06 December 2012

Not worth dying (or killing) for

From the Cop side: It’s funny what jars my memory these days.  I had to attend some training the other day for my new job.  It was targeted towards hospitals…which I have nothing to do with unless I have to see a doctor or something.  But the training was about Active Shooters. 
It was OK training…but for a semi retired cop who used to train other cops how to do this stuff it was hard to stay awake for 8 hours.  Over 200 Power Point slides and lots of talking…lots of talking...but not much action.  Did I mention there was lots of talking and lots of Power Point slides?  
But, somewhere in the fog around slide #180 or 190, it jarred my memory of a copper call I went on many years ago. 
It was back in the 1980’s.  This was before all the high speed toys cops now have.  No pepper spray, no taser, no bean bags guns, and no hostage negotiators.  Just cops with guns, sticks, hands and our ability to talk and think. 
The call:  I was working in a very quiet area of the county.  I was the only officer on duty from our agency.  There was a county deputy who covered the area down the street…and about a half a mile further was another small department with one officer on duty.  Usually on a Sunday that was all you’d need.  There were several other cops, deputies and the Highway Patrol on covering the rest of the county….miles away.
Just down the street was what I called the “insane asylum”.  I swear it looked like something you’d see in a Alfred Hitchcock movie from the 1950’s.  A dark and dreary place.  All the patients were very, very crazy and usually locked in a room alone with lots of medication…and I suspect a few  had been given a lobotomy or had shock therapy. 
The loony bin had a policy if cops had to take somebody inside, no weapons.  This was a good idea because I’m sure some of the patients could have easily eaten one of us if they had the chance…then used our guns to shoot out the door and escape. 
However…some rules need to be bent or broken in some cases. 
The deputy who’s jurisdiction the loony bin was in got a call: 
Zebra 21, we’re getting a report of a patient with a knife and a club in the “……” hospital.  Can you respond code 3 and I’ll see if we can get a cover.” 
Zebra 21: “I’m a block away and I have CI Roller Dude following me.” (we were parked bullshitting)
The deputy and I arrived and a few minutes later the cop down the street showed up.  We were thinking about what we had and the deputy looked at me (since I’d been a cop a whole 5 years longer than he had been at that time) and he asked: “should we go in with weapons?”
I looked at the deputy and said: “I’m not going in there without my stick and .45.”  (at that time I was packing a Colt 1911A1 .45)
The other copper who showed up had about one year of experience and had no idea what to do.  I suggested that we have the dispatcher call the loony bin before we went inside and tell them to lock all the other patients up in their rooms...because we were coming in with weapons. 
In a few minutes, we were advised by dispatch that the loony bin folks had everybody locked in their rooms except the nut job with the knife and club…who was barricaded in the kitchen. 
So we went in with sticks and guns (in our holsters) and proceeded towards the kitchen.  We found one of the hospital psyche nurses yelling at the guy with the knife and club.  As we entered the kitchen, we could see that the nut was a little guy, but very amped up for some reason.  He was very upset.  The nurse continued screaming at the dude and she was starting to annoy me. 
I told the nurse:”Mam, can you back out now, we’re the cops and we’re here.”  She finally shut up, then I asked her why the guy was so upset. 
About that time, the crazy dude said he was going to stab us all, so we pointed our guns at him and he backed into the corner and shut up. 
Since the nurse wasn’t helping, I suggested to the deputy that he talk to the crazy guy and see what he’s so upset about. 
He wanted another glass of orange juice.  The nurse told him he couldn't have anymore.  So, he broke off a table leg (for a club) and got into the cooking area and grabbed a big ass butcher knife.  
I asked the nurse if he could have another glass of OJ.  She said “NO.”
I looked at the deputy and said: “damn it’s shame we’re going to have to shoot this guy over a glass of orange juice.” 
The nurse got pissed off…but the nut heard what I said and threw down his knife and club. 
Problem taken care of and nobody hurt. 

….and the bitch nurse made a complaint because we entered the nut hospital with our weapons.   

04 November 2012

What do you miss most about the Army?

From the Soldier side: Veteran's Day is coming next week.  For my Vet friends who read this dribble, let me know what you miss the most about the Military.  If you were not in, then you can comment on what you think you missed.

Here's a couple of things I miss:

M-11 9MM shoot


Using a SAW

13 October 2012

Operation: Payback, CI Roller Dude style:

From the Soldier side: I still tell folks my Bosnia deployment was one of the “Best Jobs I ever had”.  I didn’t like it when we got stuck on Eagle Base (too many officers running around with nothing to do) but when we went out on a “mission” it was extremely cool. 
Camp Cody in Ugljevik was our Area of Operations

Some of the folks I considered “cool” were in the EUPM mission (European Union Police Mission).  These folks were from civilian police departments all over Europe.  Since my normal job back home was a civilian cop, I got along very well with these coppers.  We shared stories and stuff…and I became good friends with some of them.  They were given a very large per diem to live on, so most of them spent what was left over on alcoholic beverages…and there were many “meetings” I had to attend where folks were well lubricated…and the spoke in many languages—trying to speak English.  My ear was tuned to compensate and I could actually understand most of them most of the time.
Camp Cody- our base of operations for this mission

The one lad I had a hard time understanding even when he was sober (which was usually before noon) was a copper from Scotland.  I mean I was impressed with anybody who enforced laws and made arrest without a handgun, but this guy was awesome…and very Scottish—including the kilt on occasions.
One such event was a going away party where he wore his kilt.  And yes it’s true they wear nothing under the kilt.  I usually brought my compact digital camera with me everywhere, and this one night I made the mistake of leaving it on the table when I went to the bathroom.  (make a note to never do this around some folks). 
I returned and my camera was still on the table, but it appeared to have been “on”.  I was pretty sure I had turned it “off”, but dismissed it all to just being forgetful. 
When I returned to my Sea Hut room on Camp Cody later that night…I down loaded my pictures to my computer.  The last picture made me laugh.  I won’t describe it in full detail because many readers might become ill.  But let me say this about that picture: I had digital proof that the Scots do in fact wear nothing under their kilts… and let me just say somebody was creative with toilet paper hanging out of a certain body cavity. 
So…how does a good Soldier and NCO get payback in a case like this?  I had already ordered some special bumper stickers on-line for another mission.  I figured when those arrived, I would divert some of them for another mission.  I even came up with a mission title and op order. 
“Mission EUPM Even the Score”.  I was not concerned with starting an international incident because my EUPM comrades had already established that there were no R.O.Es. (Rules Of Engagement).  My own moral values added that it would not be life threatening and would be nothing that could cause any mission member to be subject to any UCMJ action. 
Here's how the mission went, (redacted for Op Sec): Dress in all dark clothes.  Make sure we have a full load of ammo, fuel and commo plan.  Contact those parties responsible for the offense and insure that they are home and going to bed.  Go and park a few blocks from where the offenders live, walk in a stealth manner to where their vehicles were parked...conduct mission.  
General area of operation for this mission...
SPEW ALERT, swallow your coffee before going further!!!!

One picture is worth a thousand words…      

04 October 2012

Have a good plan, have a better back up plan

From the Cop and Soldier side: One of the things my team got complimented on while we were in Bosnia was our Mission Planning.  Some guy from USAER (United States Army Europe) came around and checked out all the little teams we had scattered around Bosnia.  When he visited our team, he watched how we did our planning. 

Our style was to let the Soldier who was running the mission for that day do the plan.  It didn’t matter if he was a Specialist E-4 or the team leader…the plan was presented to everybody who had to go and we all looked at it to see if it was good or it sucked.  If it sucked, then I’d make “suggestions”. 
Then we had a backup plan because of Murphy’s Law.  No matter how good the plan was, just like the law of gravity, the law of Murphy was always there and it would mess up even the simplest of plans. 
I got everybody on our team to do this…except the guy who was the orginal team leader.  He later got fired and they gave me the team.  Now, if you’re not aware of it, the US Army will promote you with duties, but not always with the rank that should go with it--- so you are made to do the work, but without the extra pay….and no over time. 

Anyway, the team leader would never plan his missions.  Hell, most of the time he forgot to even tell anybody that he had a mission the next day and the first anybody heard of it was at breakfast.  Then he’d ask the SECFOR (Security Force) guys if they had the vehicles fueled and ready to go.  They always did because I trained them to always be ready.  The team leader was never ready.
After about the fifth mission the team leader messed up by being unplanned and late, I asked him why he didn’t plan ahead.  His response: “I always do better under pressure.”
I thought it over for a few minutes while I was driving like hell to get us to a “job” we were late for, then I said: “you know you may think you work better under pressure, but really all you do is fuck shit up, yell at everybody, and stress us all out, then screw up the job.”
He wasn’t used to people being so honest and blunt with him.  That day he didn’t say much--- you see he was in such a hurry he had forgotten to bring his weapon and we had no time to turn back and get it.  He knew I could cover him and outshoot anybody, so he didn’t worry. 
When they finally relieved him of the team, they gave it to me.  But by that time, we had reduced our number of Soldiers and I also had to take over another team.  So instead of 8 Soldiers to do the job, we did it with 2.5 (I could borrow a guy from one of the other teams if I needed.)  none of it mattered much, as SFOR (Stabilization Force Bosnia) was soon to go away. 
Damn it, I loved that job.  Oh well, at least I have the stories and the experience.
As a cop, I learned early that when going to make an arrest or do a search, the best made plans always were not perfect.  Include things that you don't know and be able to adjust and overcome.  
So, for planning…are you the type who waits until the last minute and thinks everything is OK, or do you plan ahead and have a good back up plan.      

27 September 2012

When "Abnormal" is "Normal"

From the Cop and Soldier side: Looking back over 30 plus years of police work and army work, I realized that most of that time things that were abnormal became normal.  Or, we could say that “normal becomes transient, depending on the time, events and what humans can tolerate.” 

I think my first exposure to abnormal was when I joined the US Army.  I mean it shouldn’t be normal for 40 adult men to sleep in the same room.  Nor should it be normal much of the other stuff we did.  I made it through basic training and A.I.T. (Advanced Individual Training) and was shipped to West Berlin, Germany.  Now nothing about that was normal.  We were in the middle of communist East Germany with 20 Soviet army divisions around us.  Nothing normal there. 

And police work is really nothing like you see on TV and the movies…but it got to where I thought it was normal for people to get drunk and beat the hell out of each other or crash their cars into light poles.  Other normal events in law were ---often arresting the same people over and over again.  I mean I could remember the dates of births for the bad guys better than my own kids.  I just got used to filling all that info on the arrest forms.  Nothing normal there.

Then the California Army National Guard.  On easy weekends we’d go “camping in the woods and get up and eat MREs.”  On rough days we’d go to floods, fires, earthquakes and riots.  It was funny how quickly I learned to adopt to any abnormal situation. 

Then the deployments to Bosnia and Iraq.  I remember one time in Bosnia when I asked a local citizen of something was “normal.”  She responded with: “What’s normal anymore?” 

I mean in Bosnia they managed to kill hundreds of thousands of their neighbors and former friends.  Blow up homes and businesses, set out over 100,000 land mines and pretty much destroy one of the most beautiful places in the world!  Nothing normal there. 

Then going to Iraq.  Absolutely nothing we did at any time there was what most folks in the US would consider normal.  First of all, everywhere we went, we had to be armed.  We couldn’t even drive anywhere with less than 3 armored vehicles , lots of troops with guns and crew served guns on top.  It was a place where gun fire became normal…hearing of 2-6 soldiers getting killed each day became normal.  Yep, nothing normal there.   

11 September 2012

Hey! Turn on the TV NOW!!! - 9/11/2001

From the Soldier side: One morning 11 years ago, I was doing my morning workout.  I had just finished one set and was getting ready to start the next and catching my breath.  The phone rang.  Normally I don’t answer it when I’m working out…figured they could leave  message.  But for some reason I answered it.

“Hey, turn on the TV NOW!” 

I did and watched as the first tower of the World Trade center was on fire.  I was a little confused…then the second plane hit the other tower.  I knew a few things at that moment. 

1.)    It was not an airplane accident, but a terrorist attack.  This was simple to figure out.

2.)    I knew with the new job I was training for in the California Army National Guard that I would be going places.

But my world didn’t change much….at first.  Since I had just changed jobs in the National Guard (MOS) from Combat Engineer to Mess Kit Repair, I was still in training.  In the National Guard if you change your job, you usually go through an abbreviated MOS school –cut down to 2 weeks instead of 8.  However, for Mess Kit Repair, I had two choices on how I went to school…the first choice was to just take the full 18 week school at some fort in Arizona.  The second choice, the one I picked, was to take the course spread out over 2 years.  One weekend each month doing the training locally and 2-two week sessions at some fort in Arizona. 

I had just started my new school…and wondered if they’d just cancel it and deploy us right away. 

They didn’t cancel the school, but they did take almost everybody in my new unit that was MOS qualified and sent them off to a few places- Fort Lewis, WA, Afghanistan, or Gitmo, Cuba.  I figured I’d “lucked out” again and missed another war.  (I was in West Berlin when Viet Nam ended, I missed a few little things in central American and I missed the Gulf War…so I thought I was lucky and was going to miss this little thing in Afghanistan…figured it’d all be over in a few months.

Late Dec 2002.  We were all ordered into the unit one Friday night and start filling out paper work and reviewing our personal data.  –then nothing happened.

Jan 2003- A bunch of us who had just earned our new MOS were sent to Camp Roberts, CA to train with another unit getting ready for possible deployement to Iraq. 

--then nothing happened….

Feb 2003- A bunch of us were sent to train with the 34th I.D. “Red Bulls” in Minnesota for preparation for Bosnia. Then things started to happen…from that point on until we deployed to Bosnia it seemed we were doing training about every weekend.  Most of it was off the wall stuff the some knuckelheads made up that had nothing to do with our actual mission in Bosnia…some of the knuckelheads even thought they spoke Arabic in Bosnia.  That was funny.
I re-enlisted for 6 more years while many others let there enlistment expire and a few officers resigned. 

Then around May-ish 2003 we were put on Active duty orders and gone for 9 months. 

3 months after we returned from Bosnia, we were back at Camp Roberts, CA going through more prep for Iraq.  When we got to the end of the line after about 4 days of paper pushing, we were all asked if we’d deployed in the last year.  We all said: “we just got back from Bosnia.”

Then they asked if we wanted to deploy again.  We all said: “do we look like retards?  Hell no.”

But I went anyway. 

So, because of them assholes who crashed them planes on 9-11 eleven years ago, I spent 2 years of my life on deployments.  If I had to do it all over again, I’d go again….just for the chance to do my own Jihad on some camel smellin’ terrorist. 

It’s one thing to kill a soldier; it’s another to kill innocent civilians for no reason. 

20 August 2012

How to become a Firearms Instructor

From the Soldier and Cop side:  The other day when I was working at one of my part time jobs (since I retired) at the gun range…I was between classes, so I was on the range getting a few rounds down range.  When I’m working this job, I have a very bright red shirt that say: “Firearms Instructor” on it….so needless to say…I often get asked: “Are you a firearms instructor?”

(I’m not going to say that everybody who shows up at any given location is smart.) 

So, after I shot a few magazines from my “gun of the day” (I wear a different gun each day of the week) a younger dude stopped me to ask a question. 

He asked: “How can I become an instructor?”

A question and answer period followed

Me:” You ever been in the military?”

Kid: “nope, they wouldn’t take me”

Me: “You going to be a cop?”

Kid: “Nope, they won’t take me either”

Me: “How long you been shooting?”

Kid: “a few weeks”

Me: “perfect, no background, no training, no experience, you’ll be perfect to train Afgan Army

Kid: “who are they?”

Me: “oh, they need a lot of training, just go google them and find out.”     
Other than that kid, it was a very good day of teaching.  I had 2 brand new pistol shooters who've never shot before.  At the end of the class, all rounds were going into the bullseye.  I was very happy.

08 August 2012

Useful things I learned in 11Charlie AIT (Infantry mortar school)

I’m watching my 1 year old grand daughter today.  She’s just learning to walk and she often falls down.  I tried to explain to her that the falling is caused by gravity.  She just looked at me funny…so that leads into:

From the Soldier side: Many, many years ago, in a galaxy far, far away…no, that’s from a movie.  Let me start over again.  Many, many years ago, in a place called Fort Ord, California, I graduated from Army Basic training.  We all thought we were bad asses, but up to that point, we really weren’t even trained to do any kind of real job in the Army. 

To be able to “get a job” and work for the US Army, you have to have what they call a Military Occupation Specialty (M.O.S.)  and to obtain that, you have to go through and pass Advanced Individual Training (A.I.T.) or what you might call a “school.”  Once you have an M.O.S. then you may attend other training, like “air borne” school.  However, for those of us who were “straight legs” jumping out of a plane was something for fools.  Why would you jump out of a perfectly good airplane?

When I joined the US Army, I hadn’t actually joined to be a grunt (infantry) but because I trusted some assclown, (I can’t use that kind of language with my granddaughter around) that’s where I ended up.  After Basic Training at Fort Ord, I was shipped to Fort Polk, LA  If you look Fort PUKE  you can see that it is the ass butt of the state of Louisiana.  It was hot and it was humid.  It was so freaky, that we’d go marching out in the woods, it’d start to rain and before we could stop and put on our rain gear, we’d be totally soaked.  Then by the time we got our rain gear on, it’d stop raining. I think God was messing with us to make us better Soldiers. 

Actually, once we got settled in and sorted out, being in 11 Charlie training CLICKY HERE was actually better than being in regular riflemen (11Bravo) training.  We had an older drill sergeant who was too tired to run, so when we went to our training, he’d have us walk.  I felt sorry for the riflemen who had to run to everything. 

Since our training was more specialized- how to set up and “lay in the gun” and fire it, and how to be a forward observer and stuff like that, we trained away from the riflemen most of the time.  The only times we trained with them was when we learned all the other grunt stuff we also had to know.  You see in battle, if needed, we’d pick up our rifles and join the others.  Our main job was to support them with “indirect fire” from behind.  I was trained on the old 81 MM and the 4.2 inch (four duce) mortar. 

Many times we’d be tasked with being the OPFOR (Opposing Force) for the riflemen when they were learning how to assault a hill or building.  We’d be given training hand grenades to throw and lots of blanks. 

Lesson: When throwing hand grenades uphill or up stairs, gravity is your enemy!    

This was not in any Army manual, so how did I learn this?  Well, one day we were out in the woods of Fort Polk (hereafter referred to as Fort Puke) and we had some of the “enemy” up hill from us.  I pulled the pin on my M-something or another Frag Grenade simulator and threw it up the hill.  (these were real grenades with a fuse, but no explosive charge.  When the pin was pulled, and thrown, you had about 7-9 seconds before the fuse popped and made a noise).

Or course…it hit a tree, bounced backwards, then rolled back down the hill to where I was prone.  I looked over at it as it went “POP!” and thought: “Damn darn, I’m glad that wasn’t  a real grenade.” 

A few days later, we were learning how to clear buildings of enemy soldiers.  I was only 18 years old and not terribly bright, so as we were going upstairs, I threw another M-something or another  frag up the stairs.  I threw it really hard…it hit the wall, bounced around, then came back down the stairs towards me.  As it landed at my feet and went “POP!” I made a mental note to try and work with gravity in the future. 

Now, if I can explain this to my granddaughter. 

01 August 2012

After the Deployments.....

Transition back to civilian life.......
From the Soldier to Cop side: There’s been some action being taken in recent days to help assist the troops being discharged back into “society”.  I personally think that this is a great idea for in many cases, soldiers (a general term to include all in the military) often joined up when they were young.  They spent anywhere from 4 to 30 years following orders, giving orders but always dealing with some kind of “order”.  Then, regardless of age or background, upon discharge they are poured back into the real world. 

I know when I was discharged from the “regular army” when I was 20 years old; I had no idea what I was going to do when I returned home.  Lucky for me, my dear old’ dad let me stay with him while I worked and went to college full time. 

Fast forward to 2004-05.  When my National Guard unit returned from deployment to Bosnia, we had about 2 weeks of earned military leave that we had on the books…so after we de-mobilized, we were getting our leave pay for 2 weeks.  This was a great idea to have a few weeks to rest before returning to work.  However, the police department I was working for at the time didn’t think I needed all that rest.  As soon as they found out I was home, they called me to get me to return to work.  I almost had a whole week off—counting the time in Bosnia- I was usually working 6 days a week and usually 12-16 hour days---so I hadn’t had a vacation in a few years.   That deployment was a total of 9 months.

I was tired. 

But, I put on the blue uniform and went back to work.

6 months later we were re-deployed to Iraq (there were about 15 of us Bosnia vets with the unit who “volunteered” to go to Iraq.)  That deployment was a total of 15 moths with the useless training before.  So when I returned home and had 2 weeks of military leave I told the P.D. that I’ was taking a whole month off – and I didn’t answer the phone. 

After being home for a month and resting, I went back into the patrol car.  This time the police department got a little smarter and had me ride with another experienced officer.  She was one of the best cops I ever worked with…so the first day in the car she asked:”well, how long do you want to ride with me?”
I looked at her and said: “As long as they let me.  I like being driven around.” About 3 hours into that shift we got a call of a bank robbery.  For some reason I was the only one not getting all excited---- well, what the heck, there was no gun involved so what was the big deal?  (remember after a year in Iraq, anything is easy.) 

2 weeks later, the town had one of the biggest floods in 20 years…and I was working 12 hour shifts so many days I lost track.  But I was getting OVERTIME pay.  Unlike the Army.   

                                         A good sense of humor did help......
I think I earned my retirement.  Both of them.

08 July 2012

How to Hire Cops.....

From the Cop side: As some of my readers (both of you) may have heard, in the past years I had my part in trying to hire new cops.  It never helped that I worked at a police department that had the absolute lowest starting pay in the county.  The good thing was for those of us on the very top steps, the pay was on par…..but where it took the other officers working near us only 5 years to get to that kind of pay, it took us 16 years. 
But this isn’t about the pay,,, I’m retired now and I get a decent retirement check each month…this post is about hiring cops.  When I had first applied to police departments when I got out of the Army, the process—from the time you’d put in an application to the time they’d put you into a uniform would take between 6 months to a year!  In those days, for a good sized department with 6 openings, they might have 600 people show up for a written test.  They spent most of the time weeding out those who should never be cops---missing body parts, missing the IQ, missing the manners, missing the honesty and missing all kinds of things. 

But in the last years, we might have had 3 openings, and be lucky to get 6 people to even apply for the job.  I figured it was due to not only the low pay and high requirements, but that hour Human Resources office was less than useless. I mean they only have to work twice- when somebody was hired and when somebody was fired….in between they just went to meetings and seemed to never be doing anything. 
In it's day...it was a great car!

So to get decent cops, I’d go out and try to recruit.  I’d talk to other cops and asked if they new anybody who’d want to work for us.  Then I had my own way to screen them.  A few years ago most government agencies changed to doing everything online.  You go to a website and fill out the application etc. 

So, when I was in my Sergeant’s office and I’d get a call transferred in regards to somebody looking for a job, I’d talk to them.  I’d ask them if they had this and that requirement, if they could pass a background check (that I’d do in many cases.) and thing like that.  If they sounded good, then I’d ask: “Can you use a computer?  Good, can you use Google?  Good.  Now go find our website, find the HR part, and find the application and fill it out.  If you can’t do that, then you’ll never be able to investigate even a simple crime and we can’t use you.” 

That either got a laugh (good) or a pissed off hang up (good, we don’t want you.) 

Then when they filled out the forms, then they got looked over, I got them from the HR office.  I was always amazed at what HR thought was a good candidate from just looking at the forms and what I thought was a good one. 

Then the interview.  I always tried so hard to not laugh. …but when a person who’s never been in any kind of uniform, and never under anykind of life or death stress comes in and tells me how good they did in the police academy…”I was the top in my class in pistol shooting…”  I’d ask: “so how many times have you been in a gun fight or had to draw down on a suspect?” 

The police academy is just a start.  It’s how a cop works with people in the real world that matters.  Give me a cop who just got a “B” in the academy, but can talk to folks and get them to talk to him or her.  Give me a cop who’s not afraid, but still has common sense to ask for help and can help other cops.  Give me a cop who cares about everybody else- before him/her self. 

…and then there was the ones who said in the interview: “I plan on being a detective in 6 months….” 

I’d think: “really, who are you going to take out to get that job?”     
Too few times did we get a military vet applying.  They were usually the best cops...but since we paid so poorly, we didn't get them very often.  Now most vets know how to put up with crap, take orders and more important- Take Charge! 

(Bonus Points for this police exam.  What is wrong with the above patrol car?  Something is missing...not the blotted out star) 

02 July 2012

Iraq War Vet hat.....

From the Vet side:  A few days ago my best friend sent me an "Iraq War Veteran'
cap. I never had one of these before, and I was pretty hyped about it,
especially because my friend was considerate enough to take the time to
give it to me.

Yesterday, I wore it when I went to Walmart. There was nothing in particular
that I needed at the world's largest retailer; but, since I retired, trips
to Wally World to look at the Walmartians is always good for some comic
relief. Besides, I always feel pretty normal after seeing some of the people
that frequent the establishment. But, I digress...enough of my psychological

While standing in line to check out, the guy in front of me, probably in his
early thirties, asked, "Are you an Iraq War Vet?"

"No," I replied.

"Then why are you wearing that cap?"

"Because I couldn't find the one from the War of 1812." I thought it was a
snappy retort.

"The War of 1812, huh?" the Walmartian queried, "When was that?"

God forgive me, but I couldn't pass up such an opportunity.

"1936," I answered as straight-faced as possible.

He pondered my response for a moment and responded, "Why do they call it the
War of 1812 if it was in 1936?"

"It was a Black Op. No one is supposed to know about it."

This was beginning to be way fun!

"Dude! Really?" he exclaimed. "How did you get to do something that COOOOL?"

I glanced furtively around me for effect, leaned toward the guy and in a low
voice said, "I'm not sure. I was the only Caucasian on the mission."

"Dude," he was really getting excited about what he was hearing, "that is
seriously awesome! But, didn't you kind of stand out?"

"Not really. The other guys were wearing white camouflage."

The moron nodded knowingly.

"Listen man," I said in a very serious tone, "You can't tell anyone about
this. It's still 'top secret' and I shouldn't have said anything."

"Oh yeah?" he gave me the 'don't threaten me look.'

"Like, what's gonna happen if I do?"

With a really hard look I said, "You have a family don't you? We wouldn't
want anything to happen to them, would we?"

The guy gulped, left his basket where it was and fled through the door. By
this time the lady behind me was about to have a heart attack she was
laughing so hard. I just grinned at her.

After checking out and going to the parking lot I saw Dimwit leaning in a
car window talking to a young woman. Upon catching sight of me he started
pointing excitedly in my direction. Giving him another 'deadly' serious
look, I made the 'I see you' gesture. He turned kind of pale, jumped in the
car and sped out of the parking lot.

What a great time!

Tomorrow I'm going back with a Homeland Security cap.

Whoever said retirement is boring just needs the right kind of cap!


27 June 2012

Retirement Parties for Cops....two types.....

From the Cop side: (but this could apply to most people who have worked at a job for 20 or more years).

I just got word that one of the captains I used to work for at a police department is sort of retiring.  How can you “sort of retire”?  Well, when different agencies have found that it’s cheaper to combine one or more departments into one bigger police department, sometimes folks get sort of “retired.” 

Now, this guy has been in law enforcement for over 35 years.  Notice I didn’t say he was a cop for over 35 years.  He was a paperpushingpieceof----.  He loved to start “I.A.’s” (Internal Affairs Investigations) on officers for little or no reason.  He went out of his way to insist that whenever he was there and a citizen came into complain about something, he would always ask: “would you like to make a formal complaint against the officer?” 

Now, this is the funny thing.  I have worked with some cops in the last 33 years who should have been fired.  But, this jerk would start complaints against some of the best cops in the world for no reason.  I’m talking about cops who’d risk their lives for citizens and other cops and had total respect from everybody they ever had contact with. 

So, when a cop retires, there are a few types of retirement parties.

Type 1: Class A Cop.  Everybody loves him or her and shows up at the retirement party and has a good time.  When they congratulate the retiring cop, they shake his or her hand and ask for any words of wisdom they can get- especially the semi seasoned cops who are smart.  The rookies still don’t understand and think they know everything, so all they’re thinking of is: “now I have a little seniority in the department.” 

Type 2: Class F Cop.  Everybody hates with a passion.  For many, if they saw this knucklehead lying on the ground, they’d walk around him and just say they forgot the number for nine one one. For this person, there will be a very big retirement party, however the retiree is not invited and has no knowledge of it.  There will be lots of happy cops, former cops, retired cops and even some good citizens who will be there.  At this type of party, there will be so many intoxicated cops, that the Irishmen will even be sayin’: “you’ve had too much to drink.”  The rookies still don't have a clue.

Of course, being they they’re all DUI experts, there will be designated drivers and a fleet of taxi cabs standing by….because there will always be another paperpushingsonofabitch who loves to burn and fire cops to try and make themselves look better. 

We have a Type 2: Class F party coming up soon.  But don’t tell the asshole captain about it. 

08 June 2012

M9 9MM Beretta- my new old friend

Pile of Army M-9's and M-11's

From the Soldier side: I just picked up a new old friend the other day.  This will be the third M9 I’ve owned…for some reason I parted with the other two over the years... thinking: “I’ll get another one”.  Then there was the one I was issued in 2003 for Bosnia, then re-issued the same weapon in 2004 for Iraq. 
My work clothes for Bosnia - SFOR 14
In Fallujah, Iraq Dec 04

For you gun folks, I don’t want to hear: “a 9mm is crap” because there are several reasons it is not crap.  #1 reason- it works every time I press the go button.  #2 in the civilian world, I’m not limited to the Full Metal Jacket NATO ammo- in my case, I have 19 147grain Winchester SXTs round in the first magazine and 15 round spares.  Find me a .40 or .45 that can easily carry that many rounds from the start.  #3, the M9 empty makes a hell of an impact weapon.

In Bosnia I carried my M9 every day of the week- all day long whenever we left our hootch.  In Iraq, it was my back up weapon, but when I was on a camp or FOB, I’d stick my M4 in my locker and walk about with my M9- it was less cumbersome and easier to eat and stuff like that. 

Since I've retired, one of my part time jobs has me training citizens and others how to shoot.  I usually go to work about an hour early and practice shooting.  You can’t practice too much. 

Yesterday’s drill was the “failure drill” or what we used to call the Mozambique drill.  For this drill you assume your target has body armor or is just a tough bastard.  So you fire 2 rounds center mass, then one to the brain housing group.  This will stop anybody.  I do this starting at 5 yards, then send the target out to 15 yards.  I do this until a box of ammo is gone. 

When I started in police work, we were forced to carry 6 shot revolvers.  We usually carried an extra 12 rounds- for a total of 18 rounds.  Now I can carry more than that in my first magazine…and put the all the rounds where they need to go. 
When the zombies come, 6 shots may not be enough!

Yes, I still have my .45’s, and with the same amount of rounds, the .45 is better…but if you miss with a .45 it’s not as effective as hits with a 9mm.      

And here's a good manual on the M9 Beretta:  M-9 manual on Kindle

28 May 2012

How about we give it a face, or 2...

From the Soldiers side
OK, somebody said I was a little hard on some people with my “dumbass” comment.  Yeah, I was.  Today is Memorial Day.  I guess I can understand how some folks can get it mixed up with Veteran’s day…

So, instead of me acting like a jerk, I thought I’d help give Memorial Day something to help folks better remember. Like a couple of faces.  Yeah, I know there’s lots of little Photo Shop pictures on the internet with somebody looking at the grave of a Soldier, but let me give a few faces.

Mike was a very good Sergeant First Class (E7) who I first worked with many years ago when our National Guard Engineer unit got activated for another flood by the State.  I had worked the night shift at my cop job when I got called….so I had no sleep.  Mike and I were supposed to take a Humvee up the where the flood was and meet up with those already there.  I told Mike I hadn’t had any sleep so, even though he out ranked me (I was just a buck sergeant at the time) he said he’d drive and let me sleep. 

I was shocked that a senior NCO would do that.  But I was even more impressed when we got to the Marysville, CA flood.  Mike worked 2 days straight- 24 hours a day directing the repairs on the broken levee.  How could we complain about being tired when this guy went non-stop.  But that’s how he was.

A terrorist, coward got Mike with an IED in Iraq in Nov 2004. 

I met Roberto in Baghdad in early 2005.  He was assigned to a “team” that went into Baghdad 6 days a week.  I had been on other jobs that had sent me all over Iraq, so I hadn’t worked with Roberto.  One day we were in the “shop” talking and we found out we were both in law enforcement and were range masters.  So, we talked guns and how to shoot.  Roberto had a son and we talked about kids (mine were much older, so I warned him what they could be like). 

I liked Roberto a lot, and we were going to go shooting at the range in Baghdad one day. 
I got sent off on another job in Fallujah, and Roberto kept at his job in Baghdad.  Roberto’s group got there 6 months before we did, so they were due to leave 6 months before us. 

2 weeks before Roberto was due to go home, he took out his replacement team – on a last minute job the CO thought they should do.  No planning or route checks.  (to put it politely, they shouldn’t have gone out that late.)

Again another terrorist, coward bastard had planted an IED…and it got Roberto and wounded 3 others in the humvee.  (the gunner who got wounded is worth a story on his own) in June 2005.

So, here’s the faces.  I know I’ll never forget them or what today is for.      



27 May 2012

Memorial Day is NOT Veteran's Day you dumbass

From the Soldier side: 
Memorial Day: is for those who lost their lives in a war.  It’s not for those of us who went to war…that would be Veteran’s Day.  Please get it right…the next knucklehead who messes it up I’m not going to be nice about it.  I’M STILL ALIVE DAMN IT!!!     

17 May 2012

How to be a better instructor

From the Soldier and Cop side:  Sorry even though I'm semi retired, I've been pretty busy the last week or so, so I've not been posting anything.  (in reality, I've run out of stories).  However, one of my best friends who I deployed to Iraq with, sent me this link.  For those of you who want to learn to shoot better, this is the kind of instructor you need:  HIGH SPEED WEAPONS MASTERS

(Let me make it clear, I was not one of these guys,,,, I just did Mess Kit Repair on my deployments.) 

This is more like what I did....

03 May 2012

Let's do it the "Smart Way" not the .....

From the Cop side: I’ll apologize to my 2 readers for not writing more often….I’ve had a few ideas that I thought were great, then when I sat down to write I thought they were kind of boring.  I started to write about what happened 20 years ago- when my old California Army National Guard unit sort of called us in for the Rodney King Riots (RKR).  We were scheduled to have a 2 day training drill that weekend, but we got called early Friday morning and told we needed to come in Friday and make it a 3 day drill.  Oh boy.  Like we didn't have a norrmal job to go to.   

All I did for 3 days was train National Guard Soldiers how to do crowd control and search people detained.  I was given the Army Field Manual on the subject but after a quick review I decided that I couldn’t teach something that was 20 years out of date- so I taught them proper civilian police methods. 

Other National Guard units got there and got things under control for LAPD and we never left the armory…so all said- it was boring so I decided not to write about that.  The major problem for the CA Nat Guard was the only place we could have gotten ammo for our weapons in the state...the guys working there just went home at the end of the day and there was NO AMMO.  Guard units responding had to stop and buy ammo on the way to the riots. 

How about a Cop story?  One of the things I must have done a thousand times was search a home or building looking for bad guys.  I got pretty good at it and always took it seriously because if a bad guy was really waiting inside with a gun, we were at a big disadvantage. 

One evening several years ago, we had one of the Admin Pogues (AP) filling in for the Patrol Sergeant.  When we had an AP filling in, we would just tell them to stay in the office and we’d call if we really needed any help.  On this night, we had the absolute worst cop AP in the world as our supervisor.  This guy had been in police work for over 30 years, but had never figured out tactics and things like that because early in his career he was given command of a desk.  You can’t get a desk hurt unless you spill your coffee on it. 

We got a call from a woman who was out of the state and said somebody was in her house in our city.  How did she know this (before the computer video stuff was so common)?  Because the suspect was on the phone talking to her…the suspect was her crazy nephew and he wanted to know if he could live in her home since she was gone.  She didn’t want him there, so we got called to evict him. 

So, in a small police department there are many times when there are only a few cops…there were only 2 of us that night and the AP weenie.  My partner and I got to the house within a few minutes (remember, the cops are only minutes away when you need them in seconds) and “surrounded” the place.  (OK, we couldn’t really surround the place, but if the media was there, I guess that’s what they’d said.)  The house was not a perfect square or rectangle, it was all kinds of shapes, so you couldn’t look down one side and see the other side…it had been added onto so many times that it looked like many houses that had been stuck together and it was impossible to really put a perimeter around it with 2 guys. 

So, since I was the “senior” copper, I said let’s find an open door where the suspect went in…then the AP guy showed up and “took over.”  He was lost, so I “suggested” that we find an open door where the suspect must have entered.  He was pondering this and trying to think up something different because I later found out, he never listened to any suggestions from officers. 

Since our safety was more important than actually catching the suspect, I told my partner that we were staying together as we went around the house….as we walked around, the AP guy walked behind us. 

Lucky for us, that night we had one of the best police dispatchers working.  She said she was going to call back the RP (Reporting Party) and see if a neighbor had a key to the house because she knew we were going to have to go in and find the guy.  A minute later, we found an open window.  The AP guy said: “Climb through the window and come around and unlock the door.” 

I thought that was a bad idea…when you have to climb through a window, you are totally venerable to anybody on the other side--- never go through windows if you can avoid it.  And my plan was that my partner and I were going to stick together.  I tried to be as diplomatic as possible and said: “why don’t we wait a minute and see if a neighbor has a key to the front door!” 

The AP didn’t like that I had not just done what he told me to do.  I didn’t care, I wasn’t going to get hurt because he was a retard.  A minute later the dispatcher told us the neighbor had a key and we ran over and got it.  As we got to the front door, I explained to my partner that I was going in first and he would “stack” behind me…I had to take the AP in with us, but I was afraid with our guns out that he might get excited and shoot one of us in the back.  (yes, he was that messed up). 

We got through the front door and cleared most of the house.  We were at the last room—the master bed room. The door was old and narrow and it was hard to get 2 cops through at the same time, so I went in. 

The suspect was trying to hide in the closet when I saw him.  He had something black in his hand…it was either a gun, or a cordless phone.  I backed up to the door jam and told him to throw whatever was in his hand onto the bed.  He did….it was a black cordless phone. 

He came out of the closet and was cooperative and totally nuts.  I didn’t take him to jail, but to the county mental health unit where they counted his marbles and wound up his little spring and let him go after 72 hours on a 5150 hold.  He never knew how close he came to getting a 147 grain 9MM HP round into his center mass.   

26 April 2012

Zombies could have eaten our brains and we didn't care....

First of all, I’d like to finally congratulate the Marine who used to be “America’s First Sergeant” and is now “America’s First Sergeant Major.”  I know from my correspondences with him, that he will be the new standard for what all E-9’s should be like. 

I’m pulling up a post I did back in 2010.  This was about one of our Sergeant Majors from my old Battalion.  He IS NOT what other E-9’s should attempt to be like.  He was and is a retard.  I’m really glad that when we got to Kuwait for prep before going into Iraq, a bunch of us were given to a Regular Army unit and didn’t have to be under this retard.  (God I’m glad I’m retired and can say what I really feel now.)     

From the Soldier side: There are some things in any organization that those who pay attention start to wonder out loud: “Why do we have that? It’s a waste of money.”

The larger an organization, the greater chance this item is not an item but a human. In the United States Army, there are many such persons. They may be in a position of authority, leadership or some private who just can’t seem to get anything done. With privates, a good NCO figures that there is always hope. That hope may come from the thought that: “We’ll get him/ her to understand how to do this and become a good soldiers” or “We think he/she is just too retarded, so we need to kick them out of the Army.”

In the case of a new private, I figure that there is some hope. Some chance. Some glimmer of something to make things all better…since we can no longer do “Wall to Wall Counseling.”

But, as a soldier stays in the Army, they are expected to move up in rank. As they move up, they take on more supervisor and leadership duties--- in most cases. There are some soldiers, who have obtained a certain rank where they seem to be totally useless….and not only useless, but actually make others waste time, and do many things to make the job or mission actually harder to do.

Take the case of a certain Army Sergeant Major…one in who keeps coming to mind…and after this last weekend National Guard training, (this was originally posted in 2010)  I heard even more sad stories of him when he was in Iraq . He was one person, who if we had not taken him along, the entire deployment would have been much safer and less stressful… maybe even “fun.” I have to say I was amazed to hear all the stupid stories of stupid things he did….(you see, a bunch of us who were “organic” to that battalion, were attached to a “real” army battalion just before we landed in Iraq—so I didn’t get to witness the stupid stuff this stupid ass did in Iraq.) He was the dumbass who decided that on a few convoys, he would man the .50 caliber Machine Gun--- even though he was not really trained on it.

(Note: In the US Army, a Sergeant Major can be put into a unit where he is not qualified to do the main jobs of that unit…because he is supposed to be some sort of super leader. However, in our case, his lack of even the basic understanding of what we were supposed to do in Iraq, really made things difficult. He was too low of an IQ to even qualify for our MOS—and that is no shit.)

And he had multiple NEGLIGENT DISCHARGES because he is so pampas, arrogant, stupid and un-trainable-- he wouldn’t ask anybody how the weapon worked… and we're talking about the M2 .50 Caliber Machine gun that he was having problems with--- almost hitting US Army Soldiers with the rounds he cranked off. 

Oh and how he loved the new Army Beret. When were going through all the useless silly training at Fort Lewis, he wouldn’t let us put on our issued Desert Combat Uniform (DCUs) until we had “passed” all of our training. He decided to allow us to wear the DCUs like it was a friggen honor or something…like passing some school and getting an award. WTF was he thinking…we were going to have to wear that friggen uniform everyday for the year we were in Iraq.

But to top off all the stupid things I’d ever heard of…when we finally had the “honor” of getting to put on the DCUs, we still had to wear the stupid black army beret—which I hate and think was some Public Relations idea to make everybody in the Army feel elite or something--- like the special units who were the only ones allowed to wear a beret before. (like the Rangers, Special Forces and Airborne).

When we returned to the States after Iraq , he continued to muddle through being our battalion sergeant major. About a year after we’d been back, we went back to good old FT Lewis for our two weeks of annual training (AT). We would go to training all day long and come back to our barracks with stuff to study and work on for the next day---while the Sergeant Major sat on his ass all day and had nothing to do.

Then, one night he decided that all the Non Commissioned Officers (NCO- aka “Sergeants”) needed to be trained by his royal dumbass on how to properly fill out a NCO ER (Non Commissioned Officer Evaluation Report)…which was a topic that would normally take a person with half a brain about an hour to do…

Nope. It took over 3 hours. The one thing…actually the only thing I remember after this torture was the Sergeant Major said over 20 times the phrase: “With That Said….”

He would try to explain something while using a Power Point slide showing the form for NCOERs. He went over each box…even explaining how to fill in the NAME, DATE and shit like that like we were children. Then, after explaining what he thought we’d know, he’d say: “With That Said…. Let me go over that again…”

At that point I understood why soldiers who are not in a combat zone are not given loaded weapons. Then…after this friggen retard went on for over 3 friggen hours, the Battalion Commander got up and said: “With That Said…”

We never knew what “THAT” was because all of our brains had gone numb. If the Zombies had invaded at that point, we all would have just sat there and let them eat our brains.

To this day, whenever I hear anybody use the words: "With that said" I become ill. 

Now, With That Said, let me tell you about…….