Greetings From Baghdad "Meet the Team"

Greetings From Baghdad "Meet the Team"

A Story by Calwarr
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A light hearted semi-factual look at Army life from the inside.

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Howdy friends and neighbors! I would like to share with you a series of letters, written to my parents while I was serving in sunny southern Baghdad.

I noticed all my friends that wrote consistently tended to write solemn, serious commentary. They would explain in great detail the dangers and hardships that they faced daily in the fight to survive on the modern battlefield, seemingly in the hopes of scaring the bejesus out of their family and friends.

I decided to go another route. Using a combination of quick e-mails and letters, I decided to give them the lighter side of army life. Yep I lied a lot. With a little distortion and creativity enhanced by lack of sleep and 140 degree heat, the Greetings from Baghdad series was born.

So now without further ado I present to you…….

 

Greetings from Baghdad, (insert something funny here)! Well GFB fans, today you will have the distinct pleasure of meeting one of the Army’s most feared combat elements. A force so lethal, so precise, so unaware of personal hygiene, that none can stand against it. We function together like a well-oiled machine abandoned in thirty feet of water for a decade. Seriously, even though each team member is very different, when we come together and really apply ourselves to a task, we manage to lose equipment.

 

This is a real problem for my team. As fire support specialists, The Army entrusts us with a fantastic array of incredibly expensive equipment that does not work. We have a GVLLD (ground vehicular laser locator designator), a great tool for finding ranges and painting targets for air assets. Right now, its primary function is as an oversized paperweight.

We have the PLUGGER, a GPS navigation system that will tell you exactly where you are anywhere in the world. That is unless it is raining, or there are clouds, or the phase of the moon is wrong, or if you are in a building or outside. Civilian companies make smaller, lighter weight, more accurate GPS systems; however, they are cost prohibitive in the sense of being less expensive.


Also, we have my favorite piece of gear the MARK 7, that in the hands of an experienced operator, can give exact coordinates to a target via a powerful laser, all in the size of a pair of binoculars. Unfortunately, there are no experienced operators, as we were just given the MARK 7 a week before we deployed. In addition, I found an interesting fact about the MARK 7 while reading it’s manual. It states that the batteries in the MARK 7 when fully charged are good for “600-1000 lazes”, which sounds good until you read further to the next phrase which reads ”+ or " 600 lazes”.


Yes that’s right this piece of equipment according to its technical manual is guaranteed for zero uses. None of this is an issue since the lithium D cell batteries that the MARK 7 requires (Approximately $100 per zero uses per battery) are on order. In civilian terms, this means they are more likely to appear because of spontaneous, evolutionary toilet development than to ever reach the company.


This gear is very expensive, at any given time the team rolls with around a million dollars in gadgets. So you would think that we would go to great lengths to keep track of this gear. You would be right. Often we have to walk great lengths through the Georgia swamps or the Iraqi desert looking for them.


One specific instance was at JRTC, the enormous training grounds located on and around Fort Polk Army Base in Louisiana.


Gators ate my boots today

Do da Do da

Ate my boots and swam away

Oh do da day


The aforementioned lyrics used by permission, copyright Lady Gaga.


Bravo Company had just come in from three hard, wet days in the field, when suddenly we realized that SGT T’s Night Vision Goggles were missing. Instead of panicking due to the fact that the Army’s policy on lost equipment is to walk over every inch of ground we had covered at double arm interval until we found them (that would be about forty square miles), we stayed calm and mentally retraced our steps. Ha Ha !


Those of you familiar with the Greetings series will not be surprised to hear that mayhem ensued. Sgt K the team chief immediately began screaming at everyone near him to return the stolen Goggles now or he would PT them until they died. While screaming he began to grab everyone’s bags and dump them on the ground, scattering dirty gear everywhere right in front of the Company Commander. The Co watched calmly for a moment, then drawing on the kind of diplomacy, forward thinking, common sense and wisdom gained by ten years as an enlisted man and four more as an officer, he said; “Are these the ones you’re looking for?”


The Co was pointing to the bulging green bag attached to SGT K’s belt with the letters NVG written on the side in permanent marker. SGT K stopped in his tracks and with a horrified expression pulled the missing goggles from his grab bag.


So, he apologized for his mistake and helped us clean up all our belongings, packing them back neatly where they had been stowed. Ha ha, wow the zingers just keep coming today. What he actually did is start screaming at us to clean up the mess, and then make us do pushups in the mud outside for not “helping him help us.” I have never been quite sure what he meant by that. Therefore, as you can see, the strength of our team lies in the quality of its personnel rather than in our equipment, even when we can find it.


© 2011 Calwarr



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Added on June 19, 2011
Last Updated on June 19, 2011
Tags: Army, War, Iraq, Soldier, Funny, Comedy, Letters, US Army, Baghdad

Author

Calwarr
Calwarr

Clarksville, TN



About
Greetings and salutations, it's your friendly neighborhood Calwarr here. I am a professional soldier, father and snappy dresser. I have always had the writing bug and lately have decided to spend more.. more..

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