You’re SURE this is the air force?

October 20, 2008

I’m embarrassed for these guys. The photo captions say they are in the Air Force, and are displaying their “skills.”

air-force-220.jpg

But here’s a tip. If you find yourself slithering along the dusty ground with a bayonet on the end of your rifle, you may have joined the WRONG Air Force! There’s a chance you got drunk and signed up for that other branch, Dudes Who Crawl Along With Bayonets Until They are Strafed by the Air Force.

By definition, guys in the Air Force are supposed to see the enemy from way high up in the sky, not from the end of a bayonet.

I’ll go further. Any organization that defines using a bayonet as a “skill” probably isn’t where you want to spend your life.  I know that will get me in trouble with the Bayonet Jugglers and Snake Handlers Union, but I have to call ‘em as I see ‘em.

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air-force-360.jpgAir Force personnel display their skills during the passing-out ceremony at their air force base in Trincomalee, eastern Sri Lanka October 18, 2008. REUTERS/ Stringer

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47 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Hey there smart guy. The Air Force has a special forces unit.

Posted by tyler durden | Report as abusive

IT\’s common Practice in most services to learn combat arms including Drill, Combat marksmanship and yes Bayonet training it fosters Team work and most importantly although Not wanted to be thought of if your base comes under attack by infantry you should at least try to fend them off on the ground as planes even the most advanced fighters are easy picking on the ground.

Posted by LCON | Report as abusive

Hate to say it, buddy, but every branch has ground troops. Why don’t you check out these guys: 352d Special Operations Group (352 SOG)and maybe you’ll understand why these guys are “slithering along the dusty ground with a bayonet on the end of your rifle”.

Here’s the 352 SOG website:(http://www2.afsoc.af.mil/librar y/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=224)

Posted by James | Report as abusive

Who guards the Air Force Base, the Army? Navy?

Posted by GReg | Report as abusive

Yeah dude. I’m in the Navy, but i’ve never seen a ship because of my job. I’ve been on the ground with the Marines as a Hospital Corpsman. All branches have and need people to do various jobs that don’t necessarily fit the one or two word titles of their branch. Not everyone in the Air Force does things on a plane. Not all Sailors are on a ship. Not all Marines are in the water…in fact, most of them aren’t. And not all Soldiers are totin’ rifles. Everyone in the military is a multi-tasker.

Posted by Chip | Report as abusive

Maybe this is so they survive a couple minutes AFTER the parachutes get them to the ground and they run out of ammo? That’s the point where I’d say “well, thank God I at least know how to use this bayonet”

Posted by Jarrard | Report as abusive

Good grief!
Why would someone so uninformed think he was so clever.
Maybe you should run for office, eh?

Posted by Walt | Report as abusive

rofl @ every1 that protests at the idea that air force should not be on the ground.

come on.

its a JOKE

Posted by anonym | Report as abusive

Since they’re using a Kalashnikov variant, I don’t think they’re American. Did the writer research his work before populating the Intarwebs with more trash?

Posted by Dave Kellum | Report as abusive

As both a former airman during the Vietnam War, and a former journalist, I think I know how to spot a lowlife 4th estate lackey (or wannabe lackey) who has never served anything or anyone but himself, and served himself too much Jack Daniels.

Posted by johnp | Report as abusive

“Any organization that defines using a bayonet as a “skill” probably isn’t where you want to spend your life.”

Gee, guess the blog weenie has never heard of the United States Marine Corps,..or the U.S. Army,..or the Navy SEALS,…I could go on and on, but it’s apparent you find our nation’s armed forces as “a place where you don’t want to spend your life.” Statements like that belittle the choices and sacrifices of our nation’s young men and women.

Posted by Cpl Green | Report as abusive

Hey Dave, check out the photo caption to which my blog post refers. These guys are from the Sri Lankan Air Force, so this is hardly a secret. And John P., thanks, but I was an honors graduate from DINFOS, the Defense Information School.

Posted by Robert Basler | Report as abusive

I’ve been in the ROYAL Air Force for 23 years now and saw a bayonet once on parade practice. If you want to see Air Force skills look for someone sitting around a lot, usually in front of a computer or in a bar. If its a war zone try the nearest air-conditioned hotel. :)

Posted by furq | Report as abusive

To be blunt, your a douche bag. Anyone whom did even minimal research into the Air Force would know that it has some serious combat ground troops.

Are you seriously so ignorant so as to believe everyone in the Air Force flies? Sri Lanken or otherwise. How is is that your published on google, again?

Posted by SergeantUSAF | Report as abusive

To the honorable Cpl Green who wrote at the brave hour of 3:22am GMT: You cannot paraphrase in quotation marks. Although it may seem a silly comment to you, the lack of the basic understanding, of what quotation marks do, and how they are used, not only baffles me, but reflects your mentality- one well suited to the armed forces. And my mentality- a state of constant thirst, for knowledge and truth, is better suited to to academic institutions. The point being that we need all types on this planet of ours. We need you and you need us. And the man you misquoted was directing his comments at us. As to you saying, “Statements like that belittle the choices and sacrifices of our nation’s young men and women” I will tell you, though I’m sure you are aware of this already- the majority of people who serve in the armed forces are of lesser economic, and educational backgrounds, often through no fault of their own, and as such most of them have few options to chose from. Slim pickings I believe its called. They don’t have much choice in the way of what sacrifices to make or not to make. Often the military is the only means by which a person has a hope of attaining a higher education. The beauty of capitalism, it always leaves someone holding the short stick- *ehem* the gun. Nobody, as far as I can tell is criticizing the people trapped in the bizarre twisting machine, they are chuckling at the ones operating the thing. Good God, man. In the ugly, brutal, and depressing reality of war and fighting- lets have a laugh where a laugh can be had, without a hoopla over the damn thing. Air-Force doing ground exercise. Its a joke. Ha. And move to the next page. This is not belittling anyone. And the fact that bayonet can be listed as a skill IS, to us, quite frankly funny. Skills: I am proficient in, excel, word, and other office software. I can type 120 wmp, I am familiar with the bayonet, and I can write HTML.

Posted by Daniel | Report as abusive

Daniel has made my day. Congratulations on actually making me laugh out loud! Had you pointed out that sir sergeant misused the word “your,” I may have proposed marriage (much to the dismay of my current husband.. or so I would like to think).

Apparently, the general public’s understanding of satire is about as on-point as their use of proper English anymore.

Posted by Mel | Report as abusive

This is the new U.S. Military Liberal Arts program–somewhere, naval commanders are driving rescue boats in the East River, the Coast Guard is commanding stealth aircraft, and the Marines are… well, walking around in spiffy outfits. Theirs is more of a vo-tech program.

Posted by Mel | Report as abusive

Well, thank goodness for joke enforcement.

Where would we be without it? Can you imagine people going off half-cocked telling jokes about all kinds of things? It would start with the military, then they would move on to jokes about nerds, blondes, senior citizen drivers,… Oh just mayhem would ensue!

Thank goodness for joke enforcement…

So if we don’t think you’re funny, it’s only because we don’t understand satire?
Here’s some satire for you: Let’s see you square off with someone who is handy with a bayonet and who is eager to hurt you with it – you can tell them how little skill it takes to pig-stick you and see where that gets you.
Air Forces around the world have ground forces to protect the precious resources needed to keep their combat aircraft operational. The fighter plane goes up in the air, but the hangars, weapons depots, maintenance personnel, service facilities, fuel, and runways don’t. I’ll let you make the argument that MPs are less skilled than fighter pilots, but even if it was true (I don’t think it is) it’s a moot point because an Air Force needs both.
Seriously, isn’t there supposed to be an element of satire that makes it funny? Like absurdity, or humor? It’s not just saying stupid things, is it? Because if satire is what you say it is, it doesn’t seem to take any skill.

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive

Well said Bill.

Posted by Roger | Report as abusive

As I see it, humor, and satire in particular, is frequently based on irony. And I think Robert did a fine job of pointing out that the air force doing a ground exercise is ironic.

Remember people, it’s a JOKE.

Posted by Vlad | Report as abusive

Robert…get your facts straight before you go and criticize something. Otherwise it just makes you look like an idiot :) just a friendly reminder

Posted by Mr.Right | Report as abusive

Oh! Hey look at that! Mr. Right is in the house! You know my wife is a big fan of yours…

The problem with this entry isn’t whether it’s a joke, but that even if it is a joke, it isn’t funny. It sounds ignorant, not satirical.

Posted by dr.dna | Report as abusive

What I thought was interesting was what they call this event: a Passing Out Ceremony. Because if I had to crawl in the dirt with a bayonet in the hot sun, wearing all those clothes, with somebody coming after me wielding his own bayonet, knowing there was no escape, I’d probably pass out. Or at least play dead. Good thing I didn’t join the Air Force, huh?

All I have to say is that if I joined the Air Force and found myself crawling around in the dirt under a burning sun I would not have been too happy about it.

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

As a retired sailor of 23+ kyears service I take issue with the comment “that the majority of people who serve in the armed forces are of lesser economic, and educational backgrounds, often through no fault of their own.”
I passed up a scholarship to USC to enlist in the Navy. I left the Navy with a Masters’ Degree. I never felt that I was of a lesser economic and educational background – nor have I had the occasion to feel so now. You obviously have no understanding about our military and the dedication of our troops.

Posted by AZ Desert Rat | Report as abusive

Way to go Blog Guy! This is some serious commentage! You even brought out Mr. Right and Dr. DNA…and those two don’t give their gold-plated two cents for just anything!

Posted by Mary K | Report as abusive

I will tell you, though I’m sure you are aware of this already- the majority of people who serve in the armed forces are of lesser economic, and educational backgrounds, often through no fault of their own, and as such most of them have few options to chose from.

- Posted by Daniel

This was a lie perpetrated by John Kerry and Charlie Rangel in 2004 as Kerry tried to cover up his insulting joke about American troops being uneducated. It was quickly refuted by data compiled by the US Census Bureau and the US Army Corps of Engineers. Enlistees are statistically from slightly higher income level households and individually have slightly higher levels of education on average than the general public.

Not surprisingly, the press gave it much more air time than his comment about our troops “raiding villages in the dark of night, killing innocent women and children.” How’s that for a quote for you, j3rk?

By the way, since you opened your qualification above with a comma, you should have closed it the same way, not with a hyphen. Just thought you’d want to be aware of that since you’re correcting grammar.

Posted by Matt | Report as abusive

The Air Force a “Special Forces” type unit. These guys are so elite they rescue the Navy Seals when they are in trouble.

Posted by J. | Report as abusive

You gotta love all the people who read this and think the author is making fun of the “real” Air Force. Lighten up, loosers, it’s a joke. Oh, and Dave Kellum, you should have read the ENTIRE story before jumping on your bandwagon all pi$$ed off, ready to smack someone down. If you had, you would have noted that the picture was taken in Sri Lanka. Jerk.

Posted by JimmyCap | Report as abusive

You know who the most highly respected, completely essential, and frankly – most notorious paractitioners of bad-assery in the USAF are?
Combat Air Controllers.
Think of them as a blend of Air Traffic Controllers and Special Forces. They go behind enemy lines, on the ground, and coordinate precision strikes. Dangerous, Dirty, Skilled.
… in direct contrast to the author of this piece… I take that back. He might be dirty. You never can tell.

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive

I don’t think the point was to knock the men (and women) in the Air Force, or to say they shouldn’t know bayonet skills. More so I think the joke was at saying it was their skill. If someone told me “I’m going to show you some Air Force skills” I would instantly assume flying planes, and if I didn’t see that… I’d be very worried for my safety and the safety of my country. “Our best skills are our bayonet skills!” “Um… shouldn’t at least SOME of you know how to fly a plane?”

Posted by Jake | Report as abusive

I think you all miss the point! It’s an oddly enough BLOG. It’s the posters JOB to make silly of things! If you are coming here thinking to find real reporting then you my friends need to take some medication and quit any jobs you may have for one that doesn’t not require thought.
(sorry for any typos, I can’t stop laughing at most these posts!)

I can’t believe someone actually paided you for this article.

Posted by gareth | Report as abusive

Gareth, it’s not an article, it’s a blog item, and it’s supposed to…. oh, never mind…they didn’t paided me much for it….

Posted by Robert Basler | Report as abusive

The four main branches of the U.S. military cannot be stereotyped. I joined the U.S. Army and ended up flying (in the 1st Aviation Brigade, Fort Rucker, AL). Go Hawks, and go figure.

Posted by Dr. Doll | Report as abusive

“Above the Best”

Posted by Dr. Doll | Report as abusive

My apologies, Dave, you are not a 4th estate lackey wannabe. You are a BONA FIDE 4th estate lackey. With a degree in military propaganda, no less. Or did I read this wrong? (from the dinfos website).

The Defense Information School has a long-standing tradition of producing outstanding Public Affairs and Visual Information personnel for the U.S. Department of Defense. We are a field activity of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs).

Mission

Grow and sustain a corps of professional organizational communicators* who fulfill the communication needs of the military and government leaders and audiences.*

Posted by johnp | Report as abusive

As a Sri Lankan, I felt I should add a comment.

These airmen ‘slithering on the ground’ will soon be at the front line of a real time war that is being fought against a group known a the ‘most dangerous terrorist group in the world’(the Liberation Tigerss of Tamil Eelam). It is also the only terrorist group at the present with their own airforce.

These warriors are needed in the front lines to guard the limited number of air assets that our country has.
They are also needed to hunt down the air assets of the enemy.

So yeah the ‘slithering on the dusty ground’ thing will come in handy I think.

God Bless them!

Posted by Ace | Report as abusive

Your first line is “I’m embarrassed for these guys. The photo captions say they are in the Air Force, and are displaying their “skills.””.

Am embarrassed at your weak attempt of humor and reality.

Are you so naive to expect that every air force member (in every world air force) have only skills related to aircraft PERIOD?

Those guys pictured have to defend the aircrafts,air bases and go deep in enemy territory to pick up downed airmen etc.

Posted by Ron | Report as abusive

This is craziness! As soon as you say something about military people, two hundred thousand people comment saying they’re so offended. My goodness. People should get passionate about something else. This is ridiculous.

Robert Basler, I think this blog is great. I’m sure you’re not worried about all these people gettin’ all “het up” about a joke, but I just wanted to let you know you do a fine job. Keep it up! I read every day!

Posted by Chri | Report as abusive

Wow. Apparently jokes about the armed forces are illegal now.
Thanks Robert. I did find it funny-one of my favorites lately, actually.

Posted by G | Report as abusive

Why are these “military types” so insecure?

Posted by naz | Report as abusive

Whats so odd about having a ground combat force within an Airforce..? Ill go further.. Holding a rifle with a bayonet at its end does not mean that you’d be using the bayonet only.. I’m sure the rifle does some work as well..and maybe the slithering..Its a bad joke.. lets move on..

Posted by Imran | Report as abusive

I think what has many upset is the suggestion that soldiers in the US Airforce are not, somehow, real soldiers. You have to realize that, for soldiers, the order to afix bayonets is the order no soldier wants to hear. It’s tough and brutal. Hand-to-hand combat is what all true soldiers must prepare for. And Airmen are true soldiers.

Posted by Dr. Doll | Report as abusive

This is a passing out demonstration of the Sri Lanka Air Forces Special Forces Wing troopers. They are specialized in counter Insurgency Operations,

the writer seems to be a chicken who is afraid to see bayonets or blood, go join the church you nitwit!!

Posted by Marky | Report as abusive