30 September 2009

Comments worth posting....

From the Soldier side: Every now and then, I have a reader who post very good comments. I think this dude should do a blog...so I'm going to post his last comments. Like I often said, we did our jobs despite the lack of equipment and leadership. In many cases, we had to purchase our own batteries from the PX to use issued equipment...then found the equipment didn't work anyway.

Anonymous said...
1. Have no brief for Mr. Rumsfeld.
2. Know a fellow who served as one of his military secretaries. His description of Rumsfeld's behavior towards his subordinates is beyond belief.
3. His statement: "You go to war with what you have," is simple truth.
4. His minimalist notions of war fighting haven't served us well.
5. We didn't go to war with what we had -we went to war with what he thought was necessary. He was wrong.
6. The notion of heavily armed young men wandering through Afghan villages as peace ambassadors isn't right either.
7. Let's face it. Once you see people you know get hurt, you want to get some back. Did forty years ago. Do now, too.
8. Takes strong leadership to keep that from happening. The leaders down in the trenches are young and feel the same way as the men they lead.
9. Most of the Afghans are ignorant peasants, but they are not stupid. They know the score. Same same for VN.
10. Back to going to war with whatever.
11. Had this notion that the light weights I trained and shipped out with would be replaced by Sgt. Rock and his men when it came time to go outside the wire.
12. Was surprised to find myself patrolling with the same weak lot I knew all along.
13. The troops I see today are a lot closer to my ideal than my reality of long ago.
14. Part of that is factual and part of that is knowing what to look for in a good troop.
15. Standards are higher, no doubt, and quality is better.
16. You want better, still.
17. I'm just damn glad we're better than we were.
18. You got around Iraq more than anybody I know of. The professional knowledge and behaviors that you describe or allude to helped that to happen successfully

28 September 2009

What we rolled with....

From the Soldier side: OK, I love reading other blogs...I can't wait until I retire and can read them all day long. However, I'd really like to clear up a wee bit of confusion some good citizens may have about Iraq. Now, let me make it clear, I was there from Dec 2004 to Nov 2005. I got sent to a lot of places, based in Baghdad. I went to Fallujah and helped the Devil Dogs, Returned to Base (RTB) then went to Mosul after the asshole insurgent blew up the Army mess hall. My team and I spent about 3 days there, then went to Tel Afar to unfuck a problem there.

Then RTB. We hid in Baghdad for 3 whole weeks before one of my guys asked the commander: "When are we going back out?" They had forgotten we were there I think...but this threw us on the radar screen.

We went to FOB Kalsu, Al Asad, then RTB. Then they broke up my team and gave me an "Advance Mess Kit Repair" mission. That was some cool shit....someday I'll be able to write about. Later, my new team and I went back to Fallujah, Al Asad, Camp Gannon and some other places I forgot.

My point? I got to see a lot of Iraq. This was OIF 3. Not every place had proper armor on the Humvees, not every place had nice trailers to live in, not every place even had a nice KBR mess hall. It was a friggen war and the friggen Army forgot to even get some of us ammo.

My deployment started right after the news of Abu Grabe hit the public. Every camp we went to was afraid of getting in trouble for any bad treatment of a detainee...so they were all treated pretty good as far as I could see. We didn't give them birthday cards, but they ate the same stuff we ate and they got better medical treatment than most of the un-employed in the States.

Rumsfeld said: "you go to war with what you have." Well, if I was planning a war, I would have made sure we actually had the shit we needed. A great movie that shows this is "Generation Kill."

I had a good friend from the engineer company I used to be in who was killed in a crappy armored Humvee (Hajji Armor).

My friend in Iraq, Roberto was killed in an M1114 armored Humvee...that was totally due to a retarded company commander who told Roberto to take the team out when the commander had no idea what he was doing.

If we are going to war again, please make sure we have the equipment and the leaders to make it work.

25 September 2009

What's up with the Special Olympics song?

From the Soldier side: Somebody asked why I put the "Special Olympics" song on the music sidebar. Well, when I ran across this song the other day, I reminded me of some of my leaders in both my Bosnia deployment and Iraq.
Some of us "citizen" Soldiers often would speculate about what kind of jobs some of our leaders could do if they were civilians.
Many of them could have run a large cooperation (into the ground and made them go bankrupt.)

A few were truly good leaders who (or is it "whom") I would have followed anywhere... and others I would not have followed to the mess hall because they would have become lost.
This weekend, I hope to have time to write more about some of them.
Can I use the word "retard" without offending somebody?

23 September 2009

I thought they said "surf boarding"...ohhhhh....

From the Cop & Soldier side: Forget water boarding...go check SERGEANT GRUMPY's blog for today. He's done given away some of our secrets. He's in deep kimshea now...this method was not supposed to be shown to the public.
Damn, when I think of all the "good times" Grumpy and I had in Bosnia.... oh well, I guess the public had to find out.

22 September 2009

Who will the folks who support the troops support?

From the war front: I guess the Generals want to send more drones to fight the "Tally Ban". I guess this may be safer for the troops...but my question is: What will the good people like Hope do? What do you send a drone airplane in a war zone? Socks? Coffee? Candy bars? Porn?
Maybe a pack of batteries and some video lens cleaner.

1) Officials ponder adding drones, not troops
The White House is looking at expanding counter terror operations in Pakistan as an alternative to a major military escalation in Afghanistan. Two senior administration officials said Monday that the renewed fight against al-Qaida could lead to more missile attacks on Pakistan terrorist havens by unmanned U.S. spy planes. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because no decisions have been made. The prospect of a White House alternative to a deepening involvement in Afghanistan comes as administration officials debate whether to send more troops - as urged in a leaked assessment of the deteriorating conflict by the top U.S. commander there, Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

21 September 2009

على الأقل أنا لا يمسح مؤخرتي بيدي

From the Soldier side: So if you all remember a few weeks ago I was talking about the Marine who now lives next to my older son. This Marine was wounded and his only regret is that he couldn't stay in the Marines due to his injuries.
This was one of his stories.
"While at (some shit hole in Iraq) his unit came under fire. One of the Marines was hit by some shrapnel in the "buttocks". This may sound funny, but it can hurt alot and lead to some bad infections.
The Navy Corpsmen had the wounded Marine remove his helmet, body armor and pants so he could treat the wounds, check for other injuries and run an IV. They moved the injured Marine to a sort of safer spot, leaving his stuff where he was injured.

The little terrorist assholes started firing on the unit again, and the wounded Marine was asking for somebody to recover his helmet, body armor and pants. My friend ran under fire to get the items, then ran them over to the wounded Marine so he could use the items for protection.
Nobody is actually expected to do things like this under fire. But the good ones do.

Can you figure out what على الأقل أنا لا يمسح مؤخرتي بيدي is? It's Arabic. (translation may be a little rough.)

18 September 2009

A good question...

From the Soldier side: I copied the below from the news I get from the IAVA (Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America). Army SFC (Sergeant First Class- E7) was awarded the MOH. (You don't "win" any medals, you are supposed to be awarded them.) I worked with some very brave soldiers in Iraq...one who I think should have been awarded the Silver Star...but she got nothing. My feeling is- The officers and some NCOs in charge of others are only looking out for themselves...what awards and medals they can get. Let me know what you think.
-------------------------------TEAR LINE--------------------------------
1) Obama awards posthumous Medal of Honor to Afghanistan Veteran President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously Thursday to Army Sgt. 1st Class Jared C. Monti at a private White House ceremony. The ceremony marked the President's first award of the nation's highest military honor, and the sixth Medal of Honor awarded to an Iraq or Afghanistan veteran since September 11, 2001. Monti's parents Paul and Janet accepted the honor on his behalf. Click here to watch highlights of the ceremony and learn more about Sgt. Monti's valor in combat attempting to save a fellow soldier during a Taliban ambush in June 2006.

2) Why No Living MOH Recipients?
Amid the Medal of Honor presentation to Army Sgt. 1st Class Jared C. Monti, some veterans and lawmakers are pushing the Pentagon on why no living service member has been awarded the valor distinction during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Queried by reporters in a press briefing Thursday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged it has been a "source of real concern" and that "there are some [award recommendations] in process. To date, four MOHs have been awarded posthumously for acts of heroism in Iraq; Monti's award brings the Afghanistan total to two. By contrast, the 16-year conflict in Vietnam produced 246 living and posthumous awards of the distinction. Currently, Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr.(R-CA), a Marine veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, is pushing an amendment through the House Armed Services Committee that would direct Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to review the process for Medal of Honor awards.

14 September 2009

Just another day on the job...in AF...

From the Soldier side: I e-mailed one of my best buddies yesterday...he's in Afghanistan. I haven't heard from him and being that he's usually very busy, I thought I should write him and see how things were going. I mean we're pretty good buddies since we spent a year in Iraq together a few years ago. I wrote the usual stuff: "Hey do you need anything. How's life..." etc.
This was his response...which I only edited for Op Sec.

The elections are over for now. If there is a rerun, I will be on leave and then come back to go home. I am never waiting until the end to take leave, it is way to taxing to ten months without a break.a few days prior to the elections, I was out checking out XXXXX check points, on our way back we were called because it was reported that there was a VBIED in the XXXXX compound; when we got we started taking SAF from a four story building.
We took up positions and returned fire. While moving from one place trying to find better cover a VBIED exploded about 50 feet from me. Luckily nothing hit me, although there were chucks taken out of the road by the explosion about five feet from me. The bad guys were hunkered up in the building pretty good, even after the Apaches fired three hellfires, they were still shooting at us. We finally killed the last guy with a claymore attached to a pole... he was hiding in a staircase between the third and fourth floor.
I definitely earn my CAB that day. Since then things are the same. Me and one other NCO are out XXXX XXXX XXXX. We have a ass clown S-3 that is assigned to XXXX that wants his CAB so bad that he measures his proximity to any indirect fire. I will be glad to get home.
Any thoughts on moving once you retire? You need to come out and go shoot with me sometimes. I just bought 5K rds of 9mm for $400 for my HK94. Your Friend -D"

SAF= Small Arms Fire
CAB= Combat Action Badge (for being in combat, shot at etc.)
My friend lives in Texas where the gun laws are what they should be, and you can own guns like an HK94.

13 September 2009

Why we have SERGEANTS

From the Soldier side: One of the "details" I tried putting into the heads of the soldiers I was responsible for in Bosnia and Iraq was to make sure they were "professionals." By being a professional, I wanted them to do their jobs the best they could and not get emotional or too connected to the people and problems we dealt with.

One of the other things I tried to get into their heads in Iraq was: They had to be ready to fight when they rolled out of the camp 5-7 days a week. The drivers had to check their "victors" the gunners had to clean their guns, the "TC" (Truck Commander) and "TL" (Team Leader) had to check their radios, and all of their people. Every item of equipment was critical...although you wouldn't need everything everyday...you could be sure the day you forgot something...was the day your life depended on it.

By the time I had been in Iraq about 4 months, I had heard stories from some troops I knew who had been to Iraq and gone....about soldiers going all the way out the gate, getting into the city, then gettting out and walking around...and not realizing that they had forgotten their M16.

I thought how retarded can they be...or their TL be for letting them get out and not checking the troops over. I thought that would be impossible.

When were into about our 7th month in Iraq. I had been hurt a little, so I was put in charge of our little teams as the NCOIC (Non Commissioned Officer In Charge) which met that even though there was a OIC (Officer In Charge) that I was the leader who got up at 0500 hours everyday and was there when the teams went out (and I snuck onto as many missions as I could anyway).

So, my job was to make sure the TLs had checked over their people along with many other things. They usually rolled out of the camp at XXXX hours. It was just starting to get hot by then, so I would stand outside with them as they loaded, did their commo checks, made sure the victors would start, etc. PCI's.

On this one morning where it was a really nice day...no sand storms, the sky was clear, no problems in the past few days. The teams (we had a few going out that day) were getting into their rides, waving good bye...and driving off towards the big gate to roll into Baghdad.

I was sipping my last drops of coffee ( a mix of Starbucks) when I looked over at the wall near our front door to our office. There leaning against the sandbags, was a SAW M-249 machine gun.

Now I was pretty darn sure we didn't have any extra SAWs floating around...and each SAW was assigned to a soldier on the SECFOR (Security Force) that went with my teams.

So I walked over and picked the saw up and checked the number. It was supposed to be on Truck 1 in the second team going out. I wondered in my head how long the gunner would let them drive before he noticed that there was about 27 pounds of equipment that was supposed to be in front of him as he stood up in the gun turret. I mean this was a major item that a gunner really needed or he/ she was just a body standing up in a SUV sunroof.

Now I knew if I called the OPs center and told them what was missing, that this kids platoon sergeant would make the rest of his tour in Iraq hell. I knew he was a good kid, and he was usually very good and doing his job. This was not normal for him.

I called the Ops center and had them turn the team around...I told them I had forgotten to give them something. No big deal since they hadn't gotten out the gate yet. Since it was me who had called them back saying that "I" had forgotten something....nobody would ever ask any questions later.

The trucks rolled back and the TL got out and gave me a confused look. I showed him the SAW and said: "Do you remember what NCOs are supposed to do before your team rolls out?"

"P.C.I. Pre Combat Inspections. Do them everytime. " I looked at the gunner, handed him his SAW and asked him: "Who's your best friend?"

11 September 2009

Where were you on....

From the Cop and the Soldier side: I'm sure you all can recall what you were doing when you heard about the attacks on 9/11/01.

I was off duty from my cop job, so I was working out at home. I got calls from lots of people who just said: "turn on the TV NOW!"

I turned on the TV and was watching the first tower burn...seconds later that second plane hit the other tower. I knew at that instant that it was not an accident and that I would somehow get involved with my National Guard unit.

When I went back to my cop job, we were getting dumbass calls on 911: "there's a piper plane flying around, I'm afraid it's terrorist."
Those were some of the days I wish the Police Department had an unlisted phone number.

Within months, our unit was sending troops off to Afghanistan and Gitmo. (They were in great demand for Mess Kit Repair teams). I was still going through the "2 year" training program, so I missed out on the first wave of deployments... and I was a little upset. I was afraid that all the fighting and stuff would be all over before I finished getting my new MOS.

The training program I went through was a total of 8 weeks spread out over 2 years. (not 8 hours a day 5 days a week, but usually 10-12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week.)

Shortly after we were "qualified" for Mess Kit Repair, another battalion called a bunch of us to go get ready in Jan 2003-- to go to Iraq. My enlistment was up in Jan 2003, but I was put on "Stop Loss" because they really needed Mess Kit Repairmen.

We went down to Camp Roberts, CA in Jan 03 and went through the mob process and pre-training. This "other" battalion really wanted several of us to go with them...they would be part of the initial raid into Iraq later that year.

After this prep and pre training, we were told that we were not going to Iraq, but we were needed to go to Bosnia. I was kind of glad, then upset. I was afraid the Iraq thing would be all over before we got back from Bosnia.

Just before we went to Bosnia, I re-enlisted for 6 more years. Yeah, I guess you can call me a retard. I just felt it was the right thing to do. Even with my "stop loss" my enlistment would have expired while I was in Bosnia, so they would have not been able to deploy me. I felt I needed to go.

We came home from Bosnia in 2004 and 3 months later they asked all of us Bosnia Vets to go to Iraq. 3 months later I was in Baghdad. There was about 14 others who did the same thing. None of us had to go to Iraq...but we did. We felt it was our duty....or we were retarded.

When I see the twin towers getting hit by terrorist, it still pisses me off. If they needed me to go again...guess what.

10 September 2009

Yes, we're different...

From the Soldier side? Well, sort of. This post is to help some of the younger dudes out there to better understand women. As a police officer, I often have to help couples when they get into fights. I prefer to get involved before they start beating the snot out of each other. But what everybody needs to understand is...men and women are not the same. If you add years of military training to this, sometimes the guys get even a little "more different."
Let me take a simple example to help you better understand:

Let's say you are going to have a Super Bowl Party at your home. You are going to invite several people over. Here's how the female would prep...
1.) Starting the day before the party...dust the entire house...even rooms nobody will go into, just in case.
2.) Sweep and vacuum entire house.
3.) Clean bathrooms until they shine, restock with clean fresh towels etc.
4.) Wipe TV screen so it is really clear, oh, better clean the windows to
5.) Make shopping list, plan for snacks and lots of drinks, look in new cook book for special things to make...that will take hours to bake etc.
6.) Re-arrange furniture around TV to insure everybody has a good view of game.
7.) Make up little party favors, snack trays, etc
8.) Run around house in a panic an hour before guest are to arrive because you're sure you forgot something....yell at male because he hasn't done anything.

Here's how a dude would get ready for the same Super Bowl Party.
1.) About an hour before game, run to store and buy several bags of chips and beer.
2.) Move recliner to front of TV, and set up TV tray so you don't have to get up during game.
3.) Load fresh battery into TV remote.
4.) Unplug phone

Now, keeping these things in mind, I hope this helps you better understand.

I've added a little video....this is how you should NOT exercise at home.

07 September 2009

Good Family Values, and a good painter

From the Soldier Side: My oldest son had a birthday party the other night. It gives me a good feeling seeing that my kids have grown up and are doing well.
My son has a new neighbor who was just pulling into his driveway whilst we were having a good time. I Noticed 2 things on the neighbor's pick up truck right away. In the back window was a USMC sticker. His license plate had a Purple Heart on it. So, using my deductive reasoning and 30 years experience as a cop, I concluded he was a wounded Marine.
He came over and joined our party. He stuck me as being a very nice person....I can't call him a "kid" because he's done more in his short life than most will do in a long life. He and I began swapping war stories. He was in Iraq twice. His second tour was about the time I was there. We had visited some of the same places. I was trying to remember the one DVD of "South Park" that everybody had in Iraq at that time...but it was the only "South Park" DVD the PX seemed to ever have, so it was the only one I got to see...but I never got to see the whole thing. It seemed that every time my team and I got to a chopper pad, some private was playing the same DVD.
I couldn't remember how the episode went, but I saw the same parts about 7 times. I never saw the entire thing, or knew which season it was from...but it had me laughing every time I saw it.
Somebody asked the Marine how he was wounded...IED. Then they asked where he was hurt....I could tell, but some folks aren't so quick I guess. He started to pop out his left eye. It was a replacement.
What I didn't know was, that eye was hand painted to match his good eye.
I now have an entire new way of looking at how I'll support the arts....somebody had to be very good in art class in High School to be that good. It was perfect.
Then somebody had to ask if he was mad. He responded with: "Nope. I get a pension, medical, vocational training and my kids will get to go to college for free."
His only regret? He could no longer be a Marine. I told him he was wrong....He will always be a Marine.
He had better war stories than I did to.

05 September 2009

Please take a moment...

Please take a moment to look at the Sep 4th, 2009 posting on http://armyofdude.blogspot.com/

04 September 2009

One Army, one fight...yeah, my ass.....

From the Soldier side: The American Army has been calling on the Reserves and National Guard more since 9-11 than they have since the Korean War and WWII. Now as most of my readers know, when I was in Iraq, we had a total "mix" of troops. At some points I had National Guard, Reserve and Regular Army soldiers that I was in charge of. Never once did any of them question me or doubt my leadership, even though I was only a National Guard Soldier.
We looked at the individual soldier and how well he or she could do their job. If they could do it well, then they were part of the team. If they couldn't then we still had them along as a boat anchor.
One of the things that kind of bothered me during our training, to get ready for both the Bosnia and Iraq deployments......Even though we were on Regular Army post....we were in the older barracks and the older mess halls. The tray of food above was an actual meal served at Fort Mc Coy before our Bosnia deployment.
We could have walked over to where the "real Army" troops were and see that they were eating decent food.
The same thing happened at Ft Lewis. They stuck us in the WWII barracks that were supposed to have been torn down years before...but they had to wait to figure out how to dispose of the toxic materials in the building. But, they were OK for us to live in before and after our deployment to Iraq.
We ate really crappy food in our mess hall, but sometimes walked down the street to eat in the "real Army" mess hall and had really good food.
Our leaders for our Guard unit were living in the regular Army barracks and ate in the good mess hall. We didn't know this until we had been there for a few weeks. We kept wondering why we never saw most of our leaders eating with us...they wouldn't eat that crap we had to eat. The Sergeant Major would eat in the good mess hall...then come over to ours and annoy us by checking our uniforms and silly shit.
The bit thing our useless Sergeant Major came up with...when we got to Ft Lewis, we were still wearing the old BDU uniforms. He said that we couldn't put on the issued DCUs (Desert Combat Uniform) until we had passed most of our training. He was making the DCUs seem like an award. The stupid part was, most of us were told we would be issued DCUs right away, so don't bring too many BDUs. This created a big problem as we had to keep washing the limited number of BDUs we had.
Most other units were putting on the DCUs as soon as they got them...but not us. Then when we were authorized to wear the DCUs, our dumbass Sergeant Major told us to keep wearing our beret. We looked like retards.
That was the same Sergeant Major who later in Iraq, had a few Negligent Discharges on the M2 .50 Caliber Machine gun that he assigned himself to on convoys. He was never qualified on it, but thought he'd play Rambo or some shit. What a totally useless, POS, retarded, scumbucket, asshole, turd, waste of O2, dipshit.

02 September 2009

I don't leave home without it...

From the Cop side: A recent comment (Question) asked what pistol I carry on duty. Oh I could talk about this for hours. Our department issues the Glock 22, .40 cal. This is a very good weapon, but I'm an old school 1911 type. I think most weapons are judged on the 1911, so why not carry some version of this? I carry a Para LDA (Light Double Action) 14 shot .45 auto. I picked it up when I returned from Iraq in 2005 and started using it where I used to work.
When cops work at a department that allows them to carry what they want, they ask me what they should buy. I think cops need to study this and make a choice that they can live with. You can debate over 9 mm, .40 cal, .357 Sig and .45, but make sure you fully understand the rounds...using modern ammo, not the military FMJ - Full Metal Jacket.
I've heard people say the .40 cal was much more powerful and accurate than the .45. I asked how they figured that and they said: "Well, it's newer, it must be better." Huh? The .40 cal was developed after they FBI issued the 10 MM. The 10MM is a very good round. However, it was "too hot" for many shooters and the round was long. So they made a reduced load 10MM for the FBI. That was dumb. Then the bullet makers and Smith and Wesson looked at the idea of making a shorter 10mm and calling it the .40 caliber. So, a .40 cal is a milder 10mm. Now days it's hard to even find a pistol that will shoot a 10mm round. Too bad.
I carried a Beretta 92 9mm for years on patrol, in Bosnia and Iraq. It is a very good 9mm. I like the feel, the safety system and the longer barrel. It was the most tested and argued about small arm ever in the US military. Every time the soldiers testing them destroyed one, Beretta would fix it and make it better. The Sig and Glocks are also very good. But I like the Springfield XD better than the Glock--it feels better to me. So, what to do if you're carrying a perfectly good pistol now, but you think you should upgrade? A new pistol will not usually make you a better shooter. Only quality practice and training will do that. Sometimes I've suggested to a young cop that they take the pistol they're using and spend half the money they'd spend on a new gun and buy ammo to practice with. If you are a poor shooter, practice and train. Buying a new pistol will not all of a sudden solve your problems. I say if a cop is well trained, gets regular practice and is competent, let them carry what they want if they qualify with the weapon. But I also know that keeping lots of different ammo in stock is a pain in the ass also. Any other thoughts or ideas?