20 March 2020

I'm not dead

It's been a few years since I've written anything here.  So, just to let you all know, I am not dead yet. 

Since our Gov of California has told everybody to stay home due the COVID 19, I have to find a few ways to keep busy.  It wasn't that I had nothing to write about the last few years, I just got kind of busy. 
Memory refresh...I did retire from the CA National Guard several years ago, then retired from Police work.  That didn't last long.  A few weeks after I had my retired badge, the new police chief (who has since retired) asked me to come back part time to help with some complicated stuff. 
Then a year or so later, I went to work for another large LE agency as a "civilian".  that was kind of strange.
So after a few years of that, I quit and the next week my old police chief asked me to come back part time again.  Nothing too exciting as I try to keep a low profile. 

Does anybody still use a Blog anymore? 

I still have some stories...

30 March 2015

Forty Thousand Rifles

From the Soldier side:  Back when I was a very young PFC (Private First Class, which had nothing to do with any class) I was stationed at one of the greatest post in the US Army.  Charlie Company/ 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry- The Berlin Brigade.  In 1975 I was due for promotion to Specialist E-4, (Spec-Four).  One morning I got up and began getting ready for PT (physical training) like we did every working day.  We’d warm up with the usual push-ups, sit-ups etc then go run until whoever was leading the run that morning got tired.  These runs would be anywhere from a mile to 4 miles….and I hated running. 

However, that morning the company clerk told some of us that there was a special detail that we might want to volunteer for.  Now many of you with military service might ask “why would the company clerk give us a head’s up for a special detail.”  Well, we used to drink with him so he took good care of his comrades.

So, I found my squad leader and we told him we’d be happy to volunteer for the special detail for the day.  He ran off and checked with the Platoon Sergeant, who checked with the First Sergeant, who wondered how in the hell we found out about the special detail.  But, he figured if we had good intel like that, then we were smart enough for the mission.  He told us to go draw forty fives (Colt, 1911 A1 semi auto pistols) and ammo. 

We drew our weapons and went to chow.  (a good Solider never misses chow.)  When we returned, we were told to walk over to the shipping and storage area across the post.  When we arrived, we found a small gaggle of Army MPs, who we reported to.  They told us that we’d be guarding 40,000 M16 A1 rifles that had been sent to Berlin by mistake. 

Now, even as a 19 year old PFC, I could not help but wonder how in the hell the US Army could ship even 40 rifles anywhere by mistake, much less 40,000.  We didn’t even have 40,000 Soldiers in West Berlin, even if you added the Brits and the French.  What kind of idiot could make a mistake like that.  I knew if I even lost my own assigned weapons that everybody in the Army would have known about it. 

Now, some of you are sitting there and asking: “how could they ship 40,000 rifles to Berlin by mistake, this story sounds like bullshit.”  But that’s what we were told.  I didn’t open the cases and count all the rifles…but we had a convoy of semi-trucks to guard. 
Now, keep in mind that the US Army didn’t really trust it’s Soldiers with loaded weapons….so we were only given one magazine for our pistols…that held only 5 rounds of .45 ACP ball ammo.  (I wish I had that pistol today, the one I was assigned was made in WWII by the Remington Type Writer company) 
We stood by with the MPs as the labor force loaded the cases onto the trucks.  Then the four of us got into the cabs of the 4 semi-trucks and chambered a round into our 1911A1 pistols.  We headed for Tempelhof Air Base without incident.  When we arrived at the air base, a bunch of Air Force Security Police heard what we were coming with, so they met us at the flight line and stood by as the cases of rifles were loading into the plane. 

Now, remember what I said about a good Solider never misses chow.  The AF Security Police asked us if we wanted to go eat in their mess hall.  Hell yeah!  They had fresh salad, ice cream and they even cleared off the tables for us.  After that, I’d always look for some reason to go to the Air Force base.  (years later in Iraq, I did the same thing…they always had the best food!) 
Two of our guys got on the plane and stayed with the rifles all the way back to the States.  They came back a few days later and said it was a boring trip. 

Another dumbass story with a happy ending. 

Later.  CI Roller Dude.  

11 January 2014

What don't kill you makes you stronger....

From the Cop side:  and the Soldier side: In recent months I've been hearing about a lot of OIE/ OEF vets who are Enduring problems with pain or stress from the wars.  The things I learned as a cop helped me in dealing with my own deployments….although the gang I deployed with to Bosnia and Iraq all admit that we were changed by those experiences.  I hope the change made us better and stronger. 
A nice Marine working dog at Camp Gannon, IZ 2005

Some of my cop training taught me that when you are involved in a critical incident, to talk about it afterwards as soon as possible---with the others who were in it with you. Laugh, cry, do your AAR (After Action Review) and whatever, but talk about it…and if needed, hug each other.  (Man hugs are OK)
When a Soldier is wounded and everybody can see the wound, most will show compassion and concern.  A visible wound is something most folks can understand.  A non-visible wound of the mind is something many people seem to have a hard time understanding. 

“well, it’s all in your head, just act right and get over it.” 

When I hear a person who’s never been through something so stressful say something like that, it makes me want to stop and help educate that person.  Some people are born with a mental problem; some gain the problem from a traumatic event or events. 

Either way it is NOT THEIR FAULT!

                                                                                        B17 Flying Fortress!

I just read an article about WWII B-17 Bomber crews flying over Germany.  Everyday they had to fly over anti-aircraft fire (think of purposely walking through bombs exploding all around you while you are trying to deliver your own bombs to a precise point on the ground.)  That took a lot of guts to go out over and over.  But the comments the survivors had were “I just kept thinking I was going to be OK.”

Well, I know our teams who went out in Baghdad 6 or 7 days a week.  They’d drive in a 3 Humvee convoy for about an hour or more across the most dangerous place in the world at that time.  They’d take care of business, then turn around and drive back.  The IEDs at that time were easily cutting through the armor on the M1114 Humvees like a hot knife through butter.  If your vehicle got hit with a certain type of  IED, you were pretty much dead or wounded badly. 

Every time we went out, there was gun fire.  Some of it was just random shit, some of it was directed towards somebody else, and some of it was directed at our teams.  (I was only shot at once by some asshole with an AK who couldn’t aim and mortared a dozen times.)

Stressful?  Hell yes. How did I feel?  I wasn’t going to show my Soldiers any fear.  But I had never done anything scarier in my life (32 years of police work)… but I have to admit, I thought it was cool.  I was proud to go out with those teams.  Most of my teams went out a hell of a lot more than I did. 
We were there a year, so if they went out 6 days a week for 11 months….do the math. 

Maybe it wasn’t as bad as the WWII bomber crews.. . I mean they got shot at every time they flew.  But I think that the attitudes and bravery were about the same.  When I took over as the NCOIC (Non Commissioned Officer in Charge) of the teams, I only had one person request to not go out anymore.  That request was answered by half a dozen other Soldiers volunteering to go out.  Great troops! 

As tough as our jobs seemed, there were others who had jobs a lot tougher.  I have a friend who is a Combat Engineer.  He did Route Clearance in Afghanistan.  This required them to go out on the roads that the other troops were driving on and clear all the bombs the asshole insurgents planted every day.  Just think of the stress of looking for hidden explosives that the person hiding got better and better at hiding.  Then, when you found it, trying to disarm it.  That takes nerves of steel and skills many people will never have. 
Or my young friend who deployed at 19 years of age.  He went through more stuff in his first month than I have in my entire life…. Including having his Humvee blown out from under him and seeing his driver and team leader die.

There are lots of them out there, but only about 2% of Americans have served in recent wars.  Not all of them are stressed out…but just breathing the air in a war zone will change you forever. 
 For the Vets who are having some problems, don’t give up.  (Hell, just driving to and from my job makes me wish I had a .50 cal gunner on my truck to clear the bad drivers out of the way).  Some injuries take time to heal.  This includes physical and non-physical injuries.  When I first got home from Iraq, it took a year to figure out how to go to the VA for medical treatment.  (I stayed in my National Guard unit, so I asked them what I needed to do…and they didn’t know.)  I have since found out faster ways for others to get into the VA—just ask VA.
Many Vets are having problems with drugs they were prescribed.  Some problems related to addiction, some because of the side effects, and some because the drugs are simply not doing much good.
One of the many things I did as a cop was drug prescription forgery investigations.  I had half a dozen new cases every week from the small city I worked in.  Almost all of them started out about the same.  A patient was issued a prescription for some really strong stuff to take care of pain—usually from an injury or surgery.
What I found out from talking to good doctors and pharmacist was most of the really strong pain drugs SHOULD NOT be taken for a long period of time- a person will get addicted to them.  Some get addicted easier than others.  So, when the real prescription for the drug ran out, the patient would do things to keep getting them. 
As a cop my goal was to determine if they were addicted to the drugs or if they were selling them.  If they were selling them, I’d get a criminal complaint.  If they were addicted, I’d try to lead them down the path of getting help.  Some cops didn’t care and just filed complaints on them all and let God and the courts sort it out.

So, anytime I got hurt, I’d ask the doctor if there was something for the pain that was not addictive.  Or, I’d throw half of what they gave me away.  I did not want to get addicted. 

So, now, I hear so many stories from groups I’m associated with about Vets with problems.  Many were physically injured and often but not always, they suffer PTS (No “D).   A buddy of mine who did the same two deployments I was on, got wounded and sent home from Iraq early.  He had really big balls to do what he did in Iraq.  I made sure he knew how I felt as soon as I saw him when the rest of us got home.  He still has pain from his wound, but doesn’t let that stop him from doing stuff. 

My feeling is many doctors don’t try to heal a patients, but try to “manage the pain” for them.  I think many doctors must think most people are too weak to handle the pain, so the prescribe things that not only handle to pain, but cause major side effects. 

I’m not a doctor, but whenever a doctor decides to prescribe something for me, the first thing I ask: “Is this stuff something I can get addicted to and what are the side effects?”  If I don’t like the answer, I’ll tell the doctor to pull something else out of their magic bag. 

Pain?  Yep, I’ve some sort of pain for many years.  When I feel it, it reminds me that I’m alive and what I was doing when I got the injury that’s causing that pain of the day.  Some were from police work, some were from doing Army stuff….and most were because I wasn’t smart enough to think I could get hurt or at the time the need to do what I was doing was important (like responding to crimes in progress.) 

About 25 years ago a doctor told me I would have to get out of police work because of a back injury.  I didn’t listen because I liked being a cop and was too young to retire.  Some think that’s being tough, nope….it’s being stubborn.  I never gave up, and I never will.   All things will heal, some take more time.    

10 December 2013

Dreaming of a white Christmas.....

From the Soldier side: (Some of the following is true.) I can’t figure it out, but over the last few years, a few Soldiers and former Soldiers I know have moved out of California into places where it snows. The mid-west, upstate New York and Ver-cold-mont are some of the places these Joes have moved.

I hate the cold. I hate my teeth chattering, I hate it when I can’t feel the ends of my fingers or nose…and I hate it when snot freezes. I really don’t like being cold…that’s why I’ve always tried to live in warm places. (and I didn’t mind the heat in Iraq) Most of my childhood years we lived in snow country. It was fun when I was a kid, but having to work in the snow and cold is something I hate. (Did I mention that I hate getting cold?)

So, when I see pics on things like Face Book from some of my old buddies in the snow, I ask them: “and why did you move there?” The first winter I was stationed in West Berlin (Weapons Platoon, C/2/6) we had the coldest winter they’d had in 100 years in Germany. I remember a few times driving my Gamma Goat truck around with a trailer full of 81MM mortar ammo (HE – High Explosive rounds) and sliding across the road in 6 wheel drive. Or the convoys we drove on where there was always at least one truck heater that would break and the crew would be freezing their ass off for hours.

Or the time our brilliant company commander took us out into the forest in Berlin for a training day. We had all this really good cold weather gear that we never used…that we asked if we could bring it. The commander said we wouldn't need the gear, so we left it in the barracks. After we got out in the woods, he thought it’d be a great idea to spend the night out in the cold. We froze our asses off at 10 F.

We ran the truck heaters all night rotating troops in the cab to thaw out. When we ran out of gasoline for our squad stoves, we tried running them on diesel. That failed. We burned C-rations boxes, twigs and anything we could find to keep warm. To this day, I still think that company commander was an idiot.

Then, many years later I joined a National Guard unit that’s “world mission” was to respond to Korea. So guess what we did…. Cold weather training. I was even tasked with giving some of the training. I got very good and cold weather survival, but I still hate getting cold! We’d go up to places like Truckee, California and sleep outside in the snow. Nuts.

I changed National Guard units years later and we went to Minnesota in the winter to train for Bosnia. Many of our California troops had NEVER been in the snow. The California first sergeant we had thought we were supposed to go outside for our morning formation.

One time in Minnesota, we were standing outside in company formation. We were in our spit shined boots, starched field jackets and all. Standing tall. But it was so damn cold outside, that when the First Sergeant started talking, his words froze solid and hit the ground. We picked up everything he said, took it into the barracks and thawed the words out. But, we got them all mixed up, so we had no idea what the hell he said. We think he was drunk, so it didn’t matter.

When I asked the Minnesota First Sergeant where they had formation, they said: “ya know it’s too cold outside, we have our formations inside the barracks.” I helped do some of the vehicle training for our troops. I found a frozen pond that we could spin a Humvee around on and we had a good day.

When we got to Bosnia , it was summer. By the next winter, we had pretty cold weather (for us California troops). Whenever I got to drive one of our NTVs (Non Tactical Vehicles) I ‘d find a big parking lot, make sure it was clear, then grab the parking brake and spin the car around. One day, our dumbass team leader tried this…on the road and sent his NTV into the ditch. He was a dumbass and got fired later. Bosnia was as cold as a well digger ass in Alaska in the winter.

Did I mention that I hate getting cold?

25 October 2013

Hill 375....

From the Soldier side: Some of my long time readers may have noticed some of my past post have been about leadership. Leadership is one of my favorite topics, but not something I ever thought about in my younger days. If you’ve ever been involved in critical incidents, or working around stuff that can hurt people, you know how important good leadership can be. Right up there with good training. You have to have both to be effective….I’d even say that good leadership with good training is more important than “who has the best equipment.”
                                          Late 60's vintage 5 Ton Dump
There’s been many times when I’ve seen cops or Soldiers with the best equipment fail because of poor leadership and/or poor training. These are two important needs, but I’m only going to talk about one in this post. That need is Leadership. Most folks who’ve been around for a while can think about the good & bad leaders they’ve had.

We tend to remember the bad ones more often. Why? Because when we had bad leaders, things usually went from bad to shitty and we don’t forget the shitty times. When we had good leaders, things usually went like they were supposed- without incident- and we forget them. To understand leadership, maybe we should think about what kind of leaders there are in Military and Law Enforcement. Some are micro managers. Some are hands off. Some are too bossy, some are dumb and some are always right. The best ones are able to get their people to do a job with little loss of life and make it look easy.

I know when you read all the best books on leadership, they have a lot more detail and they even give you the number of tips you need to be a good leader. A bad leader can take good troops and waste them or turn them into ineffective troops. A good leader can take a turd and turn them into a diamond. A bad leader will waste time, money and get troops killed. A good leader will save time, money and keep the troops alive by caring for them. Some very basic leadership tips I was taught were: Take care of the troops. Your troops eat before you, they can talk to you they know you will look out for them and thus, they will look out for you. And, you lead by example by knowing more about what you’re doing than your troops do. If you don’t then maybe you got promoted too fast or you’re a 2nd LT.

1990’s at Summer Camp: One of the many examples I use for a really suckey leader is a guy I’ll call “Sergeant Bumble” SB for short. Many years ago I was in a National Guard Engineer company. Now, for most Regular Army guys you’d think that all of the National Guard was a bunch of useless guys who got together one weekend a month to drink beer and play poker. In some cases that’s a good summary of the old days and some of the old troops. However, about the time I had signed up, they were trying to get rid of the bums. It was really hard to get rid of some of them, especially once they got promoted and put in charge.

Well, SB was one of got promoted to a semi senior sergeant position. At that time, he out ranked me by one stripe. Our battalion had just been reorganized from wheeled engineers to mechanized engineers. In simple terms that meant we got rid of our 5 ton dump trucks and got M113 A1 APCs (Armored Personnel Carriers). These were hard aluminum, tracked vehicles that had been made around the time of the Viet Nam war- and the US Army had not purchased any new ones since that war.

I was one of the sergeants who was taught how to operate the M113 so I could train others. We learned as much about these creatures as you could learn without actually removing things like the engine. We learned how to drive them, load troops and equipment, repair and replace damaged tracks, and how to do things like cross water. It was actually fun!

We learned battle tactics and the last thing we were going to do was go to the “Fifty Cal” range and learn to shoot the M-2 HB .50 caliber heavy machine gun from the track. But, to get to the machine gun range, we had to first get there in our “tracks”. Guess who they put in charge to get to the range that day. SB. Now, if you’ve read enough military blogs, or been in the military, everybody thinks that the worst person to navigate is the new Second Lieutenant…all though that is usually true, SB was worse than any officer I had ever seen in over 20years of Army service! This dumbass would get lost going from the latrine to the mess hall if it was only 100 meters away on flat ground with nothing else I the way. He’d get lost trying to pour piss out of a boot with the instructions written on the bottom of the boot.

He was what we commonly called a “retard.” (no offense to the mentally ill). What made him even worse was he was a drunk. To get to the range in our tracks, we had to ride on the unpaved dirt roads. At the training camp these roads were easy to follow. First we had to go to “range control” and check in and let them know we were going to the range. From range control it’s easy to get to any of the ranges. The big gun ranges are on the back side of a big hill. So, as you travel, you go straight past range control, then make right turns. At no point do you ever turn left. This is easy to see on the map. So easy nobody should get lost.

But guess what… SB took off in the lead track. I was in the second track and two more followed behind me. As soon as we left range control SB started down the wrong dirt road. We should have been going west, and he was going south. He only stopped when the road he was on came to a dead end. There was barely enough room for all of us to turn around, but we did and followed SB. A few times I saw him stop and pull out his compass. I guess he didn’t understand that all the metal around him was not going to allow the compass to work. So we headed off in another direction…of course it was wrong.

I finally figured out his method of navigation….just keep wondering round until you found what the heck you were looking for. I guess it would work if the space you were in wasn’t bigger than your fuel tank. So we went in another direction making left turns. Now remember, I said that once we left Range Control, it should have been all right turns. So, we went south, then east, then north, then west, then south again….coming to a very, very tall hill. Now, to tell you the truth, I don’t recall the max angle that the old M113s were supposed to climb or descend, but I’m pretty sure that hill was pretty close to our danger point. (later I looked on a map and that hill was about 375 meters, so we called it Hill 375.)
                                          A bunch of M113s.
Now, if you got to a hill and were pretty sure that it was not the way to go, what would you do? Turn around? Well, that would have been smart….but remember we were dealing with Sergeant Bumble. So he proceeded to have his track driver go up the hill. I wanted to close my eyes because I don’t like to see good Soldiers get hurt. But somehow the retard made it up the hill and told us all to follow him.

I could not get him to stop and listen to reason. He just said: “I’m in charge *&&^^%$%, listen to me and let’s go!” When we all got to the barbed wire fence at the top and had a dime size area to turn around on, I was sure we were all going to roll over sideways and die going down the hill. But God looks out for fools, drunks and idiots and we made it. However, this time I out smarted the idiot and got in front and lead the way to the machine gun range.

Years later I transferred to a different unit. I ran into other Soldiers who worked with SB. They said he somehow got drunk on a deployment and got busted down in rank. The deployment was not to a war zone, so he wasn’t able to get any of his troops killed. He got out before the unit actually deployed to a real war--- Thank God!

 January 2005, Baghdad, Iraq: (In a different unit) After my team and I had returned from our first mission in Iraq, I was told that I’d be going back to Fallujah to show some officers some stuff. I asked who was in charge of the convoy and they said: “Don’t worry about it; you’ll just be a passenger.” The morning we were forming up the convoy, I walked over to one of the sergeants I knew and asked who was leading the convoy. He said: “you are.” Well, for our trip to and from Fallujah, I did not lead it and really had no idea how to get there. I asked who had been there before and knew how to get there.

All the drivers and truck commanders knew how. So we got out the map and I had them show me the route. (We did not have any GPS stuff at that time). I made sure all the drivers knew how to get there and put the one who was most sure in the front. I was not going to get us lost in a war. Once we got close to the camp, I knew the way in and felt good about my decision. We made it there and back without any drama. Just the way things should go.

12 September 2013

Weapons cache????

From the Soldiers side: The first four month of my visit to Iraq, I had a special team...we traveled around and had chats with some not so nice folks.  Besides smelling really bad and often having the I.Q. of a donkey, they did not value human life as most of us do.
At the time we were in Iraq, the weapons laws for citizens there were more liberal than they are in many parts of the United States.  For example, each adult male could have one semi or fully automatic SKS or AK 47--without any special permits.
They could not have RPGs or belt fed machine guns.
The confusion that often came up was when there were more than one adult male in the home...well, hell many of the males had two or three wives and 25 kids.... so as the kids grew up, a guy might have several adult males living in one house.

Then some GI out on patrol would come across a home with more than one rifle and make a detention for a "Weapons Cache."
When they came in with the evidence, I'd sort through it and tell them: "Shit, I know lots of folks back home who have more than that in the garage."

07 July 2013

We need them.....

From the Firearms Instructor side: As most of my regular readers know (both of you) that in my Army and Police careers I was a firearms (weapons) instructor.  I tried to add up how many Cops and Soldiers I’ve run through ranges and advanced courses… I’m not good at math, so help me out.  For the Army/ Cal Guard we qualified at least once a year, for 19 years (the first year I was too dumb to know anything).  … About 70-100 troops per range. 
A handy off duty weapon: M249 SAW

For police work, 32 years (the first year I was cop, I helped on the range base on having been a grunt).  We’d have ranges about 4 times a year, with between 20-40 per range. 
And then there were the Boy Scout ranges I ran on vacations when my boys were in Scouts.  Round that off to about 200 kids and adults. 
So, I know a little about weapons and teaching others to shoot.   What have I learned?

1.)    Firearms very rarely shoot by themselves.  They need a human to load and fire them.  Most “modern” handguns have 2 or more safety systems built into them- they will not fire unless the trigger is pulled.  This takes a human, or in some cases a monkey. (Firing pin blocks, trigger safety, and some have a thumb safety. the 1911 of course has the grip safety)

2.)    Many Cops and Soldiers do not practice with their duty weapon as often as they should.  In some cases this is due to budgets, in MANY cases it is because they don’t like shooting….and often they suck at it.  This can be corrected with good training.

3.)    Many senior Cops and Solders will not listen to a range master when he/she tries to help them shoot better.  Funny, the civilians who’ve paid lots of money do listen. 

4.)    There are a few citizens, public officials and others who are afraid of all guns.  This is to the point of being a mental illness.  We can’t correct this problem.  If you know anything about phobias, like arachnid phobia, hydra phobia, clown phobia, you know that these people can’t help it.  They are very much afraid of these things and we can’t change that.  However, we don’t like folks who are freaked out by spiders write laws to kill all spiders.  We need spiders. 

We also need guns.  Guns are used for lots of GOOD things everyday.  Today, for example, over 2 million guns were NOT used to commit any crimes today.  Because they are owned by honest, law abiding citizens. 
Today, not far from where I live, there are dozens of good citizens knocking little round clay things out of the sky with some very expensive shotguns.  There are others at another range shooting all kinds of rifles, pistols and shotguns at paper targets. 
Before this day is over, there will be some good citizens somewhere who are legally using some type of firearms to defend themselves or others. 

Remember, the cops are only 6 minutes away, when you need them in 20 seconds. 
The anti gunner nuts never mention the good things firearms are used for.  They want to ban all guns…they’ll start with some now, and work on the rest later.  This year it’s semi auto rifles that they like to call “assault rifles.”  However, most citizens I know who legally own these types of guns, use them for target shooting.  Why?  Because they are very accurate.  The M16’s we qualified with in the Army were able to fire a 3 shot group at 25 meters with the holes touching each other.  That’s accurate. 

The problem is you can’t explain anything to an anti gunner.  When they see or hear “gun” they freak out.  Remember, it’s like somebody who’ afraid of spiders or clowns--- you can’t reason with them…it’s a mental illness.  Their eyes glaze over, they start having fits, frothing at the mouth, a big rise in blood pressure….and their brains shut down. 
It’s a form of mental illness.  I hope the NRA will soon recognize this and start a collection to get these poor assholes some help. 

 I also think that if you study the gun laws in the US, you’ll see that the cities and states with the most restrictive gun laws, also have the highest violent crime rates.  Cities and states that have “shall issue” concealed weapons permit laws have lower violent crime rates.  Why?  

16 June 2013

US ARMY: 238 YEARS OF TRADITION ….Happy Birthday US Army..

From the Old Soldier side: When I was in the “regular Army” back in the 70’s, we had changed many of the sayings and motto's for the Army and our Battalion.  It was something I carried on many years later when I joined the California Army National Guard. 
Some of those old sayings we changed: “US Army, we can break more shit before 9, than most people break in a year” or my favorite: “US Army, we can waste more time before 9, than most companies waste in a month.”
Spec 4 CI Roller dude somewhere in Vest Germany
The only US Army patch with the name of a city on it

I was in West Berlin for the July 4th parade in 1976.  We had every Soldier who could walk (and a few who couldn't  march in that parade.  “I love a parade….as long as I don’t have to march in it.” Was our motto for the day. 
"There's DUMB and there's ARMY DUMB"

One of genius Spec 4’s (E-4, now just called a “Specialist” because they did away with Spec 5, 6’s and 7’s) came up with something I never forgot: “The US Army, 200 years of tradition, history and shit unchanged by progress or common sense.” 
I continued using that motto, just updating the years for the rest of my career.

Some of the silly shit the US Army does is just baffling.  Some of the leaders I had to work for were very good, and I’d follow them anywhere…but many others were less than useless.  Why anybody would have put some of these dummies in charge of people was something I could never figure out.  Usually what I heard was: “I’m the senior ranking person here, so I’m in charge.”  In my last years in the Guard, on deployments, fires, earthquakes etc, that sort of system failed many times.  In some cases, the smarter bosses wouldn’t put the dummy in charge even if he did have more stripes.

Never sleep when the rubber chicken is loose...

Well, we can look back at the last 238 years and see what our Army has done…where it’s been, what it’s done.  How much it’s changed history (along with the Marines, Navy and Air Force.)  I still read history books about past wars…and I still wonder if our leaders have read any of them.  If you don’t study history, you are doomed to repeat it.  It seems like we have at least a few times.
There were many stories I’ve read of past wars and thought that the players were the same, just different equipment and different enemies…but the story seems to repeat.  I read a story about soldiers in the civil war being issued food rations for 3 days…then eating them all the first day because they were so hungry.  One training mission we did at Fort Irwin many years ago, we were issued MREs for 3 days to get us through the “battle”.  By the end of the first day, half my guys came up to me and said: “Sarge, we’re starving.” 
I just looked at them and thought that the troops really haven’t changed over the years….just the crap we carried.
Ft Ord about 1990? Getting ammo ready for the M60 range

The US Army uniforms have changed many times since the 1770’s.  Many times in the Army’s history the uniforms and weapons they were using at the beginning of some wars were not what they were using by the end.  This history lesson repeated around 2005.  Our unit was wearing BDUs’ before Iraq (we wore them in Bosnia). Then for Iraq we were issued DCUs.  Part way through our deployment, troops were arriving wearing the ACUs’. 
The ACU’s are the worst piece of shit uniform ever issued in our Army’s history.  Polyester and Velcro that fails when needed the most. 
In my Army / National Guard career, I wore 4 combat uniforms.  In 1974 we were issued 2 sets of Class A’s (dress uniform) with a  Class B (minus the green dress jacket) 2 sets of khakis, 4 sets of OD Green fatigues, and a set of PT shorts and shirt…and  2 pairs of black combat boots and 1 pair of black low quarter shoes.   

For more History of Army uniforms:        

How come the Marine uniforms always look better?

26 May 2013

Just another 3 day weekend.... For Mike and Roberto.

Like 1500 BC with cell phones....

From the Soldier side: I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older and sometimes have a little less patients for people who should try harder. I had to sleep through another boring sermon in church today, given by somebody who still hasn’t a clue what Memorial Day is for.  (I know some of you are wiping liquid off your keyboard after laughing about me going to church.  It won’t make any difference, I’m still going to hell.)

Memorial Day is to honor those in the military who died serving for their country.  It is NOT about those of us who made it home.  OK, get it right or I’ll have to start bitch slapping people.  (sorry, my old Army Sergeant thing kicked in for a minute.)    
So, let’s think about this.  What does a hay truck driver and a US Border Patrol Agent have in common?  They, like thousands of others were in the US Army Reserves or National Guard and died in Iraq.  Both were friends of mine, but I’m sure neither knew the other and they were from two different units. 
Mike Ottolini was in the 579th Combat Engineers. This was one of my old units and I had the honor and pleasure to work under Mike many years ago.  He was one of the nicest guys and best leaders I had ever known.  In his normal life, he drove a hay delivery truck. 
Mike was killed by cowards using an IED in November 2004.  Just a few weeks before I got to Iraq. 

Roberto Arizola was a US Border Patrol Agent and in the US Army Reserves.  He was also a range master for the B.P., so we had started a conversation about shooting one day in Baghdad.  We never got to finish that conversation.  I had to fly out on a mission, whilst Roberto stayed in Baghdad to run his mission. 
In June 2005, just a few weeks before he was due to go home, another coward got Roberto with an IED.   

I guess if I was going to give the sermon in church, I’d say something like: “War is bad, and it’s started by really bad people.  Until we can get rid of all the really bad people, we’ll have to send really good people off to fight them wars.  War sucks, but have a world run by insane assholes would be worse.  When you think about Memorial Day this weekend, lets put a face or a few faces on it.  When we watch the news on TV, we can pretend it doesn’t matter, and it’s happening somewhere else.  But for ever troop killed in war, he or she had a mom, dad, bothers, sister, wife, husband and friends.  Tomorrow I will have 3 beers.  One for Mike, one for Roberto and one for me.  Thank you lord, now carry on, amen”

Yeah, I'm going to hell.

12 May 2013


OK, If this blog was a job, I'd have been fired for slacking.  I have several good idear's coming up...just need time to write them up.  I have been going through shooting withdrawals for the past few months.  I can "sneak out" to the Sheriff's range, but ammo is hard to come by.  For a guy who used to shoot 100 or more rounds a week from pistols, I'm hurting.

I know there's lots of speculation as to why there's so little ammo, but the sad part is when I do find it, the prices are insane!

So if you have any of the following type of ammo, please send me some:

38 special/ 357 mag
9 mm
.40 cal
.45 ACP
45 Colt

Or anything else you have...

I just bought a new Kimber and got to shoot it the other day.  Nice, accurate and fits my hands just right.

For all you mothers, have a great Mother's Day.  Mom, we miss you.

18 March 2013

CI Roller Rules of Order for meetings

From the new job side: One of the things I have to do at me new “non-sworn” job is go to meetings.  With my quick observation skills, law enforcement and military training, I observed how many of these meetings went.  In most cases, these meetings have no or very few sworn law enforcement folks attending.  The meetings where they do have such persons, they are on time and go very quick. 
The county I work in now, has about two dozen cities, bus services, schools, colleges and other agencies I haven't even found yet! 
So, I came up with some rules to help MY meetings go better.  I showed them to my boss, and he sent the document out to have a poster made.

Rules for meetings with multiple agencies

1.)    Try to be polite to everybody and treat everybody with respect (but have a plan ready to throw them out of the room)

2.)    Don’t ask questions that are just asked to show how smart you think you are

3.)    Don’t ask somebody a question about another agency that they don’t work for if it’s an off the wall question

4.)    Speaking of “off the wall questions” avoid asking them.  (There are no “dumb” questions, just people who don’t think before asking them)

5.)    If you have a “special” question, or something that is going to suck up a lot of time and doesn’t impact anybody else, then consider asking it after or before the meeting 

6.)    Your lack of planning or reading stuff ahead of time is not a reason to ask a question.

7.)    If people cringe when you walk in the room or when you ask a question, consider not coming to the meetings…actually consider retiring and moving away

8.)    If all you do is go to meetings and never actually do any work, don’t ask others at the meeting to “summarize” information or to do your work for you, most of them have jobs

9.)    If you were supposed to bring something for the meeting or do a presentation, don’t wait until the last minute to find that everybody is using a Windows 9 type system but you have a Windows 3.0 and can’t hook it up.  Plan ahead. 

10.) If you always come late to meetings, sneak in quietly… don’t shout out “sorry I’m late…”.  Everybody knows you’re sorry for being late.  Most of the time we’re not starting the meeting until you get there because we know you violate all the above rules. 

11. If you need to make more than ten points, have another meeting next week.

12. If someone comes up with a good idea early in the meeting and that idea is still intact by the end of the meeting put that someone in charge of all the meetings. 

Never say the following phrases or words:
“Basically”.  “One quick question.”  “ Stake holders.” And the worst: “ With that said.”  or any other word or phrase that's used more than 20 times a day.