Friday, July 15, 2005
Update: 15 July 05
Man oh man the whirlwind continues.
The team has been exceptional throughout this last week. I will not speak ill of the outgoing team here, but what we got handed to us was less than ideal. The weapons we took over were dirty, the rooms weren’t cleaned at all, let alone “field-day”-ed to USMC standards, the HUMMVs are in terrible shape, etc, etc. (if you are reading this, outgoing Marines, sorry but you know it’s true). We took them to Al-Taqquadum Air Field (literally about 500m due south of us over a canal and a highway) on July 9th, dropped them off, and the ball was officially ours. To make things even more interesting, the Army battalion that we have been relying on for some support (they lent the outgoing team something like 16 soldiers to assist in their mission) are rotating back to the States in a few weeks, and the new guys are an unknown quantity. I think that we are on our own from here on out.
The good news is that our guys ROCK! SSgt Decamillo has the focus these past few days, as his 2nd Company guys actually performed a mission today fully integrated into the US Army battalion. This was a big deal, with a lot of moving parts, and the mission kicking off with reveille at 0300 this morning. Didn’t go flawlessly, but it went, and the mission was executed well. Everyone from the Team went out on this one, except GySgt Roche, who made the HUGE tactical error of playing soccer with the jundee out in the parking lot. He zigged when he should have zagged, landed flat as a pancake on the asphalt, and is now on bedrest for spraining his back. (He will NOT be getting a Purple Heart for this injury.)
Gy Ellis and SSgt Walsh are at a weapons course with the jundee at a Marine course here on base, Master Guns Kistler is performing all manner of miracles on our three HUMMVs and lining up to lay hands on the Iraqi motor transport assets. MSgt Radke is still in Ramadi, but did get one e-mail out indicating he was doing well; he should be back here soon. Capt Rush has been helping SSgt D and working with coordinating some stuff with the SEALs, Gy Greene been micromanaging the “Charlie Foxtrot” that we received in terms of ammo and equipment, and Master Guns Traylor has been working on everything from pay problems for the Iraqis to pay problems with our travel claims. The CO has been everywhere, from coordinating stuff with our higher HQ in Fallujah to walking the ground in support of SSgt D this morning. I think that he has taken a liking to driving the HUMMV that we brought over with us; every time he has to head to the American side of the camp (yes, we are considered to be on the Iraqi side), he fires up the HUMMV crosses “Check Point Charlie” alone (Ckpt Charlie is the gate that the Army guards between us on the Iraqi side and themselves). It just amuses me because in the States, we officers aren’t allowed to drive tactical vehicles at all, and in Lejeune, you have to have a flak jacket and helmet. Here, while on base, you do as you please. We are now playing by what we call “big boy rules”.
Alright, enough of the boring stuff. I started this about three days ago and haven’t had a chance to finish it. Will post more interesting stuff later. Obviously, I figured the picture thing out. Expect more.