28 February 2009

We still have troops where??? Oh, I didn't know that

From the Soldier side: Just before I was deployed to Bosnia in 2003, we had a little going away party. It was very nice cause' I got to see a lot of family and some friends I didn't get to see often. I thought one of the funniest conversations I had was someone asked me: "Doesn't it get hot in Bosnia?"
I said: "ehhhh, I guess so in the summer...huh?"
They said: "Isn't Bosnia in Africa?"

Oh shit...I forgot how many Americans haven't a clue were other countries are. The other thing a lot of people said before I left was: "I didn't know we still had troops in Bosnia."
I guess most Americans don't really give a crap about where the country sends troops. I expect that's what will happen in Iraq...they'll pull most of the troops out, it'll not be in the headlines anymore and fade away. There will still be a bunch there, but America will soon forget.
I know when I was in Iraq, only about .00001 % of what happened everyday made it into the news back home. On a typical day in 2005, over 145 incidents took place...but the news back home might have reported on one or two things.
I have a bunch of really, really good friends in Kosovo who'll be coming home soon. The exact date can't be told due to "OPSEC", but it'll be soon. They'll be excused from National Guard drills for a few months, but I hope most of them show up and stay in. Guys like John, Darin, Dave, Bert, Ski, Paul, Paul and a few others. Some of these guys I deployed to Bosnia and Iraq with...so it's the third deployment for them. I can't wait to see them.
Oh yeah, we still have troops in places like Kosovo, Iraq, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, etc, etc, etc...

26 February 2009

Yeah, we actually ate that stuff...

From the Old Soldier side:

A long time ago, when I was in the old Army, we had to eat some canned crap that was issued in a little brown box. This crap was called "C-Rations." I was a skinny kid it those days.

Now they give you some stuff called "MREs" Meals Ready to Eat. It's still crap, but it's all in a different kind of package.

I've read some books about the Civil war, WWI, WWII etc. They all had crappy food for field rations. Why does the Army do that? After over 200 years of tradition unchanged by progress and they still give us crap when we go out in the field.

Oh well, nobody listens to a soldier at my level. Generals pick the crap we get, then the company they gave the bid to gives them a job when they retire. We get so much crap for equipment and software now. Last year when we were doing our 2 weeks of Army training, I had some high ranking computer nerd type officer start to tell me about some new software the Army was working on. He was telling me how it would be able to do the work we do and make things so much better.

I listened as polite as I could, then told him: "Sir, I don't care what kind of computer stuff they come up with, they'll still need people like us to go out into the field and do the job....Sir!"

The Sergeant Major was standing next to the nerd officer...the Sergeant Major wanted to "talk to me" later. He told me that I might have offended the nerd officer when I said they'd still need people like me to go out and get the job done. I looked at the Sergeant Major and said: "Sorry, but it's the truth."

The Army can give you hard tack & beef jerky with pork fat, they can give you C-Rations, they can give you MREs. But, what they'll never be able to replace is the Soldier who has to go out on foot and get the job done. Whatever the job is.

19 February 2009

A MINE is a terrible thing to waste!

From the Soldier side: A MINE as in Land Mine, is a terrible thing to waste. When I was deployed to Bosnia in 2003, we were given maps with red dots all over them. The red dots were for known or suspected land mines..... over 500,000 of them still scattered around the country.
A lot of people asked me: "Why hasn't SFOR or the Americans cleared all the mines?" Because, it's almost impossible. So many were moved after one army or the other emplaced them....moved by crazy people, or, home/ property owners trying to protect their property.
I was a Combat Engineer for 12 years, and I'll tell you one thing about clearing land mines: No matter what method of machine or device you use, you still have to go into the area with a HUMANE and clear the area by hand. There is no perfect way to be totally sure they are clear unless an engineer goes in-- Period. So, it takes time and time is money. One estimate I heard in 2003-04 was that it cost $30,000 on average to clear one land mine. Do the math and let me know what you come up for $30,000 X 500,000. And every spring, some farmer goes out to plow his land and hits an old land mine---booom!
So, back to my Dumb Ass Story of one of our first missions in Bosnia. We were to go out and meet this asshole in the middle of the night. He had provided info in the past...but it seemed very suspicious when I read the reports. The asshole, claimed to stumble across little weapons caches. Nothing too big, but he always wanted money for the "finds."
The last cache was out in the middle of nofuckingwhere. I consisted of an old Yugoslavian helmet, a SKS rifle, a few hand grenades, and some land mines. All of these items were told to have been found outside and left over from the war.
One thing I noticed in the photos...there was not one spec of rust on anything! How in the fu-- could a bunch of metal items be left outside where it snows and rains for several years and not get rusty? It was bulltwinkies! Somebody had set up the cache to make it look like it was left over from the war just to make money.
So, this night of this mission, this asshole claimed to have found another cache...
Our "plan" (which was just thrown together at the last minute and sucked) was to go pick up this guy and have him guide us to the cache. Simple as pouring piss out of a boot with the instructions written on the bottom of the boot...right?
We drive out into the middle of the Bosnian country side where there were absolutely no street lights or anybody driving around. It was dark...very dark...a kind of dark I can't even describe because I don't have that big of a vocabulary...but it was fu--ing dark.
The asshole tells us to pull over in Darkville. He says that he can show us where the cave is with the weapons. The old outgoing team leader suggest that I stay with the van and keep our female "terp" there while they walk over to the cave with the asshole and my team leader. I was the kind of soldier to follow orders.... But later I realized that I was the only one out of us soldiers who had any knowledge of the weapons and explosives they might find.
I stayed at the van with the M-16A2 and my 9mm pistol (which I had no ammo for, because they hadn't issued it yet.)
Did I mention it was dark? It was fu--ing dark. The female "terp" stayed inside the van and kept telling me how dark it was and that she was frightened. I didn't want to tell her that I was scared sh--less myself.
The team walked over to the cave, took pictures of the "weapons cache" and came back. The old team leader showed me the picture on the digital camera when they came back. The cave was damp and wet and none of the weapons had any rust on them. Bullshit! It was fake. This guy just wanted money.
After a few minutes of the old team talking to the guy, I asked if I could talk to him. I told him he was full of shit and he had faked the weapons cache for money. He was lying so bad I wish we had "rules of engagement" that allowed us to shoot people like him on sight.
After the asshole told me several more lies, I threatened to shoot him or kick his ass if he didn't stop lying. (what was he going to do, file a citizens complaint against me?)
The asshole was so full of crap, that he never stopped telling lies...we pulled over and told him to get out of the van...he still insisted that we pay him for the crappy info. I really just wanted to shoot him.
So, this was all just good training for Iraq. Local Iraqis told US troops bullshit stories like this all the time...even dumbass stuff like they knew were chemical weapons were or other WMDs...that were never there. (Do you think if Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld had had this great training we got in Bosnia they would have invaded Iraq?) People lie! People lie to cops all the time and we learn how to tell. The problem is, when you put soldiers in the roll of being cops, but don't train them or give them the experience, they are going to believe every asshole that comes up to them with some bullshit story.

16 February 2009

Sometimes, I'm a dumb a---

From the Soldier side: Have you ever done something that later on you asked yourself: "Was I a dumb ass for doing that?"
I've asked myself that many times. One time, when we were in Bosnia.... This is a true story of why I am sometimes a dumb ass.
I was part of SFOR 14, we had just arrived in Bosina and our team had only been dropped off at the remote camp that was to be our home a few days prior.
The team we were replacing had a few "customers" that they wanted us to meet before they left. It was the way we did things....one "mess kit repair" team didn't leave until the next was there to replace them...then the new team was introduced to the "customers."
This "customer" we were going to meet was a good distance away. The team leader who was leaving thought we should take at least one M-16A2 on this job. I had to carry it. Normally, we just went out with M-9 pistols....but they were worried for some reason. I did look a little odd wearing civilian clothes and packing a rifle. I guess for Bosnia, it wasn't that odd, but I didn't know much at that time.
We spent a few hours driving from Uglivik to the NATO camp at Sarajevo, Bosnia. This was an interesting camp because they had troops from most of the NATO countries there...and a PX for most of them to. We had to check out the each PX just to see what they were like. I thought it was funny that the French PX had wines from Napa, CA but none from France. The clerk said the California wines were better and cheaper than the French wines. I got a laugh out of that.
That was another funny thing, but the area of Bosnia we worked in normally didn't allow us to drink. However, just by driving a few hours, the camps in the same country didn't have this rule. I found out later, that most of our senior officers found reasons to chopper down to Sarajevo as often as they could for some meeting---just so they could drink. They were friggen useless to.
Since we had a job to do, I didn't drink anything, but my useless team leader did. He drank a bottle of wine, then came to the room and passed out.
I had to wake my team leader up for our 0100 hours (1 am) mission. He fell asleep in the van. I should have learned from that mission, that he was going to be totally useless on this deployment.
We drove out off the camp at 0110 hours. We drove for 20 minutes into the darkest place in the world.
to be cont.

12 February 2009

The 2nd Admendment to the US.......

From the Cop side: In response the Sergeant Grumpy's blog for today...
Many years ago I was on patrol in a small city I worked in. I had been a cop for all of about 6 months. As Joe Friday might say: "I was working the night watch out of the central beat, it was warm and clear in the city...." or something like that. In a city of about 24,000 people, we only had 2 cops and a supervisor on duty.

I was dispatched to a strange person who had run up to the front door of a house and tried to walk in to the house. The owner yelled at the guy, and the nut ran away.

We got several more calls on this nut running around the neighborhood, trying to open doors. Every time we got a call on the guy, we arrived and couldn't find him anywhere. He was fast.

We couldn't figure out what he was up to...but he was trying to get into a house, but so far he had been scared off by the people living there.

Then it happened...he came to another house with the front door unlocked. He opened the door and ran inside. The "man of the house"-- MOTH, told his wife to grab the kids and lock themselves in the bed room...while the man grabbed his Remington Model 870 pump action 12 ga shotgun. He found the stranger in the hallway trying the bedroom doors.

The "MOTH" pointed the big ass Remington Model 870 pump action 12 ga shotgun at the burglar and racked the slide. Now, if you've never heard the sound of a Remington Model 870 pump action 12 ga shotgun being racked while it was pointed at you...then, let me explain. It sounds 100 times louder than it really is. When I've done the same thing to mis-creatants on Felony Car Stops, It always gets their attention.

The burglar dude ran into the hall bathroom and locked the door. When I arrived a minute later, the MOTH was pointing the Remington Model 870 pump action 12 ga shotgun at the bathroom door. I'm glad the very good dispatcher had asked if he had a firearm in the house and informed me that he was arming himself with the shotgun. As I walked down the hallway, the MOTH pointed the big ass shotgun at the floor, and told me he was the person who called, I took his shotgun, and checked it to insure it in fact had a round in the chamber...then told the asshole locked in the bathroom to come out as "I had a shotgun and was going to start shooting through the door."

He came out...with wet pants. I took him away to a place where he belonged without firing a shot.

However, almost 30 years later, I wonder what would have happened if that home owner didn't have that shotgun.

I support the right of good citizens to own guns. We can not always get there in time. And the bigger the gun, the more likely you won't have to actually pull the trigger.

06 February 2009

How we talked to the Iraqi folks

From the soldier side: Last month for my National Guard drill, I had to give a class on how to use a "Terp" (interpreter). Most of our "mess kit" repair soldiers got some kind of useless training on how to do this in A.I.T. (Advanced Individual Training)...but with my "real world" experience, most said that they learned more from me. Remember, while I was in Bosnia, I used a "Terp" almost everyday of the week.
In Iraq, I used them everyday for the first 4 months, then only about 6 days a week after that. So, I think I know what I'm doing.
This link shows an Army Soldier, I assume a NCO, showing the proper way to use a "terp" when talking to a group. Very good training....
Please let me know if you found it useful... we aim to please.
On another note: Can anyone explain to me the point of those "things" like Face Book and My Space and stuff like that. I just don't understand them at all. If someone wants to tell me what's going on or write to me, use one of my several e-mail addresses. People send me the sign up things, but I don't get it. Hell, nobody I know could think I could even do a blog. Oh well, wtf.

05 February 2009

Dumb Question Award

From the Cop side: I know I don't tell a lot of cop stories...I guess I'm afraid I might upset or offend some dumbass, or get a "citizen's complaint." But, if you want to follow me around the last week I work before I retire, please bring a video camera....because I'm going to tell some of these dumbasses what I really think of them.
Like today for example. I was dispatched to a "medical aid" call. It was no big deal cause I didn't have to blow into a dead person's mouth or stop a sucking chest wound from bleeding out...
Nope, just a simple call. The usual gang from the Fire Department shows up...they always send a big ass fire engine cause' that's all the have to go places in. Then the meat wagon, excuse me, I mean the "Rescue Paramedics" show up with another truck.
Both of these vehicles are usually left running so the battery won't die cause' they leave all kinds of flashing pretty lights and stuff on.
I go help the poor lady who was having a bad day....then the fire dudes show up. Every thing's going good. Then some "crazy lady" (you can tell they are crazy because they look crazy) shows up...and she says to me: "Officer, I need to ask you a question..."

Like it was really urgent or something....and there we were doing stuff.
So I step away from the patient and fire dudes and go to the lady who looks crazy and she says: "why do they leave the engines running... the fire department left the engines running and people have to walk past those trucks and I think they're wasting fuel...and they shouldn't do that."

I took a breath, counted to 10, so I didn't slap the dumbass. (good for her and good for me.)
I gave her some answer that even impressed the fire dudes who were also thinking of slapping her for getting in the way...and the dumbass lady left.

If you know someone who is a dumbass...please tell them to not come up to a medical emergency etc and ask stupid questions...for it might be my last day at work before I retire and I might slap the shit out of them.

02 February 2009

Now I'll tell you about the BEST Super Bowl!

From the Soldier Side: (I told this story last year) Super Bowl Sunday, Jan 2005! There I was, in Baghdad, Iraq. My team had just flown in that day from some shitty mission.... (I think it was Mosoul/ Telafar). We were worn out and tired.
We walked over to the mess hall. After clearing our weapons, grabbing a tray of chow, I say they had a bunch of ice cold beer. I thought it was a celebration for our safe return.
Nope. It was Super Bowl Sunday. This is the most important holiday in the US Army. The Marines have the Marine Corps Birthday, I'm not sure what the Navy and Air Force have, but the Army has Super Bowl.
Now, I figure a lot of you won't understand how important beer was....because General Order #1 said we could not have anything with alcohol in it...unless a General authorized it. But, even with a General's approval, there could only be a 2 beer limit per person.
Now, to be honest with you, I don't normally drink that much any more. But that time of the deployment, a cold beer sounded really good. 2 cold beers sounded even better. They went down quick.....ice cold, yummy.
Then, my #2 guy looked around and found all the Islamic Terps and the Mormon soldiers. We convinced them that they should get their ration of beer and bring them to us.....only 2 at a time.
I lost count of how many beers I had. And wouldn't you know it, walking out of the mess hall (really kind of staggering) there was the battalion commander and the sergeant major. They were assholes, and I just walked by and said: "Gentlemen, dinner is on me."
We made it back to our rooms and passed out. I never did watch that game and I have no idea who was even playing. But the 2 beers were sure gooooood!