Re: Consequences of inadequate docs/training

Subject: Re: Consequences of inadequate docs/training
From: Tom Murrell <trmurrell -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 11:51:46 -0800 (PST)

--- Simon North <Simon -dot- North -at- synopsys -dot- com> wrote:
> The main reason is simply that for its operation to be guaranteed it must be
> clean and cleaning needs to become a completely ingrained habit, almost a
> reflex.

Won't dispute that. I think that both of our answers contain at least part of
the truth.

> In 10 years of airborne service I don't think I ever saw a
> manual for a sidearm or a
> rifle; come to think of it, I think the first manual I ever saw was for a 109
> mm howitzer after being
> commissioned. During 6 years service as an avionics technician I more or less
> cohabited with the
> documentation, but the automatic flight control system of an anti-tank
> helicopter is a little more
> complex than a 9 mm Browning ...

I can't say I saw a manual for any weapon I used. With the exception of the
M-16, all of my weapons training was OJT as it were. There are times when
training is better than documentation.

We did have manuals to study for my radio gear. Then, as with the weapons, I
was sent to a combat zone to work on radio equipment I hadn't been trained on.
Fortunately, it was well-designed and a little OJT was all I needed to be
proficient in its use.

> Well, actually they often do. Most aircraft have an onboard tech library (on
> a C-130 it's on the left just
> behind the cockpit). Our forward repair units always used to bring a tech
> library into the field with
> them. It's been said that a USN frigate would sit several
> inches higher in the water if the documentation were removed.

It's certainly true that your mileage will vary, not only between country's
militaries but also between branches of service. Again, I'm using my
(outdated?) experience. No manuals. I know that aircraft have some, but not
all. Certainly the combat aircraft I knew didn't have a lot of documents on
them at all. Mostly maps and stuff needed for current operations only. But I
know that other types of aircraft, even in the U.S. Air Force do things

> Maybe American forces do things differently from Europe? (I remember being
> appalled at how the US
> was experimenting with producing vehicle repair manuals in comic strip form
> some years ago ... ;-) ).

Heard about the cartoons but never saw them. No doubt--for good or ill--U.S.
forces train differently from European forces. Each NATO country has its own
standards and training regimens, and I won't enter into the argument about who
is better than whom.

What sometimes gives me pause is the thought that we've made some things so
technical that all we've done is increase the complexity of fighting without
improving the effectiveness. A weapon that is complex and wonderful(!) is also
one that can break down at a most inopportune time. You hate it when that
happens. The KISS principle is nowhere more important than in military
equipment, but procurement and rear-echelon types don't seem to know that.

That's why I think design is the most important with training next and
documentation last. When all else fails, read the manual (if you can).

Just my 2 cents.

Tom Murrell
mailto:tmurrell -at- columbus -dot- rr -dot- com
Personal Web Page -
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Re: Consequences of inadequate docs/training: From: Simon North

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