Thursday, August 02, 2007

FT Stuff, part IV

Couple of funnies from FLX today. FLX stands for Field Leadership Exercise, which is the two and a half days you are actually out in the field during 28 day Field Training. Makes perfect sense, what with the Air Force being "expeditionary" now and everything. Anyway, it's when you get rubber duckies, fritz helmets, and flak vests and run around setting up a bare bones airbase, pulling security, running convoys, etc.

While you're out there, each flight gets stuck doing a specific job. Security Forces, Civil Engineering, Medic, Comm, etc. During one of the simulated air attacks, the SF commander lost his head a bit and called his people inside the wire so they could get under shelter. A buddy of mine in a separate flight was pulling security for a group of CEs who were setting up some "comm gear." They all hit the deck when Alarm Red sounded, but my buddy heard some rustling behind him. He turns around just in time to see all the SF guys vacating their DFPs (Defensive Fighting Position, "foxhole," basically a bunch of sandbags piled up 4-5 high with some camo netting strung over it) and running inside the wire. He realizes that he's the only guy outside the compound who is armed. He WAS the defense for the base. Needless to say, the SF commander learned his lesson through a nice "counseling session" with the SF MSgt that was instructing us.

Another time was when my flight was SF. One of the chronic problems during FLX was that we could only eat in the pavilion inside the compound (real realistic, I know) so all the SF guys had to be relieved in order to come in and eat. I was out in a DFP along with most of the rest of my flight until 1430 or so waiting to be relieved while watching everyone else sit down and take their sweet time eating lunch. Something that people had a tough time understanding was the fact that you couldn't leave your DFP until you were relieved. I can't count the number of times people inside the compound would just yell at someone in a DFP to come back inside to eat, or to meet with someone, or whatever, and the person in the DFP would yell back, that's fine, just get me a relief and I'll be glad to come back in. "But we don't have time to get a relief and they need you back inside right now!!" "...I'm not coming in until someone relieves me." Then you'd sit out there for another two hours because they forgot about you.

Anyway, our relief finally shows up. After I've been relieved these four cadets come out and tell me they're out there to relieve my flight. Well, the area outside the compound was divided up into two sections; there were two separate exits from the compound to get to the two sides. You couldn't just walk all the way around. Anyway, everyone on this side of the base had already been relieved, but some of our people still needed to be relieved on the other side of the base. I tell the little five foot nothing chick leading the relief detail this. She responds with, "Well, I know what you're saying, but our flight commander told us to only take orders from him so we're just going to stay here."

I was literally speechless, so I just turned away shaking my head. The group of four then proceeds to each grab one sandbag from a pile the CEs had made before they broke for lunch and walks over to establish a DFP. With four sandbags. In between two already well established DFPs. So they hunker down in pairs behind their two sandbag DFPs. By this time I'm having a hard time not laughing, so before I walk back inside to eat, I try to inform them of the error of their ways. "Y'all know that two sandbags doesn't constitute an effective DFP, right?" Yeah, they pretty much ignored me and stayed with the massive protection that their two sandbags offered them.

Future leaders of the Air Force, right there...