No shit, there I was….

| April 18, 2012

So I land at KAF and we head over to check in.  Dude gives the “Welcome to War” speech and then goes into the does and don’ts of KAF.  Wear your PT belt, eye protection at all time, rockets bad, sex bad, beer bad etc.  So the guy gives the spiel about rockets and when the siren goes off you lay on the ground and cover your head with your hands.  (LIttle known fact, fingernails stop 107’s.)

So right after the dude finishes this, the siren goes off.  Headhunter and I assumed it was some ridiculous role playing nonsense and gave each other the “this is gay” look and get down.  Well, turns out a) it was a real one, and b) we were in a bunker and didn’t need it, so there goes any potential cool points.

After the room turns into a sauna of ass, the all clear comes and we head out with this female medic who is going to drive us over to the place where we draw room keys.  No sooner do we get to the car than the siren goes again.  Some of the dudes get down, Headhunter says “eff this” and I just crawled in the back of the vehicle.  So, we wait like a minute, and run back to the aforementioned, and still ass-stank ridden bunker building.  Some E4 chick from somewhere like SC is talking nonstop, and we are trying to figure out how we can dispose of her body here in front of all these people because she’s riding our last nerve, we haven’t eaten in 12 hours, and are exhausted.

1/2 hour later the all clear comes, we pack back in the vehicle and head out to the housing.  So Headhunter goes in with other folks to draw keys and I stay and talk to the medic.  No sooner do we start talking than Air Raid nonsense iteration 3 goes off.  I should interject that it is this obnoxious sound, followed by what seems to be a Hong Kong female national telling us that rockets are inbound or something.   I guess the yyeeeee hawwwww, yeeeee hawwww noise isn’t enough of a clue.

So I amble over to the bunker, taking my sweet ass time, because I am old and tired.  Headhunter finally comes out and tells me about what happened inside the bldg.  Apparently the siren went off and all the new dicks hit the turf, per the instruction from an hour ago.  In walks a squad of infantry guys with dirt still on their gear and with a terp, and the LT leading them looks at all the squishes laying on the ground and goes “What’s up guys?”

Moral of the story, I’m not friggin ducking and running anymore.


Category: TSO Embedded in A'stan

Comments (31)

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  1. TSO says:

    BTW- For what it is worth, I have already heard 3 separate stories about the “attacks.” The Tali’s are pissed about some NFL cheerleaders here, the LA Times printed some unflattering article about the troops again, or they are trying to assassinate a TAH blogger. I’m guessing it is option 3.

    I may or may not have heard an impact. I’m already deaf, so it may have been a door closing or something, but HH6 thought he heard a boom too.

  2. Parachute Cutie says:

    You’re killing Bert and Ernie with your NFL cheerleader stories. I think they may have a surprise or 2 for you. 🙂

  3. Rick Deckard says:

    Laughed 3 separate times reading this. It does sound like they might have been jerking everyone’s chain to “prepare” them.

  4. Beretverde says:

    Sucks to be the FNG!

  5. Dustin says:

    Just a heads up when i was moving thru that shit hole on the way home me and a squad of 11b trying to move to the chow hall and the siren would not stop going off. So we decided we would just keep moving little did we know the MP’s don’t like that very much and told us we would be getting a ticket because we didn’t hit the ground. We all looked at him and laughed that didn’t help out much. I could never stand being in KAF they hear a distant boom and they are writing home to some girl on Facebook ten min later about how they where ” in the shit”. Infantry should have there own hub to come in and out of that country.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I can tell right now that TSO’s posts are going to be worth reading. I’m going to do my best not to miss any of them.

  7. BCousins says:

    FNGs always get chumped by vets. There’s probably a guy with his finger on the siren button saying to his buddy, “Wanna see something funny? Watch this”.

  8. TSO says:

    UPDATE: not a punking, I can hear the Spectre gunship laying out rounds right now. Sounds like we have possibly some arty going out too.

  9. Daniel says:

    I don’t think I ever hit the ground while going through there(total time maybe 2 weeks combined). By the time the alarm goes off the deed is practically done (since it gives you some 5-15 seconds of notice). I reached the point where I just rolled over and went back to sleep after noting the alarm…

    I think it is the local sport there in Kandahar, dropping rockets vaugely pointed at KAF with a timer on it somewhere in the desert.

  10. AW1 Tim says:

    Great lead story, TSO. I always love your writing. Looking forward to the “and much hilarity ensued” parts as they continue. 🙂

    Be safe, and holler if you need anything.

  11. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    kant stoppp laffing!

  12. docstew says:

    My 5 months or so in KAF, I hit the ground ONCE, and that was only because of the dirty looks I was getting from the Brits nearby. It is exactly like this: (distant boom)(5 second delay) (siren going off).

  13. Old Tanker says:

    So dude, what does a sauna of ass smell like? At least you don’t look teh ghey with that beard… were’s the kilt?

  14. Graves says:

    You’ll hear AC-130s many nights. Mullah Omar’s house is a traditional target at the air to ground range. When I did my year there, it got hard for people to stay alert and take it seriously, but when you realize that there are holes in the laundry which weren’t there last time you were, it can get more real.

  15. NHSparky says:

    I’m guessing VT Woody tipped the Talis off about the cheerleaders, that or he’s pissed that he’s not scamming on them back here.

    And I thought watching the jarheads run around the Lower Base and Delta Pier in Bangor was fun. I got nuthin on you, man.

  16. SSG Medzyk says:

    Long ago in a war far far away, I quit bunkering after the the second siren proved to be……nothing.

    I figured the silly little thin concrete cover wouldn’t stand a direct hit from a high altitude bird shit, much less any mortar or rocket. I kept heading for whatever destination I had in mind at the time, or simply didn’t get out of the fart sack during my down time. The only “safe” bunkers were the heavy, Soviet style ammo pyramids around the airfield…which was nowhere we were posted.

    Our ECP was outside the wire anyway, with zero overhead for protection. We could hear the sirens, and had no choice but to ignore them. We could also see the smoke trail of rockets coming out of Balad, call it in, hear the boom, and wait 5 minutes for the siren to sound off. That alone convinced me that the siren lies.

    Hell, they blew UXO and fuel daily, and forget to tell the siren people. Yep, hear/see the controlled det, then hear the siren. Made for a small giggle.

  17. I just HAD to hear it for myself… you’ll really enjoy it.

    I am now working on a ringtone mp3!

  18. SJ says:

    In my war, VN, we had a category called “WHA” (Wounded While Hauling Ass”) WHA had more hits than many because folks ran in to obstacles. My Korea vet 1SGT said: just roll off the cot Capt. He was a wise man, in many ways. Whatever success I had I attribute to him.

  19. Mr Wolf, non-Esquire says:

    SJ- sage advice. If the sides of the hooch are bagged, rolling onto the floor is safer than trying to run outside TRYING to find some effing bunker in the dark. Any shrapnel would be mitigated by the bags, and it was less likely to hit you when you were stationary. or something.

    The only time we got jiggy about it was when the rounds were coming from INSIDE the wire- yeah, that gets serious in a half-heartbeat.

  20. You’re only the new guy until the next new guy shows up. I was so imbarrassed when we got to Baghdad in 04 and our dumbass commander wanted us to wear body armor at night because he was afraid of the dark. We were the “new guys” and everybody was laughing at us …and the fu–ing mess hall was almost a mile away. I took the plates out. ended up getting mortared so many times at the smaller camps I lost track after 12.

  21. Eloise says:

    This was an epic read.. Absolutely can’t wait for the next installment.

  22. JustPlainjasin says:

    I never really got worried at anaconda. I loved watching new guys freak out…

  23. Hondo says:

    Repeat of an earlier comment that got eaten.

    Believe it or not, as lame as the Kandahar siren sounds it’s way better than the one they had at Camp Eggers (Kabul). That one was even worse. Can’t seem to find a sound clip of it. That’s probably a good thing.

    Sounds to me like they haven’t gotten the Kandahar warning system working properly. The warning system at VBC in Baghdad actually got to be fairly decent (though still somewhat prone to false alarms) over time – it often gave you a few seconds warning before impact.

    I’m glad it did. Getting behind a T-wall one time when caught in the open turned out to be a good idea a couple of times for me and/or my guys when an incoming rocket landed nearby. So I wouldn’t recommend totally blowing off the warnings, TSO. If you’re out in the open, well, it might be a good idea to take cover.

    That said, the advice above about sandbags and buildings seems sound. If you’re in a tent or building protected by sandbags or HESCO barriers (T-walls didn’t seem to be very common in Afghanistan; concrete was too expensive there), or if the building is reinforced concrete, IMO you’re about as safe there as you would be in a bunker – you’re generally gonna be OK unless the Deity decides to let one land inside the barriers/sandbags. After the first couple of incidents, we all figured that out and only took cover if we were outside when the klaxon went off.

    And it was a freaking klaxon at VBC, not some half-assed, limp siren.

  24. EGS says:

    i remember heading back from AM chow on Union 3 a couple of different occasions and thinking, “f that” when the duck and cover sounded. When the explosion sent rocks over from the NEC, I took a mouth full of Baghdad dust from the curb. It gets annoying, until it gets close.

  25. Hondo says:

    EGS: how right you are. Incoming stops being “romantic and exciting” PDQ when it’s within about 50 meters.

  26. Old 21B says:

    One of my first days at LSA Anaconda back in ’04 I was leaving the chow hall after supper and saw a flash and heard a bang but now sirens and nobody around me seemed to concerned so I kept going on my merry way back to my battalion area. Turns out it was a planned firing of some UXO and turned out to be a fairly common occurance during the short time I was there. A couple weeks later I was talking to a couple of my soldiers and we heard the rockets fly over an impact in the vacant area between the runways a few seconds later we heard the siren. Another morning I was out doing PT with a couple other officers and we were running a two mile loop and were about halfway through the loop when a gravel truck bomb exploded at the main gate. There was enough concussion that it knocked us sideways. What do you do? Run back to the battalion area as quickly as possible while being shouted at by everyone you pass to go get your kevlar and IBA on to which we tried to yell back “that’s what were trying to do”. Good times.

  27. Al T. says:

    Agree with Hondo. We lost some folks due to their getting very complacent with the alarms. Darn rockets get little respect as they were so random, but when they landed close it could ruin your world. 🙁

  28. Just Plain Jason says:

    Old Engineer…good times good times, You were there just a little while before me. By the time I was there they always came in threes. They figured out how fast counter battery/air assets would be up and would skeedaddle before anything got their way. I never got worried unless I heard the whistle sound or the ground shook. Then depending on where the first one hit I would judge where they were at, “Sucks to be on the West Side,” or listen for the Vulcans go off, their was combo navy/army ADA unit that shared a LA with us who shot mortars/rockets out of the sky. Pretty cool to see from the outside the base.

  29. CombatCAsh says:

    I hate KAF, and I hated more the foobits who spent their whole deployment there at KAF.

    but hey no mention of the shit pond???

  30. Anonymous says:

    Rockeeeeeet attack,Rockeeeeeet attack,Rockeeeeeet attack,Rockeeeeeet attack, Ahh good ole KAF, can’t wait to read your post about poo pond!!!!!

  31. Hondo says:

    100% correct, Al T. I’d have lost at least 1 – and possibly more – soldiers to incoming rockets had they ignored the klaxons. I’m damn glad they listened and reacted correctly.