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Meanwhile in Iraq

October 12th, 2011 by name withheld

So I am currently deployed to Iraq and so far this deployment has been nothing but one big “what not to do” campaign from the top down. There are probably a million things I could add to the list at this point but I have one story in particular that stood out.

First off let me say that I am a 35M, or human intelligence collector. Now, all of us hold clearances of TS or at the very least a secret that is under investigation for an upgrade, and needless to say we work with a lot of classified material on a daily basis. I am not sure how it works in the rest of the army but in our office we have red cables and green cables. The red cables are plugged into the computers with red SECRET stickers on them and the green cables are used with the green UNCLASSIFIED computers.

So anyway, we had just received a new team member to replace one that had just been injured (he decided adding together two workouts he saw in UFC Magazine was a good idea and fucked his shoulder up). Now this new guy was not a young bright eyed bushy tailed private, he was a 45 year old prior Marine who decided that reenlisting in the Army would solve his midlife crisis. So this guy works with us for about two weeks before we run into major issue #1. Remember what I said about green and red cables? Well apparently he didn’t. He plugged a green able into a red computer and commenced trying to send up his reports. After a few minutes he got frustrated that it wasn’t working and asked our team lead what the problem was. As soon as the team leader saw the wrong cable in the computer he ripped it out and immediately started swearing (he has a knack for colorful insults as most NCOs do). So there was a big investigation and we almost lost all connectivity in our office, but luckily they let this guy off on sheer stupidity.

I wish the story ended there but it didn’t. As soon as the investigation was over the new guy received a stand alone computer to type up reports on. He was very explicitly told that this computer does not get plugged into any network and that he was to burn his reports onto a CD to move them over. As an added safeguard the computer had a generic log in and password very clearly labeled by the keyboard, and a plug in the Ethernet port to prevent any cables magically appearing in it. Thinking that this guy couldn’t possibly be stupid enough to cause any more harm we went about our business as usual while he typed up his reports.

No more than maybe fifteen minutes go by and I hear my team leader screaming again, “what the fuck are you doing?!” There sits a very confused soldier getting his ass handed to him again. Somehow in the last fifteen minutes he had forgotten that the user name and password were labeled on the keyboard in front of his face, and got frustrated that his network log in wasn’t working. To remedy this he decided the issue was that there was no Ethernet cable plugged in so he found one and tried to plug it in, but then he noticed an obstruction in the port so he whipped out his trusty Gerber and removed it. He then commenced to try and log into the network with an unauthorized computer…our Ethernet switch was just down and we had to move offices.

At least he got the cable colors right the second time……

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20 Responses to “Meanwhile in Iraq”

  1. Psychlycan Says:

    And thus we have the origin of the sarcastic version of “military intelligence”


  2. Jim C Says:

    I have to admit I am always concerned when we get someone from a different service. I know there are many good people that changes services, but there are some who change services because their old service doesn’t want them back.

    While in USAF at Griffiss AFB in 1983 we had a new SSGT who was ex navy. Two years latter he was given a bad conduct discharge as an Airman Basic.

    He was busted from SSGT to SGT, SGT to Senior Airman, Senior Airman to Airman First Class, and finally to Airman Basic. 4 different infractions in two years. Not to mention numerous letters of reprimand and informal punishments.


  3. Swainson Says:

    It’s an oxymoron – “military intelligence”
    That’s what my dad told me, just before he started on his opinion of Marines. He was a Para.


  4. SKD Says:

    That is just sad. How does someone with such a lack of attention to detail and obvious inability to follow directions get assigned to an intel office?


    Ian M reply on October 13th, 2011 8:37 am:

    Presumably, because nobody else would have him.


    jmireles reply on October 13th, 2011 11:23 am:

    It’s a well known phenomenon. At least once in your career, you will encounter someone whose ineptitude and stupidity makes you question your own life choices. I’ve encountered at least two. Three if you count that walking EO Complaint of a senior medic I once worked under. Moron consulted the field guide for bug bites. The platoon he was assigned to actually decided that their CLS would care for any wounded, and they would beat the shit out of him if he tried to touch them. If you make the training “dummy-proof”, the occasional dummy will make it through.


    Angelus reply on October 13th, 2011 11:18 pm:

    I’m consistently shocked by the (low) caliber of intelligence of the people I work with in Army Aviation. My platoon is also part of an intel company, so I get to be on the sidelines of the 35-series idiocy.


    M578jockey reply on October 14th, 2011 8:23 am:

    I had one of those who worked for me. He was a generals son. He was a wheel mechanic who, through a series of incredible screw ups, ended up working for me in the track section. (Don’t ask) I told him to go remove a shock absorber mount one day, a task which consisted of removing three 15/16 bolts. Half an hour later when I walked through the maintenance bay he still hadn’t removed them. His excuse, “I’m a wheel mechanic, I don’t know anything about tracks.” Two of my guys had to hold me back to keep me from killing him.


    jmireles reply on October 15th, 2011 11:37 am:

    During my deployment, I would occasionally get stuck working with a medic from the Oklahoma Guard (I’m Missouri Guard). Dude was the all-brawn-no-brains type. His off-duty time was a mixture of hydroxycut and weight lifting. On-duty, he was a mediocre medic with a tendency to verbally abuse our patients. The fact that 98% of our patients didn’t speak English was too much for him I guess. So, one evening, I’m “entertaining” myself by studying anatomy and physiology (read: watching porn) when I suddenly hear, “Umm…a little help, please.” I look up and the following is what I saw. (Believe me, I can’t make this shit up.) The genius had decided that he needed to practice starting an IV on himself. Now, while this isn’t unusual, the way he went about it was way wrong. He thought it would be a good idea to use a 14 gauge needle. For those who don’t know, needle gauges work like shotgun gauges. The smaller the number, the larger the diameter. 14 gauge falls somewhere just shy of rebar. We generally don’t use them for IV’s, preferring instead to use them for needle chest decompression. Imagine my surprise when I look up, and dumb shit has a constricting band around his arm, with a 14 gauge IV catheter sticking out of a vein, with huge gouts of blood flowing down his arm. The next few minutes were a mixture of me cussing him out, while bandaging his arm, and making him clean up his own blood.


  5. SPC Wilson Says:

    We’ll take the old marines in FA. In general, they’re tough as hell and there’s not a whole lot of harm they can do. Manual labor, anyone?


  6. kat Says:

    See, “that one guy” there’s always one, and he always makes you question humanity, god and the human race.


    steelcobra reply on October 21st, 2011 11:55 pm:

    You can’t say “one”, because at least half the RIP failures we got at 10th Group SIGDET were complete knuckleheads who just couldn’t get it.

    Like the guy who failed Security+ right after passing MCSA – on an expensive TDY trip to a civilian training/testing site. And who kept on just being stupid. Apparently now he bought a house he couldn’t afford at E4 pay, his wife doesn’t work, got another Article 15, and last I heard he was getting chaptered hard and fast.


  7. steelcobra Says:

    …And this is why the Signal Corps can be full of pissed-off caffeine addicts.


  8. Speed Says:

    Yeah, I work with all sorts of 35s and am constantly amazed at the lack of common sense. I have no beefs with prior Marines; it’s the self-described geniuses that can’t complete the most basic of tasks that wear me out. The worst part is that I have to address them as “Sir” or “Ma’am” and get stuck fixing what they just fucked up. The only solution seems to be to promote them and move them out to their next slot.

    Perhaps being a prior Signal Corps soldier and caffeine addict may have something to do with my attitude and observations.


  9. JMireles Says:

    I’ve noted that the higher the IQ, the lower their ability to use common sense. My wife’s ex is very much the same way. He’s a computer genius who thinks that a dish washer works just as fine on cold water as it does hot. He’s come to the conclusion that anything not found on his phone or google is wrong, and therefor must be ignored. He went from my wife right to another woman because he’s barely capable of tying his own shoelaces, let alone paying his own bills. Also, he’s painfully aware of his high IQ, and won’t hesitate to let others know that he’s smarter than them, which accounts for the hard time he has keeping a job.


    JMireles reply on November 8th, 2011 10:25 pm:

    Which leads me to ask the question. If they have a high IQ, but are completely lacking in common sense, and social graces, how smart could they possibly be?


  10. This SPC 35M Says:

    It’s so funny you say that, as I am a 35M… and i work with some pretty freaking stupid people.


  11. Hawley Says:

    Military Intel is a job description, not a pre-requisite.


  12. Richard Brown Says:

    Signal Corps! Urah! We won’t fight/march and you can’t make us.

    Caffine addicts… either coffee,tea,highly caffinated soda’s.

    Or in earlier days, tobacco addicts.

    Nuke Surety Duty Positions, 12 hour HF radio watches.
    Why do you need more cigarette rations? Uh, I go thru 4 packs *minimum* trying to remain awake during a night shift?


  13. John Says:

    Sadly, I have a similar story to recount.

    My MOS is 25B, the ‘Geek Squad’ if you will. This incident occurred during what is known as a Comm Ex. We were basically dry running our tactical network with a small load of users (I want to say less than 10 on average) to make sure we have the capability to go into our impending Field Exercise and be up and running within an hour. Well, this PFC in my S-1 shop, whom shall be forever known as PFC No-Computer, decided that while he was on watch detail that he would have his personal computer with him.

    Any problems with it so far? Answer is no, primarily as while it was not recommended to have personal electronics with you when you were in the field or on shift, it was not so frowned upon that noone did it. Hell even our commander did it with an iPad or gameboy or some crap like that, I don’t remember. Anyways, anyone in the military who has been granted access to the computer network for more than a day knows this one, of multiple, cardinal laws about the network: “NEVER PLUG IN YOUR PERSONAL EQUIPMENT TO THE GOVERNMENT NETWORK”. Well, No-Computer apparently did not recall that clause when he signed the Use Policy memorandum when he first got his access.

    Needless to say, this dumbass ended up getting our network switch locked up entirely due to a “rogue access” (He had enough honor at least to man up and admit it was him…his only saving grace), which we ended up finding out about a day later by Brigade. His excuse: I thought that this set-up would be just like regular Internet, like an MWR cafe.

    Punishments included:
    -Forfeiture of network access privileges until completion of a basic computer safety and awareness course created by Brigade, to be supervised by the S-6 NCOIC and OIC at both Brigade and Battalion level(they were all pissed that they had to do it)
    -Forfeiture of his personal computer where it ended up getting wiped clean: No Operating System, No Recovery Partition
    -Company Grade Article 15
    -The humiliation of knowing that he caused a situation that in a realtime environment he could have cost us all our lives and at the very least delayed us in our capabilities to complete the mission.


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