Why brave and why not?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by Gombear, Jul 31, 2009.

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  1. In one of the current threads on RR, the word coward has been used a number of times.

    I wonder what makes a person brave and what makes a person a coward?

    Sometimes, it has been said, a serviceman acts bravely because they are afraid of showing fear or afraid of letting their comrades down. That fear, it would seem, is greater than the fear for their own safety. So, does that mean they are brave because they are afraid??

    IMHO I think one of the key factors is often self esteem. A person with high self esteem will feel that they themselves are worth fighting for and will be more confident and less fearful. On the other hand, someone with low self esteem may suffer anxiety and subconsciously feel unable to fight. In the words of the song “Innocent Man†by Billy Joel, “Some people run from a fight because they think they can never winâ€.

    I am sure there must be other reasons for bravery or cowardice; I just think it is interesting as to what sways an individual one way or the other.

    Having not been tested myself, I would be loath to call anyone a coward.
    However, I am a hero of the Cod War, so you can thank me for the price of fish! :lol:
  2. Hei there Gombear,I was also up there in the cod war,i was on the Leopard and we were there in 75 winter 76,
  3. Hi NC, I was there on the Apollo in 73. We were in collision with the Aegir, which caused, as far as I know, the only fatality of the Cod War; one of their guys.
  4. Was also very brave during the cod war, Galatea and then Leander, we hit the Thor Ver and another one that just about took our bow off.

    Bravery is the overcoming of fear, if you're not scared..you can't be brave.
    Divers tend not to get bravery awards...cos we are too thick to know when things are dangerous...much like little puppies running up to Rottweillers
  5. I think that you will find many who have carried out acts of bravery were extremely scared at the time.
    Bravery is where you put doing something for others above your own safety and self preservation.
  6. Always had great respect for divers. :)

    Back on topic though, "if you're not scared..you can't be brave" is an interesting point. Also, perhaps if someone is "thick" they may not appreciate the danger they are in.
  7. FlagWagger

    FlagWagger Book Reviewer

    I recently saw a t-shirt slogan that summed-up bravery: "Bravery: being scared, but doing the job anyway"

    Like others I was never tested in action (since I was a Reservist, obviously the other side took the weekends off!) however, I can remember a fire situation at sea in which I was directly involved. The over-riding memory of the incident is that my training took over and I was quickly at the scene of fire wearing anti-flash, BASCCA, etc without thinking about what I was about to do - the thinking came afterwards and that's when the real stress started!

    I believe that intensive and realistic training could be the key to bravery in action - well trained soldiers do what they're meant to do based on instinctive reactions learned during training; the problem is that training does not teach people how to cope with the cumulative stress of being threatened on a daily basis, hence the psychological problems that are now materialising. Does this make someone a coward?
  8. I don't think anyone who can't cope with the cumulative stress of being threatened on a daily basis can be called a coward. After all, I guess everybody has their limits as far as stress is concerned. I believe people with high self-esteem/self-belief, will cope better in those situations.
  9. I like Slim's point above, that seems a fair assessment to me.

    Goombear not sure the too thick to get it washes mate, I have never met anyone too thick to realize they could die getting shot at.

    I think I would have to say cowardice is when you know what you should be doing, have the tools to do what is necessary, see your mates doing their part and you make a conscious decision not to do your part. At that point you in my opinion, become a coward.

    Again my skin and essence self has never been personally shot at, was involved in the fire onboard HMS Plymouth alongside in Portland back in 85 and was dressed for the next 4 man team to go in, yes I was scared but also excited to get to do something I had been trained to do, lucky for me Fire engine Fred turned up before I had to go in, so I guess I'll never know how I would have done.
  10. Good comments on this difficult subject. for what it is worth, I have 2 tours in Vietnam (reconnaissance units-long range patrolling) and several lesser combats in my 34 years' service, mainly in our version of "special forces." As a result, it was my honor to serve with many I considered to be "brave." To a man, each of those warriors would not have characterized himself as being "brave" but rather would humbly attribute any acts that resulted in citations for heroism to his training and the men around him. Beware of those who place themselves heroically in the middle of war and sea stories--odds are that they never had a bullet fired at them in anger.

    My personal perspective looking back on various encounters where my life was in peril and I did not have the luxury to stay under cover and "take the next bus" I definitely do not recall any feelings of bravery. In fact, I do not recall ever really even considering my relative bravery or cowardice in those terms.

    Instead my recollections are much like watching a movie of oneself in strange circumstances, usually acting in a sort of slow motion and deliberate fashion directing Marines here and there, calling for supporting fires or medevacs, applying a dressing to the stump of an amputated limb, reading a map and compass (no GPS in those days) to figure out where in the hell we were as an F-4 was rolling in with danger close ordnance etc. The point is that my responsibilities as a leader, training and previous experiences combined to cause me to perform my duties very nearly subconsciously 99% of the time. There were a few times I can recall making a conscious decision to do something (moving from a place of safety to one less safe (understatement) where I had a very fleeting notion of having made a very bad decision) but those moments were very quickly immersed again in the subconscious functioning I described above. In terms of what I consider to be true heroism, as distinguished from doing one's duty and job, I have personally witnessed such phenomena and am still in awe of it.

    One such occasion involved a young 19 year old Marine as one of a small team of Marines in a tight defensive circle (we were deployed in 2 such circles on the top of a hill and I was about 20 meters away and could clearly observe the incident) holding off the hordes of bad guys when a grenade lands in their midst, several see it sputtering away, a moment becomes an eternity as they each mentally process the situation and then he very consciously (not merely a reaction) alerts the others and rolls over onto the grenade absorbing the blast with his body. That is heroism. I merely did my job.

    Hope this helps.
  11. I have just finished reading a very interesting book called Sniper One, by Sgt Dan Mills of Y Coy 1st Battalion PWRR, in my opinion a very brave man along with all the lads who were in Al Amarah Iraq during Telic 4.

    There is a part in the book that covers a Sgt who evidently was a great NCO but when he was put into a combat situation couldn't hack it, the book covers this very well, the bloke wasn't belittled nor ridiculed, he was offered help and support from his Platoon, other SNCO's and Officers but was not able to function in a combat environment. This bloke was transferred out of area and put his notice in straight away knowing he didn't have the qualities of a fighting soldier. Was he a coward? In my mind no, he had spent his adult life training for that moment but come the day of putting it all into place found that it wasn't something he could do, no stigma, no repercussions just an acceptance of fact.

    Now the case going through Courts Martial right now is a completely different bucket of gash, that guy is a Coward (In my personal opinion), who has decided to desert and now use some bollocks excuse to put over a political point of view.

    Anyway I fully recommend the book Sniper One to anyone who wants to read a first hand account of what the lads went through in a "Peacekeeping" mission Well done to all who took part.
  12. Sniper One is a good book and the NCO is no coward in my view. Combat is not for everyone and he handled in a responsible way without endangering anyone--that is the key.
  13. I was reading a book the title was called Call to Fire and it was was written by a Type 21 Captain during the Falklands War, just after the conflict a young AB knocked on his door and asked for a chat he accussed himself of being a coward because he was terrified, thinking of his family he would never see again and frequently cried .The Captain paused and replied then if you where terrified, and if you where missing your family you where certainly not a coward but a very brave man because you kept going when the odds where against you,then he picked up a glass and a bottle of whisky and left it on the table and departed the young AB suddenly realised he was no different to every one else on that 21

    War does ask the ultimate of a person, there competence,courage and there character, war is frightening

    war on a Warship is extremely frightening,extremely emotive,any one who is scared and ive not met any one who has not been is lieing

    Just my little insight of my own experience ,i was on that 21
  14. Well said.
  15. I have not been in combat, however I was on the Battleaxe in GW1, or should I say in the lead up to GW1, we went to action stations on a number of occasions when Aircraft got a little too close and when mapping the locations of coastal batteries, what I remember of those occasions is the Adrenalin kicking and training I received directing my actions, it was not until after the little excitement was over that I thought about what could have happened. When it kicked off as a shooting war the Battleaxe was back in Guzz, and we were ashore, (I cannot remember which pub we were in) but when the news broke, every jack in the bar stood up and headed back to the ship, we not only expected sailing orders to head back out, we were ready to go and do what we were paid and had volunteered for.

    Published Date: 07 August 2009
    Two Royal Marines, including one from Sunderland, fatally wounded in a rooftop gunfight while giving covering fire to their comrades have been praised by a coroner today for their "huge bravery".
    Marines Tony Evans, 20, and Georgie Sparks, 19, of J Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, were trying to take a suspected weapons factory when they engaged more than 40 Taliban last November.

    >> Tributes to Tony Evans

    The pair were part of an intelligence mission to capture the store to the north-west of Lashkar Gah, dubbed "Compound Crunchie", and to uncover makeshift explosives and arms stashes.

    To repel the attack, Marine Evans, and Marine Sparks, a sniper from Epping, Essex, got on to a roof with two comrades to cover embattled 11 platoon on the ground.

    But during the onslaught a rocket-propelled grenade struck the corner of the building and split the "selfless" pair apart, throwing Marine Evans to the ground.

    Swindon and Wiltshire Coroner David Ridley recorded a verdict of unlawful killing after hearing that the mens' killers would be charged with murder if ever caught.

    Paying tribute to the dead men and their colleagues, he said: "What amazes me in doing these inquests is the bravery. The covering fire they were giving was effective, which made them a target.

    "That has to involve a huge amount of bravery, and that includes his colleagues who gave as much assistance as they could to Tony and Georgie once they were injured. I want to recognise that."

    He added: "This was an area of high enemy forces activity. In relation to those patrols, 90% of the time they would engage enemy forces."

    After Marine Evans' death last year his parents, Tony Evans and Julia Churchill, said in a statement: "Tony was the type of person who would do anything to help his friends and family, and was well respected by all. The Royal Marines was his life since the age of 13 when he became a Royal Marines cadet. We, his family, are very proud of what he achieved and will miss him dearly."
  17. :twisted: Never really tested in the Andrew apart from a couple of typhoons in the South China Sea. Tested quite a few times in the Prison Service. The training kicked,in plus no time to think, and I came through and got the praise. It's like boxing after you've caught the first one and didn't go down the rest is easy. : :evil:
  18. Can you give a better URL? Have done a search for HMS Glasgow but to no avail. Cheers.
  19. A poem from WW1

    Here dead we lie
    Because we did not choose
    To shame the land from whence we came.
    Life to be sure is nothing much to lose,
    But young men think it so,
    And we were young!

    Somehow sums it up pretty well

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