R. C. Powell II 2002 Re-Enlisty
I was 45 years old in this picture, after re-enlisting with a critical MOS. I wanted to add to my first story. Primarily the buildup to the war and the first year of being in it, as the only Electronics/Microwave Telecommunications System Technician. I had gained experience of the POSSIBILITY of all out WAR during my service in South Korea Aug 1983 to Aug 1984. One of 5 US Army Troops on each of 3 various Sensitive Sites. Commanded by 501 Signal Co. 1st Signal Brig. Anyway, I got out after serving 4 years, as a Primary MOS 26V and secondary MOS of 32D in 1986. 2001 rolls around, and in March of 2002 I re-enlisted into the US Army National Guard. Exactly 20 years after enlisting the first time, but I'm an lowly E4 again, this time with an MOS of 31P. Doing what I did as a DOD Contractor for the US Military around our Country and that of the Country of Germany, I was privy to many things going on around the world . I was in Germany during the years of the end of Gulf War 1, and the beginning of the end of Yugoslavia. So 31 Jan 2003, when our Signal Unit became Locked-Down and then on 3 February 2003, under Title 10, we became Active Duty Army. Our orders were OPEN, not to exceed 356 days, in support of OIF/OEF. We were headed to Turkey, to provide communications and invade with 4th Infantry Division. Our equipment was off-loaded in Turkey, and then reloaded and sent to Kuwait after the newly elected president of Turkey decided not to let us Invade Iraq from their border. While this was going on, we were at Ft. Bliss. I can still remember watching a 300+ member Medical Unit opening boxes of new M16's and trying to figure out how they worked. They and 4h ID were eventually De-Activated. I never believed the story of WMDs. But as soon as those words came out of Gen. Powell's mouth, I knew we were going for sure. I thought he knew something I didn't, or most likely got suckered. I thought Sadam might in the end Capitulate, but he decided to take his Country down with him. I later heard that he loved the movie Black Hawk Down and thought of himself something like Hitler... That damn movie played non stop the 3 days it took for us to become ready to Mobilize. My eldest son was the same age as most all the E4 and E5s around me. Not an easy thing to deal with, but I was their only Tech. and I had a lot of experience in many relative circumstances. It was very interesting to be part of the "Wild West" atmosphere, and then that of the Cluster F#@&k of the Regular Army coming in, and all the activities and mishaps and Soldier on Soldier crimes, Hired help crimes and murders and calamities all on just our one Camp. Camp Udairi This was in the middle of our zone of operations, from Camp Arifjan to Camp Anaconda. By February 2004, I could see that this was to become another Vietnam, and cracked sarcastic jokes about it. When the IED's started, our unit was no longer able to go into Iraq regularly, and I was never allowed to go into Iraq at all. I think our CO thought of me as a Loose Cannon. He knew I wanted some excitement. I carried 3 extra 30 round magazines I brought from home fully loaded with ammo and 5 knives on me whenever I went outside our camp. I had planned on taking a 9mm. with me from home, but decided not to in the end. I was shot at while in South Korea, and after watching the war and personally knowing Vietnam Vets during the 60's and 70's, there was no way I was to be taken prisoner, nor would I let my fellow solders down. Especially not let our females be taken. Jessica Lynch was in the unit first slated to be OUR transportation unit. They hit the ground in the Middle East 2 weeks prior to us. Now the whole world knows what happens to Non Believer Western Women... On the "T" wall nightly, I was told all kinds of horrible stories that men would say to women soldiers. But this is another story.