31 January 2012

VET Posers are out of control....!!!

I’m going to get off track from the “series” I started to write about and do a little venting.  Yeah, most people who know me know I will say what I think, but I try to remain “professional” when I’m actually working.  Since this is my blog, I really can write what I want. 

What I’m really getting sick of is the fakes and posers out there now claiming to be vets from Iraq or Afghanistan.  Some of them are so outrageous; that anybody who was even in the military for the minimum number of years could figure out the person is full or fish.  (I’m trying to not swear—I saw that on a TV show the other night, fish can mean fuck, shit or anything, but I’m not going to swear). 

The guys who write for the blog: “This ain’t hell…” are pretty good at finding stories on fake vets, or ones who embellish their history.  I mean I’m very proud of the fact that I deployed to both Bosnia and Iraq and did Mess Kit Repair.  That was a very important job and I am proud of it. 

However, for the dirtbag piece of fish who were either never in the military, or never went to any of the hot spots now in the news, they are taking the public and spinning some really fish stories about stuff they know nothing about and the public is sucking it up because they want to? 

Here’s a story about a faker who said the Army forced him to be a sniper and he has problems from having to kill people.  BIG FAKE VET STORY, clicky here 

Let me explain to my gentle non-military readers…. The ARMY doesn’t force anybody to be a sniper.  You have to volunteer for the school, and you only pass if you have your fish together….both physical and mentally.  No retards are allowed.  And no fish heads. 

Signs to spot a fake vet:

If they claim to have been in the Navy, they’ll claim to have been a SEAL.  If claiming Army, they’ claim to have been a sniper, “green beret” Ranger.  If claiming to have been a Marine, they’ll say the were Recon, or scout/sniper.  If claiming Air Force, they’ll have been the door gunner on the space shuttle, or something like that. 

Other signs, if the person is really out of shape, has other mental problems and just seems to make up stuff about everything, he or she is more than likely making up their military career.  What I’ve found is those who were really in something special, will not brag about it and you usually have to get out of them what they did. 

Why is this bad?  Because the public and the media are taking the words of these fish turds and thinking that all vets are that messed up.  The fakes are also taking benefits and things that the real vets should get.  The VA is actually swamped with fakers getting free medical benefits because they don’t have time to check everybody that comes in and wants help.  Some of us had to wait a year after returning to get into the VA.  What can you do?  If you find a person faking being a vet, kick them in the balls.      

25 January 2012

Just National Guard...like to drink and play cards...

From the Soldier side:  I remember way back when I was in the regular Army and the National Guard soldiers we had going through training with us were…uh…uhh…well, what can I say?  They were not the same quality of the regular Army troops we had at the time.  I went through AIT (Advanced Individual Training, or MOS school) with a bunch of National Guard guys…and they were pretty stupid. 

In those days, the standards to get into the Guard were lower than the regular Army.  I got out of the regular Army and stayed away for 13 years…before I decided to join the Guard.  What I found after going through Combat Engineer School was that some of the troops we had were pretty good, and some were oxygen thieves.  Of the two types, there seemed to often be something unique I noticed- the good troops usually had full time jobs or where in college and worked hard.  The dudes were usually un-employed, or alcoholics….or both. 

And then there was the weapons and equipment we had prior to September 11, 2001.  We were issued Viet Nam era weapons and vehicles in the 1990’s.  The heavy dump trucks we had were built in 1968 or there about, the rifles were M-16 A1’s….pistols were still the 1911A1 (which is a good weapon) and the good ol’ M60 machine guns.  We still had Jeeps into the 1990’s!!! 

When I ran a weapons range, I fully expected half the machine guns to break before the day was over and they did. 

Despite the old equipment, when we got called up to go somewhere, we always had a good rock solid group that would step up and volunteer.  In 1989 when the Loma Priata earthquake hit the San Francisco Bay area, by midnight we had an entire company of Combat Engineers ready to go….we moved out the next morning with no place to go because the State couldn’t figure out what to do with us.  4 days later, when the State leaders pulled their brain housing groups out of the back sides, they figured we could help in the Santa Cruz area.  The company commander said he needed 30 volunteers, he got 60. 

We liked to drink and play cards:  Click Here for Drink and play cards ....

20 January 2012

Fire in the hole, fire in the hole, fire in the hole....

What a Blast!

From the Soldier side: Isn’t if funny how when as we get older and look back at some things we did in our lives, there are some points that were great. And others that were not. As I learned and say often: “you can’t have an adventure without some part of it sucking!” This was true for almost all the adventures I had as both a civilian cop and a soldier.

My Army days started out in late 1974. I joined up, went into the infantry, did my 2 years and got the hell out. Although we had some good people in those days, we had too many who were not so good. It was after the Viet Nam war was over and the Army was “All Volunteer.” In plain language, we didn’t get the best and the brightest. We actually had some who couldn’t read or write. I’m not kidding!

So I got out and stayed as far away as I could for 13 years. Then one night while I was on police patrol, I sat down and had a cup (of coffee) with a deputy friend of mine. I had worked with him many times, backing each other up on calls and he was a good guy. I heard he was in the California Army National Guard, so I asked him about it.

He was a platoon sergeant for a combat engineer platoon.

(Basic Army organization: There are usually Teams- 4-5 soldiers; two teams make squad. 4 squads make a platoon. 3-5 platoons make a company. Let’s stop there)

When I was in the regular Army, I only saw the combat engineers out in the field with us one time. They were putting up a barbed wire entanglement, and they didn’t look like they knew what they were doing.

Click here to see what that is: Engineer traps and stuff....

So, my Deputy friend told me what combat engineers did. They had all kinds of construction equipment and tools…dump truck, bull dozers, loaders, backhoes, etc. Their job was to build stuff. And…blow shit up.

Me: “you said, blow shit up? Like how?”

Deputy: “with C4, TNT, or whatever is called for to do the job.”

Me: “How can I find out more?”
Deputy: “come to our next weekend drill.”

I did, and I was hooked.  It looked like another way to have an adventure- one weekend a month.

…and off I was to Combat Engineer School.   ..But not the full 8 week course that brand new recruits go through, but the short 2 week course that is set up for prior serves Reserves. 

We went through the information really fast and what would normally take a week; we did in a day or less.  The time we spent on the demo range could have been longer in my opinion.  At the time we went to the range to blast, the camp we were at actually wanted us to blow up some remains of old buildings.  Cool. 

The day we went to blow up the remains of the old buildings is the day I really found how much the Army National Guard is the unwanted step child of the US Army.  We were given 15 pounds of TNT blocks….dated 1952.  This was military stuff, so it was more stable than civilian stuff, but it was still Korean War vintage!  WTF? 

Now, I’m sure most of my readers don’t know most of the technical stuff about explosives, but military explosives need military blasting caps to set them off. The civilian type blasting caps are only about half as powerful.  (Forget what you see on TV and movies) So, guess what we had to use…civilian blasting caps to set off our 40 year old stuff.  This was going to be “typical National Guard” SNAFU. 

As a class, we set the charges on the old building remains.  We set each charge with a group of students.  I was watching some of the other students.  Some of them got very nervous and shaky when handling stuff that could turn you into red vapor.  The instructors were keeping a very close eye on some. 

We took our time setting the charges, got everything double checked by the instructor and then I was asked to figure out and cut the time fuse for the non-electric civilian blasting caps we had to use. 

I figured 5 minutes was plenty of time to get to cover.  We set the igniters, yelled: “Fire in the hole” three times, pulled them to light the fuse and took off.  Three of us were watching our watches to count down the time….1 minute.

2 minutes

3 minutes

4 minutes

5 minutes

6 minutes, 7, 8, 9, 10 still no blast.  We waited and had lunch just to be safe.  As we ate lunch, we discussed what could have gone wrong with the blast….we had double primed it, so it must have been the weak blasting caps.  Damn it! 

After two hours of waiting, the head instructor asked for 3 volunteers to walk down range with him and check the TNT and see why it didn’t go “boom.” 

Two of us students said we’d go with him.  I felt safe, but most of the others were worried it’d blow up when we got there.  We checked out the TNT and found that the blasting caps had popped, but had no effect.  We decided it would be best to set a counter charge of one pound of C4 on top of the TNT and use military blasting caps, triple primed and prayed it would blow the second time. 

It did blow.  From that day, until we got deployed to Bosnia and Iraq, the National Guard units I was with usually got left over equipment from the regular Army.  In many cases, it caused the mission to fail, or we had to pull stuff out of our ass to make it work.  Many times we had no fuel for our vehicles and would have to stop at a civilian gas station and use our own credit cards to fill the trucks up. 

More Combat Engineer stories to follow… 

UPDATED, I found some old photos: 
1950's "Vintage" TNT

09 January 2012

Blue baby and the speed of sound....

From the cop side: When you watch American TV these days, there must be at least 12 to 15 cop shows on. Most if not all are about folks getting murdered and big thefts of money and stuff. Very few show the “normal” stuff cops really do. And, they always solve the problem in one hour. Great, in most cases it would take us longer than that just to write the report… Speaking of reports, you almost never see the cops writing them…if they do, it’s quick.

The other fun things you see in TV are chasing the bad guys, yep, that’s fun, but these days in California, if you chase somebody in a car, there’s even more paperwork the State makes the cops fill out. One thing that most bureaucrats think will solve all problems is filling out a form for some problem.

However, what I found the most rewarding thing I ever did in police work was saving a life. In 32 years I did CPR about 15 times—a few times I actually saved somebody…most of the time we were too late. But, I always tried.

Then there were the gunshot wounds, the cuts from knives, heads smashed in from bats, car wrecks and stuff like that. In most cases, the victims were adults and the cause was often from intoxication or other stupid adult behavior. The city I first started working in was like the suicide capitol for the state or something…maybe it was the water. For an adult with a terminal illness, I kind of think if they want to check out on their own, who are we to stop them?

But babies and children I’ll knock down brick walls to save them. I’d even do crazy stuff to get to them if needed. I figure kids deserve everything we can do to allow them to grow up into adults…and hopefully they are smart and do good in life….but we have to give them the chance.

One day I was on “routine” patrol in the city I used to work in. It was late in the afternoon and so far it had been a quiet dayshift. I had been driving my assigned Crown Vic around in circles for hours punching holes in the air. I always took very good care of the car I was assigned. It was always clean and polished…and I would personally talk to the mechanic to make sure it was in perfect condition. I had them add good gas shocks, change the air filter etc often and made sure everything was in perfect condition--- especially the suspension and brakes. Good to go fast, but you have to handle the turns and stops.

Anyway…there I was driving around looking for trouble…when the computer screen in my car showed the dispatcher was getting a medical aid 911 call. As the dispatcher opened an incident, it would start coming up on our computer in the car, so we could see what was coming as soon as they started it---even before they called us on the radio.

The display just showed the address and that it was a medical aid call--- transferred to the Fire Department dispatcher…then the police dispatcher called me on the radio.

“L 1 can you respond to a medical aid, a baby choking and turning blue at ……”

Me: “Dispatch, L1 is enroute, I’ll be going Code 3, advise the X unit (the Sergeant).”

Now, at that point in my life I had been a CPR / First Aid instructor for over 12 years…. I had trained hundreds of people how to do CPR and in that class, we did training for choking babies. I had never actually saved a little kid though.

I’m glad the traffic was light…I hit the throttle on the 275 horsepower Crown Vic and went to the speed of sound. I was doing all kinds of controlled crazy shit to get there and save this little girl.

As usual, citizen drivers didn’t know what to do when a police car with lights and siren on was coming up behind them…so in some cases they’d stop in the middle of the road in a panic, in other cases they’d pull to the left and panic…a few did what they were supposed to do- pull the right and get the f—k out of the way. I have to save a kid, I wasn’t going to a sell on donuts….move to the right and get out of the way NOW!

The speed of sound.... If you do it right, the Crown Vic and go faster than the speed of sound….it will actually go faster than the speed at which people can hear the siren…so it must be faster than the speed of sound, right?

I made the turn on the street where the little girl was turning blue…. Parked in front, got out with my first aid kit and ran through the front door without an invite.

Mom was holding the little girl and freaking out….”Officer, can you help her?”

Me: “let me have her, I can help.”

I took the little baby and cradled her in my left arm with her face up…she had a pulse and was looking at me, but no air was going in.

I turned her face down, and gave a little pat on her back…and out came the food and a cry. Good sign…I love when I hear a baby cry in these cases.

The Fire Department in that city is very good, they get there quick. As the fire folks walked into the house, I had the little girl still in my arms making sure she was going to keep breathing. I started to hand her to the medic, but he looked at me and said: “you look like you know what you’re doing, let’s walk her out to the ambulance.”

She did fine and lived. I felt good. I came back to that house the next day to make sure she was OK and gave little plastic police badges to her brother and sisters. They made me a plate of cookies and that was one of the best rewards I had ever gotten in my entire life. Better than any medals or certificates.

That little girl is about 8 years old now.

06 January 2012

What's on your (gun) list?

From the Civilian Range Master side:  As some of my readers know, one of my part time jobs I got after I semi retired from the police department is teaching folks how to shoot.  One of the benefits from this job is getting to see a lot of really nice guns and help some folks figure out what they have and how to shoot it. 
We also have some folks who come to the range who know how to shoot really well and have some really cool guns.  When I have time between classes, I like to walk on the range and see.  The other day a guy came in with a .22 rifle. 
Now, most of you might thing: “Well, the CI Roller dude has shot all kinds of guns, up to and including .50 cal machine guns, MK 19 grenade launchers, and the old 81 MM mortar.  Why would he care about a little .22 rifle?”
Well, this one was very special.  It is the match rifles they use in the Olympic Biathlon event.  This is where they ski, then shoot.  The rifle is very different, and very, very accurate. 
Just shooting the little target is tough, but when you add the ski stuff, it’s very tough.  I’m talking about hitting a target about the size of a half dollar at over 50 feet. 
The guy asked if I wanted to shoot his rifle.  I said: “Hell yes!” 
It was better than I was.  I fired 5 rounds at 18 yards and got a nice group…but I tell you it wouldn’t have won any gold medals…and I suck on the snow and I hate the cold. 
But this guy was very good

Olympic gunners....