Aww, Not This S*** Again

| October 14, 2021


Arkansas National Guard 1st Sgt. Kenneth Johnson

Deja Moo, the feeling that one has lived through this bullshit before. Andy11M sends.

We salute this Army first sergeant for looking exactly how we’ve all felt in the field

Meet Army 1st Sgt. Kenneth “By God” Johnson.

BY JAMES CLARK

Every once in a while a photo comes along that so perfectly captures an experience that it rises to the level of art.

This photo of 1st Sgt. Kenneth Johnson with the Arkansas National Guard is that piece of art, and the experience that it captures is life in the field, and just how breathtakingly irritating it can be.

It’s there, etched upon Johnson’s face as he looks off into the distance, past the camera held by Sgt. Marie Bryant, the photographer who snapped the image. Those eyes, reflecting both the wisdom and weariness that comes from leading, and at times herding, soldiers over a long career seem to narrow, though on what we do not know. Perhaps they’ve set upon a lone private who’s just now realized that he’s been trying to insert his magazine into his rifle’s magazine well the wrong way. Or maybe he’s watching as a new second lieutenant instructs a platoon to pour individual bottles of water into a bunch of slightly larger jugs for no good reason. Or maybe he’s just taking it all in — the whole military experience — and wondering to himself: Why the hell did I not get out back when I had the chance? Now I’m carrying around this M4 with a damn BFA, again. And spending my weekend in the field, again

Looking like Sam Elliott’s Sgt. Maj. Plumley from “We Were Soldiers,” Johnson appears as a man on a precipice, balanced in time between either barking obscenities at some wayward soldiers, or gruffly wondering aloud at whatever newfangled idiocy they’ve wrought upon the world.

“By god,” he might say in a moment like that.

I never could think of enough things to tell my Airmen what NOT to do. Thus it always was, I suppose.

Thanks for the *grin* Andy.

Task and Purpose

Category: Army, Guest Link, Humor

Comments (42)

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  1. Sapper3307 says:

    The meme that it birthed says, “25 year old infantryman shows his age”.

    • Poetrooper says:

      That brought back a memory. Back in the late 70’s, an old buddy I hadn’t seen since we were both E-6’s in the 101st in Vietnam, came to Pensacola for a brief visit. He was by then a retired E-8 first sergeant and his craggy face was showing all those years in the infantry even though he was in his late thirties like me.

      When I went in the house to grab a couple more beers, Miz Poe said, “My God, I can’t believe you guys are the same age. He looks twenty years older than you!”

      I grinned and replied, “He’s actually a year younger and I would have looked the same way if I’d stayed in. As I’ve told you many times, Babe, it’s a hard life and it takes its toll on a man.”

      Caressing my unlined face, my little West Texas beauty gave me a very nice, warm smooch and purred, “Well I’m sure glad you didn’t.”

      That’s one part of the sacrifice that many of those who make it a career never get credit for.

  2. Hatchet says:

    Old(er) soldiers = an Enemy’s nightmare…

  3. rgr769 says:

    Ahh, the beloved BFA. Back in my day they were all painted red. At Special Forces School in the 1970’s, they gave us M14’s cuz of the abuse they take in the field. Mine had a BFA guard that was bent so the muzzle was partly exposed. Someone likely used it like a pry bar. Anyway during the captured pilot rescue scenario at the Cherokee Trail FTX, I shot an 82nd trooper (enemy aggressor) in the face with a blank. He caught a blast of powder cuz the protective portion was bent down on my BFA. After we scooped up the prisoner and split back into the adjacent swamp, I could still hear him screaming, “my eyes, my eyes.” I thought there would be repercussions, but there weren’t. I hope his eyes weren’t permanently injured, but my reflex couldn’t be stopped when I stepped around the corner of a tractor barn and told him “freeze,” with the muzzle of my rifle about five feet from his head. Unfortunately for him, he tried to raise his M16 to shoot me, so I reflexively pulled the trigger. I had only come back from carrying a loaded rifle in combat about few months earlier. Those combat instincts take a while to fade, even when one knows the FTX safety rules say don’t shoot blanks directly at a person’s face within fifteen feet (rule honored more in the breach than otherwise). Needless to say, this poor bastard I shot would not have been saved by a yellow BFA. But my ODA did succeed in rescuing and exfilling the downed pilot by a Helio-stallion STOL at first light.

    So, Ed, sorry for the digression, but every time I see a BFA in a pic, I remember this incident.

    • AW1Ed says:

      You forgot to start with “Now this ain’t no shit. There I wuz…”
      Otherwise, no problem.
      *grin*

      For those of us with Acronym OCD, BFA = Blank Firing Adapter.

      • Poetrooper says:

        Ol’ Poe once told Jonn this would be a much more user-friendly site if the commenters were required to use English.

        Especially you Squids…😜😜😜

        • AW1Ed says:

          Avast and make fast, landlubber. I keep our Nautically Challenged members in mind when I post. I just pretend I’m giving a Flag brief, and use short words and primary colors.

      • Claw says:

        And for those us us who suffer from inaccurate Acronym OCD / smile, that (BFA) can also stand for Blank Firing Attachment, NSN 1005-00-893-0902.

        As in the case for the M14/M14A1 Rifle BFA described by rgr769 above, it consists of a Model M12 Attachment and a Model M3 Breech Shield.

      • ChipNASA says:

        Ah, “Firing”. Got it.
        “Let’s go Brandon BFA!!”

      • timactual says:

        Thanks, but I found it. It came right after Battlefield Acupuncture and Basic Fitness Assessment.

  4. rgr1480 says:

    Night FTX at Ft. Campbell. Alpha Co’s 1st platoon is bounding forward while my 2d platoon is to provide covering fire.

    At the given signal, my M-60 gunner starts spraying …
    …..
    TRACERS !!!!

    Damn! Damn! Those are pretty.

    Cease fire called. Seems that a box of blanks was loaded with tracers!

    Fertilizer hit the fan back at the ASP.

    Shot the doggone BFA right off the muzzle.

    • Sapper3307 says:

      Fort Drum
      M60s shooting pew pew pew,, bipod leg collapse on one side, assault element gets hosed, no more bipods on live fires only tripods.

  5. Claw says:

    Blank Firing Adapter Model M15A2:

    1005-00-118-6192 Color Red (for M16/AR-15 with a 20 inch barrel)

    1005-01-361-8208 Color Yellow (for M4/M4A1 with a 16 inch barrel)

    • Roh-Dog says:

      The M4 Carbine is a 5.56×45mm NATO, air-cooled, gas-operated, direct impingement, magazine-fed, select fire carbine. It has a 14.5 inch barrel and a telescoping stock.

  6. Mason says:

    Now that’s a mustache. I’d follow that mustache into Hell itself.

  7. A Proud Infidel®™️ says:

    He looks like he once killed an entire enemy Platoon just by shooting an azimuth!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Obligatory:

    • nobunny says:

      Mmm-mmm-mmmmm… Sam Elliott. If I were a little older… no, he should be a little younger… Bah, does it matter, really?

      • KoB says:

        phfffttt Sam Elliott. Take away his height, rugged good looks, and his millions of US $ and whatya got? Oh…that would be me. 😛

        • nobunny says:

          Yeahbut, can he make biscuits and sausage gravy and stuff? He’s been in Holly-weird too long. Probably not.

          • rgr1480 says:

            A friend of mine knows Sam Elliott, both their girls were friends at the same school (about 20 years ago). He (a Brit) said Sam was an extremely nice person, down-to-earth, and not at all the Hollyweird type.

            So dream on, nobunny!
            (^__^)

        • nobunny says:

          Wait a sec… where’re my womens?! Sam Elliott, in a towel, making biscuits and gravy. Not bacon. Bad idea.

      • SFC D says:

        Sam Elliot is MRS D’s hall pass. She could do worse lol

        • nobunny says:

          And your hall pass is?

        • rgr769 says:

          Sam is a great guy. No pretension, a real deal guy. I spent two weeks as one of his cavalry troopers in the making of “Gettysburg.” He sent a keg of beer to our cavalry camp every couple of days. He spent over an hour chatting with me at the Farnsworth House bar in Gettysburg. A year later when we did the re-enactment of the Battle of Brandy Station, Elliott showed up in full uniform, reprising his role as General Buford—just for fun. Surprisingly, he remembered me and my name.

          • Poetrooper says:

            Thanks for sharing that. I will pass it on to Miz Poe who is a big Sam Elliott fan. It will reinforce her instinctual perception that he’s a good man.

          • rgr1480 says:

            I should have read all the comments first. Posted above:
            ======
            A friend of mine knows Sam Elliott, both their girls were friends at the same school (about 20 years ago). He (a Brit) said Sam was an extremely nice person, down-to-earth, and not at all the Hollyweird type.
            ====
            So my friend concurs with you, albeit unknowingly. (^_^)

    • timactual says:

      He sure looks strange without a mustache. What some people will do for a part in a movie.

  9. Dragoon 45 says:

    Kind of looks like Ft Chaffee to me. Wonder if the poor sod knows Chaffee was one of the original test sites for Agent Orange and Agents Pink and White? Or even more importantly that Agent Orange was still being used on Chaffee along the bar ditches and other right of ways till the late 70’s, early 80’s? VA and DoD lost a law suit 7-8 years ago and finally had to own up to it. God only knows how many soldiers were exposed to Agent Orange during the JRTC years of Ft Chaffee.

  10. Poetrooper says:

    Task & Purpose just may have discovered an Army R. Lee Ermey…

  11. Roh-Dog says:

    That guy should be sipping greyhound and working on his cribbage game.

    I can here his knees from here!

    (said outta respect. please don’t come find me, 1SG)

  12. 26Limabeans says:

    Old soldiers never die, they just keep……