So let me tell you about my night last night. I was on QRF. Quick Reaction Force, or the guys who have to go out there and get the other guys if they get blown up, shot at, or stuck.
So about 2000 hrs they call us up and tell us that our guys are in a T.I.C. About 10 clicks outside the FOB. (T.I.C.= Troops In Contact or in layman’s terms they are getting shot at.) They don’t need us to go out there and help them, they want us to take a mortar team out about 4 clicks and provide security while they set up and rain death, destruction, bombs, and fire on these Taliban fucks.
No problem, I got this. So we jump in the trucks, get all our shit ready, and we roll out. We get about 3 clicks outside the FOB and here’s what happened...
This new company is nothing but infantry so they are used to walking everywhere that they have to go. However, in this country given the vast amounts of land we have to cover there is no choice but to drive. So they are driving one of those MRAPS that I told you about. Now when driving in this country there is one cardinal rule here. No matter what happens, no matter what you do, no matter what is going on, you never leave the tracks of the vehicle in front of you. Simple rule if you ask me. We have this rule so that if something goes boom, it only gets the first truck and doesn’t have a chance to damage the rest of them. That’s why we put those big ass MRAPS in front. They can take the blast and keep right on going, so it would stand to reason that we would want them to hit all the IED’s. (I understand this hardly ever happens, but it is what is supposed to happen.)
Anyway, so there is our MRAP in front leading the way, and then another MRAP with the new company’s mortar team in it. So we are driving along at a good clip, we are going to get there in time to bring all these mortars right down on the Taliban’s heads. So my day was getting better by the minute. We were about 1000 meters from where we wanted to set this shit up. And their MRAP driver decides that he is afraid of the puddle that our MRAP had just driven through, so he swerves off to the left.
I’ll give you three guesses what happened. If you guessed that the MRAP fell into a hole that buried the entire front wheels and tipped this thing so far to the left that the bottom of the drivers side door was touching the ground. (the ground clearance on an MRAP is like 3 feet) Stuck. Bigger than shit, stuck. Why wouldn’t we get stuck?
Well not a big deal really, we’ll just pull the other MRAP around and have it pull that big ass vehicle out. So our MRAP turns around and guns the gas to get over a little hill, then pulls out into the field next to the stuck MRAP, stops to back up a bit to get into position to pull the other one out, and what happens. It sinks down a little bit, the driver guns the engine and promptly buries that MRAP. Why wouldn’t we get two MRAPs stuck?
So now we are completely stuck. In the terrain we’ve got here there is no way that a humvee can pull one of these gigantic MRAPs out. So we have to call for the big dog. The HEMMT. I have no idea how to spell it, but that’s how you say it. Basically, the HEMMT is the Army’s tow truck. 8 wheel drive, humungous vehicle, crane equipped with a bunch of other nifty little bells and whistles that make this thing by far and away the biggest vehicle we’ve got, and allow it to recover with relative ease any truck we can get stuck. I mean this thing can pick a humvee up off the ground with its crane. Why wouldn’t we need this big bitch for a routine mission that only took us so far out that I could walk back to the FOB in the same amount of time it would take me to watch one episode of “How I Met Your Mother”?
Then they spin up two more teams, two more trucks and the recovery team with the HEMMT. They get outside the FOB and are on their way to get us. However, whoever was running this little convoy forgot how to work his equipment (spray on?) and had himself a hard time directing these guys directly to us.
Now, on to our next debacle. So far we have gotten quite a few vehicles stuck, what haven’t we done? We have yet to get anyone hurt. Well, ladies and gentlemen, we will remedy that shortfall quickly. So the driver of 1-1’s truck decides that he is going to “Dukes Of Hazzard” a hole in the route, you know hit it really fast and fly over it. I wonder if he realized that the Dukes drove a Charger and he is driving a government bought, lowest bidder built humvee? But I digress. Either way, he hits this hole, sends the humvee careening over it, and his rather unfortunate gunner, who was facing the rear at the time and did not see this coming, was bounced around like a drunk coed at a fraternity party. The force of the landing promptly injured the poor lad’s neck, and back. So they had to stop once again, and change out the gunners so that this guy could see the medic. Why wouldn’t we get someone hurt?
But at long last they came over the hills and we saw their lights. Then we saw their lights stop moving. Why would they stop moving? I didn’t know. I was curious, so I got on the radio. My call sign is 1-3 Charlie, my buddy ‘spray on’ who is running the other convoy is 1-1 and here’s how this exchange went.
1-1 this is 1-3 Charlie, over.
1-3 Charlie this is 1-1 go ahead.
Roger, 1-1 I see your lights, but they are not moving. Do you want a flare so that you can mark our position?
Roger that, 1-3 Charlie. (I shoot a pen flare into the air)
1-3 Charlie this is 1-1 I see your flare, we have your position, but we have another problem.
1-1 This is 1-3 Charlie, what’s that?
1-3 Charlie, be advised the HEMMT is stuck!
1-1 This is 1-3 Charlie, can you say again. (I heard him, I just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t crazy)
1-3 Charlie this is 1-1, I say again, the HEMMT is stuck.
Roger that 1-1, Whatever sucks the most right?
That’s a good copy 1-3 Charlie, why wouldn’t we get the HEMMT stuck?
This is 1-3 Charlie, roger, why wouldn’t we? 1-3 Charlie Out!
So that is how that little conversation went. Now its about 2130 hrs and let’s take stock of how our evening has gone so far. Our guys started getting shot up, we moved out to give them mortar support (so far so good), then we get one MRAP stuck, then we get the other MRAP stuck, then we send out the one vehicle that is never supposed to get stuck and what do we do? We get it stuck! Why wouldn’t we?
Let’s take stock here, shall we. We have gotten 3 trucks stuck, and injured (unnecessarily) one soldier, and we haven’t even seen an Afghani, much less a Taliban! Only we could create such a goat fuck out of something so simple. Why wouldn’t we create a goat fuck?
So now we are really fucked. We are basically just a rather large target sitting out there not going anywhere. And it’s getting cold, and I am getting cranky. I am missing my beauty sleep, and if the pictures are any indication I need all the sleep I can get. So we sat...and we sat...and we sat...until the guys who had been getting all shot up got back. Why wouldn’t we need the guys who just got shot up to help us get our asses unstuck?
Now they get there, they take one of their trucks over to the HEMMT and try to pull it out. Now we are in business, we have enough trucks here to pull an aircraft carrier. So they hook their winch up to the HEMMT to try and anchor it and give it some traction to get out of the hole it was in. Apparently, the HEMMT was buried a little bit deeper than we thought. And the HEMMT pulled the other truck straight into the ground and buried it! So now we got another one stuck. And its about 2200, so between the hours of 2000 and 2200 we have managed to bury 4 trucks. All of which are within pissing distance of the FOB. Why wouldn’t we get 4 trucks stuck a stone’s throw outside the FOB?
So here I am, looking around and the huge clusterfuck of which I am a part, and I can’t help but smile. Alright, so the night continued on as what has now turned into 70 soldiers all trying to drag one or more of these 4 stuck trucks out of the muck. (That was a little poetic.) So luckily, after about an hour they managed to get one truck unstuck, then another and another until all 4 trucks are out of the shit, and up onto the road. So now we turn around and head home.
Could we manage to get home with no hiccups? Are you kidding?
Now remember that we are only 3 clicks from the FOB, and you can actually see the lights from where we are sitting. Kind of a “drive toward the light” thing, we have going here. We made one mistake, we allowed the new company to lead us home. Why wouldn’t we let the guys who have no idea where they are or where they are going lead us home.
So they drive us, at least in the general direction of the lights, but then they start leading us away from the gate and around the back of the FOB. Why wouldn’t they?
Well instead of waiting on those guys we peeled out of the convoy and drove our way home. Now finally, we are back, we are refueled, we have the vehicles parked and I finally lay down in my bed...wait for it...
My squad leader busts into my room, shakes me awake, and tells me that somebody lost a hand grenade in one of the trucks and we needed to find it. A perfect end, to a perfect evening, why wouldn’t somebody lose a fucking grenade?
Why wouldn’t we do all of that shit? Really, why wouldn’t we?
Anyway, I am done now.
I love you Mom...