Permission to Fire



             Scenario: A PFC is walking down the road to a porta-potty and is confronted with a 10 year old boy in enemy territory pointing a gun at him.
             1. The Soldier will request permission to fire from his Platoon Sergeant.
             2. The Platoon Sergeant, who knows what to do, will ask the Platoon Leader anyway.
             3. The Platoon Leader wakes up the Company Commander to ask permission, gets his ass chewed off for his inability to make a decision.
             4. The irritated Company Commander will drive all the way out to the golf course to ask the Battalion Commander for permission to fire.
             5. The Battalion Commander, using his new cell phone, will call the Brigade Commander to get permission to fire.
             6. The Brigade Commander will call Division and speak to a person in the G3 Operations shop.
             7. The G3 personnel will immediately start working on a slide presentation in Powerpoint to present to the Commanding General on his options. Microsoft stock prices sky rocket.
             8. The slides will first be briefed to the Chief of Staff and will be sent back for revisions.
             9. After 90 different versions have been completed, the original slide presentation is approved by the Chief of Staff.
             10. The Commanding General will nod off during the slide presentation and later will call Corps to ask the Corps Commander for permission to fire.
             11. The Commanding General's G3 staff will fax a copy of the presentation to the Corps Commander's G3 staff who will in turn ask for a copy to be sent by courier because the first copy got sent to the wrong fax number.
             12. The poor West Point Captain who sent the fax to Corps will be given a bad Officer Evaluation Report (OER) because he should have known that the fax number given to him by a Colonel at Corps was the wrong number.
             13. CNN, having just received a fax from an unidentified source, reports that a middle eastern oil producing country is holding hostage a young american service member demanding that the Great White Satan pay higher fuel prices in retaliation for the many years of decadent living. The Senate picks up the story and begins to crucify the gas guzzling big car manufacturers for allowing this to happen.
             14. America is outraged as hundreds of reporters from around the nation descend upon a small farming town in Iowa to interview an aging childless couple, wanting to know how they 'feel' about America putting it's future in harms way. Rioting breaks out in most major american cities and people demand an end to the hostilities. Jesse Jackson insists some action be taken and personally travels to the area.
             15. Corps G3, having watched TV, finally picks up on the slide presentation and has his staff work 48 hours straight on a Corps presentation to give to the Corps Commander. The Corps Commander is off on a weekend trip to DC, but receives the briefing the following Friday.
             16. The Corps Commander is briefed, accepts his staffs proposal that the soldier should fire back, but has to call the Army Commander to get permission.
             17. The Army Commander asks the Corps Commander to fax him all the information he has on the incident and he will get back to him. The Army Commander lives in DC and wants to get away to his country home located in the Bahamas for the week.
             18. The Army commander never receives the information. However, he does order the immediate shipment of all small arms ammunition to the theater of operations.
             19. Division is notified that the information did not reach Army Commander so that poor Captain with the bad OER is ordered to fax a copy of the slides to the Pentagon and the White House.
             20. The Army Commander, returning from vacation, receives the slides and says he will have to call the Army Group Commander for permission to fire. Wants to know why none of the local units have any training ammunition.
             21. The Army Group Commander listens to the Army Commander then tells him that he will have to call the Pentagon to get permission to fire.
             22. The Army Group Commander calls the Pentagon and speaks with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. The Chairman wants to know why some know-nothing Captain from a Division in theater is faxing a 200 page slide presentation to him and the President.
             23. The Army Group Commander tells the Chairman he will find out.
             24. The Army Group Commander calls the Army Commander and asks why Captain Know-Nothing is faxing slides to the Pentagon and the White House.
             25. The Army Commander calls the Corps Commander and asks the same question.
             26. The Corps Commander gets personally involved after lunch and calls directly to the division's G3 shop and asks to speak to CPT Know-Nothing.
             27. CPT Know-Nothing is given another bad OER and is reassigned to sewage control in a prisoner of war camp. Later, he will be forced to resign in disgrace and be hired as a Consultant for a major defense contractor where he will net a cool six figure yearly income.
             28. The Army Group Commander informs the Chairman that all situational challenges have been overcome and whole heartily endorses authorizing permission to fire.
             29. The Chairman tells the Army Group Commander that he will get back to him after he holds a meeting with all of the service chiefs.
             30. During the meeting, the Air Force and Navy Chiefs decide they want a part in this decision now code-named 'Operation Return Fire'.
             31. The Chairman agrees to allow the Air Force to send two tactical fighter wings and 10 B-52s from Diego Garcia. The Chairman allows the Navy to send in 5 carrier battle groups and 3 Marine divisions. In addition, the Chairman tells the service chiefs that the Army will send in two more Corps, five Brigades of Artillery, an Armored Cavalry Regiment, and four CH-47 Chinook Battalions to provide logistical and MWR support. Furthermore, he will ask the Secretary of Defense if 500,000 Reservist and National Guardsmen can be called up.
             32. The Chairman takes all of these proposals to the Secretary of Defense who agrees and tells the Chairman to prepare a briefing for the President.
             33. A Colonel stays up for a week straight preparing briefing slides and charts for the President's briefing.
             34. The day of the briefing, the light bulb burns out in the White House's projector and the Colonel who worked his butt off to setup this briefing loses the command he was going to take over this summer and is forced to retire because he should have known that the light bulb would burn out.
             35. Eventually a Lieutenant Colonel locates a light bulb and he is promoted to Colonel and is offered a command this summer that suddenly becomes open.
             36. The President, not wanting to get caught with his pants down in time of crisis, approves Operation Return Fire, but first he wants to get 'eyes on the target'. Additionally, he orders that the PFC get immediately promoted to Sergeant, get a hefty combat bonus pay, and receive the Medal of Honor for outstanding heroic actions taken in the defense of this great nation.
             37. Navy Seal Team 6 is dispatched to the area. Upon reaching the location where the soldier reported the contact, they find the decomposed body of a dead American PFC, still clutching a hand mike to his ear, looking as if he is waiting for a response to whatever question he asked. One hundred yards away sits a school house. About a dozen children are having a water gun fight and playing cops and robbers just like american kids used to do...



          The CH-47 - 40 years old and still circling the world.


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