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.


LL said...

Good judgement is learned by bad judgement - if you survive. The problem with most junior officers is that they are "junior officers" and their good judgement is often learned when they get their men killed exercising bad judgment.

Coffeypot said...

I can see were our guys could be equipped with the latest equipment, but I have a doubt as to the quality of our leaders. As the saying goes, 'You can't fix stupid.' and there is always an abundance of that in the officer corps. Especially if all they think about is medals and promotion. But it's been that way since the Roman Legions wore little tennis skirts.

I know you have seen and done a lot for our country both here and away. I respect your opinion and thank you for all you have done. Being a Combat Comic has to be hard on a body when there is no one with a since of humor around.

Red said...

Dude, you make a terrific point about having the necessary equipment available when it is needed... Funny you bring up Generation Kill I am just now re-reading the book (which is better than the movie in case you were wondering but the movie is great, too)

CI-Roller Dude said...

We called OIF, OER= Officer Evaluation Report. Too many "leaders" were only looking at how they could get a good OER and medals. They would ignore things that the troops did that should have been Silver Stars.
And, the Canvas on a M998 Humvee is not bullet proof....the hajji added on armor would barley stop an AK round.
None of our Humvee drivers had proper driver training...so they rolled some and injured troops.

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.
V/R JWest