It could be argued they mean the same thing, but typically the “inspection” part is more formal, in that you are checked to make sure you have certain equipment that is needed. Some equipment is common to everyone– canteens, packs, ammo pouches, and so on. Some equipment is specialized– a machine-gunner and his assistant must have extra ammo specific to the machine gun, for example. Or perhaps certain people are tasked to carry radios, a GPS, a map, or so forth.
A pre-combat check would be to make sure that these items are not only present, but in proper functioning and useful order. For example, a canteen is useless without water, ammo pouches should ideally have magazines full of ammo, radios and night-vision goggles should have batteries and some spares, etc.
PCCs and PCIs are important, and Joe Rock has been handed a new task: make sure his buddy, Specialist Ricardo, quits filling his Camel-Bak full of coffee. Not only is it bad for the Camel-Bak (and Ricardo’s kidneys), coffee doesn’t really hydrate you very well and, of course, the guy with the machine gun is the last guy you want all sketchy on caffeine. PCIs and PCCs are typically done by the junior Sergeants in a squad to make sure everyone’s fully ready before heading out to a mission. Once PCCs and PCIs are done, you’re out the door and it’s too late to turn back for an item you forgot.
What's it like to be in the Army for real, and get deployed to a place like the Iraq War? In BOHICA Blues, I turn my actual experiences into a slice of absurdist humor and walk you through this period of history from one person's perspective.
Using the classic TV show "M*A*S*H" as a guide, I created BOHICA Blues in 2013 to tell the story of what a deployment was like, with the absurdities of military life and war for all to see. It starts with the initial mobilization news, and goes on from there. BOHICA Blues isn't as "salty" as a lot of veteran humor; it doesn't have F-bombs, gore, or nudity: it could hypothetically appear on regular broadcast television.
Hopefully you can enjoy this and invite others to see what the Iraq War was like from someone who went there and is willing to share the experience with a laugh.