Via The Donovan, don't miss this article on hand-to-hand combat training for amputee veterans. It used to be that an amputation meant that the Army considered you crippled, but no longer: increasingly, even amputees are being returned to duty if they wish to go, as many do. That being the case, you have to develop a plan for keeping them combat-effective.
One of the examples in the article has actually been rendered blind. The interesting thing about the Army's move to Brazilian jiu-jitsu as its main hand-to-hand technique is that it largely eliminates the problem of blindness -- at least, once you come to the point of the grapple. Jujitsu, more generally, does -- BJJ isn't unique in this. With training and practice, you can learn to touch a person anywhere on his body, and know exactly how every other part of that body is oriented with your eyes closed. Even the most subtle shift in the location of any part is detected.
Now, if the army would just get on with developing those cybernetic limbs with built-in weapons we've been promised...
To counterbalance that story of martial virtue and courage, we have this story from the Daily Telegraph, via Yourish:
The commanding officer of a nuclear submarine berated his officers with such fury that his face became "gorged with blood", reducing subordinates to tears, a court martial heard yesterday.Obviously this British Royal Navy officer missed his calling. He should have been a USMC Drill Instructor instead. Yelling at your subordinates until tears run down their cheeks is considered the height of accomplishment in that line of work. Indeed, it's quite broadly admired as a skill. My father -- who was an Army Drill Sergeant -- used to tell with awe the story of the time they had a Marine DI with them and one of the recruits did something especially stupid with a rifle.
Capt Robert Tarrant, 44, bullied and humiliated his officers while at sea on the submarine Talent, yet behaved impeccably in port, it was alleged.
His conduct led to him appearing before a court martial at Portsmouth naval base, where he denied five charges of ill-treating four officers and one rating under his command through repeated, unjustified, verbal abuse.
His "rants" could last for up to 20 minutes, it was alleged. He would place his face 2in away from the target of his rage and shout. One officer was physically sick, it was claimed.
These are literally matters of life and death, rifles and submarines. You can't touch your subordinates to express your displeasure, not even when they do something that could get people killed. Now, apparently, you shouldn't fuss at them either. At least, not in the Royal Navy.