Wear Your Helmet, Clean Your Rifle

By | April 12, 2022

[April 12, 2022]  Be like the Boy Scouts and be prepared for those predictable, commonplace problems.  Life occasionally, yet predictably, throws us a curveball and surprises us.  My advice is to wear your helmet and clean your rifle.  If you are ready, you will come out stronger than before.

By the time I joined the U.S. Army as a young man, I was ready to be a Soldier (or at least I thought).  The Drill Sergeants taught us newbie recruits to clean and maintain our M16 rifles and other essential skills.  To them, this was the most important thing to know, along with how to use the rifle.

“By failing to be prepared, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

They also trained us to use proper fieldcraft; to correctly wear our helmets (there is a wrong way), proper camouflage, what to take along in your rucksack (extra ammo, a poncho, a spare pair of socks, a t-shirt, toiletries, and duct tape) – nothing else.  Our drill sergeants were combat veterans from the Vietnam War, and they had the experience and knowledge.  They survived the war and wanted to ensure we did not make the same deadly mistakes so many of them and their friends had made in combat.  Their soldier lessons were learned the hard way.  They were prepared.  I wanted to be just like them; rough, ready, and deadly.

Americans value strength.  We love a winner and respect those who possess the well-honed skills to win.  Americans love sports because these values are at play.  We are emotionally vested in our sports teams and love the game from our hearts more than from our heads.  Likewise, in politics and international affairs, we like a good competition with clear rules … and we love a winner and hate cheaters.

Preparing yourself for the future is showing responsibility.  Doing so makes us stronger and more resilient.  As a personal trait, physical and emotional strength attract others because they can see the value in being around strong people.  Some argue this is an innate need.  I think it’s a practical survival skill.


Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).


Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

23 thoughts on “Wear Your Helmet, Clean Your Rifle

  1. Roger Yellowmule

    Really great article, thanks Gen. Satterfield. Yes, we do need to be prepared and the average American is not. Pure and simple, he is unprepared to any emergency.

  2. Wild Bill

    Wear Your Helmet, Clean Your Rifle
    Love the title. Recommended change.
    Wear Your Helmet, Clean Your Rifle, and carry a heavy Rucksack

  3. American Girl

    America is a strong nation that does value strength. Gen. Satterfield is right and the way to be strong and remain strong is to always be prepared. Prepared for the kind of problems we can all predict and be ready to take on the unpredictable. Go USA. Go USA.

      1. Tracey Brockman

        Interesting trend in voting is that nearly everyone in America is rejecting the liberal Democrat party because they can see past the new media propaganda (good for us) and can see that the horrible Democrat/Joe Biden White House policies are wrecking havoc on our families thru inflation, high crime, disrespect for the working man and woman, denigration of the family, trashing educational standards, teaching racism (CRT crap), practicing racism, and grooming kids as young as 5 years old to be transgender. Now we see what the “experts” in education have brought us along with their minions in the Democrat Party.

  4. Chuck USA

    Pow, got it …….
    “:My advice is to wear your helmet and clean your rifle. If you are ready, you will come out stronger than before.”

  5. DocJeff

    A bit off this topic, in a way, but I recommend reading of Institute for the Study of War (ISW) daily articles on the Ukraine War. Here is the latest and interesting development. “US intelligence reported over the weekend of April 9-10 that Russian Army General Aleksandr Vladimirovich Dvornikov, commander of the Southern Military District, is now in overall command of Russian operations in Ukraine. “

    1. Mikka Solarno

      For those following the war closely, I understand this is no surprise. ✔

  6. Randy Goodman

    Excellent article Gen. Satterfield. I see too many young folks today who are simply so gullible that you can tell them just about anything and they will believe it (as long as it fits their simple ideology). Yep, Marxism sells. And it sells easily to those with weak minds.

  7. Winston

    “[P]hysical and emotional strength attract others because they can see the value in being around strong people. ” I see the West heading in a different direction. More and more of us see “strength” as a white patriarchical pathology. And, that is not good for any of us.

    1. Max Foster

      Many of us thought that when the Millenials and X-Generation hit adulthood and got out into the ‘real’ world, they would change but no, they have kept their weak beliefs and did so for many reasons. One reason is that big corporations and politicains are playing off the younger generation weaknesses (it sells and gets votes) because it is easy to pander to them, pat them on the head, and send them off to do something worthless (that you say is valuable – like marching in the streets). Yep, the young gens got fooled and I’m laughing about it all the way.

      1. Watson Bell

        Yeah, and they keep on doing the same thing, hoping to change the outcome. Yeah, that’s going to work….. /sarc

      2. Nick Lighthouse

        I’m not laughing about it because they are the future and when the weak are in control, only evil strong men will wrest control from them. Then we are headed to hell.

  8. Cat A Miss

    Great articles over the past few days. Ah, yes, all are good but these are great. 😊

  9. Greg Heyman

    “Americans value strength.” I think this might be changing. When the world is at peace and times are “good”, folks get weaker.

    1. Veronica Stillman

      Bad times produce strong men. Strong men produce good times. Weak men produce bad times.

  10. H. M. Longstreet

    Be like the Boy Scouts and ‘be prepared.’ This is an old lesson from the ancient days of mankind. Our ancestors took a lot of time and effort to say this a hundred ways in thier stories and writings. Such things should not go unnoticed, nor should we think they are old fashioned and out of date just because they are old.

    1. Rev. Michael Cain

      You will find much good commentary on this idea but you will also find many of the younger generation – so many of them snowflakes that are triggered by reality – hiding from what would make them strong. They no longer value strength but victimhood.

      1. Army Captain

        Pray for them as “victims” of their own doing. When you purposefully chose to make yourself weaker and more vulnerable, you set yourself up for failure or to conquer.

      2. José Luis Rodriguez

        When you are a victim, you are not in control. You have abdicated responsibility. The easiest way to live; miserably but easy.

        1. Dead Pool Guy

          Yeah, yet the snowflakes cannot see what is right before their eyes.

  11. Shawn C. Stolarz

    Wow, nice! BE PREPARED. That is the message and I read it loud and clear.


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