31 December 2009

Battle of Fallujah, (where the streets have no names) 31 Dec 04


From the Soldier side: One of the best parts about my One Year Deployment to Iraq (where we were actually on active duty for 15 months, 3 months of which were totally useless off the wall training) was that I got to travel around a lot. One of the worst parts of my Iraq deployment was we got to travel around alot.  (think: "Inside camp safe. but outside the camp bad.")
When we first got to Baghdad in early December 2004, we sat around on our ass for a few days when the company commander told me to get my team ready to move out the next day. I asked: “Where to sir?”

He said: “You’re going to a place called Fallujah.”


We replaced another small Regular Army team that was attached to the 1st Marine Division. I’ve talked about this in older postings (which by popular demand I’ll leave up for awhile).


However, New Year’s Eve 2004 was something else. The US Military was allowing the good citizens of Fallujah to return to what was left of the city. However, there was no electrical power. No power, no lights. No problem for the US Army Artillery attached to the Marines. They had 155 MM self propelled guns that could fire Illumination (Flare) rounds to light up the night. And they did.

And all the street signs had been take down!  "Where the Streets had no names, use GPS!"

                                             Here's a picture without my face blacked out

When you call for artillery fire it’s called a “Fire Mission” and let me tell you this was an awesome night. You could read the news paper whilst standing outside.
I’ve put some links below to see what the 155 MM gun looks like and for info on the 2nd Battle of Fallujah. I was there and I got the T-shirt.  (and that's today's history lesson)
Happy New Year and when you flip on the light switch, think how lucky we are.

See note below:

155 MM cannon
http://www.inetres.com/gp/military/cv/arty/M109.html

Battle of Fallujah, Iraq

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Battle_of_Fallujah

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallujah_during_the_Iraq_War

http://home.comcast.net/~ejwoodall/Battle_of_Fallujah.html

http://www.talkingproud.us/Military042805A.html

NOTE: For a friend:

As a Soldier and Cop, and in my own life, I've seen a lot of death.  I've had good friends and family die.   I've tried to save a life and their blood ran out on the ground.  I've given CPR a dozen times. This is one of the biggest stress things you may ever deal with in life.  It is never easy.   What you need to survive:
1.) Know it's OK to cry and be sad

2.) Find somebody to talk to about this...somebody who will listen
3.) Keep the good memory of that person forever, never forget them
4.) It takes time, but time heals things. 
I hope this may help ~ CI Roller Dude

30 December 2009

Clean up time


From the Editor: I've been doing this blog since Sep 2007. I've started going back and looking through my early postings...and feel it's time to clean them up. I'm deleting all the old postings. But I'll save some to re-write and re-post later when I run out of shit to write about. I have no idea what some of my readers think if you don't leave a comment from time to time. If I write crap, let me know. Try to keep the comment on the topic for the day. Remember, you're the customer and we aim to please. (not really, I write for my own therapy) I do try to be funny, but I'll warn you when something about soldiers getting killed or wounded is coming up so you may want to skip that one if you're not up to it.
I had a good friend killed in Iraq a month before I got there. I had another good friend killed half way through my tour. I also had about 8 fellow soldiers wounded pretty bad. I write about war sometimes. Remember, war sucks.

Coming soon:More Streets with no names- in Iraq
Happy New Year Fallujah 31 Dec 2004
Hey, they forgot to get us ammo!
and more adventures of the CI Roller Dude

I'd like to thank Sergeant Grumpy http://blog.sergeantgrumpy.com/ who's blog inspired me to start mine. Grumpy and I were in Bosnia together. There's also been many others who I've made friends with over the last 2 years...Thank you.

UPDATE: And for one of my favorite things I've done this last year, and my face ain't blacked out... check out my blog from:

18 June 2009
http://ci-roller.blogspot.com/2009/06/more-fun-than-barrel-full-of.html

29 December 2009

Getting the Truth!




From the Soldier side:
One of my duties whilst deployed to both Bosnia and Iraq was to find the "truth" about things. This was a skill I had also learned in my civilian police job. It's not always about finding a guilty person, but finding the truth!
The news media has reported things like "water boarding" and other nasty methods. I can say I never witnessed anything like this. Below is a short video of an Insurgent being questioned. See how this method is not working! (this guy looks like a real insurgent!)

Oh yeah, stop the music to the left before you play the video or you won't hear what's being said.

Update: People keep asking how "D" is doing (from a few post back.) Forget about him, he's a retard.





video

28 December 2009

Where the Streets have no names…. Use GPS grid coordinates

From the Soldier side: It’s kind of funny what jars my memories these days. It might be a song, or a conversation or in this day of high tech- reading another blog. I didn’t realize how many postings I’ve done since I started this about 2 years ago. One year I wrote about the BAR (Browning Automatic rifle) I wanted


for Christmas and some really nice lady said she was going to check the gun stores where she lived. I thought that was extremely nice of her to do that.



But on with today’s topic of conversation. Why is it that some really screwed up places I’ve been sent to have no street signs? In Bosnia , there were almost no street signs anywhere…even in the bigger cities. When we went to visit with some local, we had to be able to find the place without using a map.


Usually it was passed on from the last rotation…or somebody would describe how to get there: “Go up the road past the traffic light in Uglivk, then turn right at the next intersection. Drive past the coffee shop that’s still blown up until you get to a blown up house with plastic tarps on the right side. Stay out of the mind field. Turn there and drive to the end of the road.






After being in Bosnia for a few months, I learned how to get around with directions like this. I also went out and drove around as much as I could to be familiar with our AO. I knew the area pretty well by the end of our tour. So well, that I was tasked with some interesting things I might talk about someday.




Each month, our fearless (useless) leaders would have us all drive down to Eagle Base for a meeting and update briefing.  This took us about 2.5 hours to drive down there and 2.5 hours to drive back--thus wasting the entire day for nothing.  The first meetings were pretty useless, then they got ever worse after that. (dang it, now I’m sounding negative again, oh fuck). At one of the meetings, the female LT, who’ll I’ll call LT “M” was giving a briefing on some of the “mess kit repair” reports our teams had sent back. Most of the other male soldiers referred to her as a MILF (not sure what that means, but I guess something to do with Military??)


During one of her talks, she was explaining how the teams needed to put the full address of whatever or whoever into the report. She said she wanted the Street name and the house or building number.

I put up my hand and asked LT MILF: “Mam, have you ever been outside the wire? With all due respect, you should go out sometime. If you find 3 street signs between here and our camp, a two and a half hour drive, I’ll eat the signs.”
It’s Bosnia , where the streets have no names. They were still in dispute. The streets had local names before WWII. After Tito and the communist took over, all the names were changed to communist type names. After the commies left, the locals began fighting over everything…they even fought over what the streets should be named. So, most of the streets have no sings. I asked a Bosnian mail man (post man for the proper English) how he knew where to deliver the mail. He said: “I just know.”



Some days we don't know how luky we are. 

More "Streets with No Names"  to follow later.  Have a great new year! 

24 December 2009

Battle of Fallujah, ROE

Battle of Fallujah, ROE:


From the Soldier side: Dang, I just looked back and didn’t realize how long I’ve been doing this blog thing. Most of my early postings started out pretty short as I did them between other things and tried postings to coincide with either my year in Iraq or my Bosnia deployment.
I consider myself pretty dang lucky in so many ways. I think part of my having survived Iraq was I was attached to a regular army battalion (which actually had less experience that my national guard battalion, but got us better equipment and living quarters-when I was in Baghdad)
The real “luck” came when my team and I were dispatched to Fallujah, Iraq in Dec 2004. We were to replace a regular Army team that was there working with the US Marines. That Army team was totally burnt out and after we had about 2 days of “training” they let us take over. The Marine Gunny Sergeant who we worked for was a cop in Florida when he wasn’t in the Marine Reserves. He was a great person to work for and I thank him today for showing us how to keep alive.


During my year in Iraq, the Rules Of Engagement  (ROE) varied from time to time and location. The rules during the Battle of Fallujah were pretty loose. I can’t tell the full R.O.E.’s as they were classified….but let me say that our legal authority to shoot at somebody we thought were a threat were a lot easier to understand. In summary, if a vehicle came towards you or the convoy you were a “gunner” on, you gave hand signals, yelled and then started to hose them down with lead if they kept coming. It was after all a friggen battle. A big ass battle…one of the biggest since Viet Nam.
One day the Gunny asked me if I could have my team ready the next morning to go into Fallujah. The Gunny has some Marines in town he needed to check on and bring out their Christmas mail and stuff. He said if we took our M1114 Armored Humvee along with his we’d have the “2 vehicles for a convoy” that the rules required. Looking back I think 6 armored humvees all loaded with machine guns would have been a lot better!
We were ready right after the morning chow. My guys were a little nervous I could tell, but I couldn’t show that I was…I was the team leader and I figured: “What an adventure!”
I had another NCO, an enlisted man and a civilian “terp” for my team. The enlisted dude told me that he had never fired the M-249 SAW machine gun, so I gave him a quick class and we fired a few practice rounds into the dirt berm. Fully qualified, right? Wrong.

Just before we rolled out of the camp, a few very special guys jumped in the Gunny’s vehicle. These guys were very, very special…so special I can’t even say who the heck they were. These special guys did things like eating snakes and stuff and were extremely good with weapons. I felt really cool just being near them.

As were prepping to go, the Gunny gave the convoy briefing. This included how and where we were going and the Rules Of Engagement. If we were to stop at a Marine or Iraqi Police check point, our vehicle was the rear of the convoy--- no civilian vehicles were to get within 50 meters of our convoy, or we were to fire on them. Wow! Deadly shit.
On the way to town, we stopped at several check points. My gunner, the enlisted dude allowed 2 civilian vehicles to not only approach us, but to drive around us. This really pissed off the “special” guys and they yelled at my gunner and really abused him. In the old days, we might have given him and asswhoppin’.

We got to town with few problems (a sniper story for later) and so on the way back I told the team that I was going to man the machine gun in our vehicle. This seemed to make everyone happy because everybody figured I could pull the trigger if needed.  I don't know why people think of me like that, I'm really a nice guy.
We made it almost all the way back to the camp, when we stopped at the last check point. The Marines were screening civilian vehicles, so we were held up awhile.
All of a sudden…here comes an Iraqi Toyota van flying up the road towards our convoy.

I swung the gun around, raised my left hand to signal for them to stop…

Taking my right hand and pushing the safety off……the van was still coming and not braking.

Oh shit!.... a VBIED? And bunch of terrorist with AKs? I didn’t know…

I leveled the machine gun out, bringing the muzzle towards the van… starting to put pressure on the trigger…

Something wasn’t right. I didn’t sense a threat, but I had to protect the rest of the team. If I let a car bomb hit us, we’d all be dead and some asshole would get to meet Allajha…(I knew I was going to hell.)

Just as I was getting ready to give a 6-9 round burst of 5.56 MM rounds, a Marine ran up yelling: “Don’t shoot, that’s the mayor and his family…don’t shoot!!!”

Wow. OK, go back to opening presents and drinking egg nog…. And think how lucky were are today.   Merry Chistmas! 

23 December 2009

Night before SFOR Christmas...

From the Soldier side:  After I returned from Bosnia, I realized that most Americans had no idea what we were doing there....as a matter of fact, when my deployment came up in conversation in e-mails while I was there and after I returned...most Americans didn't even know the US still had troops there. It was and is still often confused with the Kosovo mission---which is still ongoing.  In other words, WTF were we doing there? 
Well, I can tell some of the reasons now... the SOB my team was looking for has since been captured.  I was always a week behind this man.
Here's a little Christmas thing I found in an old e-mail from Bosnia.  PIFWICs were Person Indicted for War Crimes. 

THE NIGHT BEFORE SFOR CHRISTMAS

by XXX Camp McGovern, Bosnia 2003


'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the camp
Not a creature was stirring, not even the tramp;



The ammunition belts were hung by the M-249 SAWS with care,
In hopes that PIFWICs would soon be there




The REMFs were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of R&R, getting drunk danced in their heads;


And First Sergeant in his Kevlar, and I in my patrol cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,


When out on the Helipad there arose such a clatter,


I sprang from the cot to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I looked towards the field,


Tore open the shutters and threw up the blast shield.
The moon on the breast of the Black Bosnian snow
Gave the lustre of mid-night to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,


But a T34 Tank and 7 raindeer, (they ate one)







With an Old PIFWIC so lively and quick,


I knew in a moment I would be very sick.
More rapid than 5.56 rounds his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Hummer! now, Abrams! now, Bradley and jeeps!
On, Sergeant Major! on Captains! on, Majors so lame!



To the top of the bunker! to the top of the C-hut!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"


As dry BDUs that before the wild hurricane fly,


When they meet with an other PIFWICs and mount to the sky...
So up to the bunker top the coursers they flew...
With the sleigh full of bootlegged stuff and St Nick too..


And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the tin roof
The roar of the tank engine and around the turrent it flew...


As I drew in my 9 Mil, and was turning around,
Down the chimney the War Criminal came with a bound.


He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with blood and soot;
A bundle of bones he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a crack dealer just opening his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
Yep, he was as drunk as a ferry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,


And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight between his few teeth,
And the evil smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a Balkan face and a little round belly,


That shook, when he laughed like napalm jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old Ick,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of being sick;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,


Soon gave me to know I had everything to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And stole all the stockings; oh what a jerk,


And laying his finger aside of his trigger guard,
And giving a nod, out the front door he slammed hard;


He sprang to his T-34 to his crew gave a whistle...
And away they all drove like a bore cleaning bristle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,


"Screw SFOR , and to all a good-night."

Merry Christmas and I hope all readers are loving the one they're with...

22 December 2009

What a bunch of great guys?

From the Soldier side: SFOR 14- Bosnia 2003. After my last Bosnia mission story I wrote about, some folks wanted to know the “other part of the story.” Who would have played a practical joke on the CI Roller Dude of such an extent that I had to special order bumper stickers on the internet and plan a night mission?





First, maybe I should explain a little about what or who the EUPM is and was at that time. These are a bunch of police officers from the European Union…Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, UK, Italy, Poland and others as well as some countries not in the EU. Canada is included in this. (When I first saw a Canadian officer I asked him when Canada became part of the EU as I thought it was on our continent.)

During my normal assigned duties, I had gone to several meeting at which some of these officers were attending.




Cops are Cops. Even though I was working in my US Army roll at the time, I was still a cop in my civilian life. I was able to talk to these guys and we began swapping cop stories.

What I found very impressive is the police in some countries who do their jobs without the aid of a pistol. None of the EUPM cops were armed while in Bosnia. Many of them were armed in their home countries and a few said they wished they could carry pistols.

I did carry a pistol. I was in civilian clothes for my missions, so I used the old fashion “South of the Border” holster to conceal my M9.

The EUPM Cops would work in the stations with the Bosnian Cops. The EUPM were observers and might make a suggestion or two, but they didn’t make arrest or do investigations. Sometimes they were baffled by how things were done, sometimes it was impressive how anything got done with so little equipment and often little fuel for the Bosnian police vehicles.

After a short time, I became very good friends with some of the EUPM officers. This was very helpful in my duties as Mess Kit Repair. I often heard about incidents long before word made it’s way back to Eagle Base (my Area of Operations was a 3 hours drive from Eagle Base.)

When cops become friends with other cops, you develop a bond. One night my team and I were invited to a going away party for some of the EUPM cops. There was a great amount of “Adult Beverages” there, but I avoided drinking as it would effect my judgment etc and I was technically on duty when I was outside the camp.
One of the cops was from Scottland. He would often show up wearing his Kilt. One question woman always seemed to ask him was: “What do you wear under your kilt?”
I would never ask a man a question like that because "I don't want to know!"

During the course of the party, I had to use the restroom. I left my digital camera on the table. When I returned later, I found the camera had been left on. I was pretty sure I had turned it off. I took several pictures that night.

When I returned to my room at Camp McGovern later that night, I down loaded the photos onto my lap top.

I found out what the Scott’s men wear under their kilts. At least one other person had assisted in this action by taking the picture.  I can’t publish that photo.
Because they took that photo with my camera is why I had to put the bumper stickers on their vehicles.

Some folks also wanted to know what happened to “D” from a few stories back. After I questioned him, I determined he was a total dumbass for letting that girl slip away and it was totally his fault, so don't feel sorry for him! He’s fine and continues this day to soldier on.
Christmas stories to come soon….

20 December 2009

A covert mission I can now talk about

:From the Soldier side As anybody who's been reading my blog for awhile may know, my Bosnia Deployment was one of the best! I'm not saying that as a joke, but I loved the job I had there. I was part of SFOR 14. SFOR= Stabilization Force 14= the 14th rotation from the Americans.




For much of the work I did there, I had to sign a secrecy oath. These oaths are usually for 5 years. Since that time has expired, and with careful editing, I can tell of one my best missions. It was about this time of year in 2003. It was cold and had been snowing on and off in our AO (Area of Operations). This was going to be a night mission and would require great planning, stealth and precise timing.  Properly done, we should be in and out without contact.

Our vehicle was a civilian Volks Wagon with over 300,000 kilometers on it. It looked like crap, but had been fully re-built….thus making it the perfect vehicle for such missions. It had no armor, no radio (we used mobile phones, or as the Americans call them- cell phones)

Our uniforms were blue jeans, locally purchases shoes, shirts, jackets and hats---to help blend in.

We were each armed with an M9 9mm pistol (AKA Beretta) loaded with 15 rounds of NATO ball 120something grain ammo, with a spare 15 round magazine. I also carried my Emerson CQ7 folding lock blade knife.

Our mission (now declassified) was to move out and locate one vehicle that belonged to the EUPM (European Union Mission Police) that was supposed to have been parked near the house a few of the EUPM cops were living in. This mission was a payback mission for a practical joke one of them had played on ME!


click on the pic to make it bigger and read the bumper sticker

I not only found the vehicle and attached the bumper sticker (see photo) but I sent the digital image to many other EUPM cops as proof.

Well, if you’re not laughing, I guess it was because you had to have been there.

Coming soon....Christmas in Bosnia 2003 and Iraq 2004. 

18 December 2009

Some other dumb things...What should I write for Christmas?

From the Soldier side: I'm trying to sort out what sort of Christmas story I should write this year. But, some of my readers (I think I have 2 or 3) wanted me to finish the story about "D" and his love problems. I really hate writing about things like that. How about I tell the story of the first time I got to repel! Now that was a good time.

There I was, in some foreign country in my younger days as a Grunt. We had been out in the "field" for a few weeks doing weapons and tactics training during the day and getting drunk at night. That was the "Old Army" and my liver and other body parts were still in pretty good shape.

Our infantry battalion was about done with our training in this little village and the battalion commander thought it would be nice for us to put on a little Army parade and show for the nice citizens. Word went out that they were looking for volunteers to put on a helicopter demonstration. I stuck up my hand.

(Note: The US Army has what they call “Air Assault” units. The have an “Air Assault” school that soldiers attend to learn how to properly do an air assault. What you learn is pretty much how to get into and out of a helicopter without hurting yourself. Although in those days and later in my National Guard career, I had gone on many helicopter rides, I had never attended any proper schools on such things. I learned on the go.)

I was looking forward to my first “Air Assault” from an H1 Huey helicopter…this is Viet Nam vintage---which the USMC still uses. When I got to where the 2 helicopters were sitting, I was introduced to a few other soldiers. The big difference between them and me?--- They had Air Borne wings on their uniforms. I didn’t because I was never schooled and never thought of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.

As we began to get briefed, a crusty old Sergeant First Class (E-7) was explaining how the Huey’s were going to fly over the crowd of locals and our job was to repel out the side and land on the ground. Where cold beer would be waiting.

I looked at another sergeant standing next to me and I asked him how you did something like that. He told me: “I’ll show you how to hook up the harness, then you just stand on the skid and jump off feet first. Brake the fall by bringing the rope into like this (he demonstrated) and make sure you are not going too fast or it hurts when you hit the ground.”

They fixed me up in the harness thing and, being that I was only 20 years old, I was eager to try anything. I hit the ground hard. Ouch! That was dumb. I should have taken the full class first.  These days, I don't think the Army would let an untrained soldier do something like that...but maybe they would. 

14 December 2009

Why keep doing it......


From the Bloger Dude side:  Why I will keep writing: A friend of mine, who I’ll just call “Bud” for Op Sec asked me why I was going to stop writing my blog. I told him that it was none of his ****ing business, but it appears a few people actually read this.


So Bud asked: “If only 20 people read your blog would you still write it?”

I thought about that question for a few seconds and said sure. Then he asked:” “If only 15 people read your blog would you still write it?”

I thought for a second or two and said: “Sure, why not?”

Bud then asked: “If only 12 people read your blog would you still write it?”

I said: “Yeah, I guess so, for 12 people…why not?”

Then he asked: “If only 10 people read your blog would you still write it?”

I thought about that and with little hesitation I said: “Sure, for 10 people I’d still write it.”

Then Bud asked: “If only 7 people read your blog would you still write it?”

I said: “Of course.”

Then he asked: “If only 2 people read your blog would you still write it?”

I had to slap the shit out of Bud for trying to quote the Bible without a license. I write it for therapy…mine.




I’ll get on with my new advice posting soon.

13 December 2009

Words of Wisdom....If you want my advice.....

From the Soldier side:  One of the things NCOs (Non Commissioned Officer- or Sergeants) are supposed to be able to do in the Army is be the mother, father, rabbi, chaplain and problem solver for their people.  I'm sure most NCOs who've been to war know what I'm talking.  When your Soldiers, (Marines, Airmen & Sailors) are deployed the NCO has to not only be a mind reader, but be able to solve problems from thousands of miles away. 
Often the NCO can do very well at solving their troops problems, but so often they can't fix their own...but that's another story for later.  The NCO's duty was to make sure his or her troops could function and do their jobs.  In places like Iraq, this was life or death on convoys, raids and other missions.  If a "Joe" or a "Jane" was totally distracted thinking about problems thousands of miles away, they wouldn't be worth a shit on the gun or behind the wheel of an Up Armored M1114 Humvee. 



I guess word of my "skills" at helping solve soldier's problems spread around our little camp in Baghdad. I would often have soldiers who I barely knew come up and tell me their problems. A few times, I would diplomatically ask if they had talked to the real chaplain we had with us. But they said he was usually useless. I suspect that (at that time) my 20+ years of being a civilian cop gave me good training and experience... maybe more usful than going to some Bible college for several years.                                                   


I guess that’s the reason they would stick guys on my team who had expressed thoughts of suicide and other problems associated with combat stress. I felt if somebody felt like killing themselves, put them on a gun truck as a gunner and let them kill some asshole insurgent. My ideas in this regard often went ignored. Go figure.

This is leading up to my words of wisdom on the matters of the heart. I can help others, but had no idea what to do for myself many times.



To be cont.

12 December 2009

5 years ago....



From the Soldier side: It was 5 years ago this month that my team and I left Baghdad and rolled into the lovely city of Fallujah.  My how time flys.  So, doing the math, I've been home about 4 years now.  Most people I know have stopped asking me silly questions about Iraq.  Now, I just blog the memories. 
It seems that most of the troops who have deployed to Iraq were at the big camps or FOBs.  For most of my time there, so was I. 
The fact is, the big camps were not that bad compared to what our soldiers in past wars had to live in and what they had to eat.  The big camps in Iraq were actually much better than the training center we have to use in California-- Camp Roberts.  Heck, the Iraqi Army has better training camps than our state does.

While in Iraq, My team and I did spend a short time at a very, very remote camp.  I've talked about Camp Gannon before, but it's one of those places you can look back on later in life and say: "Man that place sucked." 
The little rat bastard insurgents bombed that camp so much that most of the generators, ACs and other luxurey items had been destroyed or wouldn't work due to the lace of electricity.  We didn't even have running water. 
They did have extra ammo, so that kind of made up for having to take one shower a week with bottled water, then washing your clothes in an old ice chest with bottled water.  The main thing I remember is I was sweating 24 hours a day...unless I was in the TOC (Tactacial Operating Center) where they had working AC. 
When we left that shithole and got back to Baghdad.  I remember going to the nice KBR mess hall with my friends.  When it came time to get desert after dinner, I would just stare at the ice cream.  I was so afraid that they were going to send me back out to some shithole, that I had ice cream every night after dinner.  And all the cold soda I could drink.  Then I'd go to my office or room and crank the AC up full blast.  There were times when I could actually get the room temp down to 75 degrees F!  That was cold considering it was usually over 115 F outside. 

To this day, I really enjoy drinking liquids that are just slightly above freezing....
The first day I went back to my civilain cop job, we had a bank robbery.  I remember thinking that "this was easy, nobody is really trying to kill me." 

Coming soon, CI Roller Dude gives advice on woman and love.  Don't miss this.

10 December 2009

Mopar V8, Model 66 S&W and the chase!



From the Cop side: OK, to carry on with my last story, if anybody's reading... I should describe the old cop cars we had in the end of the 70's. I was driving that Monaco, it had 360 V8 Mopar and it was really souped up, a 4 barrel carb and duel exhaust, with 3 speed automatic you could really get lost, seat belts but I wasn't scared the brakes were good and the tires were fair.


The motor was the old bullet proof Chrysler 360 V8. We did every trick to get as much power as we could, we had the mechanics check it often and throw in a new set of plugs whenever it ran rough. In an attempt to get just a few more horsepower out of it, I'd turn the air cleaner cover over so it could suck in more fresh air… and it sounded better…”VOOMMMM!”

The car was equipped with a Motorola FM high-band 2 way radio. At that time in that city, all the cops and fire department used the same channel. We had to "share" the air....some officer didn't understand that...which in this case was going to be important. Then, as now, some officer feel that if they talk a lot on the f--ing radio, that they are doing better police work. I suspect that those who like to talk alot are the ones who really do the least and annoy the shit out of the rest of us.

So...back to the story. I looked up from my warrant book and saw Louie riding towards me on a little Honda motor cycle. It looked like about a 250 cc. Louie was big guy..about 6 foot 3 inches and weighed way over 250 pounds. That was a big load for a little bike.

As Louie started to ride past me, I motioned with my hand for him to pull over. He didn't, and continued on and started to accelerate. I tried calling in on my radio, but one of the other officers...who we called "worm" was talking....and talking...and talking...and talking.

Worm had found a couple of 7 year olds hanging around a school, so he thought he had a major incident. His radio chatter went something like:

"Y-1 I'm out with 3 juvs, their names are.......bla, bla, bla....can you check NCIC, FBI, Interpol, DOJ, CIA, EIEIO, and call their parents...bla, bla, bla, bla, check for wants, bla, bla, bla, license status, bla...and bla, and bla I’ll take a cover unit, bla, bla…bla…."

Worm didn't let go of the mic button for a good 5 minutes sometimes and this was going to be one of those times.

I had been sitting idle with the motor running, so I threw the transmission into Drive and activated my red spot light. I tried to get on the air, but Worm was not letting go of the talk button. I had to continue on, even though I was going to be on my own until the radio cleared. Shit, there were only 4 of us on, but Worm had total control of the radio and he never stopped talking.

We were in a residential neighborhood, with a few long straight aways, and lots of short, narrow turning streets off the sides. Louie hit one of the main straight roads and started to pull away. I punched that old Mopar V8 and started smokin’ the rear tires as the siren came on.

The chase was on. Don’t believe any cop who tells you that they don’t enjoy a good chase—it’s the best kind of legal “high” you can have. Drive fast and catch bad guys. As we were a few blocks into the pursuit, I still was not able to get on the radio, and I couldn’t take my eyes off the road to change channels and we didn’t have cell phones in those days or I might have called 911. Dipshit Worm was hogging the radio.

A few more blocks and I started to gain on the Honda, but I could tell that Louie lacked basic riding skills. As he tried to slow or stop for a turn, he put his feet out.

I realized that at my speed and rate of gain, I was going to run over the bike, so I backed off a little—but at that point we were doing over 60 MPH in a 25 Zone. Feel the tension man what a ride. Louie took a corner and he almost side swiped a truck, I crossed my fingers just for luck, the pedestrians on the side walk were as white as a ghost,

I yelled for Louie to pull over as I had a license to fly and a lot more horsepower and driving skill than he did.
About 4 minutes into the chase, officer Worm let go of the radio mic and I was able to get one transmission: “Y 2 is in pursuit!” Then Worm started talking again. The watch commander finally got on the air and told Worm to stop talking and Y2 was in pursuit.

Then Louie went around another corner. As I came around I saw the Honda bike sliding on it’s side into a parked car with Louie sliding on the pavement behind the bike. By the time I came to stop, called in my location and got out with my gun drawn, Louie was standing up hopping around on his leg that wasn’t scraped up.

I holstered my Model 66 Smith and Wesson .357 magnum revolver and got out my handcuffs.

After cuffing Louie, I deployed my first aid kit and started to bandage up his road rash. He would live. I arrested him and took him to jail, he called his mommy to post his bail...

That was the good old days.

08 December 2009

Learn to ride or drive....


From the Cop side: OK, I guess I have one more story. This is a cop story from many years ago (almost 30 years!) when I was a very young rookie cop. I used to work in a small city that was kind of full of weird people.
Well...maybe that's true of all cities I guess...all have some weird folks...the cops get to meet all the weird folks that normal citizens seem to not see I guess. But I say this because for the size of that city at the time, they seemed to have more suicides and drunks than decent folks. I never have been able to figure it out...and now I don't care.  (and one thing I teach new cops now is: If it were not for wierd people, assholes, drug abuse and drunks, we'd be out of a job.)

In them good old days we worked a "Beat System"in that city... where each officer was assigned a beat for their shift. Each officer who worked day or swing shift was also responsible for their beat all the time...meaning that in my beat, I had a book full of arrest warrants for people who lived in my beat.
I tried to be cool about the warrants... but I had to keep my beat "clean" and not allow a lot of warrants to accumulate or my beat would be "dirty."
What I was trained to do was: if a citizen had a minor warrant for only a few hundred dollars, I'd contact them and ask when they could go "take care of it."
I'd usually give them until the next pay day to go to court and pay the fine they had managed to forget about.
Most citizens in this category weren't bad people, they just "forgot" things sometimes. In most cases, the person with the minor warrant took care if it the next payday and I didn't have to haul them off to jail. This was good for them and good for the department since I wasn't making a 30 mile round trip taking somebody to the county jail for a minor warrant.

One afternoon I went to advise one of my citizens of a minor traffic warrant. Let's call him Louie. He was a good kid who worked at one of the local restaurants and had sort of forgotten to pay off a traffic ticket. We came to an agreement that he'd take care of it the next week on payday.

Two weeks go by and I was working my beat in an unmarked patrol car. I noticed that the clerk had updated my warrant book and now Louie had several more warrants that added up to thousands of dollars...and he had not taken care of the little warrant we had talked about 2 weeks prior.

I parked around the corner from Louie's house and sorted out the warrants I was holding for his loss of freedom. (This is an authority few people in any society are given--- to legally take somebodies freedom).
As I had added up all the warrants and was getting ready to go around the block and knock on Louie's door, I looked up and saw a motor cycle coming at me from the area of Louie's house... being operated by none other than his stupidness, Louie. And Louie didn't have a license to operate a 2 wheeled vehicle in the State of California (Violation of 12500 of the Vehicle Code) And he was driving on a suspended license (Violation of 14601 of the Vehicle Code)...

So this kid was also going to be guilty of being stupid in public.

Stand by...to be cont.

04 December 2009

What don't kill ya', makes you smarter....?




From the Soldier side: Many, many years ago, when I was an 18 year old private E-1 in the Army, I was a smart ass.
The thing you have to learn if you are a smart ass is: When you can be a smart ass and not put yourself in a bad position. When you are a Private E-1 in the Army, going through Basic or Advanced Individual Training (AIT), it is most important that you learn to control being a smart ass...or really, really bad things happen to you.
These really, really bad things are usually inflicted upon said Privates by Army Drill Sergeants. The Army Drill Sergeants are highly trained and dealing with smart ass privates.
After I "graduated" from Army Basic Training at Fort Ord, CA (It's closed now), I saw that I was being sent to Fort Polk, LA for A.I.T. The school was called: "Indirect Fire Crewmen- MOS 11C". Translated to Civilian...that was Infantry Mortars.
I was totally confused because this was not what I joined the Army to do...and I made sure the Drill Sergeants knew. They didn't care, so off I went to Fort Polk. Damn that place sucks. Why does the Army always buy property in such crappy places?
After we settled into our new barracks at Ft Polk...and introduced to our new Drill Sergeants...I asked the Drill Sergeant if I could talk to him after formation. "Yes Private, what do you need?"
"Excuse me Drill Sergeant, but there's been a big mistake....I'm not supposed to be here... I joined the Army to do something else...that requires reading."
That pissed him off. 20 push ups later, I was dismissed.
I continued to ask to be reassigned to another school or discharged. The Drill Sergeants got so tired of me bugging them.
One day, early in the morning...we were getting ready to go for a little 10 mile walk with packs, rifles and crap. At this time of my life, I was a stud. I could run for miles, do hundreds of push ups, shoot, and all kinds of deadly stuff.
As we were standing in formation to start our hike....my favorite Drill Sergeant called me into the supply room. He said: "Hey Private, we have you discharge for you to sign."
I signed for the M60 machine gun and the PRC 77 (Prick 77) radio. Each with all it's crap weighed about 25 pounds.
So, I had to hump the "Pig" and the Prick 77. A few miles into the hike, some of my buddies offered to carry these lead weights....but I turned down the offers. I was going to stand up to the challenge....because I was a Smart Ass.
I learned to shut up after that....until I earned my stripes and can deliver the smart ass with the "crusty old NCO" approach.

26 November 2009

Does this body armor make my ass look big?


From the Soldier side: As you enjoy your Thanksgiving turkey, ham, potatoes, yams, beans, bread, rolls, gravy, carrots, apple pie, pumpkin pie, beer, milk, coffee, coke, and all that other good stuff, think about how lucky we are today.
It was 35 years ago this month that I joined the Regular Army. I was very young and dumb.
I was so dumb, that when I joined, I didn't get a written guarantee for the job I wanted. Silly me. So, even though I scored very high on all the written test to get into the Army, I was placed into the Infantry.
I spent 2 years being an 11C- Indirect Fire Crewmen (in English- a mortar gunner.) I went through the Army Infantry School at Ft Polk, La. We had to go through all the stuff the basic riflemen went through and learn how to fire mortars.
I can still remember the drill sergeants on the mortar range with the 81mm gun. It was so f--ing loud, then when I actually had to stand next to it, holding a live HE round over the tube, then dropping it down the tube to fire....bending low and hearing that loud SOB go off. I thought:"shit, I have to do this for 2 years?"
I did get used to it. Maybe that's what dulled my feelings. But I learned to respect a lot of things...like throwing hand grenades. I learned to never throw them in thick wooded areas uphill because they will usually bounce off a tree and roll back to you.
To be cont.

24 November 2009

Thanksgiving in other lands....

From the Soldier side: As Thanksgiving will soon be here, it brings back some found memories of some thanksgivings I've had while on deployments. When we were in Bosnia in Nov 03', our team was still at a smaller camp. There were only about 40 soldiers there and I thought it was great. We didn't have all the MWR (Recreation) crap that they had at the big camp (Eagle Base) but we made our own fun. The highest ranking soldier on our camp was a 1st LT.
When our captain at Eagle Base called us and said: "You guys can drive down here for Thanksgiving, and get off your little camp if you want."
We said:"Thanks, but no thanks sir, we prefer it up here."
Now you might ask: "why would you prefer to be at the small camp and not got down to the big base and enjoy Thanksgiving with the rest of your friends?"

Because there were no assholes at our little camp! The cooks were great and they made a great meal. When we were done, we drove into town and had more fun...stuff you just couldn't do at the big base with the 9 sergeant majors, 78 majors, 6 full bird cols, and hundreds of other useless frigging' officers and assholes. Nope. Camp Cody was the place to be. I invited the asshole captain to come and join us, but he was afraid to leave.

A year later...we were in the middle of the Kuwait desert standing in line in a little sand storm waiting to get into the mess hall for our Thanksgiving dinner. We hated Kuwait so bad that some of us were ready to walk to Iraq. The camp there sucked so bad. For every meal you ate a side of sand. You drank sand, you inhaled sand and you shit sand. We were so miserable....I never thought I'd be happy to go to a war zone just to get out of a shitty place like Kuwait.
I hate to tell all them Gulf War vets, but you fought for Kuwait and it ain't' worth shit....and the Thanksgiving there sucked.

So enjoy your dinner this year and please don't drink and drive because I'll be working my cop job and I love to arrest drunk drivers.

22 November 2009

First time....

videoFrom the Citizen Soldier side: A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of running another pistol range for my National Guard unit. I say "pleasure" because next to shooting, teaching others to shoot is almost as much fun. This group of shooters were made up of those who missed the range during our "summer camp."

We had M9 and M11 pistols. This pistol course is "fun" to those who shoot a lot. You have 40 rounds and get 30 targets. There are multiple tables and in some, the shooter has to change magazines. It's all timed, and you don't have a lot of time. The last table requires walking towards the targets. Many of the first time shooters only hit 5 targets. Really, for the first time with a pistol they did pretty good. This is a hard course for somebody who's never shot a pistol... The above shooter finally qualified the third time through. He didn't give up, so neither did we.

17 November 2009

Wow...that water is COLD!



From the Soldier side: I know some of you have been sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for the rest of the "bomb" story. If you are one of those people....you really need to get a job or something.
So, remember my Team Leader in Bosnia had sent the team and me out to pick up a "bomb" or a mine. We really were not sure what it was. He was trying to impress somebody. We had some tools, but picking up shit like this was not really our job. The nice folks in Bosnia didn't know that...they were under the impression that if we rolled up in a Humvee, we could do anything.
We drove out of the camp and up to the Bosnia xxx xxx office and met up with some good people. They explained the following:
Some local kids had been playing along the River Drina (that's how they talked, not the Drina River, but the River Drina).
The kids found some kind of bombs. The kids went home and their parents called the police. (I wanted to ask later if they had 911, but I don't think so.)
So, since the bombs were found in the river, that was under the area of the XXXX police. They had an officer sitting near the bombs for the last 24 hours. We followed the Nice Bosnian cop to the river and we got out and took a look.
Now, since I had been an 11C (mortars) in the regular Army and a Combat Engineer for about 12 years in the National Guard, I knew a bit about things that go "boom!"
The cop pointed into the water and I could almost see something. But, somebody would have to get into the Drina to see what the items were.
I wouldn't send my guys to do something like that because none of them would have known what to do.... but if I had asked, any of them would have done it. They were good troops.

I could see that the Drina was moving very, very fast. But I couldn't tell how deep the water was.
I only had my regular combat boots, BDUs and a Gortex jacket. I tied a rope around me, took a hook pole, and waded into the Drina.
DAMN. That was cold. So cold, my **** shriveled up and went inside. I could see that there was what looked like an 82MM mortar round and a smaller device, maybe about 60MM.
I could not tell if the rounds had fired and not gone of ---which would have made them very unsafe to move. I tried to grab them with the hook pole, but the water was moving so fast...it almost took me away.
I was pretty sure if I got closer to the rounds, my problem would not have been blowing up, but getting dragged away by the river.
I'm not the best swimmer and I guessed hypothermia would have killed me in a few minutes.
Screw it... mission canceled.
We told the local cops we were sorry...they thought I had some kind of super uniform that kept me warm...I was freezing my --- off.
We called in a EOD mission (like the dumb ass team leader should have done).
When we got back, the team leader was mad that we hadn't recovered the bombs. I told him we'd be happy to drive his ass back out and he could jump in the Drina and give it a try.

But, I reminded him: "If you die, we're splitting up your gear."
He chilled out and dropped the idea.

13 November 2009

More dumb things in BiH....





From the Soldier side:
I told one of my "Dumb things I did" stories last week.... Looking back, I realize that the really dumb things I've gotten messed up in during my life as a solder, cop and dumbass kid growing up...were things others had gotten me into. I usually have better judgement, and by the time I was into my 30's, I had learned many lessons. Then came National Guard deployments and some really fu---- stupid leaders. (There were some good ones to!)

....but somehow I survived. This story was another example of how my team leader in Bosnia got me into another dumbass situation. He was always trying to impress somebody. He'd claim he could do all kinds of great things, then turn around and have me do whatever he had said he could do. If it worked out, guess who took the credit. If it didn't work out, then it was my fault.

So...getting on with the story. One day he was having coffee with some "other" folks who were in Bosnia to help fix shit. These "other" folks were pretty good people, many of whom I liked a lot and worked with many times when we were there. They were not from the US, but they were friends. My team leader was always trying to impress people...a very type A (for asshole) personality. He was one of those people, who when you first worked with him, you liked alot. But when you really learned what a fake POS he was, you learned to not like him.

He could do anything. If you don't believe me, just ask him. He'll tell you. So, he was having coffee with these "other" guys and they told him about some kind of bombs that some kids had found. My team leader said: "We can take care of them....no problem."

We were not E.O.friggen' D. We were, "Mess Kit Repair" and picking up bombs and stuff was not something we were equipped to do. But, my team leaders said "we" could. He found out where to go.

Then, we loaded up our Humvee and got all our gear and I found some "tools" to do such stuff. I had the team ready to go and the Team Leader tells me: "I'm kind of busy, can you guys go without me?"

Sure, asshole. We'll go, because we're good soldiers.

To be cont.




10 November 2009

Happy Birthday, Happy Vets day...


From the Soldier side: Do me a favor. Go ask the average citizen tomorrow what holiday it is. I'm working (my cop job) so I'll ask a few folks while I'm at it. (I hope to get at least one DUI arrest!)

The problem I have is: I have a few friends who are no longer able to have a beer on Vet's day. Both died in Baghdad, Iraq. Mike died in Nov 2004- just before we got there and Roberto died in Jun 2005 while I was there. I made my goal in life to find every asshole insurgent who had anything to do with IEDs and have them killed or captured. When one or two didn't want to surrender and died in the battle...I was just as happy as if they had been caught.

Cold? You bet your ass.

The USMC is having a birthday today.

When my team and I got to Baghdad in Dec 2004, we were sent out a few days later to Fallujah, Iraq. We were attached to the 1st Marine Division and I worked with a Marine Gunny Sergeant and a Gunner. They got us ammo....something the Army was not able to do. The Gunny also showed me how to get a team out into a war zone and get back alive. He also taught us how to have fun where there was none. I wear the 1st Mar Div patch as my combat patch...totally un-authorized, but so far nobody has had the balls to tell me that.

For trivia, what is the oldest US Military service still in use today?

Since I'm in a trivia mood, I ran the 9mm pistol range again last weekend for my National Guard battalion. We had the M9 and the M11 pistol. Can anybody tell me what the M-10 pistol is?


We also have M-4 carbines. Most know what the M-1 carbine is. Can you tell me what the M-2 and the M-3 carbine are?


...and what about the terrorist attack at Fort Hood last week? I've been waiting to see what all the Army and FBI have for info...but one thought I had since Iraq:

Why doesn't the army do psychological screening for all higher ranks....like anybody above E-6 and above O3. I ran into some regular Army leaders in Iraq that if I had run into them while working my civilian cop job in Calif, I'd have taken them to the county mental health unit for a 72 hour hold. (5150 W&I code).