31 May 2009
28 May 2009
One night I was working the "DUI Shift" at the police department I used to work at. I enjoyed that shift because I didn't have to take all the bullshit calls that day shift got. I got to deal with and arrest the real bad guys. I was good at getting drunk drivers too. This shift was "adjusted" as they thought they needed me, but on Friday nights I was busy.
The call came across the radio, and also showed up on the in car computer: "Vehicle crash, possible roll over...all units respond." (all units wasn't really a lot, there were only 3 of us on counting the sergeant.)
The call was up on one of the winding, narrow roads on a hill in town. These road were dug out in the 1800's and the only improvement was pavement. They were narrow and in many locations, a fire truck had to stop and back up to make it around a turn. I was the first patrol car to arrive in the area, but I didn't see any wrecks. I then used my spot light and started looking down a drop off. There it was. A car upside down and I could hear a guy screaming. Cool. Blood and guts with what was sure to be a drunk driver.
I got down to the car and there was a guy crawling away. He said he was the passenger and he last saw the driver running up the hill. We ran the license plate on the car and learned where the owner lived....but before we could go look for him, we had to help this other drunken, injured passenger lying on the ground.
The injured drunken passenger had a broken leg... and the medics arrived quick and started to treat him. He started to tell the medics: "I was in the Army...stationed at Camp Pendleton...I've had worse injuries than this when I was in the war."
That got my attention, despite the other things I should have been doing. I walked over to mister drunken injured passenger and said: "you were in the Army and at Camp Pendleton? What was your MOS? Why were you at a Marine Camp?"
His response: "What's an MOS?"
I walked away from drunken, injured passenger and gathered up my "raid team" to go look for the driver. He only lived about a block from where he crashed his car, so we walked towards his house.
As we got to the house, we saw that there were no lights on. I sent the rookie to knock on the door while I stood in the shadows. I could hear noise in the shrubs on a hill just below the house. I walked over to the noise, pulled my Taser (I love Tasers!) and told Mr dumbass to come up the hill or get a shock. He did. He was hooked up and taken to the hospital to be checked.
When we got to the Emergency Room, the drunken, injured passenger was already there getting his broken leg fixed.
Now guess who I was the most pissed off with? I walked over to where the drunken, injured passenger was and said: "the next time you pretend to be a vet, think about those who really are."
(What I wanted to do was break his other leg.---sometimes I bullshit a little.)
27 May 2009
As I've mentioned in past postings, there are also those "fake vets" out there. The ones who have never gone to war, but make some outlandish claims. There are some who have gone to war, but make up things to make themselves sound more important. Like the cook who deployed to Iraq with us... who was not even cooking, we're not sure what he did. But when he returned to his home National Guard unit, he made claims for all kinds of awards. He claimed he was in several battles, got wounded etc. He never ever left Camp Victory in Baghdad. What a puke.
23 May 2009
From the Soldier side: I have a special flag flying in front of my house. It's a flag that was flying at Camp Cody, Bosnia in 2003 just before they closed that camp. I guess somebody forgot the flag, so I grabbed it and took it with me to the next two camps I was at in Bosnia.
22 May 2009
sandpit : Iraq
theater : Any big screen TV, video projector or "whatever" set up to watch movies. I never saw a movie that wasn't at least a year old...except for the "hajji" bootlegged DVDs that were illegally copied.
VBIED : Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devise. i.e.. Car Bomb.
19 May 2009
17 May 2009
They start asking things related to what kind of gun they should have in the house. The funniest part of this is; many of these civilians are extremely liberal anti gun freaks! I am shocked when they start talking about getting a firearm to "protect themselves with."
But, I quickly get over it because I support the 2nd amendment-- the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
The difficult part of trying to help one of these converts, is, they have no basic firearm knowledge. They have zero knowledge, zip, nadda, none, less that zero. They don't know the difference between a revolver and a semi auto pistol. So, I'll try to spend a little time explaining to them a little about guns.
If they really want a gun for home defense, I suggest not messing around. Get the biggest gun you can handle. Then they ask how to prepare. I suggest preparing for a mass of zombies to attack you. If you have a gun big enough to take out the brain and fire multiple rounds-- then you're going to be ready for anything. (Gang bangers are very much like zombies.)
So, any pistol you get must start with a "FOUR" in the caliber department. (.40 cal, .45 cal, etc.) and have lots of ammo...best in magazines pre-loaded. If you have a 9mm, it's ok, but you must get good ammo. 12 gauge shotguns are better, as are AR15, M14s etc. (if you live in a state where you can obtain such weapons.)
More than one weapon is better and is training everyone in the home to use them.
The other day I stopped by my favorite gun store on duty. There was a good citizen looking at 2 handguns. He was having a hard time making up his mind which to buy. He looked at me and asked if I knew anything about guns. (I was in a police uniform.) I said I did. He asked: "Which of these 2 guns should I buy?"
My answer? Both of them. Buy one this month then buy the other next month. You can't go wrong that way.
OK, I promise to get more OIF slang out this week...
15 May 2009
From the Soldier side: There are a few things that some people have said, since I've returned from Iraq, that do kind of annoy the heck out of me. But, so far I've never lost my cool. Why? Because of something I heard when we were out processing at Fort Screwus, WA.
By the time our tour of Iraq was over, the Army was finally starting to be a little more proactive in at least looking like they were trying to make an attempt at sending us home with all of our marbles in the bag. (Read that last sentence again to get my point.)
The Army required us to go through mandatory group therapy. At least that's what I called it. How did they do it? They had our entire battalion in an auditorium for hours. This was "required" so we all went. We sat there and listened to some good people tell us how not to be crazy. Some of these folks actually had some good points...some I don't even remember what they said. But the one person who talked to us who's words of wisdom stuck in my brain was a doctor.
This doctor had just medically retired from the Navy. He was a Navy SEAL who had been really messed up "jumping" in Afghanistan. He broke so many bones that they had to retire him out. So, he wasn't just a medical doctor, but he had been a SEAL. So, when he talked, I listened to what he had to say. In summary:
"Listen...you are all going to go back home and be a hero. You'll be a hero to your wife, husband, mom, dad, brothers, sisters, and friends. You'll be a hero to everybody until that first time you get angry and loose your temper and start yelling at your loved ones. Then you'll just be an asshole."
I've tried to never yell or loose my temper since then. Have I gotten pissed off? You bet. But, I won't feed the beast of anger. Why, because even if I have a totally good reason for getting mad at something...people will think: "Oh my God, he has PTSD from Iraq."
Nope. I have PTSD from stupid people., bad leaders, and people who keep asking me stupid questions like:
1.) How many people did you kill in Iraq?
2.) Do you have bad dreams or PTSD?
3.) Will you have to go back (to Iraq)?
4.) What was it like? How long were you there?
13 May 2009
From the Soldier side: OK, I don't normally do post 2 days in a row...but some recent news from the Sand Box has had me thinking alot. Since alot of the good civilian folks out there don't really know what the military has done and is doing about stress...let me say some things.
First of all, those who've read my blog for awhile know I don't bullshit. If I see something that's wrong, I'll tell you. That's the main reason I haven't been promoted alot in the Army National Guard. If I see a pile of dog do-do...I'll tell you not to step in it. Some commanders I've seen had wanted to ignore the do-do and step right into it.
In the past, the Army has come up with some really dumbass ideas for dealing with stress. Years ago soldiers in Basic Training were issued a "Stress Card." It was a heat sensitive card that turned different colors. The idea was if you were stressed, and touched this card, it would go black or something...meaning you were stressed. Time out.
Well, in war you're going to have stress. If somebody went to war and was never stressed out, I would want them to go see a mental health professional. Every time I went "outside the wire" in Iraq I was stressed. But I was also happy. I was happy to get away from the REMF idiots who stayed on the camps. I knew when we left, we were on our own...our lives depended on each other. We didn't have Sergeant Majors looking out our boot laces or making sure our Humvees were washed and cleaned. We were on our own. None of them assholes were leaving the camp and I actually felt good to get away from them. I knew it was the assholeinsurgent's job to try to kill us. They were doing there job and we were doing ours. But the bullshit on the camp was something I couldn't stand---it stressed me out! (In Bosnia my goal was to go outside the wire every day.)
One of the things I noticed about half way through my year long tour in Iraq was...whenever the unit had a "problem child" they would give them to me. Why? Did they think I was every one's dad? Was I just too friggen calm, cool and collected? Did they think I could fix any body's malfunction? After 6 months I considered becoming a screw up...but I just couldn't do it. I had some pride in my duty and always thought I could fix any problem. I couldn't.
About 4 or 5 months into our tour, my duty assignment was changed. I went from doing "MMKR" (Mobil Mess Kit Repair) to "MKRI" (Mess Kit Repair Investigations) So I had to come up with a new team because they were going to keep the team I had doing what they were doing. I had to start a new job from scratch but they gave me more soldiers to do it with. I got to keep my "terp" because he asked to stay with me.
One of the troopers they gave me was a very young PFC who had just gotten out of school a few weeks before the deployment. He hadn't been in the Regular Army very long. He was still getting used to being away from his mom and stuff. They had pulled the PFC off another team who had just returned from Mosoul, Iraq (where the "Wicked Witch of the West" had been in charge. See my older posting) I knew anyone who had to work under the Witch would have been stressed out. If it was Sunday in Church, she would have done something to make it stressful...she was a crazy person who had to make everyone else around her suffer her mental problems. If I had run into the witch on my civilian police job, I would have taken her to the county mental health ward.
Well, anyway, this PFC had been working under the witchbitch. He had a team leader who didn't know how to protect her troops from bullshit. The PFC cracked. He had threatened to kill himself. They sent him back to Baghdad and took away his rifle. They had him seeing a "shrink" then returned him to duty and stuck him on my team...but never told me why.
A few weeks later his former team leader came back to Baghdad to go on Leave. She told me what had happened. She didn't know what to do with the PFC because she had never been properly trained on what to do. I had been trained...but not by the US Army. I had been given lots of training on dealing with mental health problems in my civilian cop job. I applied that knowledge on the PFC. If you look in the above photo, the PFC is the guy to the left near the Humvee. This is on one of our missions going from Fallujah to Al Asad Iraq on a convoy. (That's a long ass convoy for Iraq.)
Was the PFC scared? Was he stressed out? Was he ready to pee his pants? Nope. At this time he wanted to go with me...he wanted to do good. Why? Because I took care of his ass. I let him talk to me and tell me his problems....what was bothering him. I never treated him like shit...I treated him like a son. He wanted to prove to me that he was a good soldier and could do his job. He did well and I'm glad I was able to have him on my team. Smart kid.
So... what's my words of wisdom on dealing with those who are stressed out? You have to give a shit.
UPDATED NOTE: For those who didn't know, in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afganastan, the soldiers are always armed on the camps. In most places in the "real wars" they had unloaded weapons, but always had to have at least one mag with them. We got "checked" by guards, sergeant majors and anybody else who had nothing else to do. In the really small camps we had loaded weapons all the time. For those not aware- IT IS A COMBAT ZONE!!! YOU HAVE TO HAVE REAL GUNS WITH REAL BULLETS!
12 May 2009
ICDC : Iraqi Civil Defense Corps [obsolete] "I" stoof for Iraq, so IP were Iraqi Police, ING- Iraqi National Guard, IA- Iraqi Army. As one organization failed, our dumbass leaders would try another system. They didn’t realize that they were just “hajji.”
Inside the wire - Troops working inside the wire--Vietnam-era phrase for the perimeter of any US base in Vietnam. Outside the wire was going outside the camp or FOB. Most of the forces when I was in Iraq never ever went out side the wire. We did. I had some teams who had over 100 missions outside the wire in Baghdad---they had big balls. REMFs don’t go outside the wire.
KBR : Kellogg, Brown & Root -- The biggest contractor serving the Coalition Forces. They ran the mess halls, the garbage, the laundry, the power supply, and pretty much everything on the “safe camps”. What a racket.
LN : Local National. A citizen of Iraq, if you're in Iraq, Afghanistan if you're in Afghanistan, etc. Usually encountered as labor brought on post to do construction or other labor. TCN- Third Country National- from any other country who came to work for contractors in Iraq. Usually from 3rd world country so KBR paid them a hell of a lot less salary.
Mortaritaville : nickname for LSA Anaconda, a major base near Balad, reflecting the frequent mortar attacks.
Muj (pronounced: Mooj), short for Mujahadeen. Formally a person who wages jihad, informally used for the Iraqi Insurgents starting in 2005.
outside the wire -- outside the security perimeter surrounding the FOB.
OEF : Operation Enduring Freedom.
OGA : Other Government Agency - CIA
OIF : Operation Iraqi Freedom. (I never could figure out how it went form “Looking for WMD” to OIF, I mean when the F-- did the Iraqi people ever ask us the liberate them?)
POG : People Other than Grunts [pronounced "pogue"] rear-echelon support troops. Arose in 2005 as a synonym for Fobbit, it seems. (Fobbit was anyone who stayed on the camp or FOB)
PSD : Personal Security Detail - private security contractors, most of the ones I worked with were former British SAS, US Special Forces, South African police, etc. They were very good and well paid—I preferred them for my security team when I had a choice.
Red on red : enemy-on-enemy fire. In June 2005 it was reported that Marines patrolling the desert near the Syrian border had, over the previous several months, seen a new trend in the Iraq insurgency. Insurgents were fighting each other in towns along the Euphrates from Husayba to Qaim. This suggested that there had been a split between Islamic militants and local rebels. I’ll tell a story about this later… Blue on Blue stood for US Troops shooting at each other by mistake…which I also have stories of.
REMF : rear-echelon motherf**r - Vietnam era phrase revived for the sandbox. The term REMF seems to have fallen into disuse, replaced by “fobbit”. I liked calling REMFS REMFS, because they usually didn’t know what it stood for.
Remfland: the rear-echelon areas where support personnel live and work in relative safety -- the paradox being that in the Sandbox, unlike Vietnam, REMFland is more a state of mind than a physical location. REMF-MF= REMF Mother F—er.
10 May 2009
08 May 2009
I have to have an Army E-mail account...this makes sense so they can send me Army stuff. So, today I get an e-mail from one of the "full timers." He just forwarded an e-mail from the battalion...who we know is full of retards.
The e-mail pretty much asked me to find out from my troops who was not able to log onto their Army e-mail. The battalion pukes want to know before we go to our "Summer Camp" (Annual Training) so they know how many troops they'll have to work with to re-set their Army e-mail passwords. Simple task for somebody who actually has a full time job...right?
I was kind of wondering who at battalion comes up with stupid shit questions like this before camp. We never really know how many people are actually going to go until the day we leave. Kind of like when we deployed. The battalion would come up with a stupid question of the day and they had to have the answer right now. A few times I started a list going around for people to put their glove size and how many eyelets they had in their boots so they could order boot laces and gloves....(but there were not boot laces or gloves coming.) People were actually bending over and counting how many eyelets they had in their boots.
So, today, without much thought, I started to e-mail my troops. Then I thought....(now keep in mind, I am not a computer tech geek type by any means) but I figured this out on my own..."How are they going to be able to read the e-mail I sent to their Army e-mail if they're locked out because of a password malfunction?"
Oh Crap. SNAFU, WTF.
Ok, I feel better now that I got that out of my system.
06 May 2009
Gun truck : an armored and heavily armed vehicle used for convoy security. Usually any truck with any type of "crew served" weapon was called Gun Truck... even if it had a "Hajji" machine gun.
GWOT : global war on terrorism. They came up with another medal...you were supposed to have actully been deployed over seas to get this, but I know of one National Guard REMF who never left California who somehow ended up with one.
Haji : 1: Arabic word for someone who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca; 2: used by the American military for an Iraqi, anyone of arab decent, or even of a brownish skin tone, be they afghanis, or even bangladeshis; 3: the word many soldiers use derogatorily for the enemy.
Haji armor : improvised armor, installed by troops hiring Iraqis to update the vehicles by welding any available metal to the sides of Humvees
Haji mart : any small store operated by Iraqis to sell small items to Americans.
Haji patrol : 1: escort detail; 2: Local National unit is also referred to as the Haji patrol, with all the projects that are being performed by the local nationals.
Haji shop : even the smallest base has some form of what soldiers call a "haji shop" or, in more politically correct terms, a shop run by locals. Frequently near the PX, the "Haji" shop would sell everything from cigarettes to knockoff sunglasses to pirated DVDs.
Hillbilly armor : Improvised vehicle armor. Most often appeared to have been made in a high school welding shop class. Typically a half-inch of scrap steel hastily cut in the shape of the door and welded or riveted on. SecDef Rumsfeld in December 2004 lied about the need for such scrounging. That lying bastard claimed that there was plenty of armored vehicles in Iraq...I still saw a lot of Hajji Armor in Nov 2005 before we left. How could he say that with a straight face...
(updated...I had to search for the above pic of the USMC Humvee. They put 1/2 metal plates on the side and hung Kevelar blankets over that. It would stop small arms rounds.-- From Al Qaim Iraq, July 2005)
03 May 2009
CHUville : a base consisting of a large number of CHUs.
Death Blossom : The tendency of Iraqi security forces, in response to receiving a little fire from the enemy, to either run away or do the "death blossom" spraying fire indisciminately in all directions. The term originated in the 1984 movie "The Last Starfighter."
DFAC [Dining FACility] : A DFAC is where you eat. Soldiers eat in a dining facility, or DFAC (pronounced dee-Fak). Old soldiers (like me) show their age they call it a "chow hall" and if you say “mess hall” it dates you. DFACs are modern looking cafeteria, some decorated it with sports memorabilia, movie posters, and televisions with ESPN, CNN or some other news... (the one Giant / Dodgers game that was on, I got thrown out because of closing time...pissed me off.) The closer a DFAC was to the "Flag Pole" (high ranking generals and shit) the better the food was...the further away, the worse it got.
dirt sailor : A member of the Navy’s Construction Battalions (Seabees). In Iraq, a sailor playing a part that is not a normal Navy role.
FOB : forward operating base.
FOB Taxi : any vehicle that never leaves the FOB.
fobbit : service member who never goes outside the wire off the forward operating base. (Old school grunts like me called them REMFS--I'll describe a REMF later)
FRAGO : fragmentary order. Fragmentary order is an abbreviated form of an operation order, usually issued on a day-to-day basis, which eliminates the need for restating information contained in a basic operation order. FRAGOs do not take the place of an OPORD. A FRAGO determines timely changes to an already existing order. The important point here is that a frag order is issued based on the basic operation order and is not a "stand alone" directive. It will normally state the changes from the basic order such as enemy situation and new taskings. A more formal decisionmaking process may be required before issuing a FRAGO, especially if a major adjustment to the operation order (OPORD) is needed. FRAGO is now used everytime any change comes along..."Oh Shit, another FRAGO."