Saturday, December 29, 2007

Operations for Dummies

I wasn't going to post for a few more days, but this is just too damn funny. I know my buddy CI Roller Dude will especially like this. The funniest thing though is the fact that this is way more accurate than the real FM. Sorry if this doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense to my civilian readers, but trust me - this shit is funny. ht to B5

The Army has a lot of processes that it is still trying to figure out. Don’t worry about these things. Just be happy if somebody actually gets you an order that you can understand in time for you to do something about it.
Oh and be sure to read all the way down to the glossary. My favorite:
Soldier: Individual speaking in expletives and wearing cool-looking digital camouflage that doesn’t blend in with anything.
Happy New Year to All.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Just a simple post to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, as you can see we are in the spirit here. With the Muslim holiday of Eid falling just before Christmas this year, things have been relatively quiet here. Thanks to everyone for all the support and care packages.

I am going to take a short break from the updates, but don't worry - you all can look forward to more smart ass comments after the New Year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Runnin' and Gunnin'

OK, I am officially NEVER going to write NSTR or "same ole' shit" again! The day after I posted Update:NSTR, all hell broke loose here. A very important someone was assassinated by an EFP here, and within a few hours everyone in the city with a gun was firing it into the air. The base defense guys were freaked out and more than a few bullets fell on the ground near people inside the base.

Timing being what it is for me, we were nearby when it happened and were one of the first American units to respond. The MPs showed up to collect evidence and talk to witnesses, but our main job was to keep our Partner Force from killing the nearby Iraqi Police. For those who haven't followed the drama here, the IPs, as they are known, are suspected of being heavily infiltrated by militia members, and so since the EFP was emplaced within sight of an IP checkpoint our Jundees almost went to war with their own Police Force. Luckily we settled that down, but soon information was flowing in like crazy, and we were rolling out on targets we had never heard of before. Either way, four nights in a row we hit target after target. Every night the same mix of excitement and fear - all your aches and pains are gone until you wind down at the end of the mission. Every night we rolled with our Partner Forces. Like the cavalry we came. We came fast and furious on them, unprepared for our speed and violence, they we were ours. How the Iraqis knew so much about who to hit so fast is a mystery to me, but every night the detainees from last night gave up a new set of targets.

Imagine you are in a dark and cramped Humvee, planted in your seat by the weight of your gear. You have the accelerator pinned to the floor, almost standing on it really, using the steering wheel to pull yourself forward to be sure you get every last horse out of that engine. With lights out, you scream into a village, soon dust envelopes you and all you can see are the two red tail lights of the Iraqi truck in front. You can taste the dust, feel it, it works into your pores. "Where the fuck is he going?", "Is this the house", "Fuck, fuck, drive, drive", "Shit, get out of here." "Move, move, get those fucking Iraqis moving!!" Then an explosion. You feel the concussion wave more than you hear it. And the smell and taste of it makes you gasp for fresh air. Pandemonium. Well, to the untrained eye maybe. Everyone is steel faced and everyone is focused. Doing their job. Trusting that the other guy will do his. Soon it is over, and how ever critical we may be of ourselves, we have bested the enemy and no one is even hurt. You RTB (Return to Base) and the sun is coming up. You are tired, but really that is not the word for it. Dead tired? No, not sure how to put it, but it takes a while to "Amp-down" and sleep. But sleep you do, sleep like the dead. Then up and at it again another day.

And so it was. Now we are "back to normal" as it were. But, now at least, we are past the "early in the deployment work as hard as you can" mode and into the "main deployment, make sure you get rest so you are ready for anything at any time" mode.

As for our media visit, you'll have to buy the book to find out about that, but much to my shagrin a lot of footage was shot for a special to air in the Spring. Not to be defeated, I remembered the advice of an old Platoon Sergeant of mine (no, not pee every chance you get, you never know) - when it comes to the media, be cordial, but drop the F-bomb as much as possible and they will edit you out!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What we have Wrought

Thought for the day - "The Americans promised they would make Iraq a symbol of liberty and prosperity. Now it has neither."

As I have said before no one I know takes pride in defending the Islamist parties in power. They are corrupt and incompetent, and almost certainly backing the Islamification of Southern Iraq and in the pockets of Iranian agents. Women, especially, are certainly much worse off than under Saddam, at least by many accounts. I can't say much about the alternative, because that goes against official policy and I don't want to run afoul of the State department.

Of course, we shouldn't expect too much from a country like this, they can't live up to American expectations in such a short time frame, and there are many, many good Iraqis trying hard to bring forward a better future for their country. But it will take time and it will take blood. And when I see stories like this - "Bad" Women Raped and Killed - it really makes me hate this place.

If you need a lift after such a negative post, check this blogger out PPT Ranger- pretty funny stuff.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Chirtmas Mookie

Tried to write an update today, but I am tired, have a headache, my feet are killing me, and this cough I have had for two months makes me see stars every time I have a coughing fit.

Things here have been interesting which doesn't necessarily mean good, but I'll save that for a proper update. I have gotten and shared a bunch of care packages - I am way behind in getting thank you e-mails out, but we are all grateful. I must say Hope's cookies are very good, but the brownies, holy shit what did you put in them?? Guys were fighting each other to get another brownie, I mean it - people were being thrown on the floor, out the door, etc.

Anyway, I am going to throw back a few beers and pass out, but thought you all might enjoy a peek at our early Christmas spirit - to the right is a picture of the Christmas Mookie. It is not well know, but Muqtada al-Sadr dresses up as Santa at the Iraq suug (marketplace) and hands out gifts and good tidings for all the little hajji's. One of his most popular gift is the lego advanced IED kit and the Mookie action doll with suicide belt.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


This is Murray, he is the biggest ass on camp.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Update: NSTR

Well, really not too much to report here. One day after the other of the same shit. Today was a little weird in that, while I guess it wasn't technically a sandstorm, the sky was filled with dust and looked alternately gray and orange, with the sun just a silver disk in the sky. Some random thoughts to bore you with:

  • We've got a media personality coming here, so we're going to have to get cleaned up, keep our uniforms clean and take him out on something or other so he has a story. More later.
  • Someone up high threw a fit that we are wearing DCUs instead of ACUs. Honestly, I could give a shit, but the fact they are worried about that when we aren't getting the support we need for our missions really pisses me of. (For the record, ACUs melt and stick to the skin when on fire, DCUs don't. That and the Iraqis we roll with wear DCUs, so we stand out less - which is good.)
  • I think Bill Gates is a terrorist - if it weren't for all these stupid fucking PowerPoint presentations we have to do, we might actually get out and fight this war. I swear there are whole classes of Officers who can't write a cogent fucking sentence, but can animate the shit out of Powerpoint with sound and swirling text and all the nonesense. These guys are intimidated by the written word and need everything to be "visual". As the best sales rep I ever knew told me, "these guys are all sizzle and no steak."
    "I must say I started to see more bad plans with good slides approved over good plans with no slides."
    - Robert Walsh
  • We are having a terrible time trying to get translators - If you are a Titan/L3 stockholder you should sell your stock, these idiots are giving up margin every single day by not filling our requests. We've even taken the step of finding the local terps, interviewing them, and recommending them - but the Titan/L3 managers won't get off their lazy asses to do the work to get us terps so we can push our Ops. If you are a Titan/L3 executive, e-mail me and I will lay the smack down on you!
  • There is a mosque in town with American, British, and Israeli flags painted on the ground, so all the followers of peaceful Islam can wipe their feet on the flags on the way in. I am thinking about getting a few copies of the Quran for the latrine.
  • Speaking of Israel, Iraq is a country run by rumor, these people will believe the most outlandish rumor before even considering the truth. People near our base are afraid that when we get mortared, the mortars will bounce off our forcefield and hit their house, that we have Israeli spies working in our kitchen, and Iraqi is messed up because our Blackhawks spray "stupid gas" on people. No, seriously.

Umm, what was I saying?

Monday, December 3, 2007


Thanks (i think?) to Katana for tagging me for a meme. The rules are that I must (1) List 7 random facts about myself, (2) tag 7 people, and (3) leave a comment on their blog letting them know.

So Katana tagged me like weeks ago, and I didn't even know what the hell a meme was/is. And I don't even know 7 people with blogs who I can tag, but..... in the interest of giving my readers something different, here goes:

1. I don't deal well with authority and hate being told what to do. (I know, I know, what am I doing in the frikin' Army? Well, I'm in the Guard.)
2. I have a tattoo of the Tasmanian Devil on my shoulder. Few people outside my unit know this.
3. I am totally that white guy who is only mainly interested in Asian girls, especially American-born. Why, ask valleygirl, she's done the analysis.
4. While I am the guy who makes friends with everyone, and can get anything anywhere from my connections, in truth I am an introvert, and have to recover in solitude for all the time spent talking to people. I retreat to my books and blog.
5. My wife is truly my best friend. I don't understand my friends who always complain about their wives. I'd rather be with her then out with the guys.
6. I never thought I was any good a learning foreign languages, but since I first joined the Army I have learned to get by in 4 languages. Czech, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Iraqi. Of course once I am "done" needing a language the vocabulary has gone for all but Czech, and of course Iraqi.
7. When it comes to Pirates versus Ninjas, I am without a doubt in the Pirate camp. Most ninjas run around in their long underwear, never have any fun or pick up cool women. And since discovering their source of power, the mystique surrounding Ninjas just isn't there anymore. Pirates, arghh, pirates on the other hand party ALL the time(like me), drink rum while working(again like me), and always, I mean always get the girl (ok, not so much). They know that rampaging through a coastal town shouldn't be all work. Now ninjas, they would just kill everyone and leave, not pirates. Exception: Katana is the only cool Ninja I know.

Tag your it? Damn, I am such a loser, I am only able to tag my buddy CI Roller Dude!