30 March 2012

No Retreat (but please take cover!)

From the Cop side: Over my cop career, part of my cop job involved training other cops. The firearms training I gave (and still do) brought in lessons learned from other officers who’d been involved in gun fights. One important thing I tried to get across was “PLAN” for everything…and have a backup plan…because shit happens… even plan when you’re going to have a coffee break. Another thing I tried to train cops was: “We don’t retreat. If we fail, there’s nobody else to protect the citizens.” Along with planning, have the best equipment possible, train with it often and take care of it! But, the bottom line is: We don’t retreat, we never quit.

That doesn’t mean we don’t back up and take cover, but we don’t let the bad guy escape if he’s the type who is need of going to jail. Many times I had suspects challenge me when I was doing my job…they’d ask what gave me the right to do what I was doing. I told them: “I don’t have a right, but I have a duty to do what I’m doing, so stop trying to bullshit and distract me from the fact that you’re a criminal and in need of being stopped and checked out.”

Not retreating is not a new concept in American Law Enforcement. It’s been around for a long time and in many cases, the cops died trying to do their duty….but they didn’t retreat. One case we studied in my police academy from 1970, was called the Newhall Massacre. You can watch a video about that here: 

(lessons learned from that case: CHP officers were carrying S&W revolvers.  At the pistol range the unloaded the fired brass into their hands and put it in their pockets- to save the brass!  Guess what was found in some of the CHP officer’s pockets- fired brass. After that, we were training cops to just dump that brass on the ground and reload that old piece of shit revolver as fast as you could. I started bugging my chief in the early 80's to let officers start using auto pistols.)   

Yes, there are cops who were, let’s say less than brave, or, to be honest, fu—ing cowards. I know some, when the sh—hit’s the fan, they run the other way, or are the last cop to arrive on the scene and that’s usually after they hear some other cop put out on the radio that the situation is “code -4” (under control and no further assistance needed.)

But then again, there are some cops who just do amazing shit. If you study the “North Hollywood Shootout” from 1997, you’ll find some Los Angeles Police Officers armed only with handguns who went up against guys armed with fully automatic rifles and NEVER retreated. Lots of cops got wounded, but after literally hundreds of rounds were fired, the cops did their duty and no civilians died---except for the two assholes who were the bank robbers. You watch a video here: 

Our lessons learned from this: We started training officers to use M-4 Carbines and installed them in patrol cars.  A pistol is no match to an assault rifle Chief. 

In 1986, the FBI formed a task force to capture 2 really violent bank robbers.  Here’s a video from the TV movie (it’s pretty accurate).  One thing that came out of this shootout, was the FBI set new standards for law enforcement ammo…because the shit we were using in those days, sucked.  We also started training cops to reload and shoot any weapon with one hand...shotguns, revolvers, semi autos...
And for those real history buffs: 
gunfight at....

                                             What is the best weapon for cops to carry? 

There are several other shootouts in American law enforcement that demonstrated more cases of the cops not retreating and gave the rest of us lesson on how to survive better.  Because some of these events are now considered “ancient history” I’m afraid the lessons will be lost and the next generation of cops (who don’t study history) will end up repeating them again. 

26 March 2012

Yeah, he was the Door Gunner on the Space Shuttle...

From the Soldiers (and Cop) side, but mostly Soldier:  If you are or were in the military for any period of time, (and less often in cop work) you may have run into or know a person like this guy.  When ever you started talking about stuff you did, he could always top you.  In some cases, you learned to tell when that person was making stuff up.  As I got older and more experienced, I learned to try and laugh and some of these knuckelheads…and in some cases, they never knew we were on to their Bull Twinkies story. 

I had one such goof in my team just before we did our Bosnia deployment….he had been in the US Navy on active duty some years before.  He told us that he’d been a corpsmen (in the Army, we called them Combat Medics) in the Navy.  Well, I had a lot of respect for “Docs” as we called all medics/corpsmen, for even in “normal” military training, they often kept us going when we got hurt.  In war, they were even more important and a person we always tried to take care of. 

Anyway….they former Navy guy started to tell me he’d been a Cropsmen in the Navy SEALS.  Opps…that set off the BS meter into the RED zone.  The reason I doubted him was because I’d seen him during training….he couldn’t shoot very well, his PT scores sucked and his first aid skills were lacking (I used to be an EMT many years ago).  So I asked him:  “if you were a SEAL, how come you don’t wear the SEAL Trident thingy on your BDUs?  (that was in the days we wore BDUs.) 

He said: “Well, I lost the Trident”  But his story kept changing.   So, I finally told him to stop telling stories about being a SEAL, unless he could prove it.  He never could, so he changed National Guard units… to avoid people like me I guess. 

One of our soldiers who went with us to Bosnia and Iraq came up with an expression for these folks….”I bet you were the door gunner on the space shuttle to.” 

In police work, there used to be a lot more cops like this guy…but they seemed to have all retired or ….  

21 March 2012

Inner Voice

From the Soldier side:  Again I ask, if a picture is worth a thousand words, what's a video worth? 
Here's a good one on more dumbshit people say to Vets....but how to answer back! 
How to respond!

18 March 2012

Honest Military Leadership...lead the way, or move over

From the Soldier side:  There’s a lot of stories in the news these days about some of the problems our Army is having now with some troops doing multiple deployments.  Is it PTSDPMS? Or is it something else? 

One of the big problems I noticed in my last several years in the Army and Army National Guard was: Many of the leaders didn’t want to hear something if it wasn’t what they wanted to hear.  Many high ranking officers would surround themselves with soldiers who acted as a “Screening Force”.  I’m sure that’s one of the reasons I was not promoted as fast as I should have been…I always spoke what I thought was the truth.  In some cases, I knew that pissed off some of my leaders. 

One of the last examples I can talk about now took place in about 2007.  My old Calif. National Guard unit was at Fort---- doing some good training.  The Army had brought in a training group of civilians and they were doing a great job of teaching what we needed to know.  This was training that actually would have helped us before our deployment to Iraq!

Part of this training  placed us in a MOUT (urban war fare, or as we used to call it “Combat in the cities”)  Clicky here to read more:    What's MOUT?  
Pretend training in a MOUT area.

Anyways, we were sending teams out into this little fake town to do stuff.  We had mixed several experienced troops with those who had no experience.  Some of these guys I had deployed to both Bosnia and Iraq with, so I knew they were very good.  I was asked to be the NCO (Non Commissioned Officer or Sergeant) in charge of the teams.  We only had one officer and that was the company commander….so I was it for leadership.  But I knew how to let experienced troops do their jobs.  My only input was to make sure the wrote as many reports as they could after the event…that way the bean counters would know how great they were.  We did have a greater advantage over the other companies doing this exercise--- for several of us had actually done this stuff in real life. 

Our company  had the least number of people, so I supervised the entire misson.  When I had a chance to walk around to the other 2 companies, I saw that they had 2 officers, a few NCOs and a few others to run their management teams.  I had 2 privates, a lap top, 2 way radio (they didn’t think of getting radios) and experience. 

As we went through the 3 day exercise, the Battalion Commander and his Sergeant Major walked around looking at the Operations Managements Teams.  The others had taken the time to draw up big charts and graph things, I had it all on my lap top that I could see and watch from anywhere (like in case we had to move). 

The Battalion Commander had never been to war, he had friends in high places…but he was very much into computer programs.  As he walked around he looked at what we were doing, then said: “I really like to see charts and things on paper.”
I said: “Well sir, I can see everything on my lap top and I’m able to move if we were to get attacked or something.”  In other words, to me it didn't matter what he thought HE needed, I ran the show the way I needed to.  In the real world, HE would have had nothing to do with what we were doing anyway. 

Then he said: “We’re working on a program that will take all of this and be able to do bla, bla, bla..and do all the work that your teams are doing.”

I said: “Well sir, I’m sure those programs will help, but in the real world, you’ll still need to send troops out to get the information we get.  There is no computer program in the world that can replace what we do…Sir.” 

Oh, shit.  He didn’t like that.  I didn’t know he was that much of a computer geek.  The next day my boss told me that the Sergeant Major wanted to talk to me in his office. 

I walked over and reported.  The Sergeant Major said: "Well, the Commander is really into that computer software.  He didn’t like what you said about his software.”

I knew at that point I was never going to get promoted any further than where I was at, so what the heck.  I said: “With all due respect Sergeant Major, there is no computer in the world that will ever replace what we do.  I’m sure his software might help a little, but for those who’ve never actually done this stuff in real life, like Bosnia and Iraq, they’ll never understand.” 

And for the record, I loved what I did on my deployments.  I have no regrets.   
Real prep in Iraq...

12 March 2012

Another Baghdad Carpet Ride....

From the Soldier side:  My daughter in law kept the e-mails I sent from Iraq in 2004—05.  She sent them to me as I didn’t keep them.  It’s funny reading this.  Did I actually write this?  It seems like somebody else wrote it when I re-read it in 2012. 

Another Baghdad Carpet Ride

We went out again yesterday. But by the time we got back, I was too tired to even eat much less e-mail. I have to admire some of our TEAMS who go out almost every day in their little convoy with Humvees.

I was a passenger with the Team Leader of this trip... I had my own "job" to do at the location we were going, so it was easier to ride with someone already going there instead of setting up our own convoy.

Traffic was heavy in Baghdad and as usual, Hajji was having a difficult time driving. Cars and trucks were breaking down all over...each one we suspected was another VBIED.

The gunner yells, "One from the right, as he swung his belt fed .5.56 mm machine gun around to counter any threat....thank God (or Allah) the driver saw us and stopped the required distance.

We were moving at 55 MPH, when traffic stopped....no reason that we could see. So we stop at a good distance and covered 360 degrees...traffic starts moving again...and we get into the passing lane.

All we can do to move traffic is tap the vehicle horn, yell and flash our headlights. I swear the horn on the Humvee is the same little "Beep" we used to have on the Jeeps. The horn is useless. I'm going to order a 24 volt real truck horn when I get a chance...

Somehow most of the cars moved out of the way...except one idiot. He looked up in his mirror but would not move over. I figured he used to be in the Ba'ath party or something and was trying to piss us off.

The truck commander told the driver to "let him know we are here." a light tap on the back of Hajji's car and he moved over quick. Wish I could do that in the patrol car back home.

We made it to our mission,,,and back. It was hot, over100 F. When I got back to our "home" I had to take a nap...then I saw almost everyone else who went out was doing the same thing.

"OK, maybe I'm not just getting old." I have to admire these men and WOMEN who go out and do this everyday! Oh, did I mention the .50 cal gunner was a 19 year old female PFC? The gunner on our vehicle is from California Nat Guard and he's only 42.

One Weekend a month, yeah my .....ass


Finding terrorist so they can meet Allah!

In IRAQ putting the "fun" into Dysfunctional.......

09 March 2012

Check list for when to retire from police work...

From the Cop side:  A cop friend asked me when to tell when it's time to retire.  Since I like check list, I came up with this.  I hope it's helpful.  If so, my work for today is done.

Clues that let you know it might be time to retire from Police Work:

1.) The rookies you’re training are younger than your own children

2.) The rookies call you “Sir” or “mam” after you’ve told them 50 times to stop

3.) You’re now not only arresting the children of the people you arrested at the beginning of your career, but also the grand children (but they’re only going to juvenile hall)

4.) The rookies ask you what it was like to drive a police car with a motor that had more than 350 cubic inches and a carburetor

5.) You don’t even get excited when someone calls out on the radio “I’m in pursuit” and the only thing you fear is the 15 forms you’ll have to fill out if you get involved

6.) You finally learned how to use the new police software to write reports, and the department is going to version 9.5

7.) You still carry a pocket dictionary even though the report writing program has a spell checker- just in case

8.) You not only still carry a back up gun in violation of department policy, but it’s still registered in your ex-spouses name

9.) You don’t have anyone to drink coffee with on your patrol shift because all the new rookies drink the “power” drinks that you think taste like gun cleaning solvent, and can actually remove the copper fouling from your pistol

10.) You still think smoking, selling, growing and buying pot should be a felony and anyone who needs a prescription (in California) is a waste of oxygen

11.) You’re considering getting a medical marijuana prescription as soon as you retire so nobody will bother you and the last 30 + years will be a blurr

12.) You volunteer to be the school resources officer so you can meet hot single moms (or dads)

13.) You’ve forgotten how many special assignments you’ve had with federal and state grants over the years and wonder why none of them are still around (like DARE etc.)

14.) Buy the time you’ve gotten to #14, you can’t remember what the first line said, and you can’t even remember what you had for breakfast, except for the coffee

15.) When you finally get a rookie who thinks he/ or she will drink coffee with you, they want to stop at Star Bucks and spend $7.95 on a foo-foo drink that is not even in the pocket dictionary you still carry around

05 March 2012

If a picture is worth a thousand words...what's a video worth?

From the Soldier side:  Today's post is going to be really short.  Just take a look at this short video and enjoy.  Enough said....  Great Questions to ask a OIF, OEF Vet

02 March 2012

There's Dumb..and there's Army Dumb!

From the Soldier side: I know in most large civilian companies, there are dumb things that happen. Sometime’s it’s the really dumbass boss who thinks his/her  way of doing something is so great, but those who work for dumbass struggle each day doing something the way the boss wants it done….when if it was done the correct way, things would not only work better, but the company would profit.

When the dumbass boss is allowed to continue doing things the “wrong” way for years, they think it’s the right way…and as soon as they retire, get fired or quit, the next person corrects all the dumb things…hopefully.

Well, just think how big the US Army is (or was before the current cuts)… it was a giant business, or as we used to say: “The US ARMY, 230 something years of tradition unchanged by progress or intelligence.”

The other day somebody asked me about my deployment to Bosnia….wow, that seem like years ago, but it was really a good time…most of the time. What really kind of bothered me about the Bosnia and later the Iraq deployment was: Most of the training we had was absolutely totally useless off the wall stupid shit that some dumbass office pogue must have made up.

In about January of 2003, a bunch of us were told that we’d be going to Bosnia later that year. OK, cool. We were Army National Guard—which means we go in for training one weekend a month and two weeks of “summer camp”. Well, before we got put on active duty orders, we were called up several times at the last minute and told: “you have to come to mandatory training THIS weekend at Camp (fill in the blank.)”

OK, I never questioned my orders, even though in reality, they were required to give us more than one or two days notice. For my “real job”  I would tell the police chief: “Sorry boss, I got called in for my training this weekend, I have to go.” He never gave me any grief.

As far as training for either police work or the Army, I always looked forward to it and figured I’d learn something new and it would make me able to do my job better.  In many cases, the training was FUN!  (Thank you tax payers!)  In much training, it was rather boring, but important stuff. 

Then, we’d show up at the camp and they’d have a couple of retards who’d never deployed anywhere try to give us some training on our jobs--- which usually never made any sense and was put together so quick and bad, that it was a total waste of our time.

Then they’d do it again and again. We were called in for last minute training for a total of 60 friggen’ days before we even were put on active duty orders…and none of the training made any sense or was useful at all when we actually deployed. From what I recall, all of this last minute training was all done by people who had NEVER left the States and really had not even studied anything about Bosnia.  (with the exception of one contractor company who gave us about a week of training that was GREAT!) 

Then, when we got put on active duty, we went to wonderful Minnesota to be with the Red BullsRED BULLS- Attack and stuff

As the Army always does, before a Soldier can be deployed, he or she must go through deployment training. I guess now days this training is good, but in 2003, it was not only useless, but if we actually did things the way they trained us, we’d have all died.
Typical blown up house in Bosnia

Now, I hope you understand that I’m not just making this up. Remember, by 2003, I had been a civilian police officer/detective/sergeant/ranger master/ etc for over 22 years. My attitude in any kind of training is I hope to learn something new every day…however, this training was a big case of “Army Dumb.”
Old Russian tank...

For example, they trained us to search people…OK, as a cop, I had literally searched people thousands of times…did it almost every day and many times took guns, knives, and other bad things off of bad people. So, when we went to class to learn how to search people, I listened…hoping that maybe I’d learn something new.
Blackhawk ride from Eagle Base

Nope. The way they were training us was not only dumb, but it made no friggen’ senses. We were placed at simulated “traffic check points” (which we had none of in Bosnia) and we were taught to search a person by patting them while our “cover soldier” stood near and watched and were supposed to do something if we found a weapon on the person. I’m not going to go into the boring details, but the way they were training us was so dumb, that I was actually laughing. 

Army Dumb Detector--- off the meter

When I searched the persons in training the way I did as a civilian cop, the “trainer” told me I was doing it all wrong.  I just looked at them and said: “I’ve been searching bad guys for over 20 years, the way you’re training is not only wrong, it’s retarded.  If you want to “fail” me, go ahead---but do you want to take my place and get deployed?” 

Most of those training us were “broken” national guard soldiers who were non-deployable--- of course they were never going to go anywhere.  The all passed me through the training…and when we were leaving Bosnia months later, I asked some of my comrades if they ever used any of the stupid, dumbass training we’d been given.  Nope.  Just a waste of time—The Army Way.