The Sandbox

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.


January 16, 2008

Name: CAPT Mike Dunn
Posting date: 1/16/08
En route to: Afghanistan
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Milblog url
: TheNewNormal

8:00 AM - Tuesday, September 11th, 2001: Having just completed my civic duty by casting my ballot in the NYC primary elections, I'm sitting on the X28 express bus working its way up Church Street towards my job in midtown Manhattan. As I had done countless times before, I gazed at the usual street scene of the throngs coming and going around the World Trade Center, paying attention to nothing in particular. Although I didn't know it, I would never, ever see this scene again.

8:00 AM - Wednesday, September 12th, 2001*: I am walking up Church Street in battle dress uniform, full combat gear, and armed with an Army issue 9mm Berreta pistol loaded with hollow point bullets on loan from the NYPD. Before me is a scene of horror beyond my ability to express with words. I am numbed by the sur-realness of it all. Although I didn't know it, this would now be my life, this would be the new normal.

110300RJAN08/111230DJAN08: Six years and four months later I am with my wife and children in Brooklyn for as much precious time I can hoard away from Big Army. I am a week away from getting on a bus to begin a journey which will take me to Afghanistan. Just in time for the Taliban's Spring Offensive. I sense this story is heading towards some sort of denouement. I dread what I don't know.

Or, using the DateTime Group (DTG) format used by the military: 120800RSEP01. The format reads as: the day's date, the time in 24-hour-clock format, the time zone designation, the month, the year. Time Zone Romeo (R) is Eastern Standard Time. Time Zone Delta (D) plus 30 minutes is the time in Afghanistan. Time Zone Zulu (Z), is Greenwhich Mean Time.


Stay safe, for the love of God.

Keep safe and remember to come home to all the people hwo love you.

I cannot imagine what it was that you went through walking toward those towers that were a daily part of your life, and so suddenly no longer there. To me, that event was a distant tradgedy - I was in the seventh grade and did not understand. Now, I do, more so that ever before. I pray that you come home safe and sound to those who love you.

A new type of ammunition is arriving in time to help Soldiers in dangerous urban landscapes, such as those in Iraq.

Brig. Gen. James E. Rogers, commanding general of the Joint Munitions Command at Rock Island, Ill., approved the full materiel release of the M-1030 12-gauge shotgun breaching cartridge in late 2007.

"The M-1030 is an anti-material cartridge designed to be used for defeating wooden doors (deadbolts, knobs and hinges) and padlock hasps," said R. Ned DeWitt, product manager of crew served weapons with the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center. "The cartridge is functional with the Mossberg 500/590 and the Remington 870 shotguns. The cartridges will be tested in the XM62 Modular Accessory Shotgun System as part of the product qualification testing for the weapon."

The M-1030 is a Soldier-enhancement program that uses commercial-off-the-shelf technology. The first requirement was approved by the U.S. Army Infantry Center in 1997.

Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., served as the testing area for the M-1030.

DeWitt said changes in combat from open field to urban environments drove the implementation for the changes.

"Since combat has migrated toward military operations in urban terrain, ballistic-breaching operations have increased. This necessitated the need for a specialized breaching munition capable of being fired from existing and future small arms weapons," he said.

The most important aspect of the new munition is its safety toward Soldiers.

"Current shotgun-ballistic breaching utilized 00 Buckshot cartridges that are not designed for breaching," DeWitt said. "Soldiers have suffered severe injuries during breaching operations utilizing buckshot cartridges," he said. "The frangible projectile of the M-1030 minimizes ricochet hazards currently associated with buckshot breaching and provides a much safer alternative to the Soldier."

DeWitt said the ammunition contractor, Alliant Techsystems Inc., will produce the ammunition in its plant in Minnesota, with ammunition orders already being filled by the Army, Marine Corps and the Navy.

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