How Not to Build Morale
Before going on patrol one morning we received worrying intel during our operations briefing. One of the enemy positions in Gaza opposite our mission was now armed with Kornet missiles. The Kornet is a sophisticated and modern Russian anti tank missile whose warhead can turn an Abrams tank into a pile of mush; let alone the armoured Humvee we were going to be patrolling in that morning. We would be passing through its crosshairs in a couple of hours.
One of my soldiers helpfully suggested: if we know its there, lets take it out. We have the capabilities, why wait for them to blow us sky high?
A very high ranking officer who happened to be present in the briefing reassured that they wouldn’t waste a missile like that on a Humvee.
I was not convinced. “What if they do Sir?” I asked. The answer I received is etched into my memory. “
You and your men have nothing to worry about sergeant. If they shoot you, our response will be strong, it will be devastating and it will be decisive.”
“How will that help me? I’ll already be dead.” I was wise enough not to voice that last part out loud. By that point I should have known better than expecting logic in the military.
You don't serve in a combat unit and come out the same way. It has an effect.