Generation Kill - Episode 5
Episode 5 - A Burning Dog
April 1-2, 2003
There is one thing that is very common in this miniseries, is they keep referring to SSgt Iceman as Sgt, and that never happens, at least in the Marine Corps that I was in.
It wasn’t common for Marines to mix different parts of MREs together to make a hobo stew, or in the case of me and my fellow recruits in boot camp, we made frosting, mixing the hot chocolate mix with the creamer together and ate it with a spoon.
I have had some good and some rotten hobo stews in my time eating MREs.
Though it is not common for a Lt to jump all over a Gunny like he did, it does happen and generally, it is the kiss of death for the Lt, once the rest of the Marines find out about what happened, they will find out.
It is obvious that Lt Fick has a problem with the first team which is led by SSgt Iceman, there is a scene where the Lt is briefing the Marines about the night mission and once again wreckless leadership is going to get Marines killed. Not doing a recon of the area first is just stupid and the Marines know it, but the Lt must feel he needs this to get promoted. He knows the orders are not correct, but he still carries them forward without question.
The rest of the Marines know that this night mission, without comms and NVG (Night Vision Goggles), is a suicide mission, which is why SSgt Iceman tells the reporter that he can stay back.
Lt Fick shows that he can lead a group of Marines in combat when he gets out of the hummer and gets everyone to turn around and exfil the area.
Battalion XO Major Eckloff knows that he has a major leadership issue and this comes to a head on the bridge as Captain America and Captain Encino Man get their radios taken away from them. Eckloff knows how to lead and he talks Captain America down and imparts the required knowledge to him about how to clear the stuck vehicle. I almost always choose the path of imparting knowledge rather than just telling them what to do. If you can impart the knowledge and empower them to make the right choice, everyone is better for it. It also can often help the one who is weak in leadership to be open to new ideas and become better leaders.
Though the Corps teaches leadership, it isn’t something you can teach overnight and some can’t be taught, period. I once had a SgtMaj, who I took a ton of my leadership skills from, he would always tell us that we shouldn’t have our Marines do anything that we wouldn’t do ourselves. It was not unusual for him to tell the Sgt in charge of field day in the HQ to save a shitter for him to clean. The SgtMaj would come into the male head and grab a brush and clean a toilet from top to bottom, showing the junior Marines that even though RHIP (Rank Has Its Privileges), cleaning the toilet is never beneath you.
SSgt Iceman, mentions that the enemy is “untrained amateurs” and that is really why wars like Iraq and even Vietnam are so difficult to fight. In a traditional war, there is a chain of command and all the lower troops are following orders, there are plans, there are enemy lines, and troops will fall back and regroup. When you are fighting a group of untrained amateurs, none of that applies. You go through a town, kill all the bad guys, and tomorrow, more men pick up weapons in that very same town. And Cpl Persons even echoes the same thoughts a little later.