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A Man’s Gotta Know His Limitations

end of the day 

This is the end of the day on one of our patrols.  You cannot see much, but I think the picture is iconic.  The big truck is an MRAP - horrible thing.  You cannot really drive it offroad because it bounces so much.  They are not very durable either.  There was a lot of politics behind getting them here so quick. I expect most of them will become part of that ever growing junk heap in Iraq.

I asked my team to dress like civilians around camp.  We are issued military uniforms, but some of us just cannot wear them right.  Our slovenly uniform appearance offends the Marines, so it is best to avoid the situation entirely by wearing civilian garb except when we are forward deployed.

I also took away the guns.  A couple guys liked to strut strapped like the Cisco Kid.  We are a civilian team.  Wherever we go, Marines are there with lots of guns to protect us.  If the bad guys get past them, past the 50 calibers and through the armor, my guess is that an old guy with a pistol is not going to turn the tide.  The Marines have the added advantage of knowing how to use their weapons.  An untrained civilians (or one whose training dates from the Johnson Administration) is more likely to shoot himself, his friends or some nearby kids than the enemy.

The real warriors don’t need some drugstore cowboys playing war. We should, all of us, do the jobs we do best.  Our team is diplomatic and it is our time.  “For everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.”  Or as Clint Eastwood put it more succinctly, “A man’s gotta know his limitations.”

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I am working with a company that is making MRAP training systems. Is there a certain item yoou can share that we might focus on to train MRAP drivers? How can we train the drivers so it does not bounce as much?

S. Parrish

I am only a rider and I can only share experience as that. Whenever you go over any bump, the thing shakes and bounces. It is extremely uncomfortable on a rough road and you feel like you are scrambled eggs off road. I do not think the drivers could do anything to avoid the problem except stay on the hardball road, which is not always possible.

None of the vehicles is very comfortable, of course. The best is the 7 ton armadillo, IMO.

But I think you could get better information from guys who actually drive the things. Some drivers were very free with their comments to me in casual conversation, but I would just be passing along hear-say.

From my own experience, I can say that the MRAP bounces more than the other vehicles. It works well on smooth roads, but not all the roads around here are smooth.

Very interesting about the uniforms and weapons issued to the PRTs - - guess diplomatic immunity wouldn't mean much to an insurgent, huh? You all could have the Marines teach you to shoot. I've been Marine taught - - so I've never missed the target - - but would be scared to death to carry a loaded weapon on my person. The range is fine with me. Agree - - I'd much rather let the Marine's do what they are good at.

Marines are a funny sort about their uniforms aren't they. I'm always terrified that one of the retired Marines at the Museum will come after me with a lighter to burn off the Irish pennants from my museum docent shirt. (I have a cat so any knit top I own has snags from their claws).

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