15 October 2005

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 13 Sep 90

13 Sep 90

Spent some time talking to Al today, came in the shop to get out of the heat. Real nice young man from Texas, a Huey crew chief. Just got married and worried about his wife, likes to get mail, as we all do. Spent some time talking with Walt, he’s our Maintenance and Material Control Officer, a Mustang and real solid guy. Talked about how the men folk are always having to show and teach women how to do things, like ski or drive a stick shift. Decided a cross country trip should be a required pre-marital encounter. And camping and bowling. We guys are great, what would women do without us.
Slept in ‘til 0830, screw the maintenance meeting. Came in, had a Pepsi for breakfast, got some teriyaki jerky and sweet tarts, tried to spend a low stress day just being normal to the guys who work for me. They are still on track, busting their ass. As much as Spot is on me about certain projects, such as gun covers, tie downs and sun shades, he always enjoys going in the shop and talking to the guys, basically his acknowledgement that they’re doing their share. Don’t know if that’s just my feeling, and never will. It’s just part of my job to be their shit screen. If he really is as annoyed at us as he sometimes acts, then we must really be frustrating him. It’s finally becoming amusing to me. He’s under a lot of pressure and operating on a timetable that we’re not clued in to at this time. I’ll do the best I can and earn the big bucks to make as many good decisions as I can, doing what I consider to be common sense with the assets we have. Maybe I’ll get fired and they’ll send me home?
Trying to find material to use for all of our projects, very frustrating, keep hoping it will materialize out of no where. Hard to imagine everyone else has their own priorities that don’t mesh with ours. Every day, Spot is like Bart Simpson, “where’s my spy camera?” He is our daily amusement, except for today, when he was mainly gone.
Spent the afternoon writing FE lessons learned input and chronology of projects completed and in work. It was good to review all the work that the shop has done. Second, the lessons learned project is a chance to drop some well placed dimes. Most of our problems are due to fiscal constraints, but some were results of micromanagement and lack of long term thinking. Long term for a Marine Expeditionary Force of our size is 30 days, so some people say we weren’t supposed to be here this long. What do we do if we start running out of flight equipment or suffer combat losses of gear? We have absolutely no spares. The desert is tearing up our gear fast, but as of D+30 the embarkation of these items has not been realized. The paper was Item-Discussion-Recommendation format. Coined a term today, “ballistically tolerant”, i.e. bullet-proof. “Threat specific mission essential equipment” and “Theater specific war reserve material for contingency operations” was a fancy way of saying why don’t we have desert and cold weather flight suits, or for that matter woodland cammie flight suits like they run around in at MCCDC? Let off some steam, but that’s about it. They asked for input at 1300, had to be in by 1700, thought I was in college again. Turned in 8 pages, some folks turned in a post-it note. These documents are supposed to keep us and other units from making the same mistakes and drive us toward the future. Let’s hope at least one person reads this one. I have no doubt someday that some Marine will be reading this someday and be saying, “ shit, they had this same problem all the way back in Desert Shield”. Got some kudos from the maintenance admin guys, so at least someone likes what I do.
Now we’ve heard another 53 is down, no injuries hopefully, on the heels of one taxiing into another parked 53 yesterday and injuring the crew chief. So we’re looking at a safety stand down. Probably could use one, maintenance guys could use a break. Tired to start my bird the other day with the blade tied down. Self critiquing. Just 4 guys embarrassing themselves in front of one another. Cheap way to tell everyone to slow down a little, especially to look out for madmen in jeeps trying to mow you down as you walk back to tent city. I’m trying to be safe and won’t fly with someone who isn’t. Peewee is a great pilot to be crewed with, and we’ve always got 2 hard charging crew chiefs.

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