From the Soldier side: Cont:
Task Force ???? For those of you who don’t know it yet, the US Army loves to give names to missions. If it’s a small mission, or a small group that’s part of a big mission, they may call that small group a Task Force. For the mission this story is about, when we first started, we had no task force name. So we called ourselves “Task Force Nothing.”
So continue from my last post…. As we were riding on the bus to our new mission, the LT who was the Officer In Charge (OIC) of our little adventure had sorted out who he wanted to be the NCOs in charge of the platoons and squads. This was going to be a Combat Engineer mission, so the “job announcement” stated that all of those who volunteered needed to be qualified to operate the big dump trucks and other heavy equipment and tools we were going to use.
With about 80+ troops, we divided into two platoons. One platoon was all the Heavy Equipment Operators (HEOs)…bulldozers, backhoes, loaders, scrapers, etc. The other platoon was all dump truck and other truck operators. (you don’ t just “drive” a dump truck, you have to actually know the correct way to dump stuff.) …and we had a small team of support folks--- clerks, mechanics etc. This was one of the few times in any of the missions I worked where we would actually have more workers than support staff and bosses.
We took the bus all the way to XXXX and unloaded. This was a US military base located in southern California. We were about to deploy to one of the most smelly, dirty, nasty, deadly (at that time) horrible, toxic locations in the world. The US /Mexican border. Our mission- Drug Interdiction. To work with other Federal Agencies to reduce the flow of Illegal Drugs coming into the US.
We arrived and were assigned rooms to live in. The accommodations were so nice that we actually had a sort of maid service. Somebody came into our rooms each day and cleaned them up and made our beds. I was an old soldier, so when I got up, out of habit, I still made my bed each morning. I’ve never been able to leave and not make up my bed…and polish my boots when I could. We ate in a XXXX mess hall and the food was so good, I suspect we had several troops gain 10 pounds a week.
Then we lined up in platoons the first Monday. I was given first squad of the truck platoon. If the platoon sergeant was not there, I was to fill in. My squad had 10 soldiers. Then the platoon sergeant asked the big question: “How many of you have a military license to operate the dump trucks?”
Only about 6 hands went up, including mine. Guess what we’d be doing the first week or so…training the rest of the platoon to operate the old 5 ton Army dump truck. Oh joy. While we were on the mission.
To be cont.