27 February 2010

Hey Dude, what's up with that cake?

Actual Crime Scene Photo

From the Cop side:  What happened to that cake? Every once in a while somebody will do something that just blows me away. I don’t mean the knucklehead criminals I deal with at work, or the “average citizen” who’s just having a bad day. What I mean is sometimes one of our own does something that makes this old Sergeant think he’s working with children.

I’ve always tried to treat the officers and soldiers who work for me as adults. I guess I’m lucky in my military roll by having some really bright and highly motivated soldiers who always strive to do an outstanding job. Most of the cops I know do the same, very smart and the ones I have now want to do good work. They are some of the BEST!

However, there are some cops who somehow slip through the hiring process…which in our State is very long and difficult to get through…but some still slip through and get hired only to leave some of us in awe at their level of maturity.

Let me be blunt. You see in police work, we try to hire adults. These adults have to know how to work with others and understand that they are not the only person in the universe. They need to clean up after themselves, show up for work on time, and remember at all times that there are other people who work in the same space that they do.

Many years ago I became what we call on Police work a “Field Training Officer.” That is the officer who takes the rookie, who’s been to the police academy and tries to train them to be a real live honest to God cop. I have learned over the years that there are little bits of wisdom I have to include in my training…bits of wisdom that are not in any book or training school, but bits of wisdom to keep the new copper alive. I’ve also learned that, in a few cases, I have to add training on how to be an adult and work with others.  Most of the new cops are good, but every few years we get one who seems to be a little retarded or something.... Like the one who tried to eat the cake. 

Most of you who were in the military learned these basics of life. But, in our business there are lots of new cops who’ve never been in the military. Too bad. The military might have taught them some of the basics of life.

Some things I’ve had to add to the list of shit I teach new cops….(keep in mind that many of these new cops are barley over 21 years old.)

1.) Clean your litter, equipment, garbage and empty Power Drink cans out of the patrol car at the end of you r shift. Nobody else is going to clean up your crap.

2.) Wash the patrol car and put gas in it for the next shift.

3.) If you work out, or get sweaty, take a shower before coming to work. Don’t go to the gym before work,then show up, put on your uniform and smell like shit.

4.) If you use the lunch room, clean up your empty plates, cups and empty power drink cans for the next shift. Wipe out the fucking micro wave oven when you blow up your lunch in it.

5.) Don’t be a hog. You don’t need to take all the blank forms with you on patrol…I doubt if you are actually going to use up 50 copies of a form in one shift where you normally might use one a week. But if you take all the blank forms, just in case, nobody else will have any.

6.) And if a nice fellow employee takes the time to bake a birthday cake for somebody, don’t try to eat the entire thing because you are a fucking retard…then leave a half eaten cake in the lunch room. Cut off a slice.

These are all things that your parents, DI or Drill Sergeant should have or would have taught you when you were growing up or in Basic Training.

24 February 2010

Stress reducers...

From the Soldier and Cop side: One of the questions I have been asked many times in my police and military career is: "How did you deal with stress?"

I mean in Bosnia we had a little bit of stress. In Iraq we had a little bit of stress and in police work, every once in a while, we have a little bit of stress.
I found the best ways to reduce stress are:

1.) Find a "happy place." Put your mind in a place you'd rather be at that moment. (Unless assholes are shooting at you or trying to kick your ass, in which case return fire with better tactics. )

2.) Make sure you have had the best training and know WTF you are doing. Not knowing what to do in a bad situation will add to the stress. Also, being clumsy and a duffiss will not help. If you’re the type who can’t walk and chew gum, then in most cases you won’t be able to draw your pistol from your holster quick enough to make a difference in a gun fight—for example.

3.) Use humor whenever you can. Not just dumb shit, but you must work on being truly funny whenever the need arises. Some examples might include having little premade signs for walking out on patrols on places like Iraq, the signs would be put on the back of fellow soldiers and might say things like: “Kick here” or “Will patrol for food.” Or whatever you think will get a good laugh and won’t piss off somebody with a loaded weapon.

So, thinking of humor, I found a friggen funny ass sight at http://nobodys-corner.com/

This it the kind humor we could have used in Iraq.

Ask about this cake damage....

Possible future stories:  Let me know what you'd like to hear about by leaving a comment. 

22 February 2010

Another Brother Goes to the Big Sandbox

From the Soldier side: As most of my regular readers know, I have a good number of friends and acquaintances in other military units scattered around the country and the world. One of these “Joes” who I’ve never actually met in person has just arrived in Iraq.
His blog is known as “Citizen Soldier” and although he’s in from another state National Guard unit, as far as I am concerned he’s a brother. I have to hopes of him and the brothers and sisters in his unit:

1.) They all are safe on their tour
2.) They are led by better leaders than I had for my tour
3.) They have nothing but good stories to write about and nothing bad happens to them

Citizen Soldier’s blog is at http://citizensoldier65.blogspot.com/

My home National Guard unit just had our monthly weekend training session. I was assigned a few new soldiers to my platoon. They are all combat vets and after talking a few minutes, it turned out that we knew a lot of the same people. You see, the US Army Mess Kit Repair field is a very small group…so, if you stay in long enough, you will know a lot of good folks.
                                                                             The CI Roller with Ivan
Now excuse me while I get back to watching the Olympics and stuff.

18 February 2010

The Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo

From the Soldier side:
26 years ago Sarajevo had honor of holding the Winter Olympics in 1984

The 1984 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XIV Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated in Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was at the time part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
I remember watching these games on TV. I thought the mountains and area looked so beautiful.... Kind of like Truckee, California.

When I was deployed to Bosnia in 2003-04, On a Peace Keeping Mission, I had a chance to go to Sarejevo. It was a mess. Most of the buildings were still shot up or destroyed from the battle and siege of Sarajevo from 5 April 1992 to 28 February 1994.

The total number killed in the war in Bosnia was reported to be over 200,000. Some asked why there is not exact count to this day…because so many were buried in mass graves or fled the country and were never accounted for.

I remember driving through some of the neighborhoods that had most of the homes destroyed. One of my security team members asked me why the owners had still not returned and rebuilt. I told him because they were either dead, or living in another country now.
One thing I have learned from wars, we should never have another one. It’s one thing to end a war that some asshole started, but it’s so wrong to start a war. Even after talking to many citizens in Bosnia, I still can’t understand why in the hell they started to kill each other.

Well, Bosnia still looks like Truckee, California, but with about half a million land mines still scattered around.

Enjoy the Winter Olympics.

08 February 2010


From the Soldier Side: (I told this story last year and the year before, but it’s one of my favorites) Super Bowl Sunday, Jan 2005! There I was, in Baghdad, Iraq. My team had just flown in that day from some shitty mission.... (I think it was Mosoul/ Telafar). We were worn out and tired. We had been sent to Mosoul to help after the Army mess hall had been blown up by a suicide bomber. Still, after all these years, I think one of the hardest things to investigate is something where the primary suspect has killed himself. In that case, I really wish he had made a mistake with his fuse and blown himself up outside the camp.

But the biggest hinderance in that investigation was not the insurgents, but the idiot Sergeant who had put herself in charge...she had no idea what to do. 

Anyway, after we got off the Blackhawk chopper in Baghdad, we were trucked back out our rooms. We dropped our gear and headed for dinner….

We walked over to the mess hall. After clearing our weapons, grabbing a tray of chow, I saw that they had a bunch of ice cold beer. I thought it was a celebration for our safe return.

Nope. It was Super Bowl Sunday 2005. This is the most important holiday in the US Army. The Marines have the Marine Corps Birthday, I'm not sure what the Navy and Air Force have, but the Army has Super Bowl.

Now, I figure a lot of you won't understand how important beer was....because General Order #1 said we could not have anything with alcohol in it...unless a General authorized it. But, even with a General's approval, there could only be a 2 beer limit per person.

Now, to be honest with you, I don't normally drink that much any more. But that time of the deployment, a cold beer sounded really good. 2 cold beers sounded even better. They went down quick.....ice cold, yummy.

Then, my #2 guy looked around and found all the Islamic Terps and the Mormon soldiers. We convinced them that they should get their ration of beer and bring them to us.....only 2 at a time.

I lost count of how many beers I had. And wouldn't you know it, walking out of the mess hall (really kind of staggering) there was the battalion commander and the sergeant major. They were assholes, and I just walked by and said: "Gentlemen, dinner is on me."

We made it back to our rooms and passed out. I never did watch that game and I have no idea who was even playing. But the 2 beers were sure gooooood!  I admit.. I was a bit ripped.

Note: For those of you who have a direct feed, I do look forward to comments...that's the only way I know what to write about.... Thanks-editor.


03 February 2010

Rock Stars I worked with

From the Soldier side: Over the years I’ve been in the Regular Army and the Army National Guard, I have worked with some really great soldiers (and a few civilians). I still remember my squad leaders and platoon sergeants from when I was stationed in West Berlin, Germany long ago. They were all Nam vets and we knew what they trained us was going to work in war. But the people you work with in a peace time Army are one thing, the people you work with in a real war are another thing altogether. Wars are where you find out who can really do the job and who can’t.
During my Iraq deployment, I’ve mentioned before some of the bad leaders we had and some of the good ones. Today I’d like to talk about the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines I worked with who I call “Rock Stars.” Some of them were on active duty, some were reserves and many were in the National Guard. As a matter of fact, half way thorough my deployment in 2005, the news paper reported that 60% of the military forces in Iraq were Reserves and National Guard!!! This is where the term “One Weekend a Month…My Ass!” came from.

                                  M-249 SAW Gunner on M1114 Armored Humvee

The Rock Stars I knew may have not played in a band, I’m sure some of them can’t even sing or play any kind of instrument, but they “Rocked” in my opinion. Some civilians asked me how I went out my first time in the streets of Iraq in a vehicle or on foot…well, let me explain something. It’s not that somebody went out one time or the first time, what makes them Rock Stars is that they did it a second time…and third time and in many cases over a hundred times.

Take Chris, the former college student who was an English Major. When we first got to Baghdad, the folks in charge of the “Mess Kit Repair” reports grabbed him and stuck him in an office to help with the reports being sent in. They figured (correctly) that Chris could re-write any bad reports and make them better. He did this very well for about the first 6 months of our deployment.
                                              Female E-4 Driver whohad over 100 missions in Baghdad
Then, one day while one of our teams was rolling through Baghdad, the lead Hummer got blown up….Killing the driver (Roberto) badly wounding the gunner, and the 2 new replacements who’d just arrived.

When the bosses needed a new team, Chris volunteered…knowing that he’d be leading a team into the streets of Baghdad 5 or 6 days a week for the next 6 months. He was a Rock Star.

The second Humvee in that convoy where Roberto’s vehicle got hit was manned by 3 of the new replacements. The E-4 female driver, a Staff Sergeant and the Sergeant on the gun. It was only their second trip into Baghdad, and they all witnessed the death of Roberto and the other 3 crawl out of the burning humvee. Can you imagine the shock and the stress of that? I’ve seen a lot of shit, but to witness something like that would have been hard. But, they continued to roll out for the next year. And to top that off, the Staff Sergeant volunteered to stay on active duty and went back for a second tour of Iraq!

Rock Stars…. If you find anybody better than that, let me know. This is only a few examples…I’ll have more later.


02 February 2010

Coming next: Rock Stars I worked with...

Stand by for our next adventure...yes, I did work with many Rock Stars...I'll tell you about a few soon.