I won’t deny that your average Army MI dude has an almost pre-requisite nerdishness to him. It may not come out in his Hushpuppies, high-waters, or pocket protector. Thankfully that stuff ain’t even allowed in uniform. It may not even come out at those deeper levels, when some poor schmuck nonchalantly brings up that they like the Star Wars prequels (which are crap, by the way). No no no…the true inner depths of full frontal nerdity may sometimes only manifest in ways even the Nerd himself can neither foresee, nor forestall…
Task Force ODIN—which stands for “Observe, Detect, Identify, and Neutralize”—is an INSCOM (Nerd HQ) Aviation RSTA (Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition) asset. The unit stood up at Ft Hood, TX, in 2006 to support a larger counter-IED effort in Iraq, as well as to help the USAF with some of their ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) missions. To my knowledge there is no direct affiliation with the Norse deity, Odin (aka The Allfather, aka One-eye, aka, Wotan, aka Wodinaz).
One thing that makes TF ODIN so special is that they roll with the MQ-1B Warrior-Alpha (a variant of the more widely known General Atomics MQ-1 Predator. Everyone just calls everything “Predator” now. But of the few variants, they all have their own cool name (Gray Eagle, Sky Warrior, ERMP). The Dubs-Alpha is cutting edge for several reasons, not the least of which is its complex advanced sensor array. That bad boy totes around everything from synthetic aperture radar and forward looking infrared (for seeing things the way the alien Predator does), to laser rangefinders and designators (this is what facilitates the “Neutralize” portion of the unit’s name). This baby’s got a bodycount somewhere in the 3 grand range, is directly accountable for the capture of thousands more numbskulls, and is basically just one of those flying Cylons. (Let’s just hope it doesn’t go all Johnny 5 on us.)
So yeah, all that techy stuff is fun. Who doesn’t like flying robotic death machines that can see in the dark? But that’s not why we’re here. Looking past all of the next-gen killing-machineness, and all the highspeed/lowdrag go-getters in the unit flying that thing…we work ourselves back to what brought us out here in the first place.
That’s right. Let that freak flag fly, Army brothers and sisters! I’d like to direct your attention back to that unit patch up there. Pretty hot, ain’t it. Odin, riding on his eight-legged horse (named Sleipnir, by the way). Running with him in the sky are his wolves, Freki and Geri. And flying even higher, are two MQ-1Bs. Fitting, as they’ve replaced Odin’s two crows, Huginn and Munin—Odin’s own ISR assets—“Thought” and “Memory”.
Now, on this patch, in fact, the drones originally *were* Huginn and Munin. You see, the unit didn’t dream up this epic unit picture. Nay! Nor did any obscure heraldry office inside the bowels of the Army patch-making system. No. This pictures comes from a somewhat *more* obscure tome. Once found on the back-corner shelves of bookstores across the nation, no doubt clouded by the lingering odor of B.O., Rush, Mountain Dew, and probably Coco Puffs.
This picture, damn near line for line, came straight off the cover of the Official Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Edition) Legends and Lore game book. I mean…uh…I heard? See, I’m not saying anyone copied anything. At least not on purpose. I think what happened is someone’s subconscious mind pulled this patch straight out of a foggy fantasy memory. Like I said, we don’t always know the depths of our own nerdity–even with a kill score. We can’t always control it. Like, when our phones autocorrect “morning” to “Morgoth,” for example. Or when someone says “Ranger” and you don’t know if they’re talking about Hank, Aragorn, or…oh yeah…someone from the 75th.
So, I’ll leave you with this, sports fans, in the off chance that you had any doubt:
It’s all fun and games, until someone loses an eye…