Response to "letter from a soldier"


I send you this mine on the wave of emotion, after reading the "letter of a soldier" on the wedding in Lebanon. I am sure that the words of the author of the letter were written with the heart of a soldier who, with no small sacrifice, wears his uniform every morning and devotes all his strength to his work. And, even for me, the event sparked mixed reactions.

Examining the words of the author, he probably lived his experience in the Armed Force since the end of the 90s and was able to observe the evolution of the Institution from Army of draft, to Army of professionals. The Army has affirmed and confirmed its presence in the most important crisis scenarios, gaining respect from the allied countries and unfortunately paying a bloody tribute.

The Army grows, changes, adapts to the times. Sometimes too slowly, sometimes, luckily, faster. We went from VCC to Freccia, from VM to Lince. From Fal to ARX160. From the 70s helmet to the Kevlar skeletons. Like technological progress, it necessarily follows social progress.

In 2020 we witness gay weddings, moms in uniform who accompany their children to the barracks kindergarten and go for the flag-raising and, finally, a wedding celebrated by the Ambassador of Italy in Beirut, in the presence of General Del Col.

The soldier stresses that, in a situation like the present one, in the midst of the Covid-19 emergency, it would have been better to "avoid". Maybe. From the UNIFIL commander, up to the spouses, passing through the ITALBATT commander, the opposite was considered.

Speaking purely by "supposition", around the month of April, the Transfer of Authority of the contingents takes place at ITALBATT. It could be "assumed" that the Covid emergency has delayed the preparation of contingents and, consequently, the TOAs. So we could "assume" that these guys had planned their wedding at the end of the mission and, after having probably also requested the authorization for the foreign license for the honeymoon, they had to postpone the TOA, the end of the mission and same marriage. In a 2020 Army, where the sentimental situations (sentimental, not the emotion of the moment during a 6-month mission) of the soldiers, are known to the commanders, this situation was probably pointed out to the Command Line, which made a decision. The licenses blocked and to be spent in Lebanon, the slipped TOAs, the psychological condition of the soldiers who spend more time in Operation than recommended, are variables to be taken into consideration, as well as the presence on the territory, the efficiency of the patrols and the safety of the mission. And the commanders are aware of it, and make decisions.

The Army grows, changes. Soldiers are smarter, all schooled, but more fragile. A soldier's downtime expectations have gone from one year to 40 years. In forty years people grow up, get married, divorce, have children, go through crises and, all of this, guaranteeing an armed service that must be impeccable. This led to sad events in which uniformed staff committed suicide. The pressures that a soldier undergoes are many and different, not only "Charlie" who comes out of the forest or the Taliban behind the dune or the suicide bomber. The threats facing a soldier are many, often too many. One could "assume" that this was considered in the decision-making process and that all commanders on the command line weighed each variable and came to the conclusion that it was right.

The presence on the ground is important, the preparation of the staff is fundamental, but also their well-being. General Del Col, we can assume that he has considered it, and has come to the conclusion of getting those two boys to marry in Lebanon and that the honeymoon will do so at the end of the emergency. As for politics, for the formation of the team of the heart, for the Covid emergency itself, in Italy, always and in any case doubting who is in charge of making the decision, is a malice that highlights a arrogance and a lack of trust in their commanders which is nothing short of "inappropriate".

To conclude if, in front of a pizza with civilian friends, I am unable to make my friends understand what the Army has been doing for 159 years now against the payment of the Operation allowance, or I, or my friends, we are in the wrong room.

Fabio Gagliardi