“What angers these young men and women – and me – greatly, is the belief held by some that recruits only join the Army because they are too thick to do anything else”
Published: 27 Sep 2009
The death toll in Afghanistan has reached 217 and the funerals have become ever more poignant – but the bestselling SAS author Andy McNab says Army recruits do not want our pity.
“I have just returned from giving a talk on the benefits of Army education to new recruits at the Army Training Centre at Pirbright, Surrey. A red-brick facility with its own parade ground, it delivers the 14-week training course undertaken by all adult recruits when they first join the Army.
On completion of the Common Military Syllabus, these Soldiers Under Training (SUTs) go on to learn their chosen trade, which covers a host of military professions ranging from anti-aircraft radar operator and artillery gunner to Army musician. Pirbright trains more than 4,000 men and women a year, and as such is a good melting pot for almost every kind of soldier.
But chatting to the SUTs at Pirbright that afternoon, one thing became very clear: there is a lot of anger in the air. It has nothing to do with Army pay, conditions, or even the war in Afghanistan; rather, their anger stems from the way they feel they are perceived by “pencilnecks”, one of the nicer terms the Army uses to describe civilians.
I hear the same complaint time and time again when I talk with soldiers. What angers these young men and women – and me – greatly, is the belief held by some that recruits only join the Army because they are too thick to do anything else; that soldiers are somehow little lost souls to be pitied; the dregs of society too hopeless to help themselves.
Certainly, there is plenty of evidence to back up their anger. At last year’s National Union of Teachers’ annual conference, for instance, troops were described as “cannon-fodder for the profits of oil companies”, the implication being that soldiers are led like sheep to the slaughter, rather than soldiering being the profession they have chosen for themselves.
Plaid Cymru has called for a ban on Army recruitment in schools. They claim the Army is unfairly targeting schools in the poorest areas of Wales. Again, this furthers the view that new recruits chose the Army only because they have no choice but to sign up.
Judging by those I spoke to at Pirbright, nothing could be further from the truth. Scott Probert, a 21-year-old SUT from Wolverhampton, is joining the Adjutant General’s Corps and certainly doesn’t believe he and his mates are simply being sent out to Afghanistan as cannon fodder.”
On SunTalk last week Stephen Minter, the father-in-law of fallen hero, Paul McAleese, explains the letter he wrote to Gordon Brown blaming the PM for his son-in-law’s death in Afghanistan, and Jon Gaunty hears from Britain’s original SAS hero Andy McNab and Political Editor George Pascoe-Watson, as they lash out at the state of the military.
You can of course listen to the whole show, which is very interesting. But if you’re short in time and only want to hear Andy’s part, start the show at 1.03.29 hr. Yes, exactly there. We care for detail.
Dropzone Book 1 will be published in February and it’s another teen book. But as the Boy Soldier series was a good read for adults, I’m assuming this will be too.
Ethan Blake is seventeen and desperate to escape from his dead-end life. When he sees someone B.A.S.E. jump from the top of his block of flats, it changes the way he sees the world for ever.
Soon, Ethan is caught up in the adrenaline-fuelled world of skydiving. He’s a natural, so it’s no surprise when he’s invited to join an elite skydive team, but is he signing up for more than just jumping out of planes?
The team’s involved in covert military operations – missions that require a special kind of guts, missions so secret even MI5 denies all knowledge.
September 8, 2009 by BNP News
BNP Leader Announces Fundraising Effort for Ex-Soldiers
The British National Party will soon be launching an online auction of two autographed books by well-known military author Andy McNab to raise funds for the organisation “Help for Heroes.”
This announcement was made last weekend by BNP leader Nick Griffin MEP, who was speaking at a South Shropshire BNP fundraising dinner. “It is a disgrace that there are so many ex-servicemen who are homeless,” Mr Griffin told the packed establishment. “The present government is quite happy to use these young people in their illegal and immoral wars but when they are done, these same young men are cast aside,” he said. (…)
The BNP leader then produced two large hardcover books: Brute Force and Seven Troop, written by well-known author Andy McNab. Both books had been signed by Mr McNab and were specifically endorsed for the organisation Help for Heroes. “These books will shortly be auctioned online by the BNP and all the funds raised will go to Help for Heroes,” Mr Griffin said to great applause.
Andy McNab goes after the BNP
Andy McNab has told the BNP, “give me my books back”.
The ultimatum comes after Nick Griffin announced that signed copies of Brute Force and Seven Troop would be auctioned to raise money for Help for Heroes.
McNab – ex-SAS hardman, Gulf War veteran and best-selling author – told Nothing British,
“When someone called me to say that the BNP was using one of my books in a publicity stunt, I was sick to the stomach.
“I served with men of all colours and from many nationalities. They were all equal to me. That’s what the army teaches you.
“Nick Griffin thinks differently. He thinks the British Army should be for whites-only. He thinks heroes like Johnson Beharry, our only living VC, should be sent back to Grenada.
“He doesn’t understand that what makes the British Army great, and what makes this country great.
“It’s the way we draw together people from all around the world and give them ideals worth believing in: tolerance, fairness, decency, looking out for the little guy.
“It’s the British way of doing things
“That’s why I’ve asked for my books back. Because I don’t want anything to help the BNP promote their poisonous politics of segregation and hatred.”