Sunday, January 6, 2013

Month 5 Day 6

Notebook Entry
Seven reports to the Afghan National Army, three from the Afghan National Army. Meetings all morning. Major Hesco screwed with reports fucked up grammar. 1st Afghan National Army Leave flight.

Journal Entry
Had duty in the morning. I taught Captain Mohammad Yousef aka ‘squeaky’ a bit of the map. He is one of my favorite characters here. He is the assistant communications officer and as his name suggests he squeaks, he doesn’t speak. It always sounds like a breathy falsetto whenever he speaks. Couple that with the fact that he is just plain stupid and you get a delightful combination open to hours of fun. The man doesn’t have a mean bone in his body and is always happy. Ignorance is indeed bliss. We have nicknames for all of the Afghans. The XO is Super Mario, you’d know why if you saw him, the S-4A is Toothless Maggee, the Judge Advocate is Blogoyovich, and the list goes on.

After working with squeaky in the morning I was in a reasonably good mood. I returned and tried to teach a class to Rafi and Salim in the Afternoon. Rafi proceeded to bitch for about 20 minutes about how the Philippine contractors who maintain the Afghan camp are lazy, they don’t really work (this is laughable coming from Rafi) etc. I told him that they were working, but that the ANA is breaking the camp at a cyclic rate, shitting in the showers and trying to push it down with towels, throwing rocks at A/C units, putting water in the fuel tanks of generators to ‘cool them down’ wiping their ass with rocks and putting them in the port-a-johns which breaks the pumps on the trucks. I told him that he should be happy for what he has and be thankful that he is not at a company position where they have none of these amenities. He tells me ‘we spend a lot of money on these guys they should work for us’ I got pissed but controlled myself. I was thinking, you motherfuckers don’t spend anything on the contractors they are 100% paid for by America you are spoiled children who are the quintessential examples of the entitlement mentality. People are the same the world over, you give them a hand out and they start to expect it, and they will even criticize you if they don’t think the handout is big enough. If only they knew that one of their Ford Rangers costs $45,000, that one of their buildings costs $300,000 and that that one of their shower trailers cost $250,000 a piece. All this while America’s debt is skyrocketing. Welcome back the “Great Society” of LBJ and Stagflation all for these entitled princesses.

I came back at 1500 to teach the class that Rafi wanted. He didn’t show. Salim was there, but he didn’t have the class handout that I had given him the day before. I told him to go find Rafi and I went to print out another class. I came back and Salim lied to me and told be he had looked for Rafi, I smelled his blouse and it didn’t smell like the Ozone outside (it had just rained) I told him he was full of shit but we started class anyway. I had to confiscated his cell-phone part way through because he was trying to play video games (did he think I wasn’t going to notice?). We made it through one slide, I half got him to understand that Intel is responsible for weather, enemy and terrain, and that the people are also important to know about in a COIN fight. That was all he could absorb he said. I had to teach him about the history of his own country, the different tribes that hate each other and what, what tribes are in our Area. It is an odd experience to teach a man about his own country. I go him to take notes today, he took down literally four words after I told him to write them down. He started bitching about how he couldn’t go on, and how he worked all of the time (we had been at it for 45 min). I got pissed at him too. I told him that he wasn’t in high school anymore and that learning was not optional, this is his job. If he doesn’t learn it his soldiers are going to die. He doesn’t really care, he joined the Army for the adventure and doesn’t give a shit.

Finally Maj Hesco has been getting on my nerves (and everyone elses, I think) he is getting tired. The problem with these year-long deployments, these long-hard-slogs is that you have to be able to function the entire year. These guys are all MFing Division right now, they are leaving soon and have-dropped their packs. Well no kidding, [they're] Marines, they don’t have any capacity for long-term battle rhythms they know about 6 month deployments and operations that last 48 hours or thereabouts. You have to be realistic about what you can do. This seems like another year at the [military school] to me, long days, close quarters, smelly guys and repetitive shit, but I know how to deal with that. These guys don’t. Maj Hesco is burning out, he keeps not wanting ‘to fuck with stuff’ meaning, not wanting to work, even if it requires little-to-nothing on his part. Other team members like Capt Arthur have just given up on teaching the Afghans. In physical courage and sprints Marines are second-to-none, but they are not endurance athletes. Like all other ‘nails’ this deployment was treated like the 6-monther that all Marines know, and they were painfully surprised.

Gave Samir the weather and a bunch of reports in the morning. The afternoon was really unproductive. I tried to get Samir to do a bunch of things, but he was just feeling particularly lazy and did not want to do any of them, even stuff that would have required almost no work on his part. He spend more time and effort trying to find ways to tell me no, then actually doing work. I got him to look at personnel policy and to halfheartedly search for an old supply request (a MoD-14) after that 45 minutes was done I couldn’t get him to do anything. I just don’t get it. How can you be to freaking lazy.

Major Hesco is now running the show since Major Valquist is gone, he is on a power trip from hell. I have found that the best way to deal with him is to never see him. If you say or do anything around him, he wants to get involved, it doesn’t matter what the issue or how competent the personnel. Capt Nowak and Capt Brawny seem to think the same way (i.e. they have both decided to get really embedded this month so that he doesn’t mess with them. What a difference a day makes. Maj Valquist left yesterday and already everyone is like, this is going to be a long 30 days with him gone. The Gunny has resigned himself to it, he says you can’t build a wall to stop the tide, it’s going to get in. John Soltz is trying to appease. I started on the wrong foot with him yesterday when I presented him the roster with personnel status percentages on it. He has been working with the S-1 for weeks and it is much better than anything he has. He was like, ‘well why am I even working with them’? That’s a very good question, why are you even here? I don’t give a shit, I will give him everything that I give to Maj Valquist and tell him what it is for afterward.

Ah well

I am thinking about a new chapter title for part of the book “an officer and a gentleman” mostly based around the bad command climate in this regiment. A climate in which officers curse out their enlisted, and are basically rank bullies. It starts with Col Schmitt.

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