Not my father’s military…

| August 21, 2006

But I’m sure my dad would have liked some of this gear back in WWII or even during Vietnam. It’s my son’s military, now. This article by Nate Anderson over at Ars Technica shows just what R&R techno-gear our military folks over in Iraq and Afghanistan can get hold of:

One of Mikhail Woltering’s strangest experiences in Iraq came when he helped a US unit fix a problem with their satellite TV hookup. One of the soldiers in the unit had hauled an amazing array of electronic gear into the desert with him: expensive computer, turntables, speakers. He had converted one corner of his 10-man tent into a complete DJ studio and worked late into the night, remixing samples and patching together his own beats. And then, one night, he made a mistake—he accidentally unplugged his headphones.

The homemade beats blasted out of his speakers instead. Woltering remembers that the noise “woke everyone up in the tent. They all hit the deck, donning their body armor, thinking they were under attack. That guy got a talking to about that particular incident.”

I’m heartened by this, also:

Personal video cameras and digicams have allowed the world to see both music videos and prisoner abuse. That might lead outside observers to suspect that the military would like nothing better than to limit the use of these sorts of devices. DiePilot notes that in his experience, however, that simply isn’t true.

“Most commanders tend to take the attitude that they’d like their soldiers to refrain from doing things which they would be afraid or ashamed to have filmed in the first place. Said one colonel at a preconvoy brief, ‘Do nothing that you would be ashamed to have your mother learn up.’ That’s a little simplistic, I suppose, but it’s also not a bad metric.”

In fact, the military has proved generally open to cameras so long as they don’t violate requirements regarding operational security. They even allowed three soldiers to shoot the footage that became the feature-length documentary The War Tapes, a new film that chronicles life in the military through the eyes of the soldiers on the ground.

So, I wonder if this means that Jon’s going to be hitting me up for stuff when he graduates from MCRD bootcamp next week. 🙂

Read the whole thing. Hat tip to Slashdot.

And while you’re at it, head over to Pat Dollard’s web site to make a contribution to help get “Young Americans” through production and into release. (Yep, I’ve donated — twice, as a matter of fact.) And don’t forget to watch the clips (warning: audio track NSFW). ..bruce..

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Category: Information Technology, Main, Military

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

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