Who the enemy is: Ep 4, Combat Jack Open thread

Alpha and Bravo go their separate ways and the awesome gets spread around a bit wider this week.  Even Trombley does something right.


(UPDATED:  Corrected the misspelling of Trombley’s name. Regret the error)



  1. So after being disappointed again with the most recent episode – I would have given up on the series if not for you know who – I am reading the rolling stone article by wright, maybe it’s the first one of many, and it’s terrific.
    Although it is mentioned in gk how well trained these guys are and how inappropriate this mission is for them it was not at all clear to me the extent of their training. Frankly they seemed like green yahoos in that first training scene and we only ever see “handsome guy” training. And just once, I think.

    Even though we are starting the story in the middle and don’t want long exposition, isn’t there some way to convey this important point. I admit that we see some evidence of their abilities – they are quite the snipers and I assumed that they were being wasted on useless missions – but didn’t understand the depth of the clusterfuck. This seems important. As does all the goofing off and around they do needs to be compared to their real skills and training. Pearson constantly saying he’s a killing machine didn’t convince me.

    I also have trouble making out dialogue even after rewinding. But somehow I don’t think I’m missing anything.

    By the way I thought Laura Lippman’s new book was really good. She can really turn a phrase.

  2. The training question, Lynette asks…I’ll take a stab, I have been waaay too quiet. Remember in Ep.2 when they got shot up driving through the town, their first live action? Here’s something about the aftermath of that in the book:

    “All the Humvees in Bravo Company are riddled with bullet holes, but Darnold is the only Marine who was hit. Counting the dozens of roulnds that went through sheet metal, tires, and rucksacks, the men can’t believe they made it. In retrospect the whole engagement was like one of those cheesy action movies in which the bad guys fire thousands of rounds that all narrowly miss the hero.”

    What sets these guys apart is that they have been trained so hard that they know exactly what to do in the face of sheer terror. They know they are the best at killing, and don’t define themselves any other way. So getting a chance to actually kill is so affirming for them. They got through that first firefight driving through the town because they can kill better than anyone, a difficult thing as it is, even while the bullets narrowly miss them.

    Did you notice when the Iraqis in that town in Ep. 2 fired at the Marine Humvees, they roughly stuck their guns over the roof of the cars and pulled the triggers, barely looking at where the gun was pointed. The Iraqis were afraid to really expose themselves or aim their guns – they just kind of pointed and let Allah guide the bullets. They sprayed a lot of lead, but didn’t kill anybody, not even Marines exposed in roofless Humvees.

    The Marines are so cool that they aim and shoot and kill – and these fuckers like to wait until they see your muzzle flash. They let you have the first shot, so they can pinpoint you and kill you. Even while the bullets are flying through the Humvees, the Marines can load, aim, and shoot from muscle memory, not even really thinking about what they are doing. Notice how the officers fire and miss, or overreact? Notice how the RCT Marines blew up the hamlet outside the airfield while the Recon Marines assessed the situation accurately (but had to watch as RCT Marines destroyed the town).

    There was in episode 3 the part where the Recon Marines were lined up outside the walled town, and they were fired upon. No panic fire returned… the Recon Marines do not shoot until they see the muzzle flashes. Then they kill without wasting ammo.

    What sets the Recon Marines apart, from what I can see, is that they look first, then shoot, and kill methodically. Simple as it may sound, the other Marines or Army just don’t do it as well, at least not by this point in the war. True, the accuracy of their fire is the easy part to notice, but it is how they conduct themselves when it is time to kill or be killed – that is the part I see that shows how well they are trained.

    Besides, if you were worried about your training, would you be doing a bad a capella version of “Tainted Love” as you roll through a hostile desert?

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