesn’t take much effort to just trim up the stash. Besides, the Tom Selleck moustache look went out in the 80’s unless you’re in a Village People tribute band.

 

The Bill Gates style eyeglasses. I know it can be hard to find period looking frames but you can get pretty close or just wear contacts. The Lens Crafter specials or Buddy Holly look is annoying.

 

Modern lingo & behavior. Most guys (98%) know things were a little different in WWII and they make a good effort to accommodate that. Sometimes people catch themselves saying “Alhpa, Bravo”, then “oops, I mean Able, Baker”. Nothing wrong with that and I’ve done it too. It’s the guys who refuse to make any accommodations for the time period at all and do all the Ranger Joe or Perris Island Oo-Rah stuff. They use SWAT tactics & carry their M-1 like it’s an M-4 carbine. They say “clicks” instead of “miles”, “Op-Fore” instead of “Germans”, “DeFac” instead of “mess hall”, things like that. Most current or modern military guys are great re-enactors. They are squared away and know their history. I’m talking about the 2% who do everything the way they learned it and remind you they did 2 tours in Iraq so how dare you correct them. This can be a lost point & a waste of time if the person insists everything they say & do is right and everything you say & do is wrong, which is more often the case.

 

Modern qualification badges, medals & awards on WWII uniforms. I’ve seen a number of former military people at re-enactments wearing a WWII class A wool uniform with all of their own personal awards on it. If someone actually earned or received the Coalition Forces Medal, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Just Cause, Somalia or Bosnia Campaign medals, etc. that’s great and they should be proud of them. However, they really don’t belong on a WWII uniform. I’d say these people should wear their actual modern class A uniform if they want to wear their own awards.

 

Yelling during battles. There is nothing more irritating than to hear grown men yelling “I got you!” during a volley of blank fire. Sometimes you’ll even hear a response, “no way man, you can’t get me from there!” Sometimes during the confusion at battles people can’t see who’s shooting at them. Please don’t yell at them. Just let it go.

 

The morbidly obese troopers. Yes, it’s been said before but it can’t be stressed enough. If you really need to wear a size 54 XXXXXL uniform and you need to sew 2 pistol belts together to make one that fits you, you might have a weight problem. You might want to take care of that for your own personal health reasons first, then try re-enacting when you get into a little better shape.

 

Hands in pockets. This usually falls under the modern lingo & behavior but putting your hands in your uniform pants pockets isn’t a crime. If you were in the modern army or Marines, I know it was strictly forbidden to put your hands in your pants pockets ever. It wasn’t an issue in WWII, it simply meant you were off duty or at ease. The guys in WWII walked around with their hands in their pockets all the time and it wasn’t a disgrace. No one thought anything about it. Please don’t yell at someone for putting their hands in their pockets or go into an R. Lee Ermy drill sergeant routine if you see it done.

 

Know what you’re talking about before you criticize others. If you see something about someone’s uniform or gear that bothers you, be sure you’re absolutely right before you suggest they correct it. Don’t approach some innocent guy and tell him they never used that type of gas mask bag in Normandy. You might find out later they really did. You just make yourself look really stupid doing this one. Just be sure you know what you’re talking about.

 

Drinking & alcohol. I know a lot of people like to drink beer & booze at events. We all know people drank back in the 40’s as well. It’s the drunks who are a pain for everyone. By all means, have a drink & be merry but please don’t get absolutely smashed. There is no need for that. Seeing a re-enactor laying face down in a pool of his own vomit is ridiculous. The drunkenness, yelling, fighting, breaking things, loud singing until 3:00 am, is all equally ridiculous. Please drink responsibly and act like a grown up.

 

Weird, strange or unusual equipment. Everyone should try to set their uniform & equipment up as a representative of what would be typical. Yes, I know there are original pics of odd things carried by GI’s in the war. That doesn’t give every re-enactor the go ahead to carry a meat cleaver in a handmade black & white cowhide sheath. Leave the crazy weird stuff at home.

 

Keystone Cops style public battle re-enactments. If you’re going to put on a re-enactment battle where there is a crowd of people watching you, please try to rehearse or choreograph it as best you can first. At least know who is going to do what & where. I’ve seen many, many public battles where the crowd erupts in laughter at the re-enactors which is embarrassing to say the least. I’ve seen re-enactors pile out of a half track and fall right on top of each other one by one and stack up like firewood. They all looked like clowns from a Ringling Brothers Circus. Accidents will happen but good planning will keep them to a minimum.

 

Drive-by shootings. For everyone who owns a jeep, command car, ¾ or 1 ton truck, etc. Please don’t load it up with well armed GI’s and drive into the German lines with guns blazing. You’re not re-enacting East Los Angeles gangland and you’re not the Rat Patrol on TV.

 

JW

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo

Keystone cops can be fun. In some cases guys can cover miles of terrain by sending out a recon party (which wouldn't come back 99% of time after being shot up.

 

Overweight reenactors- On wone hand I would agree that chubby guys can avoid reenacting but on the other hand I've seen it turn their life around. I've seen larger guys work harder to do the same thing that other guys do. Often times, after their first event, they realize that in order to do it they start working out and eating better. A few guys even stated that reenacting saved their lives because it changed their lifestyle. Their appearance often belies a WWII soldier, or even a soldier, but their attitude and effort are excellent. I accept any guys regardless of their size so long as they put the effort in to be ready to shoot move and communiate over a five or six mile hike for a whole day. In time, the guys that won't get in shape fall by the wayside. The guys that do continue working out may still not look fully like WWII troops but they can do the job of reenacting. Some of those guys get skinny over time.

 

Rock

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