The United States Military and State Department in Afghanistan

Camp Scorpion, Every 4 monthsThis is exactly what has occurred in Afghanistan since 2003.

Worse than this is the fact that every 6 months, each organization stops what they are doing, looks around and heads in a different direction. About every 18 months, the cycle of stupidity circles back around to exactly the same priorities and organizational structure as before.

The United State Army reinvents the wheel in Afghanistan on average every 18 months. The State Department has their own wheels that they keep re-inventing as well.

And no one communicates with anyone else.

The only continuity has been the contractors who have been there, done that, seen it all. Contractors are exactly the last people whom any United States organization would ask for advice, assistance or guidance. This is so despite continuity being the exact reason for which  Contractors are hired. Most Contractors work closely with the US Military and State Department. Even so, when it comes to major decisions, the way ahead or guidance, Contractors are usually the very last persons whom the US Military will seek out for input.

It is amazing. I’ve seen the same programs attempted and failed at least three times each.

And still the worm turns…It is almost as if we want to fail.

Give me my shit, ya fuckin’ Contractor

 

 

Rashawn worked for Rick as well.  He supervised the Bagram Central Issue Facility (CIF).  The CIF was the storage and issue point for Theater specific gear that soldiers were given to conduct the mission in Afghanistan.  They issued desert tan winter boots, cold weather parkas and “polypro” undergarments.  When the new Army uniform or other specialty gear came out, the CIF facilitated the issuance of that gear as well.

Rashawn and I were sitting in one of the containers used for storage when an Army Major walked up on us.  The guy seemed agitated.
“Why the fuck won’t you issue gear to my soldiers?”  Rashawn gave me a “oh fuck, here we go again” look.
Rashawn tells the Major; “Sir, all issues have to be approved by the PBO.  Without his signature, I can’t issue anything.  If you have an issue with that, you’ll have to talk to Chief.”
“I don’t give a fuck what Chief says.  My men are going out on mission tomorrow.  No contractor is going to make my guys go on mission without the proper gear.”
“Like I said Sir, you’ll have to obtain approval from Chief.  It’s not  my decision.”
“Look you fuck.  You goddamn contractors work for me.”  With that, the Major started poking Rashawn in the chest and backing him into the container.
I jumped in; “How about I get Chief and you can talk to him?”  He ignored me.
Almost screaming, the Major continued; “You fuckin’ contractors are always fuckin’ everything up.  I don’t know why the Army thinks we need you sorry fucks.”
“Rashawn, don’t do anything stupid.  I’m going to get Rick and Chief.”

I walked over to the office.  “Chief, Rick…you guys better come with me now.  There is some asshole Major poking and screaming at Rashawn.  If we don’t get there quick, Rashawn might knock the ignorant bastard out.”

Rashawn was a pretty big dude.  He was a retired US Army Sergeant First Class.  He had a quick temper.  He and I had gotten into a few arguments.  In one of them, I thought for sure that he was going to swing at me.  He didn’t but I hadn’t been cursing at him, poking him in the chest and backing him into a corner.

Chief and Rick walked out to the container.  Chief asks, “What seems to be the problem here?”
“Your fucking CIF contractor won’t issue my men their gear.”
“Did anyone bring the documents to my office for signature?  I haven’t had any requests today.”
“My Supply Sergeant told me that he’d done everything today.  He said that he couldn’t get the gear from your contractors.”
“That’s correct.  If he hasn’t brought the docs to me for approval, my contractors will not issue gear to anyone.  Have your men follow the proper procedures and they’ll get the gear they need.

The Major stormed off.  It turned out that his Supply Sergeant had come to the CIF and asked for gear.  Rashawn told him the procedures that he needed to follow to be issued gear.  Instead of going back to his desk and filling in a few lines on a document, the Supply Sergeant complained to the irate Major that the contractors at CIF had refused to service him.

Chief lodged a complaint against the Major for his belligerent behavior.  The whole incident was swept under the rug.  If Rashawn had knocked the guy out, KBR would have asked him “aisle or window?”  He’d have been fired and out on the first thing smoking.