Tuesday, October 13, 2009

BITS AND PIECES

INTERGRATION

I've been home for a few weeks now and I'm starting to fall into the normal routine again. I'm not having flash backs or nightmares, I'm not waking up looking for my weapon or digging trenches in the back yard with Kevlar donned and knife in hand, but I do feel I'm missing something... I can put my finger on it but something doesn't feel right. I have these moments or blocks of time where i feel out of place, or like I want to be doing something but I don't feel like doing anything. Lol, that can't make sense to anyone. It's an antsy, uneasy feeling that creeps up on me and I just walk around with a constant feeling of uncomfortability. It's like I have an internal compressed spring inside me and it's broken. It doesn't decompress on it's own like it should. So I feel it's constant pressure. It feels like the feeling you get inside when your riding a roller coaster, but the feeling doesn't dissipate shortly after. It stays and lingers for hours. I feel it everyday, and I'm ready for it to go away.


I think now I'm going to jump all over the place a little. I want to express my complete disdain for a couple GARRISON rules that erk the shit out of me. These rules were present in Iraq, but here they are fucking PREVALENT.

1) No smoking AND WALKING at the same time.

yeah, no shit... honest to God, that's a fucking rule. The reason for the rule I'm told, is that it presents an unprofessional appearance. Now that's absolutely absurd. Anyone who has bought into that bullshit ass line is a moron and isn't capable of independent thought. How the hell is smoking stationary (allowed) less professional then smoking and walking (not allowed). I see them one and the same. To me your either smoking, or your not.

I think the rule was conceived as a way to punish smokers or hinder their smoking. The army isn't shy about frowning on tobacco, and that's fine. tobacco is bad and it has a negative effect on health. Hey Big Army, if you don't like tobacco and want to hinder those who smoke cool, but lets call it that. Lets not hide behind a bullshit ass unprofessional label that tells me that smoking and standing still is more professional then smoking and walking.

The bitch of it all is that it's enforced alarmingly consistently. It fucking baffles me. I could give a fuck if private Joe Snuffy is smoking a cigarette while walking to his car. Who the fuck really cares man. Can we as an organization not see the lunacy in the rule. Can we really not turn a blind eye to an easily agreed upon dumb rule. Their are many dumb rules in the army that aren't enforced. rules about who sits where in vehicles based on rank. who gets out first and in which order everyone else gets out. We have rules about where your suppose to walk in relation the ranks of the soldiers your walking with and we even have a rule that says that your cargo pockets cant have anything in them that presents a bulky appearance. NONE of which are enforced.........EVER. No where in any regulation or publication are we told as soldiers that some rules to be enforced and others aren't. It doesn't even specify a level of importance on rules... How am I to know that smoking and walking is much more important then walking on the correct side of the soldier I'm walking with based on his rank. Come on man, lets give it a rest. Leave people alone.... It's not that serious.

2) No hands in your pockets.

Now I can't for the life of me even fathom where this came from. Once again it falls into the unprofessional category.... REALLY..... Well now I beg to differ. I don't see how sheltering your hands from the cold by putting them into your pockets is unprofessional. It's plain smart to me.

Who decides whats professional and whats not. Is there some authority figure that makes these determinations, and if so whats the criteria involved when making these determinations. I would really like it to be completely broking down to me. I pride myself on being a little smarter then the average bear, but this is a huge conundrum to me. I just can't find how it connects to professionalism on any level. On top of that, how cruel is it to give a soldier a uniform with 12 pockets and then tell him he cant put his hands in them. Those seem like contradicting ideas to me.

Whats funny though is that because this rule is strictly enforced, when it gets cold soldiers will tuck their hands into their pants. They will either tuck them in the front down by their balls to keep them warm or they will tuck them into the back on their ass. This isn't corrected because their is no regulation that stipulates that you can't do this... I see this a whole lot. Now isn't this much more unprofessional then putting your hands in your pocket. I would think that someone with rank who sees this might say to themselves " hey, wait a minute.... this doesn't make sense.... If your going to put your hands on your balls to side step this rule that deems you unprofessional by putting your hands in your pockets, well for the sake of the intent of the rule, lets scrap the enforcement of it and just let your hands go in your pockets... Hey everybody listen up... If you have your hands down your pants to keep them warm right now because you can't put them in your pockets just pull them out and put them in your pockets.... you'll look much more professional if you do." ....HOMERUN.... Put another point on the board for Nught.

BIG ARMY------ 0 POINTS

NUGHT--------- 4567 POINTS


I'll leave you with a few pictures of me with my kids... man it's good to be with them again.









Friday, October 2, 2009

HOME

Alright, Ive been home since the 24Th.... I didn't have a chance to post in Kuwait... I wasn't going to pay 5 dollars for 15 min of Internet... I'm home now and I'm reintegrating... I really don't have much to say or talk about at the moment... I don't know where to go from here with the blog but I'll think of something... bare with me...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

SEQUENTIAL EVENT #2

TENT CITY...

Here I sit on my little cot cramped in the middle of about 50 others. My space encompasses my cot and about a foot off of that in all directions... This space is mine for the next day or so... Any challenge of my space will be met with a stern confrontation and aggressive counter measures to ensure the sovereignty of my rightfully owned space.

"Hey guy.... Move your fucking assault pack away from my cot..... That's where my boots go"...

I mentioned before how tent city was about a three day event... and now I'm saying I'm only going to be here for a day or so... The reason for this is that I decided that coming to tent city two days early would be arbitrary, and definitely in my mind not absolutistic... Instead, I opted to stay in my room which was furnished with a bed and TV for the last two days.... I just finished moving into my new space and now I'm eagerly awaiting the info on my fight to Kuwait...

Pirated DVD's.....

I've wrote before about how you can get pirated dvd's for 2 bucks here in Iraq. Well, we were all briefed yesterday that Navy customs in Kuwait is making everyone throw all but ONE of your pirated movies away. Now that can't be right. It doesn't make sense. You would think that they would adopt a policy of either you can have or you can't have. A "you can keep one pirated dvd but that's all policy", that would be asinine, and you can bet that i will be doing my fair share of ear bending on behave of my soldiers if that turns out to be true. The fact that the US government allows pirated dvd's to be sold to soldiers on almost every base in Iraq is enough ammo for me... If the policy is you can buy them but not keep them, then that needs to be specified prior to purchase. I would have still bought some but not to the extent that i did...

I know when i was here my first time the policy was that you could have one copy per movie... you couldn't try to bring home 25 copy's of the same movie... Now that makes sense. I think that still is the policy and people are confused. I got the brief from my 1SG and PSG. I told them about the policy before and they shot it down saying "No, you can only bring one movie period". My movie collection has swelled from about 70 predeployment to around 400 now... So to play it safe I sent all my movies home in the mail today to avoid any serious confrontations with the Navy in the next few days... I'll update on this after I find out for sure.

Other then that I'm stuck in a rather long game of hurry up and wait. If I'm honest I think I've been playing it for the last 5 days, and it won't stop until I'm at my house...

Friday, September 18, 2009

SEQUENTIAL EVENT #1

About two hours ago I finished my last combat mission on the streets of Baghdad I will probably ever go on. It was a surreal feeling. I knew while out on the road that it was my last mission so i just tried to soak it all in. I can't tell you how many times I responded to an IED/EFP attack on a road that I'd traveled at least 100 times before. It always made me feel the same way. I'd look at the blast seat and the truck damage and say to my self fuck man, I've rode down this street hundreds of times before.... I've driven by that spot so many times... I would feel lucky that it wasn't my convoy, but I'd know that it just wasn't our time. This city has been my stomping ground for a year now. I've become very familiar with this city... When i first got here I didn't know my way around at all. Everything in this city was new to me... Now I can go anywhere in Baghdad without a map... I routinely make route changes on the fly without having to look at anything or second guess myself... It kinda feels like this is my city... Alot like how you'd feel about your home town... It's familiar and you notice immediately if something is out of place. I'm leaving now and will probably never return... Deeper reflecting on this will reveal weather that's a good thing or not...

I've made it.... I'm home free.... I don't know if what I've done here this deployment will end up being worthy of much or not. I think that would require strong thought and a clear mind, both of which i don't possess at the moment. However, I will say that my only goal when coming to this country this deployment was to bring myself and my men home alive. I've done that. I know it may seem premature to ring that bell being that we're still in Iraq and technically IN DANGER, but baring a hugely unlucky plane crash, a rogue mortar ( also very unlucky ), or the Kuwaiti base we fly from getting over taken, I'd say the odds of us not making it now are up there with winning the lottery and getting struck by lighting. So, ring ring ring.... and I'll take my chances.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A LITTLE OF THIS A LITTLE OF THAT CONTINUED

SINGLE DIGITS...

I say single digits but if I'm honest I'm really counting down to like 4 different sequential events. The first being when I will finally be done running missions ( more to follow on that ). Then after that's passed our chalk will leave the comfy confines of our little tin two man rooms for big 100 man tents. Tent city as its called is hell. Living on a cot with nothing to do and 100 people all around you for days sucks, especially when your just waiting to go to fucking Kuwait. The third event is getting to Kuwait. I have a date but flight dates are always subject to change. Getting to Kuwait is the start of the " I'm finally fucking going home feeling". Frustration sets in shortly after. It's almost impossible to stay giddy and excited about being on the cusp when the cusp is days long... It can be mental torture. Kuwait is its own animal. No one knows how long we will have to wait there. I've heard 1 day and I've heard 3. Last deployment I heard we would only be there for one day but it ended up being 7. Kuwait is tent city with more rules and less to do. You wait and wait until you can finally start your 22-26 hour plane ride back home. Fun..... All in all you work here in Iraq until your finally able to start your going home process. In a perfect world this process would just be the plane ride home. Instead the Army has managed to find a way to make this process a 10-20 day event. HOOAH...

MISSIONS...

I kinda feel like a douche complaining about going on missions because to be honest, I like going on missions. One of the most common questions I'm asked by family and friends in the civilian world is why would anyone like going into the streets of Baghdad? Why would I enjoy putting myself in harms way? I believe from the many conversations I've had about this that there is a common misconception that going outside of the wire is dreaded by soldiers. It's not. In my experience, most COMBAT soldiers enjoy and look forward to going out. The analogy I use when explaining this I will call the fire fighter analogy. As a fire fighter you train and train to fight fires. You practice hundreds of different scenarios, sliding down the pole, prepping your gear and truck, among many other things. This can go on for months or even years and nothing real world happens. Then all the sudden there's a house fire somewhere. Do you think that fire fighter wants to go? I bet he wants to go bad. That's his job. That's what hes been training and practicing for. He wants to go and maybe even has been hoping for a fire somewhere. It's the same for a soldier. I train and train for war. I practice different scenarios and go through different schools all to prepare me for war. Then a war breaks out somewhere. Do i want to go? Fuck yeah i want to go. Not only that but i want something to happen. I don't want to just sit back and ride it out. I want to be in the front. I want to put my skills and training to the test.

I don't know if that make sense. I know my soldiers feel the same way because we've talked about it. They like going out and hope something happens while we are out there as well. There's not a mission that goes by that my gunner doesn't ask me if he can shoot something.

Walters: Sgt. McNeil theres a rag head up ahead on the right just standing by the road.

Me: Yeah I see him Walters... Just watch him.

Walters: Can i shoot him?

Me: lol, No Walters you can't shoot him.

Walters: Well can i shoot a dog tonight? Or shoot off some of my nonlethal rounds?

Me: Nope.

Walters: Why not, you've let me before.

Me: EOD's with us and they will tell on us.

Walters: Fuck them POG's.


For the last 2 weeks we have responded to a call every night. Evey single time we gear up to go I think to myself... This is it.. Today's the day... Time to cash in and meet my maker... Tonight's the night that I will be condemned to an afterlife of.... well fuck it you fill in the rest......... The point is when your this close to the end, your done. No one wants to make 11 and a half months. I no longer want to go out. I'm done risking it. I just want to go home now. I've seen and heard to many story's about soldiers dying in there last weeks. Guys who die when they were suppose to be home already but for some reason were still in theater. I no longer hope for missions. I feel like a bitch for whining about it but it's time to pack it in. I'm done playing soldier this deployment.

FOOTBALL TIME...

opening weekend... I'm pumped... i wait for this all year long... I'm a huge cowboy fan... we won and are now 1-0... we have a tough test next week but i think we will be up for the challenge...

LASTLY... UPDATE

this post was written over the course of a few days... so the date stamp isn't correct, it's when i started this post... right now I'm looking at being out of this country in under a week and possible being home in under a week... i have one more day of missions... cross your fingers... ill go out into the wild probably two more times before I'm done.... shit it's the last day of missions, i may even wear my Kevlar this time...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

THROUGH AMBER LENSE...... RIP

A few post back I wrote about a new milblogger who was starting his second tour in Iraq. I had the chance to write back in forth with him a few times in the last month. I never got the chance to meet him, or to speak with in directly but i knew from the content of his writings that he was cut from the same cloth as I.

I've been waiting patiently for the last few days for him to write a new post to no avail. I just stopped by his page and saw that he had 58 comments on his last post to the 6 he has on the post before that one. I went to read the comments and saw that he has been killed. He died on the 2ND of Sept. The details are unknown to me right now. Although i only got to talk to him a few times, i feel like I've lost a friend. This has hit really close to home. Losing someone over here is always hard, no matter how many times it happens, it never gets easier. It hits you like a ton of bricks. He will be missed. I urge you all to stop by his page and pay your respects.

Througharmberlenses.blogspot.com

Thursday, September 3, 2009

DATES UPDATE

I finally have solid information on when i leave iraq.... I have heard it from the horses mouth. Standing in Battalion evesdroping on my platoon sgt. and 1sg, I heard them give solid dates for when we leave. The funny thing is they knew i was evesdroping. I made no attempt to hide the fact that i was. Shit i was standing 5 feet away from them. I stared intently at them listening to everything they were saying and they saw me. I didn't look away or attempt to play off my interest in the conversation. When they looked at me, I looked back at them silently. It was an ackward moment. Just silent staring. Although nothing was said or heard, it kinda sounded like my eyes where saying "hey keep talking fags, i want to know when im going home too". They got the point and continued the conversation.

So, I have a solid confirmed date for when i fly to kuwait from iraq. As for when i leave kuwait for the states, that's still up in the air. I'm being told that it shouldn't be more then 3 days...

That's all I have for now. If you were thinking I was going to tell you the date then your an idiot. I can't because it would violate OPSEC.... but that's not why I wont tell you. I'm not telling because I'm an asshole.... and assholes do asshole things.... lol

Sunday, August 30, 2009

BIRTHDAY BOY

Once a year we celebrate with stupid hats and plastic plates the fact that I was able to make another trip around the sun.

And the whole clan gathers around and gifts and laughter do abound and we let out a joyful sound and sing that stupid song.

Happy birthday… now I’m one year older
Happy birthday… my life still isn’t over
Happy birthday… I did not accomplish much… but I didn't die this year so I guess that’s good enough.

So lets drink to my fading health and hope that I don’t remind myself my chance of finding fame and wealth decrease with ever year.

It feels like I’m doing laps and eating food and taking naps and hoping that someday perhaps my life will hold some cheer.

Happy birthday… what have I done that matters
Happy birthday… I’m starting to get fatter
Happy birthday… its down hill from now on… ill try not to remind myself my best years are all gone.

If cryogenics were all free then I could live like Walt Disney and live for all eternity inside a block of ice.

But instead my time is set this is the only life I get and though it hasn’t ended yet sometimes I wish it might.

Happy birthday… I wish I had more money
Happy birthday… life’s so sad its funny
Happy birthday… how much more I can take… fuck it, my friends are hungry so I’ll cut the stupid cake.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

DUALITY OF THE MIND

The finish line is in sight. No longer are we running towards an invisible end. It's so close we can almost reach out and grab it. A month and a half from now I'll look back to this moment while watching a football game on my big screen with one of my friends, either Jack or Beam. I'll be sitting on my couch with my feet kicked up, and some home made chicken wings on the table. I'll be wrestling with my boys during commercials, and giving my wife that "stop talking to me during the game" look while watching my cowboys wreck havoc on the opposition. I'll sit there staring at the screen and at some point during the game my mind will wonder back to this place. I'll come back to this moment in my mind and say to myself, that went by quick. Time flies in hindsight, but I also know that in the moment it can be an eternity. I remember when i was at the 90 day mark. That seems like forever ago. Now I’m down around the 30 day mark and the times going ungodly slow. It seems like for the last 30 days I’ve been between the 30-40 days left mark. The logical side of my brain tells me there's not a difference of 30 between 30-40 (lol, I can count), but physically and subconsciously my mind and body feels as if I've been stuck in a time warp of sorts. Maybe it's because once you get down to the last month you can start counting weeks by default. Or maybe not. Maybe I’m just trying to understand this time pause so that i can unpause it metaphorically speaking. Whatever it is i just want it to be over. It's like for a year I’ve been running at a nice comfortable pace and now that I can see the finish line i want to sprint it out.

A part of me is telling me to slow down though. Don't be in such a hurry to have all of this end. It's telling me to soak it all in and let it resonate with in me. A part of me knows that these last 30 some odd days will probably be the last I ever spend in this country. Like it or not, this country and the two years I've spent here have become a part of my soul. It will all end soon and all I'll have are the memories. Believe it or not, they're all aren’t bad. The bonds formed through tribulation and the friends turned brothers are experiences that I will never forget. As the years pass we will all take different paths through life and disconnect. I'm going to miss my brothers. If i live to be an old man I'll look back on these days and truly feel sad. I'm going to miss these guys. There's a lot to be say for going through a shitty situation while having the luxury of being surrounded by some great people.

I miss my family more then words can express. That's what makes this deployment hard. I'm mentally strong by nature, but not being with my wife and children for a year has the ability to push the limits of my resolve. Soon I'll be with them again. I'll awake to them in the morning and be there when they go to sleep at night. After a while it will become routine and I'll start to miss the guys with whom I've lived with for the past year. Some of them will still be in my life, while others with drift away into the shadows of my memories. It's inevitable. It's a double life that i live. One with my brothers in arms and the other with my love and seeds. I wish like hell the two could merge into a hybrid well balanced life but I fear any attempt of mine to have this wish realized would be fruitless. I know there isn't a way for me to assuage the anguish of the situation. So I'll choose my family..... but miss until my days end the men with whom I stood shoulder to shoulder with in the face of an adversary hell-bent on destroying us.

Friday, August 14, 2009

THROUGH AMBER LENSES

All of you who follow my blog know that im on the cusp of ending this bullshit ass year long sentence. My release from this prison is imminent. I'll do my best to keep the blog going while back in the rear. I'm sure there will be plent to bitch about. But the Iraqi trail doesnt end here. Theres a new crop of rookies and seasoned vets embarking on another deployment of their own. Probably the last major cycle of deployees in this country.

I've found one new bloger named Jason whos in Kuwait right now days away from making his second push up to this shit hole. He's a good writer and from what i can tell from the few post he has on his blog, a good guy.

The end of a war is just as signifigant historical as the begining. He should be one of the unlucky ones who gets to wrap this pile of shit in to a nice and neat package before he steps off. I urge everyone to stop by and check him out

throughamberlenses.blogspot.com

NUGHT....

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A LITTLE OF THIS A LITTLE OF THAT... PART 1

....AAFEES....

Government sanctioned monopoly... They are the only major company allowed to sell on military post world wide. To those not in the know... The PX and commissary are aafees run businesses. Other then the Pog scam they run in Iraq and Afghanistan I really have never had a problem with them... But now they are forcing all the little cheap Iraq shops off the bases in Iraq. The main target of aafees is the DVD shops. All acrossed Iraq you can get pirated DVD's that in some cases arnt even in theaters for 2 bucks a piece. These shops are extremely popular among soldiers. I would guess that movie time in Iraq occupies the majority of down time for soldiers. But aafees isn't selling any DVD's. At 20 bucks a pop and 2 months lag comparatively with their new movies, they sell next to none. So they decided to play the piracy card to force the military to stop the sales of their competitors so that they can force soldiers to buy their 10X more expensive products. They can claim all day long that their plight is legitimate and that piracy is wrong, but the bottom line is that these stores are cutting into their profits. Aafees has always claimed to be for the soldiers. But its clear that the soldiers interest take a far back seat to Aafess mission..... PROFITS.......... FUCK AAFEES.


.....IMPORTANT PEOPLE DOOR......

Through the course of contemplating this I think I've been able to identify a pet peeve of mine. Stupid rules for the sake of having rules really bugs me for some reason. Huh, imaging that. Rules are restrictions. The more restrictions places on a group of people the more opportunity you give them to do the wrong thing. Restrictions in my mind are directly correlated with stress, moral, and overall happiness with the situation you are placed. I've found that in situations with alot of little stupid rules the moral is way down among the people affected. Stress is way up, and no one is happy to be where they are. Contrary to that, when in situations where there are no little unimportant rules moral is high, the stress levels are considerably lower and most everyone is happy to be where they are. Now i understand the need for rules, but I think you need to balance the importance of the rule against it's effects.

SITUATION: In our CP we have two entrances. A front and back door. They both lead to the common area inside the CP. For the longest time everyone was allowed to come in and out of both doors to enter and exit the CP. After a crack down of sorts on our platoon, the back door to the CP was designated for squad leaders and above. That's 4 people out of the 30+ in the platoon that are allowed to use this door. At first this rule felt like any other rule that's spurs from an impulse pissed off rant. I figured the door would be off limits for a week or two, then everyone would slowly start using it again until everything went back to normal. Much like when i was a kid and my parents would impose a dumb rule that affected my day to day norms because they were mad about something else. After a while that rule went away. All it took was a cooling off period and the rule would dissipate. Well it's been like 2 months in this rule is still in affect. What bothers me is that it severs no legitimate purpose. All it does is make those who are allowed to use the door fell superior to those who arn't. It's funny cause when a lower then squad leader level soldier comes and goes through this door the important guys ( squad leaders and above ) actually fell slighted. They have a look on their face that suggest that your in some way challenging their superiority or that you in some facet are putting yourself on their level. It's amazing how insecure some people are. That is why i have dubbed this door the IMPORTANT PEOPLE DOOR, cause it makes those who can use it fell important. Bottom line, if my avenue of approach is from the back of the building, im coming through the back door. It's absolutely ignorant to suggest that i walk all the way around the building to come through the front door just to satisfy to parameters of this asinine rule. To date i haven't been called out by any of the important people for use the door but a couple of privates have corrected me for using it. "Sgt McNeil, that's a E-6 and above door.... We arn't allowed to use it".... [ I smile back ] "I know".


....TO BE CONTINUED.....

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

AN I LOVE ME MOMENT



Im a little scuffed up after some rough housing... boys will be boys as they say...



I dont know what it is but im looking at something...



playing with the MP5... its a fun little weapon.. i have a video of me shooting it but it wont load here... maybe once im back in the states i will be able to load it.



guys play dress up too... lol, this is my pirate shot.
i want a sword.... is that weird...



air guitar on the MP5, i think i exhausted all possible poses with this thing.



smoking by the fire... thats our fire pit.. we burn everything... fire = fun.

OWN ROOM

wrapping up the final 50 or so days of the deployment and i have finally got my own room. These are usually reserved for the higher ranking guys but this lowly E-5 has broken through. It's really nice being able to disconnect from everything and everyone. The best part of the whole situation is, when my squad leaves this home for our other in about a month, i will have my own room there as well... right now im currently sharing that room with one of the other squad leaders in the platoon... when im here (5 days a week), he has his own room... the reason we will be leaving this home for good in about a month is because we have 6 National Guard guys attached to our platoon. they will be leaving Iraq earlier then the rest of us. when they leave, our squad will go back to where the rest of our platoon is and reconsolidate our Joe's to keep our three squad size. my roommate over in the other place is one of the National Guard guys whose going home. so ill be going back there for good when hes going back home for good... which means ill still have a room all to myself.

finishing strong finishing strong...

Friday, July 10, 2009

LIFE AFTER THE SOFA...

It's been about two weeks since the June 30th transition and the whats and how’s are finally starting to show themselves... Leading up to the deadline I was irate... I couldn’t fathom why the worlds "best army" still had their heads so far up their asses and no one know what would happen on the 30th or how it would affect us... 2 months out the rumor mill was hot and heavy... We heard things like no MRAP's would be allowed in sector, and any time we leave the wire we would have to be with IA or IP's... We heard that everyone would move out of the city's and as an effort to decrease our footprint, and that we would take a back seat to the Iraqi's.... Most of this is some what true, but we by no means have are feet on the ground with this yet... There are still many unknowns and a lot of confusion... Here’s my take on the SOFA after a couple weeks..

Really quick.... DISCLAIMER....
This is my low rank low knowledge boots on the ground from my eyes view of things... this is in no way policy or "the standard"... The SOFA encompasses all of Iraq... I'm only in Baghdad....

First, we can't leave the wire between the hours of 5 in the morning and midnight unless our assistance is requested from the country of Iraq.... That hasn’t happened yet and I don't suspect it will... So for the most part there’s been a lot of sitting around... From the hours of midnight to 4 in the morning we are free to do what ever... It kinda sucks because all the logistical bullshit we have to do has to be done between these hours... being that we are 20 minutes away from our "HQ" all the bullshit dispatching vehicles, filling out paper work, sensitive items checks, and all the other time consuming nonsense requires us to convoy across Baghdad between these hours...

Second, the MRAP thing was kinda true, but a few units were give exception... My unit still get to use our MRAP's and a few QRF's are allowed them as well... Everyone else has to roll in the less protective Humvees.... This was one of the changes that really pissed me off... Even though it doesn’t affect me I found it hard to believe that our government would sign an agreement that included a stipulation that forces us to down grade our protection.... Point blank, that’s what it does... Humvees are much more likely to produce casualties in an IED blast then MRAP's are, but some self important big titled dick decided while sitting in his air conditioned office behind his desk that giving in on this issue was an acceptable compromise...

Why did Iraq want us to stop rolling MRAP's? Well MRAP's are big heavy vehicles... when we run over curbs or when in small mahollas we damage the infrastructure... Curbs sometimes break under the weight of the trucks and low hanging power lines in the tightly congested mahollas sometimes get ripped down... Ok, that’s a legitimate gripe, but giving up the MRAP's translates into potentially more US soldiers dying in IED's... Humvees are a much softer target... So to me this is a no brainier.... The power lines and curbs are acceptable collateral damage... If it means more soldiers will survive this war then tough shit Iraq... It comes down to this, who ever approved this stipulation within the SOFA even though they won't say it out loud, thought this... Making soldiers roll in the less protective humvees and risking more lives is acceptable... Then curbs and power lines are more important...

Third, the SOFA puts us in a tough spot... On the 30th a route clearing element in my Bat. was pelted by rocks go thru IA checkpoints.... The LT in charge of the convoy instructed his trucks to do nothing.... One whole side of one of the trucks had all the windows smashed... I rolled early morning on the 30th and got flipped off by IA a few times... They were singing and dancing on there trucks in a taunting way... I really wanted to stop.... The illusion of superiority is rampid in Baghdad with the Iraqi's... When I’m on the road, Iraq isn't superior to shit... These are the guys who we will have to role with if they ask... Some of them are corrupt... Not all, and probably not most, but some... Whats to stop them from leading us right into an ambush... I don't trust them at all... Another element that’s challenging is that there are a few different authorities in Iraq... The IP's, IA's, NP's, Sons of Iraq, and so on and so forth.... They all done get along or like each other... Each one feels superior to the other... So when we were being escorted by the NP's the other day we had trouble going thru IA check points... They IA's gave us a hard time because they don’t like NP's... We sat in a check point in the thick of traffic just hoping no one wanted to attack us... It would have been a tactical nightmare... No maneuverability, and just two US gun trucks.... I doubt the NP's would have stuck around for any kind of fight...

So as you can see the challenges are plentiful... I'm just hoping to make it thru the next 80 days so that i can pass this headache onto the next guy.... Hey fuck you buddy i didn’t my time... Good luck...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

THE PATROL

I’m point man on a dismounted foot patrol thru the streets of Baghdad. It’s just my squad, our Iraqi meet and greet escort, and me. We walk thru narrow streets with shop vendors and concrete barriers all around us. Multi sized buildings congest the skyline and piles of trash and rubble line the streets. The locals stay out of our way but stare more inconspicuously then normal. As a show of force, I stare back. It must be 120 degrees outside because I can feel the salts starting to crystallize on my forehead. That’s when you know your dehydrated, when you stop sweating. I’m feeling the locals staring and its starting to overwhelm me. A sense of impending doom consumes me, and now im paranoid and I feel alone. Every look, every movement, every car, driving or parked now feels threatening. Times like these you can feel your trigger finger tighten on the trigger and your thumb putting slight pressure on the selector switch. Tunnel vision creeps in. All I see is the potential threats, but we keep moving. Each block is exactly the same as the last, but completely different. Same smells, but different piles of trash. Same looks, but different locals. Same skyline, but different buildings. It’s the same but its not. My tunnel vision and paranoia die down and a feeling of acceptance takes its place. Complacency creeps in and we keep moving. I can hear the sidebar conversations behind me and I can see dogs up head playing. It reminds me of my dogs back home. I watch them intently to see which one wins the scuffle and BANG…. All thought stops.

An explosion on the left side of the street engulfs us. The concussion itself is very powerful and violent. I’m thrown across the street in to a concrete wall. Lifeless and thoughtless for a few seconds I lay there still. Then in an instant my mind comes back to my body. I open my eyes and I can see if thick black smoke all around me. Fear and adrenaline are racing thru me. I’m so high on it right now I probably couldn’t even tell if I was hurt. I fear for the worst though. I try to move my arms and legs, check. I move my head and neck, check. I feel my stomach and torso, check. I sit up and check for blood by running my hands down my legs and arms, check. I think im alright so I stand up. The thick smoke is starting to dissipate and I can now see some of my other squad members checking themselves, but I can’t hear anything. I run over to them. After about another minute of checks everyone is accounted for and no one is seriously hurt. We start lifting our muzzles and scanning everything. Rooftops, windows, cars, doorways, alleyways, but see nothing and no one. Was this street empty when we came on to it? Did I not notice that no locals were around? We all are gathered in some what of a security formation on the right side of the street. I look over to the left and I can see the blast seat from the explosion. Black char is on all the Jersey barriers. I walk over to it. I stare intently at the big black crater the IED left. Anger, rage, and the never stopping adrenaline pump is all I feel. I look behind the jersey barriers and everything slows down. Seconds are like hours and fear takes over my body. The kind of fear that complete immobilizes you. I can’t move. All I can see is three secondary devices behind the barriers, and I‘m standing right over top of them. I turn back to my squad and yell SECON BANG. Then I woke up.

I couldn’t even get the words out of my mouth before they went off. The term is secondary’s. After an IED is found or detonated your suppose to sweep for secondary’s. Secondary devices are emplaced so that after the first one goes off who every comes up to examine the blast can get taken out.

I’ve been trying to figure out what these dream means. I’m I going to get hit by another IED? Is it warning me about my complacency? WTF. These dreams are starting to become common place again. I’m starting to remember more and more of them and most of them are bad. I don’t think I want to remember anymore dreams. My dreams suck.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

BLAH

The internet sucks here in my new home.... it's about the only thing that sucks here... i have about 90 days left till im home.... thats if i dont go home early... i heard i might because im PCSing to Germany in Jan... its probably just smoke being blown up my ass but we'll see... sorry about the inactivity on the blog.... so much shit happens on a daily basis that its hard to keep you all updated.... i tried the week long photo blog thing too... it last about 15 hours... then i said fuck this shit... so many good things happened that i didnt get pictures of... i cant leave out stuff like sticks head butting bermutes and spliting his head open in the process... or my squad fucking with me when i was in the shower.... making walk back to my room stark naked.... or the 15 other things i didnt have my camera for... it would have been bland and boring and not an accurate representation of the week being documented.... so fuck it.... maybe next deployment.... other then that i really dont have much to say.... till next time... Nught out....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

UPDATE

Alright.... my Internet ran out on the 20th of this month... I've been anticipating a move to a new location any day now so i didn't spring for the Internet because its sold on a month to month basis.... right now I'm in the MWR and this sucks... The milbloging OG's had it rough.... but they are old school and I'm new school... we do if from our rooms bitches...

about that... i just found out that i may have a week long lay over in an other then permanent home... so my noninternet having ass may be extending the duration....

the June 30th deadline for the power transition IAW the SOFA is still on schedule but we still don't know how it will affect us.... we probably wont be told until the 2nd of July while getting yelled at for doing something we are no longer allowed to do.... (I love the Army)

and lastly, after a couple of request for a week long photo/blog post that covers an entire week, I'm now giving it serious contemplation... couple things though... one it will be watered down... anything that's incriminating or violates OPSEC i wont be able to discuss, publish or even hint too... I also currently don't have a camera.. i blow my up trying to get it too close to a controlled det.. about a week and a half ago... so i need to buy a new one... i may do that soon but only if theres one i like.... That leads me to this... i wont have my new camera until after the SOFA bullshit.... we don't even know if we will be allowed outside in the city after the 30th... so it could end up being me eating, sleeping, working out, and all the fun and bullshit that goes along with being so full of time that you cant even find things to consume it... but hey once i get my camera i will have a better grasp of whats going on and if i still think its a good idea... thanks all, bare with me not having Internet... ill get back in the swing shortly...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

FILLER

I didnt get the reaction i was expecting from my last post... a couple emails... but by in large i thought it was funny... i guess it was uninteresting to others... well here you go, some pictures... the internet has been to random for me to get into a writing grove...



Me doing a "im going to shoot you pose with an AK.... you really cant tell what kind of weapon it is from the pic... its an AK



Me posing with an MP5... i have a video of me shooting it but i cant load it because the interent sucks here... MP5's are fun though....



RPG with no rocket... i unfortunatly wasnt allowed to shot this... even though we did find 2 RPG rockets later on that night... it would have been a blast to have been able to shoot them... instead we blow them up and my camera in the process...



This is the view from where we have to pull guard at this rinky dink JSS.... i know the picture isnt that great but try to appreciate the level of frustration i endured tring to get the camera to line up with the rear and front sight post... it started out a seemingly easy task.... 20 pictures later my frustration and determination was rediculously high... being that i put so much effort into a picture that isnt really that great, i though it deserved to be posted...



The raiderettes.... they came to see us... i dont paticularly like the raiders but i went anyways... in this pic im quizing them on raider knowlegde... they passed, but had they been cowboys cheerleaders i think i would have stumped them...



Me and a couple of my soldiers with the girls...



I took this picture purely to demonstrate my love for football.... it had nothing to do with with the girls... come on guys im married...



This is the other team leader in the squad and my roommate.... this is his ganster pose... the funny thing is that he will never ever forget this day... this day he will remember when his 70... but i cant tell you why...lol



One of our trucks is about to tip over.... we tied it off to another truck and luckly got it unstuck with out tipping it over...



This is by far my favorite care package letter from a kid... ive seen tons of them but this by far takes the cake... theres an on going debate to weather or not hes saying service or survive... but there is no doubt about the whore... hey austin.. if this ever its back to you... i got you buddy.... im tracking man.... you are my hero bro...



Hey what do you know... and EFP... the ones Iran stopped selling us.... this must be the second one this year... ( reread the the efp post comments if you dont get it) anyways... this efp was incased in strophome... all that shit around it is the styrophome... the disk is about the size of a dinner plate... this would have been nasty... good thing it was found before it went off...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

SUICIDE BOMBING CONTEMPLATION

The art of suicide bombing is very intriguing to me…. Specifically the recruiting element…. I mean come on, who cares about the fag blowing himself up…. I’m interest in the guy who talked him into it…. that’s what I want to contemplate….

So, how does this shit work…. How would one get into this line of work…. If your good at it, it seems like it would be very rewarding and fulfilling… seriously, talking someone into blowing themselves up is the ultimate sell…. If you can sell that, you can sell anything… in a world where education isn’t put at the top of the priority list, I’m forced to assume that there is a natural ability factor that plays into it…. But how does it start…. How does any of it start… ive played the initial recruiting conversation in my head a few times and it always plays out with me saying no…. maybe I just suck at suicide recruiting…. Here’s how I see it in my head….

Me and a buddy are outside somewhere by ourselves smoking stogies and talking about whales or something…. Its always outside in my head for some reason… just go with it…

Recruiter… hey buddy I want to talk to you about something, how you been?

Me….. It’s another day bro, just living life…. What’s up?

R…. I’ve been thinking…. You know you would make a great martyr….. I think you have what it takes….

Me…. Oh yeah, thanks bro… what is that, like a ship boat captain or something….

R…… no man…. Its doing gods work…. Bro you rid the holy land of the infidels….

Me…. You mean like a soldier?

R…. yeah man… a soldier of God….

Me…. Sounds pretty cool bro…. but I have a job….

R……. no man…. Your not getting it…. You kill yourself in Gods name but you take the infidels with you for God….. And then your rewarded by him in heaven….. Its in the good book man… its legit…

Me….. Ummm…. Why wouldn’t God just do it himself man…. couldn’t he like make a massive flood or something and kill the infidels….

R…… No man, a flood would also kill non infidels and damage trees and shit… God loves trees bro….

Me…. Oh… yeah your right I didn’t think of that…. Well what about a massive thunder storm…. It could last for weeks and he could only target infidels…

R…. no man God already thought of all this…. He wouldn’t do that because he would inconveniences a lot of others…. Listen, after you do this you will go to heaven and God will reward you with 70 virgins….

Me….. Really?

R….. yeah bro………. Really.

Me….. What would I do with 70 virgins……

R…… what every you want bro….. they would be yours…..

Me…. So, would I own them all, or would I just be married to them all…..

R….. I don’t know man…. It doesn’t specify……

Me…. Well that’s kinda important bro….. I mean, I’m married to only one women right now….. I can barely handle her bitching….. Let alone 69 more of her….. Fuck I would probably commit suicide again….. But if I own them…. I could be like, look number 34, you need to go clean the living room…. Stat….. and she would have to cause I own her…..

R…… really bro…. really

Me…. Yeah… I’m just saying….

R…… your reading way to far into this…..

Me…. Well now you got me thinking man… would God give me a big house, I’m mean cause if I’m still living in a 3 room house with 70 chicks, heavens going to be hell bro…

R…. no man, God wouldn’t screw you like that….

Me…. I don’t know if I like the idea of them ALL being virgins too man… could I like mix it up a bit… you know some veterans, some rookies, some young, some old, and nationalities bro…. would they all be Arab…. Or could I like have 70 different nationalities….

R......................

Me….. don’t look at me like that man….. Its important…. I don’t want to have to train 70 rookies and have to put up with the “ you want me to do what’s” and the “ I don’t know how do that’s”…… it would be nice to have a few vets who could do the training for me…. Plus when I’m in the mood for experience, Id have it bro….

R…. you’re a fucking retard….

Me………… …………..

R…. bro, your doing this for God not yourself…..

Me….. Then why is there a fucking reward…. Why don’t you do it…..

R…. cause I’m the fucking recruiter bro… if we all were recruiters then there would be no recruits……

Me….. (I say nothing but think to myself) that’s sound logic….

R…… hey man, it’s a way of proving your faith…..

Me…. Well I can still make it to heaven without blowing myself up man….. And to be honest with you, I’m not that gung-ho about the lack of answers on the virgins thing…. If that’s my reward, you’d think there would be answers to some of these questions….

R……. maybe I was wrong…. Maybe you wouldn’t make a good martyr….

Me…. Well maybe fucking not….


It would go something like that I think….. Then I start thinking…. They couldn’t just become recruiters… there would have to be some kind of training or cheat sheet that they get…. Much like telemarketers…. When I was 15 I was a telemarketer and it was a blast…. Most people hated that job, but I loved it…. They gave us a cheat sheet that had “good” rebuttals to anticipated questions and concerns….. There were like 25 different rebuttals….. You would just read it right off the sheet…. Most telemarketers hated getting yelled at over the phone…. Or when someone would try to make them feel like shit for calling during certain hours, they would cry (girls)…… I fucking loved those calls….. I would have fun with it…. Why do I care if some fag yelled at me for calling him…. Id try to keep them on the line as long as I could…. I wouldn’t even try to sell them at that point….. Id just try to make them angrier without getting myself in trouble…… there has to be a suicide bomber recruiting cheat sheet…. I wonder if they have suicide bomber recruiter seminars…. Train the trainer kind of thing….

This is akmed shiek ballsonchin…… he has successfully recruited 54 suicide bombers…. He’s going to talk to you for a few about what it takes to be a real suicide bomber recruiter…..

Lol….. I know there’s a lot of other ways to get people to blow them selves up….. I know they kidnap family members and threaten to kill them if you don’t do it and they prey on the ones who have recently suffered severe emotional events…. But those are lame…. That’s to easy….

I also think that our government could be missing out on a massively untapped resource…. I say offer these recruiters (the good ones) complete immunity and have them work for us…. Like I said before, if you can sell blowing your self up…. You can sell anything….. I say hire these guys to be recruiters for the army… nobody likes that job anyways…. The numbers would probably go up and it would increase our readiness….. I’m just saying…..

Monday, June 1, 2009

DRAWING A BLANK ON THE TITLE

alright.... I haven’t posted in a while... i don’t count the pic post, those were just fillers.... i know what the problem is.... i usually write my post in my head days before i actually put them in type..... 99% of the time, what every is occupying my mind is what i try to write about... the problem is that so much has happened in the last few weeks that i cant complete a thought or idea in my head before something else happens and forces me into something else.... does that make sense, i don’t know.. it does to me... so what im left with is fragments of ideas and thoughts that are never fully conceptualized.... for the last two weeks i have been trying to write one long post that encapsulated everything.... i couldn’t get it to flow... i couldn’t get the sequence of events right, and i never really finished them in my head beforehand.... i could write the beginnings of most of them but i would get stuck somewhere in the middle... so fuck it...

bottom line.... my squad moved to a new temporary home.... a sequence of unfortunate events compiled with an already bad inherited relationship with the boss of our new home left us catching the short end of the shit stick at every turn.... everyday something new is being thrown on the shit pile and we just cant seem to burn the shit fast enough metaphorically speaking.... the situation is very fluid.... in a week im sure our situation with be much different because if i go back the last 3 weeks each one is filled with numerous twist and turns.... its just one big rollercoaster ride.... i guess all deployments are though....

i also get frustrated when what im thinking about is something i cant write about.... fuck.... there is so much i just want to let out but i cant.... two many eyes see this and i cant have certain things fall in the certain hands... incriminating myself or others isn’t productive in any facet.... but truth be told, there is a lot of stuff i want to talk about.... i fell like im talking to a buddy when im writing... i don’t see any of you who read this when im writing.... if i did i probably wouldn’t tell you anything.... its weird because im not the type to talk about things with people... im a pretty guarded person across the board, but here its like thinking out load kinda....

sitting here tonight, looking back at the past 7-8 months.... man this shit flying.... time is like smoke and mirrors man.... just yesterday i was hating life in Kuwait... now im staring down the finish line.... i feel bipolar sometimes.... or maybe not bipolar, maybe its like i have multiple personalities.... my mood, emotions, and believes seem to change on a whim.... that’s not something im use to... i get bogged down with the stress sometimes and i bitch about this and that some days... then others... i feel like i joined the army to come here.... im getting the extra money and all my needs are being met... so maybe i shouldn’t complain about the stress... i wanted this and now its here so i shouldn’t bitch....


sometimes i think of just starting this blog thing over..... new blog... new name... no pictures.... no identifying info.... that way i may be able to write with a little more freedom.... no link on my wife’s page, just a clean slate... start over and don’t tell a soul..... i haven’t decided yet.... but if you don’t see me on here for a while that maybe the case.... i don’t like feeling paranoid... i don’t like feeling like my chain of command reads my blog.... i don’t like feeling like people are waiting for a slip up.... reading this just waiting for me to write something they can use against me... everyday i find out that someone i work with knows about my blog, and has been on my page.... my squad leader has known for a month or two now and didn’t say a word to me about it until a few days ago.... and he said a lot of others know about it too.... i don’t like that at all....

maybe i will finish out the deployment then switch... i don’t know...
sorry it took so long for me to post.... ill try harder in the future but promise nothing.... till next time NUGHT OUT.....

Thursday, May 21, 2009

IRAQI PICTURES CONTINUED



Just a couple rounds used to make IED's with.... they were found, and we blew them up.... thats not what i like about this picture or why i posted it.... after looking thru hundreds of photos from this deployment, it donned on me why this place feels so different then home... im from Florida, so im use to the heat, sand, and palm trees... its the colors... almost every where you go in this country, everything is a bland pastel color.... the ground, the wall, the buildings, everything.... the little color that there is in the country sticks out like a sore thumb... you'll see in a later pic...



The drivers from team rock posing with their trucks the day before we left...



You know i wish Iraqi's didn't act so gay about their mosque's.... i really wish i could go into some of them and just check um out... they're pretty cool looking buildings.... i don't know.... like if a non believer goes into your mosque the whole Muslim fate will be doomed in spite of you for allowing it... or maybe its because im not worthy... but really, what would Allah do if i went into a mosque... you think Allah would shun a man of fate because he let a Christian into a mosque.... really... if thats the case Allah sucks....



You can see with this pic what color does to this country.... it looks out of place... this is the equivalent to a convenient store back in the states... when you just want some snacks and drinks for the road.... or a pack of smokes... Iraq's go to there neighborhood shopkeeper to get them... these little shack stores are all over Baghdad...



This is the voluntary teabag.... pants on variety.... lol.... Walters is a retard



Me and Walters doing a little fight promoting... hes a heavy hitter but im in his head... i can scare him with intimidation.... i also have the intellect and game planning ability in my favor.... he has about one and a half rounds in his tank before hes too tired to hold his hands up.... ill coast thru the first two rounds.... the third round im going to destroy him...



These are the EOD guys company shirts... i don't know that they were sanctioned by the company, but the Enlisted guys love them... i think its funny...



This is the toy store... if you need a big stuffed giraffe, this is the place to go... right under a bridge on the median... lol.... warning, the selection sucks...



Playing army in traffic.... cross your fingers and hope no one has a bomb in their car.... those make for sad face days....



Look at the colors.... wow... in a county devoid of bright color, this is the spot to completely transcend the pastel reality... i wish i could have a bright yellow garbage can...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

RANDOM IRAQ PICTURES

well, i have a shit ton of pic from this deployment but it takes so long to upload them here that i avoid it.... I'm going to start slowly posting pic post... i really enjoy taking pictures. i also have a bunch of videos, but those will have to wait until i redeploy and have normal Internet.... this is the first batch...




this is deployment bear.... sometime before my first deployment i was packing to go to the field and my boys were helping me... Mikey, went to his room and grabbed this bear and told me to take him with me so that i would remember him... since then this bear has gone everywhere... if my family isn't there with me, the bear is... deployment bear has been to every field problem, NTC, WLC, deployment, and everywhere else that Ive gone... for a while he lived in my truck... i hung him from where the rear view mirror would have been and when i wasn't in the truck he would hold my head set.... now he lives on my bed, but I'm thinking about moving him back to the truck...



this was just some glass house mout training.... i like the pic so I'm posting it...



i really don't know whats going on here... i see the one guy sleeping.... i don't know... what do you all think...



me and a couple of my old soldiers.... they were both gunners and it was cold that night/morning.... so i made them wear that gay head thing... the picture makes them look alot cooler then in real life... they actually looked really stupid...



this is the same guy that was sleeping in the other picture.... i guess he can sleep thru anything..... or doing anything...



this was a close up of one of the hands at the cross sabers.... Iraq has alot of cool sculptures and architecture.... i think this stuffs pretty cool...



i just liked how the mosque was the back drop for the military trucks.... it kinda feels symbolic to me...



playing the hurry up and wait game in between missions....



one of the soldiers in our platoon punched his computer screen and cracked it.... he was being a dumb ass... the computer was broke and to my knowledge unfixable... so he decided to put an axe through it and buy a new one the next day.... lol....



this is Walters... I'm trying to develop him into a leader... hes a crazy, crazy infantryman.... i try to control his but its impossible.... the worst part about it is hes so damn likable and funny... i cant get mad at him....

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

ILLUSION OF CONTROL

I don’t know how others do it... its not something that’s openly talked about among soldiers... how do other people deal with being daily placed in situations where at any moment they could die... do they just suppress that fact, or do they just not realize the gravity of the situation... I know what I do... I think mitigation... I do the things that we are trained to do to lessen the chance of getting hit... I'm always focused... I'm always thinking... when out on the road, I'm paranoid... I try to think like the enemy... I try to see things from there eyes... tactical things... I look for our vulnerabilities.... I think that if I can recognize them, then I can mitigate a potential attack... but in the end, all I'm doing is creating an illusion of control... this illusion of control is every where... I'm the TC (truck commander) of our lead truck in our convoys... the TC is in control of their truck... he controls the driver by directing him when to turn, to veer right or left, speed up, slow down, go, stop, everything... he controls the gunner.... stop traffic on the left/right, clear traffic in front of us, change sector of fire to the 3,6,9,12, watch this guy, watch that car... use your horn, use your laser, spot light this, barrel on that, everything.... he controls his dismounts.... change radio freq to this, watch that guy behind us... help us back up, fix the radio, dismount.... this is the job of the TC... he is constantly thinking and ensuring that his truck is doing the right thing... it kinda seems like mental busy work... always checking then double checking... the soldiers in his truck rely on his guidance... all of this creates a false sense of control for the TC, cause in the grand scheme of things, I really control nothing... I could do all the right things and get everybody in my truck killed... I could do all the wrong things and everybody lives... there is no "do this and you will live"... everything is based off recent trends... nothing is guaranteed....

I respond to an EFP attack that enters thru the TC door and rides the dash board all the way to the drivers door.... for the next week I'm subconsciously trying to sit as far back in my seat as I can... its like I'm unknowingly afraid of my dashboard now... them we respond to another EFP that enters the TC door and rips the TC and drivers seats completely off... it rides along the backs of both the TC and the driver... now for the next week I'm trying to sit as close to the dash as possible... I respond to attacks and the only thing I see is the blood... its like everything else is in black in white but the blood is in color, and it covers everything.... I responded last night to an EFP attack that hit the TC and driver.... it’s like being hit by a missile... blood was everywhere... I looked inside the truck and the smell was deadly... it was a hot, explosive/blood/death smell... it was sickening.... blood doesn’t bother me.... it never has... but when I look into a truck that’s covered in blood, all I see is my truck... all I see is my soldiers and I... I see where we sit and who would have died had we been the ones to take that route first... I look around the area... I try to answer the unanswerable... how do I stop this from happening to us... its impossible.... stepping back and looking at the scene I see 10-15 different places where they could have attacked from... the gravity of it all sets in... Im at the grace of luck... does god have a say in this... maybe... I cant say for sure... i can say that i don’t have a say... i can scan, i can look, i can do everything right... but that doesn’t stop it... trying to find an IED/EFP in Iraq is like trying to find the proverbial needle in the hay stack....

when you do a job like PSD or other convoy operations like this, you can go months with nothing happening to your convoy... you don’t see any action what so ever... you get the Intel reports the morning of the mission, but they are really vague... they are picture less and come a crossed with a news report style writing.... they pretty much just cover the facts of the situations... when you read these for months and see nothing you become desensitized to the chaos an attack creates... you read that an IED struck the driver side of the last truck in a convoy and that one soldier died and 2 were wounded... that’s it... you read these 1000 times over... but when you see the truck and the blood, and the faces, it has a bigger impact... its not just words on paper anymore... its people...

it doesn’t help that this war is fought on two fronts... you have the soldiers on the ground.... we patrol the streets and give our lives, but have little said in what we can and cant do.... the other front this war is fought on is in our government and the upper echelons of our military... our TTP's (tactics, techniques, and procedures) ROE (rules of engagement) and EOF (escalation of force) are dictated on this front.... its very frustrating.... hearts and minds isn’t the preferred tactic of us on the ground... it feels like we are handcuffed sometimes by the higher ups... i don’t like placating to the Iraqi’s at my own expense... now I'm not arguing the long term affect hearts and minds can have... the short term is where we suffer... preventing us from being able to fully utilize our assets and to mitigate risk at the expensive of Iraqi's is what there plan forces us to accept.... hearts and minds forces us to give in and risk our safety and security by enabling freedoms to the Iraqi's that put us in tough situations.... back a few years ago the notion that civilian traffic can come close to your convoy was unheard of... they knew better... anything closer then 50-60 meters was considered a hostile act... now we are told we are to allow civilian cars to break into our convoys and to let there traffic flow with us... we aren’t to inconvenience them... when we have to stop and cordon off something... anything... we are to allow the traffic to flow along side us.... sometimes we have to sit on a site for 3-4 hours.... so for 3-4 hours we give the enemy time to put a big bomb in a car and drive past us and blow up... this isn’t a tactic the enemy isn’t familiar with.... this decision is decided by the higher ups... my contention is that if you want me to stand on the road for 3 hours hoping no one wants to blow me up today, then you stand with me... if your going to assume the responsibility of the decision, then you should reap the consequences of it as well...

Feeling like you have no control is a scary feeling... especially when you’re charged with keeping others alive..... having to explain the circumstances surrounding a death of one of my soldiers to a wife or a mom is terrifying to me... ultimately i make the decisions that decide weather they live or die... what i have trouble coming to terms with is that right and wrong decisions are decided after the fact.... in the moment, there is no right or wrong, there is no text book answer.... you make a decision... the situation plays out.... then when everything is done, when reflecting on those decisions, you are able to see what was right and what was wrong.... right and wrong tactical moves are largely hindsight determinations...

my current assignment allows me to see almost on a daily basis the devastating affect IED's/EFP's have... its crazy... when you get hit, its like being caught in a tornado.... you let it run its course and then if your still around you try to pick up the pieces..... i hate rolling up to a convoy who was just hit and seeing the faces of the guys on scene.... seeing the blood from the ones who were flown out.... it angers me... i hate seeing the faces of Iraqi's when i make them wait... when i don’t let them do what they want and i restrict them... i could care less what we are suppose to do, if i don’t want to let the traffic flow then i wont... ill take an ass chewing if it comes to that....

being in Iraq this time around feels like I'm standing in a pitch black room with all of my friends and family... all we can see is each other nothing else.... every once in a while someone else in the room that we cant see sucker punches one of us.... the sucker punch kills, and dismembers routinely... as soon as they appear they disappear right back into the darkness of the room... all we know is that now one of us is badly hurt or dead and we cant see who did it... all we really want is for someone to turn on the fucking light... but the light never comes on... we are left standing and waiting for the next sucker punch... this goes on for a year...



this is the driver side door after an EFP attack...



inside the door you can see the chaos an attack creates inside a truck... you can also see the blood stains... these pictures really don't do it justice... having a panoramic view of everything and experiencing the smells makes these attack 100 times more vivid....



this is the entry point... that's about the size of a bowling ball...

in the end, we control nothing.... these images remind me of that fact...

Friday, May 1, 2009

NUT TAPPING

constant fear, constant paranoia, never feeling relaxed and never letting your guard down.... that’s life in my new platoon.... everyday, every waking minute, your watching.... waiting... anticipating.... you never know where its going to come from.... who it will come from, or when it will happen, but your ready.... always ready.... and it still happens....

its like walking thru a mine field some days... its a psychological mind fuck... you can try to avoid it... you can insist that your not a part of it... nothing works.... no matter how ready you are.... how prepared.... how focused you are on stopping it... you cant...its bigger then all of us....once you realize that you can realize this... its actually brilliant... every aspect of it... its like god himself sanctioned it and now its blessed by his hand... once you accept it as inevitable, and only then... you become able to understand how magnificent it is....

Its powerful and gentle, its infuriating and calming, and its really painful... you go from thinking impulsively to thinking rationally.... you transverse many complete spectrums throughout the course of its wrath.... its actually amazing....

Nut tapping is the act of hitting someone in the balls intentionally and for no reason... lol... ok give me a minute to explain.... I know what your thinking... to most of you, its unheard of... but in our world... its just something we know we have to deal with... at any giving time, any day, someone, anyone can and will for no reason lightly tap you in the balls and watch you collapse to the ground in pain.... they will then start laughing hysterically at you because you are completely helpless and furious, but you cant do anything about it.... you cant move... this sounds evil... you might even be having a hard time connecting what I wrote above to what im writing here... your probably thinking.... how could anyone think this is amazing, or brilliant, or that god in someway has had a hand in this...
If this is indeed what you’re thinking.... you haven’t experienced this from both side, multiple times... you have been subjected to it on a constant basis.... because of that you probably haven’t devoted much thought to it.... therefore, you can’t see or understand how awesome nut tapping is....

I dont know why... and i cant intelligently explain it... but someone getting hit in the balls is one of the funniest things in the world... its one of those rare things that it doesn’t matter how many times it happens or how many different ways... it doesn’t matter if its the same every time... it never loses its humor... how many things can we say that about... honestly.... tell someone the funniest joke you know 100 times and see how funny it is the hundredth time.... but you hit someone in the nuts 100 times... its still every bit as funny as the first time... its really weird... someone breaks his leg and is in a lot of pain and cant move... NOT FUNNY...SCARY.... but someone getting whacked in the balls, hilarious... WHY??? I don’t get it...

another amazing aspect to the nut tap is this... as soon as your hit your knees buckle... your legs lose the ability to support your own body weight... you fall to the ground... you are outraged immediately... the only thing you can think of is how you want to kill the person responsible.... on top of all the pain... you have 10 guys standing around you laughing so hard they're having a hard time standing up on there own... some of them may even fall over because they’re laughing so hard....lol.. this just makes you more enraged.... but you cant move... you try impulsively to get up and go after the fag who did this to you, but as soon as you slightly move one of your legs... or your hips, sharp pains shoot thru your body... so you lay motionless... helpless... its at this point you transition into phase two of your recovery... this where a higher powers influence is felt... phase two recovery time is directly correlated with your state of mind... once you reach phase two you realize there’s nothing you can do... you close your eyes and you block out everything around you... you start to control your breathing and start thinking rationally again... the impulse is gone... your calm.... you have to be... you cant recover until you allow your body and mind to relax... you lay there for 3-15 minutes (as long as it takes you to get over the fact that you were attacked without provocation)....

another beautiful element is that the tap it self is very light... your not trying to pop a ball open, or bust his sack... accuracy is key... as long as you can get a direct unsuspecting hit... your good... you win.... he’s down... its crazy how the slightest and easiest of taps can render someone completely helpless for up to 15 min.... that’s crazy...lol, its awesome...

our squad hasn’t gone a full day yet without someone falling victim to this epidemic... some have tried to say that they aren’t playing... they think that if they don’t do it to anyone, it wont happen to them... oh, not true... everyone is in play... you can posture all day long... all year long for that matter... if you don’t want to hit someone back... that’s your prerogative... but that doesn’t mean your not getting hit... this mentality may seem like a dick move by the attacker (pun intended), but everyone at some point will embraces the nut tap...

now after reflecting on our little game I noticed that its gender specific... ive tried to think of a way to incorporate females into the game on some level... im not talking about a mixed gender game... my wife would leave me... but a game that females could play amongst themselves.... the problem is that females don’t have the equipment... I had a hard time coming up with where a female could hit a female to leave them completely paralyzed for a short period of time while on the ground in pain.....

Throat punches..... I think it would work... now all I need is a group of females to test my theory.... if your a female and your reading this.... give this a try.... call all your girlfriends, and schedule a girls night in... have a group of 5-7 of your girls come over to your house for the evening... don’t tell them a thing about the game... its more fun if they just find out about the game on there own... pick your target, and start stalking her... this tactic is used in nut tapping and works well.... being that she will be new to this game she will be really easy to set up... get up close to your target and engage her in small talk... once the moments right point to a picture on your wall to your right or left... she will look at it, and walk right into your trap... once she take her eyes off of you, strike her in the throat... right in the middle of the neck... watch as her legs buckle underneath her and she falls to the ground... then start laughing hysterically and taunting her.... you could say things like "I got you good fucker" or "ha-ha in your face fag"....

this could be the start of a very good game and friendship building, cause lets be honest... if you friend cant take a unprovoked throat strike and walk it off afterwards without getting butt hurt... how much of a friend could they have been... im just saying...

Monday, April 27, 2009

ARMY AWARDS

OK, it just came down the pipe that our BDE will be giving blanket awards to everyone who deployed... this to me is bullshit... it goes against the nature of individual awards... in the army you have unit awards, and individual awards.... giving a blanket award to everyone for individual accomplishments are asinine and kind seems like an oxymoron... what it amounts to is, they don't want to go thru the nut roll of everyone submitting individual awards with individual bullets... they assume (rightly) that most would fuck it up and have to redo them over and over again... still i think they should be made to do their jobs... and that's it, ITS A LEADERS JOB TO WRITE AWARDS.... if they don't know how, make them learn...

that's not my only problem with awards though... that's just what has fueled this fire.... across the board the army award system is fucked up.... their is only a few awards that haven't been tainted to the point that they lose their integrity, and prestige... The Medal Of Honor, Purple Heart, Soldiers Medal, and a few others are taken seriously... now the Purple Heart is boarder line... i don't want to take away from those who have earned it and have giving blood and flesh for this country... but at the same time some get them for bullshit...

right now if your an officer or an E-7 your getting a Bronze Star for this deployment... it doesn't matter what you did.... that's your award.... well to me that award doesn't mean shit to me now... it has lost its integrity..... I think an individual should be assessed on what they did... that should be a determining factor... but its not... it doesn't matter what you did, or do... all that matters is your rank... E-1 thru E-6 will get an ARCOM.... the same ARCOM with the same bullshit bullets.... this infuriates me.... i don't think that my soldier who goes outside the wire on a daily basis, puts himself at adverse risk hundreds of times, and subjects himself to the heighten reality of the fact that the ultimate sacrifice could easily be realised at any moment should get the same award as a soldier who pulled a 8 hour MWR guard 5 days a week for a year.... REALLY.... they get the same thing... they get recognized the same.... the E-7 who doesn't do anything (believe me there is alot of them) will get a better and bigger award then my soldier... its bullshit...

now i don't care about my award.... awards mean nothing to me... but i don't like it when my soldiers get fucked... i wish they would let me write the awards for my soldiers and recognize them for what they did individually.... that's fair and makes sense...

CIB VS. CAB.... lol... i hate this shit... the CIB (combat infantry badge) is only for infantrymen who have been engaged or engaged the enemy... its been round for a long time and has a storied history.... infantry was the only MOS that can get the CIB... the void for other MOS's was there... an infantry man and a combat engr. standing next to each other on the battle field engaging the enemy didn't get recognized the same... for the longest time only the infantryman would get an award reflecting the fact that he was in combat... that's why the CAB was enacted... its intent was sound... recognize those who arnt infantry for being in actually combat.... but its intent was lost as soon as it came into existences.... these fuck-tard faggot cooks, and finance, and admin guys, and supply guys... all these fuckers get CAB's.... Most CAB's arnt earned... a fucking supply guy who goes on a log jam 30 truck convoy.... he's in the 22nd truck and the third truck gets small arms fire (three rounds) off the door.... he gets a CAB... the whole fucking convoy gets a CAB because "the convoy was attacked"... bullshit... small arms fire on an unarmored truck is like throwing snowballs at a civilian car... its not coming thru... so this fag who is 500 meters away from everything gets a CAB... well now i feel like my earned CAB isn't worth shit... its the same with the CIB though... an infantryman deploys and spends the entire deployment in the training room... doesn't leave the wire once... he get a CIB... I've seen it.....

then you have these CAB hunters... mostly officers... they try and try to go on convoys and hope something happens so that they can get a CAB... as soon as they get one they stop going out... these fuckers are all over the place... they don't want to be in combat... they want a nice shiny award saying they've been in combat... its bullshit....

i don't wear mine because of this.... even though i earned mine i don't like being grouped with others who haven't.... i remember about a year before i deployed this time i was back at ft. Riley... i went to the chow hall and when going thru the line i see a SPC cook with a shiny CAB on his cook whites... it disgusted me... now i don't know this guys back story and i cant say he didn't earn it, but it was the principal... he walked around all the other cooks with a sense of superiority.... i could see it on him... that was the day i took my combat patch off and stopped wearing that as well... i never felt that i needed a patch or CAB to validate my experience or to prove to others my worth.... i know who i am and i know what I've done and been thru... i don't need to prove to everyone else that I've done my job or that I'm experienced....

i know I'm just ranting here, but i really don't like the way I'm recognized or the way others are... i don't like that others who have combat patches and CAB's or CIB's feel they are better then those who don't... there is a false sense of superiority the wearer feels... its just not me...