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.