Our Social Justice Armed Forces: Going to the Field

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Lines of Departure - Our Social Justice Armed Forces: Going to the Field

Our Sparkly and Shiny New Social Justice Armed Forces1 (Part II: Going to the Field)

Be sure to read Part I in this series.


You said this is going to be a road march, Top? I’m getting on in years; not sure I’m up to it.

“Trust me on this, sir, if you were in a wheelchair you might not be up to it. If it rained. Otherwise, you’re up to it. Just watch.”

Nice to see that the women are carrying their load, Top.

“I repeat, sir; ‘ Just watch.’”

Hey, Top, what are all the people with cameras and microphones doing here?

“They’re reporters. They show up every time we march out under full load. They’ll be there at the end, too.”

Any of them going to follow along, like I will?

“No, sir; they’re only interested in the photo opportunities at the beginning and end; those, and maybe an interview….and, if you’ll excuse me for a moment, sir, I see Bravo Company has disappeared around the bend. All right you…people…you persons…RUCK UP! Captain Vimpenscheisse; they’re all yours, sir.”


At this point, your humble reporter from the future will interject a compressed version of part of what happened on the road march. On the captain’s order the company moved out at a reasonable pace, maybe a little slower than the normal two and a half miles an hour one might expect, but really not appreciably slower. Then, once the company had passed a bend in the road where the press couldn’t see them anymore, they stopped altogether. Why did they stop? Well, it took a little time for the women – all but a couple of the tougher ones – to empty their rucksacks, hand over the heavier bits of gear to the men, then blow up waterproof bags to give the rucks the appearance of being both full and heavy. The transfer of heavy equipment, the machine guns, radios, and chunks of mortar went quicker. When the women’s load was reduced to what they could hope to carry, usually not more than forty pounds, and the men’s load had gone up to something approaching the maximum they could hope to carry, something over one hundred and sixty pounds, the company took off again at a slightly more brisk pace, maybe three miles an hour.

Even so…


Ummm…that Hummer’s getting a little overloaded with fallouts, isn’t it, Top? And I note they’re all women.

“Not all, sir; Corporal Schmidlap hurt his back trying to carry the loads of three of the mortar girls on his own. He’s in there, too.”

Oh, right; I see the one male now. Gutsy of him to try to carry all that.

“Not so much gutsy as horny, sir. Those three girls from the mortars will, I assure you, make it up to him in many delightful and varied ways over the next couple of weeks. Note, too, that when he fell out and got on the Hummer he took the pieces of the mortars with him.”

I see. Hmmmm…that will make it tougher if the mortars have to do a hasty fire mission, no?

“What’s success in battle compared to getting a favorable diversity comment on an OER, sir?”

Good point, I suppose. Who am I to judge, anyway; I didn’t have to put up with this kind of thing when I was a company commander. Hey, what’s with that squad of men who aren’t carrying any extra gear?

“That’s the gay squad, sir. Most units that have gays have formed one – a squad or a fire team or a tank crew or two, or maybe a gun section for the redlegs – so to speak, unofficially. They like it better that way and so do the others.”

But why aren’t they carrying extra gear like all the straight men?

“The captain tried to make them, after Dawn, his driver, threatened to shut him off if he wouldn’t. The gays, who have their own Zampolits, said – and this is exactly what they said; I was there: ‘Fuck off, sir; there’s nothing in it for us and we’ll go to the papers and the politicians if you try to make us.”

“I think they had a pretty good case, myself. And Dawn wasn’t sure who would win that fight. Neither was the battalion Zampolit, von Ruggenmunschen, so they let it slide. And the gays do pull their own weight, at least, gotta give ‘em that much.”

What about…mmm…who was it? ‘Loretta,’ who claimed to be pregnant?

“Different case, sir, totally different; Loretta claims to be female and straight, even though physically a male. Hence we are required to treat…her…I suppose it has to be her…as what she claims to be. Thus totally different circumstances, as I’m sure you can see.

Yes…totally different…of course.


And, once again, your humble reporter has to compress a bit toward the end of the road march. That is to say, about one mile from the release point, the point where the battalion’s subordinate units are released to the authority of their own commanders, they stopped once again. The women, but not Schmidlap who seemed to really have hurt himself, were hustled off the fallout Hummer. The heavy weapons and other pieces of equipment that the men had carried for the last six hours were passed back but there didn’t seem to be time to return the personal gear, so the rucksacks of most of the women remained filled largely with air.

After that, Captain von Vimpenscheissen gave the company the orders, “forward…MARCH…doubletime…MARCH,” and the company ran to the release point, singing and clapping, while a horde of admiring journalists (if it isn’t linguistic matricide to use the term to describe the people waiting there) oooed and ahhhed, took photos, and scribbled furiously into notebooks or their electronic equivalents.

And then the first sergeant came back to where I stood, smiling broadly, in that way some men and women have of smiling while boiling inside.


“We’ll be going back as soon as the cattle cars get here, sir. I’ve arranged for a ride for you back to garrison.”

Why, Top? I thought this was supposed to be a two-week exercise?

“We just got orders, the whole division, to get ready to fly to…well…I can’t tell you that part; it’s classified. Short version, though, we’re going to war.”

With this rabble? You’ve got to be shitting me, Top.

“I only wish I were.”

Part III next week; going to war.

Be sure to read Part I in this series.

1 This column is dedicated to Liz Bourke, a reviewer and blogger at TOR.com

Photo by Chris Superseal/Getty Images

Tom Kratman is a retired infantry lieutenant colonel, recovering attorney, and science fiction and military fiction writer. His latest novel, The Rods and the Axe, is available from Amazon.com for $9.99 for the Kindle version, or $25 for the hardback. A political refugee and defector from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, he makes his home in Blacksburg, Virginia. He holds the non-exclusive military and foreign affairs portfolio for EveryJoe. Tom’s books can be ordered through baen.com.

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  • Ray

    Going to war? I hope you like corn, because you’re going to get the cob.

  • James

    You know before Scuba steve gets here to do his running at walls for being walls thing I have to say, This would be a lot easier if I hadn’t already heard variations of this story almost line for line from people in all the services.

    • Sean Smock

      Oh yeah, you get stories like this from all the services. Carriers are notorious for their prostitution problems, submarines aren’t even fully integrated and they’ve already had issues on the few ships that they’ve put female officers on, with some of the guys placing a camera in the showers for some “candid” shots. I’m quivering with anticipation for when they fully integrate submarines… fortunately that day is still a few years in the future (last I heard, they didn’t even have barracks space set up at NAVSUBSCOL for females, and the best proposal to get some was to reopen the condemned barracks, this on a base where the non-condemned barracks all have significant black mold issues).

  • Ming the Merciless

    I can’t wait for the part of the story where the squad is ambushed by ISIS and the captives meet with gruesome fates that are posted on the internet. The question is… would defeat prompt an agonizing reappraisal of an obviously stupid policy?

    • Ori Pomerantz

      You mean the “boots on the ground” policy, as opposed to using the air force exclusively, where we have a technological advantage?

      Using air power makes it a lot easier to claim victory, regardless of what enemy propaganda might make it to the internet.

    • Ming the Merciless

      Nah I mean the policy of letting women and gays serve in combat units (call it the “high heels on the ground” policy).

      “Boots on the ground” can work if you do it right, but of course our SJW overlords rejected that even when the boots were filled by straight male feet.

    • Ori Pomerantz

      But, but, that would imply that the overlords are wrong. That’s blasphemy!

    • Ming the Merciless

      Don’t worry, that halfwit Schwartz will be here to tell us how stupid and evil we are for thinking our overlords are wrong just as soon as he chews through his restraints and gets access to the keyboard again.

  • Allston

    “It’s Jody this and Jody that
    And Jody you’re a Bint,
    ’cause it’s the thin red line of Social Justice,
    When it’s time to place your ass into it.”

    Kipling must be revolving in his grave at Relativistic velocities…

    • W. Fleetwood

      Actually, Kipling said it all in “That Day”. “every little drummer boy….”

    • Heh

      Was that poem about that nasty “bacha bazi” business?

    • W. Fleetwood

      I understand that it was at least inspired by the Battle of Maiwand in the Second Afgan War.

  • Curt Pangracs

    HA! “von Ruggenmunschen”…classic!

  • Tom

    My son went through joint basic. Not only was he carrying a female’s ruck but she was hanging onto his ruck to make it up the hills.

    • Heh

      I hope she made it worth his while, if you know what I mean…

  • Jack Withrow

    People, this is in no way an exaggeration or satire. Every time a mixed sex CS or CSS unit goes on a foot march, this is what happens. And this is what is going to happen when females are assigned to Combat Arms Units. And everytime someone falls out of one of those route marches, they lose respect in the eyes of those who do not. Along with that lose of respect, is a loss of trust. Those that meet the standards have visible truth that those who can’t or won’t meet the standards are not going to be there when needed. And so does a unit disintegrate into an undisciplined mob of individuals.

    Anyone who has been promoted past SPC and did more than one enlistment in the Army or USMC has seen this scene repeated every time a mixed sex unit did a foot march. And what the Col describes here is a fairly leisurely pace (a route march pace), not a forced march pace. You increase the speed of the march and more and more troops fall out; due to the accordion effect, those at the rear of the column are more times than not, running not marching.

    • Oh but you forget…

      We don’t march anywhere these days! We are a modern, high-tech force — our troops ride vehicles or helicopters into combat! Therefore, ability to do forced marches is irrelevant, obsolete, and exist.

      (Yes, I’m being sarcastic.)

  • Iron Spartan

    This gives me flashbacks to WLC, the last mixed school I attended.

    Such an important school that while I was in the class myself, the other two Infantryman and the cav scout were issued a coloring book, crayons, and ordered to “sit there, shut up, color, and stay inside the lines.”

  • Ciarog

    In some of the post-apoc stuff I’ve done, I’ve often wondered how female militia units would be able to handle extended marches even assuming light loads and decent diets. The best answer I could come up with was literal wagonloads of cocaine and meth, which led to its own side-effects.

    Be fascinating to see how the SJWAF would do against a competent enemy. I mean, even the Dutch can make themselves look good fighting Sunni Muslims. What if you send them out to fight against people who have an innate understanding of personal marksmanship, maintenance of equipment and unit cohesion, like the Mormons?

    (At least if you send them to invade Utah, they might actually be willing to fight rather than immediately convert to the native religion. Then again, maybe not.)

  • James/G

    ‘OER for an NCO?’ I thought. But then I realized, it’s all about validation…

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