Friday, August 28, 2009

Scars On Broadway 2

The Scars on Broadway post has made its rounds apparently. That's all in about 2 days I think. 125 people from the Czech Republic. Who'da thought?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Hurt Locker

So last month I blogged about a suspected IED here at the base. In that blog I talked about my decision making on whether or not to call EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) out to an incident or not. Well, yesterday was the day I called them out.

I was just sitting down to dinner when the dispatch called me to check out an unattended package. I was annoyed, and expected to go over and it be nothing. So myself and two patrolman went over to check it out. It was a medium sized cardboard box with DHL labeling. It was sitting on texas barrier which divided the road from some barracks. The box was not addressed to anyone. Occasionally, if its addressed, I can contact the person to see if they accidentally left it there. I gave the box a nudge. It was heavy. The box was sealed, so I couldnt see what was inside. I felt the box again. I felt a vibration. I didn't feel comfortable at this point. I asked one of the patrolman to verify that it was vibrating, they both said no way and went to hide behind the car. At this point I decided I was going to call out EOD.

I requested more patrolman, EOD, medical, and the fire dept. to be safe. Once the patrolman arrived, we set a perimeter and evacuated nearby buildings and barracks. The bad part about this whole thing, was that most of the officers lived in these barracks, so they were most likely annoyed, and now all eyes are on me to see how I handle the situation. I was pretty nervous. Now if any of you have seen the movie hurt locker and you see how cocky and confident the main character is, thats how this EOD guy that came out was. This pick-up truck came rolling up blaring the song "Many Men" by rapper 50cent. The song lyrics open with "Many Men....Wish death upon me". Now I'm interested to see how this goes down. He jumps out of the truck with long (for the military) hair, disheveld uniform, oozing confidence. I brief him on the situation. When I get to the part about the box vibrating I see his eyes fill with excitement. He goes back to his truck to get his tools. I was hoping to see him get all suited up and bring out the cool robots they have. I should have known better. This guy just grabs some c-4 and det chord.

On base, we have a siren that goes off to warn people in the area to stay away. It's deafning. It goes off every few minutes until the all-clear is given. Maybe you see where this is going. Just as he approaches the package, the siren goes off. He jumps up and comes storming over. At this point there were about 10 people standing around, mostly officers. He starts screaming at all of us. Dropping f-bombs and everything. "Turn that damn thing off!", he says. He completely flipped out. He starts marching back over to the box. We're all looking at each other in shock. I just kind of smile and say "I guess that means we should turn the siren off". 2 minutes later BOOM! The box is destroyed. He walks back to the box. Sifts through the debris. He comes back to where we were standing and says "No explosive material. The scene is all clear. I'm sorry I flipped out. The siren scared the crap out of me". He jumped back into his truck, turned the 50cent back up and drove off.

I was a little disappointed with the explosion. I expected something louder and larger. I guess because of how close it was to the buildings it was how it should be.

After he leaves, everyone wants to see whats left of the box. I start hearing people say "I just want to see what was vibrating". Now I'm thinking to myself, there better be some type of electrical device in here or I'm going to look a little foolish in front of all these officers. So we get over to the whats left of the box. A can of beans, some shredded paper, a blanket, a bag of microwave popcorn, and some other stuff. None of which is electronic. No one said anything, but I couldn't help but think they all think I'm crazy. So I have no idea why the box was vibrating. There was a generator not too far away, that may have caused it, but who knows. In my defense, the bomb expert thought it was enough for him to blow it up, so it must have been the right call.

I had today off which was nice after that night.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Scars On Broadway

The band Scars on Broadway, put on a great show last night here on Camp Buehring. They are comprised of a few other bands. One member being John Dolmayan, the drummer for System of A Down.

The lead singer in the band, Franky Perez, also gave out a password for a website for us to go and download a song he wrote with Dave Kushner from the band Velvet Revolver. The song is about the troops and is called "Beyond the Wire". I haven't had a chance to download it since the internet in our barracks has been down, but after seeing them perform for us last night I'm sure it's a great song.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Breaking the POUND Barrier

So since I started this whole deployment thing, I decided to use it as an opportunity to get back into shape. It's no secret I exploded since I got off of active duty 2 years ago. Just a guesstimate, but I'd say about 55lbs or so. Maybe it was the Pretzel Boys. Who knows. Anyway, I'd like to unveil the new Paul today. I've been working out like a mad man and here is the proof:

BAM!!!! This is where hard work and dedication will get you ladies and gentleman. In only 5 months I've transformed myself into a Channing Tatum look alike. Sorry ladies, I'm taken. If the fact that I'm taken doesn't phase your pursuit, I'll have you know my fiance watches UFC with me and I'm sure shes not afraid to apply the moves shes learned from watching on you. Just a warning.

Seriously though, I have been working out like crazy and have lost 30 lbs so far. I'd like to shed another 15 or 20 more before I leave. It actually hasn't been as hard as I thought, and I've managed to stay away from those supplement fat burning pills and stuff.

Working out daily, modifying my diet, and taking a few natural supplements is it.

My diet is still pretty good too. I take in 1800 - 2300 calories daily. I try to stay away from fried foods and sweets. I also eat an apple before every meal and drink two glasses of grapefruit juice daily. That's pretty much it for the diet. There isn't really a whole lot I cut out.

As far as working out, I do from 30 to 90 minutes every day depending on my schedule. I only do cardio twice a week. The other days I spend weightlifting. I mix up the cardio between p90x, elliptical, and stationary bike. I also try to get out and walk often when I'm on patrol. The goal is to burn about 500 more calories a day than I take in. That makes up about a pound a week and would be about 50lbs total, which is around my goal.

The supplements I take are pretty basic. I take a multi-vitamin, a fish oil pill, a green tea extract pill, and have a protein shake daily. That's it. We are sort of having a weight loss competition here. I'm around 2nd place by about 5lbs right now. Which is fine with me. The guy that has lost the most is on some serious fat burning pills and a very low calorie diet. No pills and only a slightly modified I'm right behind him!

Hope everyone is well.. 6 more months..

Monday, August 17, 2009

Kuwait foils terror plot

Call Me Now....

I told you so. So this morning when I got off of shift my supervisor called me in to his office and told me that because the guys that took over riding the ATV's for us don't have any law enforcement experience, among a couple other reasons I can't get into for operational security reasons, he doesn't want them going out on the ATV's for SAPP patrol by themselves. Therefore we have to go out with them now. I was a little angry about it for a number of reasons. The main reason is I think it will hurt the morale of my a crew a little bit. Actually I know it did, because when I announced it this evening I heard all the groans. Also, after that duty was taken over, I was able to give the guys an extra day off here and there, and now I'll have to stop. Again, for OPSEC reasons, I can't get into it a whole lot, but there are a plethora of reasons we shouldn't have to conduct this operation this way, and there is no reason why the guys that volunteered to take over couldn't continue to conduct the patrols. I have to pick and choose my battles, so I will spend the next couple weeks evaluating things and doing as ordered. Hopefully I can come up with a solution that will please everyone, and I can get these guys their time off some other way.

Friday, August 14, 2009


I told you so. I knew I was going to jinx myself with my complaining. I went in to work today to find out that now instead of doing the 5k once a week, they decided it was so popular they are now doing it twice a week!!! That's what I get I guess. Oh well.

I had a story I thought was kind of funny I wanted to share. So part of my duties here on base is traffic enforcement. Basically controlling the parking, speeding, stop signs, etc. Let me say up front, that I'm not big on giving tickets out here. Most of the people here on the base are only here for a few weeks before they head up to Iraq only to be never seen here again. The tickets don't follow them from base to base, so as long as it's nothing majorly wrong I usually just give them a verbal warning. Sometimes I don't even pull them over. I just flash my lights at them just to let them know I caught them and to take it easy, and sometimes I just follow them a little closely to convey the same message as flashing the lights.

Anyway, two nights ago, I was in my little hiding spot at a 4-way intersection and I saw this 20 passenger van speeding about 7-8 over and then they rolled the stop sign at the intersection I was watching. Now 7-8 isn't too much over, and he did at least slow down at the stop sign, plus there is little to no pedestrian traffic in this area. I decide that I will just let him know I'm in the area, so I flip my headlights on and I closely follow this guy. Were doing about 9mph at this point. So following closely really isn't a safety concern of mine. Most people understand what is going on and appreciate it, and some think they got away with it, but even they still leave with the impression that the police are out here, I don't want a ticket, I better be careful. Well, not this guy. He decides to hit the brakes, put his van in park, exit the van, and put his hands up in the air in disgust.

I pull up to him and ask "Do we have a problem?". This guy goes into a tirade about me following him too close. I try to explain to him that my intention was to simply let him know I saw him commit these infractions and to be careful. I further explain that I can use the method I did, or I could have pulled him over and given him a ticket. He tells me "Just give me the ticket next time". He then goes on to say he wasn't even speeding. I show him the radar. He's got nothing. He then decides to say he didn't run the stop sign. Rather than get into a pissing match with this guy, I decide, forget next time, he's getting a ticket this time. I ask for his license. Wouldn't you know it, no license. Here this guy could have gone on with nothing, and now he is getting 3 tickets, and most likely, his driving privileges revoked.

He really got me fired up inside. I try to be the nice guy with the verbal warnings and such, and he has to act this way. So after I give him the ticket, he drives off. About 10 minutes later, I see his van. You guessed it. Illegally parked. Guess who got another ticket...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It was soooo hot today...

...that I waterboarded myself.

So I guess my requests were heard. They found some volunteers to do the SAPP patrols on the ATV's. Basically a unit here was not too busy on their night shift and their supervisor decided to find some work for them. Luckily for me he found us and asked if we had any work for them. Now I just have to make sure those guys are doing them correctly, and occasionally fill in the gaps they leave.

So since I got lucky with my last request, I'll throw another one out there. With my luck this one will most likely backfire and I'll end up back on the ATV's, but I'll go on anyway.

Every Wednesday here on base they have a 5k run. Yeah. A 5k run in the desert heat. Who these people are who participate, I'm not exactly sure. I know the majority of the participants are British and the majority of those British runners are Gurkhas. (I Highly recommend reading about the Gurkhas by the way) With that being said, I'm sure you've seen on the news that the British troops are almost completely withdrawn from Iraq, and Kuwait will soon follow suit. Which leads me to believe that there will not be that many participants.

The military polices' involvement in the race is to block off all of the roads the runners will be on to insure no one is driving around creating a hazard for the runners. Now we put barricades up at every intersection, but the people working here on base apparently don't let police barricades stop them. They simply get out of their car move the barricades and drive right through them as if they owned the base. It's really unbelievable how these people just completely ignore them. So, now, in addition to putting out the barricades we have to drive up and down the route making sure no one is going around the barricades. When I catch them, everybody I confront has some "important meeting" that they "have" to be at, and this road is the "absolute only" way for them to get to this "critical" meeting.

I know I'm sounding really lazy complaining about the "work" I'm doing out here but these 5k races are soooooooooooo boring and drawn out. The race goes till about 7am or whenever the last person finishes. I'm supposed to get off at 6am. First let me get back to this last person finishes bit really quick. Now, I really admire the people participating in the run. It's extremely hot and the dust in the air has got to make it that much harder to breathe. You'll never catch me volunteering for one of these(insert fat joke here), but people come out and walk the 5k. Seriously? I have to stay out till the last person finishes, and you're walking it? If I only had to do it monthly rather than weekly I would have a little more tolerance of this. So, I propose, instead of doing it weekly, lets do it monthly. This way I only sound sort of lazy.