28 June 2009

Pistol course....get some, get some...

From the Soldier side: I warms the ventricles of my heart to see a soldier shoot well. I don't care what duty they have, they should know how to shoot their assigned weapon. In Iraq, we had a shortage of security team (gunners, drivers & riflemen) to go out on convoys with us. So, who do you think they used? People who were not doing their "normal" duties. We had cooks, image analyst, clerks, etc on the guns.

This was something I be they never thought would happen. Most of them were friggen outstanding at their "other assigned duties." But, in most cases they had just qualified on their new weapon (M-249, 50 Cal, etc) and had not really fired these weapons since Basic Training.

This is why my big push when we do "Army Training" is to get every soldier a chance to shoot all the weapons we have...not to just shoot them, but to shoot them well and be able to keep them working. How do you keep a weapon "working?" Keep it clean, and feed it ammo as needed.

The above shooter is female and an "office poge" who listened to instructions and qualified well.

This was from "Table 5" of the Army's standard pistol course. In this table, the shooter has to walk forward and load 2 magazines...while engaging multiple pop up targets. I had my "Range Safeties" actually hold onto the shooter while moving on line with several other shooters. It sounds scary to those in the Army who're not use to moving and shooting, but it was actually very slow.

I was so happy.

25 June 2009

The M2 Browning Fifty Cal! Get Some!

From the Soldier side: We aim to keep our readers happy, so here's a little Fifty Cal shooting. The gunner is a bit of a special character himself. The Army has a new term that they like to use a lot- Warrior. The Army has attached that word to the beginning of almost everything they do now. "Warrior Task Training" "Task Force Warrior" "Warrior Transition Course" etc.

This dude was a Scout Sniper who's served THREE tours in Iraq with the Army National Guard. His normal weapon is a little "finer". This dude is a Friggen Real Honesettogodnoshit Warrior.


21 June 2009

Happy Father's Day...

From the "Son" side: I consider myself lucky. My dad taught me lots of useful stuff that kind of set the way of my life. He wasn't always the perfect dad, but he did try hard. He was in the US Air Force, so we moved alot. I kind of thought it was good and bad...I knew if I didn't like the school we were at...or the kids, not to worry because the Air Force liked to move it's people around often. Heck, I wasn't even born in this country!
His early days were in "TAC" (Tactical Air Command)...which were bases made up with old fighter wings---the idea was they'd scramble into the air on short notice and defend the country against any attacks. His later years were in "SAC" (Strategic Air Command)--which was made up of big ass bombers that were in the air 24 hours a day.
I got used to going to sleep with the sound of air craft in the air. I guess that's why when I bought a house, it was near a small air port---but no B52's taking off, not even a F-105.
Some things my dad taught me: how to fix stuff and how to shoot. When he first took my brother and me into the woods with a .22 rifle, our targets were cans, then small twigs on a tree. He taught me sight alignment, breathing control and trigger squeeze. Why was an Air Force guy such a good shot? Because when he was a kid, his family had no money. If he went hunting for rabbits, he had to bring back one rabbit for each round of .22 ammo he bought. He never missed.
When he went to Nam, he took over the weapons for his group of Airmen because as most of us know, the Air Force doesn't know shit about small arms. They have to buy expensive planes and spend millions of dollars to drop a few bombs. He came up with a very simple but effective way to get all the packing grease cleaned off all his brand new M-16s. He took over several bottles of whiskey to an Army grunt unit and traded for their labor. He made the grunts happy and he got his weapons ready for a fight if they ever needed them. He never talked much about "his war" but I know he hated his time there.
When I went in the Army, my dad said I was making a big mistake. Yep, he was right. The Air Force had all the best. If the Air Force built a new base, they'd build the flight line and golf course first---then ask for more money to build the rest. They had the best food, the best hospitals and some of the smartest people.
When I came home from the Army, my dad supported me going to college. He said he'd be happy if I just passed my classes because I'd be the first in our family to ever get a college degree. I did pass all my classes.
He died over 12 years ago. It took years to stop wanting to call him when something good or bad happened. I know he would have been my number one supporter on my deployments, but he missed all that drama.
Happy Father's Day Dad.
Today's photo: the Browning M-2 HB .50 machine gun. Yeah, I got to spend more of your tax payer's dollars.

18 June 2009

More fun than a barrel full of....

From the Citizen Soldier side: While we were at our "Summer Camp" another unit came to the pistol range I was running. After I helped some of their officers qualify on the pistol, they asked if we could help them later in the week....on the machine gun range.

Now, my idea of helping somebody with weapons involves firing them....It is hard to explain how much fun this was. Thank you US tax payers. This was you dollars at work. The M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) 5.56 mm, gas operated, belt fed machine gun.

16 June 2009


From the Citizen Soldier side: Well, I survived the range training at our "Summer Camp." I was so friggen lucky that I was able to "obtain" several good troops. We expended lots of bullets....which I'd like to thank all you tax payers for helping pay for.
I was able to get 100% quals on my range! My unit is usually happy to get half that.

more later...

08 June 2009

Send Help! Now I know I'll Retire soon!

Summer Camp, Camp XXX, Calif. From the Soldier side: I live in California! If our state was a country, it would be the 7th largest as far as economy goes. We also have a pretty good size army and other stuff. However, the Camp our State Guard trains at is so backwards its sad. I worked at Iraqi Army bases that were much better. Our state camp is like a third world army. The state has refused to spend a dime to fix the place up. The barracks were built in 1942 and they just "upgraded" them a few years ago with metal siding.
You can't drink the water from the sinks....we've already had several new folks get sick. I also had much better food in Bosnia and Iraq. For internet, I have my lap top hooked to my cell phone and tied to a tin can with a string.
But, the thing I really need help on is...I have to run one of the weapons ranges. They asked me a few months ago and I said "sure sir, whatever you need" like a good soldier.
I asked for specific soldiers to assist me (with Army Regs you have to have a certain number of people etc).
What did they give me? Three 2nd LTs and a guy who just transferred over from the Air Force. None of them have even ever fired the weapons we're running....and they're supposed to be "experts."

Crap, I hope I don't get shot.

Then after we get back from all the "mandatory range safety briefings" I sit down to write up the bla bla bla stuff I have to write up..... then I everybody's cell phone around me starts going off (because I refuse the give them my private cell phone number because I know they'll call me every 5 mins)....one other sergeant comes over and says: "CI Roller they need you over at the TOC (Tac Operations Center) to discuss the range you're runing."
So, I start walking over there--it's only 100 meters from my WWII barracks. But, as I'm walking, one of my 2nd LT's comes runnning over to get me saying:"I tried calling you, but I got your home." "Yes sir, that's why I don't give out my cell phone number."
I walk to the TOC, and stand there amongst all the lost leaders while they are trying to add how many shooters they'll have on my range. I ask: "Am I the only range who asked how many shooters I'm running through?" "yep"
OK, they I ask how many bullets we have to shoot. "Why" they ask..... I say: "So I can budget my ammo....you get 40 rounds per shooter per qualification table." Duh! I wish I had 1st graders, they could do the math.

Then for no reason, some really dumbass captain, trying to sound smart says: "Oh, we can ask the camp staff to help do the pre-marksmenship training."
I regret I didn't have a weapon to center mass that captain. ....but I said: "Sir, I don't want to sound like an asshole, but I'd rather do that myself."

Thank God there was a High Speed former S.F. major in the room who knew me and agreed.

Dang, I'm glad I can retire soon.

--CI Roller Dude

04 June 2009

Doing laundry in a ........

From the Soldier side: "Hey boss, how do I wash my clothes in this thing?" One of my soldiers asked me one day.
One of the best parts of my time in Iraq was that I got sent to a lot of places. One of the worst parts of my time in Iraq was that I got sent to a lot of places…sometimes I planned the trip, sometimes higher ups did it. I was lucky and unlucky. The further you got away from the “flag pole” the better off I felt. The bad part about going to remote camps was they had a lot fewer luxuries.
Some examples:
Big camp you had big mess hall, lots of fat food. Small camp you may get MREs
Big camp you had rec center, with TV. Small camp you were lucky to have Internet.
Big camp you had bus service to big PX. Small camp you walked everywhere- but things were close because the camp was small.
Big camp you had KBR laundry service. Small camp you washed clothes by hand.
Big camp you had lots of offices to salute outside. Small camp you had a few officers who got mad if you saluted them (Sniper Check).

So, when we got sent to Al Asad (2nd time) then to Al Qaim before going to Camp Gannon, Iraq , they had a few services.
Desert Maytag
To wash you clothes at Al Qaim, the Marines had a simple method. I had used similar methods back packing and when I was a grunt. You take an old ice chest.---Fill with water, add soap and dirty clothes. Agitate by hand. Dump, rinse, squeeze and hang to dry.

I had a young Spec 4 who I enjoyed having on my team. He is a very good person, but at times he seemed a little lost when things were primitive. He went with my team to “out west” as I called it. When we got to Al Qaim, we had been away for about a week when he decided he needed to start cleaning some of his clothes. He came to me and asked how to use the “Desert Maytag” and I explained the above.
About 30 minutes later he came back to our tent. He was so proud of himself for being able to wash his clothes. He asked: “how long should I leave them hung up to dry?”
I told him about 15 minutes should dry them in the Iraqi heat. No ironing needed.

A few days later we road on a convoy further out west to a place even more primitive. If you want to hear about my night missions, let me know. I’ll be gone for about 2 weeks to do some Army Training. (summer camp)...and I'll have limited to no Internet access. See you in a few weeks.

01 June 2009

Be all You can be....in the Army...An Army of Many..

From the Soldier side: Most of my readers likely understand it it about time for me to retire from the "Army National Guard". Not because I've done so much, but because I've witnessed way too much stupid stuff.
There's Stupid and there's Army Stupid.
I originally joined the "real" Army in the 1970's. And after I did my 2 years, that should have been enough. But no, for some reason I thought I could make a difference. Stupid is as stupid does. There are levels of stupid in the Army that can never be matched by any military in the world! But somehow we still can get the mission done. Or, as I said on deployments: "we can get the job done despite the lack of leadership."
The Army Beret is another example of stupid. The Army allowed certain special units to start wearing colored berets in the 1940's. The Maroon beret was and is for Air Borne units. The Green Beret is for Special Forces (note: they do not call themselves the Green Berets) And the black beret used to be for Rangers. The Army screwed them and took it to issue to all troops.
I suspect that reason is because some consultant they hired said everyone would think they are cool if they all got to wear berets.
They are useless as far as headgear goes. They won't keep the rain off your head, or the sun out of your eyes. They make you look like you are from some other country. They suck.
And, to add stupid to stupid. When we were doing our months of useless training for Iraq in 2004, our Sergeant Major thought that we should continue wearing our berets during training. He thought they were cool, we couldn't wait to get rid of them. The Army regs say something about not wearing the beret in the field. Our Sergeant Major also came up with a brilliant plan for our uniforms. In those days we were still wearing the Woodland pattern in the states...and for Iraq we were issued the Desert Camo Uniform (DCU). As soon as we started training for Iraq, we assumed we'd just put our our DUCs.
But nope! The Sergeant Major felt that we wouldn't wear the DCUs until we were about 90% done with our training. He said putting on the DCUs would be an honor or some shit. We tried to tell him that we only brought a few of the woodland uniforms knowing that we'd switch the DUCs when they issued them.
The dumbass also wanted us to wear out berets once we switched to the DUCs...totally wrong. I am sure if it was up to him, he would have had us wearing berets in Iraq. (this is the same Sergeant Major who had 2 negligent discharges on the 50 caliber machine gun on convoy in Baghdad.)
The only useful thing you can do with a beret is wipe your nose.
It is right up there with:
1.) Be all you can be...join the Army
2.) US Army, we can do more before 9, than most people do in an entire day (changed to: "US Army, we can destroy more before 9 than most folks destroy in a lifetime)
3.) An Army of one. (what about the million other assholes around you when you go into battle?)
4.) There's Strong and there's Army Strong (or "there's stupid and there's Army stupid")
yep, I need to retire.