Tuesday, November 10, 2009
It's a Lance Corporal's War
Here's an oil painting of a Marine leading his fire team on a patrol near Delaram, Afghanistan back in July.
It's called "the Strategic (Lance) Corporal-- Wagner Places his Team" and shows a certain LCpl Clinton Wagner, a fire team leader for second squad, 3rd Plt, Echo Company, 2nd Bn 3rd Marines, giving direction to his fire team, just after the patrol crossed a river near Delaram.
One might think a fire team leader is supposed to be a Corporal. But in many a squad out there, "Lance Coolies" are doing an NCO's job-- leading Marines in combat situations. And the success or failure of the Campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan are in their hands, in a direct, tactical sense. Though they don't decide the big picture stategy, they affect people and situations around them, each and every day, in a thousand little decisions.
The "Strategic Corporal" is a term coined ten years ago in a paper by Gen Charles Krulak, and is still relevant today. Yet in today's campaigns, as perhaps ever, Lance Corporals are filling those boots, of making decisions that can have Stategic consequences in the war as a whole.