Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Annie Get Your...

Every trip off base is considered a mission, and every mission is preceded by a convoy brief. Much of each brief is repetition, and my favorite part that's always repeated is the slide on the "principles of fire control." The first bullet points, high at the top, instruct one to destroy the greatest threat first while avoiding target overkill -- "one shot, one kill, hooah? Hooah." The final bullet point, way at the bottom -- almost like a suggestion or a plaintive request -- is to avoid fratricide.

("It should go without saying," the Commander told me when I asked why it was so low on the list. "But you did say it," I pointed out. No change to the slides).

During the Embassy in-brief, they remind gun-qualified people not to carry on compound unless they're specifically part of the perimeter defense plan -- to avoid not fratricide, but rather "a blue-on-blue incident," a euphemism I find pleasant.

Every uniformed American is required to carry a gun at all times except while exercising. For most people that's either an M4 or M16 rifle or a pistol worn in a holster under the armpit, strapped to the thigh or tucked into their waistband. A few unlucky people are stuck lugging around guns that are large enough to require kickstands to operate, like the 240B ("two-forty Bravo"), and it's odd to see them in essence hauling a large piece of machinery around with them to the chow hall or laundry room. Odder still is to see a rifle dangling by its strap on the towel hooks outside the showers, or the barrel of a rifle poking an inch or two out from under the shower curtains that partition off the stalls in the restroom.

The Lieutenant in charge of giving out money ("Lieutenant Moneybags"), next to a pile of guns.


Dan said...

"Bullet points" in an article about guns. Terrible. Just terrible.

Dakota said...

I am embarrassed that the pun hadn't occurred to me.

ICEman said...

Glad to find you doing well and enjoying life. Please do not attempt to bribe the locals with your Chicken Soup Cookies, you would just be asking for trouble. Stay safe my friend and I look forward to reading about your adventures.