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.