October 22, 2004

Big booms and VBIED's

Positioned as we are in Baghdad, we do hear quite a bit. This morning during PT formation a rather loud explosion was heard to the west, and smoke formed immediatly thereafter. Makes us all rather jumpy when such a thing is heard. Due to an increased threat, we are back in full battle rattle (As we call our armored vests and kevlars), during certain hours. Those are the hours where I stay indoors as much as possible. You can really tell though that we have become accustomed to the constant threat, especially when we crack jokes about mortars and what not. When we first started wearing our gear in Kuwait before driving into Iraq, it was heavy and a pain in the royal behind. Those who were just returning assured us that yes, we would get used to it. I didn't comprehend how, but nowadays I do. While it is still a pain to haul 40 extra pounds around, it isn't so bad as it was.
I know currently that there is a big hubub about the quality of maintainence in one particular company. That whole situation has boggled the mind. While I will not pass judgment on those involved, as we do not know the whole story, I will say that one should be ever ready to perform one's mission. Maintainence is not just the responsibility of the maintainence section, it is also the operators responsibility. It is my job as an operator on my truck to ensure that there are no faults on my truck, and that if there are, to fix them, or have them fixed. A lot of the problems can be fixed by simple operator maintainence. There is a lot that can be found in what is known as a PCI, pre combat inspection, which is to be performed prior to a mission. Having completed a good many convoys myself, I know this to be a vital part of mission planning. Never once on the road did I feel unsafe because of my equipment.


Dennis said...

Lizzie thank you for another perspective on equipment maintenance. I've linked it over at http://www.penguinploddings.blogspot.com.


Eric said...

Hi SGT Lizzie,

Now you sound like the kind of Army NCO I grew to know and love, and sounded like once in a while myself. Good stuff.

I can't condone how that group of soldiers handled the situation, but from what I've read, they may have been in a hard spot. Bad leaders can do that. I'm sympathetic because I've had vehicles break down on me on convoys. I've operated vehicles that should have been dead-lined with problems above '10' level maintenance, but we took them out anyway. Some leaders don't know how to handle 'Mission First, Soldiers Always.' Of course, I don't know all the facts, and I might be blaming the wrong people.

SGT Lizzie, you briefly mentioned "those who were just returning."

What's your opinion on stop-loss and rapid turn-arounds of units back to Iraq?

Those practices get ripped in the media. Me, I'm not so sure. When I was in, I thought experience was invaluable, more important even than doctrine or training. I think it makes a ton of sense for the Army to retain as much experience as possible in war-time. Fighting a war by cycling hard-earned experience out of theater against an enemy that presumably is in the fight for the long-haul, and presumably improving with HIS hard-earned experience, doesn't seem wise.

As an example, the way I learned the history of the Korean War, the WW2 vets made the difference holding a thin line against the nKs and then the Chinese. In WW2, our troops were literally deployed 3-4 years, until the end of the war.

So, rather than opposing stop-loss, extended tours and rapid re-deployment, my question is, what does the Army lose by not doing MORE to keep that experience where it's needed the most? And yeah, if I was deployed, I'd think different.

marty45 said...

Have you voted yet? Newspapers in North Carolina have said NC Army Nat Guardsmen in Iraq didn't get absentee ballots listing the candidates and had to write in all their choices.

Also, I just want to thank you for your blog. I stumbled on it and love reading it as a former female SGT both active duty and reserve (74D-computer operator-no longer a MOS and as a 71L-administrative specialist who do just about everything-in the Reserves.)

It's people like you and all the other solders, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guarders that make voting possible-not just for us, but for the Afghans and the Iaquis in January.

Prodigal Son said...

awwww .. she almost sounds like a squared away soldier heheh again i am kidding! lizzie is a decent solider and nco. even if the unit did rush a shitload of ppl to get thier 5s last year. ur doing a good job lizzie! talk to ya later hun.

Garrison Steelle said...

Sigh. Kevlar, armour and maintenance not withstanding, keep your head down, Sarge. ;)