Friday, January 25, 2008

Got a Girl in the War

Bev called late last night. The Battalion’s flight has been delayed almost a month. This is because even after two years of deployment the chain of command still cannot pull its very large head out of its enormous ass; the task at hand to organize and schedule a flight out of Afghanistan home to Arizona.

The chain of command, Gentle Readers of This Blog, could not even organize a BBQ for family day at the Unit for a Sunday afternoon here in Tucson. The Cadre of officers remains indifferent to the men they are responsible for, and the 1st Sgt of the Battalion—on his return to the US of A, will go back to doing what he does best: being a drunk.

My Girl in the War is one of the sharpest people I know—her only fault is that she re-joined the Nat’l Guard with an ideal it would be as squared-away as her first Unit was back in Vermillion, South Dakota. The unit she joined, right before 911, she soon discovered, was populated by a sorry lot of worthless-fucks.

When the war started, and rumor of the Unit being deployed—the gun-ho Roger Ram-jet NCO-types found a way to get out of quickly. All the soldiers in the Unit who remained (they were ordered by the Commander not to try to get out) were actually happy these losers slinked into the shadows. Bev thought them cowards anyway.

I am not disrespecting the Rank and File, of which my wife is a member. She was in fact ordered by the Commander to be sure and be on that deployment roster—he told her the young, unmarried guys working in his command center were useless, and they would be left State Side.

I believe I should end this rant soon. But I will leave you, Gentle and Faithful Reader of This Blog, with one last account of my thoughts on the subject. You see, one Saturday I was out riding by myself, and on the road as well, was a fellow cyclist. We greeted each other and soon were in friendly conversation. To my amazement, this new found friend was one of the helicopter mechanics at the airbase, and knew my wife’s Unit quite well.

At 50 years old, he was ready to retire from the Nat’l Guard, but was now being told he could not—but somehow he was able to have the chance and really wanted to move on with retirement.

He told me in confidence that the mission of the unit was deeply flawed; a combination of political and military back-stabbing at HQ PHX. Besides this intrigue, the Unit, whilst in Afghanistan, would be fighting fanatics armed with sticks and rocks against our guys armed with photon torpedoes.

Imagine yourself working at the corner store. The locals come in to buy gas, maybe some chips. The neighborhood kids pour in after school to get candy bars and ice cream. One day some guy comes in and buys a six pack of beer. You know—nothing out of the ordinary.

What you don’t know is that Army Intel has pegged this guy as a member of the Taliban, and this very afternoon a squadron of Apache Gunships are choppin’ the blue and about to pay a visit.

Before you can even exhale your last breath—your store and half the block—and everyone and everything walking, sleeping, eating, playing, shitting, dreaming—are vaporized.

The morning of 911 I saw neighborhood kids come out to line up for the school bus—looking up at the sky with fear in their eyes for planes that would fall and kill them.

I see that same look in the eyes of Iraqi and Afghani kids on the TV sometimes.

Jesus Christ…


bikingbrady said...

*shakes head in disgust* Sorry that she is going through all these problems. What years was she in the unit in Vermillion? I was part of that "squared away unit" from 86-93.

Bruce's Bike Blog said...

Hey Friend in Vermillion!
I am certain you and Bev were in the same unit.

I believe the unit at that time--and maybe still is--a medical unit. Am I right? I also think that the unit was in Iraq just a few years ago.

Bev did not go to Desert Storm in 91 as I believe you did. I think I read that in your blog.

The Verm unit was before I knew her, but she spoke very highly of the men and women she was with, so I'm glad to know you were part of that. I do know that one summer she went to Honduras or Guatamala--and there was a trip to Germany too.

Bev was a pharmacy tech and also a flight medic. When she joined this Arizona Unit (because it was close to our house) she tried in vain to get up-dated training and then a transfer.

I'll find out more about her time in Verm and I'll stay in touch.



Sir Bikesalot said...

Sorry to hear about that Bruce. As for the second part, I am with you on that. Thank goodness that at least some of the people on the ground/frontlines are able to figure out ways to get things done and help people despite the best efforts of the upper tier leadership to screw things up.