About Jud Taylor
I grew up in a house full of books, games, and tools. This let me view the world (and outer space) through the eyes and thoughts of others. It also let me see wildly different ways of getting things done. It also taught me to seek elegant, or at least simpler, solutions to challenges. One day, I was helping my dad wrap jute rope around a steel support post, to spruce up a basement bedroom with a boat theme. I watched Dad lay out the rope in long loops, then pull one loop at a time around the pole. After a while, I timidly suggested holding the rope in hand while walking around the pole. This would get the job done faster. It worked! I love looking for the unnoticed chances to improve things – to make an unexpected win!
Later, During Desert Storm, I was a Second Lieutenant Combat Engineer in the Marine Corps. My job was to make a breach in a minefield laid out by the Iraqis – one of many.
The challenge involved
- filling an anti-tank trench with enough material for tanks to move across,
- clearing anti-vehicular mines in a path for tanks and trucks, and
- scraping about a foot of sand off of that path.
The method we originally trained on took about five minutes to complete. I had some ideas, and discussed them with my Platoon Sergeant and Squad Leaders, and we came up with a new approach. Ours took less than a minute. My Marines were relatively happy, since sitting still near a minefield the enemy had put in place would be very dangerous.
The Iraqis had laid out the minefield months before in the flat, wide open, dusty, fly-blown sands north of the Kuwait and Saudi Arabia border. The minefield was full of anti-tank mines to halt or slow any mechanized assault. Between the anti-tank mines were anti-personnel mines, to make attempts to remove the antitank mines by infantry a deadly challenge.
The Iraqis had had months to range the minefield with their artillery. They were experienced and hardened in years of war with Iran. They were good. Intel warned of a 70% casualty rate at a breach.
My platoon was at the extreme right flank of U.S. forces, as part of Task Force Taro. Qatari forces were to our right. The Infantry battalion my platoon was attached to, and its accompanying trucks, tanks, and amtracs (amphibious tracked vehicles), were alone, exposed, on the flat desert floor with no cover in sight. The sand stretched away looking as flat as a dry, dusty pancake. But very long, low waves of sand were just enough to conceal the Qataris to the east, the rest of Task Force Taro to the west, and the Division further west and to the south. So, except for the noise of our few vehicles, there was silence.
We had a rousing final briefing by the battalion Executive Officer, then watched the beautiful sunset, with pale reds and purples. It was the last one I expected to see. While I took in the sunset I helped my Platoon Sergeant finish digging the fighting position he had started.
A loud swoosh, a flash across the sky, and an explosion marked the death of two Marines about a quarter-mile to the west. Their HMMWV was hit by an air-to-surface missile. It instantly transformed the vehicle into a funeral pyre. Even at the distance, I could see one Marine silhouetted against flames.
Immediately, Marines who were not in vehicles made for their fighting positions. In the post-sundown dusk, my Platoon Sergeant and I found a third man in our fighting position. He spoke only French. A brief, intense conversation made clear that he was a journalist embedded with the battalion headquarters. The missile strike caught him out in the open.
After a long night awaiting an artillery barrage, the time for assault drew near. My platoon’s mission was to fire a line charge – a length of VERY strong rope, encased with blocks of C4 explosive and detonating cord, pulled by a Hellfire missile.
Shortly before dawn, on command, my platoon executed our modified breach plan.
The missile pulled the line charge from its tray on a trailer towed behind an amtrac. The missile pulled the rope into a straight line on the ground, among the mines. Then the det cord was set off, blowing the entire line of C4. This destroyed the mines under the C4, pulverizing the sand into the consistency of baby powder. It also blew away the tripwires attached to antipersonnel mines, for hundreds of feet.
Our next step was to widen the path cleared of antitank mines by the line charge by having bulldozers scrape and push aside one foot of sand. This cleared a width for our five-ton trucks with infantry.
My platoon’s breach was complete. The infantry of Task Force Taro moved through and established a defense of the far side of the minefield. I listened to the distant booms of the line charges of Marines to the west – the ones I could not see behind the deceptively not-quite-flat sands.
Once the infantry had secured the far end of the breach, my Marines drove their amtracs through the breach, looking out for mines. We found a lot of Italian anti-tank and antipersonnel mines. They looked nice, like desert tan, sleek, deadly kitchen appliances. Those too close to ignore we detonated with small charges of C4.
My plan had worked. My Marines, and the Task Force, made it through the breach. We set to maintaining our weapons and other equipment, and awaited details of our movement further north.
Like the alternate way to wrap rope around a pole, and the faster way to breach an Iraqi minefield, I like devising better ways to reach business goals. I also like explaining the ways fantastic new software or other tech helps get accomplish new goals, or take care of existing tasks much faster, with less error and headache.
This is how I approach writing white papers and case studies. White papers explain strong new tech or methods, and show how they would be valuable. Case studies give real-world examples, showing great benefits to a real organization gotten by putting a new technology into action.
To discuss how Jud can help get through to your customers, Jud can be reached directly at 404-575-347-1599 or email@example.com.