31 August 2009

The "5" Seasons....

From the Citizen Soldier side: Many years ago, when I was in a National Guard Combat Engineer unit, we had a saying. Our saying was: "The four seasons of the Calif Army National Guard
1.) Floods. 2.) Fires. 3.) Earthquakes. 4.) Riots.
Now the fifth- War.
As I was driving home after my cop job today, stuck in the suckass traffic, I heard a story on the news that gave me a flash back. (not a bad one where I whipped out my .45 and starting shooting or anything...more like an old story that came back.)

Around our state there are at least 5 major wild land fires burning. If you've never been to California, you might think the entire state is on fire. Nope, just a few little spots, it's a big ass state. We could let half of it burn and still have a bunch left.
But the news said how the folks in one area were told they needed to evacuate. 5 of them knuckelheads didn't. Then they began crying for help. What these morons didn't understand was now that they waited, some fire fighters would have to risk their lives to go get them out. But, finally somebody in charge had the balls to tell them morons they had to do it on their own.

About 10 years ago, when I was on a flood mission on the Russian River. The locals were told: "It is going to flood. Period, no doubt, it's going to flood. You need to get out now if you are in a flood area because after it floods, we will not do any rescues."

Guess what. Several local dumbasses still called and asked to be rescued. All we had were old 5 ton dump trucks. My truck weighed 28,000 pounds- empty. When I drove a little ways into a flooded area, my truck started to move sideways.
I wasn't about to risk my crew, and myself to try to rescue some retards who waited until it was too late to get out when they were warned ahead of time to get out. Just because they were retards didn't mean we had to join the club.

(I'm sorry if you were under the impression that we all would do crazy shit to save stupid people.)

30 August 2009

Anything for the General sir....

From the Soldier side: My long time readers know that a few months ago I did my 2 week "Summer Camp" for the Army National Guard. One thing I have to make sure everybody knows...this unit I'm with now, is the best unit I've ever worked with, except the Marines in Fallujah, Iraq. It doesn't matter what rank you are, as long as you have your shit together, they will let you do your job. For 4 days I ran the pistol range. I had 4 2nd LTs assigned to "help" me. One LT was my LT, the others were from other platoons.

To me running the range wasn't work, because it's something I enjoy doing. The only "glitch" we had was the day some General needed to qualify on MY range. They gave me about a 2 hour notice, so when his driver rolled up and his aid come up to me to announce the General was there. I walked over and made contact. He seemed like a nice guy. Not too pompas or arrogant....seemed sure of himself. But the thing that made me like him was...he could shoot. He fired perfect for day and night fire.

The last day on the range, my LT was counting the ammo we had left over. He said we had a little over 500 rounds left. He said: "we won't have time to shoot it all up, I guess we'll have to turn it in." This was the first time this LT ever worked on a range....and he'd never seen me shoot. I did my part to help expend all rounds. It was the first time I got to fire the M11 pistol.

A good day at the range is when your trigger finger gets tired.

27 August 2009

How, where, what,,,,you drove that?

From the Soldier side: Several weeks ago, when I was down at wonderful asssucking Camp Roberts, CA, we took a walk to the PX. On the way back, I told some of the lads that there was a small museum near.
As we walked closer, I had a flashback to 1976. There, sitting at the back of the building was the remains of a Gamma Goat truck.
It was missing the canvas tops, the windshield, seats and other parts, but I could tell what she was.
The new 2nd LT and others with me couldn't figure out why this vehicle was made like it was. It was a good idea to start with, but turned out to be a real P.O.S.
Still, when I was 19 years old, it was fun to drive across the forest in Germany.
I became very good at operating this truck. I could cross water, take on ice and snow, roll down hills in the dark with the engine off to sneak up on people. The engine was a 3 cylinder diesel that was so loud, you couldn't normally sneak up on the gas pump. I could get the max speed out of her (65MPH) and do anything with her.
This one had been de-commissioned to be a target on the gun range, but I guess somebody thought they should restore it.
(Speaking of targets. A big bus company had donated several highway buses to be targets at Camp Roberts. The camp staff looked at the buses and said: "heck, we can use these to drive troops around on the camp---so what if they're not safe to drive on the highway anymore." )
California has the largest population in the country, the National Guard is bigger than many countries entire Army, and yet was have the absolute worst training camp in the country. The Iraqi Army had better buildings and equipment.
Oh, but that Gamma Got brought back such great memories. Germany in the 1970's, I was an E-4 making a whopping $398.00 a month (before taxes) no wife, no kids, good beer, not a worry in the world.

25 August 2009

How do you know when training works?

From the Soldier and Cop side: Over the last 30 years I've been able to go to some very, very good training in both the Army and Law Enforcement.
In the last 30 years I've gone to some very, very bad training in both the Army and Law Enforcement.
In my jobs, good training helps you do your job better and keeps you alive. I care very much about the survival training and I also teach it.
In my Cop job, I've gone to some of the best firearms instructor courses in the world. In the late 1990's, I went to Patrol Rifle Instructors Course for cops. Prior to this class I thought I knew a lot about weapons like the M-16/ AR-15. At this course, I found I really did not know very much. After this course, I feel I know a lot. I've trained a lot of cops on how to use patrol rifles.
I also took many pistol instructor courses.
When I deployed to Bosnia in 2003, then Iraq in 2004, I took every chance I could to pass on some of this knowledge to other soldiers. Most of those in our MOS, (Mess Kit Repair) were not really high speed when it came to weapons.
When my team went out to "help other units" in Iraq, we were often at some small F.O.B. or camp with lots of grunt types around. The grunts had ammo and never seemed to mind giving us some to practice with. I took my guys out whenever we could and showed them every trick I knew to keep their weapons working....keeping them fed and on target.
Over the year's time we were in Iraq, our teams got switched around...some of the guys were put on other teams, some got wounded or killed.
What really made my day, was at the end of the deployment...when all the remote teams came back to Baghdad to get ready to go home. A few of the guys came up to me and said: "Thank you for showing me what you did with the M-4s. We got into a gun fight at XXXX and I was able to keep shooting. If you didn't show me those loading tricks, I'd gotten killed. "
That made my deployment worth it. I can tell you when training will work and what will not.

23 August 2009

H.U.A. Drivers

From the Soldier side: How many of you that drive on busy freeways, cities etc and noticed that a lot of other drivers are not really driving very well?
In Calif they passed a "hands free" cell phone law that went into effect early this year. So many people ignore it, that I could easily write 6 or 7 tickets a day for that alone. But, what about all the others who don't seem to be really paying attention either.
They might be turning around to slap the kid in the back seat, reaching over for that foo-foo drink from Starbucks that fell on the floor, changing a CD, or simply driving H.U.A. Head Up Ass.
So, you all know what I'm talking about? If not, you may be the driver who's H.U.A. (Sorry, hope I didn't offend you.)

Now, think about this major driving problem in a place like Iraq. I found when I was there, most drivers didn't even have a driver's license! Nobody cared. Just buy some old P.O.S. car and drive on.

The problem our convoys had was: "how can you tell when a vehicle is speeding toward your truck if the guy is a suicide bomber, or just driving H.U.A?"

Simple. If you wave the driver off, and he keeps coming, you fire a waring shot in front of the car. If he keeps coming, you fire a warning shot into the bumper or hood. If he keeps coming, you open up on the motherfucker with everything you have or you are going to die. By that time, it's usually too late and he's going to crash his bomb filled car into your convoy anyway.

There was a time, when the unit I was with in Baghdad, where the gunners were firing warning shots several times a day.

The chair warming REMF MFs on the camp were getting freaked out...they couldn't understand why anybody would fire so many warning shots. So, they told the gunners to stop.

Now, if you were a smart, but concerned gunner on a convoy and told to stop firing warning shots, what would you do?
They started loading BFRs on the trucks. A BFR is a Big Fucking Rock. And they worked very well as warning shots. Some of the gunners were firing the BFRs on automatic. They would throw one into the car grill, then the hood, then the windshield.
That stopped the HUA drivers.
Then the chair warming REMFs got upset for having to pay for all the Iraqi windshields and told the gunners to go back to firing warning shots.

Still missing the common sense....

21 August 2009

More Common Sense stories....

From the Soldier side: During my last few months in Iraq, I was slightly hurt (not shot or anything cool, just a stupid thing) so, I was on light duty for a few months. One of the guys who'd been stuck in the office for the first several months we were there begged to take my team over.
You mean I could sit on my ass in an office and enjoy A/C all day?

So, while I was on "light duty" I was in charge of our "teams". Kind of a promotion, but without the pay raise. I was pretty lucky in that I had some really, really good soldiers on the teams. ( I know because I violated my profile a few times and went out with them anyway).

My day would start at 0500 hours. I'd get up, shower, shave, walk a mile to the mess hall, then be in the little Ops Center we had before the teams arrived.

My job was to look over their "missions" for that day and make sure they were doing the right things. Do follow up stuff all day, debrief the teams when they came back and review/ approve all the reports. (Mess Kit Repair has a lot of paper work!)

One of the other duties I had, is when some soldier screwed up, I'd have to take care of it. You know, be an NCO. Most of the time, the soldier didn't really screw up, they did the right thing. However, the folks who were above us, freaked out a lot...so I'd have to run interference, and help explain that when Specialist Snuffy fired the waring shot at the Hajji car coming at the convoy, Snuffy had in fact followed the Rules Of Engagement (ROE). Most of the Hajjis drove HUA (Head Up Ass.)

But. There was always one retard. We had one soldier I could write a book about. His MOS was COOK. He carried more crap on his vest than the rest of the company put together. One afternoon, after one of my teams returned. The Buck Sergeant in charge of that team came in and asked to talk to me in private. He wanted to know what to do with the COOK dude.

You see, the COOK was made a gunner on a M1114 Humvee. It seems this day an Iraqi Gas tanker truck was driving near the convoy. It seems that the Cook, now Gunner, felt that the Gas tanker truck was too close.

So, what would you do to get the driver to move away?

How about give a hand and arm signal?

Nope. The Cook, now turned Gunner thought it'd be really smart to fire a warning shot with his M4 carbine...caliber 5.56 MM....on burst....with tracers.

I'm pretty sure after my investigation that the Gas tanker truck was not a VBIED. But, if the 5.56 tracer rounds had set it on fire, it could have been.

Lucky for that group, none of the rounds hit anything that would start a fire.

So, I had to decide....Let me ask you. Would you leave that Cook on the gun after that, or replace him with somebody who wasn't a retard?

19 August 2009

Common Sense? There's no such thing.

From the Soldier side: Over the last few decades I've learned a few things. Even though I've been a civilian cop for 30 years and a soldier on and off since 1974, I still learn something new every day. What still amazes me is the lack of something that some of us mistakenly think everybody was issued--- that's common sense. I've come to the conclusion that there is no such thing. At least, not everybody has it, so it is therefore not common.
The other thing I've learned about how to survive as a cop and a soldier is it takes training--- good, well thought out, relevant, common sense training. Opps...there's that word "common sense".... which if we all agree is not common.
My last posting was about Jeeps and how they could roll over so easy. The Jeep was narrow, light and became top heavy when loaded with more than 100 lbs of anything. The Humvee was supposed to solve that problem.
When my old National Guard unit first got Humvees in the early 90's, I became a driving instructor for them. I am also a police driving instructor. I have found that if you train smart people on how to properly drive a vehicle, and they act like adults, you lower the chance of a crash. (There is no such thing as a vehicle accident...they're almost all caused by a driver.)
So, does this sound like common sense so far? Take a vehicle that you're going to have soldiers or cops drive, and train them on how it works...drive it in all kinds of areas, take it to the limits and train how to avoid it doing bad things.
Well, before we went to Iraq, the unit I was with decided that they needed to train soldiers on how to drive a Humvee. I thought it was good idea. Here's where they failed...and almost got a friend killed.
There are several different configurations of the military Humvee. The basic cargo model, the M998, has canvas tops and doors. It can come in a 2 door (with cargo bed) or 4 door (smaller cargo area) set up. The canvas will not stop things flying through the air, like bullets and bombs. It weighs about 6,000 lbs. It is normally aspirated with a 3 speed automatic.
The Up Armored version is the M1114. It can stop small arms fire and small bombs. It has a turbo charger, overdrive automatic and an improved suspension...and weighs over 12,000 lbs. Then when you add a gun, gunner and other crap, it gets even heavier.
At Ft Lewis our brilliant folks trained the troops on the lighter Humvee. The drivers training consisted of driving around a flat dirt road for about 15 minutes. No training on the heavy armored Humvee.
When you take a fully Up Armored M1114 with gun, crew, spare ammo etc and get it up to speed...maybe 65 MPH, then come to a turn in the highway in Iraq, and the turn is in a ditch...and the poorly trained kid driving the Humvee hasn't been taught to slow to almost a stop before making a turn in this situation...the vehicle will roll over.
Now think about this...in the gun turret is a young soldier standing up (Steve), holding onto the machine gun. He has no idea that the vehicle is going to roll over, but he's hanging onto the gun to keep from flying out of the truck.
By the time the vehicle is listing over at 90 degrees, the momentum is too great for the gunner to duck back into the truck. You know about an object in motion tends to stay in motion...etc.
The truck continues 180 degrees and rolls onto it's top. Crushing the head and face of the gunner.
We got an e-mail later that day telling us that the gunner was going to die.
He didn't. He still comes to drills, but is still not 100% OK.
If they had trained the driver properly, that Humvee should have not rolled over.
So, now guess what they did to "fix" this training problem while we were in Iraq. They had us all take a driver safety class....on line. There's no friggen way you can learn how to drive anything by taking a test online. You need to train the troops on the equipment with hands on.
See what I mean about Common Sense? If it's not issued, it will not be around when you need it most.

18 August 2009

Some things we can no longer do....

From the Old Soldier side: One of my favorite things to do is go to air shows. I know, I'm an Army Dude, but I grew up an Air Force Brat...and they usually have some old Army stuff and a good air show anyway. They had a pretty good one last weekend near where I live.

As I was walking around and looking up at the pretty planes flying around...and listening to everyone go: "ooooo....ahhhhh" I ran across this old Jeep.

Now this one was a WWII model. But, they had not really changed much through the 1970's. The only reason the US stopped using them was because there was always some private who could roll one over.

When I was stationed in Berlin, Germany (when there was an East and a West...you know the "Cold War") I often got to drive a Jeep on convoys. My primary vehicle was the Gamma Goat, but when the convoy sergeant wanted a driver for the long drives through East Germany, he always picked me. He knew I'd never fall asleep while driving.

While I was looking at the above Jeep, one of my sons was with me. I looked inside and said out loud: "I don't know how I did it."

My son looked at me and said: "you mean how you drove one of these dad?"

I looked at him and said: "No, driving them was easy. But one convoy ride we were driving back to Berlin after being out in the field for weeks. We stopped at some Army post over night. We all went into the NCO club and drank several liters of German beer. When I left, I couldn't find the area we were supposed to sleep at, so I crawled into my Jeep and passed out between the front seats...leaning back on my duffel bag. I woke up with the worst hangover in my life, puked my guts out...then drove on convoy all day. Ahhhhh...those were the good old days."

My son just looked at me and wondered. I'm glad I don't drink like that anymore...I'd never be able to fit between them seats.

15 August 2009

California guns laws are useless....

From the Cop side: For those of you who live in states where the gun laws are more reasonable, congratulations. I happen to live in California. Now, CA has some really nice weather...most of the time. But crime is getting way out of hand. A few months ago 4 highly trained Oakland cops were murdered by an asshole out on parole....who used "firearms."

I've been a civilian cop for 30 years now. I can retire anytime I want now. When I retire, I plan on leaving this state.

With such nice weather you ask: "Why?"

Because of the nasty people who live here. By the time I do retire, about 50% of the population will be supporting the other 50%. I don't mean half the citizens will be retired, but half will not work, will never have worked and will have no intention of working. I will contribute more in state taxes when I retire, than many of these "non-working" folks will in their entire life.

Not only will half the population not be paying taxes, but they will expect some sort of government assistance....welfare, police services, drive without a license, free food, etc.

That's only part of the problem. But many of these "non-working" citizens will be turning to crime to support their drug habits etc. They will be breaking into homes, cars and businesses to take things and money from the 50% who are supporting them.

Sometimes these criminals will, like they do now, use firearms.

But you say: "California has some of the strictest firearm laws in the country." That makes no difference. The average honest citizen in CA can't get a concealed weapons permit. Just to purchase a firearm, they have to more than they do in Iraq.

In CA you have to fill out many forms...that's OK. Then they do an computer check...the gun store finds out right away if you can own a gun legally. Then you have to wait 10 days.

Even sworn police officer in CA have to wait....unless you can get an exemption letter from your chief. The average good citizen in lets say Texas or Arizona, can just walk into a gun store, fill out the forms, pay and walk out with a gun right then and there. I have been through extensive background checks, psych test, etc, and I have to have a "mommy may I letter" from my chief, or wait 10 days.
I mean Jees...I carry a gun everyday, I shoot AR-15s, shotguns, machine guns and can take citizens to jail. I teach cops and soldiers how to shoot. I don't get it....

I bought a new Benelli shotgun the other day. Why you ask? Because I didn't have one yet. It was on sale, and they only had one left...so I couldn't wait 3 or 4 days to get a letter, so I bought it as a civilian would. I waited the 10 days.

When I went to pick it up, I told the clerk I needed some ammo. He said I'd have to take the gun out and put it in my car first. I didn't want to tell him I had a fully loaded .45 under my shirt and it didn't make sense.

Last week, shotguns were used in a few crimes to murder people in CA. From what I can tell, none of them were legally purchased and in some cases, the shooter was not allowed to have a firearm due to past felonies. I'm sure none of those shooters will be charged with the illegal possession. But you can bet if an honest citizen only committed a minor firearms infraction in CA, they'd be charged.

CA gun laws do nothing to prevent crime. Most of the police chiefs don't understand this, and thinking they're helping, they support all the gun control laws.

When you look at the states that have laws that allow good citizens the "right to carry," they have lower incidents of assault and other felonies. An asshole bad guy is afraid to attack somebody who he thinks might shoot him. Remember, they're cowards.
Wow....listen to me, I sound like a conservative now.

14 August 2009

There are some troops with really big ones....EOD.

From the Soldier side: I just came across a blog that I put on my list. If you want to see and read about somebody how has really big balls, check out http://ward57.blogspot.com/

I was a Combat Engineer many years ago. We built stuff and blew things up. We got to work with explosives from time to time. I loved it. It was too scary for some. I recall in my Engineer course, on the day we were actually going to go blow holes in the ground....most of the students were a little shy. Our first charge was only 2 pounds.....prep the charge, cut the time fuse, put the cap in the charge, tape it up, pull the igniter...walk away. Boom!

After the first blast, about half the students developed a great respect for explosives. When we went to set the next several charges in the hole, fewer and fewer students walked down range with us. By the time we set the last charge of the day, there was one other student, the instructor and me. Everyone else seemed to be a little shy. It is not at all like TV and the movies. You don't have time to run. Det cord "burns" at 27,000 feet per second. Most explosives "burn" around that speed...it's not really burning, it's exploding...can you run that fast? An M-16 bullet goes a little over 3,000 feet per second.

Now...keeping that in mind...think of an Airmen, Soldier, Sailor or Marine dealing with a bomb or mine that some other asshole has put out in the field. Now, you have to go make it safe. I learned 20 ways to booby trap a mine...so bad I couldn't even disarm it if I had to.

Write this down. Anybody who works in EOD for a living has the biggest balls in the world. You will have a hard time finding anybody with more guts.

13 August 2009

Coffee....I need it....

From the Soldier & Cop side:
For those who really know me, they know that I'm a pretty easy person to get along with. I can also be a sonofagun. I can be your best friend or your worst enemy.
I don't drink often, I don't gamble, I don't do many bad things....but I do have an addiction. I need coffee every morning. If I don't get a few cups, I have to call 911 and go to the E.R. at the nearest hospital.
A lot of the "modern" cops don't drink coffee. They have to drink some power drink, like Red Bull. I tried that shit one time...taste like gun cleaning solvent.
NO, I need real coffee. When they step into a coffee shop with me, they want to order some foofoo drink that cost 10 bucks!
When I was in Bosnia, I loved the Bosnia coffee. (Turkish coffee). Anytime you visited somebody in Bosnia, you had to have coffee. That was fine with me. Our "kids" couldn't drink it. I loved it.
When we deployed to Iraq, we had to waste a few weeks in Kuwait. I am not sure why we were in Kuwait, but if there is hell, Kuwait is that place you stop just before you get there. We did some training and got used to eating sand and dust.
We had a few days of training where we were "out in the field"....which to make it clear, we were living in crappy tents, so when we went out in the field, we were in crappier tents and had no mess hall or showers. The first night we were there, I asked the First Sergeant if they were bringing out breakfast. She said: "Nope." I asked if they were bringing out coffee for breakfast and she just laughed at me.
I tried to explain, that they would need to medivac me if I didn't have coffee in the morning...but I guess I told too many jokes and she thought I was joking. I told her I'd really needed coffee.
The next morning, we got up and ate MREs for breakfast. In the MRE package, is an accessory pack. In that pack is usually a little packet of instant coffee. I gathered up a few of these packets, dumped them down my throat and drank a canteen of water---cold.

It tasted like shit, but I needed it or I'd go into withdrawals. I had to lead too many troops that day to go down. I would have walked into a minefield for a Starbucks coffee at that time.
When I came home, I went to VA re-hab for my coffee problem. But, I quit re-hab.
Later in Iraq, my old police chief e-mailed me one day. He said he met a family that had been sending stuff to a soldier in Iraq. But now the solider was home. The nice family asked the chief if he knew any soldiers deployed. He said:"Yep, one of my cops is in Iraq."
I got an e-mail from this family. They asked if they could send me anything. I responded with: "Yes....coffee please."
They send boxes of Pete's Coffee. I had another family friend who's daughter worked at a Star Bucks. They sent bags off Starbucks coffee. I got a grinder and I had people coming from all over to drink my coffee each morning. A free Petebucks Coffee house in Baghdad, Iraq.

12 August 2009

The French did something right?

OK, normally I don't post news stories. But this stuff had me laughing so hard, coffee flew out my nose and all over the keyboard. Lucky I had a spare. The French did something right for a change. (I have so many true French stories that I still can't tell until the oath I swore to expires.)

French pool bars Muslim woman for 'burquini' suit

AP – FILE - In this Feb.15, 2007 file photo, Sama Wareh walks along the sand dressed in swimwear designed …
Slideshow:Muslim 'Burquini'
By MARIA DANILOVA, Associated Press Writer Maria Danilova, Associated Press Writer – 13 mins ago
PARIS – A Muslim woman garbed in a head-to-toe swimsuit — dubbed a "burquini" — may have opened a new chapter in France's tussle between religious practices and its stern secular code.
Officials insisted Wednesday they banned the woman's use of the Islam-friendly suit at a local pool because of France's pool hygiene standards — not out of hostility to overtly Muslim garb.
Under the policy, swimmers are not allowed in pools with baggy clothing, including surfer-style shorts. Only figure-hugging suits are permitted.
(I updated with a second photo to help some folks understand this concept better)

11 August 2009

So...ya' wanna' dance?

From the Soldier side: One of the things I've tried to teach my soldiers over the years is how to survive in any situation. It could be a gun fight, or how to avoid an "Article 15". Another thing I tried to pass on is how to have fun anywhere you're at.
Sometimes, other people tried to set up "fun" for the troops. My fun was looking at the everyday things in Bosnia and later Iraq and trying to laugh.
So, how many of you like to dance? I'm not very good at it...and I usually don't even try unless I've had a few drinks. Since I don't drink much these days...I don't dance much. At my age and place in life...that doesn't matter.
However, one day when we were in Baghdad, Iraq (did I really have to put "Iraq" after Baghdad?) the nice folks who ran the MWR (Moral, Welfare and Recreation) had come up with a "Salsa Dance" night. I had a couple of guys on my team at the time who were really into Salsa Dancing, so they talked me into coming along.
I have no friggen idea how to Salsa Dance...and since we had "General Order Number One" we had nothing to drink. But, I thought I'd walk the mile over to the MWR center with my guys just to see if they had anything else that I might consider fun....
Nope. Just Salsa Dancing.
I am one who will try to not waste any given moment in time to find something funny. So, work with me on this...try to think of 3 female soldiers and about 100 male soldiers. It's a war zone, so everyone is carrying some kind of weapon. M-9's, M-16s, M-249s.... and trying to salsa dance whilst holding their weapons.
I laughed my ass off.....I am sure I had just as much fun as everyone else did. I finally had enough fun and suggested that everyone "stack arms" and I'd watch the weapons.
A fun time was had by all....I guess.
The next day my team and I got sent off on another mission to Kalsu...what a shithole that place was. No Salsa Dancing there. Just random mortar rounds everyday after lunch.

09 August 2009

Counter Battery...or, "How to clean up the town."

From the Soldier side: In July 2005, my team and I were working with the Marines again. I've talked about the Jarheads at Camp Gannon a few times in the past. They had one company of grunts to cover an area that should have had ten times that number. That camp was right in the Syrian border....(remember I've said it was so close I could throw rocks into Syria...and I did just so I could tell the story later.)
Anyway...there seemed to be a few insurgentassholes who wanted to attack the camp a few times a day. Sometimes it was taking a pot shot at the guys on the outpost. Sometimes, they'd fire a mortar round or two into the camp. The problem with Camp Gannon was...it was so small that anytime a mortar round landed in the camp, it was going to damage something or somebody. We had to wear our K-pots and body armor all the time there...even to go to the bath room. By the time my team was there in July, there were few generators still working and only 2 "buildings" with working A/C. All the rest had been blown up.
When it's over 100 F, you really want to have working A/C. 'And wearing the body armor all the time just wore you out. It was hard to sleep in the building we were living in, so most of the time I'd go sleep in the medic bunker.
So, if some insurgentasshole was firing a mortar at you almost everyday....what would you do? I know I'd want to kill the sonofabitch. So did the Marines. But here's the trick. The little Hajji assholesinsurgents would set up a mortar tube, prepare a few rounds....launch them...then run away. They'd wait a while, then come back and pick up the mortar tube. Cowards. That kind of person deserves no mercy.
In many Army an Marine camps they had a tool called Counter Battery Radar. This device has a radar antenna spinning around looking for missiles and mortar rounds flying through the air. When it sees one or more...it figures out where they came from. When set up correctly, and used by people who know what they're doing...it works well.
The Marines knew how to use it. One day, the Hajji insurgentassholes fired a few mortar rounds into the camp. The Marines were ready this time. They responded with 10 rounds of HE on target. Then they waited 5 minutes, and sent 10 more rounds. Then waited 10 minutes and sent 5 more rounds. Then waited a few more minutes and sent 10 more rounds.
Then they waited 15 minutes...and sent the last 10 rounds.
After that...that camp was never hit with mortar rounds again.
You see by waiting, they got the assholeinsurgents when they came back to pick up their mortar.

06 August 2009

Today's trivia....what is that?

OK, I just think this picture is too cool! From the blogg of Sergeant Charlie at http://sargecharlie.blogspot.com/
Today's trivia question is:
What kind of weapon is the Sarge holding in this photo from Nam in 1968?
M1 Rifle
M14 Rifle
M1 Carbine
Thompson machine gun
AK 47 rifle
Remember, a lot of guys in those days didn't join, but were drafted. I salute them all. They were all heroes in my book.

04 August 2009

"You think I'd fly your on your airplane without orders?"

From the Soldier who had to travel side: There's a good and a bad part about being in my Army National Guard unit. The good part is we may often be asked to go somewhere. The bad part is, we may be often asked to go somewhere. A little over a week ago, when I got home from my normal civilian job (if being a cop is normal), I had a message on my voice mail at home. It was a Thursday.

My "Guard" unit needed me to go somewhere.... on Sunday. I called work and told them I'd be gone the next week, but not to worry. By Friday afternoon I had been e-mailed a copy of my orders and made the call to get my flight etc set up. They said I'd be flying on an airline that starts with a "D". I didn't care, I hadn't flown on that airline in many years. I'm used to traveling with many other people going to the same place. This time I was on my own.

I left sunny Cali-fornnn-i-a and landed outside of Fort XXX. I did the "mission" and got ready to fly home. That was when I found that not all the Nazi war criminals had been captured. They were working at "D" airlines in the Baltimore airport.

I always arrive for a flight a few hours early...so the TSA folks can do all the useless stuff they do to make everybody think they're actually doing something useful. It's not the passengers we have to worry about. It's the underpaid guys loading our crap on the bottom of the plane, and the underpaid workers cleaning them and putting food on board.

Anyway, I got off topic...

So, I get to the airport early and find the signs that have "D" airlines on them. I look for the end of the line, but it appears that there was just gaggles of people. I ask one person with the logo on his shirt which line I need to get into and of course he points to the longest line.

Now, I warn you, I don't have PTSD, but I really, really hate to stand in any kind of line with more than 5 people. It has something to do with all the lines I've stood in for Army stuff. I hate lines. I can't help it. I recognized my faults, and I can get over this hate....and I did.

I got in the line to the computer things that "D" airlines forces passengers to use, even if there was nobody in the line with the human employees. I don't understand it....what happened to actually giving a shit about your customers.

So, I stand in line for 20 minutes, as frantic people are running up to the mobs of people trying to become human sardines on a plane. Some of these frantic people are yelling "I have a flight that leaves for ---- in 20 minutes!" The "D" airline employees start calling off flights that are leaving in 20 minutes and tell those dumbass people who got there late to get into a new line for dumbass people who got there late. Screw all of us who got there early, the dumbass people who got there late now get put in front of us.

Oh well I'm figuring I'll still get on my flight in time because I came early....unlike the dumbass people who came late.

So, I finally get up to one of those computer things and I couldn't figure out how to turn it on. Finally I get the attention of one of the "D" employees, who I was sure was on medication, and she says: "Oh, that one is not working." ...then she turns aways to look busy. I had to jump in front of the next person in line to get a computer that worked. I'm so glad I didn't have my .45 with me, I would have put a 185 grain hollow point into that computer. It's not that the airlines don't want us to fly armed because of hi-jacking fears, it's that they fear we'll get pissed off at the crappy service.

So, I enter my reservation number and get a boarding pass...but I have a bag to check in and the boarding pass making POS computer didn't take care of that.

So now I have to get into the line with the humans working for "D" airlines. I am very polite and I always start any request for help with: "Hi, how are you doing, can you help me?" or something like that. I didn't whine, yell or bitch at all. But I just stood there in what sort of looked like a line of refugees leaving Bosnia in the 1990's.

I waited my turn, but they continued calling names of dumbass people who got there late. Finally after a lull in the yelling, I asked if I could check in my bag.

I started to lift it onto the scale and the dude actually yelled at me and demanded that I not put my bag on the scale. I told him I had to check it in. He told me it would be $15.

Now, for those of you not aware of this....when the contracting company books flights for military folks traveling on orders, we do not pay for bags...and we can take many bags....for free.

I told the rude son-of-a-bitch that I was "Military". He asked if I had orders....and I wanted to ask: "Do you think I'd fly on your f--ing airline if I wasn't on orders?" But I remained polite.

I pulled out my orders and he pretended to understand what he was looking at. Then acted like I'd done something really bad, and said: "well, I guess we can check in your bag." I told him that would be nice, because my only other option was to leave it there since it had crap I couldn't carry on the plane.

Then I made another mistake....I asked which way to my gate. The assholewhoworks for "D" airlines just stared at me. I was still trying to not loose my cool, but I asked again: "Sir, could you please tell me which way the gate is. You see, I have never been here to your airport before and I have no idea if it's left or right."

He didn't answer me. I just took a guess and found it. What a rude asshole he was. He lucky I don't have PTSD.

By the time I got on the plane, I had talked to a Marine and an Airman. They both agreed that leaving Iraq we were treated better.

I'm not going to even talk about my connecting flight breaking down and getting stuck in Salt Lick City for hours. That's just part of flying. I just don't like being treated like shit. I will do everything in my power to never fly on "D" airlines again... at least out of Baltimore.
If I have to fly with them, I'm taking as many extra bags as I can find....filling them with rocks and crap and checking them in. Then when we land, I'll just leave the bags with "D" airlines.

03 August 2009

In "Plain Text..."

From the "Writer" side: I've reviewed some comments folks have left in the past. I've also had a few e-mails for those who can figure out how to e-mail me... I have no hidden agenda, no "drunken" postings, and as far as what my Army MOS really is...some have figured it's not "Mess Kit Repair" after they've googled the Army MOS list...

OK, it's really "Combat Comic." I'm one of those who in the face of danger and bad things, who, by strict training and discipline, I can stand up and start spewing some kind of humor. If I can't shoot the enemy, my duty is to make him die laughing. Our motto: "Always Laughing, Always."

Somebody commented about the time I got shot at outside of Camp Gannon. Like it was a common event. Well, once you hear the gun shots, or the mortar going off...and you see that they missed you...it does no good to get upset or freak out... as long as you are not bleeding. After awhile, at some of the places I was at in Iraq, we sort of got used to the sound of guns going off and things blowing up. Most of the guns were AKs... like Gunny Sgt Highway said in the movie "Heartbreak Ridge" you need to know the distinct sound of an enemy AK 47 going off.

It was when we heard the American weapons going off, like the M2 .50 cal, or a 240, that we started to reach for our own weapons. Most of the time our gate guards kept the camps and FOBs pretty secure.

In Nov 05, our replacements showed up in Baghdad. We were all sitting outside the "office" doing our nightly "burn barrel" ritual...when some local Hajjis let a few burst from AKs go off. It was Thursday night....and the rounds went straight up into the air (as identified by the pretty green tracer rounds).

Us "vets" thought nothing of it because the rounds would easily go over our area and land somewhere in Baghdad. However, when I looked back down to earth, all the new guys were laying on the ground looking for cover.

We just laughed and thought "gee, I'm glad we're going home in a week."

02 August 2009

Rum & Coke....

Totally off my normal topics: Being that I'm a land type guy.... I know only a little about sailing and boats. I like going out on boats to fish and stuff, but if I can't see land, I'm not sure I'd feel good.
I do have friends in different places.... One of them owns a sail boat. Not a very big sail boat, but his boat is big enough to get across Lake Tahoe. So, my sailing lessons were OK, I can follow a compass bearing and all...but one thing I learned that I can carry over to many other parts of my life.
If you ever ride a sail boat...you must drink at least one Rum & Coke.
Funny thing is...in all the places I've ever been, I never actually drank a Rum & Coke. I've had German bier, Bosnia Rockie, Russian Vodka, English Ale, etc.
I like Rum & Coke. And...the fact is...you don't even have to be on a sail boat to have one.