Thursday, November 10, 2016

Unity, or Diversity

Which is more important; Unity or Diversity?  Good question.

I am reminded of my very first tank crew a diverse bunch of folks.  My driver, a young private named Smiley, happened to be a black kid from Georgia.  My loader, was another young kid, a white boy from Idaho.  My gunner, Sergeant Rivera, was a Hispanic from Puerto Rico.  I myself, the tank commander, was a young officer from Louisiana.

Oh, we were diverse.  No Yankees on my crew, but my platoon sergeant, my mentor and subordinate, was from Brooklyn.  He crewed his own tank, of course, but his crew and my crew often bantered during down times.  Sergeant Rivera would regale us with stories of his native island, the dusky ladies. The loader talked of lily-white Pocatello girls, the driver talked about the gals from Georgia, and I told tales of the Cajun gals from Avoyelles parish.  We were soldiers, and young.  Talking about girls filled the hours.  The things we discussed would now be called misogyny, but young men talk about girls.

But, as diverse as we were, we all pulled together to do the job at hand.  Whether it was changing a thrown track, pulling a blown powerpack, or running a multiple engagement, we were one crew.  United in our task.  We all pulled together for the common good.

Diversity is a lot of fun, but it can never be a political (or military) philosophy.  When it comes time to get the job done, we all need to pull together as Americans.  When we pull together, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.

Let Freedom Ring.

**Recollection:** One day Sergeant Rivera was regaling us over the tank intercom with tales of his exploits with Puerto Rican womanhood.  I happened to look down and saw my company commander striding across the logger site with a grim look on his face.  Rivera's tale was being broadcast on the company net.  Needless to say, the ass-chewing I got was comprehensive and legendary.

Rivera had to report to the Battalion Commo sergeant for a remedial class on the proper use of a tank intercom system.

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