Saturday, June 6, 2009


Well, it has been a while since I've posted and that is because not much has happened. FOr the last two weeks it's been pretty much the same, wake up between 430 and 500am, throw on 70 pounds of gear, go to a range and shoot all day. After that we have various classes, clean weapons, eat and then lights out at 10pm.

However, I am finally on my way. I was supposed to leave early Saturday morning but an electrical storm delayed the flight. So, we ended up leaving around 1030 on Saturday morning. We stopped in Goose Bay Canada, then Iceland and now Germany. We are now stuck in Germany for 15 hours. Yes, ONE FIVE hours. I am not sure what NASA genius figure our flight plan but it was all rush rush to get out of SC and in the air and now we are stuck in Germany in a holding area for military personnel.

All I want to do is get this deployment going so I can finish it up but it seems like there is an obstacle at every turn. So, rather than actually being in Kuwait right now I am stuck in Germany and not going anywhere for more than 1/2 a day. If I drank I'd be drunk right now.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

70 Pounds of Gear and 85 Degrees = Body slime

Today was the first real day of training on the warrior instinct. Prior to today it's been classes on first aid, what to expect in theater, weapons issue and a bunch of other boring and dry stuff which is why I haven't posted. The days have been long but uninteresting at best.

Today however, we did some simulations. First, after gearing up at 530 this morning in body armor (flack jacket, chest plates, side plates, neck covers, knee pads, elbow pads, gloves, helmet and ballistic eyewear we fired M16s.. Granted, these were simulators but still pretty cool. Same weapon but it is in a computer simulator. It still gives a kickback and you still aim in the same way. So that was pretty cool.

Then we went into a HMMWV mock up. This is to simulate rolling over. So we all load up in full gear into the HMMVW. There are 4 people in the vehicle that is then sent on several angles and finally flipped over. THe idea is to get out as fast as possible. That is easier said than done since you are hanging upside down in a completely cramped vehicle with 3 other guys all trying to get out. And, you are secured in by your seat belts. It was a bit nerve racking. I've done the helicopter dunker which is similar under water but this was a bit harder. We did it and then simulated doing it in water. The second time my boot got stuck under the seat but I managed to get out OK.

FInally, we test drove some HMMVWs. A completely asinine vehicle for the streets and I hate the assholes that drive them but I can say they are fun to tool around the woods of South Carolina. I drove one off road for about 15 minutes and the vehicle is very stable (thank God since I don't want to get out of one when it's tipped over). I also sat as turret gunner and cranked around the turret as we were mounting sand dunes at 40 MPH.

All in all some interesting shit. However, 9 hours in 70 pounds of body armor as well as 2 weapons and a full camel back pretty much means I smelled like funk. The sweat was really a slime. I guess that is getting me ready for the real thing where 85 degrees will feel chilly.

One week almost over and I am sooo looking forward to the weekend (more to follow on that...)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Prison Break

I've finally settled into the barracks on Ft. Jackson, SC. This is a huge Army base and I am in the hinter lands of the base with out much of anything around. The idea is to immerse us in training w/o any distractions. The living conditions are spartan compared to what I am used to. One thing about the military is that as you get higher in rank you get better perks. Unfortunately that doesn't apply here! As you can see, austere is the word of the day. The furniture that is is the barracks reminds me of a prison. Unfortunately I can't escape.

Today was pretty lame, not doing much of anything but I totally got screwed by showing up late and got stuck with an upper bunk. Rank has no privilege. Tomorrow starts at 0530 with a bunch of briefings and issuance of body armor. Wed I get my 9mm and then I can start busting caps. Until then I am resigned to watching "Pirates of the Caribbean 2" and going to sleep early.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I've been stationed in San Diego twice before. I've always liked it. However, this trip has turned into one big case study on DoD fraud, waste and abuse. I am supposed to be here to do a whole host of things in preparation for going to Iraq. What I have ended up doing is going to the gym twice a day, walking around the largest Navy Exchange I've ever seen and watching too much TV.

I didn't post yesterday because NOTHING happened. I went to the training site at 9am and was told, "You have all of your requirements completed you can go back to the hotel." Today I went in for a lecture at 7-8 and got my gas mask and was released from duty at 930. Tomorrow I get my uniforms and I am told what time I fly on Saturday.

So, for the entire 7 day evolution I flew from DC to San Diego, received one booster immunization (that I was told in DC I didn't need), given a series of lectures that were covered by all of my online classes, fitted for uniforms that I already have, given a gas mask and then will fly from SD to Ft. Jackson, South Carolina. All of this at the cost of:

Flight to SD: $985
Room for 5 nights $135 (it's on base housing)
Per Diem $582

For a shot I could have received in DC. A decent amount of money for no benefit.

Hopefully next week will be more productive. However, the digital camera works and I will get some pictures up soon. Until then if you need me I will be at the gym.

Oh, if you think the room is cheap for San Diego, it is b/c it's on base. Not bad but the coffee maker sucks! I hate these things, the coffee tastes like ass.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hurry Up and Wait

To get ready to go to war you have a lot of shit to do...there is a lot of medical stuff that needs to be taken care of, shots, check ups, dental, etc. There is also legal stuff, life insurance, wills, shutting off the cell phone and what not. Also, there are dozens of online classes that the Navy makes you take before you are ready to deploy (one of which is "Cold Weather Injuries" and since I am going to Iraq in the summer seems to be about as beneficial as all the other courses). To make the process streamline they give you a checklist of all the things that you need to do and all the courses you need to take before you can deploy. I spent about 3 months doing all that prep work.

When I arrived in san Diego I gave the folks my checklist and validations and basically told that the only thing I need to do is get fitted for uniforms (even though I have my old desert cammies from prior deployments) and one new shot. I sat in briefings all day yesterday on medical insurance (which I don't need), legal documents (I am a prosecutor but I do know my way around a will and power of attorney), measuring your stress level (which was quite topical at the time) and an orientation of the base (which I've been stationed at two times before). So when I was released today after waiting for a doctor to clear me after one booster shot I was told to go "home" and come back at 9am tomorrow. For what? To be released again for the day.

But I did make it to the Exchange to get a few things including a new digital camera so I can take some demanded pics of me "with guns" and some of the other pastoral parts of the Iraqi country side. Luckily when I get to the Gulf area I will be making a metric buttload of money so I can pay for all this stuff.

So, I sit here after a nice long run in downtown San Diego counting my money like Scrooge McDuck! That, however, is the only benefit of this deployment which will be my last! The minute I return from Iraq I am submitting my retirement papers and becoming a civilian. Once I figure out this camera I will post some pics (sans guns for now).

Monday, May 11, 2009

In the Words of Austin Powers...

Allow myself to introduce myself...

Since I am starting this blog and most will just stumble across it I figure you might want to know who the F I am. So, I am a lawyer in the Navy and I am getting ready to deploy to a legal billet in Iraq. I will, for the most part, be like a mentor of sorts to the Iraqi judiciary. Though I am still not sure what the exact job will be until I get there. I will try to talk about what I do but since this is a military operation I am constrained by rules (though of by some Ahole lawyer, I am sure). For the most part it is not cloak and dagger stuff at all.

I have been in the Navy about 18 years and except for a couple of operational tours I have spent most of my career in the court room as a prosecutor at the trial level and appellate level both in courts-martial and federal District Court.

While this posting will be new and exciting it is also a bit daunting and really kinda F's up what has developed into a great life in DC. Anyway, it will be long and at times boring but I will try to spice it up with pictures of Iraq and me with guns. However, you will have to bear with me for the next 3 weeks or so as I am starting the training pipeline before I can get "into country" as they say.

The first stop is here in San Diego. I've been stationed here before and really like the city. Unfortunately the make up of this week allows little free time to get off base. Let me take that back, there is a LOT of free time but it is spent waiting for the next evolution to start. So, if lucky I will get away to see a Padres game in the new ball park that was just being built (with much of my property taxes) when I last left.

After this week we go native and get schooled by our Army compatriots on weapons quals, convoy ops and eating shitty food from a package. So, I will fill in more details as the time goes by and stuff of interest actually occurs.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

San Diego

A very long trip from DC to San Diego, via Chicago.  This is the start of a long process of preparing for deployment to Iraq.  While I am somewhat excited about the job I will be doing and the ability to make a bit of a difference I am also sad about leaving behind what has become a great and comfortable life in DC.  

When I checked in the clerk told me the Bachelor's Quarters I would be staying and and I was a bit disappointed since it is the same BOQ that I stayed in when I first came into the Navy in 1991.  Even as a young LT (jg) I was underwhelmed by the room and while it has been redone in the intervening 18 years but I am still a bit, meh.

Anyway, I am off like a prom dress and will post every excruciatingly boring detail of the coming week.