28 July 2010

We went to war with e-mail~

From the Soldier side:  As some of my readers may know, sometimes I can't think of nothin' to write about...then at other times I have several thoughts of random stuff.  I was going through one of my old e-mail accounts and found some stuff I e-mailed from when I was in Iraq in 2005.  Some of this info may still be useful today for those who are getting ready to deploy.  So, in the interest of trying to help a brother or sister going off to war, here you go:

1.) For the rain season...(yes it does rain in Iraq) mix lots of oatmeal, Elmer's glue, rocks, and something that smells like shit with lots of water. Spread this everywhere you go and make sure it's at least a foot or two deep where you have to walk.  Only walk where this goo is.  Track it into your home, bedroom, work space, and your car. Make sure you put some in your ears, navel, nose and anywhere else. Make sure your feet and clothes are wet all the time and make sure the heater at home is broken so you can't dry out.

CI Roller Dude at Camp Fallujah, Iraq in spring 2005

2.) Make a vest out of bulky material that sticks out 5 inches and weighs 35 pounds. Put on a 5 pound hat, and carry a 7.5 pound stick with several pounds of stuff in pouches on your vest. Wear this everywhere you go including when you eat.

3.) Move into the garage and sleep on a cot with a broken leg. Have somebody open and close the garage door and turn on the light as soon as you fall asleep...then open it again and yell out: "Hey Joe, are you in here?" 

4..) Keep a lawn mower running outside all the time for the proper generator sound. 

5.) Carry a gun with you all the time, to eat, to shower, to the store, church etc.

6.) Have a neighbor throw fire crackers in your yard when you are in the middle of doing something, like eating...then run to a bunker---

7.) Build a bunker in your back yard for all the times you have to run into it...only make it 4 feet high and make the entrance 4 inches more narrow than your you and your body armor.

8.) Take a shower in the front yard with a garden hose--- only use cold water, and make sure it runs out before you fully rinse off. Once a week have your neighbor throw firecrackers and run to your bunker--totally naked. (with your weapon of course.)

9. ) have the electrical power shut off at random times.  Make sure during the day it's when the sun is the hottest and at night when it's the coldest so you never are totally comfortable.

8.) Only watch CNN on TV, 24 hours a day.... but as soon as they do a story on your camp, have the neighbor cut the feed (acting like a dumbass sergeant major).

10.) Have 6 main courses prepared for dinner each night, with potatoes, rice, noodles, etc, roast, chicken, pork, then eat a hamburger.

11.) Only drink Kool aid, but make it very watered down...only serve warm coke or soda.  When you actaully find Starbucks Coffee, it's only decaf. 

12.) Build a bathroom outside, and never leave any toilet paper by the toilet... have a hajji use it and get shit all over the seat. 

13.) Make up acronyms for everything you have and do, and make sure you tell nobody what they mean.  Then only use those acronyms for all conversations.  Like: "Please wear your IBA, FTF, APCO, thank you."

Update:  ACIRWS (All CI Roller Wire Service) Iraq------------In a surprise visit, OSHA inspectors swept through Iraq this week and declared that the Islamic extremists, various rent-a-martyrs, and other malcontents are creating an extremely unsafe workplace environment.

OSHA was also investigating complaints that Colt, Bushmaster, Beretta, AM General, Boeing, Sikorsy, McDonnell/ Douglas, General Dynamics and other aircraft manufacturers were making their products are entirely too noisy.

23 July 2010

Silent. Nothing.

Silent. That’s the sound a person makes when they are no longer alive. Nothing. Nor more thoughts, no more words. No more laughing. No more crying. No more nothin’.

This is also the sound our news media has for our troops who die in war everyday. Silent. No words of the losses our troops suffer everyday.   Maybe a few numbers.  If you look on page 8, you might find some names.  But, pretty much, Silent. 

America’s First Sergeant, http://castrapraetoria1.blogspot.com/ reported the loss of another US Marine in Afghanistan. He died in what I consider a heroic manner. He’s still dead, but he died trying to save another human, and that is a friggen’ hero in my book.

Still, the press was silent. No headlines. No mention on any TV news. Nothing. Silent like the hero Marine.

Maybe a few weeks from now, or a few months from now, the media will catch up. But, if there is some famous movie star having marriage problems, that may bump the story off the media’s daily event. Maybe someday when the news is slow they’ll tell this story:

The Department of Defense announced the death of a Marine who was supporting

Operation Enduring Freedom. Cpl. Joe L. Wrightsman, 23, of Jonesboro, La., died July 18 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

It doesn’t matter that it was a river that killed this lad. He’s just as silent as if a bullet or bomb had done it’s deed. It was his actions and as “Top” said:

“Upon hearing what happened on July 18 nearly every one of us that knew him immediately thought: "But Wrightsman can't swim!" Fortunately, America still breeds men with a bias for action who don't dwell on what they can't do. I imagine Cpl Wrightsman thought to himself: "I can't let this guy down!" Then he heedlessly went after a man who wasn't a fellow Marine or even an American.”

Many good citizens don’t get it. Why would anybody risk their life to help somebody else. Soldiers, Saliors, Airmen and Marines do it everyday. Cops and Firefighters do it everyday.


Because we’re supposed to. WE CAN’T DWELL ON CAN’T!!!

Semper Fi Joe.  I never knew you, but I'd be glad to have you on my team anyday! 

Yeah "Top" is tough.  A bunch of us are tough.  But when we loose a friend of ours... it hurts.  Most will never admit it.  But it hurts.

20 July 2010

Flying Cars....

From the Cop side: Many years ago when I was a rookie cop first learning how to do police work, I was assigned to work with a traffic officer. I’ll call him “Jim.” I had the privilege of spending a whole 2 weeks with Jim and learned a lot about crash investigations. (There are very few “accidents” but lots of car crashes.) Most citizens call them accidents, but when a trained investigator looks at the mess, he or she can usually figure out in a short time which driver or drivers were at fault. The usual reasons for the “crash” are because one or more drivers violated some traffic law, or law of physics.
When you take away that "one factor" that if it had not happened, you wouldn't have had a crash---that is then your Primary Collision Factor PCF. 

One method I was taught at got pretty good at was estimating the speed a vehicle had been traveling at just prior to the crash. There were a few ways to figure this out, but one good bit of evidence often found was the skid marks left on the pavement.

Friction and"The Stopping Force"

A skidding vehicle is decelerated at a rate which is related to the frictional force generated between the skidding tires and the roadway. The friction is dependant on the weight of the "coefficient of friction".

(This may look like Bosnian writing, but it’s not) µ = V2 / 255 S

The following steps are used to find the coefficient of friction:

Now keep in mind, in my early days of police work, we didn’t have the really good pocket calculators that are around now. Some of this we had to do on paper.

Then I found a book with a chart that had all kinds of skid factors, so you could just look on the chart and be close enough.

I got pretty dang good at this shit…then something happened…in the 1990’s they came out with anti lock brakes. So much for all that skill and training…now the dang car would try to actually help a driver stop without skidding. Crap, no more skid marks.

But what do you do when the car you are looking at during an investigation violated the laws of gravity? Many of these flying cars are still unforgettable over 20 years later.

1980: I was on patrol in the nice friendly city where I started out working. I was dispatched to a motor vehicle accident with possible injuries. I responded from a few miles away with my emergency lights and siren on (Code -3). Upon arrival, I found a 1970’s something GM product on its roof with several yards (meters) of debris scattered along the road. The speed limit on that road was 35 MPH, so at first I had a difficult time comprehending how a car could end up like that.

I parked my marked patrol unit in a manner to protect the crashed vehicle and myself while I checked for injured persons. When I got up to the crash, all I could see were a pair of female legs sticking out the passenger side window. That was the only part of her body I could check for a pulse---but I lacked the Human Anatomy background at that time to know where to find a pulse besides the carotid and radial pulse (neck and wrist).

So, I did the next best thing and yelled: “Hey lady, are you OK?”

She moaned and moved, so I figured she was still alive. Then she started to swear…and that was when I could smell the “strong odor of an alcoholic beverage upon her breath and person.”  She was alive. 

No need for me to say that she was a very intoxicated driver. She went to the hospital and was booked in abstention due to her injuries. She fully recovered from the crash by the next day.

But, what a mess. I had to do the “T.C” (Traffic Collision) report. I blocked off a lane of traffic and got out my “roll-a-meter” and walked from where the car had landed, back to where it had first impacted the curb, brush, fire hydrant, street signs etc. It left only 50 feet of locked 4 wheel skid marks before it impacted the curb.
Then it lost control, went sideways, and landed on its roof….and slid for about 100 yards.

I had no way to figure the speed of a metal roof slide….maybe at least 85 MPH?

More flying car stories to come.

06 July 2010

Model 57, Soccer Ball & Шљивовица

From the Soldier side: As most of my readers know, I am a very careful person and I follow the rules. I have rules about handling weapons and things that can hurt people (like cars.) One of those big rules is to not drink and drive and not drink and handle guns. Mixing alcoholic beverages with either can lead to bad things happening.

This story also has something to do with soccer balls. Can anybody tell me why in the US we call soccer, soccer and the rest of the world calls it “football?”

Anyway, this story goes:

This one time in Bosnia (sung to the tune of “this one time in band camp” from the movie “American Pie”). In the late part of 2003 while I was on deployment with SFOR 14, I had just taken on a new team member. His name was “B” (for this story the names were changed to protect the innocent.) “B” had just been re-assigned to my team after his team got moved around and split up. Don’t ask me why his team was split up, as that is a long, boring story.

.....as I was starting to say, “B” was a good soldier and got along well with everybody. He also liked to trade things and had accumulated a good collection of military items since he’d been deployed. These were all items that were legal for us to bring home and some of them were pretty dang cool!

As soon as “B” was put on our camp, he started talking to some of the locals who worked on the camp. Within a few days, he knew a guy who had a buddy, who knew a dude, who had a brother …or some such shit who knew this former Bosnian Army commander that had some military items from the Bosnia war that we could purchase or trade for.

“B” came to me and asked if on our next mission we could stop by this guys shop and see what he had. I always liked to explore and meet new people, so I said: “sure, why not.”

This dude had all kinds of “stuff” (the polite word for shit) at his shop. After we did some trading and talking, he invited us to his home for a drink of Шљивовица šljivovic (Slivovitz).

This was also called Rokia, or if it had been made in America, we’d called in Moonshine.

It was home made from plums, and was estimated to be around 150 proof! Hot stuff.

The first time I tasted it, I thought it tasted like rubbing alcohol and lighter fluid. But after a few months, I actually got to where I liked it.

The "rule" for some of us in Bosnia was, if anybody offered you a drink of Slivoitz, it was ok to take a sip, but never drink more than one shot. It was mighty powerful stuff that would kick your ass.

We went to the guy’s house. It turned out he had been an Army commander during the war in Bosnia. He was a hero and actually committed no war crimes! He explained to me what a hero was: “A hero is somebody who does something that has to be done when nobody else can or will do it.”


Then, “B” sat down and had a shot of Slivovitz. I just sipped mine. I didn’t notice, but “B” drank his shot down…then the former Army commander poured him another, then another, then another. In short time, “B” had several shots.

Then we started talking about guns. “B” started telling the former Army commander what a great shot I was with a pistol.

So, the former Army commander brought out his old Army pistol.

(I had my M9 hidden under my shirt.) He handed me his old Model 57, 7.62X 25MM pistol and pointed to a flat soccer ball on the hill behind his house and said: “can you hit that foot ball?”

I looked around and saw that there were only trees beyond the soccer/ football, but I had to ask what the neighbors would think. He said: “Oh, they won’t think anything of it. Go ahead.”

I took the old Model 57 pistol in one hand, lined up the funky sights and pulled the trigger. The soccer/ football was about 40 yards away. I missed it by about 6 inches. I checked the pistol and saw it was empty. I asked if he had any more ammo. “Nope, that was it.”

Dang it. One shot and I missed… and I only had one drink.

“B” was useless to drive us back to camp, so I had to drive. I really wanted to keep that Model 57 pistol. It was kind of cool.

(So, what…are you disappointed I didn’t get into some kind of gun fight or something?)