first published on May 7, 2018 by Josh
Oh, the things we do when we are bored in the field. If the average tax payer knew that 20% of time spent in the field training by troops was spent trying to hit a boot PFC in the helmet with a rock, what would they think? Do you think that they would still go out of their way to thank every service member for their service if they understood that a good portion of service is used engaging other service members in ambush style games that even most high school-aged students would find childish? It’s hard to know for sure, but the fact remains that field games are an ingrained part of the military culture anywhere in the world. It’s something that happens, no matter where you are.
Over the course of eight years in the Marine Corps, I had the opportunity to train with many different nation’s soldiers. The cultures and lifestyles of these soldiers were often different than my own, but due to our shared experience as military professionals, we had much in common. From the Spanish Marines to the Jordanian Special Forces, there was never a time that our joint training exercises did not overlap into sharing each unit’s individual made up field games with each other. There was always common ground among us because of these field games, and they almost always turned into some type of competition between the two units, regardless of the location that the training was taking place.
If you are unfamiliar with these field games, which are often played during times that troops are waiting on higher echelons of command to make decisions, then you are in for a special treat. In this video, two soldiers from two different countries are about to compete with each other. A Canadian Soldier, and an American Soldier are both strapped together using the safety straps from their gun trucks. The straps are originally designed to prevent the troop from being thrown from the inside of their turret in the event of an explosion or kinetic rollover. In this case however, the straps have been connected via the hooks that connect them to the turret gunner’s platform in order to create an improvised tug of war rope.
Distances are paced out to ensure that both soldiers have an equal amount of ground to cover once the contest begins, and a senior member of the American platoon ensures that both men are ready to pull. When the game begins, both Soldiers start to pull with everything that they are worth, knowing that the pride of their unit is currently resting on their shoulders. For the two men tugging, this test of strength will prove which unit is the better of the two. For the Soldiers watching, it’s a brief moment of entertainment that provides some relief from the rigorous activities of the day’s operations. The loser’s unit will spend the rest of the day ribbing him for his loss to the other country.