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I thought you'd might like to hear about how my Army
Reserve MP company is going to be the only OIF1
unit still in theater as late as August 2004.
We mobilized at Fort Lewis, Wash. on March 15, 2003. We arrived in Kuwait on May 20, 2003. On June 4, I landed at Tallil Air Base. We stayed there until December 6. From that date until April 10, our company ran convoy security missions from Balad to Scania (approx 70 miles south of Baghdad). We were told initially to expect a six-month deployment. By July that had been changed to a nine-month rotation. Then in late November 2003, we were told that we would be here for one year "boots on the ground."
During this time, we were running convoys from Safwan, Kuwait, to
Tallil Air Base. In late November 2003 we also got word that we were
to move north into the Sunni Triangle (Balad). We took over this convoy
mission that carried us along the most dangerous road in Baghdad (MSR
Sword). Our company earned the nickname, "The IED Company" because
we had been hit so many times. Even the Apache
pilots called us that!
During this time, we suffered three minor injuries to enemy action, and lost about 30 other soldiers to medical conditions that were aggravated by the climate, conditions, etc.
When we were four days short of redeploying home (our advance party
was at the Air
Force terminal), we received a call instructing us to stay put
for another 90-120 days.
When will they stop lying to us? Will they extend us for another 120 days at the end of this one? How do they plan on using us when we have no equipment left (we signed it over to the infantry company taking over our Balad mission)?
No one seems to know the answers to any of these questions, but if the new job is going to be guarding a prison camp, just how long would my men last before they started beating the crap out of the people who had tried to kill us? Oh wow, guess they never thought of that question either?
Am I wrong for assuming that Reservists and National Guardsmen are
part-timers? How is it that the active duty troops like 1AD were only
doing six-month rotations while we are doing one year? If so then,
why did all of the active-duty units we saw coming in behind us leave
already? This it seems to me is completely backwards from logical
It is an interesting side note how the "active duty" (read garrison MP) can't learn anything from a lowly reservist, but then they lose soldiers during their first month of operations, can't find competent soldiers to run emergency relay stations (using cooks that can't read a map), and cause accidents by closing down 6-lane MSR's while their patrol changes a flat tire on a truck.
Well at this stage my men can only take so much abuse and contract-breaking from the Army. You can rest assured that any retention issue that arises after the return of these fine troops rests with the highest levels of the command structure in Washington, D.C.
I have 1-1/2 years to go for my 20-year letter, I almost expect to be here in Iraq the entire time.