Disclaimer: There is no profundity or real message to this piece. This is just, essentially, a war story about some quirky attachment’s our OD-A (Operational Detachment Alpha, or A-Team) saw during one deployment to Afghanistan.
We had a lot of attachments on that deployment to Afghanistan to conduct Village Stability Operations. It was an awesome mission with some colorful characters. Travis Allen’s recent piece, “How to succeed while deployed with Green Berets when you aren’t one (Part One),” reminded me of my own OD-A’s attachments. The Infantrymen we gained from the 82nd were a blessing and great to work alongside. But, there’s some funny, or not, anecdotes of other attachments on the very same deployment.
“My primary weapon system are these (points to radios).” – “Sprinkles” the U.S. Air Force Combat Controller. The man who said those words quickly became known as “Sprinkles.” It infuriated him, and that’s why the name stuck. This was during a Village Stability Operation mission in Afghanistan. That quote was in response to the fact that “Sprinkles” weapon system, an M4, was so dirty it couldn’t operate. It was caked with new layers of dirt and dust collecting on the weapon every day. He never cleaned the thing and was adamant he didn’t have to care for his weapon. It was the worst case of weapon neglect I’ve ever seen and probably will ever see again.
He was attached to our element, along with a bomb sniffing dog that we were convinced was completely incompetent but 100% adorable. We eventually got a cook who wore his cook “Cleaver” on the front of his chest plate. That same guy put his magazines on the side of his body underneath his armpits and probably the single most bizarre person I’ve encountered in my life, since. Apparently, some guys from another unit told him the “tricks of the trade” and encouraged him to put his “kit” together in that absurd combination.
He was such a bizarre person. “Cookie” was also convinced that the local cats has conspired against him and were “messing” with him. It was brought up in counseling sessions, and he even wrote it into the comments section of his counseling. But, little did he know, that I was going into the kitchen at night and making little three-pronged scratch marks all over the place and moving things around. “Cookie” never assumed it was a person but, that the cats became organized and were determined to thwart him (at what, I don’t know). He made a very serious push for cat traps.
There’s more. We had a small civil affairs team that was unjustifiably upset that they weren’t infiltrating into our VSO location with us in extremely dangerous conditions and weather. Not to mention, we didn’t have the logistical support for them, and we didn’t share a mission. The leader of this small two-man team told us that he had “basically” completed the SF Qualification course – but, got “screwed” during MOS (Military Operational Specialty) training. I don’t know why he felt it necessary to remind us at all or remind us constantly. His counterpart was eventually discovered hammered with NATO allies on the small forward deployed base. He was put on notice if that happens again, or the hint of it, it would spark official paperwork against him. But, how he was caught is the funny part.
He barged into the tent he shared with another attachment, a Counter-Intelligence Officer from our unit. Then, the drunk Civil Affairs guy entered the room so aggressively it was almost as though he kicked the door. Then, began screaming “fuuucckkkkk” at the top of his lungs on his cot in strange positions with his back on the bed and his legs flailing. He then tried to sleep on the wrong bed without realizing it after getting up and stumbling around. It wasn’t just that he drank, but that he couldn’t hold his liquor on an absurd scale.
When he was counseled by one of our senior non-commissioned officers, not me, thank god, he looked like he murdered a puppy in his sleep. He went on to cite frustrations with the mission and his efforts there, which everyone understood. But, I can’t but feel like that was also a defense mechanism to gain sympathy and build rapport. Nothing had happened to him on this deployment. He just decided to get hammered one-night playing poker, which happens. But, you shouldn’t get into the wrong bunk after you screamed profanity in yours minutes before.
I know a lot of guys have had fantastic attachments, and we did that go-around to be sure, but there’s always a few that are as entertaining as they are dangerous in a war zone. There’s plenty of cut-ups on the teams, too. Shenanigans aren’t exclusive to attachments. I hope that there will be some good stories to be read in the comments section below.
Featured image courtesy of Military Armament.