......when an Army Of One just isn't strong enough
Well it's Tuesday and the sandstorm never came. I heard that it slowed down and could be here by Friday. I'm sure on Friday they'll say that it should be here by Monday.
Last week was fairly quiet. I do have a pretty good story to tell though.
So on Sunday night I was out patrolling the base in our Durango (Glad I went to Humvee school) and I was flagged down by a soldier who stated he thinks there may be an IED in a dumpster near his tent. So I go over to the area where they are and they tell me they hear a beeping noise coming from the dumpster. This is the first sign to me, that this could not possibly be an IED. I know the terrorists aren't the brightest and most advanced enemy, but they know better than to put a warning on their bomb. "Here's the bomb..The beeping noise...just wanted to give you a heads up". So anyway, just to be on the safe side I call for back-up and we evacuate the nearby tents. Now the Army guys who reported it are practically demanding that I call out EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal). These are the heavy hitters. You don't call them out unless you know it's for sure an IED or you just can't tell. It's better to be safe than sorry, but at the same time, don't drag them out of bed for something bogus.
So I decide to get closer to try and hear the beeping. Up until this point I've been about 40 yds away. So as I get closer I hear the beeping. I know that beep. When we first got to Kuwait, and we were sleeping in those tents, my tent had that same beeping noise for three days straight. It was an alarm for the smoke detectors telling you to change the battery. It doesn't stop beeping until a new one is put in. So now I am 90% positive its a smoke detector, but I need to be 100% sure. So I open the dumpster. These Army guys headed for the hills as soon as I lifted the lid. It was funny to me. It's dark and I can't see a thing, so I ask them for a flashlight. They said they had one, but they weren't coming to me. So I walked back over to get the flashlight and I tell the guys I'm pretty sure I know what it is, I don't think it's a bomb. One of the guys says to me "Hey. No need to be the next hero man, just call EOD and let them handle it". Which I also found amusing. I thought about going back over to the dumpster and start asking for tools that would be used to disable a bomb. "Yeah, I'm gonna need a pair of pliers, a roll of duct tape, a piece of bubble gum and a pair of tin snips". Instead I opted for, "No hero man, just doing my job. Trust me, I've seen the movie Hurt Locker and just went through 3 days of IED training at Ft. Lewis".
So anyway, I go back over, rifle through the trash, grab the smoke detector out, rip out the battery and toss it back in. The Army guys were pretty embarrassed. I made sure to assure them they did the right thing. Had I not recognized the beep and completely assessed the situation to my complete understanding, I would've never have gone over there. When I was in Bahrain in 2003, a terrorist set a pretty big explosion in a dumpster that rocked the base. Shattered windows. It was scary. So when I say if I didn't know, I wouldn't have done it, I mean it. Been there, done that type of thing.
The main thing is, is that these soldiers are on there way to Iraq. Where IED's are the most dangerous thing there. They've lost friends to IED's. So to you and I, it might be a no brainer, "ah it's just a smoke detector", but they cannot take anything lightly. I made very sure to make sure they understood that even though it was what it was, they did the right thing, and that they continue to do the same thing in Iraq. You don't want to help them get into "the boy who cried wolf" phase. Where they stop calling out possible IED's because the last 3 came out negative, because that's the one that will blow. So anyway, it's a funny story, but I had to put it into perspective. See it through their eyes.