06 September 2008

Slow day

We finished off our Combat Lifesaver training today.  That was actually a quality class, which we made sure we communicated to all involved.
"The part where you had instructors with recent combat experience in the subject they were teaching?  That was great."
We stayed a little late so our PFC, who is a nervous little dude, could do one more live stick on a sergeant we now call "Mr. Giant Veins."  The PFC is a great kid, but he's the second junior man in the company, eager to please and, as is to be expected, prone to tripping over himself in his eagerness to do good.
Immediately following the conclusion of that evolution, we returned to the barracks just slightly ahead of the outer rain bands from Tropical Storm Hannah.  A quick evaluation of the weather convinced us that it was a perfect afternoon to conduct practical exercises in rack ops.  I am pleased to report that with the sole exception of a specialist who's assigned as Overworked Headquarters Slave, all the Soldiers received a "GO."  Seeing as rehearsals are key to success in any battle drill, we may still have to conduct more rack ops in the near future.

05 September 2008

Info request

Ok, this is an odd one.  I know that at some point I saw a picture of an AR-15/M-4 on which someone had mounted a cupholder.  I'm not kidding - a rail-mounted cupholder.
They gave us rails. 
And so now I want the cupholder.  No, no, no.  Not for any sort of real-life use.  But it's a long year, and at some point, I think my whole team will probably need a laugh. 
So if any of you happen to know where to find such a thing, or, really, any other TRULY RIDICULOUS rail-mounted accessory, drop me a line in a comments or with the email button.

Commence Scam Operations...

Time - now.

That's what we've got going on this afternoon, after we all successfully made it through the "live stick" portion of CLS. I'd never done it before, so I was mildly concerned about damaging one of my soldiers, but I hit a nice vein on the first try and all was well.

This evening promises to be a hoot, with another fascinating COIN (that's COunter INsurgency, for anyone who isn't aware) brief on the schedule. The Army has decided to renounce all its prior religions and affiliations, it seems, and offer our total devotion to the philosophy of General Petraeus. The Army has decided to wholeheartedly embrace COIN with an enthusiasm not seen since they embraced Velcro.

Which is fine, really. I mean, hey - it seems to be working better than whatever we called our prior strategy.

But really - the briefs. Now, remember, all our predeployment training is run by a specific organization that exists strictly to mobilize and demobilize soldiers. A lot of the folks who hang out in that specific organzation...well, they've been hanging out there for a while, and have no actual deployed experience. And there doesn't seem to be any...umm...any requirement as far as an area of expertise.

I would say that 80% of the Civil Affairs folks here have at least one deployment to either Iraq or Afghanistan. I'd venture to guess at least 50% have two.

So I'll stipulate that there is some population of deploying soldiers that really benefits from having a series of briefs wherein a random soldier with a random background reads verbatim from a set of slides boiling our national counterinsurgency philosophy down to a few easily digested phrases. I'm sure that helps some people. Really.

But...having stipulated that these briefs are very valuable in their own right, I would think that we could enhance their value to deploying civil affairs soldiers significantly. Since we're required to have several phases of COIN briefs, it would be vastly more useful if we had someone who had recently worked in CA, PSYOPS or SF in the theater of operations come down here and discuss how the Army change in philosophy is effecting the way we (CA) "support U. S. national objectives by assisting the government of a host or occupied area to meet its peoples’ needs and maintain a stable and democratic civil administration."

But that's just one gal talking. Since I doubt my proposed solution will be adopted in the next several hours, I'm going to cease and desist bitching. My immediate priorities include a nap and a little PT.

03 September 2008

Awkward AND Annoying!

The past 18 hours have pretty much revolved around people peering at my crotch. The day started with a 0445 pee test, continued into a CLS class in a hot building, and was broken up only by the mandatory pre-deployment PAP smear and GYN checkup.

I escaped that room as quickly as possible, and found my sergeant (who'd driven the truck over) racked out. Apparently, he adopted this particular napping posture to express his solidarity with his fearless leader.


The bright side is that I fully expect to be allowed - in fact, encouraged - to keep my trousers firmly pulled up and in place for the remainder of this mobilization.

02 September 2008

The party just never ends

I haven't had much for y'all the past couple of days. We were on the range with our trusty M4s and shiny new M68 CCOs over the weekend. Tell you what - only the Army could make new toys, free ammo, sunshine and range time suck.

Got my team qualified without any major drama, although one needed a couple of tries and the other one will have to return to the zero range once they get him a front sight post that's, like, you know, straight up and down.

We did something today, but it was such an irrelevent check-the-box evolution that I've already forgotten what it was. Something with a sign-in roster.

The fun part after that was the retrieval and dragging upstairs of our unit's Big Black Boxes.

That's the ever-popular Stanley Mobile Job Box. The trusty old-school wheeled Contico is also popular. These make a fabulous sound when you drag empty ones up three flights of barracks stairs. We did have to call the entire operation to a halt so we could rustle up the officers who'd packed theirs full of crap, as we are not dedicated enough to schlep field-grade officer knick-knackery any further than required.

I have no idea why anyone would have packed one of those full coming here, since we'll probably need the space to pack all the not-really-necessary crap out of the piles of gear they keep issuing.

Highlights of this week are anticipated to include Combat Lifesaver training, the issue of more crap, and plenty of last-minute changes. Hilarity may well follow.