August 22, 2005

What I hope will be my LAST post on the Sheehan mess

I was inspired to write this by the words of a commenter calling himself File Closer on this post at protein wisdom, in response to a previous comment by someone calling himself "patton". File Closer was there in Iraq, in an artillery unit attached to Casey Sheehan's battery. He has some choice words for the left. Go read his words. I'll wait

As some of you may have noticed, the moonbats have got it under their tin hats that the BEST argument in favor of Cindy Sheehan and her position is this: you have no right to talk if you haven't been there. Put up or shut up.

Basically, these maroons are throwing the word "chickenhawk" around a lot and claiming that supporting a war that you have not fought in is morally bankrupt.

Ahh, the irony there.....

Anyway this is sooo wrong on so MANY fronts, so I apologize if what follows isn't a smooth piece of writing.

First, serving this country in wartime means a HELL of a lot more than calling 1-800-GO-ARMY (as was suggested by commenter patton at protein wisdom). For every young man or woman who raises their hand and swears to defend this country against all enemies, even at the cost of their life, there are dozens of family members, friends, and coworkers who sacrifice their lives and plans because someone they care about is miles away, doing a very important job. Beyond this there are the thousands of folks who volunteer their time to run a USO room at the local airport, make sure soldiers get care packages, or just take a moment to say "Thank you" to a vet of ANY war. All of these people are serving in their own ways, some at more personal risk than others.

I've been there, you know. I know what it's like. Luckily, my own DH was never deployed overseas, but that was sheer luck and timing. DH was a mechanic in a sister unit to Casey Sheehan's. If he hadn't been discharged, he would have been there too. My BIL was in the SAME unit as Casey Sheehan. He was there. As a family, we serve this country together by supporting our loved troops and putting our lives with them on hold until they get back. It's about unselfishness, putting your nation's needs ahead of your own.

Next, it's a logical fallacy to say that someone CAN NOT have a valid opinion on something they haven't experienced. By that same token, moonies, you need to give up your opinions on Gay Rights (unless you are homosexual) or Abortion rights (unless you have had one). Oh wait, that's not fair, huh? I call BS. It's the same argument. Put up or shut up, right? Except that there's no cute phone number to become gay or have an abortion (or tp get a uterus for the guys, for that matter).

I want to close by reminding people about what happened the day Casey Sheehan died. C 1-82 1CD (C battery of the 1st batallion 82nd Field Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division) was on a rescue mission in Sadr City, just 1 week into their time in Iraq. They were new in country, new to real battle, and definitely not trained for this. This platoon from C 1-82 are MECHANICS for God's sake. They spend every day fixing diesel engines on tanks and artillery. Yet these very brave young men went in to do their duty and resuce their comrades, and they were pinned down by RPGs in an ambush attack by insurgents. Seven men died that day, not just Casey Sheehan. It would have been 8, except that my BIL was shot in his Kevlar vest and went home with a nasty bruise instead of a coffin.

When we talk about SPC Casey Sheehan, we need to remember SGT Eddie Chen, SPC Israel Garza, CPL Forest Jostes, SPC Stephen Hiller, SPC Robert Arsiaga, and SPC Ahmed Cason as well.

Posted by caltechgirl at August 22, 2005 12:24 PM | TrackBack

I disagree that just because a unit consists of mechanics, they are not trained to go into combat. Every soldier is first and foremost a soldier, regardless of what their MOS is. Every soldier qualifies with their weapon and does their field time, regardless of whether he is a clerk, a mechanic, or an infantryman.

If a unit is not trained up to standards, you can blame the chain of command. You know, the people who will pencil-whip peoples' PT tests or scores at the range to allow them to pass when, in fact, they have not passed. Unfortunately this sort of thing has become common, but there should be no excuse for this during a time of war.

And the units deploying to Iraq even get pre-deployment training, both stateside and overseas in Kuwait. We spent months at Fort Eustis, VA practicing convoy operations, with the OPFOR setting up IEDs, and booby traps, and coming at us with all sorts of things from RPGs to small arms fire. In Kuwait, at Udayri Range, we did live-fire convoy operations, and that was all prior to going into Iraq.

There's no excuse to say a unit wasn't properly trained and prepared.

Posted by: Mauser*Girl at August 22, 2005 12:51 PM

I understand how you feel, but you weren't working 16 hours a day repairing vehicles for gun bunnies. They simply didn't have the time to be prepared. I blame the command for sending them rather than another unit more familiar with close combat situations.

Posted by: caltechgirl at August 22, 2005 02:17 PM

Having been a mechanic, in A 2/82FA 1CD, and having served under SPC Sheehan's direct NCO, while I was in the military I know EXACTLY what the mechanics were being trained to do. They were first and foremost trained as mechanics. THEN they were trained to shoot their weapons. DIVARTY said that mechanics were mechanics first. The 1CD general also said that mechanics were mechanics first.

During their pre-deployment I can guarantee that the mechanics were fixing their vehicles NOT learning principles of close combat. That was left to the gun bunnies. In Kuwait they fixed even more vehicles, as the gun bunnies got first crack at all of the "basic soldiering" stuff.

And yes, mechanics DO qualify with weapons. But we only do that when we have to. Our time is more valuable keeping the vehicles moving. As for field time, we were in the field more than the gun bunnies, but guess what we were doing? That's right: fixing broken vehicles. You know, DOING OUR JOB.

As for "pencil-whipped PT tests", I can tell you we worked our asses off and earned every one of those PT patches and passed tests. You had better be in good shape to lift a 100 lb generator for an M109 or to remove tank tracks.

Yes, these guys were soldiers. But they're certainly more familiar with enemies like seized up final drives and broken bolts than terrorists armed with rifles and RPGs. Yes they can shoot guns, but they're far more familiar with wrenches and screwdrivers. Some of them would rather fling one at you. They don't miss either.

Posted by: grandmofftrojan at August 22, 2005 02:36 PM

AMEN, babe. A-freakin'-men.

As an aside: if I weren't already married and pregnant, I'd offer to have File Closer's babies.


Posted by: Margi at August 22, 2005 11:36 PM