Getting Chilly!


22 December 2012

“Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon. He doesn’t worry about what workout to do – his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about ‘how hard it is;’ he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn’t go home at 17:00, he is home. He knows only The Cause.”

“Still want to quit?”
– Unknown United States Special Forces Soldier

It’s been almost a week since my last entry. Outside the wire has been very quiet and it has to do with the weather. The Taliban don’t like to fight much in the cold, and I can’t blame them, neither do I (and I have cold weather gear). It’s hitting low 40’s during the day but turning into a blistering 20 something at night. The heaters in our living areas are put to the test and are just enough to keep them livable. The afternoons are beautiful blue skies, and if it wasn’t for the stark wind, the days would be perfect for working on outside projects.

It’s no secret that we are pulling out of this country within a couple years. My last couple deployments we were in the thick of things and when you needed any supplies, all you did was ask. We got pretty much anything we asked for, and in large quantities. If you received too much of one item, it went into the storage containers. Often times we got supplies we didn’t ask for, and again, those items went into storage containers. Now that we are pulling out of this country, one of our secondary tasks is to organize, account for, and prepare all this excess equipment for eventual return to the US. Holy crap…

Today we shot down to the Ammunition Holding Area to fix all the containers full of Ammo. I can’t blame the outgoing unit for the mess they left us, hell; I did the same thing when I left Ramadi. When it’s time to go, it’s time to go! Most of today was spent stacking rounds, getting accurate counts, and filling out paperwork. Not my idea of a fun day, but it did get me out of my office and out in the elements.

I am leaving the FOB in a couple days to spend Christmas with one of my platoons at an outlying COP. The Commander and I have been alternating weeks for a daily trip to visit, but this time I am going to stay for about 5 days to see how they operate on a day to day basis and spend some time with them…

I had to conduct my first “Cross Troop” ass ripping last night. My old scouts would relate it to my good friend 1SG Almario back in Ramadi. That guy would constantly come over from his building and nuke my guys. Sometimes it was warranted, but most of the time he would do it for kicks. Last night I got a little heated. Our whole squadron lives in one area and everyone works on different schedules. I get that Soldiers need to let off steam and like to mess with each other, but it was almost midnight and one tent full of Soldiers from another troop was out of control. Someone from another tent yelled at them to shut up, but it didn’t work. In fact, I could hear one of them say “Fuck them, they don’t leave the wire”.

I lost it… I threw on my boots and went to the tent and opened the door. Semi-PSTD flashback, spit flying as I yell, walking down the hall.

Me to everyone: Yup, it sucks, your tent is right next to mine… What makes you think you are more important than anyone else here in the Squadron?

Me to a Sergeant that happened to pop his head out of his room: You go outside the wire?
Sergeant: ….
Sergeant:…. Yes, First Sergeant.
ME: Does that make you special or more important than the guys that don’t?
Sergeant:… Well 1SG, we go on missions, they don’t.
ME: So that makes you elite?
ME: How many times have you been blown up since we have been here?
Sergeant: ….
ME: How many firefights you been in stud?
Sergeant: ….. None
ME: How many enemy have you killed?
Sergeant: …none
ME: So what the F&*( DO YOU DO when you go on these missions?
Sergeant:…. Escort people
ME: What’s the longest mission you have pulled? 24, 36, 72 hours?
Sergeant:… 6 hours
ME: 6 HOURS? Every Day?
Sergeant:…. No
ME: Want to trade places with the TOC guys? You know, since you have had it so rough out in sector, you may need a change, don’t want you to get too stresed out. You know what? Each one of them would give their left nut to be where you are right now. So how about you show some consideration to others and keep it down? And how about you try and stop this attitude problem you and your guys have thinking you are better than everyone else?
Sergeant: …
ME: I asked a question, Sergeant…. Requires an answer.
Sergeant: yes First Sergeant
ME: That’s what I thought. Now keep it down.

And as I walked out of their tent, I now knew what went through 1SG Gear’s head in Ramadi. My platoon in Ramdi was the same way. Didn’t go out in sector? F you! The difference was that more often than not, we were going to be in some sort of contact when we left the gate. I was able to keep most of it squashed because I knew the feeling of not going into sector all the time. During my first deployment to Iraq I was a TOC guy and only left the FOB a few times. I would get hammered by one of the company commanders and reminded quite often that I didn’t know what it was like outside the wire. If he only knew how much I wanted to be with them… I would have given my left nut to be a Tank Commander during that deployment, but the cards had been dealt, I was the Battalion Master Gunner and worked in staff. So during the deployment to Ramadi I did all I could to keep the bravado at a minimum.

They were quiet the rest of the night. Happens again, I may have to take them out back and PT the hell out of them to knock out some of that energy. They will have their opportunity to fight. The winter doesn’t last forever and the Taliban are again going to want to play.

PS: One of the cool things on WordPress is that it shows were people are reading my blog from. It shows that I have a reader from Africa and was wondering if that person would shoot me a comment or message! Almost at 1000 reads as well! Thanks everyone for your continued support!

8 thoughts on “Getting Chilly!

  1. Good morning, 1SG! I came across your blog through a Facebook friend’s recommendation. Great stuff–I hope you keep up the writing. I’ve taken the liberty of adding you to the blog-roll on my site. I particularly like the way you’re able to connect/reflect upon/compare your experiences in Iraq with those of your current deployment. I have some Engineer buddies who were in Ramadi 2004-2005, so my antennae picked up hard on that mention. My own story focuses more on Afghanistan.

    If you can, drop me a line at sherpa AT I’d like to relay a possible venue for your writing. Meanwhile, keep your spirits up and your head down. Thoughts and prayers to you and yours.

  2. Thanks 1sgt for writing these. I’m a cdt at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Fl. Its always really nice to get a little perspective on what’s going on in the ‘real army.’ With all of that said, if everything goes well I’m set to commission in a year and a half and I’m a bit apprehensive. I want to do a good job and be good at what I do. Any pointers, advice ect would be greatly welcome.

  3. New Years Day here in New Zealand. stumbled across this blog which I found very interesting and puts a human face on a conflct not seen in media news. I,am in my seventies and served in Korea US Army, before any of you where born. I follow Army news in the media (all offical sanitized reports of course) your conversation with the other tent could have been taken from British Soldiers in Afganistan in the 1870s or when Lord Roberts marched from Kabul to relieve british troops surrounded by Afghans at Khandahar, in one of Kiplings poems he wrote: When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistans plains/And the women come out to cut up what remains/Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains/An go to your Gawd like a soldier.,Nothing new under the sun. You guys are the cream of the crop, the best of the best, your bloods worth bottling. I send my regards and best wishes to you and the guys you serve with.
    Ian Blissett. New Zealand

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