: 1SG James L. GibsonStationed in
: Forest Grove, OregonMilblog
: Afghanistan Deployment 2012-2013Email
Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training
with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and
night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon. He doesn’t worry about
what workout to do -– his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when
the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about
‘how hard it is;’ he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn’t go home at
17:00, he is home. He knows only The Cause.
Still want to quit?
-- Unknown United States Special Forces Soldier
Outside the wire has
been very quiet, and it has to do with the weather. The Taliban don’t
like to fight much in the cold. And I can’t blame them, neither do I -- and I have cold weather gear. It’s hitting low 40’s during the day
but turning into a blistering 20-something at night. The heaters in our
living areas are put to the test and are just enough to keep them
livable. The afternoons are beautiful blue skies, and if it wasn’t for
the stark wind, the days would be perfect for working on outside
It’s no secret that we are pulling out of this country within a
couple years. My last couple deployments we were in the thick of things,
and when you needed any supplies all you did was ask. We got pretty
much anything we asked for, and in large quantities. If you received
too much of one item, it went into the storage containers. Oftentimes
we got supplies we didn’t ask for, and again, those items went into
storage containers. Now that we are pulling out of this country, one of
our secondary tasks is to organize, account for, and prepare all this
excess equipment for eventual return to the US. Holy crap…
Today we shot down to the Ammunition Holding Area to fix all the
containers full of Ammo. I can’t blame the outgoing unit for the mess
they left us. Hell, I did the same thing when I left Ramadi. When it’s
time to go, it’s time to go! Most of today was spent stacking rounds,
getting accurate counts, and filling out paperwork. Not my idea of a
fun day, but it did get me out of my office and out in the elements.
I had to conduct my first “Cross Troop” ass-ripping last night. My
old scouts would relate it to my good friend 1SG Almario back in Ramadi.
That guy would constantly come over from his building and nuke my
guys. Sometimes it was warranted, but most of the time he would do it
for kicks. Last night I got a little heated. Our whole squadron lives
in one area and everyone works on different schedules. I get that
Soldiers need to let off steam and like to mess with each other, but it
was almost midnight and one tent full of Soldiers from another troop was
out of control. Someone from another tent yelled at them to shut up,
but it didn’t work. In fact, I could hear one of them say “Fuck them,
they don’t leave the wire."
I lost it. I threw on my boots and went to the tent and opened the
door. Semi-PSTD flashback, spit flying as I yelled, walking down the
Me to everyone: Yup, it sucks, your tent is right next to mine.
What makes you think you are more important than anyone else here in the
Me to a Sergeant that happened to pop his head out of his room: You go outside the wire?
ME: I ASKED, DO YOU GO OUTSIDE THE WIRE?
Sergeant: ... Yes, First Sergeant.
ME: Does that make you special or more important than the guys that don’t?
Sergeant: … Well 1SG, we go on missions, they don’t.
ME: So that makes you elite?
ME: How many times have you been blown up since we have been here?
ME: How many firefights you been in, stud?
Sergeant: … None.
ME: How many enemy have you killed?
Sergeant: … None.
ME: So what the F@#! DO YOU DO when you go on these missions?
Sergeant: ... Escort people.
ME: What’s the longest mission you have pulled? 24, 36, 72 hours?
Sergeant: … Six hours.
ME: SIX HOURS? Every Day?
Sergeant: … No.
ME: Want to trade places with the TOC guys? You know, since you have
had it so rough out in sector, you may need a change, don’t want you to
get too stresed out. You know what? Each one of them would give their
left nut to be where you are right now. So how about you show some
consideration to others and keep it down? And how about you try and
stop this attitude problem you and your guys have thinking you are
better than everyone else?
ME: I asked a question, Sergeant. Requires an answer.
Sergeant: Yes, First Sergeant.
ME: That’s what I thought. Now keep it down.
And as I walked out of their tent, I now knew what had gone through 1SG
Gear’s head back in Ramadi. My platoon there was the same way. Didn’t go
out in sector? F you! The difference was that more often than not, we
were going to be in some sort of contact when we left the gate. I was
able to keep most of it squashed because I knew the feeling of not going
into sector all the time. During my first deployment to Iraq I was a
TOC guy and only left the FOB a few times. I would get hammered by one
of the company commanders and reminded quite often that I didn’t know
what it was like outside the wire. If he only knew how much I wanted to
be with them. I would have given my left nut to be a Tank Commander
during that deployment, but the cards had been dealt, I was the
Battalion Master Gunner and worked in staff. So during the deployment
to Ramadi I did all I could to keep the bravado at a minimum.
They were quiet the rest of the night. Happens again, I may have to
take them out back and PT the hell out of them to knock out some of that
energy. They will have their opportunity to fight. The winter doesn’t
last forever and the Taliban are again going to want to play.