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Old 11-28-2010, 03:35   #8
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: The Woodlands, Texas
Posts: 906
Post "FID" Series (Part II)

[Note: After receiving about a dozen requests to resume posting the next installments in my series, I have finally "given in". Though I'm deployed, I will resume my "FID" series, as well as "The Experience" (which is about the SF Qualification Course). I hope you all enjoy it.]

Preparations for the training that we were supposed to execute were still ongoing. However, there was one glitch: Our DEPORD (Deployment Order) was kicked back at the Pentagon because - as I was told - it was written in the wrong format. This was well out of our hands, as the DEPORDs are written way above our pay grade. It seems that when we were actually deployed into the country, it was expected that the DEPORD would be signed shortly thereafter. It was not so. So we were "here", but were not authorized to commence our training activities.

In any case, it would be another two weeks before we were authorized to train our Partner Nation (PN) unit. Another glitch developed when the PN unit leadership informed us that they would not be able to commit a whole battalion to training. Only two companies would be available, and not at the same time. As a result, we would have two weeks free of these activities. But, we could now conduct detachment training, conduct a more thorough assessment of San Jorge, and, as my team sergeant would say, "improve our position". We had two brand new armored civilian SUVs; they still had the "new car smell". They had been delivered a few days subsequent to our arrival. They were delivered by special operations aircraft to the same unlighted air strip we inserted through on our first day here.

We had to practice driving them though the mud roads leading away from the PN firebase where we were staying and into the town, as these vehicles were much heavier than the stock civilian models due to their armor. Though the armored vehicles were more powerful than their unarmored twins commonly sold in the civilian market, one had to know how to handle their power at the right times. Otherwise, powerful spinning wheels could result in burying the vehicle into the mud. The route to the main road was replete with choke points and potential ambush sites. We had to consider these areas in planning our battle drills, and we did.

We rigged both vehicles with specially designed cargo straps made to handle more than twice the weight of each vehicle. These were placed both front and aft of each vehicle on designated attachment points. With these straps, we practiced evacuating either vehicle in an emergency; it is a technique we had practiced for in the past, but intended for use in Afghanistan. We took both vehicles to the nearby range and practiced entering and exiting each vehicle during live fire exercises. We practiced moving casualties from one vehicle to another using “Simunition” as the enemy "live fire". And, we worked up our vehicle occupant list so that each vehicle had a balanced complement of personnel.

For travel into the town, we formulated a three-vehicle plan. Our two SUVs would travel together, but at least 100 meters apart in the open road. When in the actual town, we would have one vehicle separate from the other and "roam" looking for indicators of an attack. Both vehicles had heavily tinted windows. Inside, there were four of us: The driver, the C2 and communications man and, in the rear the third and fourth man formed a heavily armed "counter-ambush" team. In the cargo space we had medical equipment, escape and evasion packs, extra ammunition and emergency communications gear. Our third vehicle - a regular HMMWV - stood by in the nearby PN army base, with the balance of our team and set up with more medical gear. When we had the senior 18C (detachment engineer sergeant) and another detachment member go out to shop for essentials (construction material, door locks, groceries, etc.), for example, one SUV would follow while driving slowly along the street as we all kept our eyes in a constant 360 search for threats from behind the pitched black tinted windows. The second SUV would travel in the surrounding blocks looking for anything that seemed "out of place" and we maintained constant communication. (To Be Continued...)
- Retired Special Forces Officer -
Special Forces Association Lifetime Member

Last edited by Basenshukai; 11-28-2010 at 03:41.
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