Monday, January 15, 2007

To Be ... Blaming It On The Rain in COP South?

Now we need

some definite discussion here!?!?

What happened?


LT Rich said...

Well, we heard about the rainy season, but after so many months of dry, hot weather, we just didn't believe it. You would think there would be an engineer around to design some kind of grading plan to divert the water away from our berthing tents. It got to a point where you just accepted that you were going to be wet and muddy for awhile and just lived with it.

I remember that morning well. For some reason, I was up around 0300 watching the radio...I had my normal radio watch doing something. It was coming down pretty hard and the water started coming up through our plywood decks in the tent. So it was a mad dash to start getting everything off the deck.

Shortly after sun-up, the Gunny sloshed in to the CP. I'll never forget the look on his face 'SIR!...SIR!... we're waist deep out there...all our s#*t is floating away'. It was kind of hard to keep a straight face while telling him I'll see what I can do. So I called Petty Officer Hogland to see what he could do. I have to tell you about Hogland first.

Equipment Operator First Class Lonnie Hogland was a country boy that worked as an equipment operator back home in Waco...about 25 years old or so. Hoggie, as we called him, was a true Seabee. He reminded me of the old fashioned Seabees you would see in John Wayne's 'The Fighting Seabees'. Always first to volunteer to do the tough job. He smashed his finger and had to have it cut off to the second knuckle...he would only stay away from work for a couple of days. Then, while loading a piece of equipment, a cheater bar slipped and smashed his knee..probably because of his finger:) He had to go to Germany for a couple of weeks. After the CO figured he was too dangerous to keep around the shop in Al Asad, he was sent out to me. Someone was looking after me, because this guy could take any impossible task and make it look simple. He is one of the few Seabees that I credit the success of COP South to. I could tell so many stories. One time I had two 10,000 gallon fuel tanks delivered to the site. The only heavy material handling equipment we could scrounge up were a couple of small 7-ton cranes we borrowed from 3/6 Marines in Al Qa'im. My crane crew Chief was sweating bullets as his six man crew took all afternoon to unload the tanks using both cranes because, "it was the only way it could be done." It was such a big event...however, Hoggie wasn't there that day. We all stood with our mouths open the next convoy when two more tanks came out...Hoggie grabbed a chain, jumped on the excavator, and offloaded them in about 30 minutes, and carried them around like they were nothing. I just looked at Chief, said 'hmm'...and shook my head.

Anyway, I told Hoggie that the Gunny was floating way. He jumped on a dozer, pushed a section of the 8-foot high perimeter berm down, let the water drain out and saved the day for the Gunny. I had so many Seabees out at COP South like Hoggie. I'll never forget them.

It doesn't matter what part of the fight you are in, there are extrordinary troops doing incredible things.

De'on Miller said...

I couldn't agree more, Rich. As I've combed through the Seabee stories, I'm amazed. Putting up runways in a matter of hours, building bridges for our troops to cross ... docs patching up our guys and any and everyone giving their life for the man next to them or in some cases, the battalion!

I love all the stories and I want you to share them with us. Which reminds me, the story you were telling us at your Homecoming, about the chowhall and adding armor to the vehicles.

I'm not sure the reader without military experience can appreciate what I know is to be appreciated, from having lived it. That's why when you guys pitch in, telling the story with the characters, the elements...aahh, it's so much better than me copying (although I'll always do that some, for the history from the past), but anyway, I'd love for you to share these stories as you have time, because I do know you're busy, but whenever, whatever pops in your mind or heart to share.

On our new site at, we're going to have a spot for guest writers, and something like that would be perfect ... or you can email them to me.

No pressure, you know! :) but I did notice you keep a journal, so there's got to be a writer in you, plus, I read the article you wrote about Aaron (more than once.)

Thanks Rich for this great story!