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The public policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute
I write almost exclusively on economic policy, but in honor of Veterans Day, I thought I would blog this: Over at Reddit, there is a long discussion of what members of other military forces think of the US military. (Spoiler: They’re pretty great.) I plucked out a few examples, but the discussion is really interesting and worth checking out.
— “My Brother was in the UK Navy for 6 years serving on the Vanguard Submarines. He spent 6 months or so over in the US During the Trident tests. His comments were as follows:
-The US Troops get treated like heroes everywhere.
-Their bases are far nicer, Starbucks and McDonalds on the actual base.
-The sheer scale and number of Boats and Ships was incredible. He got to see some of your aircraft carriers and thought they were incredible. The budget the US Military have is insane, and it really shows.
-Everyone was really friendly.
-He felt like the military in general in the US were treated incredibly well, whereas over here in the UK; it’s not a big deal. For instance, a few of his friends went to Sea World in Florida whilst they were on break. As soon as they found out they were troops, they got free entry, free drinks and free food. When they went to the whale show, they got a mention over the voice comm which told them to stand up and gave them an applause. This’d never really happen in the UK, the only real day of the year where this happens is today, remembrance day”
“French here, I served in Afghanistan. Americans have the best equipement, more food but worse food. No alcohol…Also the training from what I gathered is quite different.
The initial training and the first few years are the hardest, it’s mostly based on endurance and deprivations (sleep, food etc). Which as I’ve understood is quite different from the Americans, apart from the initial training it’s mostly actual physical preparation (alike an athlete).
Overall french soldiers and american soldiers tend to have a very different physique, which funnily enough each side takes great pride in. Americans soldiers work a lot on strength (training at the gym is pretty unusual in the french militaty) and run a calorie surplus so they tend to be pretty big (im making generalizations of course) and it seems being big gets you a lot of respect. In the French military it’s the guy who can run the most, can do 100 pull ups etc, and if you put up too much muscle you’re mocked as a”bodybuilder” which is not a compliment.”
“British army. Worked with some marines in afghan. Skills and drills wise, very good and their levels of physical strength very good. Any criticism would be nitpicking the little things that we place emphasis on that they probably dont. Spacing on patrol, interaction with the locals, moving firing positions, squaring away personal kit etc.
The thing that got me about them though is how enthusiastic they are. Not just about soldiering. About everything. So willing to help us if we needed it. Literally giving a patrol a whole pallet of gatorade for example. They were also surprisingly willing to swap some nice bits of kit for really quite trivial things like camo shorts and under armour shirts. I think we brits have some serious kit envy about you guys.
Really enjoyed working with them and hope to do it again soon.”
“Nepalese here. I’m not an Army here but I’ve got a number of friends serving in Nepalese army and some of them have come here (states) for trainings (mostly with Rangers). Based on their experiences, as far as training itself, they didn’t have that big of difficulty. From what I hear, Nepalese Army’s Commando training for 42 days (I believe) is among the most rigorous.
But, American Army is run amazingly well. US Army seemed way too advanced due to the availability of technology and latest weapons (strongest army, so not a big surprise, really). Overall, physically, it wasn’t really that tough for them to cope with exercise regimen and what not. But they were simply blown away by the remarkable way with which the US army functioned.”
“French Foreign Legion here. Trained with the Marines a couple of times.
They can’t run for sh-t, but they’re cool. Lots of upper body strength.
“Canadian here as well, worked with the american close protection teams on several occasions and they were very professional. A little bit cowboyish but their procedures are different than ours so I can’t really comment on why they do things the way they do.
But every time they would go out of their way to help us out any way they could. I remember when we first arrived in Afghanistan our commanders left us high and dry. Nothing was organized for us, no sleeping quarters no equipment, no vehicles, f—ing nothing. We had to scrounge up everything for our team. The Americans gave us cases of ammo without even blinking an eye and helped us with contacts and Intel. F—ing amazing guys.
We ended up helping them out when they were short quite a few times and vice versa even though we weren’t authorized and neither were they.
Needless to say I would work with them any f—ing day. You can take that sh-t to the bank.”
— Aussie here. Worked with the yanks around a decade ago. Great guys who were unbeatable in weapons training. We would stand in awe watching them at the range pull weapons out of nowhere rather than reload. A little on the noisy side back in barracks and everyone seemed to be a sergeant”.
— “When I went boom thanks to an IED, it was a US helicopter that medevaced me. It’s hard to put it down in words, but the thought that they’d rush out to save a foreign soldier really stuck with me. The flight medic was professional, and incredibly compassionate. Whenever I think about it, I get overcome with a sense of gratitude, it often brings me to tears.
I know what they did was just par for the course in terms of being part of the coalition, but for me it will always be an incredible act that really gets me on a personal level.
Just to add, even without the medevac, my experience with multiple elements of the US military was incredibly good. Went on an exercise with Marines before my deployment, worked with them and the Army during my deployment, great people. A few of them thoroughly convinced me that the whole southern hospitality trait doesn’t leave a southern boy no matter where he is.” [National affiliation unknown]
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