Halloween and military tactics


I don’t think anyone will doubt that when it comes to the American military, no one is better at tactics and strategy. No one.

And I never really knew why until tonight, when it hit me in a blinding flash like John Travolta got in the movie “Phenomenon.” I suddenly knew all the answers.

It is Halloween.

Halloween is an American custom (I think), and in our young lives we learn lessons we will use later in life…although we don’t know it at the time.

Tonight I went Trick-or-Treating with my daughter, for the first time in probably forty years. For once I was on the other side of the door, and it was great. Plus the loot was fantastic. We got lots of name brand candy – most of it of a much better quality than the stuff we used to get as a kid. But I digress.

As we walked the darkening streets, all the old strategies came back to me. (Look for a street with lots of houses side by side – in today’s vernacular we call that a “target rich environment.”) Use intelligence wisely. (Skip the houses where the porch light is turned off, watch the other kids to see if they were smiling or not as they left a home, etc.). Map out a course of action to maximize efficiency. And finally, there is no substitute for getting boots on the ground if you want to score a good haul of candy.

The kids I “treated” with all grew up and some of them went into the military. Their tactics and strategies were second to none, invariably using techniques they probably figured they were born with. Maybe they weren’t. Maybe they learned them long ago in the chilly air of late October, dressed like aliens or princesses or cowboys.

Tonight I saw it all so clearly. Our little squad of treaters hit the neighborhood with brutal efficiency, raking in the sweets and leaving as quickly as we appeared. The residents of the target block never knew what hit them. When we returned to base (our friend’s house) we conducted a quick battle damage assessment, meaning we counted the candy.

Next year we will make adjustments based on our lessons learned. But tonight? Tonight we eat.

And as my blood sugar races to dangerous levels this evening, I will sleep well knowing I did my part in grooming a new generation of future military leaders.

Victory is sweet.


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