Saturday, September 02, 2006

Urban Operations

I survived Urban Ops (well, I died twice on Thursday, once on the mission and once as OPFOR). I actually enjoyed the training up until Thursday night when it came time for the night mission. They are so worried about us losing the equipment that they didn't issue us the NODs (don't ask me what it stands for; it's just what everyone calls the night vision) until right before the mission so that we barely had time to really play with it before it was time to assault the building. It was a bit worse for me because I was 4th squad leader so I was also the last person in the platoon to get a chance to adjust mine, only to discover that I got the pair that didn't focus - at all. Also, as usual, my squad didn't actually listen to me. I placed one 240 team on the top of the roof as ordered by the PL, and put the other team on the lower roof. For some reason, the first team came down, too, because their team leader told them to come down. Okay, but I'm the squad leader, so what did I tell you?
Every time we do anything at night in this place, it just ends up as a huge mess that no one learns anything from. Partially, it's because we don't get the equipment in time, so it would almost be better if they didn't bother to give it to us at all. Also, they are just so wasteful. We got a total of a hundred rounds for all of Thursday. I used up about two mags on the second night mission because they told us to expend as much ammo as possible so I was shooting at the air but other than that I used maybe three rounds all day. At the end, they had us shoot off all our extra rounds. It is a waste of resources, and now my weapon is filthy because I had to fire all those blanks. I wasn't the only one annoyed with that: one guy in my squad wrote, "I pay taxes, too" on his weekly AAR. Another one suggested that we use privates to collect up all the brass, which my roommates and I found extremely amusing (as squad leader, I had to collect the AARs from everyone, so of course I looked through them).

I was the assistant gunner for the Friday mission, so the tactical squad leader gave me the radio. We were issued three radios for the squad, two smaller ones and a large one. Somehow I ended up with the big, heavy one because as AG, I would be in one position the whole time - then why didn't the other AG get the big radio? I have bruises on my leg now from when I frontloaded it, and didn't get a chance to tighten up the straps, so the radio was just dangling in front of me as we walked down the road.

My roommate was the PL for the attack on Liberty City, and she had a few problems dealing with all the restrictions placed on her by the cadre. She had no choice but to cross the open field to the city while another platoon curtailed the city and attacked from a different direction. As a result, we did a Gettysburg style assault on the city. We also had to take our rucks and had to leave a two person guard with them even though they were within sight of the 240 position. Our platoon mentor told her she couldn't leave them on the trucks without a guard, but he didn't mention anything about her needing a guard if they were within view of the city until we dropped them - otherwise we would have left them on the LMTVs. (At one point, 2nd PLT's trucks drove by us - the LTs were already off, but all their rucks were still on there - we were about ready to start cursing). When we asked about the rucks during the AAR, the response was, "Have you ever seen Black Hawk Down?" Actually, I haven't, sir, but could I have a better rationalization than a movie title, please? I don't really know what I think of our platoon mentor. Sometimes he seems nice, but then again he is also a bit too hardcore or something. Perhaps it's the combination of being a West Point grad and FA - I hear both of those groups tend to have minor complexes. While we were clearing the buildings, the PL was trying to call in her reports to higher, which was our mentor in this case, only to look out the window and discover him shooting paint balls at her. He also shot another cadre member in the head because he "kept poking his head out the window." Unfortunately, since he was cadre and not OPFOR, he wasn't wearing any of the protective wear, and now has a black eye.

We only have nine training days left now. It's exciting but five of those days are in the FOB so the next weeks are going to be long.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Night Optical Device (NOD)