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

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

Mauser*girl,
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.

Heh.

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