Casspir The Friendly Armored Personnel Carrier

Fallujah.

Naturally.

Bumping along in a Casspir, a South African armored personnel carrier, on our way to Anbar Province, western Iraq. The year was 2007 and we were under attack.

Perfect.

Perfect? Yes. For you see, if you decide to get shot at in Iraq in 2007, the best venue for that is inside a Casspir. A Casspir is a big, white, heavily armored vehicle. During Apartheid, the South Africans needed such a vehicle; well, the White South Africans did anyway.

The first time I heard of “Casspir” I was somewhere close to Camp Speicher, northern Iraq and this was to be my “commute car.”  I thought instantly, after seeing my first Casspir, that it was so moniker-ed because it was this big white thing and, being an American, immediately thought of “Casper the Friendly Ghost.” I was wrong. There is nothing friendly about a Casspir, aside from the fact that he (it) will save your ass.

Casper_Commuter_Vehicle

Riding in a Casspir is probably one of the most uncomfortable things one can experience.

The seats are small. The quarters cramped. The air conditioning nonexistent. The suspension sans shock absorbers. The windows, smallish, which open up just enough to point a rifle through, or perhaps allow a round to one’s head. The driver, usually a Wanna-be Rambo with poor grammar and a poorer sense of direction.

No fun riding in a Casspir.

Inside Casper

But on that day, back in ’07, just outside Fallujah there was no better place to be. Casspirs were often called the ‘Best Bug-Out Vehicles’ in Iraq.

 

 

 

First they shot at us with RPG’s (rocket propelled grenades). They fell somewhat short. Following up, they hit us with AK47 rounds. (Those didn’t fall short) Our PLS truck (Pallet-loading system) lost a windshield. Some of our “light-skinned” vehicles lost windshields and windows as well. “Casper” got hit, but the rounds barely scratched the paint (Thank you South Africa). No one lost his life, but we were somewhat shaken and more than a little pissed off.

Continue reading

Uh Huh? I Remain firmly Ensconced In My ‘Pity Party Mode’ Thinking Back To The Good Old Times–And Much “Missing The Most Interesting Man In Iraq” P.S. It Is Impossible To Edit This. Fuk U WordPress! G’Damn You!

I Caint Fix This Post– I Am So Very Sorry

But I’ll Survive

Stray’ed Alive

(Yes. I’ve Been to Petra–Watch The Vid

 

***

Survive’d

Stay’d Alive

(Yep. Did.)

Bob (The Most Interesting Man in Iraq) is my life-long frin…

I miss his dumb ass (and ‘dumb-ass’ is a term of endearment where I come from)

If one is lucky, really lucky, one meets maybe one, two, or  three or four people in life that transcend funny.

Bob is one such ‘transcendent’ lucky for me.

He saved my fragile sanity.

**************

My mechanic (Of Parsons Mechanic fame) came by to have some ‘chat’ with me:

Bob

The most Interesting
Mechanic in the World

“Way’ll… I have a natch’ral disaster on my hands.”

“Ok Bob,” I said, “I’m ‘bout to bust with anticipation.”

“Yep. A natch’ral disaster.”

“You mentioned that already.”

“A real-life natch’ral calamity.”

“Do I have time to go to chow while you go through your preamble?”

Ignoring me, he continued, “That Six Kay (‘6K’ as in six thousand pound lifting capacity) forklift is all a-pieces. hamorr’agin’ parts all over th’ place. The Boys (Filipino mechanics times two) tol’ me it was the fuel injector pump.

So, I kin’ly smiled and said ‘Okaaay…,’ and let ‘em go at it. They need ta learn how ta fix thangs without me onct in ah’while. Well,  they dun got tha’ forklift tore all ta pieces.  Now, I dun give ‘em all mornin’ to dick ‘round with it, an’ I’m gonna give ‘em all this aftr’noon to dick ‘round with it some more. Then first thing tomorra, I’m gonna ask ‘em, ‘Boys, how come that forklift ain’t a-workin’ this fine morning?’”

“I’m hip Let’s keep it real.”

“Your ‘personnel management style’ is showing Bob,” I said.

“Yeah, whatever… An’ tomorra’s Thursday. An’ day after that’s Friday. An’ I ain’t doin’ nothin’ on Friday. Tomorra, we gonna start our dee-cent inta th’ day off.”

(I NEVER Got a Day Off–I was The Camp Manager)

“Kinda start slowin’ ‘er down ‘round mid-noon time, eh?” I said. (I can do ‘Southern’ just as slick as you please when I want to.)

“X-actly. We start double-clutchin’ and dee-celeratin’ an’ bring her in nice and slow like.”

“And what about my forklift?” I asked, even though I already knew the answer.

“She’s all ‘In’shalah’d’ out Boss.”

“Dead in the water?”

“Tits up.”

“Broke dick?”

“Send her saddle home.”

“I need to call Baghdad?”

“She ain’t lookin’ none too fav’erble.”

“Call HQ an’ tell ‘em we need another forklift?”

“Now, jes hol’ on. Doan git ’em all wadded jes yet.”

“Ok. I got it. Thanks.”

“We’re Parsons’ Mechanics an’ jes watch how we roll,” he said on his way out the door.

I love my job.

I have a “Ten Kay” forklift that still works. So I should be alright for now. Besides, Bob just  loves the drama and we do this little dance everytime there is a crisis in the motor pool. If I were a betting man (And actually I am)

I’d wager two of my pay checks that come Friday if that 6K forklift is still down, he’ll be out there bright and early with his boys working on it until it is repaired even if it means giving up his day off. I’ve seen him do that already too many times over the past year and a half he has worked for me. There is no man made of better stuff. An’ he sure do entertain. Yessir, he certainly does. And I’d never have been able to keep the operation afloat without him.

I love all my crew and wouldn’t trade a single one of them for a pile of cash money or a case of Johnny Walker Black with the authorization to drink it.

Feetnote to this story:

After I had been in Mosul for a month, running that camp, they sent me Bob.

Upon seeing him get off the chopper, I ran over and kissed him (not on-the-lips–he is a disgusting individual) But I needed him! To help me run the Goddamn Camp And I had sorely missed having him in my life.

This song is firmly dedicated to Bob, wherever he may be:

 

OK: Ed. Note:

Y’all gotta love how ‘Texan’ this vid is—look at the ‘ensign‘-Texan Flags-behind the sage, er…stage.

(and if you look really close–for you guitar players out there–you will notice the hole in the guitar. Willie tells some stories ’bout the gee-tar. He tells one about a drunken party with Leon Russell in a hotel room, when Leon almost broke it. Willie, in classic form, invited Leon to stop touching that guitar.)

When I am coherent, I may write about that.

And then there is this:

Willie sang, “At the airport in Milwaukee…”

Lenny

Lima

on that: Milwaukeeeee!

 

Footnote:

Recently Paul died (Willie’s drummer)

But Y’all know that.

(Or Shoulda Known That)

I Remain firmly Ensconced In My ‘Pity Party Mode’ Thinking Back To The Good Old Times–And Much “Missing The Most Interesting Man In Iraq” P.S. It Is Impossible To Edit This. Fuk U WordPress! G’Damn You!

I Caint Fix This Post– I Am So Very Sorry

But I’ll Survive

Stray’ed Alive

(Yes. I’ve Been to Petra–Watch The Vid

 

***

Survive’d

Stay’d Alive

(Yep. Did.)

Bob (The Most Interesting Man in Iraq) is my life-long frin…

I miss his dumb ass (and ‘dumb-ass’ is a term of endearment where I come from)

If one is lucky, really lucky, one meets maybe one, two, or  three or four people in life that transcend funny.

Bob is one such ‘transcendent’ lucky for me.

He saved my fragile sanity.

**************

My mechanic (Of Parsons Mechanic fame) came by to have some ‘chat’ with me:

Bob

The most Interesting
Mechanic in the World

“Way’ll… I have a natch’ral disaster on my hands.”

“Ok Bob,” I said, “I’m ‘bout to bust with anticipation.”

“Yep. A natch’ral disaster.”

“You mentioned that already.”

“A real-life natch’ral calamity.”

“Do I have time to go to chow while you go through your preamble?”

Ignoring me, he continued, “That Six Kay (‘6K’ as in six thousand pound lifting capacity) forklift is all a-pieces. hamorr’agin’ parts all over th’ place. The Boys (Filipino mechanics times two) tol’ me it was the fuel injector pump.

So, I kin’ly smiled and said ‘Okaaay…,’ and let ‘em go at it. They need ta learn how ta fix thangs without me onct in ah’while. Well,  they dun got tha’ forklift tore all ta pieces.  Now, I dun give ‘em all mornin’ to dick ‘round with it, an’ I’m gonna give ‘em all this aftr’noon to dick ‘round with it some more. Then first thing tomorra, I’m gonna ask ‘em, ‘Boys, how come that forklift ain’t a-workin’ this fine morning?’”

“I’m hip Let’s keep it real.”

“Your ‘personnel management style’ is showing Bob,” I said.

“Yeah, whatever… An’ tomorra’s Thursday. An’ day after that’s Friday. An’ I ain’t doin’ nothin’ on Friday. Tomorra, we gonna start our dee-cent inta th’ day off.”

“Kinda start slowin’ ‘er down ‘round mid-noon time, eh?” I said. (I can do ‘Southern’ just as slick as you please when I want to.)

“X-actly. We start double-clutchin’ and dee-celeratin’ an’ bring her in nice and slow like.”

“And what about my forklift?” I asked, even though I already knew the answer.

“She’s all ‘In’shalah’d’ out Boss.”

“Dead in the water?”

“Tits up.”

“Broke dick?”

“Send her saddle home.”

“I need to call Baghdad?”

“She ain’t lookin’ none too fav’erble.”

“Call HQ an’ tell ‘em we need another forklift?”

“Now, jes hol’ on. Doan git ’em all wadded jes yet.”

“Ok. I got it. Thanks.”

“We’re Parsons’ Mechanics an’ jes watch how we roll,” he said on his way out the door.

I love my job.

I have a “Ten Kay” forklift that still works. So I should be alright for now. Besides, Bob just  loves the drama and we do this little dance everytime there is a crisis in the motor pool. If I were a betting man (And actually I am)

I’d wager two of my pay checks that come Friday if that 6K forklift is still down, he’ll be out there bright and early with his boys working on it until it is repaired even if it means giving up his day off. I’ve seen him do that already too many times over the past year and a half he has worked for me. There is no man made of better stuff. An’ he sure do entertain. Yessir, he certainly does. And I’d never have been able to keep the operation afloat without him.

I love all my crew and wouldn’t trade a single one of them for a pile of cash money or a case of Johnny Walker Black with the authorization to drink it.

Feetnote to this story:

After I had been in Mosul for a month, running that camp, they sent me Bob.

Upon seeing him get off the chopper, I ran over and kissed him (not on-the-lips–he is a disgusting individual) But I needed him! To help me run the Goddamn Camp And I had sorely missed having him in my life.

This song is firmly dedicated to Bob, wherever he may be:

 

OK: Ed. Note:

Y’all gotta love how ‘Texan’ this vid is—look at the ‘ensign‘-Texan Flags-behind the sage, er…stage.

(and if you look really close–for you guitar players out there–you will notice the hole in the guitar. Willie tells some stories ’bout the gee-tar. He tells one about a drunken party with Leon Russell in a hotel room, when Leon almost broke it. Willie, in classic form, invited Leon to stop touching that guitar.)

When I am coherent, I may write about that.

And then there is this:

Willie sang, “At the airport in Milwaukee…”

Lenny

Lima

on that: Milwaukeeeee!

 

Footnote:

Recently Paul died (Willie’s drummer)

But Y’all know that.

(Or Shoulda Known That)

Wh Dom\n’t This Post Get No Lovve/ It is A fukkink Fun Post! (just don’t drill down too deep; it gets steep) Letters From Iraq: A Day in the Life of a Camp Manager Serving in a War Zone In Eye Rack. (I’ll Finish Editing This Later: Screw it for Now–Sorry)

A Day In My Life:

“But I Just had to Look…

Having Read The Book”

Must I really type out all the lyrics?–

Just Listen to the GD Song

“He Blew His Mind Out In A Car”

Pretty Certain That is How I’ll Go

Oh No!

I Just Hope & Pray to GOD I Don’t Take Anyone Along With Me

For The Ride

Cred: The Beatles DUH!!

*****

An Excerpt from an email I sent from Mosul, late O’8. Victor was a soft-spoken, highly educated and proper gentleman originally from Nigeria. He could not have been more out of place and time. 

I realize this is rather a crude ‘toilet joke’ post, but it is a true story. Regarding ‘dirty words’ and ‘dirty toilet stories’, no one had better commentary on the subject than Lenny Bruce. Please have a listen below.

Y’all Wanna Know The Worst Tactile Sensation Ever? Of Course You Do. Dirty Toilet Jokes: I Cussed My Toilet Out. Then I Felt Remorse. Apologized. I Dialed 911. When the EMT’s Arrived, They Were NOT Amused.

Lenny Bruce – 1961 arrest for using obscene language

*************

There was another ‘Victor Moment’ during this morning’s meeting with Parsons and my Boys. After I had finished discussing everything I had on today’s agenda I asked if anyone had any issues which needed to be addressed. Usually there are none, but today Victor piped up and said,

“I want to report an incident that causes friction.”

“Now what?” I’m thinking. “Friction?” I said. “Friction’s no good; friction causes fires.”

“That’s not what I meant,” Victor said.

“Oh, of course not… Okay Victor. I’m all ears. What’re you talking about?”

“There must be more respect and decorum in this camp. This morning at the Tetra-Tech meeting, one of the security guys, the big fat one, sat right in front of me and he leaned forward and…’Brrrrruuuuppp!’”

Laughter all around.

“Victor, you mean he farted in your general direction?” I said.

More laughter.

Very serious now, Victor said, “Yes. This was disrespectful. I told the gentleman that this was not good to do this. He turned around and said, ‘No really; it’s good for you.’ I told him I did not appreciate this behavior. There were eye witnesses too. The CRG guys were sitting right next to me.”

Trying to stifle my laughs (and failing), I said, “Any nose witnesses?” Then over the howling laughter of the boys said, “Sorry Vic, couldn’t resist. So, do you want to, uh… file a grievance against this guy?”

“Not yet,” he said. “But I want it on record.”

“Ok Victor. Consider it on record. Hey Dana, would this be considered a health, safety & welfare issue and do we have a form for this kind of… uh, grievance?”

The Boys still giggling.

“I’ll have to look online and get back to you on that one,” Dana said as straight-faced as he could which wasn’t very convincing.

“Ok, please do that.” Then I said to all, “Does anyone else have any ‘incidents’ that require my attention this morning?”

Nope.

“Ok then, Launch!” (Which is how I end all my meetings: I ‘launch’ my Boys off into their work day.)

Later as I was signing out for my walk at the TOC (Tactical Ops Center—Radio Room) with the CRG guys, they told me they had an ‘incident’ to report.

“Let me guess,” I said. “Someone has farted at you, eh?”

Laughter again all around.

“Yes,” Garth said, “Actually not at one of us, but Victor was just in here trying to muster support for his case. Says we’re all witnesses and we will be compelled to provide a written statement.”

“Oh Christ,” I said. “This guy wears me out.”

“Well, we just fucked him off,” Mark said.

Gareth (the Welshman) chimed in, “Yeah, I told him, ‘Hey we’re all just a bunch of blokes working here for fuck’s sake! Take a look at where we work: fuckin’ Iraq. What a wanker!” (Gotta love those Brits)

“Well, I guess the war’s over,” I said.

“What?” Gareth said.

“War must be over if this is the kind of shit we have to worry about. Some people seem to think we’re working on Madison Avenue. Too bad Miss Canada wasn’t here for this. (She had actually been here for a USO Show a week earlier.)

We’d probably be looking at sexual harassment… Well, I’m off on my morning walk-about; gotta keep up my girlish figure ya know. You can call me on Channel One if there are any more wind-breaking developments.” I said as I headed out the door.

I could still hear them laughing and joking about Victor and his complaint as I walked away. I’m sure there will be more to this story. I sincerely hope Victor complains to Baghdad about this. Those guys could use some humor injected into their lives.

Once again, I really can’t make this stuff up.

Don’t have to; it all happened

 

Letters From Iraq: A Day in the Life of a Camp Manager Serving in a War Zone In Eye Rack. (I’ll Finish Editing This Later: Screw it for Now–Sorry)

A Day In My Life:

“But I Just had to Look…

Having Read The Book”

Must I really type out all the lyrics?–

Just Listen to the GD Song

Cred: The Beatles DUH!!

*****

An Excerpt from an email I sent from Mosul, late 2008. Victor was a soft-spoken, highly educated and proper gentleman originally from Nigeria. He could not have been more out of place and time. 

I realize this is rather a crude ‘toilet joke’ post, but it is a true story. Regarding ‘dirty words’ and ‘dirty toilet stories’, no one had better commentary on the subject than Lenny Bruce. Please have a listen below.

Y’all Wanna Know The Worst Tactile Sensation Ever? Of Course You Do. Dirty Toilet Jokes: I Cussed My Toilet Out. Then I Felt Remorse. Apologized. I Dialed 911. When the EMT’s Arrived, They Were NOT Amused.

Lenny Bruce – 1961 arrest for using obscene language

*************

There was another ‘Victor Moment’ during this morning’s meeting with Parsons and my Boys. After I had finished discussing everything I had on today’s agenda I asked if anyone had any issues which needed to be addressed. Usually there are none, but today Victor piped up and said,

“I want to report an incident that causes friction.”

“Now what?” I’m thinking. “Friction?” I said. “Friction’s no good; friction causes fires.”

“That’s not what I meant,” Victor said.

“Oh, of course not… Okay Victor. I’m all ears. What’re you talking about?”

“There must be more respect and decorum in this camp. This morning at the Tetra-Tech meeting, one of the security guys, the big fat one, sat right in front of me and he leaned forward and…’Brrrrruuuuppp!’”

Laughter all around.

“Victor, you mean he farted in your general direction?” I said.

More laughter.

Very serious now, Victor said, “Yes. This was disrespectful. I told the gentleman that this was not good to do this. He turned around and said, ‘No really; it’s good for you.’ I told him I did not appreciate this behavior. There were eye witnesses too. The CRG guys were sitting right next to me.”

Trying to stifle my laughs (and failing), I said, “Any nose witnesses?” Then over the howling laughter of the boys said, “Sorry Vic, couldn’t resist. So, do you want to, uh… file a grievance against this guy?”

“Not yet,” he said. “But I want it on record.”

“Ok Victor. Consider it on record. Hey Dana, would this be considered a health, safety & welfare issue and do we have a form for this kind of… uh, grievance?”

The Boys still giggling.

“I’ll have to look online and get back to you on that one,” Dana said as straight-faced as he could which wasn’t very convincing.

“Ok, please do that.” Then I said to all, “Does anyone else have any ‘incidents’ that require my attention this morning?”

Nope.

“Ok then, Launch!” (Which is how I end all my meetings: I ‘launch’ my Boys off into their work day.)

Later as I was signing out for my walk at the TOC (Tactical Ops Center—Radio Room) with the CRG guys, they told me they had an ‘incident’ to report.

“Let me guess,” I said. “Someone has farted at you, eh?”

Laughter again all around.

“Yes,” Garth said, “Actually not at one of us, but Victor was just in here trying to muster support for his case. Says we’re all witnesses and we will be compelled to provide a written statement.”

“Oh Christ,” I said. “This guy wears me out.”

“Well, we just fucked him off,” Mark said.

Gareth (the Welshman) chimed in, “Yeah, I told him, ‘Hey we’re all just a bunch of blokes working here for fuck’s sake! Take a look at where we work: fuckin’ Iraq. What a wanker!” (Gotta love those Brits)

“Well, I guess the war’s over,” I said.

“What?” Gareth said.

“War must be over if this is the kind of shit we have to worry about. Some people seem to think we’re working on Madison Avenue. Too bad Miss Canada wasn’t here for this. (She had actually been here for a USO Show a week earlier.)

We’d probably be looking at sexual harassment… Well, I’m off on my morning walk-about; gotta keep up my girlish figure ya know. You can call me on Channel One if there are any more wind-breaking developments.” I said as I headed out the door.

I could still hear them laughing and joking about Victor and his complaint as I walked away. I’m sure there will be more to this story. I sincerely hope Victor complains to Baghdad about this. Those guys could use some humor injected into their lives.

Once again, I really can’t make this stuff up.

 

Missing The Most Interesting Man In Iraq

Bob (The Most Interesting Man in Iraq) is my life-long frin…

I miss his dumb ass (and ‘dumb-ass’ is a term of endearment where I come from)

If one is lucky, really lucky, one meets maybe one, two, or  three or four people in life that transcend funny.

Bob is one such ‘transcendent’ lucky for me.

He saved my fragile sanity.

**************

My mechanic (Of Parsons Mechanic fame) came by to have some ‘chat’ with me:

Bob

The most Interesting
Mechanic in the World

“Way’ll… I have a natch’ral disaster on my hands.”

“Ok Bob,” I said, “I’m ‘bout to bust with anticipation.”

“Yep. A natch’ral disaster.”

“You mentioned that already.”

“A real-life natch’ral calamity.”

“Do I have time to go to chow while you go through your preamble?”

Ignoring me, he continued, “That Six Kay (‘6K’ as in six thousand pound lifting capacity) forklift is all a-pieces. hamorr’agin’ parts all over th’ place. The Boys (Filipino mechanics times two) tol’ me it was the fuel injector pump. So, I kin’ly smiled and said ‘Okaaay…,’ and let ‘em go at it. They need ta learn how ta fix thangs without me onct in ah’while. Well,  they dun got tha’ forklift tore all ta pieces.  Now, I dun give ‘em all mornin’ to dick ‘round with it, an’ I’m gonna give ‘em all this aftr’noon to dick ‘round with it some more. Then first thing tomorra, I’m gonna ask ‘em, ‘Boys, how come that forklift ain’t a-workin’ this fine morning?’”

“I’m hip Let’s keep it real.”

“Your ‘personnel management style’ is showing Bob,” I said.

“Yeah, whatever… An’ tomorra’s Thursday. An’ day after that’s Friday. An’ I ain’t doin’ nothin’ on Friday. Tomorra, we gonna start our dee-cent inta th’ day off.”

“Kinda start slowin’ ‘er down ‘round mid-noon time, eh?” I said. (I can do ‘Southern’ just as slick as you please when I want to.)

“X-actly. We start double-clutchin’ and dee-celeratin’ an’ bring her in nice and slow like.”

“And what about my forklift?” I asked, even though I already knew the answer.

“She’s all ‘In’shalah’d’ out Boss.”

“Dead in the water?”

“Tits up.”

“Broke dick?”

“Send her saddle home.”

“I need to call Baghdad?”

“She ain’t lookin’ none too fav’erble.”

“Call HQ an’ tell ‘em we need another forklift?”

“Now, jes hol’ on. Doan git ’em all wadded jes yet.”

“Ok. I got it. Thanks.”

“We’re Parsons’ Mechanics an’ jes watch how we roll,” he said on his way out the door.

I love my job.

I have a “Ten Kay” forklift that still works. So I should be alright for now. Besides, Bob just  loves the drama and we do this little dance everytime there is a crisis in the motor pool. If I were a betting man (And actually I am) I’d wager two of my pay checks that come Friday if that 6K forklift is still down, he’ll be out there bright and early with his boys working on it until it is repaired even if it means giving up his day off. I’ve seen him do that already too many times over the past year and a half he has worked for me. There is no man made of better stuff. An’ he sure do entertain. Yessir, he certainly does. And I’d never have been able to keep the operation afloat without him.

I love all my crew and wouldn’t trade a single one of them for a pile of cash money or a case of Johnny Walker Black with the authorization to drink it.

Feetnote to this story:

After I had been in Mosul for a month, running that camp, they sent me Bob.

Upon seeing him get off the chopper, I ran over and kissed him (not on-the-lips–he is a disgusting individual) But I needed him! To help me run the Goddamn Camp And I had sorely missed him in my life.

This song is dedicated to Bob, wherever he may be:

OK: Ed. Note:

Y’all gotta love how ‘Texan’ this vid is—look at the ‘ensign‘-Texan Flags-behind the sage, er…stage.

(and if you look really close–for you guitar players out there–you will notice the hole in the guitar. Willie tells some stories ’bout the gee-tar. He tells one about a drunken party with Leon Russell in a hotel room, when Leon almost broke it. Willie, in classic form, invited Leon to stop touching that guitar.)

When I am coherent, I may write about that.

And then there is this:

Willie sang, “At the airport in Milwaukee…”

Lenny

Lima

on that: Milwaukeeeee!

 

Footnote:

Recently Paul died (Willie’s drummer)

But Y’all know that.