31 October 2008

This was really scarr..........ahhhhhhh!!!!

From the Soldier side: One night in Iraq....Baghadad to be exact.... There I was on Camp (XXXXX) when I had to walk in the pitch black from my room to the "office." The camps did not have any lights on outside the buildings for obvious reasons (well, if you can't figure it out, no lights outside so the insurgents couldn't zero in on us with a sniper shot or something.)

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

The BADDDD LT...cont...

From the Soldier side: Sorry I've been so busy...training a new cop at work and all. Good part of that is that he's pretty bright. In the past, I've had a few who were dumber than a box of rocks.
Well, to get back to that story of the crappy LT we had in Baghdad...As I was stuck in the office on light duty, I had to look at her everyday. I think I was able to give her that "look" that I might kill someone if they messed with me....I'm not really sure if that's what got her to stop buggin' me or what.
...but she still wanted to go "outside the wire" on a mission or two. Great...all we needed was for a brand new officer to go out and try to take over the mission. So, I had talked to the company commander, and our "mission control" person. They agreed with me, that if she was going to go out, she was not going to be in charge...of anything. She would just be a passenger.
So, I set up a date. I'd have her ride in the back seat of the last humvee in the convoy...with no chance to talk on the radio or to be able to do anything else to screw things up.
I explained it to her one morning...."Mam, I convinced the CO to let you go in a mission. You know that you're very important and they can't afford to loose you, or have you captured...or anything like that...."
She was eating my BS up. She was so excited to be able to go. But I was still worried that she'd hurt someone. The normal procedure for going on a convoy was:
1.) you had to be put on the convoy manifest
2.) it had to be approved etc
3.) before any convoy, you had to go through the training on our procedures for things like getting killed and all.
4.) make sure you were qualified on your weapon etc.
As the convoys drove out the gate, they would "lock and load" their weapons. In this case, I told the LT to just put a magazine in her M-16 and not put a round in the chamber. (everyone else had a round in the chamber.) I didn't trust her to not have a negligent discharge in the humvee. (I'm a good judge of people in this respect....comes from running police and army weapons ranges for so many years...I can see it in their eyes)
So, the dumbass LT got to go on a little convoy ride...just to the "Green Zone" in Baghdad...about the safest place you could go at that time. She came back and acted like she was a big ass combat vet. Then I told her: "Mam, some of these guys have done this over 150 times since they've been here. You've done it once, just to the "Green Zone" so calm down."
Then she asked where I'd been. After I told her, she learned to shut up.
She got sent home a week after that. Turns out she was "with child". That was the best day in Iraq...we had a party the day she flew out of Baghdad airport.
I'll tell you about "her" replacement in my next posting.... (if I don't see comments, I don't know if anyone is reading this crap.)

23 October 2008

We fought for your rights, please use them....

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


From the Soldier side: So...to continue with my story of the bad LT... this story made me think of the motto our National Guard battalion Sergeant Major came up with for the Iraq deployment... something about..."fit to fight."
I started asking: "Who's Fit to Lead?"
This new LT we had in Baghdad when I returned was really becoming a pain. The first day I reported to work in the office (I was on 3 weeks light duty for a little boo-boo I had) she showed up before the teams were getting ready to roll out and she had no idea what or where they were going. The senior NCO in the office tried to help her out, but she began yelling at him-- in front of all the troops. This is something that is just not done...you never belittle someone in front of everyone else...and you never do it to your senior NCOs! I was quickly learning what kind of idiot she was. She wanted to call off the missions for the day because she had not gotten herself up to speed as to what we were actually doing....
She had just arrived in Iraq...the rest of us had been there for 7 months...some of us had been to lots of bad places and done lots of things...and here she was brand new.
My only fear was that she would get someone killed. That's something you don't want to do...do something to get one of my people killed. I'll never forgive you if you do.
After the teams rolled out my first day back... I was alone with her in the office. There was the Palace lake near by...a few cess pools....several canals and creeks...a person could fall into anyone of these places and never be found.
The LT started yelling at me...I looked at her and very calmly said: "Mam, you really have no idea what you're doing do you? If you want help, I'll help you...I can be your best friend...or...."
She didn't know how to respond. She did stop talking... then she asked me what I had done during the deployment so far.... I told her.
PS-- I heard a bit on the news yesterday..about the ALASKA National Guard returning from Iraq and they were not set up to help their troops after the deployment. The news made it sound like that was the only friggen state that's had that problem. When our CA guard unit returned in Nov 2005, I asked how we go about getting enrolled into the VA for medical treatment, etc.... Nobody knew. I asked lots of people and it took over a year after I returned before I found out how. Our full time leaders in that unit were no longer worried about us when we got home... They were Not Fit to Lead. So, all I can say to the troops from ALASKA...don't think you're the only orphans.

06 October 2008

I went to OIF & all I got was....

From the Soldier side: I've learned one thing about being in the Calif Army National Guard....just when you think everything is working OK, the higher ups decide to re-organize things. I've been in a few units where this has happened.
The big problem? You have to figure out new leaders, and soldiers below you. Sometimes you can figure them out in a few hours...or a few months. The problem is you only see them for a few days each month. The bigger problem is you have to prove yourself all over again... I'm so happy I can retire in a few years.
So, this last weekend, after things were re-organized, I still ended up in the slot I held before...but now I actually have a brand new 2nd LT for a platoon leader. I'm not used to having a new LT.... we've been so short of officers since the wars started---seems nobody with any brains wants to join the National Guard I guess.
So, I have to train another officer who's actually younger than my own kids. Great.
So, I started by telling him the story of the brand new 2nd LT who came to Iraq to work with us:
We had already been on deployment for 7 months...we'd had one KIA and several WIA. My team and I had just flown back from the Syrian border--where we had no running water or decent food for weeks. We needed to re-fit, shower, clean weapons and equipment and collect our mail.
I explained to her that when we returned from a job (mess kit repair) we usually had the next day back off so we could prep for the next job. She said: "I want you in the office in the morning at 0600 hrs. We're not having any days off anymore...there's a war on and we need to work harder....we'll work from 0600 to 2300 everyday."
Oh my God! At this point in the "war" most units gave their people one day off a week. That day off might vary, as it did with our teams, but you could not go a whole year in that shithole without days off...the human body just needed time to recover. There were times I was there (like the battle of Fallujah) where we worked 7 days a week...but at this point in time, there was nothing that dramatic going on....just a very young, stupid, over eager new 2nd LT who wanted to get a Silver Star or some crap.
I bit my tongue...and didn't say much. She had formed some reason to think my team and I were dirt-bags. I never said anything to correct this concept she came up with...I would just have to prove myself one more time. This LT was going to really piss me off.....
To be cont.