31 December 2008
I was driving one of the old 5 ton dump trucks. We were sleeping in the Guerneville Fire Station on New Years Eve 1996. We woke up to the sound of rain...lots of rain. We looked outside and things looked "normal" for that time of year. Then a fire fighter told us to look behind the station. The water was deep... 45-47 feet over flood stage!!! That was way over my head and I'm not a good swimmer.
The Fire Chief asked if I could pull their portable building up to higher ground. I had a truck with a winch on the front. I asked if they knew how much the portable building weighed...they had no idea. Oh well, I'd give it a try. The worst thing that could happen is I'd break my winch. I did break my winch. The winch had a shear pin that was supposed to break before the winch did...but some dumbass stuck a hardened bolt in where the shear pin was supposed to go...so the winch, which ran of the Power Take Off (PTO) had about 9 million horse power from a big ass diesel engine...
So, I had about a mile of steel cable all wrapped around my front bumper. Oh well, it's a government truck. I decided that we'd stop our efforts at pulling up the Mobil building, since I didn't want to break anything else.
Our next mission was to go to the Red Cross station in Guerneville and take some refugees to Santa Rosa, CA. I drove around to the building, but the parking lot was full of cars. There was no way I could drive my 28,000 pound Beast into the parking lot and drive out again. I could see this, but the crazy lady working for the Red Cross was freaking out. As I parked on the street in front, she was screaming for me to drive up to the front door so people wouldn't get wet getting into my truck. ( I think they were thinking I was driving a bus, they were going to be in for a surprise.)
I tried telling the crazy, screaming, mad, lunatic Red Cross lady that there was no way I could get my truck through the full parking lot and up to the front door. She just kept screaming-- which lead me to question her authority. She got really mad, and I told her to take a pill or go smoke something and relax. She got even madder and screamed more. She was just a volunteer, I was a paid professional--right?
The parking lot was surrounded by a cement planter box that was about 18 inches high. No problem for the Beast to drive over in all wheel drive...smashing the cement to crumbs. I got right up to the front door and shut her down. "There lady, are you fucking happy now?"
Then, they started bringing out some folks that made me question why we were there at all. Now, before I describe these folks, think about this: If you saw the news, read the paper, listened to the radio, every "normal" person along the Russian River knew that it was going to flood...bad. So, what types of people were not aware that it was going to flood? Guess.
Drunks. Drug addicts. Bums. Homeless. Drunk, drug addicted, bum, homeless people... and the likes of which most people reading something on the Internet have never seen. I was afraid they were going to get my dump truck dirty.
We had the dump bed configured to haul humans... the bench seats were down, the canvas top was on...there was no heat in the back, but we also had no heat in the front. It was a cold, wet, bitch of a day.
But we did our job and loaded the people into the back. And all but one of them were complaining. A few asked if it was OK if they smoked a joint or drank in the back. I told them the truck was leaking fuel, so they shouldn't smoke. They did anyway.
We started back to Santa Rosa. The side roads were now full of local ass hole's cars...they moved them out of the flood zone and totally blocked the only route we knew of to get out. I had a big truck and I considered just smashing through all the parked cars.... but I didn't. We turned around and dropped the "people" back off at the Red Cross shelter.
I guess they didn't like us there, so a few hours later, we were sent further west to Monte Rio or some such place. Now the food was getting worse...but we had cots to sleep on. For a cook we had a guy I called "Biker Bob." He was a burn out, but he wanted to help. He cooked 3 meals a day for us. The first morning he was smoking his Marlboro and making some kind of egg thing. He said: "Wow, I lost my smoke...oh well."
One of the guys was eating his "egg thing" and found Biker Bobs smoke. And that's how it was...
At mid night some drunk woke up and called the fire station. He said:" Hey, there's water all around my house. Can you send a helicopter and come rescue me?" I was able to talk to the guy on the phone. I told him: "Can you swim? Try swimming out and let me know how that works out. You dumb ass."
We almost lost my truck trying to rescue a fire truck...it'll make your butt pucker when you're driving on a road, flooded with fast moving water, and your 28,000 pound truck starts moving sideways!!! That was fun. Some folks from FEMA showed up. They didn't do much but ask really stupid questions. I told them I had an idea. About that time the US Navy was getting rid of a bunch of subs, so I suggested that they give them to the folks along the Russian River to live in. When the water comes up, close the hatches. They didn't seem to have a sense of humor.
We hung around until the flood waters went down. We didn't loose any troops on that flood. I went home after about a week...then got called for another one up north. But that's another story.
Happy New Year!!!
29 December 2008
28 December 2008
For me, I think back on some of the missions I had on some holidays. Many holidays I worked as a cop...a few I was over seas in the Army...and one or two I was called up in my old National Guard unit.
Did I mention that I used to be in a Combat Engineer unit? We were like a construction company with machine guns. We had big dump trucks, bull dozers, loaders, chain saws and we could blow shit up if we had to.
Now, a problem I'm having as I get older and closer to retirement is: All the years seem to run together. For something that I might say: "a few years ago..." might have actually been 10 years or so. I didn't write the shit down at the time, so I have to go by memory. But, let me tell you of the Russian River Flood I went to in....uhhhh....I think it was 1998 or maybe 99...or somewhere around that time.
The Russian River run through parts of Sonoma County, CA. It's a great place in the summer, not so great in the winter. There were and are several areas along the R. River where it floods.
Back in the 1980's they had a really big flood and the National Guard was famous for rescuing people with helicopters. For the flood I went to, were were told: "there will be no helicopters, just you guys in your dump trucks to rescue."
Let me tell you about the dump trucks. I first drove one of these beast in the 1989 earthquake. They were old 1968 ish vintage...made for Viet Nam. They had no heaters or A/C. They had 5 speed manual transmissions with high/ low all wheel drive etc. You had to know how to shift these things. The dump beds were operated by a couple of other levers and sometimes someone who didn't know what they were doing would grab one of those levers by mistake and start dumping a load of troops out of the back.
If you road in the back, there were wooden bench seats that were removed for dumping/ hauling jobs. It was like riding on a brick...very hard.
The trucks could go through about 3 feet of water if you did it right.
For this mission, we were given a "Warno" a few days before New Years Eve that our services would be needed. The County and the State was sure that the Russian River was going to flood-- without doubt!
We packed our duffel bags and loaded up like the Beverly Hillbillies and headed from our local companies to our Head Quarters... 579th Combat Engineers.
to be cont.
23 December 2008
22 December 2008
From the Soldier side: OK, I've been going on about Iraq too much... Well, I mean My Bosnia deployment was really much better...even though we all got arrested and all.
What? Say it ain't so...the CI-Roller Dude is a cop in civilian life, how could he get "arrested" in Bosnia and just before Christmas?
Well, our jobs required us to go outside the camps.... usually everyday. I'm not sure if some people stuck on the camp resented that or what...but rumors from things the last rotations did spread and got mixed with things some of our teams might have actually done...I don't know for sure. I know I did my job and stayed out of trouble.
So, just before Christmas, all the outer teams were called back to the main camp. We had to turn in our weapons, ammo and badges...and we were told we were restricted to the camp.
CID (Criminal Investigation Division) interviewed us all...those of us whom the command felt were good soldiers were interviewed first...then cleared and told to go back to work.
I felt sorry for the CID agent who had to "interrogate" me. I sat in front of his desk, read everything he had sitting out-- I can read upside down, a skill I learned from being called into the Chief's office many times. So I read all his notes and what he planned to question me about. I also saw he had a picture of a motor Cycle on his desk. OK, I had my plan formed. Counter attack before he could get anything on me. (I really did nothing wrong, but with CID, they try to twist things around and he was a dumb fu-- anyway.)
So, I questioned him about his motor cycle...how long have you been riding. Have you had any training...pretty soon, he forgot what he was supposed to question me about... we spent 20 minutes talking about riding motor cycles.
I felt bad for him, so when he was done, I asked if there was anything I could help him with...he said: "no, I'm sure you did nothing wrong, so I'm clearing you to go back to work."
However, we sat at the main camp through Christmas...and all our mail and packages from home were sitting at the outer camps we were assigned to...so we didn't get to open our Christmas packages until well after Christmas. Screwed again by the Army and the lack of decent leadership.
Who was finally charged after all the investigations? Most of the officers and some senior NCOs. A former team leader of mine was later investigated for something else, relieved of his command and it was given to me... of course without a promotion.
(Updated: My buddies in Kosovo right now say they are having some of the exact same leadership problems now....same problems, just a different face or two. )
So, I hope you didn't mind the updated re-run.
Have a great Christmas...I don't say "happy holidays" because this time of year it's all about Christmas...and if you're some anti Christmas person, guess what I got to say about that...
CI Roller Dude..
17 December 2008
Most people have seen shows on TV like Cops, and others where they follow real cops around with a video camera...they have to cut out the bad words and stuff...but what they don't really show is some of the "average" daily dumb stuff we deal with....everyday.
It's this "average" stuff the helped equip me for my deployments...there's so many things that are the same in police work and the military. You have good leaders...you have bad leaders, you have heroes... you have cowards, you have victims and you have bad guys. And every once in awhile you have some really "special" people who you just have to laugh at....in both places that's what makes it all worth while. I say sometimes you have to "make your own fun!"
About a few months ago (I lost track, maybe 3 or 4?)
Where I work now we have lots of small law enforcement agencies who work close to each other. The streets close to one of our "beats" is covered by the Sheriffs Department for crime and the Highway Patrol for traffic...but if it's a crash close, any of us will respond to help the injured.
So, there I was, driving around minding my own business, when I hear the Deputy getting dispatched to a crash just a block or two away. I see him take off and I follow-- automatic mutual aid.
The deputy drives upon a very nice SUV that has been reduce to smashed metal...he gets out out of his car and has several people tell him that the rest of the crash is 3 or 4 blocks east of his location. The deputy stops me as I pull up and he ask me to go check east of his location. I drive on down the road and come upon the other half.
What had happened is: Driver #1 (the most at fault) is driving HUA (Head Up Ass) going west bound too fast. He plows into Driver #2 from behind, knocks her out and Vehicle #2 drives on 3 more blocks with the driver knocked out until she crashes into the center island. So the back of Veh #2 is destroyed and now the front is also wiped out...there went a $40,000 SUV.
AS I park my car to block/protect vehicle #1 because I have to get the elderly driver out, I call in my exact location...because I' heard on the radio scanner that they are sending medical units to a city that was 5 miles away!!! (Why? because a "witless witness" gave them the totally wrong location.)
I got out of my car, and go up to the old guy sitting in the driver's seat---I'm thinking he's hurt really bad because he hasn't gotten out of his car--- but nope, he's talking on his damn cell phone.
There was about 7 or 8 citizens standing on the side walks in the area yelling at me asking: "what's this location?"
I asked them why and they said: "I'm on the phone with 911 and I they're asking where we are."
OK, now does everyone understand that when you call 911, one or three types of humans are going to come. Those three types are: 1) the cops, 2) the fire dept and 3) the meat wagon.
I was in a blue uniform, driving a black and white car with a big ass star on the side and big lettering that said "POLICE" along with a blue and red light bar on top. I was friggen 911.
So I yelled out: "EVERYONE WHO'S ON 911, TELL THEM THE COPS ARE HERE AND HANG UP---YOU'RE ALL GIVING THE WRONG LOCATION AND SENDING RESOURCES TO THE WRONG PLACES" (I left out calling them bad names.)
So, I go back to trying to check the driver, while I'm standing out in the middle of traffic---and I say: "Sir, can you hang up your phone and listen to me NOW! Can you get out of your car? I'm about to get run over trying to help you, can you hang up NOW!"
It took me a little while to explain to the dispatcher that I was at the true location and to cancel units going to all the other locations.
Today's hot tip: IF you are going to call in an emergency on your cell phone, please stop and make sure you have the correct location. If you're the HUA driver who caused the crash, listen to the cops who's trying to help you so he/ she doesn't get run over.
12 December 2008
I was telling you about the "turd" sergeant we had. For years before we went to Iraq, he reminded me of a little snake. He went to Bosnia with us and got caught doing something he wasn't' supposed to be doing...so when he came to me to see if I could help him...he started to cry like a little baby.
He had no balls...and no brains. He was always trying to put himself in the best place or job so he would always come out on top...regardless of what everyone else needed. He didn't put his soldiers first, he put himself first. So, he didn't go out on mission while in Iraq...he sent out his junior folks.
Now, I'll tell you the place they were in was bad...but at that time, most of the other places we had teams in were bad. It was a friggen war...you were supposed to get shot at and shit like that.
So, Turdsergeant's typical day (as told to me by his #2) was: He'd get up around 10 or 11 am, walk over and shower...come back and get dressed and go to lunch. Then he'd go to his hooch/ office and goof off watching DVDs and reading books. That was why he was too busy to go out.
Then one day... while he was walking to the shower... a totally random mortar round landed near where he was walking. A junk of metal tore into his stomach... he fell to the ground and was hurting. The medivac'ed him out and he lived.
Why am I going to hell?
The next day the Capt Chaplain came to my office. He had never every come over to our office since it was hot and too far for him to walk ( he was regular army and part of the reg army unit we were attached to).
So, the Sky Pilot dude comes into my office and says: "Is everything OK?"
I look at him and said:" Yes sir, would you like some Starbucks coffee?"
He takes a cup, then looks at me again and repeats his question: "Is everything OK?"
I look at him and said: "Yes sir, outside of it being 120 degrees outside, it's pretty good...how are you doing sir?"
Then he looks at me and the other sergeant (who's in Kosovo now) and said: "Wasn't sergeant Turd a friend of yours...from your unit back home and all?"
I look at the Sky Pilot and said:"Sir, is that what this visit is about? Thanks, sir, but the truth is nobody likes him."
The Sky Pilot almost dropped his coffee as his mouth dropped to the floor. He stood up straight and said something like: "you guys are cold."
I said: "Yes sir, I'm know I'm going to hell for that....but I'm going there anyway."
The chaplain walked out without his coffee and never talked to any of us again after that.
Oh well, what can I say?
(the photo above is from my 3rd visit to Fallujah... it was scary, but I went out when I needed to and I never sent my junior people out on something I would not do myself.)
08 December 2008
03 December 2008
Warning...before you go to this site, it may cause a tear to come out. I never will understand how a soldier can make it through battles, wars and stuff, then come home and die at an early age due to some medical problem that the doc's can't do a bloody thing about.
When we were in Bosnia, we had a young soldier who deployed with us...I'll call him "Chris" to make him more real. He was tall and thin...good natured...always willing to help with whatever we needed done. He was good with computers, so we sucked his brain when we had to set up "net works" with our computers. When we were getting ready to leave Bosnia, he volunteered to extend.
Chris didn't drink, I never heard him use a bad word, and he treated everyone with respect. You couldn't help liking the "kid" as we called him.
He was given a few weeks leave before going back to Bosnia. His one fault? He liked to drive his Mustang very fast.
One night, he was driving home...too fast... he left the road and 90, and there's nothing more to say. We miss Chris...he would have done well with us in Iraq...I'm sure of it, but he never had that chance.
Troops...there are enough "natural" things that will kill you. When you get home from a deployment, be safe...live to be an old man (or woman) and be able to sit around when you're 90 and tell stories.
I have a few ideas for my next story...should it be 1.) "Why I'm going to go to hell" or 2.) "More really stupid people I've met as a cop"
01 December 2008
25 November 2008
From the Soldier side: I've been pretty busy working overtime, so I've not been able to do as much "bloggin" as I'd like. Now, to get back to our adventure in Baghdad.
So, the E-4 (Let's call him Chris, to make him more real) wanted to be able to stop and chat with people in a automotive garage area in Baghdad. He drew a sketch of what it looked like, then we checked on Google Earth (this was actually better than mapping software we had at the time), so I had a pretty good idea of what to plan.
I went outside the office and did the "Old School" way of planning in the dirt. To me this was better than paper. We could get the scale pretty close. We used empty milk cartons and junk for buildings. Someone had little toy trucks, so we used those for our humvees.
I had 4 humvees, one more than the teams usually took, for extra support & fire power. I like lots of fire power....the more the better. If you think your going to a gun fight, bring lots of friends with lots of guns and ammo!
Now, for those who've been reading my post for awhile, have noticed I took lots of pictures in Iraq (and Bosnia) but in Iraq I never had my camera in my hand when I needed my rifle in my hands. So, there's lots of good photos I never got to take. At the time, I figured having my weapon ready was a hell of a lot more important than a cool photo---so I'll have to describe the area we went to since I never took a picture.
I got permission to send the team + out (that means the team plus extra people.) I had the office E-4 prepare the mission roster so the commander wouldn't notice me on it...since I was still on light duty...but you know I had to go.
Once the security team leader saw that I was going, she was good with it. She was actually a regular Army MP with years of experience as an MP, so she was all about survival. I don't blame her for not wanting to stop in the place we were going....it looked like hell… even on Google Earth.
So we went. I let Chris lead the way, since he knew where we were going. We drove like we stole the trucks and took all the extra ammo we could find (I had over 900 rounds in my foot locker in my room, so I spread it around & we borrowed more, as much as we could get). Having lots of ammo gave you a warm and fuzzy feeling.
Chris drove up to the street we were going to stop on, then my truck took the lead. I had the driver go to the end, and then we did a "Harring Bone" with 4 trucks. We blocked the street with the front and rear truck so no vehicles could come in. I told the team we were staying on the ground for 20 minutes...no more. At 21 minutes, we'd be roaring away. I learned this tactic in Fallujah...we figured it took the insurgentassholes over 20 minutes to wake up, get their guns and come to where we were...so by the time they got there, we wanted to be gone.
We left a driver and gunner in each truck, I told the gunners to stay low, very low because the snipers would shoot them first. The driver was "loose" in the cab-- moving around and looking out the windows with his or her M-4 ready to shoot. This was a no bullshit mission...
As I got out of my truck, I was overcome by the smell. It smelled like gasoline, camel shit, coolant, oil, and pee. Down the middle of the street was a gutter. As the mechanics worked on cars and the fluids leaked out, they ran into this gutter. If you dropped a match in the gutter, the whole area would have burned for weeks....which would have been an improvement. ( all of Baghdad smelled like shit all the time, to this day my sense of smell has been destroyed.)
The Hajjis even had a auto parts store on the street...it wasn't like you'd see in the States, because all the parts were used. They were selling used parts that most people would have and should have thrown away. They were selling used brakes, used shocks and other parts that were really only a little better than nothing at all. And nothing at all was what a lot of these people had...so I guess this was an improvement.
As one team walked down one side of the street, the other team took the other side. The team Chris lead was doing well (remember we just did mess kit repair) but the other team leader seemed worried. After 5 minutes, the other team leader asked if it was time to go...I think he was a little afraid. I walked with his team to help them out. I couldn't let on that this scared the shit out of me to. What normal person with half a brain would get out of a perfectly good armored vehicle and walk in the middle of Baghdad in the summer of 2005? Insane!
We finished, I blew my 20 minute and we "popped smoke" and left.
As we pulled out on the highway, we drove like hell...then had to make a turn across traffic...all of the cars stopped...except one.
The lead gunner used his hand signals, blew his whistle to get the dumbass to stop, but the dumbass continued towards us...the gunner fired a signal round warning shot---hitting the dumbshit's front bumper. Now, try this at home, you're in a 12, 000 pound armored SUV going at 60 miles an hour, make a full stop, a hard left turn, then be aware of everything going on around you, then having a car coming at you at 25-30 mph, bringing up your M-4 and firing one round and hitting the bumper….now that’s good shooting. I think that gunner should have gotten a special shooting award.
The dumbshit who was driving with his head totally ups his hajji ass stopped after that, so I guess he wasn’t a suicide bomber after all, just a normal dipshit.
We made it back to camp, and a few extra cold soft drinks, wishing that they were beer and some of us knew we’d have one more stupid story to tell when we got home…we made it, and that’s all that counted. Any day you made it back without anyone getting hurt was a good day. It was a good day.
19 November 2008
16 November 2008
12 November 2008
One thing I've forgotten about this is...there are others who try to do this with "us" also. By "us" I mean "us" war vets. There are lots of non-vets out there who care alot about "us" and sometimes I think we may have not realized that.
These are the other hero's. The moms and dads, wifes, husbands who support their sons and daughters...the friends and other family who sends the care packages etc.
And when we come home..the ones who do nice things like set up web sites, or other little things to help vets. These people weren't in the wars, they were not shot at, they didn't have to see friends die. But they care. They are concerned and they are good friends to have around.
This is something I didn't understand until the last few days when I started to stop feeling sorry for myself (yeah, sometimes I do that) and saw that there are lots of non-vets out there who really care about us.
They are putting that hand out...time to take it and shake it.
On anther note: I was watching CBS news last night (sorry, I like Katie Couric) and they had a story about some female soldiers who were in Iraq. These soldiers had been in some bad stuff and had to even crank off a few rounds at bad guys....but according to the story, females aren't supposed to be in combat roles.
Oh crap...what should I tell the female soldiers who were on most of the convoys I was on in Baghdad? "Sorry, ladies, you're supposed to stay at the camp and work in the kitchen."
BS. They were good soldiers...and in many cases, I'd rather roll with them than a lot of Chicken males I know.
So, when you're out there shaking the hands of vets, and you see a female soldier...shake her hand too...they've earned it and they are my sisters.
If there's anything I can do to help any vet...I'll do what I can... and I know there are lots of others who will do the same. First thing "we" have to do...is open our hearts and minds and see what's around us.
And for a "not a hero"--- "When I take action, I'm not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It's going to be decisive." —George W. Bush, Washington, D.C. Sept. 19, 2001
10 November 2008
06 November 2008
From the Soldier side: So, the other day somebody said something that I thought was funny....they said I "should write a book."
I told them if anyone read, I'd have to kill them. They didn't get it. Mess Kit Repair (MKR) is highly classified business. We have to have a special TS/MKR clearance to do this work...and there's a high washout rate at the MOS school. The class I started with was spread out over 2 years...we started with about 27 soldiers. At the end of the final phase, there were only 3 of us from the original group.
Then, there's the work we do...highly classified. We have to take damaged Mess Kits, and fix them as good as new so they can be returned to the front line and put back into service.
On an real story....I was reading on Military.Com today about another new armored wheeled vehicle the Pentagon is putting out to bid. My question is: "are they going to have some office puke in Washington pick out this machine?...some retired general who's getting a kick-back?"
Or, are they going to have private Snuffy and sgt Rock actually test drive it. A vehicle for Iraq needs to be easy to drive and work on...actually it should require little maintenance...should be fast (able to do at least 90MPH--see my last blog posting) be able to stop any friggen IED the insurgentturds can make and be able to actually haul 6 or more troops in the same space with easy access and easy exit. (A MP-3 player would be cool too.)
They have the MRAP in Iraq now...I've never driven one, but I'm instructor certified to train army drivers on everything from the old Jeep, Gamma Goat to the M-113, and M1114.
....and what about our new Commander in Chief? Let me tell you something...I've had the chance to shake hands with a few Presidents in my life...but he's the first one we've had who I'd actually want to shake his hand. If Gen Colin Powell supports him, so do I. If the other guy and that nut from Alaska got into the white house, I was planning to move out of the country.
Coming up soon....walk into Baghdad....
04 November 2008
31 October 2008
So, it was really, really, really dark outside. I tried to not use my flash light because I didn't want anyone outside the camp to be able to see me... So I was walking along...it was only about 1,000+ meters to the office...no big deal.
I had my M9 9mm pistol in a hip holster, my Emerson CQ7 folding knife, and two 15 round mags for my pistol. I also had a Surefire flash light, but I was trying to not use it.
There was nobody else in the area...the guard tower was over 2,000 meters away...on the wall facing outside the camp into Baghdad. Did I mention that it was really, really, really dark outside? Well, it was dark.
As I got closer to the office, I could suddenly sense something near me....looking at me. At first I thought it was one of the Lads screwing around with me...then I realized that the breathing was not human. It was also a lot lower to the ground that any human.....holly shit...what was it?
I reached for my M9 9mm pistol in the hip holster while I pulled a magazine with my other hand...I wish I had a third hand for the flashlight....but I didn't. I slammed a mag into the pistol pretty fast, pulled the slide back and racked a round into the chamber...flipped the safety to "fire" and then pulled out my flashlight to see what it was.
It had eyes that glowed in the dark...it had a growl that sounded like a werewolfvampirebearmonsterthing.
It was a big dog, part dingo, part wolf, part jackel, part rat. I don't know what the hell kind of dog it was...but it scared the shit out of me. It stopped, looked at me and my pistol, and ran away so I didn't have to kill it.
Even though we were not supposed to carry loaded guns on that camp, after that, at night, I carried a locked and loaded pistol with me all the time. Screw the rules where there's critters like that.
Have a happy Holloweeen...and if you're one of those who are offened by this great holiday, guess what.....
29 October 2008
23 October 2008
From the Citizen side: If you haven't' registered to vote yet, it's too late. If you did register, please don't forget to vote. (I already did) This time, the person we vote into the White house may be one of the most important votes we make in our life times. Think it over carefully.... do the research and make sure you have the "true facts" as an attorney friend of mine used to say.
I still have people thanking me for defending their freedom.... well, use it, damn it. Go vote.
I'll tell more about the "bad LT" soon.... and some fun trips into Baghdad.
(Think about the Price of Gas, The Mortgage Crisis, the War in Iraq, the job crisis, etc, etc....and ask how did we get here?" )
21 October 2008
From the Soldier side: Sorry I haven't been able to post a lot these days....I've been kind of busy at work. The good thing about working overtime as a cop? I get paid overtime. In Iraq it didn't matter how many hours a week you worked...you still got paid the same. However, there were some people who worked less that 40 hours a week....but that's another story....let me get back to the "Bad LT" story.
Somebody said that so far the way I've described this LT, she didn't seem that bad. Well, I guess I've been kind to her. She was a P.O.S. When the senior sergeant would come into the office, she'd start yelling at him in front of the troops. She read one of the (mess kit repair) reports from one of the teams about some guy named "Abu Achmed"...and wanted me to look him up.
Now, if you don't know the culture, let me explain: Abu means "father of..." So if a dad's first son was named Joe, the dad would be "Abu Joe." So, Abu was nothing...she thought it was the guy's first name and Achmed was his last name. I tried to explain this to the LT, but she didn't want to hear what I was saying....she just yelled at me and asked if I was lazy or stupid.
I was neither, but I was about to add something else to what I was....
Then, one day the dumbass LT wanted to go out with one of the teams. They heard this and threatened to go on strike or something....they were afraid she'd get them all killed. I had to go to the Company Commander and make sure that didn't happen. I was a hero for the teams after that. But she came up with other stuff. After she was in Iraq for about another week, she started to come into the office later each day. By noon, she asked me one day: "how do you guys put up with this heat?" I just looked at her and said: "Mam, you 're not even wearing your body armor....think about the teams going out (to do mess kit repair) each day. They have to were the body armor and carry all that other crap. That's why when they get back, they need to rest for a few minutes."
She just looked at me and said: "Oh...now I think I am getting it. You know sergeant, at first I thought you were a slacker or something, but now I see you're the only one who knows what he's doing around here."
I almost fell out of my chair....but then I explained that the "kids" going out on the teams each day are really doing a good job. The problem is, they've had no guidance or anyone to watch out for them. " I told her I was going to change that.
A few days later, she asked me how she could go out on a mission.....
PS...the "Hajji armor Humvee above was one of the ones the USMC was still using out west. I had read in the news while I was there that the US Military had replaced all the half assed armored vehicles with new factory built M-1114's. B.S..... There were still a bunch of these things when I was there in late 2005. Great job Rumsfeld!
13 October 2008
06 October 2008
28 September 2008
21 September 2008
Several years ago I was called up to go to the "Russian River" area in California...they said that there was a 100% chance that it was going to flood.
So, we loaded up our 1968 vintage 5 Ton Dump Trucks (which weigh about 28,000 pounds empty) and headed out to the river area fire stations.
We were pre-positioned ahead of the flood. They knew that the main roads from the western areas (closer to the cost) were going to be under a lot of water. Our job was to support the local law, assist the fire departments and evacuate people who made it to the fire stations.
All of the residents were told that they had to leave the low grounds...that no rescue was going to go into the rapid moving water and save people...there were not going to be any helicopter rescues....in other words, if you were in the flood zone, move your ass to higher ground before the flood.
Still, a lot of people didn't take the warning...why? Because of a few reasons. Reason 1: they were stoned / drunk and didn't know what was going on.
Reason 2: they were too friggen stupid. Or, 3: a combination of those 2.
The day the river flooded, my 5 ton truck, my assistant driver and me were at one of the fire stations way out west. The fire chief told us that there was a fire truck stuck and wanted to know if we could go help pull it out since we had a winch. I was happy to help.
The truck was stuck in a yard of a house...the water was moving fast...breaking out windows in the house and washing away everything in the yard. As we drove into the yard, my 28,000 pound truck started to drift sideways. I almost shit my pants. The water was that deep and that strong to move my truck like it was a Volkswagen.
I kept the throttle steady...I had it in all wheel drive...and we made it to the stuck fire truck. My assistant, a brave little E-4 jumped into the water and hooked our line to the truck and we were able to pull it to higher ground.
Later that day, we were sent to the red cross station. Some crazy volunteer lady was yelling at me to drive my truck right up to the building so the refugees wouldn't get wet walking out to the street. The building was surrounded by a parking lot full of cars...try to think how big my truck was...there was no way I could drive it into that parking lot full of cars....
So, I put her in all wheel drive, low range and drove over the flower planter they had between the sidewalk and the parking lot and backed her right up to the damn door. Destroying the flower planter in the process---but making my own exit path.
Who did we have to load up? A bunch of drunk, stoned semi-homeless, hippie, dreggs of the county. Most of them were still drunk/stoned and started to complain that there was no heat in the back of the truck---and they wanted to ride up front.
I pointed out, that my truck was returned from Viet Nam and it had no heat in the cab either.
Later that night, a drunk guy woke up in his house....he called the fire department and said: "can you come rescue me, there's water all around my house."
People kept calling for a helicopter to come and get them. After we told them we had no air support, but we could send a 5 ton, they said" Never mind, I wanted the helicopter to rescue me."
Go check out youtube and see the Coast Guard rescues from Hurricane Ike....think about how each time they pull up some dumbass...they are risking their own lives....oh it looks exciting and dramatic....but if it was me that they were pulling up, I'd not want my face on the news because I was a dumbass.
When told to leave because a flood, fire etc is coming....get the hell out. People who stay behind are stupid and put those who get stuck rescuing dumbasses in danger. If I had sunk my 5 ton saving a bunch of semihomelessdrunkbumbs, I would have been very upset.
(if you were one of them dumbasses, I'm so sorry if I offended you.)
17 September 2008
When I returned from Iraq in 2005, I took 30 days off before I went back to work at the Police Department. Now, I wish I had taken more time off...or picked a different time to have gone back.
My first day back in patrol we had a bank robbery. Our town had not had a bank robbery for at least 15 years! Why did he wait until the day I came back from Iraq? Was it Taliban?
TWO weeks later, the entire down town flooded. We lost our fire station and the police station....and all but one or two businesses in the down town were destroyed.
For the next 11 days, I worked 12 hours a day walking a foot beat in the down town.... because I wanted to...and because most of the other cops working (who were half my age) wanted to be in a patrol car because their feet hurt from walking the first day. I felt that a bad day in California was still better than a good day in Iraq. Yeah, even though it was a mess, I was happy to be there to help.
Some people expect the government to come and help.... 2 days before the flood, I was given fliers to hand out in one area of town we were sure was going to flood. The fliers explained where to pick up free sand and sand bags. Some of the people I handed the fliers to asked if the city public works was going to deliver the free sand and sand bags. I pointed out on the flyer that each citizen was responsible for getting their own.
Guess how many citizens went and got their free sand and free sand bags?
ZERO, NONE, NADA, ZIP. Not one single person in that area did one thing to prepare for the flood. Those I talked to in person...I told: "It is going to flood here, you need to sand bag your home."
If you ask me...they were a bunch of useless, whiny, ...... well you get my point. Then...they wanted to sue the town for not doing anything to prevent the flood.
(Every time the town tries to clear the creeks, some tree hugging hippies come out and complain that they are killing some endangered weed or something.)
God, I can't wait to retire.
16 September 2008
11 September 2008
I knew at that point that it was not an accident. In a few seconds, after thinking it over, I knew that the National Guard would be sending me some place to do something. After all, they'd need mess kit repair soldiers right away to help fix things.
Within a few months, my enlistment was about to expire...I could have just let it do so and gotten out. But, being a big dumbass, I signed up for 6 more years.
Soon, people from my guard unit were deploying to Afghanistan and Gitmo (lots of broken mess kits to fix). Meanwhile, I was still getting trained and figured I'd miss out on all the fun.
Nope.... Got called up in Jan 03 to start processing with another mess kit repair unit to prepare for Iraq. By Feb 03, we'd been re-tasked--- for Bosnia. Came back from there and 3 months later they asked us to go on vacation to Iraq.
That's how 911 changed my families life... how did it change yours?
If you don't have a flag up today, please put one up. Yeah our country has made a few mistakes, but it's still the best country in the world. If you ask a terrorist, they want to kill us all, but they'd love to live here.
03 September 2008
From the Soldier side: I was talking to one of the students in the "mess kit repair" class that I'm helping with at Camp----. He's in the Army National Guard and was born in another country. He told me a story of how he'd applied for US Citizen Ship a few years ago. He was in the process, when he got deployed to Iraq with the National Guard.
He got a letter whilst in Iraq from the Department of Homeland Stupidity...telling him that since he was "out of the country" they were suspending the citizenship process. I asked if the the government assholes understood that he was in Iraq fighting for this great country---something a lot of people who're already US citizens haven't done...and they were screwing with him.
He is now a US Citizen fixen' to go on another deployment for his country. Now, in my mind that man is a hero....oh, there's a few in this class who've deployed to Iraq at least once...one guy has been there twice and is going to Afghanistan next....and not one of them are complaining about it. They just want to learn how to do their jobs well. I am so lucky to be surrounded by heroes.
01 September 2008
From the Soldier side: Today whilst in class, one of the soldiers I deployed to Iraq asked me how I dealt with the stress from Iraq. I told him "HUMOR." Then I told him that the 12 or 15 times I got mortared and the time I got shot at didn't really bother me. What bothered me was the dumb leaders we had...some were determined to get soldiers killed for no reason.
Then I just read an e-mail from a very good friend of mine who' s deployed in Kosovo right now. His complaint?--"Dumbass leaders who won't listen."
Now, this dude has done a tour in Iraq doing (mess kit repair) so he's no rookie...but most of the high ranking officers he's stuck working for have not done shit...and won't listen. People, this is why we loose wars. The officers need to listen to the smart NCOs.
This is part of the reason we still have a few US troops in Kosovo...we're being lead by idiots. Remember, "There's Stupid and there's Army Stupid."
The photo above is one of our guys in Bosnia. I had to explain to a dumbassofficer one day that our team worked in the Republic of Serbska. She had no idea what I was talking about...and she was supposed to be in charge of us. Most of the Bosnians in this area were Orthodox Christians...and they have Christmas in January...not December. I had to explain that also. See...I went out into my AO almost everyday...so I knew my area very well.
30 August 2008
During a break, I was talking to a young trooper....she's been deployed and perhaps is still unwinding from it. She knew I was a civilian cop, so she asked me how she could take care of a problem....seems she had gone into town with some other soldiers while off duty. So, what do most soldiers do when they're off duty and drinking is allowed? They drink. But, too often they don't have a decent battle plan.
If they were going on a convoy in Iraq, they'd have designated who was on the guns, who was truck commander and they would have DESIGNATED WHO WAS DRIVING!!!
Why not make up the same convoy plan when going out to have fun? Figure out who's driving and buy the soldier all the coke they can drink...feed them.... whatever...so the rest can have a safe way back. This is not a new idea. But, let me tell you how easy it is for us cops to find and arrest a drunk driver....or spot someone staggering down the sidewalk. It's our job...please don't do this to yourself. Don't blame the cops...don't blame the bartender....don't blame anyone but the person pouring the drinks down your throat. I've been there....but I always took the bus back to the barracks....
Any arrest can screw up your life...so don't be stupid, show how smart you are by making a good battle plan...then drink all you want.
In memory of C.C. who deployed with us to Bosnia...but didn't make it home one night... a good soldier and a great kid.... who left the road at 90--- and there's nothing more to say.
29 August 2008
28 August 2008
27 August 2008
These are troops who'll be deploying to bad places soon. I'll get back and have some stories on things that are dumb, then there's Army Dumb.
(This is supposed to be an improvement over and Army of One...or as we used to say, an Army of Some-- then some may recall "Be all you can Be")
When will the Army learn, it's not the slogan, it's what you do that counts. The Army gives a bonus for some jobs....and they still have a hard time getting enough people. The Marines have never given a bonus, and they seem to have plenty of folks wanting to join.
I'm trying to figure that out.