31 January 2008

Are they trying to kill us, or what?

From the Soldier Side: Ok, what was my last mission I wrote about in Iraq? See, I forget stuff because I suffer from C.R.S. The VA doc said that there's nothing they can do for it....so if you know anyone who has C.R.S....help them remember stuff.

After our job in Mosoul/Telafar we got to hang out at the big PX in Baghdad and goof off for a few weeks. Did you know they have a Burger King there? Wow!

I didn't ask about any more missions so I think they forget we were there, until one day my Dumbass assistant team leader asked the boss: "Hey, when are we going on another mission?" I could have kicked him. The next day, we were on a Black Hawk to FOB Kalsu. Now, a FOB is a Forward Operating Base....which made no sense to me, since there was no "Front" in Iraq, we got hit from all directions...

So, FOB Kalsu sucked. There would only be one place I'd go later that sucked worse. The place had been run by the USMC, but a few weeks before we got there the Miss National Guard took over. I hope nobody from that unit reads this, but what a bunch of Knuckelheads (actually I don't give a shit if anyone from that unit reads this...it's the truth)

For every other mission I was sent out on, my team and I were given a pretty good places to sleep....but these guys stuck us in a crappy tent that had so many holes from mortar fragments, that when it rained, us and all our bedding was soaked...and it rained a lot when we were there. They had "KBR" chow, but it was not up to the high standards as most of the other mess halls KBR ran...it sucked.

The guys we were sent there to help out had little or no idea how to "chat" with the "customers" that were brought in. My team and I did several "chats" and were able to get lots of "stuff" but they didn't handle the "stuff" right and screwed up everything. That was frustrating as hell.

But, the one thing that really kept us excited was, every day sometime after lunch, some Hajji assholes would fire 2 mortar rounds into the camp. They always seemed to land where we had been the day before...kind of wierd. Sometimes they hit soldiers, but they usually just caused panic. I noticed the pattern, but it seemed nobody in charge had figured out what was going on...the Hajjis cowards would set up their mortar, fire 2 rounds, throw the tube in a truck and take off.

So, what do you think the response was? Well, about 15 minutes after the last round exploded, someone would hit a siren to let everyone know that we had been attacked. (trust me, if you didn't hear the mortar rounds explode, you must have already been dead.)...then everyone was supposed to run and hide in a bunker...if you could find one that didn't have a bunch of REMFS already hiding in it. Then...after about 45 minutes to an hour, they'd send up a gunship to go look for the shooters. Of course they never caught anyone....but we did...

To be cont.

26 January 2008

Justice and the KMF....

From the Cop side:Ok, so I guess I got some of my readers a little PO’d that I didn’t end this Knucklehead Meth Freak story. So, here’s

Knucklehead Meth Freak Part 3:
While I was still talking to my female victim on this case, her former boyfriend the Knucklehead Meth Freak called again – while I was standing there in her living room. The victim handed me the phone and I could hear KMF yelling: “you bitch; I’m coming over there to kill you for calling the police. You’re dead bitch, I’m going to cut your throat and kill your fu--- daughter while I’m at it….”
He hung up the phone before I could tell him to come on over. Now I really was starting to get pissed off at this guy. What a P.O.S. He was getting no quarter and going to jail if I had to track him down to the ends of the earth.

I had a plan. I told the female victim that we were going to have one or more patrol cars near her house all night. I asked her if she thought KMF would call her again, and she said: “I expect him to call all night.”
Good. I told her when he calls back again; to tell him she would meet him at the local school a few blocks away. I told her to tell him she’d meet him in the front parking lot. After he called and she told him to meet her, she was to call the police department and let us know. The victim was to stay at home, but we’d have a meeting set up for KMF.
The victim agreed to the plan and thanked me for taking the time to fix her problem. I didn’t tell her it was my joy in life to arrest people like KMF.

I called the patrol sergeant and my partner and advised them of the plan…they thought it was good. If KMF drove into the school parking lot at 10PM, we could block him in with our patrol cars and take him down. Now, keep in mind, unlike TV shows, the AVERAGE American Police Department is very small...there were only 3 of us on duty.

Now, a lot of people don’t know police work is often like a military operation. Both deal with different types of laws. In police work we have Penal Codes, Vehicle Codes but one law that is the same is Murphy’s Law. That sucker is always messing things up so things don’t work perfect.

After I had left the victim’s home, I found a good spot where I could watch the school parking lot and not been seen. After about 20 minutes, the dispatcher called us and said KMF was on his way. This is where things didn’t go the way I wanted them to. Instead of being a good boy and driving to the school, KMF drove to the victim’s home. The sergeant was waiting near by, but KMF saw the patrol car and took off.
Now, if you’ve ever known a true Meth Freak, you’ll know they tend to drive really crappy cars. This one was a 1970 something Toyota with a 4 cylinder engine. I’m sure it had been in dozens of wrecks as all the fenders were smash, it had parts falling off, no muffler, broken head and tail lights, missing lug nuts and full of crap inside.

How could someone driving such a P.O.S. think he could take on 3 highly trained cops in 250 horsepower Crown Vics’? But he did. He saw the sergeant’s car and took off. The sergeant called us to know he was “south bound on ---drive at 50 MPH” This was a road I could safely drive at 35 MPH. I drove to the intersection ahead of where KMF should show up and stopped to wait for him to come up. I miss judged his travel time and as he came around the corner, he pointed his car right for my driver’s door. Not wanting to die right then and there, I moved a little out of the way so he just missed hitting me.
My partner was approaching the intersection and I advised him where KMF turned. My partner turned his 250 horsepower Crown Vic around and set up for chase. I made a quick you turn and followed with the sergeant just behind me.

I turned onto the next main road, Butter----Road and raised my speed to 65 MPH to catch up (in a 25 MPH zone). We were in pursuit...my favorite thing of all time... My partner was new to the department, but he had several years from another agency so he was no rookie. My partner called in the turns and everything KMF hit on the way--- stop signs, parked cars, curbs, fences, etc. Their speed was hitting 75 MPH, now in a 35 MPH zone. I think that was the top speed for KMF’s car.
My partner was now entering the next town, which he didn’t know that well. I was still trying to catch up. He advised they were turning down a street into an old resort area--- a dead end.
I advised my partner to slow down as they were going to run out of road really soon. He slammed on his brakes and watched KMF going at about 55 MPH into a giant Oak tree---never touching the brakes….wham!

As I pulled up, the dust and debris was still in the air. My assumption was KMF would jump out and try to run, or he was dead. So I grabbed my 12 gauge less lethal to knock him down if he ran. I went up to the car with that big gun pointed at the occupants and lots of other cops from other departments arrived with real guns.
KMF’s mother was in the front passenger seat screaming and KMF looked like he was dead. I handed off my less lethal and opened mom’s door. The floor was full of blood from her left tibia sticking through the skin of her leg. I called for a first aid kit and stopped her from bleeding to death.
I could not get to KMF; he had hit the steering wheel with enough force to break it. There was no way I could get to him because of the shrubs and junk on the driver’s side of the car. I could hear his breathing…sounded like gurgling and not good. I didn’t make a lot of effort to get to him because I would have been cut in the process.

Our “sit around the station and polish the fire trucks” fire department got there quick. They got out all of their really cool tools and started to crack open the car so they could get to KMF. They got “mom” out and thanked be for my great bandage job on her leg. (A leg that she lost later).
For some reason the fire fighters thought that KMF needed a dramatic rescue. It looked like he had a major chest injury and difficulty breathing. So, what could be more dramatic than calling in a friggen life line helicopter?
What a waste of tax payer’s money. The bird landed and flew the POS KMF off to an emergency room 50 miles away…so I had to drive there and have blood drawn from the asshole. I charged him with as many felonies as I could think of…
The next day the hospital called and said they were releasing our dude. We sent a car to pick him up and take him forthwith to our jail.
He was let out of prison just after I returned from Iraq….so much for our justice system.

24 January 2008

Knuckelhead Meth Freak...

I'll get back to my Iraq stories soon. But after Mission Mosoul, we stayed off the commands radar for a few weeks. I think they forgot we were there. We'd get up each day, check in and see if they had a mission, then go hide out. They had nothing for 3 weeks. We still had to be in Iraq, but it was a good break. That saga will continue soon....
The Knucklehead Meth Freak caper: Part 2.
After my first contact with the KMF's former girlfriend, I made it my mission to provide extra patrols near her house on my shift. She was afraid and I didn't think anyone should have to live like that. One Wednesday after I went on shift from my days off, I got another call to her house. We hadn't heard anything from KMF for about 5 days.
The victim told me while I was on my days off, her former boyfriend asshole had followed her into the next city. He blocked her car on the road and forced her to give him her jewelry, money and purse. He told her he would kill her if she told the police. This guy was really starting to annoy me. I don't like it when guys bully women. It's one of the rare times when I could actually loose control.... but I didn't. Again we spent the rest of that night looking for Knucklehead Meth Freak.
At about midnight, I heard one of the city cops near our city saw the KMF driving by but couldn't catch up to him. I don't think they fully understood what a terrorist he really was...and he was driving on a suspended license. Aggggh! How frustrating.
This went of for a few more days. We kept getting sightings of KMF, but no cops were able to catch him. He continued calling his former girlfriend a dozen times a day... and somehow he knew not to drive into our town when I was working.
Then Saturday night came. I just came on duty and I was dispatched to the victim's house. She was ready to move out of town. She told me that her former Knucklehead Meth Freak Boyfriend had just stopped at her house. But, in a halfass attempt at something I still can't figure out, he had sent his mother to the door to talk to the victim. Now, most of us think of moms as being nice people like Hope or something...but this lady was a drug user of about 56 years of age. And, she was not a nice person.
Now, at this point, is there anyone reading this who would not want to kick KMF in the ass? I was still in control. The victim told me that KMF had called her between the time she called our police department and the time I had arrived. I started to make a plan...and a back up plan.
To be cont.

23 January 2008

OK, a Cop story....

From the Cop side: An extremely good friend asked me to tell one of my cop stories...then I'll get back to my Iraq ones.
As many of you know I've been a cop for a long time. One of the things that most cops will tell you is the most exciting thing you'll ever do as a cop is get into a vehicle pursuit. In the last few years the law makers have been trying to take that little bit of fun away from us by making us fill out so much paperwork after a little chase, that you don't want to do it anymore.
But, every once in awhile, there comes along some knucklehead who you cannot let get away... and you know you will go after him.
The other thing I could not figure out, is why would someone driving some P.O.S. 4 cylinder car with 300,000 miles and barley running think that they could out run a 250 H.P. Crown Vic with a highly trained cop driving it....
Here's one of my favorites:
I was working in a small town PD in Northern California. What we lacked in numbers, we made up for in quality of cops and determination to get the job done and good equipment. I was working the night shift, it was summer and the nights were warm. At about 8 PM (2000 hrs) I was dispatched to a complaint of a "Violation of a Domestic Restraining Order" The call on the computer screen in my car showed further info on the call...like the suspect was not there.
I arrived and went to the front door where the victim greeted me. She was very shaken and appeared to be in fear. I began doing my thing which involved figuring out what kind of crime there was and, just as important, calming the victim down.
Here's what I found. The victim's ex-boyfriend had just been released from prison. He had come by the house, followed her, called her and made threats to kill her if she didn't get back together with him. He was a Meth user and had been very violent in the past. A records check showed he'd been convicted of many crimes, including felony battery on police officers and domestic violence with great bodily harm. He was a bad dude.
Now, keep in mind, many criminals are not very bright people, a point I can prove over and over. While I was there talking to my victim, Knucklehead Meth Freak calls her. She hands me the phone and I asked: "who is this?" He told me. This call was another violation of the restraining order to which I now had a very good witness for court- ME.
I listened to Knucklehead Meth Freak rant and rave on the phone-- asking if I was the new boyfriend. He assumed I was and told me he was going to come over and kill me. After I felt I had enough information to make a good case, I told the puke who I was. He swore then hung up the phone.
I finished interviewing my victim and advised the dispatcher of the info I had to broadcast a B.O.L. for the Knucklehead Meth Freak. We spent the rest of the shift looking for him with no luck, but the guy would just not go away...but he was going to learn he had f--ed with the wrong guy.
To be cont.

22 January 2008

Free Beer: Super Bowl 2005 in Iraq

I never would have thought that I'd actually have fans who wanted to read my stories on a Blog. I guess there's so many cop shows on TV that nobody wants to hear those stories, so I'll work on the Iraq ones. So I'll continue my Mission stories. Keep in mind I had about 15 different assignments and lots of missions...so it could drag on. The good thing about this last weekend National Guard gathering is I got to see my old team from Bosnia--who I haven't seen in about 3 years.
Mission Mosoul: Part 11. As you recall we left Telafar and returned to Mosoul. We only stayed there less than a week and were ordered back to Baghdad. By the time we got home, there was just enough time to drop off our bags and walk to the mess hall. We were really in need of food as we only had cliff bars while waiting for helicopters and while flying on them.
It was a Sunday and I had totally forgotten it was also Super Bowl Sunday. When we got inside the mess hall, they had a table set up with Budweiser beer. I was shocked, since "GENERAL ORDER #1" stated: "All soldiers and civilians in Iraq at US bases will not have fun or alcoholic beverages."
The only "legal" time alcoholic beverages could be had was when a 1 Star General or above signed an order allowing it...but even then, there was a 2 drink limit. With an order signed, now here was Free Beer and it was very cold.
When I was a young soldier in Germany, I could drink several liters of real German beer. But as I got older, I drank a lot less. 2 beers would be about all it would take to make me happy.
However, after my team and I had our 2 beers, we still seemed to have a thirst.
This is when it's a good time to have friends of religions who are not allowed to drink. So I found all our Islamic Terps and asked if they had consumed their 2 beers yet. They all said: "No, I don't drink."
To which I responded with: "well, why don't you go get your 2 beers and bring them here and I'll help you out."
We did that until we ran out of friends. I lost track of how many "2 beers" I had, but I remember that the mess hall trailer seemed like it was under attack by the Navy or something as I was walking out...
And of course with my luck, the Battalion Commander and Sergeant Major were on my path to the exit. I just said: "Good night gentlemen, dinner is on me."
The next day my team and I started to get e-mails from home....everyone thought we had died or something because all the letters a care packages everyone mailed were "returned to sender, soldier unknown- Mosoul, IZ"
I was totally confused. The mail plan for us was the unit in Baghdad was supposed to hold our mail until we arrived back to base. What happened is some knuckelhead captain decided our mail was taking up too much room, so she told her clerks to forward it to us in Mosoul---without telling us so we could advise the Mosoul mail clerks. When the mail arrived in Mosoul, the clerks had no idea who we were, so all our mail was returned to the States. How do you think we felt about that? By the time I was done making fuss, I had 2 Sergeant Majors, 2 First Sergeants and several officers who wanted to talk to me. After they all had their say, I advised each one of them I would contact the Inspector General's office and let them know how our mail got all f---ed up. They all left me alone after that...
Mission Kalsu is next... AKA "Mortar Camp".

21 January 2008

We Win Wars Because......?

OK, This will be short...I have my ACU's (Army Crappy Uniform) in the wash and I have put most of my army gear away. I often ask myself:"Self, why did you re-enlist (3 times?) I know, because I'm a dumbass. The only good news from this last 5 day weekend to Camp Roberts (where they spent more money on their mission statement than on repairing the 1942 barracks) is: I won't have to go to Kosovo...for now.
The bad news? The asshole doctor who did my final med check for our SRE (Soldier Readiness Evaluation) said if I complained about my back, the National Guard might just have to kick me out.
Now, keep in mind this doctor was a Lt Col, but I very carefully said: "Sir, with all due respect, I have already been on 2 deployments and the reason I'm broken is because of the last all expense paid vacation to Iraq. Now, if the California Army National Guard can keep other broken soldiers who've never deployed, haven't taken a PT test in 7 years and never will deploy because they are friggen cowards, then do you really think they want to kick me out when I'm so close to retirement?"
What I really felt like doing was reaching across the desk and choking the living....out of the guy. But I didn't. I've been to Berlin, an Earthquake, 2 floods, a fire, a riot, drug interdiction mission, Bosnia and Iraq...if anyone out there thinks that is not enough, I will go one more time.
Now for the best laugh of the day. After our S.R.E. they took all of the soldiers who were supposed to deploy for KFOR and bussed them off for more training. We had about a dozen soldiers left over. 10 were going to our southern Calif unit, and 2 of us to the north (oh I guess about 400 miles apart.)
I asked 3 weeks ago and a few times this weekend...how were those of us not deploying this time getting home. They said: "don' t worry we have it worked out."
That scared me...(read older blog when we didn't get ammo before going to Iraq).
I asked again on Sunday...how are we getting home. "Don't worry, we've taken care of it"
So, this morning 2 buses arrived. I asked the first bus if he was going to Nor-Cal or So-Cal, he said So-Cal. The second bus was also going south. There was no bus coming to take us home.
Now, every once in a while, there comes along an Army LT worth a darn.....we were lucky one happened to be there. He started making calls.
Some knucklehead screwed up the bus order. So they had two 50 passenger buses for 10 soldiers... The LT had his own car there...he told us he'd give us a ride north...not realizing how far it really was. He lives in Near LA....so he will spend 16 hours driving and is still driving while I'm home writing this blog. That is a good leader in my book.
The soldier who screwed up the bus order should be "gut shot" and fired...but I'm sure he'll cover his mistake and shift blame and someday become a Sergeant Major because he works full time for the National Guard and is a protected person.
We win wars because we deal with chaos everyday... When I find out who was responsible for us almost getting left behind, he will wish he had simply died.
Thanks HOPE, Thanks GRUMPY, Thanks Katana and Special thanks to "J" for praying I'd not have to go again... it really helped. But, there are a few of my really really good friends who also have 2 deployments behind them who may be going...because they want to. So they'll be "Tripple Vets". Will I feel bad for not going with them? Not one bit...but I'll support them from home this time.

16 January 2008

I'll be off the "net" for a bit

The CI-Roller will be off the NET for up to a few weeks... I'll find out this weekend if I have to go spend a year in Kosovo... not that this dude has any fears from the little trolls there, but I do have a life and I think 2 deployments for some old National Guard puke like myself is enough...
I will continue my Iraq war stories when I return...as Camp Roberts, CA doesn't even have decent running water much less Internet... It's like a 4th world country.
I'll leave my trusty M- 4 behind and do the "Paper push" for a bit and see if they think my injuries are enough to keep me home for this game.
Take care, and if you wanna e-mail me, it's at the top of the blog page...just don't expect me to answer for awhile....
Peace through superior knowledge....

15 January 2008

Yeah, it rains in Iraq!

The funny thing about posting a blog...you get to meet new people...some very very good people in this case. For those regular readers, you know Sgt Grumpy and I have known each other for years and we served together in Bosnia (SFOR 14). I've also met other really good people, who for OP SEC reasons, I won't name. Now Grumpy, when you read this, remember if you get hurt, I'm going to kick your ass!
Now, should I continue with my story? Well, I will anyway. What part was I at...I lost track, oh lets say---
Mission Mosoul/Telafar part 10: It's like shoveling sand on the beach Dude!
The more "customers" we talked to in our little operation, the more the Stryker dudes went out and got more. Sometimes they would be looking for one terrorist, and happen to grab someone else...when we looked into it...the terrorist grabbed at random was sometimes more interesting than the guy they were looking for. However, they Iraqis do have a long hatred for some..it's all about tribes and family feuds...hatred that can go on for years.
One day a patrol goes out and starts talking to locals. The standard question was something like: "have you seen any bad guys?"
So one day they're walking through this village and knock on the door to this house...ask the standard question...and the lady points to the house next door and says: "There's a bad guy in there." Further questioning (at the grunt level) revealed that when asked if this guy was the person planting IEDs 15 miles away, the lady said: "yep, that's him...he's bad."
So the Stryker dudes go arrest Abu Oldman and bring him in. Now, I'm not kidding...this guy was older than mud...he was at least 65 years old..half blind, had all kinds of medical problems, walking with a cane, couldn't hear...about ready die any second.
But somehow, everyone thought this guy was walking 15 miles in the night (30 miles round trip) and planting bombs all by himself. After having a "chat" with him, I found out he had accidentally run over his neighbor's sheep 20 years ago and they still hated him for it.
And that's what we had to work with. After a short time, we "popped smoke" (left) and flew back to Mosoul. Just in time for the first "free elections" in Iraq in about 30 years... I still have some of the election ballots from Mosoul. While were were back in Mosoul...we did some things for some "company" that I'll maybe be able to write in my book some day...
Then, the best part is....
to be cont. We were a Mobil Team after all...

14 January 2008

Send in the Strykers!

Well, I hope you all had a good weekend. I read Sgt Grumpy's blog today, so I feel better knowing his pain and suffering are just as sucky as mine was. Grumpy, there's no gravity in IRAQ, it just SUCKS. If you can read Doonsberry from Sun the 13Jan, you'll understand better.
Mission Mosoul Part 9: I had some complaints that I hadn’t continued with my story, so here we go. I am pretty sure later this week I won’t even be able to get on the Internet due to some Army stuff…but back to our last mission.
I returned to the “other” camp at Mosoul…to be honest, I can’t even remember most of the names of the camps I went to…but I should have written a tour guide book for travelers. When I got back, my team mates and I were shown where an Iraqi rocked or mortar round had landed in a sleeping trailer near our inner compound. Luckily the Joe was out taking a shower at the time and only suffered the loss of all his gear, and not his life. The round destroyed everything in his room… aluminum and plastic trailers have no Kevlar to stop anything.
Wow, that was scary. I’m sure I would have wet my pants if I had been nearby, but I’ll tell you a secret, God does watch over me. My team never wanted to be far from me again after that.
We walked to the mess hall and had lunch and coffee while I told them of our next job. It was going to be just us on this "job". So we re-packed our gear and took another First Class Passenger flight to a place called Telafar on another US Army Black Hawk.

Once there, we unloaded our gear and were greeted by a young first LT. He had a cargo humvee that he said was ours. He got us rooms and then I reported to the head shop. I met with their S(XXX) and looked to see what they had. I told him we would get started right after our meeting. The LT came back and showed where our “customers” were waiting to chat with us….. we had a lot of customers.
I studied the files and told my team to set up our work areas….they didn’t need micro managing…they knew what to do. Within a few hours we had our operations area set up and ready for customers.
Then I sorted out which customers got to see us first…. What a mess. It took me a little longer than I thought it would take, but we had our business going. The files of the folks we were there to help were not in good order.

I can’t say much more, read between the lines, but we did have a lot of customers to get stuff from…and we started to put together more “product” so the Stryker guys could get more customers. It was a good business….
We talked to a lot of customers....then about our 4th or 5th day there, we got to experience what being in Iraq is all about....random mortar rounds. We had just completed our work for the day when we drove back to our trailers to get ready for dinner. Then BOOM! I mean really loud BOOM...loud enough to make you want to cry for mommy kind of BOOM. Then gravel and debris started to rain down on our trailers.
I ran out the door and yelled for my guys to get in the bunker...but no more rounds came in. Just a random one. How close you ask? Too friggen close when gravel and crap lands on you. But nobody was hit.
to be cont.

11 January 2008

They're a Soup Sandwich....

I promise I'll get back to telling my mission to Mosoul/Telafar story soon...but I had to answer a question first...yes, this is for you're enjoyment, and you can be sure I'm have more fun than anyone.
When asked: "CI-Roller Dude, what is a Soup Sandwich?" I have to answer with it can be a few things...or people.
When somebody kept messing up, we'd say:" That Soldier is a Soup Sandwich" Why? Well think about what a mess that would be. (I couldn't get myself to waste a perfectly good can of soup for this photo, so I just stuck the can between the bread so you'd get the general idea. I might have to eat it later.)
What else or who else could be a Soup Sandwich....think of young Private Snuffy... he/ she has just gotten his / her first girl/boy friend. They usually can't concentrate, they are late for formations, they forget what they're doing...they kind of walk around in a daze.
I know a few people like that...Right now, today....
So, for you leaders out there.... make sure you find out why your troops are a Soup Sandwich before you try to correct the problem... that way, you'll make sure you're fixing the right problem....
(Notice, no actual cans of soup or bread were injured in the making of this post... )
Have a friggen lovely weekend.... I get to find out this week if I'm going on my 3rd deployment....

10 January 2008

Be safe with that or I'm going to......

From the Cop and Soldier side:
No Negligent Discharges on MY TEAM! If you’ve been reading this site for awhile, you know I’m a cop and a part time soldier…in both jobs I teach people how to shoot and handle weapons better. We just went through some advanced officer training this week. We learned some new & improved tactics for going after bad guys with guns who are in a building. This was some of the best training I’ve ever been to, but what a lot of new shooters don’t understand is we wouldn’t have gotten 10 feet into the building without knowing how to be safe with our weapons. Even though we were only using Simunitions (very expensive paint ball guns) we have to train as we'll fight...in both jobs.
In Bosnia, I had a knucklehead on my team for a short time. After he demonstrated his lack of skills with his pistol, I wouldn’t let him ever load it again when we went out….and as a matter of fact I told him to give me his ammo if we got into a gun fight. Tough crap if he didn’t like it, but his own team mates were more likely to get shot than any bad guy.
In Iraq there was a Sergeant Major from a National Guard unit…I won’t name names…but he said “If anyone in this unit has a negligent discharge, I’m giving them an Article 15” (which is a fine and possible reduction in rank) This Sergeant Major was there to get medals…so for a few convoys, he decided that he was going to man the .50 cal M2 machine gun. There was only one problem…he was not qualified on that weapon and as it turned out, he didn’t understand how it worked.
The first thing you do with any weapon is always keep it pointed in a safe direction…always treat a weapons as if it is loaded…keep your finger off the trigger until or unless you have to fire. There are no exceptions to the rules. If you violate them on my team, I will kick your ass. The Sergeant Major was in the turret of a Humvee one day…they drove out of the camp, and everyone charged their weapons. The Sergeant Major opened the feed tray, laid the belt in the feed pawl, closed the tray. Pulled the charging handle to the rear- twice, then pressed the trigger..Now why he pressed the trigger I have no idea.......and BANG.
He followed rule #1, but failed to keep his finger off the trigger…On the .50 cal, the trigger is at the rear of the weapon…it looks like a butterfly, there is no safety on the standard Army vehicle mounted model. OK, he did it once, then a few days later, he did it again. He was lucky that the weapon was pointed at the Hesco barrier and not another soldier or vehicle...or he would have killed someone. I would have tossed his ass into the Palace Lake the first time, but I guess none of the NCOs on those trips had the spheres to do it….and he never got an Article 15. What a knucklehead.
So, are you going to be SAFE, or a get your ass kicked by your team leader?

09 January 2008

Weapons Stash...now that's more than I have in my...

From the Soldier side: (should I just give up putting anymore cop stuff on here?)
One of the things I told the troops in Iraq who came back with what they called a "weapons cache"....it wasn't a weapons cache unless they had more weapons than I had in my garage back home. Can you identify all the weapons in these photos? Of course almost everywhere I went, there was at least on chromed AK-47..
Mission Mosoul, Part 8: The saga continues:
After my interview with Major “Ranger dude” I was told to report to the camp “taxi” the next morning for a ride to the other camp. They wanted me to talk to some other folks.
The “taxi” was the new Stryker armored vehicle. Now, for those of you who know me, I used to be a track commander in an M113 Armored Personal Carrier –many years ago.
A Stryker is nothing like an M113…a Stryker is like riding in a nice car, with no windows. But, they do have a TV screen inside so you can see what’s in front.
I jumped in this beast and they left the camp going what seemed like 100 miles an hour, but I’m sure it wasn’t that fast in retrospect…but it seemed fast.
We got to the other camp and I got out…figured out where I needed to go, and got there.
I found the big wigs I was supposed to meet and they told me more about Telafar. It seemed they needed a team like mine there…but to work totally independent from the command. As a matter of fact, they wrote up orders that made me totally in charge and clearly stated that nobody there could direct me what to do. I had no idea what kind of crap that was going to stir up.
I had chow at the “other” camp, then boarded a Stryker taxi the next day for a ride back to the other camp.

(Oh, P, how many guns can you pick out?)

To be cont---

08 January 2008

What kind of gun is that?

For a young person from TX: What kind of gun is this? It looks like a WWII German MG 42, but it's really a Yugoslavian M53 in 8MM. It is just like a gun I found in Telafar, Iraq. (Bosnia is in part of what used to be Yugoslavia)
OK, on to Mission Mosoul, Part 7: After my meeting with the wicked witch, you recall I called back to Baghdad. Some readers couldn't believe that this witch was really as mean as she was...I actually toned it down...she was in fact yelling and screaming at us. If I had found her on the streets back home as a police officer, I would have transported her forthwith to the county mental health hospital for a mental eval.
The day after our "discussion" I went to the witch's office. She said" There's a major from ---- who's on his was here. He wants to talk to YOU."
I was a little surprised....but within 10 minutes, an Army Major walked in the door. He looked like a poster child for the US Army, tabs and combat patch, airborne and all.
He asked if there was an office where he and I could talk, and I looked at the witch. She got up and said: "here, use mine and walked out."
The Major and I had a long talk...it turned out to be a job interview of sorts. We were not going to have to work with the wicked witch after all...oh joy!
To be cont. Mission to Telafar, IZ

06 January 2008

Who takes care of them now?

From the CITIZEN side: Today I went to church...yeah, I know, I'm going to hell anyway, so why bother. I friend of mine was there, he was home on leave. He is an honest to God friggen war hero in my book. He went to Iraq last year...I remember talking to him just before his (Regular Army) unit shipped out. He was very proud of himself. A very positive, eager happy young man. He heard I'd been to Iraq and asked me lots of questions.
He deployed with a platoon of 35...there were only 9 of them left. He's been wounded so many times...he has a wrecked back, no vision in one eye, parts of an RPG round still in his leg, and not Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, but a Major one I'd say. His unit continued to send him out even after he said his vision was blurry and he had bad headaches. They finally sent him back to the states...where he had to wait over a month to see a doctor about his head injuries.
Now the Army may discharge him. I explained what he should do to insure he gets medical benefits and other benefits.... They'll just toss him away.... It's happened for over 200 years-- don't think the military takes care of the injured once they are no longer able to work. He thinks the VA will help him...but it'll take him months to get into the VA system when he's discharged.....
Keep this in mind next time someone wants to take us to war.
Mission Mosoul will cont later, I just had to get this out of my system.

05 January 2008

Just give em' that look, the death look....

From the Soldier Side: Some are going to die!
Another soldier died...and another....and another. Did you know any of them? I've lost count, but I knew a few of them...
What was my "real " job in Iraq? To keep soldiers alive. I didn't go out and pull the trigger, but I provided the info to those who did...and a few times I went with them to make sure they got it right. I'm sad to report, it was usually "catch up" and not "preventive medicine" that we dealt out. Too many times we were going after the bad guys after they got one or more of ours...
Mission Mosoul, Part 6: After I told the wicked witch what I thought, I gave her that "look". That look is something I've taken over 20 years to prefect. It's the look I use when I'm talking to a criminal...it's the look that they can't tell who or what they're dealing with... and they wonder if I just might reach across the table and.......
I thought the witch was going to start crying... maybe it would have helped her. She started to tell us about the mess hall bombing...it killed some soldiers that she knew. OK, I can understand her being upset, but not with someone who's there to help.
We discussed what hours my team would work, and the conversation was over. I went to where we were going to sleep, pulled out my Sat Phone and called Baghdad....I gave them a run down on the psychotic evil wicked witch we had to work with.
Things took a big turn for the "different" the next day...
to be cont.

04 January 2008

Mud Pit-Mosoul, IZ

From the Soldier side: If anyone thinks they’re going to a military leadership school and learn how to be a real leader, then you’re smokin’ dope. The best way to be a good leader is to have had worked for a good leader. In my military and police lives I’ve had that luxury. What does being a good leader boil down to? Getting your job done, taking care of your people and getting them home alive. If you think it’s about getting a good OER (Officer Evaluation Report) or a NCOER, then you are going to fail. In Iraq, I couldn’t give a sh—about my NCOER.

Mission Mosoul, Part 5. After the Wicked Witch of Mosoul ran around the place we were supposed to work, she wanted to have a meeting with my #2 and myself. We sat in a room and closed the door. I took a look at her M-16A2 rifle. It was so dirty I’m sure it would have malfunctioned. How could this senior NCO let her equipment and herself get to such a poor condition? NCOs were supposed to lead by example. She was a train wreck.
We sat down, got a cup of coffee (she was nice enough to share coffee) then she asked what experience my team and I had at doing what we were there for. I told her about the training my guys had been to. I told her I’d been a cop for 25 years, and we just left Fallujah, where we helped the Marines with XXX number of ----- jobs.
She said: “Well, civilian police work doesn’t count…and the Marines have no idea what they are doing.”

That was it…I lost my cool…but remained professional. I said: “How many years where you in law enforcement? None? Well then you have no idea how much alike these missions really are. And, don’t say anything bad about the USMC, they were the best. If you don’t want my team here, I’ll get on the phone now and have us on the next flight to Baghdad. Should I make a call?”
She sat down and looked pale…more pale than usual… she was speechless for a few minutes.
Whilst this conversation was going on, my #3 hid her broom so she couldn't fly anymore.

To be cont.

03 January 2008

Who would help you?

From the Soldier and Cop side: Do you have a friend or family member that you would run into a burning building to save? If you couldn’t think of anyone, then maybe you suck. In life we all have to be a leader one day… that could be leading a family, at a civilian job, or soldiers in a war. If you have nobody you’d save, then there may not be anyone to ever “save” you when you need it.
As an Army leader, one of my duties was to always make sure my troops ate before I did… even if I didn’t get to eat. Many times in Iraq I sent my guys to the mess hall (sorry, I’ll never use the term DFAC) to eat. Some of those times they went and realized that due to my work, I was not going to get a meal…so they picked up food and brought it back to me. I took care of them, and they took care of me. If this doesn’t make sense, I can’t help you.
(today's photos: The house fire happened whilst I was on patrol...nobody liked the guy who lived there, so nobody ran in to save him... too bad he was out when it happened. The vehicle is a Stryker...what a ride!)

Mission Mosoul: Part 4: Meeting the Wicked Witch of Mosoul.
The POS Humvee made it to the building we were going to work. My team and I unloaded our gear, secured our weapons and I walked inside to meet our new temporary leader. (Oh, if I haven’t said, at this time of my deployment I had a “MOBIL---- TEAM”, so we were going to a lot of places.)
I entered the building and asked for the person in charge. I was guided to a small office, and inside I found a very overweight, ---Sergeant. She was out of uniform and had on a very dirty food stained thermal underwear shirt…her belly was hanging out the bottom. Her hair was like a bird’s nest, and she looked like an escaped mental patient. I introduced myself and my team and said we were there to help. She said:“I don’t know why they sent another Mobil----Team. The last one was useless, they couldn’t write reports, I have no use for the National Guard. I was an instructor at Ft H for --- years.”

I looked at this mess and did my best to control my temper. I did think about just smacking the shit out of her…but I was a professional. I’d let the crack about the National Guard go…for now.
I just stood there and smiled…. Then I said: "Well, do you have someone who can show us around and we’ll get started.”
She got up off her fat ass and walked out the door…saying: “Follow me.” I had to run to catch up as did the rest of my team. During the entire tour, she had nothing but bad comments to make about us and said she didn’t need us.

To be cont.

02 January 2008

The food's better in Iraq!

From the soldier side: One of the things that really sucks about getting called up for deployment is, among man other things, the food. Here is an actual picture of what we were served while training in the States for deployment to Bosnia. For some reason the National Guard and Reserve camps in the US serve food that is so bad, you often don't even want to eat. The food in Iraq and Bosnia was 100 times better! No shit!
(the photo on the left is a real meal from some camp, the meat is "multi meat" they take a mix of crap, and call it whatever they need that day. The photo on the right is my "terp" and me at Mosoul, Iraq.)

Mission to Mosoul Part 3:

We flew the "Sherpa" from Balad to Mosoul, Iraq. It landed with most of it's parts and we got off. I walked to the flight ops building and put a call into the folks we were going to work with. A few minutes later, a battered Humvee rolled up. I had never seen a Humvee in such bad shape and still roll. One front wheel was so bent, that the thing wobbled and shook as it rolled. The windshield had bullet holes, and the body actually had rust. How did fiberglass have rust?
What a P.O.S. Everything wrong with this vehicle could be fixed, but it appeared whoever was using it didn't care. Not a good sign.
We dumped our gear in back, and at great risk to our lives, we climbed inside....for a short ride across the camp to the "place" we'd be working...maybe.

To be cont.

01 January 2008

I should have joined the Air Force!

From the Soldier side: Happy New Year!
Mission Mosul, part 2: Nobody got airsick as we flew on north. The problem with anything that flys through the air, is sooner or later it has to come down for fuel and stuff. We made a few stops, but nobody else got on our bird...then we landed at BALAD, Iraq.
Balad was a multi service camp, it had a big Air Force Base. Now, as most people don't know, the Air Force has good stuff...the best food, barracks, golf courses and stuff like that. When the Air Force builds a new base, they build the flight line and a golf course. Then they ask for more money to build the rest.
We landed and had to spend the night, so I was given a contact for a local "unit" who would put us up for the night. They sent a young Spec 4 out he helped load all our stuff in his vehicle....then he asked us what we wanted for dinner... mess hall or Burger King. I hadn't eaten a Burger King burger in months...so guess where we went.
We slept well that night, and the next morning we went to another part of the flight line and looked for something called a "Sherpa" airplane. It was the first time I'd ever heard of such a plane...and when I saw one, I was sure it wouldn't fly. Think of a giant box with wings and propellers... This is what we flew to Mosul..... What a trip!
To be cont.