23 April 2006

Who's side are you realy on?

One of the things any soldier hates it the threat of friendly fire, now with the advance of communication, Satellite imaging you would think its hard for a modern military to shoot its own people of their allies, sadly not in Iraq, a considerable number of the British Casualties during both Gulf Wars were a the hand of their allies, once such incident was the fact a British Tank with the union Jack painted on the roof and transmitting the appropriate signal was blown up by a US Pilot as he mistook them for an Iraq Tank, last time I checked Saddam was never equipped with Challengers. There was an incident on the camp I am on, there is a US Air Force Captain, is an excellent laugh and cares a great deal about her work, for obvious reasons wears US Military Uniform and has blond hair. Now in the infinite wisdom a National Guard unit mistook her for an insurgent, anyone spot three problems which the National Guard Obviously missed as they shot a flare at her.

Now some might laugh at this, but it is indicative of the lowering of standards in the US Military. I have met and worked with some outstanding examples of good service personnel, but I have seen the real dross. All Branches in the US Military are failing to meet their recruitment targets, so what do they do, lower the standards, they now take people with lower level of education, lower fitness and have widened the list of criminal convictions they will allow.

One thing that is really shocking is the rampant waste of money over here, now some of you if you are Americans may know that KBR/Halliburton are under investigation by Congress as they were caught fiddling the books and over charging the US Military for fuel, quite surprising really when their ex CEO is now the Vice President of the United States. Well KBR is not very well liked by the grass roots troops, there was one case were one of the soldiers in the units mechanical department gave all his generator spares to another civilian company because they didn’t want KBR to have them.

So much money has been spent in Iraq that it works out every man woman and child $10,000 EACH. There is a camp near to mine that has a scrap yard the size of a small English village, there is enough operational equipment on here to equip a small country, it seems that in the US Military and KBR they have a philosophy that if its damaged its easier to replace than to repair.

Now things are still getting stressed on my camp, now you may not know this but I am a Civilian Contractor, now how it works is that a US Officer is appointed to each civilian company on base, turns out ours is a right ass hole, he used to be a good laugh, would come round for our BBQ’s, have a chat and laugh, turns out he was as spineless as a jelly fish. When we have our daily meetings he likes to use the Phrase “The Colonel Said” or “Command have said”. At one point he tried to play our company off against another civilian company on base, the gimp didn’t know that we actually talk to each other. He is the perfect example of what an Officer should NOT be, he is one of the types who get all Americans a bad name, he has a habit of demanding people drop everything there are doing, regardless of how important to do what ever he wants to do. Perfect example, yesterday there was a major supply convoy that had arrived that was 5 days late, so the Civilian Contractors were off loading the supplies which he knew had arrived and knew how important they were, but no, Captain Twat demands that the fork lifts be sent to him so that he can off load some generators which were not going to be connected for a few days, but the supplies on the convoy were needed that day, when he was told that the fork lifts wouldn’t be available he transmitted over the radio “Tell them it is a directive from their COR( Contracting Officers Rep) and if they don’t they will be in breach of their contract”. If this is the calibre of officers that are in the military no wonder the US are getting a bad name and the good officers get tarred with the same brush. In the end he was ignored as the base commander said the supply convoy was more important.

as you know from reading my other entries I used to have a great laugh with the old XO (old as in previous, the git is younger than me), he along with the likes of the Blond Captain and the guys who work “across the river” and Major Bum as we call her are the good that are in the Military, I could ask any of them anything and vice versa and if it is within our power will gladly help each other out. Mind you it was funny though at times as our old XO (I know your reading this) and the two female officers didn’t used to get on, I think it was like the situations many of us were in when we were young and at school, when we used to like a girl we would be horrible, pull their pig tails type of thing…….

Now for some of the British Police readers you will understand this next incident. How many of you have got in a disagreement with the Custody Sgt over the removal of the handcuffs. There was one incident I was involved in, now this incident happened whilst I was a Force Defensive Tactics Instructor (Something the Custody Sgt didn’t know) well I locked up this guy for scrapping in the street, we had a bundle to get the cuffs on him, had to fight to get him in the van, then when we got to custody had a fight to get him out of the van, now in their infinite wisdom the Sgt decided to keep us waiting, whilst we were waiting he stated to all of the officers present that as soon as we take the hand cuffs off he is going to attack us. When the Sgt finally let us in from the holding bay we had to use force to get the bloke inside. After I explained all the circumstances the Sgt began to go through the booking in process and actually asked me to take the handcuffs off so the guy could sign it. I repeated what had happened and that he made threats to attack officers and that I wasn’t happy to take them off, the Sgt wasn’t happy so I offered him my handcuff key and said he was welcome to remove them, I did this knowing that the whole incident was recorded. He stormed round the counter and removed the handcuffs ignoring the safe removal training he was given, he then gave the person a pen so sign the custody papers, the guy then refused to hand the pen back so the all knowing custody Sgt and another officer end up getting into another fight with the guy trying to remove the pen which he is now trying to stab them with and try and get him to a cell.

When it came to documenting all this I made a full pocket book entry detailing my professional opinion as a Defensive Tactics instructor and how the Sgt had completely disregarded all the information I had given him and exposed officers to avoidable risk and that the fight in the custody suite was completely avoidable, I then sent papers to our divisional Defensive tactics advisor who completely supported me. The Sgt was really friendly to me next time I brought a prisoner into the block next time having been spoken to.

The moral of this story is that if you are the one who has been with a violent “customer” then have the courage to stand by your convictions and if you can justify it in law then say NO, then having insured that this is recorded on the custody recorder offer the Sgt the key to do it themselves.

Well last night was one of the best here, we had a BBQ and invited some of our friends round, the atmosphere was great, actually forgot what complete assholes some of the Americans have become, at the BBQ there were both enlisted and Senior Officers and, we didn’t manage to entice the ladies to try out the Jacuzzi we built though. The BBQ was sort of a leaving party, for me and two of the officers who are leaving. For the good people here, you can never forget the friendships that you build up and I certainly wont forget the friends I have made out here. They certainly are a credit to their service and country, it is just a pity they get stuck working with assholes.

It is going to be weird leaving the camp in a few days, its not like leaving any other job, especially for me and the other medics I work with.

Now as part of the many jobs I do out here is to be responsible for the medical provision for over 90 civilian contractors from several different countries, including South Africans, Indian’s, Nepalese, Sierra Leons and a few others.

Now under the US Military classification they are classed as TCN’s or Third Country Nationals, however I am not as I come from the UK, a lesson a yank learnt the hard way when he was using a chemical toilet……

Now back in their home country the TCN’s could have to pay for medical treatment and medication, now for the slightest thing I will have a stream of TCN’s except the South Africans come to my office asking to tablets without telling me what’s wrong, I thought working in a Psychiatric Ward was bad with the hypochondriacs, they these guys are terrible, the favourite complaint is “Body Pain” normally after the lazy gits have actually done some work, when there was more staff the most under performing ones were the Sierra Leon Guys, they would try and bunk off work every chance they could get, if they had to do any form of manual work, within a few hours they would be knocking on my door begging for tablets. They think medication grows on trees and that there is an endless supply

One of the things that bugs me is how subservient the Indian and Nepalese staff are, this is not because they are expected to do it as part of their job, but no matter what I am doing, carrying a box, cleaning my truck out, the guys will walk up take the box out of my hands or take over washing my truck, it bugs the crap out of me, this is 2006 not 1940’s in the British Empire. However the Sierra Leon guys, since they have been employed by my company they have been nothing but problems. The women that were employed sold themselves to anyone who would have a go, Coalition, and other staff. The guys cause just a much problems, they are militant to the point of disrupting operations, they steal something chronic and make Arthur Daly and Del Boy look like amateurs, when they leave we search their luggage, last time the stuff I found, one person stole pairs of latex gloves and paper hats people wear when working in the kitchen, one person even had taps in their luggage, they have the misconception that rules don’t apply to them. The harass the Americans to try and get them green cards or get them into the US. Now before any stupid hippy liberals reading this claim I am labelling all Sierra Leons I am not just the ones I have worked with, work being a loose term when they are concerned. If one of them has a problem, they can never come and talk to you individually, they always come with a committee and their opening comments are “Sir, My brothers and I”


Blogger SheliaAM said...

I know that most people who speak out are thought of as "rebel-activists" but there should actually be more of us that do, then maybe all of our countries would be in better shape and not so out of control... the bad guys being able to get away with murder and the good guys being pinned for the ones that they didn't commit. Rob should put this in a book and let the world know his point of view. Sincerely, Shelia.

Blogger ExtraSpecialCopper said...

Just goes to show that sometimes people dont think before they do things, quite often they take face value for everything, such as that custody sgt did not realising that your knowledge on the matter is far greater than theirs! Always good to see their face when they are wrong and you are right!!

Keep up the good blog!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I may be younger than you (and who uses "git" other than some Limey Wanker [grin]), but I'm also a damn sight prettier...



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