Monday, May 25, 2009

A change of scenery


















This is what we flew in when they moved us out of Logar. We left because of certain developments between us and the military that I’m not at liberty to discuss. I’m in the city now working as an advisor. Unknown for how long. Right now I assess the Afghan Instructors as they teach classes to recruits and I will be heading to the range to be a range officer. Let me say this about the Afghan Police Recruits. At Logar, when teaching, you could hold their attention for about twenty minutes at a time. Then they would lose interest and drift. Like teaching children. After that, you were just talking to yourself. They’ve already been trained, and are already working. Much like teaching seasoned cops back home that go to in service training because they have to. Know what I mean? Its better here, it’s more like being at an academy, which it is. Should still be interesting with guns though.

Our security here, and at many other places in country, is done by Gurkhas. They are Warriors from Nepal who take their name from the 8th Century Hindu warrior Guru Gorakhnath. A disciple of his, Bappa Rawal actually liberated Afghanistan with his Gurkha Army, driving the invading Muslims out.
They’re well trained and highly devoted. The line goes, when asked by a Queen if the enemy would get to her, the Gurkha replied, “I can not promise that they won’t get to you, but I promise that if they reach you, they will be covered with Gurka blood".

They carry a Kukri, also known as a Gurkha Blade. A formidable weapon that comes in a variety of sizes. They use them as weapons and tools. I’ve actually seen one used to decapitate a goat, with one stroke. (sorry, no video as this is a PG Blog). The one I have is a ceremonial blade, worn with a dress uniform for special occasions. A Nepali boy will have one at the age of five and will be skilled in the use of the weapon before he becomes a man. It’s said that by the time he joins the Army the knife has become a chopping extension of his arm. A very dangerous weapon in close quarters.

Thursday, May 21, 2009













Just want to say hello and recognize a couple guys I had the honor to work with in Logar. They worked for an unnamed organization that I can only identify as AF5. Former high speed military operators that were there to help the cause and really participated, if only the military would’ve listened, eh boys. To nights by the flame and the Call to Cigar. Lou and Kevin, nice working with you. Dosvidanya.



Friday, May 15, 2009

Partners






















I have to continuously apologize for bad internet service. But this time it was the generators. Our side of the base is, or was powered by a big ass generator that we would shut off during the day to conserve fuel. We had a smaller generator for daytime hours. About a day after the 33rd left, the big one died. So we, the three Dyn guys living in our building, ran the small one during the day until we went to bed. When we got up we ran it. Well two days ago that died, bad fuel pump. So for the last three days, we have been living like the Afghan’s. Actually the Afghans have power, so… We ended up splicing into another generator, (sshhh, don’t tell anybody) and now I’m back on.


So something has been bothering me for a while. I gave a speech at my retirement party and while I guess it wasn’t bad, I realize I really didn’t say the things I should have said. I don’t know if writing it would have helped either because I don’t know if it was in my head then to say. So here goes.


The job for me was about partners.


When I first started out on the department my first partner I rode with was, that’s right you know him, you love him, Jack. He was who I spent my first Christmas and New Years with. He taught how to not take it so seriously. He was a good guy to be my FTO, of course we didn’t call it that, but that’s what he was. And because WPD rode signal cars, when I was put out on my own, he was really my only partner of my time in uniform.


Then I became a Detective and Detective work is all about partners in WPD, (or was anyway). The first partner I had was a guy named Joe Bell. Joe was old school, nose to the grindstone kind of cop. Former BCI guy, who showed me how to process a scene. My first B & E investigation was solved from a print we lifted off a piece of glass.
Then I was on my own for a while working bad checks. After that I worked in a five to six person squad doing B & E’s and Assaults. I was partnered with Bob P. I never laughed so much. Funny guy. We slipped away one day, (saying we were looking for somebody) and ended up on Second Beach in Middletown, sipping a cool drink (virgin of course) and smoking cigars. You would have thought we were at a cocktail party. After that it was SOG and I was working with the Grinch, (Mike T.) we did unorthodox work with good results. Then back out on the floor and Scott M and I were a team. Fun stuff and if it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t be in Casa De Lillian. Then I went to HIDTA and was paired with the crazy Frenchman from Woonsocket. The first and best thing Guy told me was “small cases, small problems, big cases big problems, no cases…” Well, we had some big cases and the problems that go with em. Towards the end, I came back to regular Detective work and I guess my last official partner on the WPD was Dave V. Hope I didn’t corrupt him too much.


Of course along the way, I worked with a bunch of great people, on shifts, groups, squads, teams, whatever. The men and women in blue, the other Detectives I had the great opportunity to work with, the guys in SOG and the boys in HIDTA, (FBI, RISP, Providence, Cranston, Pawtucket, Woonsocket, East Providence, CF, Charlestown and Coventry). The Bomb guys from Providence and the Fire Marshalls Office, US Customs people and the BATF. Of course the frogs on the Dive team, and the boys in Black. Ray, the best boss I’ve had, Chris, my Mentor, Dale, Brad, Thomas, Jay, Steve F, Rock, Andrew, Mark, Mini-Me, Steve L, Mike F, Steph, Sean, My brother-in-law, Mike, whose been with a friend since we met in the academy, Beave and BA, Paul W and Stump, Cruz, Mark C and Hutch. My old diving partners, Billy H and Scott H. And anyone else’s name I neglected, (sorry).


Now this wouldn’t be complete without mentioning two people, two partners. One of which has been my partner since High School. Through the years of M.M., 82nd, West Roxbury VA and the WPD. He’s always been there, even now. To borrow a line from Spock, “I have been and always shall be, your friend”, (corny, but what the hell). Last, but by no means least, my lovely Wife. She supports me and Loves me and we will be partners till the end. Yin Yang Baby, Yin Yang.


Sorry, but I had to get that out.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Diversions

So, when the 33rd left, they took the Internet with them. The dish, modem, router, even the wires. Well, not all the wires. I’m back on now, so Hello Everybody. Haven’t been doing much, cause the new teams not ready to roll. So it’s a good thing the building has an extensive DVD collection. About that, how things have changed.

Wavy lines, fade to flashback….
Overview of the woods in North Carolina.
Soldiers, milling around.
Zoom in on a young MP sitting behind the wheel of a Jeep (not HMMV, cause they didn’t exist yet). He’s reading because there’s nothing else to do.
(and no smart ass remarks from any military guys like, why wasn’t he cleaning his weapon, pulling watch, setting up camp or digging a foxhole) it was all done, that’s why.
Point is, there was and still is a lot of down time in the Military. Add to the fact that technically, I’m not in the Military, just attached to them, means I have even more down time.

That’s what I did then, I read. I read a lot. That’s cool, I love to read. Now though its different. I have two computers in my room, mine and the company’s, a TV with cable (only three channels, sports, news and movies, but hey, better than nothing), DVD and more movies than I can watch. Until recently I had an Xbox 360. Yep. Love gaming, most of you know that. Asked the boy if he could send my Xbox from home, but he said “no way”. Basically, “love you Dad, but the Xbox stays home”. So I found one on Ebay and had it sent here. Halo version, so it was all green and military looking. Had Pam, who supports my gaming addiction, send me a bunch of games and got to play a couple weeks until the RED RINGS OF DEATH. When the motherboard gets to hot the system shuts down and freezes and three or four red lights glow around the power button. It’s the worst thing that could happen, especially since there’s no local repair shop. So I had to send it home. By the time it gets fixed, I’ll be home. I’m not the only one either, most guys have games on computers or have systems of their own. One of the guys had a system and put it on a power point projector on the wall. There were four guys playing Call of Duty, life size. It was pretty interesting.
So that’s how things change.
Communications as well. No cell phones back then either. Now, I can call on a computer (with video), Sat phone, IM, or cell. Some can be pricey, but you can't put a price on talking with loved ones.
This is at one of our nightly rituals of sitting around the fire, (till it’s really dark, then its blackout time).


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The 33rd

I’d like to extend a Laurel and Hardy handshake to the guys of the 33rd Combat Brigade out of the Illinois National Guard. They were here when I got to Shank and they took me in. They left recently and are headed home and I will miss them. When I was told where I was going, they said that I would be with a regular army unit. A high speed unit. When I got here, I found that I would be living and working with these fine gentlemen. At first I was a little leery, till I rolled out with them. My opinion of the National Guard has changed.

You know, I was full time Army many moons ago and when I got out, I didn’t even consider joining the NG because they were, to be honest, a joke. But that was a long time ago and things have changed, like they often do. With the recent history of the US being involved in several conflicts, the roll of the NG has increased as has their expertise and quality of people. This group of guys have backgrounds to include a railroad engineer, teacher, laborers, farmers, and several Police Officers.

They were overworked and under-appreciated by the regular army. I would roll with these guys anytime and anywhere. True Operators. Thank you my friends, Bama, Beers, Bietz, Bo, Urbies, Rouen, Doc, Corey, Adam, Wes, Col, K, Tank, Mr. T, Brewer, Hays, BJ, Ruge, Jonesy, Evans, Sgt. B, Ehnle, Coss, Pepe, Dirty Villa, Z, Mr. M, George, Sgt. W, and Tink.