From the Soldier side: OK, so I got some pings for not ending my Baghdad story. Before I get to that, let me mention a book that I think ALL LEADERS should read....I'm talking about team or squad leaders up to generals...and most important...the President should read this book. Leave No Man Behind. This book investigates raids and rescues from the end of WWII up to Iraq.
What I got out of it was: Be prepared, have a plan, have a back up plan, let those who'll do the mission plan the mission. Washington and people not connected to this mission need to support it, but not micro manage it. Micro managing from Washington will get the wrong people killed. Also--the leaders in the mission have to have the balls to get the mission done.
My motto in Iraq was: "We'll leave no man behind---unless we don't like you." Really, I'm not kidding!
That made my troops become team players and listen. I wouldn't want to micro manage or plan one of my team's missions if I was not going on it...
Mission: Baghdad Carpet Ride. So, I talked to the E-4 about his problem of getting the security team sergeant to let them stop and "chat" with Iraqis in Baghdad. I drafted up a plan and showed it to him. I let him look it over, make changes and ask questions since he'd never done this kind of mission before. (He wanted to stop in an area where there were lots of automotive garages and "chat"with locals.)
The street he wanted to stop on was about 2 blocks long and had auto garages on both sides. The E-4 drew a sketch of what it looked like... Now normally his team went out in three M1114 Humvees, two armed with an M249 SAW and the rear truck with a M-2 .50 cal machine gun...with everyone inside armed with either an M-4 carbine or M-203 grenade chucker ( a great weapon.) I normally carried 35 Lbs of body armor, a helmet, goggles, M-4 carbine, 9 30 round mags, a M9 9mm pistol-with 7 mags, a first aid kit, water, a frag, dog tags, a cell phone, radio, a Swiss army knife and a Emerson folder. That was a lot of crap.
For this mission, I suggested we take 2 teams, and 4 Humvees, all with machine guns and a few extra "SecFor" (Security Force) folks. He started to think we would come up with a plan that everyone would be happy with (we still had to get our "boss" to sign off on it also.) Hell, this was our damn job, but some days we had to fight our own people just to go do our duty...they never fully understood what we were doing. (mess kit repair)
So, then I asked the E-4 what he thought was our biggest threat on this mission...then make a plan to counteract it. Think what the "hajji assholeinsurgent" was going to do, then beat them. But, this was all random death--or was it? Could we plan a mission into hell, get there and come back safe?
To be cont.