Saturday, April 27, 2013

Month 8 Day 27

Notebook Entry
14 reports given. Combined Combat Operations Center all day. Kareem at lunch.

Journal Entry
I spent the entire day at the CCOC [Combined Combat Operations Center].

I had duty from 0800-1200. But I had to pick up an Video Scout downlink (so I can get the video feeds from UAVs while we are driving), I am also going to rig it up as a secondary nav device since I will be the lead vehicle commander and responsible for keeping us on the route.

I had to get in contact with all of the Regional commands throughout Afghanistan. I spoke with the Army, the Croats, I tried to call the Turks. It was kind of annoying because they are all on CX-1 which is a secret computer system which all of NATO uses, but we are not really on that much because the most dangerous part of the country is the sole preserve of the USMC. I was trying to work out communications plans, link-up plans, send them my concept of operations, work in-extremis support for medivacs, repairs, fuel chow, etc. We are going to be very far away from the comforting world where the USMC provides everything. In short it was a major ass-pain. I am particularly worried about the English as a second language folks, they don’t seem to be understanding what I am saying a lot of the time, although I try to speak and write simply. I also pissed off an Army Lieutenant Colonel when I told him that we were not going to move if the ANA didn’t have enough time to fuel, eat and sleep, we are not going to have a howitzer flipped because of some arbitrary timeline. That was kind of nice. Perhaps I’ll be able to do that a bit more in the reserves.

The whole day didn’t get us any closer to turning over with the ANA. I didn’t really get to train them on much of anything. I spent the entire day trying to gather info for the giant journey to get stuff. That said, I must be honest, it actually felt good. There was a correlation between input and output that is often lacking in my work with the ANA. I also got to work with US and coalition military folks who give-a-shit about security, support, etc. Also, and more fundamentally, I am still a Marine, I know this shit, it feels normal, and it is what Marines do, plan and execute operations. I am still viscerally a creature of the Corps, for good and ill. I wonder how my perspective would change if I didn’t have the last 8 years in.

I also had to tell Col Kareem, the OpsO that he couldn’t come into the chow hall without a Marine escort. He went with the Generals aid and one of the General’s bodyguards. He flashed his green badge and in his broken English told the Marine at the entrance that he was allowed to escort these guys. The Marine saw the red and gold on his collar the stars on his chest and his age and let him in. I tried not to embarrass him, I waited until they were done, tried to call after him and talk to him by himself, but he pretended not to hear, I had to get within 2 feet of him before he turned around, then he said “we’ll talk about this later.” Ah well the Maj and the OpsO backed me up. That’s nice.

I also had to put out a fire with the Kabul bank guys, one of the guys got onto the plane without being manifested, made it up to Leatherneck with no ID and then leatherneck was like-he must be a terrorist! It was a shitty plan, there was no way to get him from the AADCG to Shorabak, and we should have born some responsibility, but the Major was not hearing any of that.

Capt CJ Radin tried to teach the weather to the ANA, but wanted me to come along because he didn’t think he could do it. The Route Clearance Company Captain did the same thing. They are literally scared to speak to the Afghans. Gay.

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