Murphy's Law: How REMFs Became Fobbits


January 2, 2006: Names change, situations don't. In Iraq, most troops are support type people, called fobbits (those who spend most of their time in FOBs, or Forward Operating Bases.) During the Vietnam war, the non-combat troops came to be called REMFs (Rear Echelon Motherfuckers). In both wars, the combat troops had a much higher (as in ten times or more) chance of getting hurt than the support people.

But not all the troops going 'beyond the wire' are infantry or armor types. Fobbits run the convoys that move supplies all over Iraq, and its fobbits with guns who go out to recover, or repair, vehicles (combat, or otherwise) that break down, or get battle damage. The fobbits are also responsible for the security of their FOBs. This security has been much better than in Vietnam, where infiltrators and enemy commandoes often got inside the wire and did damage. Not so in Iraq, where the armed fobbits have, with very few exceptions, kept the enemy out. Perhaps in appreciation of that, the REMF term has fallen into disuse, largely replaced by the kinder and gentler 'fobbit' (a play on the "Lord of the Rings" creatures, the little guys with big feet who lived in bunkers, were not known as warriors, and were called Hobbits.)


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