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Offline wpr  
#1 Posted : Saturday, November 29, 2008 7:05:14 PM(UTC)
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My son posts mesages on his facebook account for his friends. I thought I would from time to time copy and past his notes here.
The 1st 2 were prior to his being stationed at the airbase so I will start with #3. (It has been a week since I have heard anything from him.)

DF- I figure you will enjoy the 1st part of his message. That's how I knew I would have to post it here.

Quote:

Deployment Part 3

Sorry that it has taken so long for me to update you all. So first off happy belated Thanksgiving to you all. As for the update, here we go. Okay so a lot of exciting news. I actually am where I am supposed to be, well I am at least on the right base. I know what I am doing, well I know that it will be in one of two provinces, and I have an address. I am not going to post my address for obvious reasons but if you would like it message or email me and I will be happy to give it to you.

Okay so I am on BAF, Bagram Airbase. It is the largest base in Afghanistan. That means that while I am here I get things like great food, showers, and a comfy bed. BAF is larger then Dixon IL. For those of you unfamiliar with Dixon, Google it and you will get the size. On a base this large however, less then 5% of us actually leave the base and conduct missions. This means that the entire base is jaded and while they think they are super combat soldiers, they aren't. Instead they come up with rules like I have to wear a reflective belt, a belt that reflects light so people can see me, at night. This in itself is only a slight annoyance but when you couple it with the fact that there are compliance police here who's only job is to walk around and write 75 dollar tickets for everyone found not to comply with one of BAFs stupid rules this is unacceptable. I am in a war zone and people here have nothing better to do then make sure I am wearing a reflective belt. Thus I have not nor will I ever wear a belt or adhere to any of their rules. Yes I have been stopped by the compliance police but I am smarter then them so I either A) out wit them leaving me feeling superior in every way and leaving them in such a state that they don't even understand that I just made fun of them and their existence until I am far away, B) I just ignore them and keep walking, or C) Me and my friends yell at them about how we go off the base on missions and how dare they haze us since we are actually fighting the war. Option A is great fun but not always possible. Option B is by far the most boring but probably the most mature, well i guess the most mature option would be to wear the belt but then I would be validating their ridiculous request hence not an option. Option C is usually what happens and I think the only reason it works is because when faced with a group of people these compliance police are so spineless that you can actually see their feet turning into puddles

Now for some good news. I am actually going to be doing the police mentor mission from here on BAF but there are two different Providences which we are in control of and I do not know for sure which team I am on. S***** is on one team and I want to be on that team because, well, I trust him with my life and have been training with him for the better part of 4 years. He is in the more dangerous of the two, which is still pretty safe. The other reason is that my stuff and my room are down in that teams housing area which is a mile away from the other teams area. I know this sounds like a dumb reason but I have just spent the better part of a month being gypsied around Afghanistan and I really don't want to move again. It is almost set in stone though that I am going to the other providence. The place that I am probably going to be at is the very essence of green zone, a safe zone for those that do not know what a green zone is. There has not been one, Not one attack on an American in that place in over a year. So yes the mission would be easier but I would have to not operate with a good friend, and I would have to repack all my gear and move a mile down the road to a place teaming with the before mentioned compliance police.

Now for even better news. I went on my first mission today. It wasn't much we just drove to another camp to drop off some people so they could fly home but I had to drive through Kabul. Driving in Kabul in like driving in the worst Chicago traffic with people running in between the cars and across the road. No one has a drivers license or even agrees on what side of the road to drive on. On top of this there is the never ending threat of the bad guys trying to ruin your day. Needless to say I did not sleep at all last night because I was thinking about this to much. Today on the convoy while trying to keep the traffic out of a traffic circle I realized two things. 1) we have been here long enough and most people in Kabul like us enough that when they are told to stop to let us by they do. And 2) for the 5% that doesn't stop or that tries to see how far they can go before we stop them, I realized that my humvee is bigger then their toyota, and yes it is a toyota or a lexis; why I don't know, they just all are and some are better then any car I have ever owned, and that if they get in my way I won't feel bad at all for hitting their car or for making them stop so my friends can get by. After this the rest of the trip was easy. I even fell asleep when I wasn't driving. Before the mission one of the guys leaving read the soldiers prayer from the bible and at the instant I knew everything was going to be okay.
"You don't hurt 'em if you don't hit 'em." Chesty Puller



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Offline Rockmolder  
#2 Posted : Saturday, November 29, 2008 9:19:21 PM(UTC)
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That was a great read. He writes very well, I must say.

Must be nice to hear from your som again, especially if it's news this good. He seems to be doing great ^^.
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Offline dfosterf  
#3 Posted : Saturday, November 29, 2008 9:29:33 PM(UTC)
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Awesome.

Good to see things haven't changed much. The REMF's have David more pissed off than any Taliban soldier ever could. Thoroughly enjoyed that...

He didn't say it, so I'll say it for him, and it's a classic as regards those charged with enforcing those asinine rules...

"Whadda they gonna do to me, Send me to Afghanistan?"
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Offline wpr  
#4 Posted : Saturday, November 29, 2008 9:47:02 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: " Go to Quoted Post

"Whadda they gonna do to me, Send me to Afghanistan?"

You made his Momma laugh. :thumbright:
"You don't hurt 'em if you don't hit 'em." Chesty Puller



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Offline wpr  
#5 Posted : Sunday, November 30, 2008 3:47:05 AM(UTC)
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I decided to post my son's 1st 2 notes. When reading his comments, it is helpful to know that they sent my son and his team out 3 weeks earlier than what they had been scheduled to leave simply because someone here in the States got a wild hair and decided as long as they had a plane flying to Afghanistan with room on it let's send these guys over as well. This means he only had 3 days of leave instead of the 3 weeks we thought he was going to get.

Quote:
Deployment Part 1

Okay so the day that we all have know had to come is here. So as most of you know I left the States on Tuesday and am now overseas. We have not yet gone into Afghanistan yet but we are at a staging area near there. For security reasons I am not going to post where we are or when we will be heading into Afghanistan but rest assured I will be there before too long. We have a good idea the area we are going to be heading into, again i will not name it for security reasons. I should be able to get online at least once a week and update this so that everyone can follow me along, as Allen put it, one of the most defining parts of my life. So let me keep this short and say that I appreciate all your prayers and wishes of well being and that I will be home soon to be with you all again.


Quote:
Deployment Part 2

Okay so sorry that I haven't written anything for a few days but when I explain what has been happening to me you will hopefully understand. So when we left off I was in Kyrgyzstan, basically south Russia, waiting for my flight into Afghanistan. So the flight... We do not go to bed the night before because we are told that we have to get all of our bags on a pallet to fit on the plane at midnight. So midnight rolls around and we walk over to the loading dock and it is locked. After standing around in the freezing late Russian fall we find out that they moved bag drop back a few hrs so we have to go back to our tent but we still can't sleep because we have to go back and pack bags in a little bit. So we get our bags packed and load up on the plane. It is a military C-17. We are crammed in tighter then sardines, while wearing full gear. Despite my hatred of turbulent plane rides and the fact that my side arm was digging into my leg, I think that the fact that I couldn't move in the seat was just comforting enough that I passed out for the two or so hr flight to Bagram Air Base.

We hit Bagram sometime early in the morning before the sun is up. Because to do anything after sunrise would just be stupid. My friends and I joke that we are going to give the Generals a copy of the farmers almanac so that they can plan for sunrise. We get shuffled into a tent in a way that can only be described as herding cattle who's' legs have atrophied. Once we get there I will give you one guess as to what happened. If you guessed that like in Kyrgyzstan they had no clue who we were you are correct. We then spend the rest of the day sitting in that tent after all the rest of the teams have left for their in process stations and wait for them to figure out why we are even in Afghanistan. Finally they take us to a tent with a few cots where we are supposed to wait and we all almost immediately pass out. We are awakened at midnight, packed our bags and go to the terminal at Bagram waiting for our flight to Kabul to in process. We waited there until about 6 then were bused out to a C-130 to fly to Kabul. For those of you who do not know Kabul is only about 20 miles away from Bagram and is only a 7 minute flight. Three hrs later our flight finally lands in Kabul

You might be wondering why it took us three hrs to do a 7 minute flight. Well let me tell you. We are ready to board the C-130 when I notice that it says "Peoria" on the tail. I ask the flight crew if they are from Illinois and they are. We talk for a little while and I tell them that they have to make the flight to Kabul extra nice because they have Illinois boys on their bird. One of them looks at me funny and says, "Kabul? we are going to Islamabad". Again for those that need to brush up on their geography, Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan. You read me correctly PAKISTAN. That is right they flew me into another country instead of the 7 min flight to Kabul. The reason was that some Congressional aids had to get home so we had to fly there first to pick them up and then drop us off in Kabul. But hey now I get to say that I put boots on ground in Pakistan.

Okay so at this point in my journey kids I am just now getting into Kabul. Now we get there and again we go to in process and again they tell us that we are not supposed to be here yet and we get thrown into yet another transition housing tent. We sit in Kabul for three days and go through a whole lot of briefings and we start to think that maybe things will settle down and we can get set into what our job will be. Nope.
Later that evening we find out that although a great sergeant from dixon is going to be joining us, S***** for those of you who know him, we will be losing four of our guys to another mission in another part of the country. That is a blow that some of us are still p!ssed about. So we all leave Kabul to go to a base on the other side of the city to finish in processing and to go to our respective bases.

It is at this base that I now sit. I have been here for a day and a half and we do not in process until tomorrow. Our higher ranking team members, not me, are in a class for the next few days then we should move out to the area we are being tracked as heading to. This is what should happen but we will see what really happens. I will post some pictures of the sights around here when I get them from my friend. My camera got lost in one of these crazy transfers from base to base so I need to buy a new one. So if you want to donate to the "I need a new camera fund", talk to my mom. No no, I am just kidding. Hopefully I will be able to give you all an address soon so that you can start sending me letters and cookies. Until then I appreciate the messages and emails. Take care of yourselves and I will take care of myself. I love you all.
"You don't hurt 'em if you don't hit 'em." Chesty Puller



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Offline dfosterf  
#6 Posted : Sunday, November 30, 2008 11:29:47 AM(UTC)
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Well, at least they kept him on the same continent, which is an improvement over some past operations I have witnessed. Honest to God... a long, long time ago, before I had really learned the science of disgusted resignation, I would just place my hands on my hips, shake my head, and contemplate in absolute awe and wonder how the military could totally screw things up. If it involves a mode of transportation any more sophisticated than your leather cadillacs (boots), you can pretty much plan that- pretty much, there is no plan. I learned all this after I learned all the swear words that are available and deployable in such situations. It is no wonder that most really good profanity can trace it's roots back to the military. You have your SNAFU, (Situation normal all f#cked up) which is an extreme oldie, but goodie. You have my preferred phrase, which if you re-read David's blog will discover is stunningly accurate---clusterf#ck, You also have your "hurry up and wait", etc. To those unfamiliar with some of the vernacular, I mentioned REMF-- Rear echelon MotherF#cker... a wing-wiper is anyone associated with the military air wing(s), a pogue is also rear echelon... you have your remington raiders-- these are REMFS with typewriters/computers (named for a brand of typewriter). A war hero is anyone that has never been outside the base/compound...I could go on, but I'll let David fill in the details, as evidenced by his blog, he no doubt learned (and deployed) all of them while hurrying up and waiting, I'm sure.


I also would bet that someone in his unit turned the whole clusterf#ck into a game... This is where you start predicting just how badly "they" are going to screw with you, and attempting to determine when the screwing with you ceases, and reveling in just how badly you can be treated like absolute shit... This can actually be a lot of fun, especially when someone plays straight man, foolishly believing (like a civilian might) that the game is actually over when it has only begun...as the military can absolutely amaze the most jaundiced and cynical ... e.g. I once spent a week stranded on a beach with my unit, the US Navy having forgot about us...this after we had (Actually) thought the "game" was over, having been screwed with (one of those stories) for the week prior to the stranding :icon_smile:

Keep 'em coming, I love reading these!
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Offline vikesrule  
#7 Posted : Sunday, November 30, 2008 12:24:24 PM(UTC)
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As my jarhead amigo has enumerated, there is a laundry list of acronyms that those in the military use to describe the unbelievable idiocy that sometimes surrounds operations.

Two of my favorites were:
FUBAR - F&%#ed Up Beyond All Recognition
BOHICA - Bend Over, Here It Comes Again

It sounds like David has been given a very quick introduction to these situations where the numbnuts reinforce their total oblivion to reality.

"reflective belts"??? In a combat zone? Unreal!!
And yet ,unfortunately believable.

However, seems like David has come a rapid realization of these realities and has adapted very well.

Keep em' coming wpr.


Have you considered documenting all of David's correspondence, say perhaps into a journal?
Offline dfosterf  
#8 Posted : Sunday, November 30, 2008 12:25:04 PM(UTC)
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I'm sorry, but David's saga brought back a not-so-fond memory I must share. He mentioned that his plane trip was 7 miles. Now you would think, and thank goodness it apparently wasn't thought of, that his CO might get the bright idea to take the initiave and walk the 7 miles (good old reliable leather cadillacs). Take it from on expert on little, but an expert on that...

I once trained at a place called the Verona Loop. This is approximately 18 miles from Camp Lejeune, with the town of Jacksonville, NC between the loop and the base. Long story short, see David's blog, no transportation after a week in the loop. About midnight on a day that started the previous midnight in prep for helicopters that never came, followed by six-by's that never came, followed by Gama goats that never.... (see David's story)... CO decides we are going to walk it in. We get to the main gate, and the MP OIC (officer in charge) informs our CO that weapons are not authorized to be carried while on foot in Onslow county, as it makes the civilians nervous, or some such. The oh, so natural (and uniquely military) logic employed to solve the situation? Guessed yet? Make us walk back through town, back to the Verona loop, and await transportation. Of course you know that at around 0900, enroute back to the Verona loop, our convoy passed us heading back to base, didn't think anything about the 100 Marines heading the wrong way and waving at them, etc. I could go on, but I just wanted to share how impressed I am with the fact that nobody made this type of mistake in Afghanistan the other day. :icon_smile:
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Offline wpr  
#9 Posted : Sunday, November 30, 2008 12:27:43 PM(UTC)
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I knew you would appreciate the humor in all of this. I doubt much has changed since Valley Forge.

On another topic- TTech about screwed the pooch (keeping in the military theme) yesterday in their game with Baylor.
"You don't hurt 'em if you don't hit 'em." Chesty Puller



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Offline wpr  
#10 Posted : Sunday, November 30, 2008 1:01:13 PM(UTC)
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VR- I have all of his correspondence but have not even thought about a journal as of yet. I just want to get thru this next year 1st.

DF- I have thought about that 7 mile trip he had to take and wondered why they needed to be air lifted. I could not imagine them being made to walk it. (Grunts or Jarheads, yes but not Weekend Warriors from the Natl Guard.) I figured they would be convoyed in via ground transportation.


edit- had to fix Vikes name. sorry.
"You don't hurt 'em if you don't hit 'em." Chesty Puller



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Offline Cheesey  
#11 Posted : Sunday, November 30, 2008 2:15:29 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: " Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: " Go to Quoted Post

"Whadda they gonna do to me, Send me to Afghanistan?"

You made his Momma laugh. :thumbright:


As he's already there, they might do even worse and send him to Chicago!!!!

Anyway.....GREAT read!
If i was your son, with the reflective belt issue, i would also have fun with it. One night i might put it around my head.
Next night put it around my waist........UNDER my clothes! That way, he's WEARING it, so that will mess with the "Clothing Police". Then when they ask why he's not wearing it, he can pull up his shirt, and with a straight face say "I AM wearing it!"
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Offline Cheesey  
#12 Posted : Sunday, November 30, 2008 2:18:17 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: " Go to Quoted Post
I'm sorry, but David's saga brought back a not-so-fond memory I must share. He mentioned that his plane trip was 7 miles. Now you would think, and thank goodness it apparently wasn't thought of, that his CO might get the bright idea to take the initiave and walk the 7 miles (good old reliable leather cadillacs). Take it from on expert on little, but an expert on that...

I once trained at a place called the Verona Loop. This is approximately 18 miles from Camp Lejeune, with the town of Jacksonville, NC between the loop and the base. Long story short, see David's blog, no transportation after a week in the loop. About midnight on a day that started the previous midnight in prep for helicopters that never came, followed by six-by's that never came, followed by Gama goats that never.... (see David's story)... CO decides we are going to walk it in. We get to the main gate, and the MP OIC (officer in charge) informs our CO that weapons are not authorized to be carried while on foot in Onslow county, as it makes the civilians nervous, or some such. The oh, so natural (and uniquely military) logic employed to solve the situation? Guessed yet? Make us walk back through town, back to the Verona loop, and await transportation. Of course you know that at around 0900, enroute back to the Verona loop, our convoy passed us heading back to base, didn't think anything about the 100 Marines heading the wrong way and waving at them, etc. I could go on, but I just wanted to share how impressed I am with the fact that nobody made this type of mistake in Afghanistan the other day. :icon_smile:

Geez.......typical "governmental" thinking. Everytime i read stories like this, i think of the word "Snafu". When i was a kid, i didn't know what it meant........but ever since i found out.....man......how well that word fits situations like this!
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