Thursday, December 2, 2010

Where are my 72 Virgins?

Or, "DaddyBear gladly gives his life to defend Jihadistan, a little known region of Kentucky just to the southwest of Louisville".

Last night, I made my way back down to Fort Knox and spent the evening and early morning as a role player at the Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) site.  I was one of the aggressors against a group of U.S. soldiers who are preparing to deploy overseas.  While I did MOUT exercises when I was on active duty, I've never done it as a role player, and it's a totally different experience when you're the one who's being attacked.

I was garbed up in a daishiki, keffiyah, hearing protection, paintball helmet, and a paintball gun. After a safety briefing we were bussed out to one of several 'villages' that have been set up for units to train on several different missions.  Due to OPSEC considerations, I won't go into too many details on the scenarios or the layouts of the training areas, but here are a few of my thoughts on the experience:

  • The soldiers I fought against were highly trained, extremely professional, and very good at expending ordnance in a very focused and efficient manner.
  • When sitting in a conex in 28 degree weather for an hour, you cannot wear too many layers.
  • Flashbang grenades, when thrown into said conex in multiples, are extremely loud and will definitely get your attention.
  • Up-Armored Humvees with turrets are cool enough to make this cynical veteran geek out.  Also, green paintballs will not penetrate the windshield, but will mess up the driver's visibility.
  • A vehicle that's been used as an IED will burn for quite a while and makes a good place to warm up in between training scenarios.
  • Being captured, flex-cuffed, and placed on your knees facing the wall for 45 minutes sucks.
  • 60 rounds of 5.56mm wax bullets, when fired into ones head, torso, and extremities hurts like a mother.  
My one war story from last night deals with that last thought.  In one of the scenarios, we defended a building and the soldiers trained in assaulting and clearing a building.  Everyone in my group but me went upstairs, while I was the lone defender of the first floor, or as the old hands called it "Flash Bang Central".  Remember, I was the dumbass newbie, so I cheerfully ensconced myself in one of the rooms.  The room had a main area and a closet/bathroom just off of the door.  I set myself up in the closet, and waited for the soldiers to make their way down the hallway to me.  As the pair of soldiers made their way down the hallway, I could hear them kicking doors and slinging grenades.  My hope was that they would be running low on flash-bangs by the time they got to me.  NO SUCH LUCK.  When they got to my room, their grenade flew past the closet and into the main room.  Two soldiers came behind the explosion to check the room, and I opened up with my paintball gun.  I must have startled them, because they turned and unloaded on me from about 3 feet away.  I'm pretty sure they both went through a 30 round magazine because I was hit everywhere they could hit me and they both had to reload after I put my hands up and dropped the gun.  I did manage to get a few shots off and hit them in the legs, but I'm pretty sure they got me.  My multiple layers of clothing helped to make most of the hits to just stinging, but this morning, I have several bruises the size of a dime on my arm and thigh.  If those had been real bullets, it would have been very messy.

This morning, I'm tired, sore, bruised in a couple of places, and fired up to go back.  I hope that being shot, grenaded, and cuffed last night gave these soldiers experience that will help them complete their missions and come home safe.


Scott McCray said...

...and I still find myself humbly thanking you for your ongoing service.


bluesun said...

That sounds like a tonofun!

Old NFO said...

Thanks DB, that training may well help them save their own or someone else lives!

DaddyBear said...

It was a blast!

It may sound cliche, but I'm just doing for others as I had done for me. When we were getting ready to deploy for Joint Endeavor, Grafenwoehr put together an entire Bosnian village and there were college kids there as role players.

If they have to go, I hope that they all come home safe.

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