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GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

YOU THINK OR YOU KNOW? |

August 22, 2007

YOU THINK OR YOU KNOW?
Name: SFC Toby Nunn
Posting date: 8/22/07
Stationed in: Kuwait / Iraq
Hometown: Oakland, CA via Terrace B.C. CANADA
Milblog url: tobynunn.com

Since being in the Guard I have been faced with many challenges. The largest is being around inexperienced people that lack the proper training to execute their duties. Another is trying to get civilian-minded people to see the big military and tactical picture that they are now a major part of. With this comes some humorous moments -- although they really didn't seem funny at the time.

Earlier this year while in Shelbystan the Humvee I was signed for got stolen. At the time I didn't say a lot about it because there was a minor misunderstanding with a senior leader. When I finally got the truck back I discovered that it had been damaged. While investigating who the driver was at the time of the accident I was faced with a senior leader who possibly was responsible. I was delicately trying to uncover the culpable party, but no one wanted to demonstrate some integrity. Finally I got a hint, so in the discussion I asked the person if they knew how my truck got damaged. The response was, "I think I hit a tree."

A tree is something that you would know that you hit, especially in light of the damage incurred. I asked if he still thought he hit a tree.

The other night while escorting a convoy through a very hot spot, the group in front of us got hit. We had to wait while the passage got cleared and we could advance. There were groups ahead of and behind us. All around us fire fights broke out. I tried to keep the guys chilled out since we were not in those fights -- even though they were close we didn't want to get involved since we could do more damage than good.

It is very hard as a fighter to sit in the middle of a bar brawl and continue to drink. That is how I was feeling. Then it started raining steel from the sky. Even though we were "blacked out", the enemy was able to focus their mortars on our position and we were helpless. There was nowhere for us to go, we just had to sit tight and hope for the best. Everyone around us was in the same situation. I tried my best to keep the group we were escorting cool, but it's kind of hard with people not used to that kind of thing.

The reports were coming in from everyone when the radio crackled: "I think I had an impact next to my truck!"

An impact is an earth-shaking bright flash that hits with shrapnel. It's one of those things you really can't miss seeing unless you die on impact. So as calmly as I could I got on the net, and asked the soldier: "You think or you know?"

Comments

I think that would be really difficult to be doing such important tasks and have people who are not confident or sure in what they are doing. I also think that it is very "big" of you to be calm and take care of the situations and even laugh about them later, even though they could have ended up very poorly.

I think that would be really difficult to be doing such important tasks and have people who are not confident or sure in what they are doing. I also think that it is very "big" of you to be calm and take care of the situations and even laugh about them later, even though they could have ended up very poorly.

There is humor to be found in even the darkest places, and it shows the strength of your character that you can look back at a situation like that and laugh. It must be a hard adjustment for the new recruits to make, going from civilian life to military. Good luck with them and God Bless!

I admire your ability to think clearly whilst in the midst of a frightening situation (I wish I had that trait). It shows depth of character and a wonderful personality. I hope you are able to come home safely.

I admire your ability to think clearly whilst in the midst of a frightening situation (I wish I had that trait). It shows depth of character and a wonderful personality. I hope you are able to come home safely.

I admire your ability to think clearly whilst in the midst of a frightening situation (I wish I had that trait). It shows depth of character and a wonderful personality. I hope you are able to come home safely.

I love how even in the middle of something as serious as a war, you are able to take a step back and find the humor in life. i would be so scared every day...I guess that's why I'm not in the military! And by the way, thank you so much for your service. I'm sure you've heard that more times that you'd wish to think about, but I admire the courage and strength that you possess.

I understand where you are coming from with the officer claiming that he might have hit a tree. I was in the military and saw that everyday especially among the J.O.'s. If they did something wrong they would either hide it, or would put their enlisted men at fault for their mistake. It is good that you were able to remain calm in the latter situation though.

It would be frustrating to be in such a dangerous situation and have a very unsure, confused person by your side. I am very glad you are able to find humor in it now. It takes a strong person to be able to handle it the way you did. Best wishes and take care.

I have a close friend who recently came home from Iraq. When he tells stories about it, I rarely hear the gruesome details of attacks for IED's, but rather the humorous things that happened to him over the months. I think it really helped him to get over the terrible things he saw by talking about the funnier aspects. I'm glad to see others viewing the lighter side of such a horrible experience.

You would "think" that they would the difference, but like with so many other things, no one wants to admit that they did something wrong or was in the wrong place at the wrong time

I'm glad to hear that you still have your sense of humor. It is great that in the middle of all that mess you could keep your head and be a true leader. I hope that you can get back to the states soon.

Great post! You have several elements going on here. First is your frustration at the lack of training of the "noobs", 2nd the theft of your humvee and subsequent attempts to find the culprit who may be a senior officer, and 3rd, the tie in with the comment aforementioned officer made and the comment made by the driver who "thinks" he had an hit beside him. Great post combining humor and practicality!

You know if we can't eventually find the humor in very stressful situations I don't think we would be able to cope when in the middle of a war zone.

Personally I don't know how I would cope never being in that type of situation.

Thank you for your service and sacrifices in order to keep our freedoms and to help others in the world obtain the same freedoms.

Jaime
IPFW Freshmen

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