Defense of Hill 781: An Allegory of Modern Mechanized Combat by James R. McDonough

By James R. McDonough

Within the culture of the funny vintage safety of Duffer's glide, our hero's get away lies in finishing a winning project.

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McDonough’s whimsical hero, Lieutenant Colonel A. Tack Always, is a good soldier whose main error in life was a vanity that he cherished and displayed at the expense of others. Sergeant Major Hope, his guardian angel in this allegorical tale, tells him that he must atone for his overweening pride in his abilities as an airborne ranger. ” The lieutenant colonel takes on his mission and leads his ghostly battalion, resolved to win the war of the training center and reach his heavenly goal, but he has a lot to learn.

Now don’t go jumping to any hasty conclusions. It’s not as bad as you’re thinking. ” A sense of déjà vu hit the colonel as he remembered his last efficiency report. “The truth of the matter is that you’ve made it into Purgatory, which is what the National Training Center is used for. You see, sir, you didn’t quite have an unblemished record in the army, so the System has arranged this little stopover for you until you can make it up. ” Although the news was disconcerting, Always felt it was futile to resist it, afraid he might be left behind in the rush should he fight the logic of the words.

At night the ground is engulfed by an eerie darkness, made more desolate by the vast emptiness of the endless desert. Without a moon to light the way a man could easily drive off the desert floor into one of many deep and treacherous wadis that crazily zig and zag across the valleys, unseen from any distance whatsoever, even in the brightest sunlight. The wadis offer a perplexing tactical problem, often suggesting a convenient avenue of approach to an armored column only to narrow to an impasse from which the only escape comes by backing up, a treacherous undertaking for a column of vehicles.

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