We heads out at 0615 for a quick breakfast, pick up a meal to go then headed to the cars for a ride to the northern camp Bearing. I was about a 100 miles north of our current Camp/location and we made it in just under a 2 hour ride. We had our PSD (personal security detail) with us the entire way. The PSD consisted of another SUV with a driver and another person and they positioned their vehicle behind ours in case of any problems. The speed limit here is about 75 MPH but the PSD's usually travel a bit faster and the fines are waved our driver said should you get a ticket. Took videos of the country side but nothing really to photograph just a but a bunch of sand.
If you have ever traveled though the Nevada desert you would observe much the same features, sand, sand and more sand. I better retrace that statement better yet, travel though California near Death Valley it is flatter like here and with less vegetation. In fact no vegetation here.
When were we go to a different camp or base it is always started off with a meeting with the Camp Commander. The biggest message every commanders would like you to comment on is camp morale and finishing the job off right. Camp Bearing is located about 30 miles from the Iraq border so it is the go to place to run convoys into and out of Iraq.
We spoke to a couple of different groups that had different missions and as a result different issues. One unit from Oklahoma was supposing to Afghanistan with the sister units but were sliced off and sent here to help with convoying the equipment out of Iraq. The problem/issue is their sister units have received casualties in Afghanistan and are frustrated because all they can do is sit here. All they can do is listen to what is happening to people in the units they have rained with in Oklahoma and know personally. It is quite difficult to deal with when they can't do anything to help them.
They also have some survivor's guilt as they sit down here and cannot get in to the fight they have trained for. With the war ending many of the men that have been trained to project force in their MOS (military occupational specitily) are now doing job that they were not trained to do and they do not want to necessary do. This is part of the problem at the end of any war is cleaning up all the parts that are left over. Their sister units from Oklahoma have lost 12 men and they are holding a memorial service for them tomorrow.
The other group's mission is running the protection for the convoys. There is a lot of Red Bull's in the unit and they drive M wraps. These are much armored vehicles that can take a direct hit by an IED and everyone can walk away from it. Their Sgt Major hit an IED just 2 days ago and everyone in this vehicle survived. They gave me a ride in one and put me in the gun turret that has a 50 cal machine gun. It cost $500,000 is top heavy (which means it can roll over easy) so they have devised a system to hold the gunner in place should the vehicle roll over. Not the most comfortable ride when you think the missions on the roads they are traveling are anywhere from 8-18 hours
The CO of the Squadron was from Waterloo Iowa and we knew a lot of the same people. Stuart Carter who won a National title for Iowa State is his cousin and he is really loved to talk wrestling and lived around the corner from Dan Gable.
As in most places we put on a demonstration of Combatives and actually got some soldiers that have never tried it to try it. In the end it worked out well and I had 5 Combatives Instructor to help me. I wrote a program for Combatives for the 2nd Ranger Battalion back in 1996 as a favor for Steve Banach (Eddie and Louie's Banat brother) and then a Sgt Larsen who worked for Steve Banch took the 28 page paper and implemented the changes in the Ranger Battalion. That program that has since morphed into the Army wide Combatives program making me so they say I am one of the founders. Everyone assume I know all kind of stuff about MMA and hand to hand combat, and I know nothing. I try and help them with the basics of the program and I have to remind everyone that's I know very little. We work on thing like their stance, footwork, how to push and react and to maneuver into the best possible position.
Tomorrow we head out a 0515 to a Seabee Camp (Navy) then in the afternoon we swing over to another Army camp. It is going to be a long one so have to get some sleep. Hope all is going with everyone
Salty dog 6 out