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Archive for the ‘Speed’ Category

Deployed

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

I have been absent, except for the occasional smart ass comment [beats being a dumbass] because I have been “deployed.” This delay makes my nom du skippyslist, “Speed,” a bit of a lie, but unavoidable.

I have to use quotation marks because I have been sent to the wilds in the good ole USA, to teach bright eyed, naïve, young soldiers an MOS. Somewhere, someone, no doubt a sadistic bastard that I once knew, decided that I had something to offer the new troops. So I’m an instructor.

Prior to this I thought that the BS threshold in the army was too low, but have found out that the cadre/command element in a US Army school are so damned bored that they have to invent ways to mess with the instructors.

I say mess with the instructors because they area limited to what they can do to the students any more, that “harassment” line is clear, well defined, and much closer than it was when I went to an AIT school.

I have received some sort of behavioral counseling about every other month or so – negative counseling the in army vernacular – and get the verbal type every week. I guess there are still some things that senior NCOs aren’t allowed to do.

I have compiled a list of more things that I cannot do from the past six months, and it should give you an idea of why such counseling has been deemed necessary.

1. Not allowed to call the “Foxtrot” class “Foxtards.”
2. When the Foxtrot instructors put down my MOS, not allowed to reply, “But it’s way better than being a ‘Foxtard.’”
3. Artillery is the King of Battle, and the Infantry is the Queen of Battle, not the “Bitches of Battle.”
4. Not allowed to call air assets the “Pimps of Battle.”
5. Air assets support the ground assets, not allowed to say they are “Stylin’ and Profilin.’” (more…)

Herding Cats

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Years ago, when Bosnia was the only thing going for the military [officially!], my national guard unit was sent there to act as a brigade headquarters in Slavonski Brod, Croatia. Various regular army, reserve and national guard units fell under our command, and we had the glorious name of Task Force Pershing.

In truth, we were little more than a glorified truck stop, but were a very good truck stop. The various sections were pro-active and kept the LSAs liveable. The Brown & Root head cook did a bang up job on the food, the best I have ever had on a deployment; the British Navy cooks beat the US Army guys hands down. The locally supplied fresh, bakery bread was just the icing on the cake.

Into this little slice of heaven some rain had to fall. The unit that “owned” Bosnia – 1st Infantry – was going home to Germany, and their replacement – 1st Armored – was driving on down through Austria and Hungary. Some of us were tasked to man the catch teams – the guys that would link up the various convoys and guide them in, or to man the various filling stations.

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Tips for Skippy

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

I don’t know everything about raising kids, but through the years I have learned a few things. My Dad never passed anything on to me or my brother about raising kids, he’s really old school: beat your kids, don’t ever hug them, tell them they stink. Most of what we know we had to learn the hard way. I do have some brothers-in-law that are very smart, and were kind enough to pass on very important information from time to time too. I like to think that I’m a nice guy too, so I’ll pass some on to Skippy and anyone else needing guidance.

Disclaimer: These will not work if your wife reads this.

(Note from Skippy: You are aware that she knows about this site, right?)

First, a fact, just in case you didn’t know:

As long as your wife is breast feeding, baby poop really doesn’t stink.

This is important, because this is your window to rack up a lot points. Change as many poopy diapers as you can during this phase. Change as many diapers as you can regardless during this phase.

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Warfighter

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Around the time we were fighting in Vietnam, the Army decided that officers and senior NCOs needed to spend time in staff jobs to get a better understanding of the system works, and to help them become more professional. Whether you believe it or not, that’s the official word. In short, to get promoted, you have to get your ticket punched.

One problem was in the lack of training of staff officers, etc. Anyone can type up a report and fill out the paperwork for training schedules, ordering toilet paper and such, but no one was getting trained on how to move the flags on the maps and how to order subordinate units around. Thus the “Warfighter” training was born, just in time for Desert Storm.

Because it is training for office workers, it was named Warfighter. That’s a little bit of an army oxymoron, like the overused “Army Intelligence,” or the ever popular “Meal Ready to Eat.” Call it what is not and maybe, just maybe the troops will believe it.

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“Gotta Catch Them All”

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

This one is not on my list as I was not told not to do it. Back when I got “deployed” to Ft. Bragg in 2001 with the North Carolina National Guard – I have to use the quotation marks since I still can’t understand how you can be deployed in the same state that you live in – I had the opportunity to be attached to the XVIIIth Airborne Corps G-2.

Quick explanations: the XVIIIth ABC is the parent organization over the 82nd Airborne, the 101st Air Assault, 10th Mountain, 3rd Infantry and a few other smaller units. G-2 is the Intel Section.

I quickly noticed that all of the officers carried black notebooks around everywhere they went. Within a few days our officers were also carrying around the black notebooks. Being the nosy sort, I asked a few of them what the notebooks were for, thinking that maybe I should be carrying one too. I was told to mind my own business.

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The Easter Beer Hunt

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

When I was stationed at Ft. Hood, Texas, it was a dark depressing time for me.  If I were a painter it would have been my “black period,” for I would have painted the red door black time and again.  On the advice of one of the sergeants, one of the Vietnam vets, I volunteered for service in Turkey.  This sergeant constantly sang the praises of being stationed in Turkey and was on orders to return himself.

I arrived in Turkey in late February 1981.  I was stationed on the Black Sea.  Even though it is on the north coast of Turkey, the climate is much like the coastal Carolinas with hot summers and very mild winters.

In spite of the mildness, there was a lot of rain in the winter and a lot of fog. The short winter still got everyone down, mostly because of the constant rain and fog.  It was like working in the commcenter of the living dead.

Things started to change in late March: we actually began seeing the sun from time to time.  All of the little finches and bright green birds, whatever they were, started coming back from the south.

One Sunday morning (it just happened to be my day off that week) I was awakened by a loud banging on my room door.  My roommate had PCS’ed, so I had to get up and open it.  As I was rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, one of the guys was all excited and blurted out, “Kelly’s hiding the beers!”

He then ran off to the next door and started banging furiously on it too.

What?  Kelly’s hiding the what?  What beer?

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Yada, Yada, Yada

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Back when I was in the North Carolina National Guard, and six weeks after 9/11, we were mobilized.  We all had hopes, visions, and wet dreams about going to Afghanistan.  We went to Ft. Bragg.

Our unit was the rear command post for the XVIII Airborne Corps, so it was thought that we could augment the actual HQ while they planned on going to Afghanistan.  Of course, we were supposed to go with them.

When the time game to go, half of us were left behind as the rear detachment.  That sucked in just about every way.  They went on Operation Enduring Freedom, and I stayed back on Operation Enduring Boredom.

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Sniper Check!

Monday, January 26th, 2009

My National Guard unit was sent to Croatia in support of the Bosnia mission in the summer of 1997.  Basically, we were a glorified truck stop for supply convoys heading into Bosnia until the railroad bridges over the Sava River, the northern border of Bosnia, could be replaced. All of the bridges over the river had been blown during the war.

In the fall there were riots at the Brcko bridge.  Brcko is pronounced Birchko.  That’s the secret of Serbo-Croatian, any ‘e,’ ‘i,’ or ‘u’
sound in English is left out when they spell the word, plus the ‘c in the middle of the word sounds like ‘ch,’ and at the end of the word is either ‘ch,’ or ‘ts.’

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Not On My List

Monday, January 19th, 2009

This isn’t on my list.  I was not an active participant, but an observer.  It’s something that sticks with me even today, both the humorous and the parts left unsaid.

When I finished up my time in the regular army, I still had a two year commitment.  I decided to spend my time in the reserve and make some extra money, as long as I didn’t have any problems like I did with my last section sergeant while I was stationed in Turkey [see the M-O-U-S-E story].  If that happened, my plan was to go into the IRR and since we were still fighting the Cold War, I was secure in the knowledge that I wouldn’t get sent to some rat hole overseas as an augmentee.  I ended up spending one year of that time in a signal detachment.

In my duty section we had a host of Vietnam vets.  Two of the sergeant first classes were always trying to one-up the other on how bad they had had it over in Nam.  Back then one of them had been infantry, the other an MP.  They both would be out of place today.  The grunt’s hair was always just a little too long and the MP was always just a little too fat.  He certainly wouldn’t have made weight or passed the tape test in today’s anorexic-army.  Their BDUs always looked like they had slept in them too.

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Not Allowed to “Reply to All”

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

When I was in the National Guard, I was in a ROC unit.  ROC means Rear Operations Center, and it was the rear command post for the XVIII Airborne Corps.  What that means is that while the regular army guys ran the battle in the main command post, our job was to make sure that all of the supplies and replacements got up to the battle.  Our secondary mission was to take over the battle if the main command post was taken out.

Every year we had to take part in a War Fighter exercise.  War Fighters are exercises that help to train officers and senior sergeants how to run the headquarters.  Most captains have to take a staff position to get their ticket punched and prove that they are worthy for promotion to major.  Sergeants have to move to staff positions since most units don’t need a lot of master sergeants or sergeant majors.

The common thread here is that this is where they got trained for the staff jobs they had to do instead of leading soldiers in combat.

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