26 May 2011

Mike Ottoline & Robert Arizola, KIA in Iraq

From the Soldier side: Every year on Memorial day I usually ask good citizens if they know what this holiday is for.  They usually say something like: “to have a bar b q?” 
Maybe before I was exposed to war, I might have thought the same thing.  I lost two friends in Iraq.  One was killed before I got there, the other I made friends with in Iraq.  Both were really good people. 

Sergeant First Class Michael C. Ottolini
Company A, 579th Engineer Battalion (the CI Roller Dude's old company)

It is with deepest sympathy that The California National Guard announces the death of Sergeant First Class Michael Ottolini, age 45, on 10 November 2004, died as a result of wounds received during an improvised explosive device (IED) attack while serving with his unit in Balad, Iraq. He is survived by his wife, and two children, and his father and mother.

SFC Ottolini joined the California Army National Guard on 17 December 1976 as a combat engineer in the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 579th Engineer Battalion, Santa Rosa. He served with the 579th Engineer Battalion during his entire military career. SFC Ottolini was an exemplary soldier who epitomized professionalism, dedication, and devotion to family. His unit pride was evident to all, and he is remembered for bringing his entire family (immediate and extended) to Battalion social events. He was an extremely personable individual and was well liked by his fellow soldiers. SFC Ottolini was ordered to active duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on 17 January 2004.

Mike was a good leader.  I first worked with him on one of the CA Guard call outs for flood duty in the late 90’s.  He worked harder than any 5 NCO’s I’d ever known before. 

Roberto Arizola Jr

Laredo, Texas
June 8, 2005
Army's 297th Military Intelligence Battalion, 513th Military Intelligence Brigade
Fort Gordon, Georgia
Died in Baghdad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV.
Roberto Arizola, Jr. liked to play video games and sports with his 7-year-old son. His family delayed the boy's birthday party so Arizola could be there. "He was always with his family," said his wife, Monica. But on June 8, a day before he was scheduled to return from Iraq, Arizola was killed in an explosion near his vehicle in Baghdad. The 31-year-old from Laredo, Texas, was based at Fort Gordon. Arizola graduated from high school in 1992 and had enlisted in 1996. He had been a border patrol agent in Laredo before being sent to Iraq. "We just can't believe it was his last day there," said his mother, Cecilia Arizola. "He was a good person. Everybody loved him." Arizola was deployed to Iraq in May 2004. He briefly returned in December and kept in frequent touch through phone calls and e-mail. "He was a great father, great son, great soldier, just a great person," said his brother, Ricardo

Roberto and I had started a conversation that we never got to finish.  My advice, treat every friend and loved one like it is the last day you will ever get to see them....because it might be. 

Memorial Day 2011- CI Roller Dude

24 May 2011

About Small Team Leadership....

In regards to leadership..... in case you missed this in past post, a very good friend of mine has written a short book on Small Team Leadership.  It's on the Amazon Kindle reader, but the software can be down loaded for free and you can read it on any computer, I-Pad etc.  And it's only $4.99 (us dollars). 


Funny, when I started out in the Army and police work many years ago, I never thought I'd have ended up in a leadership position.  Even though this was written for Military and Law Enforcement, I think it'd be helpful for any leaders.  However, there are leaders in many jobs who may have been promoted, but never got any proper training...and in some cases, they may make things worse than they know. 

Just last week when I was moving, I had to stop at a car part store to pick up something.  It was very early, and as I walked in, I heard the store manager talking to his workers.  The manager didn't appear to have any clear topics that he was talking about, but he just seemed to babble on and on.  I picked up what I needed, when out and installed it on my truck.  When I went back into the store 20 minutes later, the manager was still babbling on.  I could tell the workers were bored and with the expressions they had on their faces, I could tell that if they could find a new job the next day, they'd be gone.  The manager was not only babbling, but he was critical of everything his employees had done... but he couldn't give them any clear answers on how he wanted things done. 

He needed training.  I was pretty sure that I'd never go back into that store just based on how the employees were being treated....in front of a customer.  Was the leader that stupid? 

Now, think about leaders you've had in the military or police work...were they that stupid? 

23 May 2011

Drunks in Public......?

From the Cop side: OK, I promised that since I’m now retired and they can’t fire me, I can tell more cop stories from the past.  First of all let me say one thing…almost all of the cops I’ve worked with in the last 32 years came to work each day trying to do a good job.  However, there were and are some who should not be in the business.  Some of those who should not be in the business have proven the “Peter Principle” and have risen to their level of incompetence…in some cases, they’ve gone even further. 
Like they say about college teachers, those who can’t do, teach.  In police work those who can’t police become administrators.  Some of these appear to sit in offices for hours each day trying to figure out how to harass and annoy those cops who actually have work to do. 

When I started out in the business, many were very heavy drinkers.  I have nothing against a person touching a bit of the adult beverages, but I don’t think it’s cool to actually show up at work drunk. 

One Saturday in 1979, I came in to work an overtime shift on dayshift.  I had just gotten off at midnight, got about 5 hours of sleep and came to work.  I was young, so getting enough sleep wasn’t a problem. 
I went to the locker room (which was also the break room, briefing room, interview room, TV room, and meeting room) and put on my gun belt and gear. 

I sat down with the old timers (any cop who’d worked longer than a year was an old timer to a rookie) and we waited for the watch commander to come in and brief us.  We waited and waited and waited.  After about 20 minutes into the shift, the most senior officer told me to go look for the watch commander. 

I checked the watch commander’s office.  I checked dispatch.  I checked the holding cells, I checked the garage where the fire trucks were…then I checked the men’s rest room.  No luck. 

One last place, I checked the ladies restroom. 

There HE was.  Passed out on the floor in a puddle of his own puke. 
I tried to wake him up, but I could still smell the extremely strong odor of an adult beverage emitting from his person.     I almost puked. 

I went back to the briefing room and informed the more senior officers and those who’d just gotten off the graveyard shift that the day shift watch commander was a passed out in the ladies restroom. 

I suggested that we help him up and get in into the office.  Joe, the most senior officer said: “nope, then he’ll just puke all over  that office….just leave him there.”

We went through about 4 hours of dayshift without a functioning watch commander.  When he finally woke up, he went home and we never saw him again that day.  I’m glad nothing too exciting happened that day…because I’d only been a cop for about 4 months and I’m not sure I’d known what to do. 

17 May 2011

It's Hot, Desert HOT!

OK Fans (all 3 or 4 of you) I'm moved in.  Now I just need to find a few odds and ends...and a Job.  I am looking for something like what I did in Bosnia and Iraq (mess kit repair.)  There are a few contract type jobs that seem very possible...but I never count my eggs before they hatch. 

More war/cop stories coming soon...now that I'm an out of the police business, I can tell some good stuff.  I'll miss many of the folks I worked with...but they can come and shoot anytime. 

14 May 2011

Some folks think I'm like the guy in ....

Well, maybe.

As of Today, 14 May 2011, I am retired from 32+ years of police work.  Now I can start telling some really good stories of some of the dumbasses I've had to work with and for.  They can't fire me now. 

Oh, there are some really good cops I know, but so many in leadership roles are....well, let me tell you soon. 

I'll be in the process of moving, so I may be off the net for a bit. 
Looking for a new job...I've been working since I was 15, so I'm not ready to totally stop....

CI Roller Dude

11 May 2011

NATO Non Article 5 Medal?

From the Soldier side: OK, so I’ve never been one who got too excited about getting trinkets and stuff.  My last promotion, before deploying to Iraq, I asked the First Sergeant if I could just stick my new stripes on and be done with it.  He thought I’d love to be promoted in front of the company…Nope.  The promotion is OK, I just don’t like making a big deal out of it.

My best friend is very interested in these medals and things.  I’ll admit there’s a story that goes with each one, and when I put them on a rack, it might look cool. I kept my dad’s ribbons when he died.  I was proud of his.  He spent 22 years in the Air Force.  (Aim High!)

There was this time when we were in Bosnia.  My team had an actual mission we were supposed to go out on when the camp commander of the little tiny camp we were at told us: “the General is flying up to give us our medals.”   We were 2.5 hours away by road, so he flew up in a Blackhawk.
I didn’t really care and I asked: “what medals?  Can’t they just mail them to us?” 
Nope, the camp commander insisted that we wait and get our medals.  We were with the “RED BULLS” and when the General came up to me and pinned my little medal things on he asked: “What part of Minnesota are you from Soldier?” 

I said: “Sir, I’m from a little town north of San Francisco.” 

He still gave me my trinkets…but I thought he was going to chock.  I guess he forgot that our little teams that went out every day were made up from California National Guard pukes. 

What are these things worth? 

NATO Non-Article 5 Medal for the Balkans Ribbon


NATO Non-Article 5 Medal for the Balkans Ribbon
Criteria: Awarded to U.S. Armed Forces personnel serving 30 days or more in the Balkan Theater on or after January 1, 2003. The “Balkan Theater” is defined as the political boundaries and airspace of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (including Kosovo), Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Albania, based on the detailed descriptions contained in the corresponding various NATO operations plans. Service days may be either continuous or accumulated. Those personnel serving as aircrew members accumulate one day of service for the first sortie flown during any day of the operation. Additional sorties on the same day receive no further credit. This medal is authorized to replace the NATO medals issued for NATO Operations Joint Forge and Joint Guardian.
Note: This service ribbon is issued by the military along with an accompanying medal. Check the appropriate Branch of Service category for purchase of its medal counterpart.

10 May 2011

The Keystone Cops and Firemen…

From the Cop side:  One of the things I’ve done in my police career that I almost never talk about is the department where I started out at.  It was not a “normal” police department by any sense of the word “normal.”  It was far from Normal.  I think “abnormal” would apply. 
Now I don’t mean that they didn’t have some good cops, and we made some damn good arrest and got into lots of wild pursuit and cool shit.  But, the one thing that didn’t work was a concept called “Public Safety.” 

We were also supposed to be firemen (now called fire fighters.)  The problem was, most of us didn’t know the first thing about how to fight fires, other than “put the wet stuff on the hot stuff.” 

In an effort to try to train us, we had fire drill training every Tuesday for four hours.  There was no long term plan as to what we got trained in, so often the most senior officer to show up was put in charge of training.  Sometimes they actually knew something about fire fighting, sometimes we just sat around and ate donuts. 

How was the response to actual fires?  Well, the “fire department” was not staffed.  We each had a Plectron radio thingy in our homes that would go off when they needed us to come in.  We had to live within 2 miles of one of the fire stations.  That sucked--- who wanted to live in a city with such a bad fire department? 
The problem with the call out was we never knew who would show up and we hoped somebody showed up that actually knew what to do.  I remember many times I was just falling asleep and I’d hear a “beep…beep…beep…beep. KLS-9--- report of a structure fire at 123 Alice street, station 1 and 2 respond.  Beep…beep…beep…beep… report of a structure fire at 123 Alice street, station 1 and 2 respond…KSL 9--- out”
I’d jump up and put on my clothes…it didn’t matter what we wore to the station because once we got there we were putting on our turn outs…so in the summer I usually had shorts on…and my 1911 45.  Funny seeing firemen with guns.  I figured if I couldn’t get it out with water, I would shoot down the flames.

One night I had just ended my police patrol shift and was in the report room (which was also the briefing room, the lunch room, the training room and the staff lounge) getting an arrest report done….when the watch commander comes running back and yells at me and the other guys writing reports: “Can any of you drive a fire truck?”

I told him” I drove big ass trucks in the Army, I think I can.”

Then I became the fire engineer.  I should have figured the 1,000 gallons of water in the back would make the truck a little top heavy as I almost rolled it going around the first corner. 

We got to the fire and saved the dumpster from being a total loss. 

I think I was a pretty good cop, but thinking it over, I was not a very good firemen.  Both jobs require too much special training. 

03 May 2011

Do you have a problem with Authority?

From the retired Soldier and Cop side: I started going to a writing class one night a week. Since I graduated from high skool and kollege so long ago, I had forgotted a lot of the stuff needed to write good fiction. You see for the last 30 plus years I had to write “just the facts”. The class I’m in is rather different, it’s for Vets and it’s free. A local group sponsored the thing, so I felt the price was right and seeing how I rite, it could help.
Nice doggy.  USMC working dog at Camp Gannon, Iraq- CI Roller Dude pet him

I’m one of the younger vets. Most of the others are Nam vets. One guy was a grunt Army commander in Nam and when I talked to him before class, I asked why he got out after 14 years. He said: “I had a problem with authority.”

I was thinking what he said over during class. Remember, I first joined the regular Army after high school and only did a few years before I got out. I stayed out for 13 years, then joined the Army National Guard. Why did I get out and stay out for so long? At first I thought I had a problem with Authority. But after I carefully thought it over I came up with:

It’s not a problem with Authority; it’s a problem with stupid.

So I stayed in trying to beat down stupid shit. I won some battles and lost some…others I’ll call it a tie. But one thing I noticed, the troops we’re getting in before I got out seem to be a lot smarter. I just hope they stay that way as they get promoted and don’t go for the lobotomy.

In police work I had an easy way to lead: "As long as nobody get hurt, we all go home at the end of the shift, no citizen's complaints and the department doesn't get sued, we're OK."

01 May 2011

Bin Laden has been killed. Good job!!!

From the Soldier side: 
When I watched the jets crashing into the Twin Towers in New York, I knew many of our lives would change.  Not long after that, I re-upped in the National Guard. 
Now Bin Laden is dead.  My only hope is that they will bury his body in the US so we can go piss on his grave.  What a POS he was and all those who follow him.  May they all rot in hell.