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October 14, 2006

Expanding Opportunities for Bears

Hi, everybody! I’m sorry that I can’t send pictures with this update, but my camera broke. Hopefully I’ll be able to get it fixed in a couple of weeks. If not, I may have to start borrowing cameras from other people.

I just wanted to send a quick note because when I logged on to AKO today (Army Knowledge Online, the US Army’s website for all of its soldiers), I saw the following message:

October 10, 2006 - MOS [Military Occupational Specialty] 21P is Now in the BEAR Program - Prime Power Production Specialist (21P) is now a BEAR MOS. See MILPER [Military Personnel] MSG #06-279 or your Career Counselor for details.

Hooray for the Army expanding opportunities for bears! That's all for now.

October 1, 2006

Preparing for Patrol

Now that the porpoise is filling in for me on the Brigade Staff, I can go back to doing what I enjoy most – patrols!

When we go out on a patrol, we don't just jump in our vehicles and drive off. There's a lot of preparation to be done! In fact, now that I'm a squad leader, I have even more work to do. CPT Simer told me I needed to do PCCs and PCIs before we went on patrol. He said that stands for "Pre-Combat Checks," and "Pre-Combat Inspections." He said those checks and inspections are important so that I can make sure we have everything we'll need for the mission, and that it is all working. I guess it would be pretty bad if we bumped in to the enemy and only then realized that our weapons weren't working! So, we make sure to do careful preparation before we start our patrol and as a leader, I have to check it.

Today's mission was a reconnaissance patrol. That meant we weren't going out looking to fight with anyone; we were just trying to gather information. Still, you never know what will happen out there, so we still had to prepare just like we were going out looking for a fight. Here are a few pictures of me doing a Pre-Combat Inspection of a vehicle. I started by checking the M240B machine gun to make sure it was clean and properly oiled...

0930 Checking the M240B.JPG

It looked pretty good. It sure is hard to keep a weapon clean in all this dust! Just as important as keeping the weapon clean, is making sure that the ammunition is clean and serviceable. My old First Sergeant taught me that if a machine gun jams, it's almost always because of the ammunition, not the gun itself...

0930 Inspecting the Ammo.JPG

Next, I got in the vehicle and sat in the driver's seat to check a few things. I had a thing or two to say about the crew’s load plan...

0930 In the Driver's Seat.JPG

I finished things off by doing a communications check. The driver has made a field improvement to the microphone by taping a plastic spoon to it. It's not pretty, but it works...

0930 Commo check.JPG

After a few minor corrections, that crew was good to go. Wow, being a leader is a lot of work!

Our patrol was successful, by the way. I can’t tell you exactly where we went and what we did, but we got to talk to a few people and learned some interesting things. I can't wait to go on my next one!