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.


December 31, 2008

Name: Vampire 06
Posting date: 12/31/08
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Hometown: Folsom, CA
Milblog: Afghanistan Shrugged

In  a previous post I wrote about finding an IED underneath a building and then discovering that the building was an ACM* headquarters.

Yes, I'm still calling them ACM despite the popular move to call them EOP, Enemies of Peace, by our higher headquarters at CJTF-P. Boredom must have set in at Kabul and for Christmas they decided to give us a new acronym to call the Bad Guys. I'm still unsure why Bad Guys isn't descriptive enough; it's accurate (they're bad), simple ( we all know who we're talking about) and Infantry proof (even I can remember it). I'll drop this line of thought as it will force me into some tirade.

Anyway, we'd visited this abandoned town previously and discovered a large IED. (Please remember the rules of IEDs -- that there are no small IEDs.) When we pulled back from the town the ANA* mortared the building and it was pretty darn effective. In the meantime the ACM (Bad Guys) decided to move next door. Neighborhood Watch isn't great here.

A small caveat for those of you who like to critique what we do: This town is abandoned. Which means no one lives here, nor have they lived here for a long time. I say again, nobody lives here, so please don't write me a comment about COIN* and destroying people's houses. The only dudes who live here are bad. Now some wise ass is going to ask me, "How do you know they're bad"?

I have two main criteria that I use to determine if dudes are bad or not. These were developed through rigorous research and study. The bulk of the research into bad-guy determination was conducted by noted social scientist Don T. Killme and published in his book Hey,Those Dudes Are BAD. You may not be able to find it on Amazon but if you act now and send me $50 I can find you a copy.

Criteria number one: Did said dudes shoot at you? Yes, they did, in fact with a belt-fed weapon.This actually places them into the category of Well-Armed Bad Dudes.

Criteria number two: Did said dudes try to blow you up? Yes, with a big-ass IED that they hid underneath a building which I was about to walk into.

Thus, they pass the famed Killme test and are classified as Bad Guys, ACM, EOP, AAF, enemy, or whatever you want to call them. As I said before I'm sticking with Bad Guys.

So, Bad Guys have moved next door. What should we do about this?  I think we should blow up the building. Luckily, as an early Christmas present, Santa gave us C4 and a cratering charge. And that is what we did, we blew it up. Here is the result:

Framed Vampire Santa

Before I end this post I'll answer some Frequently Asked Questions that people have sent to me:

Are there women on your FOB? 

No, there are not. All there are is stinky Infantrymen and Artilleryman.
No sane women would want to be here. In fact no sane man wants to be here.

How does the Rover* system work for CAS?* 

Go to Janes Defense weekly and look it up. I'm not going
to encourage your laziness by just giving you the answer. Plus, it's electronic and I don't know.

Do the Afghans have an Air Force? 

No, they have helicopters and that's it.

How many ANA and CF* are on your FOB? 

What the...?  Do you work for the Taliban?

Are you worried about OPSEC?

Yes. The stuff I write about has already happened a while ago. I want
all my guys to come home alive and I especially want to come home alive. I'm not going to go James Frey on everyone but I use some literary leeway to account for time.

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and please drink one for me and the boys on New Years! Please remember to not drink and drive and I'll not drink and post. Hell, I can't drink here anyway! 


ACM: Anti-Coalition Militias

ANA: Afghan National Army

COIN: Counter Insurgency

AAF: Anti-Afghan Forces

Rover: Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver

CAS: Close Air Support

CF: Coalition Forces

OPSEC: Operations Security


i will tip one back for you and pour a little out for the brothers and sisters that won't be returning to the states in one piece. thanks and good luck.

Sounds like Bad Guys to me!

Have a great New Year!

I do miss C4, or 1/4 pound TNT. with fuze, detcord, and dentonators. Put all your stuff to good use and have a happier New Year.

Loved your second to last FAQ! Nice clear definition of Bay Guy, too.

in nam,i also thought bad guys were those who shot at me. living in the bush as they also did, led me to look at both our lives. if you marched carelessly through my cornfield,what would i do?if you fired a claymore at me, how should i respond?by the end of my first month, my bad guy list went from president and congress to pentagon,to division command, to nva to vc. my goal remained the same-get out alive and make sure as many of my brothers did too.hope you all walk away and feel good about the end, it's not what you call them but how you see yourself. oh, the best use i had for c4 was heating my coffee.the guy on the football field ,who tackles clean and leaves you bruised,isn't a bad guy.the one, who hits your knees is.

This comment doesn't exactly regard this blog per se, but it does with you. In my AP language class, we have to compare blogs from The Sandbox with The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien (if you haven't read it yet, you definitely should!). Anyway, i just want to let you know, how almost every one in my class chose your blogs (the way i found out was when the whole class began to ask my teacher if we had to refer to you as Vampire 06 in our essay!) So keep on writing, it definitely has something in it to keep this many people in such keen interest!

I could never do that. I'd have a heart attack the first day. :) Thank you!

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