I usually thrive on stressful situations. I work my best, in my
opinion, thru a very stressful environment. I feel like I usually
"shine" during those times.. I think that was one of the reasons I so
loved being OOD of the ship during special evolutions! I loved it. I
felt like I could control the environment around me, even through what
may have been chaos.
However, this is a little different.
Yesterday was a busy day and by far one of the worst for me. That's not
to say that casualties in general don't affect me, but casualties of our
fellow Navy, who are just supposed to be Administrative Support, is
These two SM should never have been on their own.. we are not trained
the way the army is. Our 3 weeks of training is not sufficient to do
what our Army/Marines do out there on the front lines. Realistically,
if you go outside the wires, especially driving a vehicle, you are on
the front lines. Ambushes, IEDs you name it are waiting for SM out there
and I see the results first-hand everyday!
It saddens me to see the news and see what is being broadcast, imagining
in my heart how the SM's must feel, how their families must feel.
When we first got here, I had a fellow sailor that was recruited to the
combat driving team. He went to their little training and then was
off.. my first question was.. Does the Navy know what you are doing?
This is not what they sent you here for. He enjoyed it, and that was
that, but the real question here is, who should be doing this. Are we,
the Navy, being sent over with the knowledge that this could be the
case, or are they completely oblivious? Is this particular detail of
their employment being kept under wraps. Well, I have a sneaky
suspicion that will change now. The Navy will be looking for answers, as
will the family members.
Now, some jobs require the element of traveling, I get that. BUT, that
does not mean it requires traveling without Army Support. This should
not be the case. Even if you feel you are safe.. in the event of an
ambush, the numbers speak for themselves.
I was a little disturbed last night when my roommate got it. I told her
it had been a long day and her response was "Oh, yeah, because of those
Well, here is the deal about those Yahoos.. they are my shipmates. They
were doing their job. I can't discuss anymore than what has been said,
due to the ongoing investigation, but, I will say that the blame should
not lie on the SMs who are now victims.
This is the responsibility of the leadership that allowed for them to be
out, in a vehicle, by themselves.
Again, we are not trained for this. Not the way the Army is. I hand it
to the Army and Marines, they are out there everyday, on the front
lines, but - they are trained in combating the enemy in ways that we are
not. They had a step up on our Sailors.
I am sure I am not the only one out there questioning how this situation
could have happened.. and I am sure I won't be the last.
I am not pointing the finger at anyone, nor am I trying to be
disrespectful to anyone.
This case has hit home. For all those people that think it's a "routine"
ride anywhere, for all those SM that do not think of the realities of
where we are, they are a danger to us all. Those individuals that aren't
concerned, or don't give proper guidance, or don't ensure the right
people are doing the right mission... are endangering us all.
This case has had my stomach in knots and my mental attention. Today, I
felt more like I was part of a CACO cell, vice casualty processing cell.
I spent the better part of my day on the phone with people from the
Pentagon, OPNAV, SECNAV, and NAVCENT. It is hard to just think of this
as "just another case" when your entire last 36 hours has consumed you
with following reports, (Next of Kin) NOK notification, and basically
broadcasting to the entire Navy - what is going on, every step of the
This is not to say that I can't handle this job, okay. Everyone has bad
days and this, just happens to be one that really hits home and is hard
to just "process" to keep my sanity. I am trying. I am doing what I
have to do, to ensure the right people know at the right time. It's
unfortunate that the media has been broadcasting this information well
before the NOK were notified. It's even more unfortunate that pictures
are posted, and stories, and headlines that have not been confirmed are
being broadcast world-wide. My heart goes out to the families and I pray
for a speedy return of both SM.
Maybe I have no right to say this, but this is how I feel. I am not
saying this is how anyone else feels, how anyone else should feel, this
is simply my opinion.