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Tag Archives: Warfare and Conflict

Sol 26 : Finishing up South Carolina

I’ve been absent from this blog for a while, but I assure you, it was for a good reason. The last week was 4am mornings in full battle rattle, rolling in wet sand and mud to get a good shooter position, to qualify with the M4. I had already earned the navy’s sharpshooter qualification when I was active, but it feels very different I full gear, aiming at targets popping up at different distances. My best score was a 28 out of 40, enough to qual but not much more. I found it a challenge to find a pocket to place the butt of the stock in my shoulder with the heavy gear on. There was a whole 40 rounds where I took the charging handle right to the face because I couldn’t find that pocket. After each shot I had to mentally try to not anticipate the next recoil, keeping the trigger from pulling to the left, knowing I was going to get a face full of steel.

After the days of live fire the focus of training moved to convoy operations. We were introduced to our vehicles, our heavy crew service weapon systems, radio protocols. It all came together yesterday for the big live convoy exercise. Loaded up with blanks we went through a convoy course that included dropping off humanitarian aid to a village. Along the way we would have to deal with attacks, IEDs, and casualties. The training environment made these normally stressful operations seem lighthearted. Despite this we managed to get fantastic training from our drill instructors.

I just finished cleaning my loaner M9 for turn in and scrubbed the carbon out of the M4 I’m taking with me. Trading is done.

Let’s go. Todd.

Sol 16 : Vehicles, Counter Insurgency, Arduino

My training continues again this week, in preparation for Afghanistan. I should have my boots on the ground in another fortnight of sols(Check out this blog entry for an explanation of Sols). We had training on the big vehicles a few days ago, including the newer models designed to disperse IED blasts coming from below. Pretty brilliant equipment, with lots of goodies specially designed during the last 11 years of operations in Afghanistan.

Quick jump, I say operations in Afghanistan not war, because as I am learning, the conflict in Afghanistan is really not a war in most ways an average american thinks of war. Counter Insurgency Operations is as much about diplomacy with locals as it is about sending in helicopters to light up a target. There are no trenches with enemies on the other sides shooting back. There are bands of rebels in the mountains and allied villages causing trouble throughout a land ( I hesitate to call it a nation as the tribal structure of the Afghan way of life really doesn’t lend itself to the nation-state model well) and inciting distrust in a central government that seems more like a city-state in the Grecian sense trying to build some sort of modern country out of a confederation of tribes. Westerners just cant understand the tribal way of thought. We are too far removed, I think from those times.

On a separate note, I’m really getting into the Arduino/Maker culture, when it comes to learning computer science and electronics engineering. Horay, for self teaching another advanced topic! Who needs teachers when you have rabid desire for the absorption of knowledge. Self Actualization is awesome.

also this

Song of the day is “Fn Pig” by Deadmau5