How does a guy in the Army wind up working around the Navy?
In today’s world, the services work together far more than ever before. Much of this started from hard lessons from prior wars or conflicts, but to fight a common enemy requires common communications, planning and consistency. The ability to achieve this requires that members of all services, understand and work with their counterparts in the other services. For a while, the Joint Service position was what was known as a “Purple Suit” position. As opposed to a “Green Suit” (Army), “Blue Suit” (USAF), etc. These lessons harken back to World War II, and Admiral Halsey’s brilliant move in the South Pacific. In that theater of the war, everyone wore Khaki, regardless of service, and it was to enhance everyone’s working together towards a common goal, devoid of inter-service rivalry. More recently, and a personal lesson learned from Grenada, was that Army Aviators doing medical evacuation missions, were unable to land on the ships that were supporting the operation. Having never operated from ships they were at a loss to speak the language or engage in the art of landing on a moving target. So, either the pilots lied, and landed hoping for the best, or they had to land on the beach for the patient to be transferred by boat. Neither option was workable, and because most of the aviators were unfamiliar with how to approach this ship, much less land on it, this situation created huge problems. As a result, the solution was simple, get our guys deck qualified for future operations. Since that pivotal moment, we learned, and it paid dividends later in my career and for the entire services as a whole. Then we get to how special operations came under one roof, with the Joint Special Operations Command, which would be a basis for an entire series of books, and well outside a posting here. Needless to say, working with other services is our acknowledgment that we all have a skill set to bring to the table, and while not to perfection yet, we are at least closer than ever before. ~ Michael S. Pauley