Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Apparently it's not all going for body armor

It’s been really tough to find the time to post lately. We’re in the midst of a project that involves gathering fingerprints and iris scans from every Iraqi who works on the camp, and it’s a little daunting. This project was supposed to be performed by contractors, but the company hired to provide the labor hasn’t been able to deliver in a timely manner, so we have pressed soldiers into service gathering the information. The soldiers I had detailed to me are loving life. They are more than happy to spend their last two months in Iraq rolling fingerprints, since they spent the last ten months doing dismounted patrols on Haifa Street. If they hadn’t been detailed to me, they would have been assigned to tower guard.

I received some initial resistance to detailing soldiers to do a contractors job, in spite of the fact that accomplishing this task will greatly increase the security of the camp. Fortunately the Brigade Commander, upon reviewing the details of the program, agreed that it would be irresponsible to wait for civilian labor when we had all the necessary equipment on hand to do the job ourselves. We had the troops a week later, and after a few days of training we got the program off the ground. If we don’t run into any snags, we will have the initial stage of the program, the most labor intensive portion, done before we ever get the “labor” that your tax dollars are so injudiciously getting spent on.

We also have new office space, finally, several months after the rest of our unit moved into a new building. The building seemed sound when we moved in, but it is starting to turn into an Iraqi version of “the money pit”. Every improvement or repair seems to uncover another flaw that requires more labor to repair, which uncovers another problem, which…..yea you get it. Started out with network wiring, which I was promised was working. We spent the better part of a week troubleshooting wiring before we had active network connections in each office, which uncovered a break in a fiber run, which rather than splice the fiber that costs several dollars a foot, the contractor replaced a 1500 Meter run. $10K of your money. We also discovered that the heat pump units in each of the rooms, which are supposed to both cool and heat the rooms, only would cool. For ten months a year this is not a problem, but November is not one of those months. It’s friggin cold at night, especially if you have been acclimated to 120 degree heat for almost a year. Now you would think that replacing these units with units that also heat, like every other building on the camp, would be pretty easy. Nope. Apparently the wiring in the building won’t handle the additional load, so the wiring needs to be replaced, and oh by the way we have to cut through the sidewalk we just poured 2 weeks ago to replace the wiring. That will be $24,000 please. Those new laptops that we are plugging into the network connections that don’t work, which cost $1495 on Dell’s website? Yea, we are buying them from a local vendor, to help rebuild the economy. And at $4500 each, we are helping a lot.

This wasn’t the post I set out to write, but it is the one that ended up on the page. I think that is one of the truly wonderful things about blogging. I often start out wanting to talk about one thing, and find myself an hour later looking at a page full of something else. It must be because it needed to be said, or at least I needed to say it because it’s really pissing me off. I have a lot of other things pissing me off, and you will all get to hear about them later. But for now I have to get some sleep. More to follow.


Steve Karna said...

Hey Mustang. I only just found out you have thi sblog. Your doing a great job, both with this and your dedication to your profession.

It will be a great day when I can see you in person again, take care and now that I know this is here I will check it often.

Blacksheep8 out.

asapp said...

i'm a grad. student here in the states. working on a big project studying miliblogs; figured i was in b.s. school, ought to look into something interesting.
thanks for your postings. know that most U.S. families are thankful for our badass soldiers like you and all you do.

Cathy said...

Keep up the great work and thank you.

Red Bull 9N said...

Hey Top. As one of your soldiers from ETAB I am not used to calling you Mustang. I prefer Red Bull 7.

This blog you started up is great. I will save it as a favorite snd check it out regularly.

By the way, Lisa and the kids say hi and they want you to stay safe.

Keep up the great work over there.

Red Bull 9N over

Ol' Iron Eyes said...

Hey Cos...
Slick told me about your blog - so I had to check it out. I decided to put it in my "favorites" so I can visit easy and often. Love your comments - keep 'em coming! I didn't know you were a grunt at heart. That's normally tough for an artilleryman to admit, but considering you were a gyreen when you started, I now understand. Go get 'em!

Ol' Iron Eyes (ETAB) aka MrO.

Anonymous said...

I do not like ANY war, but admire, appreciate and respect those who serve in the military to protect our USA -- and our freedoms. Too many choose to exercise THEIR "freedom" with disrespect for others, their property or the only country that would even allow such behavior.
May God bless you, keep you safe and back to your family and CIVILIAN life.
Happy Thanksgiving and THANK YOU