The Long War

When I was studying in France back in 2009 one of the many unique opportunities I had was to attend the Collogue Guerre Irreguliere/Irregular Warfare Conference at Camp Coetquidan.  And one of the things a British General said was that NATO knew Afghanistan would be a 20 year war.  That it would take an entire generation to fight and rebuild that country. The reason I bring this up, one of our categories here on OPFOR is The Long War.  I’ve had this sneaking suspicion that my generation’s war never ended.  That this irregular enemy, the non-state actor, would continue to […]

Dignity and Respect

An overused term in the military, from Part 5 of the Norfolk Virginian Pilot series “A Chance in Hell,” this is what that term means: “Angels are never left alone. This is a place where rules are sometimes broken in the name of saving a life or a limb, but this rule is not one of them. Everything changes when a service member dies on the hospital’s watch – when a patient becomes an angel. Everything slows down, almost to a stop. Practicality and medicine instantly give way to ceremony. Speed no longer counts. Honoring the soldier – the sacrifice […]

Ahoy, From U.S.S. Eggers

Quiet couple of days here, from the flight deck of USS Eggers. Ever since I got here I’ve had an odd sense of familiarity– but not at all like Patton in the Roman ruins of North Africa. No, this was much more real. I finally figured it out– I might as well be at sea. The base is tiny, and it has one long main street. I go from billeting to work space to chow hall to gym and back again. I catch glimpses of the outside world , and I get off every now and then but only in […]

Section Training

We do section training here every saturday at 1700. Today, a very keen LCpl of the Royal Engineers took us through an oh-fuck-we-got-hit-by-an-IED evolution. The objective was to rehearse the actions of reporting, securing, defending, evacuating the wounded, destroying any gear left behind, and bugging out. And we did it in full “kit’. VERY VALUABLE TRAINING. So, one of us played the wounded guy, two young Sappers played the drivers; two more officers got to make the initial contact report, and then haul the wounded guy out of his vehicle and into the other one. That’s a bitch; it’s hard […]

The Care & Feeding of the Military Chaplain

Read this; good article. All hands, no matter what denomination or inclination, need to pitch in to take care of the chaplain. That guy bears the weight of the battalion on his shoulders; he carries people’s confidences, their most-guarded secrets, and most serious problems. Most of the bad stuff and not too much of the good stuff gets dumped on him. Put another way, who goes to the chaplain and says, Hey– I’d like to grab a half-hour with you to tell you in detail how great things are, and how problem-free I am?? Take care of your chaplain. He’s […]

Disbursing Humor

Cashed a check this morning, on my maiden voyage to disbursing. Above the heavily barred window was a sign proclaiming, “____th Financial Management Company, Det 2“. And below, in small print, “We’re in Debt Too“. It took me a minute. HA! I’m glad they’re maintaining a cents of humor… (Yes, two can play at that game. But even I, an artilleryman, must yield in this case to superior punnery.)

Minor Annoyances

I discovered this morning, as I rolled out of the fart sack, that I had left my deodorant and small liquid soap squeeze bottle in the head, some 12 hours previously. I hurried in to scrape my face, hoping that some kind soul had left them in situ. No such luck; this ain’t VMI. The deodorant I replaced easily, the squeeze bottle I’ll have to get reach-back support for… it was the perfect size and shape, approx 3 ounces. Know the kind I’m talking about?? Hellfire and damnation! Update: Thanks all, for the suggestions and offers to help, however Most […]

A Sensible Plan for an Afghan Air Force

The WaPo reports on an entirely sensible and feasible plan to field an Afghan Air Force. “Our goal is by 2016 to have an air corps that will be capable of doing those operations and the things that it needs to do to meet the security requirements of this country,” Brig. Gen. Walter Givhan told Pentagon reporters recently in a teleconference from Kabul, the Afghan capital. Even then, the Afghans will not be able to perform functions other air forces do, he said, adding, “The long-term goal beyond that envisions a continued partnership.” Read the whole thing– it’s a modest, […]

The M.O.D. Squad

Made my first visit to Ministry Of Defense (MOD) today, to see the route in and get familiar with the layout. The meeting at which I was to have been introduced to my counterpart was cancelled at the last minute, so I tagged along with two others and sat in on their meeting. Can’t report too much on the content of the meeting, but I will say it was illuminating, and I remember well all the stories I’d heard from Marines (and others) about the crucial value of the interpreters. We can’t do this without them. On the walk from […]

O2BN… AFGHANISTAN!

Greetings to all. I have landed in Central Asia, and while not yet at my final destination I am very very close. I have every expectation of getting there soon. I was pleasantly surprised by the weather. It was hot today, but not the ennervating 29 Palms-like heat I thought it would be. And then, even before the sun went down, it got nice and cool. Needless to say I’m pretty excited about the whole thing. More to follow. Almost Forgot… We rode in on a C-17. Today’s strange fact is that it was my SECOND C-17 ride, but only […]