28 September 2008

This idea might save a few milion $$

From the Soldier side: As many of you know, several months ago I was on the list of soldiers in my unit to go to Kosovo. Yes, we still have some American Soldiers there. Why, I don' t know. I didn't have to go because there were lots of youngsters who had never been deployed anywhere yet....and thought this would be a good mission to "learn" how to do our job...(mess kit repair.)
However, they seem to have me on the "alternate" list for the next mission...this would be the Calif. Army National Guard 40th ID (Infantry Division) who'd be going. If I went, I'd be repairing mess kits....like I did in Bosnia and sort of like I did in Iraq--but without the tan clothes and body armor.
So, I've been "pinging" some of my mates who're in Kosovo right now...trying to get the good intel on what's going on so we can better prepare.
Each soldier is sending me an e-mail from different locations and offices---most don't know I've asked everyone what's up.... and they all say pretty much the same thing.
"It's like a European Vacation --but you get paid tax free." (in other words, it's a waste of time)
"Nobody in command seems to have any idea what's going on outside the camp."
"It seems like one command group is fighting with the other---and neither knows what's going on ."
Should I tell them that this is normal? A WWII Nazi General said: "The US Army does so well in war because the deal with Chaos everyday."
The main problem the US Military has now on deployments is the leaders are trained not for war, but for how to do stuff in a non-war environment. In both Bosnia and Iraq, we had to stop missions ( I mean real live things that needed to be done) so we could come in and fill out things like evaluation reports....or sit a listen to a class on affirmative action ( we had almost every race, religion as well as male and females on most missions -- I think we were very diverse and gave everyone and equal chance to die in Iraq!)
One night in Iraq, I was woken up at midnight...to come see the 1st Sergeant. All the NCOs were brought in. It seemed the asshole Sergeant Major didn't like the way some of the NCO Evaluation Reports (NCOERs) were filled out. He had taken a nap during the hot afternoon. Then woke up at 8 PM and began looking at the forms. He was so upset, that he had called all the 1st Sergeants and began his little fit. So, my fellow NCOs and me sat up for 3 hours checking the forms over (my stuff was squared away)...then got up at 5 am to go out on mission in Baghdad....while the REMF Sergeant Major slept in .
I can't wait to retire and get a prescription for medical marijuana and make the last 30 years a blurrrrrrr......

21 September 2008

When told to go...then GO!

From the Citizen Soldier side: As most of my readers know, I've been involved in a few things in my life. Or motto we came up with when I was in the Calif Army National Guard Engineers was: "The four seasons of the Cal Guard- Floods, Fires, Earth Quakes & Riots."
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 Disssasster Strikes.... Who has to stay around?

From the Cop side: Hurricane Ike created a giant mess in Texas. This is one time I wish my National Guard unit would call me so I could go help. I have experience. I have training. I've been to 2 floods, a fire, an earthquake, a riot, and a war (and Bosnia, but that just had landmines and bad drivers)...but when it's your home...it's different. I've been lucky...my home has always been safe.
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

Once it was a good idea...then it went to h....

From the Soldier side: If you were interested in firearms in the 1980's...then you might recall the US Military effort to find a replacement for the 1911 A1 .45 ACP. All of the services got together (in spirit anyway) and said they wanted a 9mm semi auto pistol to replace the .45. They came up with a list of requirements for safety, durability, ease of use, etc and put the word out to all the gun makers to "Make it this way!"
Colt, Smith & Wesson and a few other companies could not come up with anything worth a hoot...it took 2 foreign countries to build pistols that would meet what the US military needed.
This was a good idea...except for a minor point... why 9mm? Since the military is forced to use FMJ (that means full metal jacket) loaded to a useless velocity...where as if they'd stuck with a BA.45 (Big Ass .45) they'd at least have a big chuck of lead flying at the target...oh well...N.A.T.O. thought the 9mm was better....so we got stuck with it.
OK, so the US Army did the testing...and I have to say...no other handgun or weapon was ever tested as hard as in this test. They dropped them in mud...they dropped them in sand...they froze the guns, they heated them up, they did everything they could and which pistol won?
The Beretta Model 92F...now called the M9. It IS A GOOD GUN. I know, I carried one as a cop by choice for several years and I carried one in Bosnia and Iraq. The only reason I don't still use one for police work is I can now carry a .45 auto! If I was limited to only a 9mm, I'd carry the Beretta.
So...now my National Guard Unit is getting re-organized. (all so a LTC would have a job) and they re-organized weapons. We now have the Sig M-11 9mm pistol. This is not the first time I've seen these. They are a somewhat more compact version of a 9mm pistol (4 inch barrel compared to the M9's 5 inch barrel)...but as some units found out too late when going to Iraq...the M9 and the M11 use different magazines....totally different! One will not work in the other...no way. I saw a few officers take M9 magazines, fully load them, then when they were heading outside the "wire" in Iraq...tried to shove them into their M11 pistol. Oh shit!
The M11's are supposed to be for "special" people. But if I have to deploy again, please give me an M9---unless I can take a .45... and very few officers should be given firearms in the first place.

11 September 2008

7 Years ago today...Sep 11, 2001

From the Soldier side: 7 years ago today I was doing my morning work out when I got a phone call telling me to turn on the news. That was the point where the second plane was crashing into the second tower in New York City.
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

A Gov Agency more screwed up than a .....

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

Republik of What????

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.