Bosnia Diary – Pg. 13

Green Bay to Bosnia LogoLocked Down in Olovo

7 Mar 96, Thu — Olovske Luke

Went to Kladanj so CPT Miller (Barb-type) could finalize plans for the mayor’s attendance at next week’s JCC. After a quick pow-wow, we headed up to Tuzla Main to see if anyone at G-5 wanted to attend the meeting. The real purpose was a morale run to the PX, but the cover turned out to be a mistake.
A few days ago when CPT Ponkratz came up with the idea of letting division-level people sit in on the JCC, I said that it would pollute the original intent of the JCC. Instead of being a small get-to-know-you gathering between the Muslim mayor’s of Kladanj and Olovo, and the Serb mayor’s of Sokolac and Han P, all the poohbahs we were having ‘sit-in’ on the meeting would want to take control of it — to put their little individual marks on it. And so it has come to pass. Instead of being the initial in a series of many meetings, it has been blown all out of proportion. Now the whole chain-of-command all the way to division is involved. There’s brass and security and press and God only knows what all else being piled on. I wouldn’t be surprised if all the attention makes the mayors get cold feet.

I saw SP4 Gina Hurst standing by her Humvee in the staging area at Tuzla Main. Seems she has acquired the vaguely Napleonic 1st AD habit of putting both of one’s hands into the arm holes of one’s flak jacket. I asked her if her hands were warm … ;-)

When we returned, CPT Fellinger claimed the power had not gone out all day. The rest of us scoffed. About five minutes later the lights went out. Before we went to bed they had gone out another three or four times.

Me, fighting through another power outage.
Me, fighting through another power outage.
8 Mar 96, Fri — Olovske Luke

Gave the mayor of Olovo a JCC agenda and asked him to invite his police chief also. We were going to go up to Kladanj, but our extra two vehicles didn’t show up. (Apparently we can travel within Olovo with only two vehicles.)

It looks like the JCC is starting to get taken out of CPT Ponkratz’s hands. I hope his higher-ups don’t try to take credit because he is the one who concieved the idea and has done all the leg work on it. In addition to all the other requirements being piled on, the JCC must now have an ALO to call in air strikes if necessary; a fire support plan; a hospitality tent; and — I kid you not — valet parking. A few humble mayors have now been elevated to the level of heads-of-state.

Psyops knows how to live. They are living in an abandoned house within our perimiter. They have hard cover; hard stand; plastic sheeting to keep out the drips; lots of room; furniture; and, best of all, isolation. Out of sight, out of mind. They’re guys who know that it is easier to get forgiveness than it is permission. That’s the special ops mentality. (For example, tonight a Psyops guy told me that the boot knife rule was not a ban on boot knives per se, but a ban on having more than one knife attached to one’s web gear — which isn’t a problem if the boot knife is actually in one’s boot.) When rules and mission clash, the mission has to come first. Actually, the mission should always come first. But reserve CA and the regular armed forces doesn’t think like that. Unfortunately. Rules come first, last and always — even if it is to the detriment of the mission.

SFC Libassi and SFC Moore are still scheduled for shitter detail. The detail isn’t burning the shit (a local septic contractor sucks the stuff up), or even cleaning the shitters — it is to inspect each stall after someone uses it to make sure they have not shit all over the seat. Having eaten at the 2/68 mess hall for a week, I can personally attest to the impossibility of anyone at this site getting diarhea. But that isn’t the problem. The problem is that they are treating senior NCOs like privates. If anyone has to pull a shit detail (literally or figuratively) it should be lower enlisted. At worst the NCOs should be supervising it, but never doing it. To make matters worse, the policy is not being applied evenly: only 432nd CA senior NCOs have been so honored. The HHC, 2/68 senior NCOs are getting off scot free.

Ruins, possibly in Kakanj or Visoko.
Ruins, possibly in Kakanj or Visoko.
10 Mar 96, Sun — Olovske Luke

Talked to my own battalion commander, LTC Kilgariff today and found out I would probably be going home in two weeks. I must have looked disappointed because he offered me the chance to work at USACAPOC at Ft. Bragg for three months rather than returning directly home. I accepted and he said he would write me a letter of introduction to the USACAPOC G-3, who would make the decision whether or not to cut me the appropriate orders. An early return looks bad regardless of whether or not one is any trouble — I know, because I came back early from Grenada under a black cloud.

Even though I was enlisted at the time, and am now an officer, it’s still an experience that lingers. The USACAPOC assignment would not only preclude any illusion of disgrace, it would actually be quite prestigious and I would be able to provide some rear area support for our people still in Bosnia.

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