30 August 2008

It's so easy to get busted....

From the Cop/Soldier side: I'm still away helping to train some troops who'll be going to a bad place soon. But, "mess kit repair" is a really important job.

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

Really...How Stupid can you be and still remember to breath?

From the Soldier side: We were talking over chow the other day about some of the places some of us visited in Iraq. I still have enough frequent flyer miles left over, that I could fly anywhere I want (in Iraq) for free.
On one of my missions, we had flown to Fallujah, Iraq. I think this was about my 3rd or 4th trip there. This was during the sand storm season. My team and I got there without incident...did our mission and were fixen' to fly back to Baghdad.
One problem...no flights were going anywhere because of a sand storm. So, we were stuck in Fallujah for awhile. I still called back to Baghdad each day and gave a "SITREP" - situation report on my team and myself.
Each day I'd walk over and check with flight ops...and each day I was told:"Nothing is flying with this sand storm." Then I'd walk back to where my team was resting and told them to take off until dinner. This went on for awhile. Each day I'd call Baghdad and tell them the same thing: "We're stuck here until the sandstorm goes away."
One day I called and a Warrant Officer answered. This lady had already impressed me as not being very bright....so I told her we were stuck due to the sandstorm. She showed her smarts by saying: "why don't you see if you can get on a stand-by flight."
I was shocked at how stupid someone could be...and I tried not to laugh when I said: "Chief, the stand-by flights fly in the same air as the regular flights...it's the same air and it's full of sand!"
This was a WO-2, and I knew privates who were ten times smarter.
What is wrong with our "New Army?" I can tell you, it's full of too many idiots in leadership roles...I mean idiots who'll get troops killed.

28 August 2008

Our view of history....

From the Bored Soldier side: I'm down here at Camp //// helping to train some future mess kit repair soldiers. The other day we were driving around to go do something, when we looked over at this WWII Japanese tank they have on display.
The first thing we said was: "man that thing is pretty small."
Then our minds started running away... One guy said it looked like a couple of GI's could have walked up to it and tipped it over.
Then I thought out loud how when the Japanese tankers were in their A.I.T. (Advanced Individual Training) back in 1940....I could see other soldiers taking these tanks and picking them up and putting them on the lawn in front of their PX...or while Private Yomoto was driving it around, they would pick it up and drop it in the lake or something. Or...get one of the really fat guys to sit on the hatch so they couldn't get out.
This tank is about the size of a Toyota car.
Moving ahead to 2008... don't forget that there's a big election coming up in Nov. We need a president and congress that will fix the 2 wars going on now... and do something to improve help for Vets. (the VA hospital system is so backed up, I was getting bills for my visits...when I called I always got a different answer...until they understood I was an Iraq vet and was not supposed to get billed.)
Anyway, one way to help get the word out is to have an organization that speaks up for OIF and OEF vets... like http://www.iava.org/ If you are vet of Iraq or Afghanistan, then join this group...if you are not a vet, but a supporter, please join this group. I've followed and given orders for many years....but when the vets come home, they are often forgotten. It's happened many times in history. Don't let it happen again. Thanks.

27 August 2008

There's Dumb and there's ARMY DUMB

From the Soldier side: I'm away from home where I'm supposed to be helping do some training to help train some soldiers to do "Mess Kit Repair."
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.

21 August 2008


From the Soldier Side: Someone pointed out that they thought my blog was too negative. I'm sorry about that, so, let me post something more positive. As most of my readers know one of my favorite topics has to do with leadership. Do you know what a good leader is? I think I do. A good leader for a business is usually about profit--right? If you are running a business, the business needs to make a profit. So, it should be good to see if someone is a good leader...right? Maybe not. Sometimes, a person Bullshits their way into a leadership job. But I don't want to talk about those people. That's too negative.
I want to talk about a good Military leader. He was in Iraq with our unit. He and his merry band of brothers and sister were what we called OIF 2.5 (two point five). That means they came in the middle of OIF 2 and left in the middle of OIF 3 (I was in OIF 3). This must have been the Army's way of having some units with an overlap.
Anyway, this dude was a Master Sergeant (E-8.) He was high enough in the NCO food chain to have stayed on the camp with all the other E-8's. But, he was a TEAM LEADER for one of our teams. He could have gone out (they went out 6-7 days a week) and rode inside the Up armored Humvee...but he didn't. He rode out in the gun turret.
The first time I saw him standing in the gun turret, I thought he was just joking around...but I found out he went out into Baghdad and back and stood in the gun turret the entire time....every day.
One day I asked the Master Sergeant: "Why do you ride in the gun turret? Shouldn't you have someone junior do that...like a PFC?"
He looked at me and said: " I wouldn't have one of my people do something I wouldn't do.... besides I'm better on the gun than any of them."
That guy (the one of the far left of the left photo) was one of my heroes. He lead out front...he lead by example... he lead by showing others how to do the job...he had really big balls.

20 August 2008

Just the Facts..whatever they are...

From the Soldier side: Hey America--there's a big election coming up soon. Are you registered to vote? If not, go get registered.
I've been trying to follow the 2 big guys running for the most powerful elected job in the world...but I'm not really sure what they're trying to say. I know most elected folks have to be able to talk out of both sides of their mouth and their ass at the same time. That way they can be sure to not offend anyone. They may not actually say anything in the process...yep...both side are guilty of this.
Some Americans are worried about alot of big topics...the economy, the wars (yeah, there's 2 of them going on) employment, abortion, etc etc.
I guess I'm not too worried about work...as long as the public needs cops and national guard, I'll have some kind of a job (but I can retire from both in a few years.)
But who do we need as President? I think we need someone who has the following traits:
1.) Can lead people-- lead by example, lead by knowledge, lead by having people who work for them wanting to do a good job.
2.) Be honest-- honest to the public and all others at all times.
3.) Must be smart--- book smart and common sense, and able to listen to those who know more about something than they do. (can't be the village idiot)
4.) If they are going to start a war, make sure they have a legal and just reason. Wars kill, so you should never start a war without good cause.
5.) Should not be critical of others all the time, but stand on what they can do right themselves.
6.) When it comes to matters of the military, listen to those who've been down that road and might know something. (if you want to launch a rocket into space, you call a rocket scientist, if you want to start a war-- who do you call?)

I'm sure there are other traits for a good President, but I like to keep things simple. Do you know anyone who meets the above? Nope, neither do I. The big problem I see with anyone who's running for the job, they think they have all the answers and don't want to talk to anyone who might have just one or two answers.

I won't act like I'm running for office...I'll flat out tell you. We were right to go into Afghanistan---that's where the cowards from "9-1-1" came from. But, we should not have gone into Iraq. The problem is, we can't just walk away. It's not about winning or loosing---it's about breaking even. This is not a game. This is life or death. There were no weapons of mass destruction...only mass dumbness. We have to have a real plan to get out of Iraq--and that's something the folks who fight wars will have to tell you how to do. Do it wrong and we'll have the aftermath of Nam, or like the Marines who were leaving Somalia and got shot at all the way to the sea. Anyone who's running for the "big job" of leading this country better have a plan in progress, because it's not something you can pull out of your ass at the last minute (like too many Military Operations).

(now, did you notice how I ranted on, but didn't tell you who to vote for?)

18 August 2008


From the Soldier side: As most of my readers know I spent last week on Vacation. Notice I used the word "Vacation" instead of "leave" because most of the time I'm in the civilian world.
I got to see my old buddy Sergeant Grumpy (http://sgtgrumpy.blogspot.com/ ) who just returned from Iraq or "Eye Rack" as some say. Grumpy and I were in Bosnia a few years ago and he's one of the best...so I was really happy to get to see him. It's important to keep in touch with old Army buddies. Grumpy and I are in the photo on the left.
I also got to meet a relative I've never had a chance to meet before...I'll call him "Bill". Bill was a WWII vet who fought in Italy with the 10th Mountain Div. He's a real hero and I'm glad I got to talk with him for a while. He's got some good stories and a purple heart to go with them. He also kept in contact with some of his buddies from the war.... that reminded me how important that is. Some folks may not understand it....but I think that's one of the best forms of therapy there is. When you can sit down and talk about some really bad things that happened long ago with someone who was there with you...it helps.
Just think of some of the differences between WWII and Iraq... they sent letters that took weeks to get home, we sent e-mail and could instant chat. They never had phone calls, and we could call from most of the camps once a week or so. They had some really good leaders and we.....didn't. OK, I'd trade the e-mail for good leaders any day.
So, if you're home and you need help and you don't have an old battle buddy to talk to...talk to someone. If you need help, get it. Take care of yourself and then you can help others.

17 August 2008

Chasing Ghosts

From the Soldier side: I just read a good book- Chasing Ghosts. LT Rieckhoff writes so well that I thought I had actually been there...oh, I was.

Now, keep in mind that each solider, Marine, Sailor and Airmen will have a different point of view from this war....oh, not too much unlike some of our last wars. The LT did what few of our officers did--he lead from the front, not from the FOB. Now this dude was so pissed off when he got back that he started a Vets group. I may have run across it before, but didn't pay much attention until I read his book. Check out: http://www.iava.org if you are a Vet of OIF or OEF but not one who just went for a good OER. Check it out even if you're not a vet of one of them crappy places because you can still sign up to be a supporter. Ain't the internet great! I still remember what a pain in the ass it was to call home from Germany in the 1970's. Maybe I need to retire soon.

If you have a weak stomach, don't read the book. If you want to know the crap some troops had to put up with, read the book. I think the LT has the same complaints I have--- not just bad leadership in so many cases, but leadership that gets troops killed---starting from Rumsfeld and the rest of them knuckelheads. You go to war with what you have UNLESS YOU'RE THE DUMBASS STARTING THE WAR.

08 August 2008

Hey, can you drive a Stick Shift?

From the Soldier side: The question came up: "Can you drive a stick shift?"
Yep, I can. When I was a very, very, very young soldier in a land far far away...I was told I was going to be a driver one day. Why me? Because I liked to drive and my platoon sergeant in the Army Infantry platoon I was in knew I could read and write well. Why was reading and writing important? Because I was stationed in West Berlin, Germany. (C/2/6) To be a driver in Germany you had to not only take the silly Army driving test, but you had to pass the German road sign and rules test. So one morning a group of 25 of us went to take the written test after breakfast.
By lunch time, there were only 3 of us left. 22 soldier failed the test. I'm not a genius or nothin' like that, but I guess I can read crap and remember it if I want to. So, I became a driver for something called a "Gamma Goat" truck. It had 6 wheels, a very noisy 3 cylinder engine behind the cab and it could cross water....sort of. It also had a 4 speed stick shift-- with high and low range/ 2 wheel-6 wheel drive. (check out the Gamma Goat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoXxYMbTBTk&feature=related thanks to P.)
I later got licensed on the Army 2 1/2 ton truck (also a stick shift- 5 speeds with high and low range.) a bus, a tractor trailer, the jeep and staff car.
Later in the Combat Engineers I was trained to be a driving instructor for the 5 ton dump, the HEMTT, the M-113A1 APC, the SEA, the loader/backhoe, and the good old HUMVEE.
Yep, I can drive a stick shift. The photos are from some of the fun training we did at Ft xxxx before deploying to Iraq. I was asked if I could drive a 5 ton cargo truck...yep. This model I had never actually driven before, but after about 10 minutes I figured it out. And it had an AUTOMATIC transmission! The training this day was on the weapons range...they wanted me to drive up and down the range so troops could shoot out the back and then dis-mount and shoot from the ground. I said I could do it, if I got to shoot each time. I did this all day long and it was good.

04 August 2008

Good leaders...and not so good....

From the Soldier side: After doing some reading on my day off...yes, I can actually read. One thing I saw was about restrictions the military places on Bloggers deployed...I'm home now, so I can write whatever the f--- I want and they can kiss my a...
Today I thought I'd talk about leadership again....that's one really important topic for anyone who's lead by others. When we were "training" for Iraq back in 2004, I had 2 company commanders whilest in the States. I'll call them Commdr A and Commdr B.
I had deployed to Bosnia with B....he was (and still is) also a cop in his civilian world. He was like me and didn't have to go to Iraq with the battalion, but like me, thought it was our duty and we should just go ahead and get it over with....after all Rumsfeld had said all he expected from Reserves and National Guard troops was 24 months of deployments after NINE ELEVEN. (He later changed his mind)....so it seemed like a good idea as I said, to get it over with.
When we were at Ft ----- we were transported to the training sites in 1960 vintage Cattle Cars....these were trailers attached to a truck that looked like something you'd transport cattle in...you could get a lot of troops loaded in these...but they were very un-safe. Commdr B road in the back with us when we went to training. Commdr A drove his Lexus to the training--and that was only if he felt it was important enough for him to show up.
When we were packing our extra gear (duffel bags and foot lockers) into a connex shipping container, we were told there was not enough room and we might have to mail stuff home at our own expense. When my team and I went to load our duffel bags, I saw that the shipping container was half full of what looked like a living room--- Couch, giant TV, coffee & end tables, stereo, speakers etc....it looked like Commder A was taking his home to Iraq with him---at our expense. I had training manuals, and other supplies I was pretty sure we would need when we got to Iraq....but most of the room was taken up by Commder Asshole.
Things like this just went on and on....by the time Asshole got to Iraq, he was relieved of duty in short order....seems he didn't want to go outside the safe camp to check on his troops scattered around Baghdad.
Commdr B kept up with his troops, and they trusted him...he was a true leader. Commdr A was a POS. Commder A spent his entire tour on a nice, safe, secure camp in Baghdad...I wonder how he would have done at some of the hellish places we went. Some called him a "Prince" I called him a "Princess."

I was just sent this blog site: http://badtoad.com/ It's by one of our Brothers who's in the big camel dung heap now. He's got the job I had hoped to get when I first joined many years ago...flying choppers.