From the Soldier side: As promised, I said I was going to write about “Oxygen Bandits” we’ve had on deployments. However, my goal this year is to try to be more positive…so I’ll start out saying that I’m positive that if we had not taken some of the oxygen bandits with us on my two deployments, things would have not only gone better for the rest of the good soldiers, but we would have had more air to breath.
CI Roller Dude with captured MG in Bosnia, early 2004
I am sure that many of you nice citizen readers out there are not familiar with this military term and may be a bit confused. Let me start by explaining that an Oxygen Bandit (O2 B or Bravo- pronounced “Oh Two Bravo”) can be of any rank, but in many cases the worst ones are on the small teams we had to go out with. (Many times during training I tried to tell my leaders that we didn’t always need to take Specialist Snuffy with us, because he just got in the way, did stupid things and ate valuable food, water and most of all sucked in good air.)
We also had Sergeants, Lieutenants, Captains, and Sergeant Major O2 Bravos.
Now please, don’t get me wrong, I worked with many great soldiers…and some true honest to God heroes. But I’ll tell stories of them later. It’s the O2 Bravos that wasted not only valuable air, but other resources, time and money. They’d often get in the chow line in front of the real workers when we were in a hurry to go on a mission. They just got in the damn way!
What we used to call some of the folks in the old days are “Guard Bums”. For the most part, these were soldiers who were in the National Guard, which was only a part time job, but that was their only source of income. In so many cases, these bums couldn’t hold a regular civilian job the rest of the month. I don’t know how some of them even ate, but when they showed up for training, you could see why they didn’t have jobs…they were retards.
So let’s talk about a few specific soldiers we had for the Bosnia deployment. Some key points you have to understand are, at that point in our unit’s history, we had very few soldiers who had ever been deployed or to any place like Bosnia- where we were required to be armed at all times. I don’t like to “pick on” soldiers who are lower in rank than I am, as I feel it’s my duty to make them a better soldier---thus harassing them does not achieve that goal in most cases. (I would put them on shit details to get their attention if needed.)
In this case, I’ll take a person who had been promoted above me. When I first met this guy, who was my team leader for awhile in Bosnia, I thought he was a great person and a great soldier. He seemed to care and wanted to do a good job. I was put on his team just before we left that states because, as the Commanding Officer (CO) explained it: “that team is dysfunctional and we need you on it to help guide them and unfuck things.”
I was happy because it meant that I was going to be on a field team in Bosnia instead of stuck in the office. I was so friggen happy!
I thought it must have been the lower team members who were not effective, which was also true, but as I found out as we were deployed, the real problem was in fact the team leader.
To be cont.