Journey of a National Guard Soldier going Active

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

"Pop that thing"

I’m on my first trip with home unit. They put me in the Maintenance 915 bobtail, I’m with one of the Maintenance SPC from Vegas. He’s a good guy to run with.

I’t’s been so long since I’ve driven a 915. Last time was at AT. It’s been so long that the first time I hopped into the 915 I thought: “Damn, this is high.”

I then noticed the ridiculously thin windows and windshield, pretty much the standard civilian type windshield. That kinda irked me a little bit, actually, a lot. The humvee windows were a good Inch and a half thick, nothing short of a direct IED hit coulda fucked with that window, the 915 ones are worthless, a good shot out of an AK will go right through that.

I’m on the eighth day of my trip, alotta shits happened, not all bad. It’s quite funny actually.

When we first started to roll out of Arifjan; not even 2 minutes outta the motor pool, my dumbass gets stuck in the sand. Lol. Great. The highlight of my mission. Not even outta base camp and got stuck already, could there be a better sign that I don’t belong in a 915?

We got scannia after RON’ing at Navistar, and come to find out, the door on the passenger side won’t open. Great. We screwed with the side panel and manage to open it directly through the panel.

SPC R and I joke around about what else can go wrong?

We took the long way up to LSA Anaconda, taking the Bismarck route, all went well a couple of mishap’s vehicle wise, nothing much. I got my Ipod going, one headphone in my ear, the other in SPC R’s.

Our destination was FOB Speicher, a lil drive past Anaconda. I’ve never been to Speicher before so R drove, I took some good pictures, I got a shot of where Saddam’s mother lived; Speicher is right outside of Tikrit, Saddam’s birthplace. The people there are still pretty loyal to the old regime, so the area there is pretty unsafe. We drove on the outside of the city, I got some good shots.

We got to Speicher without any hitches, offloaded our stuff and spent the night there. I watched a Kingdom of Heaven on a Haji DVD, I give it a thumbs up.

The next day we left to go back to Anaconda to pick up a backload. R was driving again I was TC’ing/Sightseeing.

We’re halfway to Anaconda, R and I are jamming to the Ipod everything is as usual, people on the road, traffice rolling normally.

I’m sittin comfortably, starting to get a little tired, got the whole, sllooow blinking of the eye going on, when


OH Fuck.

Holy shit.

An IED just went off about 20 meters to our left on the median, throwing a big mushroom cloud of sand and dust in the air. It went off 3 bobtails in front of us.

The explosion wasn’t as loud as I would’ve expected but a good piece of shrapnel seemed to ricochet and hit my side of the windshield, got a good spider crack on it, the side of a fist.

Being the maintenance truck we’re most of time; like this time, in the back of the convoy. I grab the Mic and I yell “CONTACT LEFT, IED IED,” I think I said some stuff after that but I don’t remember, it was all a blur.

I remember seeing the truck in front of me start braking and kinda moving off to the right side of the road and I’m thinking, “Aw fuck we’re going to stop, someone’s hurt. But then the truck turns back on the road and keeps going, I get a view of the trucks in front of me and they all look to be up and running, at that point someone asked on the mic on the SITREP on the trucks, I answered back “It was on the median 3 trucks up, all trucks are running good, we’re all rolling.

At that point I realized that the headphones were still on, but the funny thing was the song that was playing. It was Chrtina Milian’s Dip it low, and it was at the part where she was singing, “Pop, pop, pop that thing.”

I say to SPC R, “Kind of an ironic song playin huh?” “No shit”

At that point we both simultaneously took off the headphones.

He was pissed as fuck, yelling about what pussies they are, but here I am again, like the last time and IED hit, Smiling. I don’t know what it is, every time something like this happens, I get a smile on my face. One of the SGT’s I told this to said that it was cuz I was glad I was alive. Who knows

When we finally got to Anaconda and surveyed the damage, only a couple windshields got messed up, nothing big. I got some pictures of the worst of the damage which was to a TCN white truck; the windshield got a good dozen shrapnel hits.

The IED was buried too deep. Which was good of course, but you can tell. It was a pretty small one to, compared to other one’s I’ve seen.

Right after the bomb went off everything and everyone looked suspect. Some people said they saw tow guys on a motorcycle following us for a while. Some others said that they saw a kid with something in his hand and a guy by him with his back to us who looked like he might be counting trucks or something. It’s unfortunate for the locals, most of them are innocent but the fact that we can’t tell who the enemy is, they ALL look like the enemy.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Old Post "April 16"

It’s 9 pm right now, I’m at anaconda, been here for over 2 days now. I’m laying on my cot next to the humvee. I was trying to get some sleep but then a mortar dropped on the base and the alarm woke me up, we’re supposed to leave at midnight, but who knows now. The humvee next to us has their singcar’s on sheriff’s net and from hearing all the traffic on the net, there’s alotta IED’s tonight.

I went to the pool the day before yesterday. It was next to Saddam’s private movie theater, I don’t know if the pool was his or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. Me n SPC S laid out there from about 2 pm till they closed at 6. It was awesome, got good sun, some cute chics, and I “attempted” to dive off a pretty high Olympic type diving platform; ended up half-ass belly flopping. It was sad. Lol. I don’t like heights, and I dunno how to dive. Well, I do…but not that well, as I found out that day.

I think I gained like 5 lbs from my trip here. All I ate was Burger King and Pizza Hut; too lazy to go to chow hall. The fast food joints were right next to the MWR area so it was an easy walk. I spent all day yesterday and today at the MWR, there’s nothing to do here except that. Got on the internet, brought my PS2 Madden 2005, nerded out, good stuff.

A couple hours earlier when we were cleaning our M16’s and crew serve weapons on the humvee, a DOD civilian trucker guy came up to us. We shot the shit for a little bit. He saw my laptop laying on top of the hood next to me; it was playing music. He asked us if we wanted to see some clips of the shit happening over here; through the terrorists eyes. He said we can wateh it and kinda see how they operate and learn as much as we can from it. Of course we said yes, so he hooked up his disk-key to my laptop and we started watching some of the shit on there. It was depressing. For me, it wasn’t so much watching the IED’s go off and hit the humvee’s and other vehicles, but it was more how I could feel the ignorant hate towards a people that they don’t even know, only what their “leader” has told them. They need a scapegoat for their hardship, and we’re the reason. We as a nation, for the last 20 some odd years have played the hand of geo-politics to our advantage and snubbing those who have served their purpose. We are not perfect. We seek self preservation, to be number 1, to stay number 1, by all means necessary. For the day we become number 2, this nation will fall. It’s the truth. Ha, I just re-read what I wrote. That was a pure contradiction.

Anyways, enough with that.

These clips were recent too, from as little as 2 weeks ago. It was eerie. So many mixed emotions coursed through my body, from pure hatred, vengeance, grief, sadness. There was one clip of a terrorist speaking in English about something that seemed like a justification as well as a recruiting video, but at that point I just shut it off, I didn’t feel the need to hear the propaganda, if I want propaganda I’ll turn on Al-jazeera or Fox news.

This whole situation sucks.


To the ones fighting this war, US and its enemies; it is only one thing as long as we both are here


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

"Welcome to hell"

That's what everyone pretty much told me when I got to Arifjan.

"Hey man, How you doing? (I give them "the look")

"Ya, I understand..well...Welcome to hell."

So many asinine rules here, but then again it is undestandable...To a point.

-Can't smoke and walk while in DCU's
-When going to the showers in PT's: MUST HAVE FULL UNIFORM, no shower sandals allowed. (So pretty much wear tennis shoes to shower, then put on shower sandals, then back on the tennis shoes go) ASININE

Found out earlier yesterday and more today that my Company Commander personally said that any request for my promotion from a lowly E-2 to a lowly E-3 will be denied. He told my ex-platoon SGT that if he put in paperwork for it, the CO will deny it and there will be consequences.

Can you believe that shit?

I'M A FUCKING PV2, YOU ARE A CAPTAIN, is it that big of a problem? Am I that big of a threat, just because I can form my own opinions and am not afraid to let people know what 99% of people are thinking?

It's like what my boy SPC M, says: "As many fuck-ups they're promoting in our unit, they're threatened by you the most cuz you got a voice"

I used to think that was a good thing?

Friday, May 13, 2005

De-activation of our unit

Today is the ceremony for the De-Activation of our company. There's gonna be a ceremony later on today, A bunch of brass is coming down for it, I talked with platoon Sgt to see if I can play photographer for the ceremony.

I leave for Arifjan tomorrow, haven't even started packing yet. Every one here hates it. EVERYONE, from the CO on down, the Iowa guys and all of 2nd platoon's Nebraska and Illinois guys are going back to their home units, to either drive 915's or be part of the internal gun trucks that each of the unit's have. All the active duty soldiers from 1st platoon are coming with us, to my "home unit". We already heard of all the "horrors" of what life is going to be like back at Arifjan and with this Unit.

All I can say, even with all the good and bad, I'm glad I came to the this Gun truck unit. Met some great soldier's and men, I don't think I'll ever find anywhere else for a long time. Leadership-wise as well, when all is said and done, There truly are leader's that still actually "look out for soldiers". It's too bad that because of that; one particular "leader" isn't coming with us to the Test Gun truck Platoon. Things would be alot different if he came, cuz shit would start changing back in home unit; rather than the corrupt favoritism that goes on now back there.

There's a BBQ going on after the ceremony, and I gotta help set up for it. So I gots to get going.

"Johnny Rotten"

Thanks for lookin out SFC C

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

in a nutshell

Top found out bout blog, won't stop calling me Johnny Rotten

CO's "got some words" for me when he sees me.

More info was put out about the new platoon, alotta soldiers don't like it, some are having names taken out.

A couple of guys got ratted out for smoking what they thought was Hashish but turned out to be something more in the likes of camel shit. (But they're still getting fucked for "attempting")

Every one from home unit is nagging about how bad it is, and how it's gonna suck when we all go back, how they're handing out Article 15's like candy, how 5 soldier's are getting sent home and possibly dishonorably discharged (probably not, but with my unit, who knows) for testing hot on a drug test done BEFORE WE LEFT for Mob station. 9 FUCKING MONTHS AGO.

but on more recent note, Got to Anaconda around 6pm. The trip that just wouldn't end 10 hours. I was Lead Gun Truck, Gunning the whole way. I had to crap sooo horrendously bad. I coulda gone before we left, but I decide to pinch it, "Nah, it won't be a long trip, only like 5-6 hrs at the most" WRONG!!

well most of the trip goes uneventful, I have fun in the turret because in between screaming at cars to get off the road, and the hanging out with Iraqi Police while EOD cleared some IED's, I got to wave and say hi to a bunch of kids. It's the only thing in the country that doesn't remind me of war, the military, everything; the kids.

But the kicker is this story.

So here we are waiting and wating for some BS with the convoy we're escorting. We've been waiting over an hour, It's a half ass 2 lane road we're on, and our convoy is on on lane, and there's HEAVY traffic on both ends, so we end up having to stop northbound, let southbound go, and vice versa.

We do that for about half an hour, some MSR patrols come and go, a convoy or two, no big deal. The area we're in is about a 6 or 7 on a 1-10 danger area. But today looks pretty good. You can kinda get a feel to the environment by looking at the people, the traffic, the overall tension in the eyes; and today was ok. All's going well, I joke around with some of the kids in the cars while we're sending em through; makin faces, stickin toungue out, silly shit. I got my goggles on my kevlar, smoke in one hand M16 in the other, no big deal.

Then out in the distance a whole crew (about 6) of 1114 Humvees (Top of the line, high speed, state of the art, next gen shit that I'll never see nor ride in and yet is the exact shit that we need to adequately protect the convoys with) rolls up. and the passenger side door to the humvee that pulled up next to me opens up.

(NOW: "normally" the TC's in these convoys/MSR Patrols are usually SSG or at best SFC)

The TC goes "Where the Convoy Commander"

I point to the humvee behind me about 50 yds.

He looks around in his humvee, so I just said casually "So what's up boss"

(I say "Boss" to EVERYONE, and if I don't know you're rank, then I 100% will say that, cuz I dunno if your and Officer or NCO or a SPC)

The TC then goes "BOSS!?!!??!"

At that point I realized that it was an officer, but before I could correct myself, He turns his IBA to me so that I can see his rank:


(At that point, I could've sworn that I shit myself)

"Oh, Sorry Sir, I couldn't see your rank"

He then goes on, "Get your goggles on and get in the low-ready"

"yes, sir" and at that point I just slowly, and casually put the cigarette out on my DCU pants, trying not to get yelled at for that too.

The Col. and his little officer "Posse" scurry after him while he goes and yells at the CC for something that I'd rather stay away from, and my pussy ass goes and hides in the humvees. Straight up, no joke, I thought the Col. was gonna come back for round 2 or something. So I just tell my TC (who's in the turret) "Tell me when they leave, Imma just stay right here. I gives a damn what you might think, Karma has fucked me more ways than I can imagine, I ain't going within 10 ft of that guy, cuz I know SOMEHOW, I get in trouble.

Once his "crew" rolled out we were gonna shuffle the traffic through, but lo and behold the Col. said No More traffic is allowed to pass.


Now I gotta be the A-hole to tell these normal, decent Iraqi's that they gotta stay put. Some took it nice, some turned away, but man, I got the death stare from a middle ages lady in a van full of kids. that almost ruined my day, if not for the little iraqi girl who laughed at me when I stuck my tongue out at her while I was passing here in the turret.

But ya, almost 1 am here, tired, at Anaconda..YES. Gonna be a lazy ass ALL DAY at the pool. Screw all you, Imma spoil myself. Buh-bye