SiP & Operation Iraqi Freedom

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SiP
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SiP & Operation Iraqi Freedom

Postby SiP » Sun Sep 18, 2005 2:55 pm

My long summer of free time and life of relative leisure is quickly approaching its end for the time being. For roughly the last five months, it's been rumor to some degree or another that the United States Army National Guard unit that I am a member may be receiving activation orders to be called up in support of OIF.

Well, as of August 14, 2005, that potential has been realized through the finalization of a mobilization order to activate over 2600 Minnesota Army National Guard soldiers to serve in conjunction with the activation of many other reserve soldiers from other Midwestern states in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As far as Minnesota is concerned, this is the largest number of reserve personnel to be activated at a single time since WWII.

These standing orders dictate that the unit I serve with are to be called up for active military duty on October 1, 2005, at 1100 hours. This activation entails a 608-day duty period that roughly translates to 6 months of stateside training and 12 months of over-seas duty.

In light of such information and the such highly likely event that I may not be near an Internet connection very often - if at all - during the next 18 months, I thought that it may be useful, informative, and just plain interesting to set up a thread here as one of a number of methods that I plan to use to communicate others while I am "over there."
Yah sure ya betcha!!
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Postby Vir2L™ » Wed Sep 21, 2005 10:43 am

Thanks for keeping us all informed on your direction.

You will definitly be in our thoughts and prayers.

Stay up mah bruvah!
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Postby SiP » Wed Sep 28, 2005 11:53 pm

Well, personal orders are in. Although I've yet to actually acquire my own, I have been able to determine that my battalion will be do the first portion of its training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. However, there is one significant catch: before be given access to permanent (and more modern) housing arrangements, we have been ordered to live in tents for 17 days. Damnit!!! Oh well, it could have been worse. We had originally been given the impression that we may be housed in those damn things for six months. So, 2 1/2 weeks..meh..can't be complaining too much. And, lest we forget, this is the Infantry!
Yah sure ya betcha!!

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GL SIP

Postby CyberPsycho » Fri Sep 30, 2005 1:56 pm

i think i speak for a lot of people when i say we will miss you.
Take care of your self, watch your back.
I will have good toughts for you.
take a lot of pictures if you can.
host them on xs.to and post the link here.

Clean your rifle.

Cyber.

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Postby SiP » Sun Oct 02, 2005 1:14 pm

Duty has began. Though, I can't it's been real eventful thus far. The chain of command is being nice by easing us into the whole active army thing. Days starting around 1100 and ending mid-efternoon have been the extent of my first two days. Surely, of course, that will all change soon.

I did a little research into what exactly it is that I'll be participating in prior to my actual overseas duty and I found some interesting information: It seems that my unit is going to be taking part in a 4000 member training contingent at Camp Shebly, Mississippi.

This arrangement will consist of specialized training using a mock-up Iraqi city complete with blown-up cars and Arabic role-players to simulate situations faced in troubled areas in the Middle East. The five-to-six-month training program will focus on combat exercises ranging from dealing with insurgents to detecting and avoiding roadside bombs.

Participants consist of reserve soldiers form Minnesota, New Jersey, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Utah.

-The Clarion-Ledger (Mississippi)
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Postby SiP » Mon Oct 03, 2005 11:15 am

I received my training address today:

SPC Dinsmore, Samuel
1 BCT B Co. 2/136 CAB
2490 25th ST
Camp Shelby, MS
39407-5500

*I don't know how useful such information will be for others when one considers the fact that my unit may often be away from mail services, but I thought I'd put out the information anyway.
Yah sure ya betcha!!

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Postby Guest » Wed Oct 12, 2005 11:38 am

Well, I'm down in the deep south now. All is well. We got here last tuesday and moved straight out into the field. Our first post was in a FAB to simulate a potential living arrangement once we reach Iraq. Basically, a "Forward Attack Base" is a 400 m X 200 m makeshift complex that works as a staging area for troup housing and missions' command. It's sorta like an Alamo but with a whole lot more firepower and lots of contantine wire! In any case, time is limited for the time being, so I'm going to have to cut it short for now. I'll keep y'all updated the best I can. I purchased a monthly wireless service that hopefully will allow my to access my account via Airport. Laters.

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Postby SiP » Sat Oct 22, 2005 7:17 pm

Well, my squad got to take a nice lil' ride in the huey yesterday. It was my first as far as helicopter rides are concerned. Mind you, now, these were warrant officers, so we were given the opportunity to go on quite a ride. They did numerous banks for us at roughly 45º and just feet above the tree line. We even got to fly over a forest fire site. Best of all, though, was when they dropped’er down below the tree line whenever a clearing presented itself. And believe you-me, there were plenty of these and often these clearings were not much wider than twice the diameter of the blades!

Speaking of forest fires, by the way, they have become quite a commonality down here lately. Since the hurricanes, I'd have to venture a guess that Mississippi has seen no rain. As such, everything has been very dry and it just doesn't help when we are firing uber-hot tracer rounds out into the forest day after day. It's all good, though, the huey and Blackhawk crews are getting plenty of flying time as they dump bucket after bucket of water.

Humor aside, the hurricane damage down here is still very present. When we flew in to Gulf Port, MS, back on the 5th, and began our bus travels to Camp Shelby, it really became clear to me how much damage those forces had cast upon this land. In that coastal city, nearly ever building had been damaged to some extent. Seeing some of the advertisement signage and just how bent up there were really shows just how powerful wind can be. Literally, metal poles similar in diameter to that of telephone poles were bent much the way a metal fork can be bent in one's hands.

When up in the huey, I'd have to estimate that roughly 1/4th to 1/3rd of the forest's tree density had been flattened by the winds. Don't forget, now, Camp Shelby is about 60 minutes from the gulf.

Well, as of last Friday, the bulk of weapons' qualifications have been completed for B co. My hope, in light of this, is that I will be seeing more time to get on the ol' GameRanger among other leisurely luxuries.
Yah sure ya betcha!!

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Thinking of ya, SiP!

Postby BigDog » Wed Oct 26, 2005 11:20 am

Wish you all the best and a safe posting. Looking forward to seeing you online sometime soon!

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Postby SiP » Wed Oct 26, 2005 5:23 pm

Well, my team leader, two other buddies of mine, and myself went on an IBA (Interceptor Body Armor) run for about 2 miles give'r take. Those babies weigh 'bout 22 lbs, so it was a pretty good jog to say the least.

We did a land navigation course yesterday. It consisted of 12 8 digit grid coordinate point locations. Six of which, we had to track down via Hummer transportation. Then, upon location conformation, 2/3 of the Hummer 3-man crews would dismount to track a secondary point by way of foot travel.

Honestly, it was the best training we've encountered yet. The course OC's strategically placed mock-IED's at various locations to test our "Situational Awareness" as we tracked our points. I hate to say it, but the first IED we came upon would have end our mission had it been a real device. We were so pissed off - and rightfully so, might I add!

In total, my crew located 4 IED's in addition to 10/12 points (had a touch of the old learner's curve with the GPS). My team leader had alternative training to participate in that day, so I assumed command for the team. Prior to mission execution, the teams were given all of the necessary grid coords along with a map, campass, protractor, pen, data sheet, and a GPS device.
Yah sure ya betcha!!

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Postby SiP » Fri Oct 28, 2005 7:31 pm

Tomorrow is a "recovery day" - Yes!!!
..err....actually, this prolly just means that we will all be conducting classes within the confines of the platoon. Fun Fun :(

My company is so lacking in financial flexibility. Today, all teamleaders and above we ordered to turn in their M16's to have the armorers install rail systems are them. As such, for the remaining majority of us, no such adjustments appear to be imminent. The funny thing of it, however, it that I am prolly one of the few who actually came prepared to actually make use of such a modification.

The intent of this modification is to allow select individuals to accessorize their weapons. Yet, I'm willing to bet that none of the select individuals have the means to benefit from such a modification as I. Most of these guys are such misers that they did not make a decision to purchase accessories prior to mobilation that they will simply be luggin' the extra weight of the rails for not such purpose.

Oh, the irony. I spent a considerable amount on items to accessorize my weapon, but will likely not be given the opportunity to put my planning to use - well, atleast not in the immediate future.

Thank you for tuning in today. That was the latest gripe from Typical Army, MS. Please rejoin us after the commercials...
Yah sure ya betcha!!

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Postby Guest » Tue Nov 01, 2005 5:39 pm

Yesterday was a very busy day. My fellow drivers and I were tasked with be trained on M1114 (UpArmored Hummers). It went all day long and into the night. First we had classes upon more classes. Then, when the actual hands-on training came around, we were given an Op Order which, in effect, changed our day from simple training to full spectrum convoy ops. Although it was great training, it was quite difficult for us first-timers. Looking for IED's is no simple task! And this is especially so when the looking is done from the perspective of inside a vehicle of this magnitude. These M1114's are roughly 12,000 lbs. Basically, they are tanks on four wheels.

Anyhow, every IED we encountered on our mission was essentially our last if you know what I mean. Nevertheless, it was training that really let us know the true seriousness of the nature of the on-going struggle over in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We ended our day with night vision driving. All was well for that little exercise until my night vision goggles completely fogged up. Needless to say, my assistant driver had to direct me and my steering for the remainder of the driver. It was a little embarrassing considering the fact that the cause of the fogging was that I was simply wearing the goggles too close to my eyes.

It's all good, though. In light of the fact that Halloween was the date, we all came back to the barracks and were warmly welcomed to the on-going beer and grill party for Bravo company.

This morning was less desirable, however, considering the fact that certain individuals from other platoons decided to drink a lil' too much and consequently made a bit of a mess. The platoons of the culprits were to lazy to take responsibility for their soldiers' actions, so my platoon took it upon itself to clean up last night's fun.

Other than that, today was fairly uneventful. Us drivers did, however, have to make-up for a missed APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) in the evening. Surprisingly, I somehow came out as the top scorer in my platoon. I hadn't for a second prior expected I'd finish with a score of 291 out of 300.

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Postby el_presidente » Tue Nov 01, 2005 7:04 pm

Sip -- Just a note to say that I really enjoy the detail in your posts, I am humbled by your many sacrifices, and I am thankful there are men out there as committed as you. God bless you. I am rooting very very hard for you!!
people think all we do is lie around and think of how rich we'd be if we didn't think life could improve

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Postby SiP » Wed Nov 23, 2005 6:27 pm

Today was a good morale-boosting day for the lot of us. Got up at 0600, did a lil' PT, then cleaned weapons all day. Wait, did I say morale boosting? Why, yes I did! :P As it ended up, our rigorous cleaning was a means to hand in those weapons to, in turn, be issued new ones. For the majority of us, our M16's were turning in for M4's. As for myself, I kept my M16 in order to more effectively utilize a new optical scope that I was issued today - the ACOG. Quite a remarkable little device that scope is! I did a bit of research on the Internet into the technology behind it and found some interesting facts. For one, this optical system's illimitability, I found, is powered by a unique form of radioactive hydrogen. Supposedly, the energy that is captured from the radiation can be harnessed for decades! This allows the scope's reticule to be illuminated all the time - day and night - without the use of the traditional battery power that all other optics rely on. And, even if the scope fails to properly utilize the radioactive tritium or if half-life has done its work to its fullest, the scope has a built-in back-up source acquiring illimitability - a strip of fiber optic material to capture light from external sources.

http://www.trijicon.com/home.cfm
http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/tritium.htm

And, to really boost the morale, our company commander gave up a briefing on the night's festivities and the festivities of Thanksgiving Day. "From 1700 to 2200 everyone is free to get as drunk as they like as long as they choose not to leave the company housing area.

Tomorrow: None-duty day (Yes!!) This is our first whole day off in more than a month of active duty. We went from October 5th until November 23rd working 10-16 hrs/days for 7 days/week.
Yah sure ya betcha!!

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Postby Vir2L™ » Thu Nov 24, 2005 5:16 pm

Happy Thanksgiving SiP!
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