Sunday, August 19, 2007


It's not that the gear wasn't over there right away, it was just that there were certain priority levels that needed to be filled until gear got down to, you know, the guys who actually needed it. Sometimes it seemed like it had to filter down through the various units that ordered it, received it, transported it, and distributed it, heck, sometimes I was kind of grateful to be kept in supply of the sand-paper, single ply, finger prone to poke through whilst - you know - tp. Made for interesting comments when we would form a sewing circle to repair uniforms, tape up boot holes, etc. when certain supply guys were rolling around in the latest super sneaky ricky recon gear. It should be mentioned that even half-way through the deployment, the situation was a lot better (not that it could get any worse), and we eventually got most of what we needed, and even a few wants, here and there. The guys who were the pro taxi service for the Battalion Commanding Officer, while I am sure they had their difficulties, did seem to get alot of the stuff that they needed, right away.

Personal Security Details (PSD) are small groups that are tasked with, believe it or not, personal security. When these squads are used for higher ranking Officers, this can be somewhat of a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you don't have to do a lot of the normal pain-in-the-ass stuff, like standing all manner of watches, chow duty, mail runs, and various other duties. On the other hand, you are always hanging with light Colonels and above, something that I would consider with few exceptions, to be a unique level of Hell. Seriously though, any time the Lt.Cool wants to go frolicking through the friggin dunes, well someone has to take him there. Most of the time it seemed to me, was fairly decent duty. Of course, I was never PSD.

At the onset of the Iraq deployment, well, it was a goat-rope the size of which has never been seen.


I am not really sure where the hang-up was, exactly, but I did know that there was a humongous problem with vehicles, weapons, supplies, comm, intel, and pretty much everything else needed to complete a mission to the chow hall. Let me paint you a picture...

Leaving for patrol one morning you take inventory:

You have one radio for all vehicles.

You have no .50 cal, Mk-19, or even one stinkin 240G.

You have one Squad Automatic Weapon (yay!).

Your vehicles are soft, ie no armor.

Not even at the turrets.

That's ok, because for most of them, there is nothing to put in the turret, except for one Marine and his rifle.

His. Friggin. Rifle.

Hold on, Lcpl Vato just managed to mount an M9 pistol in the turret, as his commentary of the situation. Goes nicely with the skull and crossbones flag, cause when you're a pirate, you don't need no stinkin' armor (Arrr, Matey!).

As the squad before us on patrols returns to base, we immediately help unloading one of their vehicles that is to be hot-racked (in continuous use) for our patrol. Due to a lack of numbers, at that time most of the Hummers had been hot-racked at one time or the other, and were in pretty rough shape. Mine was probably in the best shape, because roughly 5 months before I got in country, it had rolled over. After being repaired, it never really got sent back into rotations, why, I dunno.

As we are finishing preparations for patrol, PSD rolls by, going to pick up the big Kahuna. Every vehicle is up-armored, with turret armor. Radio antennae poke every which way (verses my initial comm plan of stick yer haid out the window, look back and scream, "Hey y'all, were gonna turn right *don't forget to point*) Every vehicle has a .50 cal machine gun or a MK-19 grenade launcher. (I think we had a slingshot in one turret) From previous conversations with their Sgt. I knew that every vehicle also had a 240-G as a friggin dismount weapon. *Insert wistfull, red-headed step child looks onto our faces here.* I guess it was fair, Kahuna had the rank, I have my witty dialogue.

I later got into hot water for the ole pistol mounted in the turret gag. I thought it was kind of a clever statement, myself.

A few months later, things had kind of smoothed out. We had gotten issued a pair of 240-Gs, one more SAW, and were swapping out a MK-19 and .50 with another squad. The vehicles were still shit, but we were making do. At least we had turret armor on them, now. We also made friend with some CBs (construction battalion sailors) and were doing all kinds of dope deals to get additional jerry-rigged armor, steel plates, etc. for the vehicles. It definitely wasn't pretty, actually kind of looked beverly hillbillyesq, but it got the job done.

We were tasked with meeting a new Battalion's PSD at the air-base, and escorting them through the area. When they rolled up, I had flashbacks to our PSD. New Hummers (up-armored natch), big guns, and all the accessories. After the brief, one of the PSD Corporals had a question. Looking from his hummers to our frankensteins, from his weaponry to what little we had, despite the fact that they had weeks in town compared to our months, he asked, "Are you guys escorting us, or are we escorting you?"



Deborah Aylward said...

Why don't people like that PSD Corporal simply keep their thoughts to themselves? His look would have said it all.

However, the ingenuity of front-line Troops is amazing and something of which one civilian is proud. Thank you for sharing!

Veritas et Fidelis Semper

Anonymous said...

That is why you always make friends with Sailors. We make it our business to know everyone in the supply chain, and we don't have any of those pesky morals stopping us from outright theft when the Op area is even the slightest bit warm.

Murphy said...

We became very good at 'adapt, overcome, pilfer, adopt, acquire, find, liberate, take command of, abscond with, recover, relocate, creatively resupply, and survive.