Combat is nothing like you see on TV, you aren’t always busy kicking down doors, running and gunning doing all that high-speed shit that sells in Hollywood films. Actually, a lot of it is waiting, “hurry up and wait”, you know that everlasting time in between jerking off in a port-a-john, getting overwhelmed by Hajj stink in the DFAC and being put on readiness level C1 and QRF because some POG unit took a wrong turn onto Route Irish under the direct orders of the frat boy pussy butter bar who “got stuck as a supply PL while waiting for Ranger School” because “all of the SFAS slots were taken”. Douche.
Leadership. Speaking with a buddy from the tier one world this morning about leadership… an underappreciated art with indispensable worth. Teams lead by effective, constructive leaders make modifications and alterations to transform those around them; learn up and teach down.
Shots fired, ten o’clock, the second floor, of course, the shooter lives there. 155mm shells buried outside of our JCOP at cobra CP-3, obviously that’s where the bomber is. When you kick down doors and level houses out of anger, more so out of fear (though we’ll never admit its adrenaline-fueled fear) you lose your skill because of such vulnerability. Downrange on my first few deployments, I was that adrenaline-fueled-by-fear guy on the team. It was hard for me to adjust to the ways of urban warfare, no uniforms, hate-filled smiles, IED’s in schools, children who would smile and then throw rocks at your white Isuzu pick-up, we weren’t fooling anyone. Shoot and scoot. That urban struggle hit home when we found our 6-man split-A inside of a house doing recce and dead-drops. The elderly man with a smile, slow in movement, sitting with his legs crossed, no sense of apprehension or concern of our presence. “These are humans, too,” I thought, turning my back on him to continue scanning my sectors. Our ADC, a quiet guy, huge in size, warrant-type, looking at the man behind me, his eyes locked in. I feared what was behind me simply because I trusted his leadership, expertise, and experience. In split seconds his muzzle was front and center at the 75-or so year old man. His hands were the giveaway, the cuts… flash burns. This old man, he was the bomb maker, was he the one who tried to kill me…
I’ve learned over the past 17 years in and out of badlands with guys who do bad things to bad people is that age and experience mean tactful ingenuity and skill. Skills often camouflaged and hidden in the well-manufactured destructive device of their choosing. I find it intriguing how these spearheads convince the younger, untested, naïve “cherries” to do what they want them to do, but for their own reasons. I guess they could say the same to us; why we volunteer to do what we do, but then again… I am not the one wearing the suicide vest.