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Posted By: Ted Wagner on: 06/18/2002 07:25:37 CDT|
Subject: RE: Recognizing Competence
Not much time, I've got to get back in the car and go out of town...So, I'll answer one question you have.
I have experience both from the artillery end and as a sharpshooter. I know I've been chided on using this comparison, but I still don't see any differences...at least operationally.
As a sharpshooter, you have similar problems whether you show up unannounced or invited. How will an event commander use you? Most not only don't know how, they don't even understand the simple concept of "skirmishing" with their own unit.
Same applies to the signal (most of the time). Most event organizers believe in their hearts that the good old HT (walkie talkie) will suffice for communications. You'll never change their minds withing demonstrating your abilities ... and here is the key... demonistrating your abilities WITH them.
Same goes for folks who have no clue or no idea on how to use the signal corps.
My advice is this. First off, don't show up uninvited unless it cannot be helped. This isn't as crucial as in the artillery. There's nothing more for an event organizer or commander to worry about than a device that fires off 1/2 to 1 pound of powder at a time...especially for safety. If you want to be "used" in the event, it's probably best to pre-register.
My second bit of advice comes from the midwest and how the politics of reenacting works here. Get to know some of the political yeahoos who run events and also command different brigades, etc. Many times, those folks are the event commanders in the field. Offer to do demonstrations...and USE them in the demonstration. Ask them for a short message to transmit.
Here's the key. Yes, speaking into an electronic doo-dad is faster. However, MUST it be used for the actual reenactment for reasons OTHER than safety??? If we're going to reenact, let's use the communication of the time.
Suggestion. If the artillery or if there is calvary present need to act on a que of some sort, what better way to do that than by flag? This is a good way to introduce your effectiveness in an event. Why do I say this? Well, if a cue is important, timing is important. If you are told to send a quick msg out to a station to cue them to the field you are helping the success of the event.
Also, these event organizers who have the little handie talkies are out there doing other things. One good thing in your favor is this...why must they worry about the action on the field??? Let the signal flags take care of field communications.
Also, if you get to know the officers who generally run things, offer to do small events with them...offer to come to their drill weekends....etc. Any SMALL opportunity to stick your foot in the door, take it and demonstrate your effectiveness...not only let them see it but let them use it.
A good example I use of this is me at work. I used to be quite stubborn about buying the little PDA devices as I never saw much use for them. So, the decision was made ABOVE me that I would get one to use. Once I started using it, I can't do without it. It never leaves my side unless I'm going on vacation.
I differ on one thing. When it comes to safety, I'm sorry, but I whole-heartedly believe if the event organizers want to depend on walkie talkies, let them. The DISADVANTAGE is at large events where those little FRS radios might have reception problems. THAT'S where having the signal flags is important.
ALL YOU NEED is to send MM. That should be enough, and be sufficiently fast enough, to alert someone to send someone's butt over to you immediately to find out what's wrong.
MM is the stutter code for Medical Emergency. It should be reserved and not used for anything but that...a medical emergency.
Well, gotta run. I have a bum foot and will take me a while to get to the vehicle in the parking lot or I'd write some more. Hope this helps shed some light on that.
I truly and honestly think it's critical you develop a relationship at the command level so you are accepted without question by SOMEONE somewhere...may not be everyone, but you have to start somewhere. This make take a year or two, but should get you going.