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Preparing for the Three-Block War - Crimey I'm a snake hunter!

Gunner

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http://www.canada.com/components/printstory/printstory4.aspx?id=94895636-6c8c-4c8b-a97e-c4845b985031

Not sure if most of you know BGen Beare, Comd LFWA, and future Comd LFDTS (later in Jul).   He is a very skilled officer, a intelligent, articulate and charismatic leader.   I think he will go very far and I suspect he will be CLS one day.   The following article was carried in the Edmonton Journal and provides an overview of the state of army.   Well worth the read and where we are going.   Particularly note the importance of Wainwright as the premiere training establishment for the Army.

Preparing for the Three-Block War
'Yesterday, we focused on the Bear. Today we pursue the Snakes. Yesterday, we prepared to fight in the open. Today, we know our battles will be where
people and populations live.'

Brig.-Gen. Stuart Beare
Freelance

Monday, June 13, 2005
In the summer of 1978, a 17-year-old started a journey of military service -- not really concerned about where that journey would take him, nor how events would shape the institution he would grow to love. Looking back on the years that have passed, I have to admit that little has transpired as I predicted. Which brings me to today, a time where change and unpredictability have become the standard, and where Canada's Armed Forces are seeking to prepare for the predictable unpredictability of the future.   Before I leave Edmonton after four years of living in this great community, I would like to share with you, my neighbours, some of the experiences we in uniform have faced in recent years.   I will then paint a picture of where your army, within the Canadian Forces (CF), within Canada, and within today's world, is heading. Then, let me show you how Alberta and Albertans are playing an increasingly important role in getting us there.

OUR COLD WAR

The late 1970s and early 1980s were, from my perspective as a young officer, the height of the contest between two superpowers. The Cold War was alive and well with Canada and Western countries aligned with NATO, and the Warsaw Pact ruling Eastern Europe. Where instability did exist, middle-power nations like Canada frequently donned blue berets and supervised power-brokered peace. In 1983, Ronald Reagan was on the scene, investing mightily in modernizing the U.S. armed forces. In Germany, I watched as thousands of new tanks and armoured personnel carriers made their way into U.S. Army hands. The Warsaw Pact under Gorbachev laboured to keep pace. Canada was leading amongst peacekeeping nations with blue berets in Cyprus and the Middle East. More than 8,000 Canadian troops were stationed in Germany, ready to deter and defend against attack. The CF numbered roughly 90,000.   We in uniform expected the Cold War to last for a long time. In 1988, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney declared his intent to grow the Canadian Forces and equip it with a completely new suite of war-fighting gear. A year later, the Berlin Wall came down. In Canada, Budget 1989 pulled the plug on nearly every major equipment project of note. By 1990, the CF numbered 80,000.

THE POST-COLD WAR
"PEACE DIVIDEND"

The Cold War ended in 1992. We saw the emergence of failed-state civil war and Canada deployed 2,000 soldiers to Croatia and Bosnia.   Our Airborne Regiment went off to Somalia with 1,000 troops as part of the U.S.-led coalition there. In 1993, Canada ended its 30-year commitment in Cyprus. The West sought its peace dividend and Canada, alongside major European nations, continued radically reducing its defence spending. We withdrew our forces from Germany. The U.S. held the fort as the sole post-Cold War superpower. Rwanda made the news. In 1995, the UN mission in Bosnia was failing with massive catastrophes like the Srebrenica massacre. Sixty thousand NATO troops moved into Bosnia and the four-year civil war in the Balkans ended with barely a shot fired. Canadians joined that force and supported it with six-month troop rotations for the next 10 years. The CF strength declined again to 68,000 and Canada started turning down requests to contribute to UN missions.   In 1999, we witnessed ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. NATO planes, including fighters from Canada, bombed Serbian targets. Canada joined another NATO force with 1,000 troops in Kosovo, bringing our annual troop contribution in the Balkans up to 4,500. Missions in Haiti, East Timor, and Eritrea bracketed this time. By Sept 10, 2001, the CF's strength hovered around 59,000. We were steadily feeding the continuing commitment to Bosnia. The next day, September 11, 2001, we all witnessed a new form of terrorist attack. The instability that normally resided in far-away lands suddenly touched us at home in North America. We prepared a reaction force and by February 2002, Canada had 800 war-fighters teamed up with a U.S. brigade in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Our Edmonton-based 3 PPLCI Battle Group returned home without replacement six months later, after the much-publicized death of four of our finest to a U.S. bomb. Most recently, we experienced an operational high with nearly 6,000 soldiers deployed in Bosnia and Afghanistan between the summers of 2003 and 2004. From the 1991 Gulf War to today, our Army and the CF as a whole has been sprinting, punching routinely above its weight, and our people and our institution have tired. Now, we are reconstituting, re-forming and retraining our teams.

YESTERDAY'S BEAR, TODAY'S SNAKES

The Army that I joined in 1978 focused almost exclusively on the Cold War threat -- 'the Bear' of the Soviet Union-led Warsaw Pact. The Bear organized and equipped to fight with huge armies, navies and air forces. These forces were structured and identifiable in a way that allowed us to anticipate military-on-military combat as the most likely war-fighting scenario.   For the last 14 years our Bear-focused Army has transformed itself mission after mission to take on the real post-Cold War enemy -- the terrorists, extremists, and internal-to-state actors such as militias, criminals, and corrupt officials that have been the prevailing threats to regional and international security. These threats are like 'Snakes' in the grass; they do not organize, equip, and act in historical military fashion. Instead, they attack the unarmed and the vulnerable. Snakes will be the main threat to peace and stability around the world for some decades to come. Your army is now well down the road to structuring itself to take on the Snakes. The army that I joined expected to meet the enemy in the woods and across the open plains of western Europe. Today's Snakes live within and amongst populations. In most cases, they are indistinguishable from the "good guys" and attack international as well as local institutions and leaders with relative anonymity. We are refocusing the "where we will fight" to population centres in failed and failing states. We will strive for sustainable stability in those places where people live.   We will structure, equip, and train our teams so that they can both take on the "bad guys" and support the "good guys" concurrently.  

In the Three-Block War, we are prepared to fight the Snakes on one block, to assist police and security forces in maintaining security on another block, and to support humanitarian operations on a third block -- all with the same troops working within the same teams, and all in the same period of time. The army I joined operated uniquely and solely with other armies. Today, we are institutionalizing the "Team Canada" approach to our missions. We are integrating law enforcement, diplomatic, developmental and military operations at the lowest possible levels. The security effect we are seeking to create is one that not only supports the innocent but one that enables the development and incubation of those institutions of governance, law enforcement, commerce and security that we are lucky enough to take for granted here at home. To do this, we will continue to operate with other agencies and in multinational partnerships.   Yesterday, we were focused on the Cold War. Today, we are focused on the Three-Block War. Yesterday, we focused on the Bear. Today we recognize and pursue the Snakes. Yesterday, we prepared to fight in the open. Today, we know our battles will be where people and populations live. And they will be fought alongside our multinational and multi-agency partners.   How are we going to deliver a sustainable, relevant and responsive military force to match today, and tomorrow's needs?

DEPLOYING TROOPS AT A RATE WE CAN SUSTAIN

We in the army overstretched ourselves in the last 15 years. A former commander declared that we had, at the turn of the century, too much army for our budget but too little for the load we were bearing. Today, the army is reconstituting -- recovering from the last 15 years. From nearly 6,000 soldiers overseas in 2003 and 2004 we will be down to approximately 2,000 soldiers deploying in 2005. This decision to reconstitute was taken deliberately by government, with the purpose of establishing a sustainable rate of deployments starting 2006 -- one that will see us putting four, 1,000-soldier task forces into deployable status every year. Four task forces annually will allow us to work at a rate that our people can bear and with a quantity and quality of teams that provide our government with what is needed to meet our overseas and security needs at home. The first of these forces in 2006 will originate from units here in Edmonton, with support from other units and reserve soldiers from across Western Canada. And they are heading for Afghanistan.  

TRAINING IN WAINWRIGHT FOR THE THREE-BLOCK WAR

Starting in 2006, every task force we prepare to deploy overseas will be trained with the Western world's most modern weapons-effects simulation equipment in Camp Wainwright, Alberta. We have nearly doubled the camp's full-time military staff to approximately 700 troops. We are investing $150 million in infrastructure, positioning more than 450 fighting vehicles and command posts on the camp, and procuring a simulation system that will be worn by every soldier and installed on every vehicle. This investment of more than $500 million will allow our army to train every task force in the most arduous conditions, in the Three-Block War context, and in the face of   enemy forces and non-combatants that represent the realities of where we operate today. This Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre (CMTC), with its high-tech simulation systems, will allow our soldiers and their "Team Canada" partners to live and learn. Next April, Alberta will see the first of the four annual task forces flow through Edmonton to Wainwright where each force will spend four tough weeks "in the box." With the additional troops needed to support this training, nearly 6,000 Canadian Forces men and women will transit through Alberta. Wainwright is becoming the jewel in our Army's training crown, the final "launch pad" for our men and women before we declare them ready to take on missions abroad.

TOOLS FOR THE JOB

In my four years in Edmonton, I've met and spoken with thousands of incredibly generous and supportive citizens from every community in which our soldiers live. I've been struck by how much our fellow Canadians are dismayed by our "old kit" and how much they genuinely wish to see us given the tools for the job. Right on, I say. Our Hercules transport aircraft, our CF-18 fighter jets, and our Sea King helicopters are aging. Some of our ships are nearing retirement age. And we in the Army do still have some older combat systems like our two-ton trucks and howitzers. But another truth is how we equip to do our business overseas. And this truth is largely unknown to Canadians.

If you were to observe a Canadian soldier operating on the streets of Kabul today, you would see this. He or she is wearing a system of combat clothing that is the best of its kind in the world: the U.S. Army and Marine Corps have purchased it from us.

The weapon the soldier is carrying, the Canadian-made C7 assault rifle, is an improved version of the U.S. M-16. The Royal Netherlands Army has purchased it.

Our soldier has the latest in night-vision devices and night-targeting sights.

Our soldier's radio, the Canadian-made tactical combat communications system, was recently purchased by the British army.

And finally, the soldier's fighting vehicle, the eight-wheeled Light Armoured Vehicle has been purchased by the U.S., Australian and New Zealand armies and is seeing action in Iraq today with U.S. forces.

When we put our soldiers into the Three-Block War, we do so with the knowledge that they are going with the latest in equipment, trained, ready and well led. All this is to say that your Army has not only survived the 1990s, but it has learned and evolved from those experiences. While we were shrinking, we are now ready to grow. While our systems were aging, we are modern and modernizing. While we were largely forgotten within Canada, we have become much more familiar to our Canadian brothers and sisters. And while we used to wonder where we were heading, with new policy, funding and sustained public support we are more confident now than ever before.

My son is keen to join Canada's Army -- and I am proud to see him do so. If he is supported, as I know Canadians can support him, then he, like me, will thrive in his service to our country.  
 

Scoobie Newbie

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WATC is moving to Shilo lock stock and barrell sooner or later so that Wainwright will have one focus, one objective.
 

Gunner

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CFL said:
WATC is moving to Shilo lock stock and barrell sooner or later so that Wainwright will have one focus, one objective.

CFL, LFWA TC has split in two to reflect its added functions.  CFB/ASU Wainwright, a unit of 1 ASG will provide base services to it two principle lodger units (LFWA TC and CMTC).  LFWA TC has a satellite detachment in Shilo to provide arty training.

I suppose it is a possibility (remote) that LFWA TC will consolidate in Shilo but I haven't heard any initiiatives related to this.  LFWA/1 CMBG will be looking at Dundurn and Shilo as "more available" ranges as the focus of ASU Wx is support to CMTC and the focus of CFB Suffield is BATUS. 

Cheers, 
 

Michael Shannon

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    Be waryof Canadian generals regurgitating catchy phrases. You may of heard of "train to need", "training for the armoury floor", "just in time training", "agile forces" "the three block war" "maneuver warfare" and a load of martial sounding German Sturm und Drang. It usually covers up the sad fact that Canada, a G-7 country, can't put two battalions on limited active service without it's army coming apart at the seams. 

      Of course the handful of Canadians in Kabul have acceptable kit. It is also very expensive. The uniforms are over rated and the wrong colour. The C7 is too heavy for what it does as is TCCS. The load bearing system is a farce. The LAV is a good carrier but inferior to Bradley in many aspects. It is very expensive and has a high enough training bill that it has effectively bankrupted the infantry.

      Things are far from well in the Army. DND may not be capable, even if it gets the cash, of buying the major equipment needed for the strategic and tactical air and sea mobility the light force concept calls for. The Army is aging, generally unfit and showing little propensity for combat operations. The reserve has been effectively and completely sidelined and despite threats to Canada supposedly being a priority since 9/11 has actually been reduced in strength and combat power. PTSD is rampant and plans to further comply with Human Rights Commission rulings bode ill. JTF will probably be allowed to expand past the size that can be supported. The so called Tier 2 brigade will certainly be bigger than can be manned with quality troops. The effect of draining so many high quality troops from the mech battalions will probably be very negative.

      So I disagree with BGen Beare. Things are not well. The Army has not responded to the GWOT well. Things will probably not get better unless there is a major shift in the organizational culture of the CF. I doubt that will happen and therefore remain a sceptic and a pessimist.

     

     

 

pbi

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Be waryof Canadian generals regurgitating catchy phrases

As a rule, I would agree with this, particularly as I have experienced over 30 years of bumper sticker phrases. However, I genuinely believe that we now have in a number of cases a
calibre of general officer in the Army that we have not seen during my time. They are smarter and younger and have more current and relevant operational experience, both as COs and as general officers, in more dangerous theatres of ops, than the huge majority of their predecessors. This, I believe, counts for something.

The uniforms are over rated and the wrong colour
The arid CADPAT is the wrong colour? I wore it in Afgh and I thought it was as good or better than anything I saw including the US Army pattern. Only USMC MARPAT (amazingly similar...hmmmm..) seemed better.

C7 is too heavy for what it does

Really? I humped the FN from 1974 until it was replaced and I don't share this opinion at all. The real problem is IMHO not the weapon but the very limited amount of time we now spend on marksmanship training. I can recall in the mid-1980's spending a week on the ranges as a company. Of course, this was in an Army that really had not much of an op tempo besides Cyprus.

The LAV is a good carrier but inferior to Bradley in many aspects

Apples and oranges.

high enough training bill that it has effectively bankrupted the infantry.

I tend to agree with you here, although that is not a reflection on the vehicle nor on the desire to equip our mech inf with a modern medium weight fighter instead of a battle taxi. It is a reflection on not thinking through the impact of procurement on a small force in a changing world situation.

DND may not be capable, even if it gets the cash, of buying the major equipment needed for the strategic and tactical air and sea mobility the light force concept calls for

This might well be true, but at least we have the leadership drive and the (ostensible) govt support to try. Far better than where we have been on jointness for the past 30 years, which was nowhere IMHO.

The Army is aging, generally unfit and showing little propensity for combat operations

I agree with you on the first two. As I have commented in other threads, the "aging out" is IMHO bringing us to the dangerous state the RegF was in the late 1970's-far too old for the various ranks, especially in field units, with more senior soldiers becoming more interested in "homesteading" and "QOL" than in soldiering in distant places. The Army (not just the Cbt A but all of us who must deploy to the field) is a young person's game. Fitness is still hideously low in some organizations. As far as propsensity for combat operations-well: 3 PPCLI did a pretty good job. I guess we'll see what Kandahar brings us-it is still pretty "red" down there as opposed to Kabul which has more violent criminal activity than enemy threat.

[PTSD is rampant

It is? What do you mean by "rampant"?

plans to further comply with Human Rights Commission rulings bode ill.

What plans for what HRC rulings?

The reserve has been effectively and completely sidelined and despite threats to Canada supposedly being a priority since 9/11 has actually been reduced in strength and combat power.

What? No-the Reserve has NOT been "effectively sidelined". What are you basing these comments on?

The Army has not responded to the GWOT well.

OK-what would you have us do?

Things will probably not get better unless there is a major shift in the organizational culture of the CF. I doubt that will happen and therefore remain a sceptic and a pessimist.

Agreed that such a change is badly needed. However, if anybody is going to do it, it looks to me like it will Gen Hillier and co. Watch what happens.

Cheers.

*edited to make it more readable. RHF
 
C

c4th

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http://www.canada.com/components/printstory/printstory4.aspx?id=94895636-6c8c-4c8b-a97e-c4845b985031
Our soldier's radio, the Canadian-made tactical combat communications system, was recently purchased by the British army.

I was under the impression that the TCCCS vendor went out of business explaining why we cannot even replace a handset.  Considering the Brits had a better comms platform than TCCCS before we even got it, I really wonder if this is true.

Gunner said:

Has someone told the General that Three Block War has gone out of fashion and we are now talking about Full Spectrum Operations?  How is it that a BGen can be a freelance journalist?
 
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PBI: Excellent post with many excellent points!!

For those detractors out there - Do you even know BGen Beare and where he's coming from in this article?  Those of us who have worked directly for him know him as a straight shooter who will help Gen Hillier move the CF forward!  Have we become that disenchanted with Army life that we're automatically cynical?  I viewed Comd LFWA's article as a good read, with the target audience being the civilian population of Alberta, who have provided great support to CF personnel.

Let's give Gen Hillier and his team, which will soon include BGen Beare, a chance to do their job.

FDL  :cdn:
 

Teddy Ruxpin

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c4th said:
I was under the impression that the TCCCS vendor went out of business explaining why we cannot even replace a handset.  Considering the Brits had a better comms platform than TCCCS before we even got it, I really wonder if this is true.

Has someone told the General that Three Block War has gone out of fashion and we are now talking about Full Spectrum Operations?  How is it that a BGen can be a freelance journalist?

The British Bowman system is based on TCCCS and is built by General Dynamics Canada.  GD Canada bought out Computing Devices, the original TCCCS contractor.  I assume you have used Clansman (the old British system) and arrive at your comparison to TCCCS that way?

The by-line says "freelance" in that the General wasn't working directly for the paper when the article was written.  Given that the CDS still talks about the three block war (and that many of the concepts in BGen Beare's article were taken right from a CDS presentation), I think Commander LFWA knows what he's talking about.
 

pbi

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Has someone told the General that Three Block War has gone out of fashion and we are now talking about Full Spectrum Operations?   How is it that a BGen can be a freelance journalist

3BW has not really "gone out of fashion" because it was not really a time-limited idea. And anyway, it was never a doctrinal term, but really just a descriptive phrase coined by Gen Krulak, past Comdt USMC. That role is fulfilled by the term "Full Spectrum Operations". The thrust of the idea is to help the Army (and the CF as a whole) get out of the "fight the commie tank hordes" mode of thinking and training that has dominated us for the last couple of decades. IMHO, it is ideal for the kind of soldier that we have become well known for producing-intelligent, self-sufficient, flexible and well trained. While one may argue that in some cases we are running on fumes in our training system, there is enough op experience and corporate memory out there to restore things.

Cheers.
 

Scoobie Newbie

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"LFWA TC has a satellite detachment in Shilo to provide arty training."

Actually they train Infantry, Sigs, and Artillery that I know of.
 

Haggis

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pbi said:
No-the Reserve has NOT been "effectively sidelined".

I did six months in Bosnia recently in a very active rifle company.  If that's whats it's like to be sidelined, then I say "bring it on!".

Teddy Ruxpin said:
many of the concepts in BGen Beare's article were taken right from a CDS presentation.

Quite true.  I attended that presentation by the CDS early this year and came away with a good feeling (being a jaded ol' f**ker) that this will work if his plan doesn't get mired in obstructionist NDHQ politics.  To now hear that more than one general officer is singing the same quite aggressive, forward thinking tune is, in itself, refreshing.

What I didn't hear was how the Reserves would be expected to contribute.  Many are raring to go and would love to see some type of positive fallout on the Armoury floor. IMO there's a lot more that the the Army in general and the Reserve in particular can contribute to the game.
 

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pbi said:
However, I genuinely believe that we now have in a number of cases a calibre of general officer in the Army that we have not seen during my time.

I agree here.   Perhaps one of the "quieter" circumstances of our "transformation" has been with our Senior Officers.   We seemed to have moved along ways from the controversies of the early '90's with notable talent like "your fired" General Boyle and "stand-up guy" General Baril, among others who's behaviour served as ammunition for Scott Taylor and Tarnished Brass.

Nowadays, we see leaders at the highest level who are very focused on maintaining our operational excellence and putting out a high degree of "forward thinking" with regards to enhancing our capabilities.   I can pick names of leaders I would be glad to serve under from every level of the Senior Army ranks; Col Stogran, BGen Beare (who I met a couple times when he was my Brigade Commander - a very real, stand-up leader, IMHO), MajGen Leslie, LtGen Jeffrey, and of course, General Hillier himself.   I'm sure the other two branches are the same.

Anyways, I am definitely optimistic about the depth and quality of strategic leadership in the CF - it makes me more confident of my service in the Shut Up and Die ranks....

Cheers,
Infanteer
 

Scoobie Newbie

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"hear that more than one general officer is singing the same quite aggressive, forward thinking tune is, in itself, refreshing."

You don't think Hillier wouldn't surrond himself with like minded people did you.
 

KevinB

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Fully agree with PBI and the others.

It is refreshing to see an Army talking about being an Army AND being an Army again, all in realistic terms.
 

pbi

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KevinB: I agree with you-I was very (pleasantly)surprised to read the CDS' recent comments about the need to be 'the biggest bully" when you are out there dealing with the baddies. As long as we don't start swaggering around making silly threats, I would much rather see thiis type of talk, that acknowledges the reality of ops today, than some of the silence or mumbly-peggery we have had to put up with over the years.

On the political front, it is at least encouraging, if nothing else (keeping our historical disappointments by various governing parties firmly in mind...) to hear Minister Graham talk about the need for strategic mobilty and the requirement to be effective in dangerous environments. I find our shift back to OEF from ISAF to be equally encouraging. Having experienced both organizations at first hand, I much prefer to see us with the former. Again, I am pleased (if still a bit surprised...) to see us making the shift.

Cheers.
 

Haggis

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CFL said:
You don't think Hillier wouldn't surrond himself with like minded people did you.

Not for a minute.  However history has shown that general officers sometimes try to impart their own spin on the CDS's vision.  Doesn't appear that way so far, but I have not had the opportunity to hear or read a similar presentation by an Air Force General yet.  IIRC something similar was mentioned in another forum about a like minded presentation in the Navy  Hopefully they are all giving the same message.
 

pbi

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Haggis: I understand that when Gen Hillier (as CDS) spoke here at 17Wg/1 CAD, on CF transformation, he was given a standing ovation. I know that originally the other two services were very wary of him (especially as CLS), because he was looking like smashing some blue ricebowls and getting them focused on joint force ops, but so far I get the impression they are at least going along, if not leading the charge. Leaders who bring real change are not going to make friends with everybody.


Cheers.
 

Scoobie Newbie

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As long as the airforce is flying and doing something worth while whether it be close air support or dropping troops off at an LZ they should be happy shouldn't they?
 
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