I thought this was particularly apropos, given a couple of specific news stories I’ve seen floating around here in the last couple of days.  DR

“Elite’ is a term that gets tossed around a lot (although ‘Tier 1′ seems to have surpassed it.) Today I visited an “elite” unit in an African country. A soldier from this unit had his hand casually resting on and in front of the muzzle of his weapon while manning his guard post/shack.

He then turned the rifle so we could access the log book to sign in and in so doing turned the muzzle towards us.

I had to bite my tongue from saying anything. I would not tolerate this from a student in one of my VSM Basic classes, yet here is an ‘elite’ soldier violating three of the four firearms safety rules.

So the next time someone mentions an elite unit, bear in mind that is very much a relative term and those of us who have either been in, trained with or worked with truly elite units, have a higher standard as to what qualifies for that designation.”               Stony Smith, Paragon Six

Stony_Smith

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Pete Sheppard March 7, 2013 at 4:49 am

Consider the context: how does he compare to the rest of his country's 'soldiers'? He just might BE the best of their best… ;-p

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Pete Sheppard March 7, 2013 at 4:51 am

ETA; I see that I'm pretty much repeating what Stony said. (Self–read *whole* article, idiot!)

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Gallowglass March 7, 2013 at 6:36 am

"Elite" and for that matter "Tier One" are concepts that one arrives at by comparing the person or object to those around them in THEIR environment in many cases. One country's "Elite" is another country's shit-head.

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Billywhat? March 8, 2013 at 12:00 am

Whats even more funny is to see units call themselves elite as compared to other units of the same country.

Marines calling Rangers pussies, Rangers calling Marines crybabies. And the same goes for all the other units.

But when the Rangers are under fire they are more than happy when they see a couple of LAV's filled with Marines rolling their way. (and the other way around off course)

Also, every country has the best SF in the world. The US, the Brits, the French, the Germans, etcetera. They all have the best SF in the world, the most elite…..

All this BS is false pride and it's pride that makes you lazy because you think youre already there.

Just stay humble strife to become the best (if there is such a thing) and be open to every other unit that has their gun pointed towards the same way of the two way shooting range!

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North Ash March 8, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Well said. It is long past time that somebody said that. You'd think say, as an example, the US Marines and the Royal Marine Commandos would be grateful that they were going into battle together, side by side, two units from different allied countries in this unpleasant world without slinging off at each other.

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Long Thrust VI March 8, 2013 at 5:38 am

"Elite" is a term which has been so over-used as to render it essentially meaningless. Marine Corps Infantrymen claim to be "elite." History identifies Germany's Waffen SS & post-WW II U.S. Constabulary in Germany & Austria as "elite." Way too often, "elite" translates to "my uniform is prettier than yours."

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Rhys Firth March 8, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Mostly if I see the term "Elite" being used, it is more a sign of the sources bias. What politician is going to tell an allied country "we're just going to send you some average grunts" when they can say "we're sending an Elite unit". It sounds MUCH more electable and vote-worthy the second way.

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