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JawBreaker 2Delta: They are Pretty Much Like Us. I Can’t Wait to Go Back Again.

I honestly cannot express enough how much I so enjoy reading MilBlogs.  And not just the blog posts by the military veterans and active duty members, but also by those who decide to expand upon the posts with their own experience, background, insight and opinions in the comments section.  This is a prime example of why I make Blackfive a daily must-read and also always read through the comments section of each post.

Here is some excellent insight from JawBreaker 2Delta from his experience in Iraq.  I urge everyone to PLEASE go to these sites to read the posts and the comments.  They have been an invaluable resource for me in my continuing education into the military world.

Black5, I am a Civil Affairs Specialist who has deployed once to Baghdad and is going back within the year.

I have been pretty much unfazed by the obscene amounts of negative vibes being spewed by the MSM on a nighlty basis. Because I’ve been there and not only have I seen first hand the good things going on there, but I wrote a few of the op-ords for it.

Then this attack in Karbala happens. I am sad, mad, scared and extremly disappointed all at the same time. Let me explain why:

1. I am saddened my CA brothers died. There’s not a whole lot of us. We tend to be a very tight nit community. When one of us dies, it reverberates from one side of the country to the other.

2. I’m mad and dissapointed that this CA team did not have enough forethought to leave even JUST ONE at the door with a SAW. I’m sure the team had a Hummvee, which would have had a SAW or 240B or even a .50 cal mounted on top. There is absolutly NO REASON what-so-ever for all 5 members of the team to be inside at the same time. 5 soldiers = 2 trucks, 1 pricipal inside with a man to watch his six plus the interp. That leaves 3 CA to be outside. The two trucks parked in front (as I assume they went in the front door) with one soldier in the turret of each truck and the last soldier dismounted and patrolling between the two trucks while maintaining radio contact with all team members minus the principal who is talking with local nationals.

3. I’m scared as this sort of thing could happen all too easily to just about any CA team. Despite the fact that my team SOP prevented us from being caught with our pants down, there was still only five of us. No 11B support, no air support, no artillery and QRF a good 30-45 minutes away.

This whole cluster flux has me thinking how can I and my team be more situationaly aware to avoid this? This could have been SO easily avaoided that it makes me sick.

So there is my two cents. Tango Mike Black 5.
JawBreaker 2 out.

*****

I’ll try to answer as many questions as possible, albeit out of order.

We have plenty of boots on ground for the CA mission, but more is always appreciated.

The SOP I described was only MY teams SOP. Due to the high standards of CA, we don’t get the numbers we’d like. But a five man team has been proven to be a working “skeletal” team.

The problem isn’t with placing small teams within IA or IP units, it’s more with small unit tactics. As CA we’re expected to be a Jack of all Trades. I’ve been handing out beanie babies while collecting passive intel on insurgents. I’ve met with Imams and Neighborhood and District Council members to set up MEDCAPs to provide the locals with triage style health care. I’ve bummed smokes to a twelve toed 10 year old and then got shot at and went door kicking. And this could literally happen to ANYBODY outside the wire.

It’s great that we’re getting Brigades added to the deal, but we need to focus more on company, platoon and team sized manuevers. SOPs need to be handed from the departing team to the arriving team. Then they need to be tweeked and adapted to the current enemy TTPs.

As for the security contractor angle, it’s highly unlikely that the military would sign off on civilians handling our security, even though most of them are former SF, Rangers, SEALs and SWAT/Cops. But have no doubt that 99% of the security contractors would NOT hesitate to help us if we got into the scat.

The question Charles posses a few up is where was the security? It was right there with the team the whole time, they just chose not to exercise sound descision making or a threat assement. I had a five man team with the exception of the first few months in country. My team was supporting a Mech Inf battalion from the Washington National Guard. They gave us one crunchy who had pissed someone off and thought they were punishing him and a 2LT to handle project money. So for the first 4-5 months we had five CA, one 11M, one Butterbar and three interps living with us that I had on a rotating schedule.

We delt primarily with the IPs, but occasionaly we grabbed some IA to come with us. They all seemed genuine and honest about wanting to make Baghdad and Iraq a better place to live. They appeared brave and trustworthy. They shared a lot of the same gripes that you will hear from just about any noncom or lower enlisted.

The traitor could have been just about any Iraqi that they came into contact with over the past few months. Their interps might have been on the take, or an insurgent might have seen them leave the FOB and followed them home, threatening their famly.

They could have made themselves predictable by taking the same route to the same places at the same times of day. I almost got blown up doing that. Luckly my team had made such good friends with the locals we dealt with that the called us and tipped us off before we even left the FOB.

The Iraqis I came into contact with, I would not hesitate to fight along side with. They were brave, honest and honorable. The only thing that scares me about the Iraqi Forces that I worked with and will most likely be working with again very soon, is that they have no concept of muzzle awareness or keeping their trigger finger indexed out of the trigger guard. Other than that, they are pretty much like us. I can’t wait to go back again.

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January 28, 2007 , 10:09PM - Posted by | Iraq, War Effort in Iraq

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