Tanker Tuesdays

| June 25, 2019

Tanks and heavy armor are fascinating subjects. The Roman Army had siege towers, and before that, the Greeks would form a turtle, a squad of soldiers holding shields overhead while those in the front and on the sides blocked spears and arrows with their shields held vertical. The Parthians had their warhorses wearing flexible armor to protect them on the battlefield.

This time, we have a reprisal of the Battle of 73 Easting, out there in the desert.

Pop some popcorn and enjoy the video. It’s part of a series.

Category: "Your Tax Dollars At Work", Historical

Comments (64)

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  1. Martinjmpr says:

    I realize you’re Navy, but that photo is an M-109 Self Propelled howitzer, not a tank. 😉

  2. SSG Kane says:

    My first first?

    • SSG Kane says:

      Damn it! Nope.

      Well, here’s my tank story:

      I was a young newly promoted USAR SPC4 freshly graduated from Ft Leonard Wood’s School for Young Boys Who Were Smart Enough Not To Go To Ft Benning.

      It was my first AT and we were doing joint training with a National Guard Armored Company.

      I was tasked with leading a four man to assist with building a fighting position for an M60 tank in the wild scrubs lands near Boise Idaho.

      We followed the tank out to the position in back of a five ton dump truck and set to work. After a couple of hours, the tank crew was picked up in a HMMWV and we were left to our own devices.

      To my credit, I didn’t do anything to the take but build a fighting position around it and camouflage the shit out of it.

      It was text book perfect, and when we were done, we loaded up the five ton and left it there…sans crew.

      That night, while shivering in a hasty fighting position, I suddenly hear my name being screamed into the night. I go rushing back only to get snatched up by a group of tankers and hauled into their TOC.

      A screaming fest ensued. “What did you do with the tank?” I couldn’t wrap my head around what was happening and so I kept replying “Nothing” while wondering what the hell those privates had done to the tank when I wasn’t looking. Did they actually take a shit in the commanders seat like they’d been joking about? Had they disconnected the battery leads? Had they welded all the viewing ports shut? I honestly didn’t know but I wasn’t going to dime them out. No, I’d figure it out and let my Squad leader sort it out.

      That wasn’t what they were asking about at all. They wanted to know what I’d done with the tank, as in where did I put it?

      Part of me couldn’t help but feel proud…I’d cammoed the tank so well, no one could find it.

      • SSG Kane says:

        Now for the rest of the story…

        After getting yelled out we went out and did a hands across the desert trying to find this thing in the dark.

        We were unsuccessful, and so more yelling ensued.

        Eventually my 1SG found out what was happening and burst into the TOC. He was an old school Vietnam vet, who used to do things like tear off a chunk of C4 and light it to warm his coffee. He was bat shit crazy and I was terrified of him, even if I wanted to be like him when I grew up.

        His eyes crazy, he asked if I knew where the tank was. After I told him no, he asked if I’d signed for the tank. When I said no he told me to get the fuck out of there.

        I would love to say that I really had camouflaged a tank so well that they never found it.

        They did find it…emplaced and camouflaged 1K from where it was supposed to be.

        And yes, the tank commander was a 2nd LT.

        • A Terminal Lance Coolie says:

          As usual, giving butter bars maps and compasses proves to be a terrible idea.

          Excellent job on the camo work, though!

          • SSG Kane says:

            Thanks!

            Knowing what I know now, I likely would have pegged him as one of “those” LT’s. You know the ones…by rank they should be a PL or an XO and instead they are a TC/Squad leader.

            But I just saw the shiny and figured “Well he knows what he’s doing”

            • A Terminal Lance Coolie says:

              Hey, you did precisely what they told you to, and no more. LT didn’t sign the tank over to you, so not your problem.

              Oh yes, I know the type. Quite well, actually. Except this one somehow slipped through the cracks and actually became the company XO. He was so bad at passing word down from Battalion that my buddy and I (made company clerks by virtue of knowing what Microsoft Word and Excel were and how to use them) developed a close relationship with the Alpha and Charlie clerks so we could get word on things Battalion was asking for early in the week, when they announced they wanted it by COB Friday, instead of at 1530 Friday, as we were trying to see it for the weekend.

              I got my best lesson in why 2nd LTs need their hands held at 29 Palms, as a combat instructor for Mojave Viper, right before I got out. I swear the whole bit of land nav where they teach you how far you need to be away from various metal things to not mess up the compass goes in one ear and out the other. Had two near misses with live 155 fire landing near their own trucks instead of the target a klick or so away in the middle of the desert. To my credit, I didn’t even flinch when one of those estray shells hit about 150m from the truck I was observing, nearly 2km from the target.

          • rgr769 says:

            I resent that remark. As a 2LT I was a quite competent land navigator. Of course by the time I left the Benning School for Wayward Boys, I had completed multiple day and night land nav/compass courses and Ranger School, where if you couldn’t show the evaluator where you were on the map, you just flunked that patrol. As a 2LT in the 509th, I had to learn how to navigate with only a map from the cupola while traveling at 15 to 30 mph in an M113. However, in my career I encountered more than one butter-bar who was navigationally challenged.

        • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

          CLASSIC!!!

  3. Dinotanker says:

    LMAO!!! Kane you must have been at Sunny GAWDAM Gowen Field! 🙂 The place where if it weren’t for one hill and a boatload of ravines/coulees/ditches there would be no terrain. The Yakima of Idaho.

    That’s a funny as heck story.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      That is a priceless story.

    • SSG Kane says:

      Thank you!

      My unit was out of Twin Falls, ID but sadly I can’t remember where that AT was. It was the only one I did with that company. I just remember we stayed in a run down motel just outside of Boise for our first night.

      The description sounds right though. Scrub oak for miles, and terrain that appeared to be flat until you tried walking through it only to discover hip deep ravines and ditches…

  4. Stacy0311 says:

    Oooooh is it share tanker stories day?
    Okay.
    Joined the National Guard after 13 years USMC infantry. Became a tanker because I was tired of carrying everything on my back. Became a 19K via OJT. Went to OCS because BC promise me my own tank platoon. Branched Armor, went back to the same BN.

    Off to OBC. There were a few prior enlisted in my class, mostly ROTC college boys and a few West Pointers (50-50 split on great guys/douchebags).

    So we’re out for out 10 day war at the end of OBC. My crew is 2 college boys and an SGI. I’m up in the TC hatch with a cold Coke chatting with the SGI when one of the college boys asks “Where did you get the Coke?”
    “Out of the cooler”
    “What cooler?”
    “The one in the sponson box”
    “You brought a cooler?”
    “D’uh”
    “Where are you getting ice?”
    “You know where we do LOGPAC every night? Did you ever notice the gas station 200 meters away?”
    “You brought money to the field? Did the instructors say you could go to the store?”

    The SGI and I just looked at him with pity.

    Sidenote, as soon as I commissioned, my division transitioned from a Armor Division to a light infantry division.

    • SSG Kane says:

      You can try and take the infantry out of the man…but by God the Army will make sure the man stays in the Infantry

    • 3/10/MED/b says:

      Is it share tanker stories today?

      I am going to sit back and enjoy the stories. From the 113 to the Abrams, this is gonna be some funny shit.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      I think we should more have “share tanker/heavy armor” and ‘there I was, lining up to fire the Big Guns’ stories. Group participation, y’know.

  5. Just An Old Dog says:

    I spent 20 years, Almost all in Combat Arms MOS with Tank detachments and Tankers all around, The only tanks I ever so much as climbed on and got inside were a Russian T-55 and a T-62 though..

  6. OlafTheTanker says:

    Oh, the things I’ve seen and smelled…

    Was OPFOR Platoon once on an AT exercise, we got yelled at because we weren’t in the right place where the Blue force ‘expected’ us to ambush them, and waxed an entire Armor Company (This was almost a year before Heartbreak Ridge was released, and I swear the write of that scene had to be in my unit)

    Watched an M113 completely vanish in front of me when it went through some scrub, ended up falling sideways into a forgotten dugout emplacement the size of Delaware, luckily none of the crew were killed, but busted up pretty bad.. we pulled it out with an M88 and it drove back to the motor pool just fine.

    My very first TC right out of boot was a 1LT who spent 9 years in the Israeli Army as a Tanker, out in the field once as OPFOR, some grunt hits him in the head from behind with a huge rock with the word “GRENADE” written on it. (I know this because it hit me in the had in the gunners seat after it fell in)
    Never saw anyone leap off a tank that was doing ~12 MPH so fast in my life.

    (Wasn’t me but saw it happen) Kids, always, ALWAYS remember to close your driver’s hatch when fording, in spite of how confident the new 2LT is on how deep that creek SHOULD be.

    And lastly, words of wisdom from my most favorite foul-mouthed E-7 DI/Instructor in D-2-1 Ft Knox, “Tanks are designed with a sole purpose to kill, they don’t give a shit WHO they kill”

  7. 5th/77th FA says:

    Tanks for all the stories troops. Good stories will help to get us beyond this sad time.

    Nice howitzer (be His name) Ex. Now let’s turn in the Book to Ch 19 v 11.

  8. Slow Joe says:

    WTF? Shit is going to hell.
    In my current run of Civilization 6, Arabia founded Protestantism, Rome got Sikhism, the Greeks got Shinto, and Mongolia, of all places, got Islam.

    I ain’t playing this game anymore.

    Man, how can you get history so wrong?
    Artificial Intelligence ain’t that intelligent yet.

  9. Slow Joe says:

    Florida Georgia Line – Dirt.

    Greatestest song evah..!

  10. Slowest Joe says:

    You guys are so boring.
    It looks like after 2000 all you dudes go to sleep.
    I can’t get a reaction to my half-trolling after 2000.

    You guys suck dick, man…
    I mean, for real?
    Yoiu donnn’t drink beer and whiskey?

    Disappointed.

  11. Slowest Joe says:

    I don’t know what the heck you oldsters listen too.
    But we listen to fuckin heavy metal.
    The heavier the better the workout.

    This one dedicated to the 10th Mountain.

  12. Slow Joe says:

    If you like Disturbed…

  13. Slow Joe says:

    Tis an old song.
    But it has over 700 million views.

    Just so iu don’t think I am closed minded and I on;y listen to Heavy Metal/

  14. 3/10/MED/b says:

    Is it share tanker stories today?

    I am going to sit back and enjoy the stories. From the 113 to the Abrams, this is gonna be some funny shit.

  15. Fyrfighter says:

    Ok, might be a dumb question, but what in the world does that SP have it’s gun stuck in?

  16. Slow Joe says:

    Well, I don’t know shit about singing, but ….

  17. Slow Joe says:

    This is a cover by American millennials.
    The original song is from a British band called “Bring me the Horizon”.
    Excellent band, by the way.
    But these millennial dudes really make me, well, ignore the song., to be polite.

    Notice the incels in the band, despite the two girls fronting the effort.

  18. Slow Joe says:

    Or, you might like this one bettar….

  19. Slow Joe says:

    Yes. This is the shit Millenials listen to.

  20. Slow Joe says:

    I laughed my ass off with this take on female metal.

  21. xyzzy says:

    After you finish listening to that millennial crap, how about something GOOD for a change?