25 August 2010

Run to the sound of fire.

From the Soldier side: Now that I am about to retire from the California Army National Guard, I can relax a little. Maybe I can take some of those weekends I had to go to drill and get my book written. Maybe I’ll get a medical marijuana card and smoke weed and forget the last 30 something years….nah. I like the folks I met too much to ever forget them.
I originally joined the US Army right as the Viet Nam war was ending. 1974.  It was “safe” to join in those days because the worst thing that could happen to a soldier was getting too drunk and being run over by a bus. I think that’s why I got out after only a few years. I thought we’d never go to war again…and I was bored to death. You can only “train for war” so many times and then do nothing. I was a very well trained killer.  When I got out, I figured a former grunt could become a hit man for the Mafia or become a cop.  The cops have a better medical plan. 
Last weekend, as I was pondering my last bus ride back to our home unit…I looked around me. I was sitting with some really good folks. Think about this for a minute. If you knew that you were joining or staying in an organization where you had a very good chance of getting deployed to war…would you have joined or stayed in?  (All of these men and woman either joined after Nine Eleven or re-enlisted!) 

In many cases the answer was not only “no” but “HELL NO!”

After NINE ELEVEN, anybody who joined or remained in the armed services of the United States of America had to know that sooner or later they’d have to go to war. Yeah, I know there are a few jobs that might keep some in the states…but most are in a job (MOS) that will require them to deploy..or they have deployed and will deploy again.

Why? I just saw some fuckinghippie protesters on some video. They were protesting the war (not sure which one, good they have choices now days). Good for them. Just don’t fuck with the troops. Some of them fuckinghippies claim to have been in the military. Some were, and some are fullofshit.

The troops I know and worked with in many cases, felt bad because they have not yet deployed. They often looked at those of us who had deployed and applied our trade in a hostile place with envy or admiration. They asked me so many times: “how did you do this in Bosnia or Iraq?” They want to do a good job…some of them have volunteered to go just so they could know what we did I guess.  They are heroes!

I am proud to have worked with all of them. They are brave, they are good, they will save the world. The fuckinghippies will still do stupid shit and be annoying and there will be those that sleep well at night knowing that there are those who will fight on their behalf.

If you are a cop or in the military, or just have a chance to watch…the next time there is gun fire, a car crashing, a building on fire or some other mess, watch and see who runs towards it and who runs away. Those running towards it are the ones I want on my team.

When the Humvee comes to a stop, we’re taking the door on the right, follow me.”

23 August 2010

My last mission...

From the Soldier side: My Last AT. This was the Last “AT” (National Guard 2 week Annual Training) I will attend. It was both very good and very sad. Good because they put on some really good training- which I didn’t even have to help plan this time…and sad because I’m really going to miss it.

"Miss it?" You might ask. Why would anybody miss working/ training for 16 hours on some days. Getting up early in the morning in a room with 19 other soldiers (half of which snore like a chain saw with a bad spark plug). Having to wait in line for a shower and sink to shave in.

Standing in line for breakfast chow. Going to classes and training that in many cases will do nothing to benefit you for your civilian life. Going to meetings and briefings when you should be resting or going to bed. Trying to go to sleep when 19 other soldiers wanna' talk all night long.

Getting into a training exercise that starts at 0800 hours and makes you stay up until midnight. Having to explain how we are supposed to do the job to those who outrank you but have never been deployed and have no clue as how to actually do the technical parts of the job and try to re-write everything instead of adding on to what has been done in the past that works.

…and getting woken up early for random urine drug test.

Oh, after thinking it over, maybe I won’t miss it. But I’ll miss the good soldiers I worked with. In my company.  Any of these folks would drag you from a fire, and do anything they could to help each other.  A bond that many will never know or fully understand. 
I’m one of the last “multi deployers” who went to both Bosnia and Iraq. We were some of the first to deploy on the “Global War on Terror” and now over half of those left have never deployed at all. But I know they’ll do well. As a matter of fact, the last “field team” they assigned me for training was actually better than some of the soldiers I deployed with to Bosnia or Iraq. They will do well!

From my CO and last 1st Sergeant

04 August 2010

Search and????

From the Soldier side: Today I’d like to talk some more about the Useless Deployment Training we had before going to Bosnia. It may sound like I’m just bitchin’, which is every soldiers right, (but doesn’t mean the leaders listen), but some of that training was so off the wall and stupid, that it was totally amazing.

Even with a sign, you can't fix stupid!

Now, keep in mind at the time I was going through this training in 2003, I’d been a civilian cop for over 20 years. There are overlaps in some military and police training, and some things that are done totally different. Basic things like how to shoot a firearm are the same…and I even use the same training in both jobs when I’m training others.

I think the reason I bitched so much about some of this UDT, was because I’ve taught others for so long, that I hate to see crap that’s not only useless, but would get a soldier killed if they actually did things the way they were trained. Wrong!

The first day in Bosnia

Most cops in the US are well trained on searching persons and stuff. The general concept is when you search a bad guy for weapons and such, you have control over the person. We do this in such a way that they can’t pull a weapon on you or run away. Bad tactics, methods or lazy, gets cops hurt or killed.  The same applies to Soldiers!

The way they were training the troops going to Bosnia to search people was so stupid and bad, that I had to laugh when they demonstrated how they wanted us to do it. The only thing I could guess at was, some pogue officer in some office sat down with his/ her pogue staff, and never even looked at any Field Manuals (FMs).   Then they just made up this stupid shit. 

When I search a real live honest to God bad guy, I am not going to get hurt. I take control, I have a cover officer and I am going to find any weapons the bad guy has. The method we were shown for Bosnia, we had no physical control over the person searched, we did not secure any weapons found, but used a silly “code” word and had to totally depend on other soldiers to cover us if things went bad. ...keep in mind that that soldier covering you might have been a cook or office pogue with no real experience. 

When I went through the exercise, I did it the way a cop would do it. The sergeant grading me said: “You’re doing it all wrong!” I looked at her and asked: “Have you ever in your life actually searched a bad guy with a weapon?”

Of course not. I told her that the crap they were training us to do would get soldiers killed (or laughed at if they were lucky) and I would do it the correct way. If she didn’t approve, fine. Fail me and I won’t get to go to Bosnia I guess.”

Who watched the police in Bosnia

I passed all the training. But I suppose it’s my honest, no bullshit attitude that prevented me from getting promoted a lot faster in my career. I’m sorry, I don’t kiss anybody’s ass.

This next week I’m going to my last 2 week National Guard Annul Training (Summer Camp) before I retire. I promise to behave myself. (not really.)

==Some of you may have this blog going straight to your e-mail, crackberry, Iphone, Kindle, etc, but when I don't see folks coming to the blog, I don't know how many readers I actually have.  If I think few are reading my crap, I don't write as often.  Just something to keep in mind.

03 August 2010

Driving tips, your public service for the day

From the Cop side:  Many good citizens ask what they can do to be a better driver.  There are a few things anybody can do that are simple.  Watch this short video and see the main reason for most motor vehicle crashes is: DHUA. 

Check this out for some really good driving skills:


(DHUA= Driving with Head Up Ass.)

01 August 2010

UDT (Useless Deployment Training)

From the Soldier side: Back in Jan 2003 a bunch of us from the National Guard unit I was in were called up. We were told that we were being attached to another unit for Pre-mobilization Training for possible deployment to Iraq. So off we went for a few weeks of fun and paper work.
Then we went home and waited. The wait was not long when our own unit told us “you’re not going with that other unit because our unit has now been tasked with going to Bosnia.”

Oh cool! So I would get out of the job of going to Iraq. Great…I thought that meant that whatever happened in Iraq would all be over with and I’d never have to go. (I did go the next year, but this is not about that.)

This posting is about the Bosnia Deployment. The strangest thing I can say about going to Bosnia is I actually loved it. The job I got to do there was the absolute best damn job I ever got to work on in my entire life!!! I loved the folks there, I loved the country (despite the half a million land mines still scattered about) and I loved what I got to do. Someday I’ll actually be able to write about what I did there... (My main goal there was to not be an Ugly American).

One of the things I didn’t like about the Bosnia Deployment was the useless, poorly planned, off the wall, stupid ass, made up training we had to do before we went there. We were on active duty orders for a total of 9 months, but we actually were called in for over 60 days of training before we were even on orders. Most of the time, we’d get a call on a Wednesday or Thursday telling us to show up on Saturday. Many of these extra weekends were training conducted by other soldiers who’d never actually been to Bosnia or, apparently, even studied the country. The stuff that they were training us, was stuff these instructors made up. Crap.

This was really odd, since the US Army had been deployed in Bosnia for several years by that point in history, there was no logical reason that they couldn’t actually find soldiers who’d been there to come and train us. I suspect that these soldiers were trying to do the best that they could on short notice.

Even later, when we were on active duty orders and going through even more pre-mob training with the Minnesota 34th Division- The Red Bulls, we were subjected to even more really poor training.

Some of this training, that later proved to be wrong, was on the culture of Bosnia. You see, until just a few years before, there was no country of Bosnia. It was all part of the former country known as Yugoslavia. So, trying to train on the culture of Bosnia was difficult…made even more difficult by people who had poor information and seemed to just make shit up.

Once I was in Bosnia, I quickly learned that almost all the training we had been given was crap. Total crap. Even worse than crap. For, if I had not gone through this useless training, I would have no embarrassed myself when talking to some of the folks in Bosnia.

There were two basic religions in Bosnia. Orthodox Christians and Muslims. I could never tell the difference by just looking at them. One clue I did figure out was whether or not a village had a church or a mosque. (in police work we called that a clue.) If you knew me, you’d know I’d never “normally” say something to piss off somebody I didn’t even know. But a few times our retarded training did just that. After a while, I got smarter and started to ask my “terps” culture questions before I pissed somebody off.

One day I was walking in one of the mostly Muslim villages. The folks there really loved the Americans because our intervention into the war there prevented them from all getting slaughtered. They loved President Clinton and when we visited they always told us. (I never got around to explaining that if Clinton had not been such a pussy, we might have gotten there sooner and prevent more bloodshed.) This day I was in this village, I saw a man, Mohammad, walking with his wife a few meters in front of him. I was confused.
I stopped Mohammad and said: “I thought your customs required your wife to walk a few paces behind you.”

He looked at me with a toothless smile and said: “Yes, when they wrote the Koran, they didn’t have land mines all over the damn place.”

More culture training to come.
(Note: the dude who did our culture training for Iraq the next year, had never actually been to Iraq, but had lived in a country near Iraq 25 years before.  This would be like me giving a culture class about Germany to a bunch of folks from China-- Crap.)