Reenacting is a vast field where a young person can gain valuable Military experience
without having to make a commitment to service in the United States Armed Forces. It is a great and economical way to, "Try
it out and see if it fits".
Reenacting is NOT Military training though...and although you may in fact learn
everything you may need to know in order to go into actual combat, you will have to be your own best friend and instructor
BECAUSE there are a lot of "Pretenders" involved in Reenacting and you have to take everything
ANYONE says with a grain of salt.
This is particularly true of WW2 reenactors. First of all,
even if they are ACTUAL WW2 VETERANS, they are teaching skills and techniques that have been outmoded
for over 50 years. This doesn't mean that some of what they teach will not be useful, for some of it is universal in
concept and transcends ANY WAR. Examples include:
Weapon Maintenance and care.
Military courtesy and deportment.
Noise and light discipline.
Marksmanship and Weapon Safety.
Camping. (KOA STYLE, Not as in ACTUAL COMBAT).
Obviously, if you were in a Civil War unit which builds large campfires at night you would have to temper
this with common sense, "Humm...if I were in Afghanistan, would I want to build a fire at all?"
and to an equal degree, "Would I want to sing songs around the headquarters to serenade the Commander?"
This would seem like common sense, but you better be prepared for more thinking on this subject because
what was considered good Noise and light discipline in WW2 would not get a passing grade on today's Battlefield.
An old Indian once told me, "You want to hunt bear?....eat Salmon for 2 weeks first".
I did...and sure as shitting in my pants the Bear came right to me!
If you are going into combat in Afghanistan you need to eat Afghan food.....and do a lot of other things
"Afgan Style", Get it?
Now, in particular as a ww2 Reenactor, you will be learning fire and maneuver
tactics that are practically useless today. So with regard to EVERYTHING THEY TEACH YOU, Verify
its usefulness by looking it up in the LATEST MILITARY MANUALS AVAILABLE. This will make the transition to Actual Military
life easier and more rewarding.
An excellent example of a Reenactment unit that makes a good presentation but has no
real teeth is Floridas own 3rd ID and it's junior partners, Crew 976
(Formerly the excellent Post 976 of Cadet program Fame).
Their WW2 impression is nearly flawless and attention to historical detail top notch (Well,
we ARE trying to be kind here*). The rub is that:
They teach young people
these skills so that they have plenty of
"Privates" to use for running around the woods playing army.
Learning Leadership skills is not part of their program.
The youth learn skills that they have to UNLEARN THE HARD WAY if they actually join
the war effort.
Contrary to when the post was first established, they haven't assisted one single youth
in getting a Full College Scholarship (No Strings attached), whereas before, when Reenacting was an additional activity
rather than the main focus, the Cadets were getting 20 or more scholarships a year (With a enrollment of 40 cadets verses
a Dozen or so now).
Even the program title has changed for the Post: It is now called "Venture Crew 976" and is no longer "Explorer
Post 976". The Post was userped by a group of selfish Men who wanted a venue for living out their own personal fantasys. They took a potent vialable Military Cadet Training Program that generated over a Million Dollars in Scolorship
revenue yearly and turned it into a black hole that at best churns out a few enlisted recruits for the active military and
runs on deficet every year.
Outraged former Cadets (From when
it was an Omnipotent Military Cadet Training Program) Who are now Married and have their own Children and who have
served (or who are still serving) as Officers in the active military and who are in the 3 figure income bracket have told
me that it is their plan to Seize control of the Post once more and return it to its former Glory and
excellence. They must wait however until their children get just a little older.
These are the Cadets who got full scholarships under the former system, before it was
turned into a playground for middle aged men wanting to have fun running around the woods playing Army. No One can
blame them for their outrage.
The recent genre of "Crew 976" simply has no idea what future was taken from them
and how low their sights were set by their advisors.
So beware as you seek to learn these Military and Paramilitary skills. Use your time wisely
and be your own best friend. Do not take the low sight setting offered you as normal. Your future is greater and brighter
True, you may have a lot of "Harmless" fun and that may be the worst of it...but then
again you may find yourself in actual combat someday and may in a moment of stress axiomatically react as you were taught
by a "Reenactor".... You may also find your self in a foxhole taking orders from someone who is not as smart as you but who
had a better more ethical advisor then you had.
REMEMBER: In actual MILITARY training, our Armed Forces
see that you safety is paramount. Not so in REEINACTING... You can ecpect to get hurt far more often
and far worse than if you were in the actual Military and find that no or little provision has been made for these possibilities.
You will also find that if you become disabled that either you have no insurance to cover you or that your insurance Company
does not cover such activities and that you are ON YOUR OWN. If you are seeing that you are among a group of unsafe Phuckwads,
then get out and find another group.
THEREFORE: TREAD lightly and teach your self. Discard what is useless and keep what is useful. Let the publications and instructions
of current first class Military instructors light your way. Always Remember: Traditional
Scouting and active persuit of the Meret Badges that interest you will provide the best possible preperation for military
life. Anything that is left to learn, LET THE MILITARY TEACH YOU.