Wednesday, October 12, 2005

OP in Iraq

I'm reading Colby Buzzell's book now ( and something caught my eye that I wanted to post. This is taken without permission although from the context it was originally posted on his blog, however I couldn't find it there. It kind of goes hand-in-hand with my previous post about what a deployment is like. That list seems to have been written by a REMF since it has nothing about combat in it. Mr. Buzzell (he's ETSed so he's a civilian again!) would know otherwise since he was an 11B there.

To Hell with Observation Posts
If you want to know what an OP in Iraq is like, here's what you do: Go put on some boots, long pants, long sleeve t-shirt, some skateboarding knee pads, gloves (manditory in my unit, don't ask why), grab your high school football helmet, and a huge backpack. Not no first day of school backpack either, grab one of those outdoorsy heavy duty ones, like what the European hostel kids carry around.

Now that you've got all this shit on, go down to the nearest fitness center, like a 24-hour nautilus. Go to the weight room and throw a 45-pound weight in the backpack. No wait a minute, let's make this accurate, the machine gun I carry weights 27.7 pounds, I carry about 400-600 rounds of 7.62, that's like say, 25-pounds (it's probably more than that), the body armor which are two ceramic plates weighs about say, 10 pounds each, and you have your pistol, knife, first aid kit, camera, night vision, and whatever crap you need to carry, let's just say it all comes out to: 80 pounds. So throw in your backpack a 45-pound plate and a 35-pound plate. Don't forget water, grab a gallon of water and throw that in your backpack as well.

Okay, now that you have all that in your backpack and you have your football helmet on, go walk into the sauna. Every good gym has a sauna. Once you're in the sauna, crack open a National Geographic magazine and rip out the centerfold of the Third World country landscape that's inside very issue, and tape it to the wall of the sauna. Now sit there, with all that crap on, and stare at that centerfold for two, four or six hours. Now if you really want to make this realistic, bring a jar full of mosquitoes, flies, and as many different exotic malaria-carrying insects and bugs as you can find and open that jar in the sauna and let them loose.

This is what an OP in Iraq is like.

An "OP" is an Observation Post. They're intended to keep watch on places the enemy might come at you. Usually they're manned by a pair of sentries on a rotation of some number of hours (how many depends on your manning). And a gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds.

A whole bunch of this sounds very familiar, even though I've never been in combat or deployed to Iraq. Germany wasn't as hot but had all it's own kind of stuff.


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