We are back at Camp Buerhing after a few days in the field finishing what I would categorize as refresher. Last Thursday, we loaded up and drove out into the Kuwaiti desert with the intention of pulling into a placed called FOB Scimitar, a location set up by the Army and contractors with the purpose of preparing Soldier, Sailors and Marines for life in Iraq. Because of a few missed turns, what was supposed to be a 45-minute drive to the FOB, ended up around 3 hours with a brief visit to the Kuwait/Iraq border. We were a little more than surprised.
For three days, we conducted refresher training. We spent a day at the range doing Close Quarter Marksmanship. It is always a good day when you can shoot for fun. The next day the team executed a scenario-based mission. The range attached to the FOB was a collection of mini-villages packed with role players complete with moving cars and camels. I was taken aback when we hit the first turning circle (in the Middle East, there are few traffic lights, but many turning circles) and the intersection was packed with villagers, livestock and moving vehicles. Up to now, our training has been unable to replicate those conditions.
Of course, as goes, we ran into our worst-case scenario, or what we would call our 'Kobayashi Maru.' We were hit with a vehicle IED, an angry crowd, and multiple additional explosive devices. In the business, we call this a "complex ambush." This is where the enemy lures you in with an initial strike, takes advantage of the chaos and crowds, and follows up with delayed multiple deadly attacks once you pull together to treat your initial wounded. It is another lesson that with only a ten man team, there is only so much you can do short of returning fire, buckling down and running like hell. Overall, it was a great weekend of training put on by the contractors at MPRI.
Now we wait on a plane. We have today to kill before we find out this evening if when we manifest. It could be tonight, could be three days from now. With our team's luck, we will probably draw the 1 hour notice, 1 a.m. bus ride to the airport. If any of you did not know, whenever there is a better or worse probability for mission, travel, or whatever, it seems like our team gets the worse of the two.To make up for our misfortune, wait, I should not call it misfortune because more often than not it's more inconvenience than actual hardship. To make up for all the inconvenience, we are blessed with an abundance of talent and experience. I will get more into that in the future, but for now, I will end at that. I hope that next time I write I will be at Taji, Iraq undergoing yet more training.
Until next time