We continued covering JSS security today. During my time as S.O.G. (sergeant of the guard), 2nd platoon was doing an S.O.I (Sons of Iraq) payday. These are local men we pay to stand at checkpoints along certain rural roads. The Iraqi Army has checkpoints along Highway 1, but no one keeps an eye on the rural roads. We pay these guys to watch the roads. They’re armed, and they’re supposed to prevent insurgents from traveling the back roads with weapons or burying IEDs in the dirt. I wouldn’t trust these guys for a second. My platoon will be doing a payday tomorrow, so I went out to see how it’s all organized and executed.
The Iraqis brought some food with them, so I ended up having some sort of stuffed vegetables with rice in a sauce. It wasn’t bad. One of the guys kept piling food on our plates. We’d get about halfway through what we had, and he’s start loading us up again.
After I ate, I was running all over the place. I had to escort Sheikhs in and out to meet with the commander. I met generator mechanics at the gate and took them to where they needed to go. They were local Iraqis, so I had to make sure they had a security detail watching them the entire time they were inside. I had to make sure my soldiers were getting relieved on schedule and getting meals brought out to the towers and all.
After I’d gotten the generator mechanics to the generator, and they had started working, I got a call from SPC Brown at the company TOC. He informed me that I wasn’t supposed to let the mechanics bring their truck inside the perimeter. I was so aggravated at the logic. I get it, we have to take precautions, but do we understand that we’re hiring local contractors to come in and work on things inside the base? Do we understand that they need equipment to perform the jobs that we’re paying them for? Everyone’s panties are in a bunch because some kid, about 12, blew himself up on a moped at the gate to a base over here somewhere last week. I went over to the mechanics, made them unload whatever they might need from their truck, and then take the truck, which we’d searched, out of the camp.
Then next day, we conducted our payday operation. It was at “Colonel” Whalid’s guys. The Iraqi Army was supposed to be there for additional security, and they were late. We had expected to be done around lunchtime. Instead, it was closer to dinner time.
They brought more Iraqi food for the occasion; though, so we were well fed. This time, we ate some sort of chicken, kebabs, vegetables, and some bread. Again, it was pretty good.
While we were out there, Captain Cooper, from battalion or brigade HQ, I can’t remember, asked me what I thought about the Iraqi army. In true SSG Taylor fashion, I gave him an ear full. He agreed with most of what I had to say. After a pause in the conversation, he said, “you should consider running for office.” I laughed.
After we’d finished our payday, I got my ass chewed again. I wasn’t carrying a team leader radio, and he was pissed about that. My Stryker wasn’t monitoring the company radio net, and he was pissed about that. Apparently, there was some sort of brawl outside of our main gate. 1SG freaked out about it, and he made a huge deal out of the fact that I didn’t know about it. I didn’t really understand why. It was outside; who gives a shit? They can do whatever they want outside of our concrete walls. Let ’em kill each other for all I care. I didn’t care that there had been some incident out there. It didn’t matter to me one bit.