19 July 2011

Gypsy Team #6--- UP!

From the Soldier side: One thing I noticed about other soldiers I’ve talked to who were in Iraq, most if not all of them spent their entire tour in one location.  Some who ran convoys traveled a lot, but were based out of one camp.  For the first 4 months of my tour, we called my team “Gypsy Team 6- - “ because we traveled around so much. In the first 6 months, I had 11 different assignments.   I had so my air miles with the Army, Marines and Air Force, that I had enough frequent flyer miles to fly anywhere (in Iraq) for free. 

I had my packing down to a science.  3 pairs of uniforms, 7 T-shirts, 10 pairs of socks, coffee, Cliff Bars, air pillow and poncho liner, and a double load of ammo for my M4 and M9 pistol….a Sat phone, the CHIMs gear and accessories and that was about it. 

The interesting part was, we usually were sent to where things had happened or were supposed to happen.  I just thought it would have been nice if somebody had told us we were going some place busy before we got there…and it’d been nice if we had a clue what we’d be lookin’ into ahead of time.

The good thing about being Gypsy Team, if we didn’t like a place or the folks we were working for, we knew we’d be leaving soon enough.  One problem though with working for different groups (ranging from the US Army, Army National Guard units and the US Marines) it seemed that my team had to prove itself each time we went to a new place--- even if it turned out that we’d been in country longer than the folks we were going to help out. 

And I HATE moving.  We had to move over a dozen times when I was a kid because my dad was in the USAF  and in those days it seemed that they thought it was better to move people around as often as possible.  It wasn’t just moving to a new base, but usually when we got there we had to live off the base until housing opened up..then we’d move again to be n the base.  I hate moving….so when they gave me a team in Iraq that was the first word in the title was “Mobil” I tried to tell the bosses “I hate moving.” 

I figure out many years later, it wasn’t the moving that I hated so much, but having to start all over again making friends and stuff…. And since I have no friends now, I guess I just got used to not making any. 

I did get to see a lot of Iraq by air and by ground.  As far as I could tell, it all sucked.  And just as soon as we figured out each camp and who the bad guys were outside….we moved somewhere else and had to start all over again. 

My tour was a year…and when I ran into folks from other branches of the service who’s tours were 4 to 7 months, and they arrived after we did and were going home before we were…I wondered why was it I had to prove myself to them? 

My team and I did OK ( I actually had several different soldiers on my team through the year as members were changed around for other duties.)  None of my team got hurt and we all made it home….and 5 years later I realized that absolutely nothing we did made any difference in the war effort outside of me getting a few people to laugh. 


powdergirl said...

"And since I have no friends now, I guess I just got use to not making any."


What are WE? Chopped liver?? : )

A virtual friend is still a friend, you know?

Anonymous said...

1. Roger the no difference stuff.
2. Been in and out of a few AO's and looking back, most of it was pointless.
3. Getting out not having let the team down and hide intact were pretty much the high points for me.
4. Bought into some fancy justifications for the stuff I did -at the time. When the dust settled, was sorry and sore.
5. On friends: the nature of friendship changed, for me.
6. As a kid, back from VN, in college, hung out with other vets, almost like I did with my friends before I left.
7. Got more solitary as I got older.
8. Now, have got about 3 Mil built in friends -the only qualification for which is having been there and done that.
9. Got angry when the Swiftboat people (some of whom I know) went after Sen. Kerry.
10. Am no fan of the Senator, but by God he was there, went aboard his boat and patrolled.
11. Nothing else matters.
12. Anyway, am sure you have the same built in communities: Iraq/AEF and police.
13. All vets welcome in my group, but be warned: the conversation inevitably turns to joint pain, high blood pressure and prostate problems.
14. Those are infinitely more interesting than defense policy.
V/R JWest