Saturday April 4, 2020
Dec-17-2009 21:22TweetFollow @OregonNews
Soldier Warrior Grandfather
Dr. Phil Leveque Salem-News.com
Dr. Leveque and his grandson are both Army combat veterans, one served in WWII and one is presently serving in Iraq.
(MOLALLA, Ore.) - Being in the Infantry is like no other kind of experience. Basic Infantry training is almost nothing like anything else a young man will do. It is almost the measure of a man even if he is only eighteen.
The physical work putting muscles on a young man where none existed before is damned hard work. It is not surprising looking back that so many were “washed out”.
Actually for my war, WWII, about 40% were washed out before they went into the Army. Even at that, many should not have been put into a combat situation. We called them “round pegs in a square hole” (fox hole). We needed any help we could get.
A Combat Soldier – Infantryman, must rely on his closest buddy. It’s a mutual life saving bond. Once in battle every dogface soldier hoped his buddy would survive if only to save his own neck. The loss of that buddy could be and usually was catastrophic.
Switching to your sergeants in basic training. If you didn’t hate those garrison S.O.B.’s, they weren’t doing their jobs – getting you adjusted to the forthcoming adjustments to the crazy chaos of battle.
In Band of Brothers, all of the soldiers hated their C.O. probably enough to kill him in a battle zone. He was lucky he was transferred out. The Sergeants saved that company because Sergeants were/are your closest commanders, the soldier MUST knuckle under to those guys as sickening as it might be. It’s difficult to even believe that one's soul is his own.
Platoon Leader 2nd Lieutenants are another burr under your saddle. It’s really tough to imagine that these guys are really supposed to know something about battle and how to command troops in battle.
Most Second Looeys are/were smart enough to realize the Senior Sergeants are much better. If the Looey thinks he knows something everybody in that unit is in danger.
You tell me your war in Iraq is/was different from mine. I was carrying a rifle with a couple of bandoleers, a couple of grenades and maybe a rocket launcher. To a dogface that was heavy artillery.
I know you run a .50 caliber machine gun. What you can do to a target, man or machine gun nest is not very pretty and I can only hope you survive your attack and also the lead coming back your way.
I don’t know how well you are supplied with food, water and stuff. We were moving so fast, supply never did catch up to us. Likewise, we were moving so fast, we never got enough sleep or rest, but we were presumed to be ready for anything and everything 24 hours a day. Fatigue became almost an infectious disease. We were all exhausted most of the time. Rest when you can!!
Of your close buddies, some will become your friends for life, almost like brothers. It’s good if you are all about the same age. My buddies were 18 and I was 21. That was a great difference, but I knew any one would save my life if necessary.
We used to say the Infantry is 90% sheer boredom and 10% sheer terror. I hope you can survive both.
Dr. Phillip Leveque has degrees in chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and minors in physiology and biochemistry. He was a Professor of Pharmacology, employed by the University of London for 2 years, during which time he trained the first doctors in Tanzania. After training doctors, he became an Osteopathic Physician, as well as a Forensic Toxicologist.
Before any of that, Phil Leveque was a Combat Infantryman in the U.S. Army in WWII. He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 60 years after the war, and specialized in treating Veterans with PTSD during his years as a doctor in Molalla, Oregon. Do you have a question, comment or story to share with Dr. Leveque?