Veterans for Peace Radio Hour

April 29, 2013

A Week in Dallas for a one day protest of the bush lie-bury

So here it was, a chilly Tuesday morn when I left for Dallas; needless to say, the 85 degree weather changed dramatically and the heaviest thing I had was a sweatshirt. Could have been worse, it got to the lower 40’s w/a slight breeze at night. We prepared for the Big Event on Thursday, going over ground rules, maintaining a peaceful atmosphere, finding out how the Dallas PD would likely treat us, the usual stuff that goes with well advised protests.

We heard from Ann Wright, Leah Bolger, Phil Donahue and others who had boundless energy and were raring to go. Most of us were grey-hairs, but surprisingly, many were younger, and that made my heart soar. For far too long, the youth have been left by the wayside in movements, their ideas discarded, even when validated time after time. We geezers don’t have all of the answers, we can help with what works from our point of view, but we fail when we don’t take into account what the youth of today sees…we can’t fight the last war, we have to be ready to take on new and often complicated problems.

Thursday was the big day, we got most of the press since we showed up early, but we wound up on the cutting floor compared to the mob that showed up at bush’s outhouse/lie-bury. This piece of crap cost $500,000,000, that’s half a billion dollars for a failed president that has difficulty tying his shoes. How many children could have been fed, clothed and prepared for school w/that money? A monument to failure, half a billion dollars, and no mention of the nightmare this jerk brought upon the world.

It makes one a little uneasy when police and snipers are scoping you out from the rooftops, a sort of “nazi” feeling to all of this.

Anyway, here is a link to my FB Page w/a collage of various photos, enjoy: https://www.facebook.com/rfunke2

Peace,

Bob

April 4, 2013

A small example of waste in the Army

Filed under: General Discussion — bobfunke @ 2:26

I was stationed for while in Weisbaden Germany, with the 3/60 Armor, 4th Bde Forward 4th ID. Our mission was to close any holes if there was a breakthrough in the Fulda Gap, a primary route of attack and strategically, very important.  We would go to Baumholder for various training missions, bore sighting and the like. Baumholder was OK for about a day, but there was little for us to do most of the time.

On the Training Schedule, the BN CO had put HQ’s Company in for the grenade range. Myself and two other Medics dutifully went to the ammo dump and drew 144 grenades and fuses. I have no idea what the thinking was in having Medics sign for a gross of grenades, but who am I to question a Lt Col?

The three of us took the munitions out to the grenade range, sat on a knoll and fused the grenades, bent pins, to ensure they would not “pop off” inadvertently once the safety clips were removed. In the Army, if you sign out something, you’d better use it, especially when you sign out anything that can blow up, be shot or burns things to the ground. The last thing you want to do is repackage the munitions and try to turn them back at the ammo dump or arms room. The only thing that comes back are the pins, as “proof” you used the grenades you signed for.

So here we sat, waiting for deuce and a half’s to bring out mostly staff and support personnel to toss grenades at old tire “targets”  placed about the range, and wait we did…for 3 and a half hours. I tried reaching anyone from the unit by radio to no avail. A “permanent” landline was dead, (that will happen when tanks drive over the conduit 1000 times), so wait we did, being the good soldiers we were.

About 4 1/2 hours into this situation I could hear the whine of a jeep coming up the hill. “Aha! Finally, we can get this show on the road!” , thought I, however, as usual, something was going to go wrong…it’s the Army way. The HQ’s Co Commander, an odd ball Captain, came up to our position and after the usual military courtesies, we were told that the grenade training had been cancelled and we were to “dispose” of the grenades, it averaged out to 48 grenades apiece that needed to be tossed, lobbed, rolled or whatever else we needed to do to pop them off.

48 grenades lined up in neat little rows in the pit is an interesting sight to behold, we had 3 pits with 48 grenades and one Medic in each, what could possibly go wrong?

To those who have some experience with the M67, it’s nice to know that it weighs in just under a pound at 14 oz’s, those lost 2 oz’s can prove crucial when tossing 48 of these little monsters. The average soldier can toss an M67 about 30-40 meters on a really good day, most of the time the grenade used at closer ranges, and after you toss 10 of these things, that 30 meters creeps back about 5 meters with each grenade lobbed. With a 3 second fuse, you can actually “cook off” a grenade by letting the spoon fly, then, about a second later toss it, this is not advised however, except in circumstances where you are actually in combat and need to ensure the enemy can’t toss it back at you.

Of course, we’d take little breaks but the reality was, we eventually had to toss all 144 and bring the pins back to supply. So, there we stood, in the pits, each having to pop the safety off, pull the pins and simultaneously toss the grenade and crouch down until we heard the tell-tale 3 explosions so we could get up and examine our prowess with the little bombs.

The first 5 were easy, and actually pretty cool, even Medics like watching things blow up, as long as no one gets hurt, what the hell. So in just under 4 minutes, the first 15 were off, not bad, everything was going according to the alternative plan. To be honest, looking at 43 grenades is not much different than looking at 48, it’s a mere dent in the can so to speak. One realizes this not going to be “fun” anymore, but it’s actually work  that requires precision to a degree to ensure the safety of those engaged in this type of behavior.

With each grenade tossed, the level of accuracy and distance decreases. It is important to focus on what you are doing, it’s easy to get, “creative” in these kinds of situations. At one point, a rabbit came out on the range and immediately became a target, it scampered away, unharmed, but certainly seemed to grow exponentially as it’s fur was standing on end, a big puffball of thing hopping like hell, ears laid back…I’m glad we didn’t harm it, didn’t even come close actually. We were down to about 25 grenades, apiece, to go at that point. Just over half of what we had started out with.

Range became a factor about this time. Think of tossing a baseball from far out in right field and trying to get it to the catcher, the first two might get there, even if bounces, but after that, it’s going to bounce a lot more, eventually, if you throw it back enough, most of it will be a roll to the catcher. Without the adrenaline rush of actual combat conditions, one’s arm gets pretty tired, I tried two as a lefty, but gave up on that after neither went more than 5 meters, which put me in the killing radius of the grenade should something go wrong and I don’t focus precisely on what I and my comrades are doing at the time.  We needed a break, but only two of us at a time could leave the range, someone had to stay to watch the cache of yet to be tossed grenades. We traded off timing, getting the ear plugs out was relief enough. We went up a small knoll to do a little damage assessment. It appeared to us, we had done little more anyone prior to us had done. This had been a range since WWII, small stubs of what were once trees, and a little grass was about all there was, and tires, plenty of tires to be “aimed” at. I wondered if some of them were close, deliberately setting up a disaster scenario, where a grenade could actually bounce back at the person who lobbed it. Not a pleasant thought, focus….focus.

Out of my 48 grenades, I don’t think any of them fond the center of a tire, even a relatively close one. In fact, I don’t think anyone came all that close to one. That’s what happens when Medics not Infantry are tossing grenades. I had prior Infantry training, but the “art” of grenade tossing was a thing of the past, I was older now, not in my prime, I felt like an aging pitcher in the World Series, but there was no bullpen to call back to for relief. It took us just over 3 hours to toss all of the grenades, 144, a gross of grenades, 3 hours of time and energy spent and only the first 5 minutes were “fun”. Tossing that last grenade was more like rolling it downhill. We collected the pins, I counted out 144 and was happy. We got into the jeep tired but relieved we had accomplished our “mission”. Considering the wait time, the actual toss time, policing the area and returning the pins, we spent about 10 hours of a single day essentially doing nothing of any great importance.

What we did that day was a small waste of taxpayer dollars, but it is typical, and when you add all of these “typical” situations together, it all adds up. In the Navy, items are just tossed into the sea. Desks, helicopters, planes, fuel, you name it, it goes overboard. It’s the system, if you don’t use every nickel in the budget, you get cut the next time around. Rather than reward practical use of what you have, you get penalized if you don’t actually use, often waste, what you have access to. Perfectly good equipment is wasted every day, just to keep budgets rolling along and increasing the numbers.

Have a great day and please perform a random act of kindness today.

Bob

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