Wednesday, May 20, 2009

2 days and a wake up

Yup. 2 more days and a wake up before I'm on my way home. I'm pretty pumped. Before I get into todays blog, I gotta post this picture of this truck they made me drive around in for training the last 10 days:

Sweet ride huh? So anyway, today they announced to us where exactly we would be stationed in Kuwait. There is a bunch of bases there and the guys I'm training with here and I will be spread out across all of them. So I will be going to Camp Beurhing. Below is a couple maps. One is pretty complicated looking and that one shows where the bases are. The other just shows Kuwait with alot less going on so you can get a general idea of where I will be.

Below is a couple of links for a little info on the base:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Counting down the days....

I'm almost that is. Still a long ways to go overall, but at least I get to go back home for a bit. So by this time next week, I should be home watching TV and hopefully having a beer or two.............or 5. Training the last few days, as I said before has been a little boring from a learning aspect. The last two days we have been going through STX (pronounced sticks) training. What we do is they teamed us up with a partner, and we go on "patrol". We drive around in this beat-up truck, reminds me I gotta get a picture of this heap, and respond to mock police calls. Larceny, assault, suicides, traffic accidents, rapes, etc. The Army has done a pretty good job with this type of training throughout my time here by the way.

Once again they hired actors for us to play with. I wonder how much they get paid, because they go all out for these scenarios we respond to. I wrestled with a guy "involved in a fight" today for a good 5 minutes before I got another officer to help me and the two of us finally got him sprawled out on the ground, and then another 5 minutes trying to get his hands behind his back so I can cuff him. I was digging my knuckle into every pressure point I could reach and wasn't getting any reaction out of him.

Once I finally got him cuffed, I had to ask him if he felt me using those pain compliance techniques (pressure points) on him. He laughed and said "Hell yeah I did! Stuff hurt!". I just kind of laughed and tossed him in the truck to take him in. In my head, I'm like "I hope this guy gets paid well, cause putting up a fight like that was pretty unnecessary for training purposes". I heard most of them are pretty hard up on money and get paid around 50 bucks a day. But still, they told us for the physical scenarios to only go 10% speed and power on these guys, and I'd be more than happy to, but if they wanna dance than I'm happy to do that too. 50 bucks to get your butt kicked for 8 hours? Doesn't seem worth it when he could of just put up a 10% fight and still get 100% of the 50 dollars. To each his own I guess.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Last Friday and Saturday we learned about IED's, ambush attacks, snipers, etc. They went over all of the ways terrorists are attacking us, how to identify them, how to counter them and things of that nature. The training was very informative. There are alot of things going on over there that we don't hear too much about here. So anyway, the petting zoo was basically set up something like a zoo, but instead of looking at animals, they had stations set up with mock-ups of the IED's and things of that nature. We then went on patrol in a mock Arab city to find IED's and to see how we react to them. Below is one of the stations at the IED petting zoo:

Note the taillight is hanging by a string.

This would be the haji with a sniper rifle sticking outside the hole from where the wires from the taillight would normally go. Fire a shot. Pull the string and we'd never know what hit us. This is very similar to what the DC sniper was doing, as well, I believe. This picture above was made up in reference to an actual set up that was used in Mosul, Iraq. The sniper supposedly had hundreds of kills using this method. He would also have a driver with him who would video tape his kills. Both have since been captured.

IN LIGHTER NEWS, I found out I got promoted today. I will soon go from an E-5 to an E-6 or as its called in the Navy, Petty Officer First Class. Also known as, with specific to my job, MA1. They promoted 58 out of 409 candidates, so roughly 14% I think. So I was pretty happy to be one of the lucky ones.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Up your nose with a rubber hose...

Sorry the blog has gotten a little sporadic. I didn't think we'd be getting this much training. The last week or so we've been having class till around 10pm. Hopefully everyone didn't give up on checking this thing since I've been slacking.

Anyway, for those of you who have been following from day 1, I'm sure you have been anxiously awaiting the day when I announce that I had that hose shoved up my nose and the IV put in. Well those days came. Unfortunately, I didn't bring a camera, but the guy I partnered up did, so I got a little video of me doing this stuff to him.

I took it heckuva lot further and better then this guy, but not quite as good as the instructor. It wasn't painful per say, more discomfort I guess. Definitely can't compare it to any other feeling. And the IV:

I know me putting in the IV looked pretty bad, but I was nervous. I was so afraid I was going to hurt this guy, so I wouldn't make a move until I was absolutely positive it was the right one. The instructor took this as I didn't know what I was doing. My partner was crying the whole time I was working on him which didn't help. I should've expected that after the nasal thing. Anywho, when he did it on me, he really did a great job. I didn't cry like a girl like he did though. Apparently I'm a squirter though. I didn't watch, but I heard some gasps as he was inserting it and felt a warm liquid on my arm. Absolutely no pain though. If you noticed, at the end of the video he said you're gonna do this again tomorrow. I did.....

The next day we put all of this together like the other trainings. I wish I had footage of it. It was pouring rain, we were in full battle gear. Explosives and gunfire (fireworks) were going off and we had to rescue people. Some of the victims were guys I'm training with, some were actors. It was pretty stressful. We had to treat the victims, request a medevac, and then transport them to a helicopter. It was pretty good training. As I mentioned I had to insert the IV again today since I took so long the day before. So not only was I not the best at it as it was, I now had to do it with the weather and all of the stuff going on. It ended up going fairly well though. The course is called Combat Lifesaver by the way if I hadn't already mentioned it. 16 more days till I'm back home for a little bit....

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Convoys? Why?

Wednesday we were sort of off, we had to do some administrative things, clean the barracks, pick up Humvees and things like that. Thursday, we began convoy training. "Well I thought you were going to be doing police work on a base in Kuwait?". Yeah, you're right, and I am, but the Army trains on all this stuff just in case the you know what hits oscillating blades that hang from ceilings. Its fun and I like learning this stuff, so I'm up for it. Thursday was also classroom training. It was a long day. We started at 6am and went until about 9pm. Then at 9pm we received our mission (take a general to meet an Iraqi general). So we went out on a recon mission. We got back around 945pm and moved into our new home:

Not quite roughing it, but its not the best either. Bathrooms are port-o-pottys, which aren't that bad until you have to go number 2 when its pitch black out. Lucky for me it didn't come to that, but you get where I'm going. Also the showers were a trailer. It is an 18 wheeler with showers inside. It's pretty cool how it works, but since we were only staying one night, we decided to skip the showers.
So we woke up early the next morning and started our mission. It was pretty awesome. I was one of the drivers of the Humvees. I was driving our second in command so it was a little nerve wracking but it went well. We were hit by IED's, VBIED's, mortars, small arms fire, we received "casualties", vehicles broke down so we had to tow them out while taking fire. There were protesters throwing sticks, stones and rotten tomatoes at us. The terrain was great too. I got to drive through some big puddles, creeks, mud, rock, dirt, inclines, declines, brush. Overall we were told we did really well. Better than some Army units who have had 10 days of training to our 1 day. So we finished about 12 hours later with our heads high again. Then they told us we still had to wash the vehicles, clean the weapons and turn them in. Had I known this, maybe I would have thought twice about splashdowns in to the creek beds. Actually, had I thought twice, I still would have drove the way I drove. It was worth it. So we ended up finishing our day that started at 6am around 10pm. I took about a 45 minute shower and went right to bed.

Sorry for the delay...

I know its been awhile, but the last week and a half have been pretty busy and it doesn't appear to be slowing down. So picking up where I left off, the PSD training. I think we had one more day of classroom training, and then Monday night we received our mission. My job was a part of the advanced team. I had to gather intelligence on the locations our VIP was going to visit the next day, set up his meetings, and prior to his actual arrival at each location ensure it was safe for him and the actual PSD team to arrive. I was a little bummed out that I wasn't picked for the team, but the advanced team has quite a bit more responsibility in my opinion. For example, when I go out to gather intel, I have to basically think like a terrorist, plan an attack, and then think of how to counter that attack and pass it along to the team so they're prepared. I also have find out the customs of the people the VIP is meeting so he doesn't shake when he's supposed to hug and things like that. These are just a few things, but you get the picture.

So the final day of that training, Tuesday, was to be a culmination of all the training we received the last 7 days. It was. It was also a mess. It was like you take every bad thing that can happen, every uncooperative person and cram them all into one day. Like radios go down, stubborn high ranking military who try to boss you around, IED's, snipers, disgruntled soldiers, ambush's, you name it, it happened. So it was very stressful and the critiques from the instructors were long and hard to chew. All week they had been telling us we have been one of the best classes they've ever had, and by the end they were asking what happened. I found it rather unfair. I felt we were set up to fail so to speak. I felt that there was no way to "win" these scenarios. Maybe that's the way it was supposed to be. Maybe to try and get us to think outside the box. Regardless, we left with our heads hanging just a little.