Captain Benjamin Tupper’s Greetings from Afghanistan, Send More Ammo is a fast read but not a light one. Do not read it if your loved one is currently deployed or about to head over. I’m all for facts and mental preparation, but this one gives way too much scope for a spouse’s imagination to run wild. Carl leafed through it and several other Afghanistan-related books in preparation for deployment. I didn’t touch it until his return.
It does have some entertaining-in-an-utterly-horrifying-way passages.
When an IED is discovered, U.S. Army policy is to leave it alone, secure the site, and notify EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal). However, Afghan National Army standards are less strict and one day an ANA soldier walked up to CPT Tupper and dumped a burlap sack full of armed antitank mines, claymores, and detonator packs at his feet. Tupper called the officer at his Tactical Operations Center.
“When apprised of the situation regarding our pile of armed IEDs, his original plan was sound. Call EOD and wait in place until they arrive to take the IEDs. But when the EOD unit failed to show up at our position, he then ordered the IEDs to be delivered by us to the nearest EOD unit, which was along our route home to our FOB. No problem. Then he ordered us to place the sack inside the Humvee and transport the items to EOD. My alarm bells went off, and Corporal Polanski’s eyes opened in horror as he heard this order over the radio.
Knowing that the ride back to the EOD unit was a bone-jarring, bouncing one rivaling that of any roller coaster, I politely questioned his order. ‘Sir, do you think it’s a good idea to put those armed devices inside the Humvee, given that they will be tossed around like juggling balls?’
‘Yeah, the Humvee is armored, so you will be okay,’ was his response. More shock on Ski’s face.
‘But, sir, the explosives will be inside the armor, not outside of it,’ I replied. ‘If the IEDs explode, all the blast will be contained inside the armor, turning us to Swiss cheese.’
‘Just put them in there, you will be fine…’ “
It sounds insane, but you’ve probably run into equally incompetent leadership. Automatic promotion can be scary.