May 12, 2008


Oh my gosh, I miss my husband so much right this moment that I can't stand it.

I found a blog post that I'm dying to discuss with him. Yeah, we don't get enough telephone time to discuss blog posts.

“I hope the officers of her Majesty’s army may never degenerate into bookworms.”

Husband, if you're checking the blog, you simply must read that post and also the comment by SmittenEagle it references. And then write me a letter about what you think!

Actually, I already know what you think.

When my husband started Civil Affairs training, he was given a stack of books to read. He was dismayed to learn that, months later, some of his classmates hadn't read any of them. And we're talking Bernard Lewis level books, not Lawrence of Arabia (which my husband read on his own two years ago). He was so frustrated that people could be in a class about the Middle East and have so little motivation to learn anything about the Middle East.

He, on the other hand, is a studier. He has a reputation in his unit for being a bookworm, a brain. And while my husband is a danged genius, really all he's doing is reading books on Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran. That should be a given for anyone in his branch of the Army. Instead, when he went to the branch library to check out a book on modern Iraq, he was the first person to ever have checked it out.

There's no danger of bookworms among his peers. Sadly.

Posted by: Sarah at 11:27 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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1 Soldier Boy has been through the same thing! Even when he was in Korea for a year, he got a book on the language and learned how to communicate while he was there, learned the customs and courtesies. He has quite a few books that he's gotten about war in general, and these wars in specific. He's waiting to know a little bit more about the area they're being deployed to before he starts digging up as much local info as possible. And yes, he's the only one I know of in his company who is doing that.

Posted by: Sis B at May 12, 2008 12:18 PM (0ZS+T)

2 I got a book from a publisher some time back about a professor teaching literature to cadets at West Point. It is called "Soldier's Heart: Reading Literature Through Peace and War at West Point" by Elizabeth D. Samet. Interesting reading.

Posted by: Butterfly Wife at May 13, 2008 04:18 AM (nK6Pm)

3 Sarah--I think you'd be pleasantly surprised if you saw the book requests at Books for Soldiers ( Plenty of escape fiction, of course, but also plenty of classics, history and military history, books from the various services' reading lists, educational books, and yes, even language-learning materials. You can sign up as a military spouse without going through the minor "vetting" process that is required of us civilians in order to get access to the posted troop requests. I hope you'll take a look. A long-time volunteer.

Posted by: Pat in MN at May 13, 2008 04:54 AM (KPN6e)

4 The reason for that, in my opinion, is that CA selects its officers from other branches, which means they're already acculturated in the traditional "Army way", which is technocratic and 'lane' oriented, different than the curious, outside the box, learning mindset which should be the hallmark of CA. Your husband is an exception . . . or maybe, he's just a fast reader. IMO, CA should be filled with enlisted and warrant officers who are acculturated with a CA mindset from the start, better yet, reservists who can mix civilian skills, perspectives, and experience with military.

Posted by: Eric Chen at May 13, 2008 08:21 PM (uCUwC)

5 Eric -- And that's why CA used to be entirely a Reserves MOS. That was the original thinking: take an engineer by day and make him a CA Army engineer one weekend a month. But now they just need too many CA people for the Reserves to carry the weight. We've also found that CA is a sort of "silver medal" for people who don't make SF selection. They can't go back to their old branch, so they often go CA with the intention of trying for SF again. A few of them are openly dismissive of CA and look at it as a poor-man's SF. They're just killing time until they can try out for SF again. That's really not the right attitude to have.

Posted by: Sarah at May 14, 2008 03:16 AM (TWet1)

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