Michael Yon told us about the refusal of the Spanish to work well together with U.S. forces. Bratty kids, they are. A snippet of a letter from a Lt. Colonel in the 82nd Airborne Division follows (full disclosure, my father served in the 82nd Airborne, and this Lt. Col. sounds to me like he is in the line of distinguished, hard core infantry and airborne warriors who have graced this division).
Qal E Naw: The Spanish are not interested in helping in anyway, and are trying to make us decide to leave based on their unacceptable treatment of Americans. Our refuelers [soldiers who refuel helicopters] that are living there have to run out, unroll the hoses, pull security, and roll everything back up. They have asked for gravel along the FLS as it is currently calf deep mud, but the Spanish refuse to make any improvements. They asked for a T barrier (just one) to put at a 45 degree angle outside the fence where the FARP [Forward Arming and Refueling Point; where helicopters land for ammo and gas] has to be set up so they can run for cover in case there is small arms fire, the Spanish say no and refuse to make any improvements. They asked for a small gate where their billets are located so they can access the FARP directly rather than going a half mile loop to get out the gate, but the Spanish said no and refuse to make any improvements. They [sic] guys are living hard (we understand that) but have to do laundry by hand as all of their stuff is stolen if they turn it into the laundry, they discussed this with the Spanish, but they refuse to many any improvements …
BmG: Who ever briefed that they have gravel there has never been there. We arrived during a TIC [fighting] and a MEDEVAC mission. The aircraft have to land/park in a field that has no gravel and then they sink into the ground. They have to be moved everyday to pull them back out of the mud. If we can’t get gravel, how about putting some AM2 matting, stakes and a couple of Red Horse guys on a CH-47 and fly them in to build a couple of pads just big enough to park an individual UH-60 on? We’ve been pushing the gravel issues since last fall and are no closer to a solution. Those guys are living in fighting positions. When it begins to warm up in the next month, that field will be untenable without gravel or AM2 matting. We don’t want to lose MEDEVAC capability there because we couldn’t put in two pads. We did a MEDEVAC [troop(s) wounded] and Hero [troop(s) killed] mission while I was there and the next day as well, let’s not forget that they are on the tip of the spear, we owe them more.
Michael follows up with a letter from Colonel Robert J. Ulses (U.S.) to Colonel Jesus De Miguel Sabastian (Spain). He says in this letter that he is assured that the Spanish leadership has been very responsive to all requests for support. Indeed. The letter closes with this – I kid you not, go look at the letter at Michael’s site – hand written note.
“Thanks for the support!! Look forward to meeting you.
Now they’ve done it. I feel all warm and gooey inside. On the other hand, not really. Having a father who was in the 82nd Airborne Division, a son who has spent four years in the Marines as an infantry grunt and who earned the CAR in Fallujah, a daughter who is in the process of joining the Navy as an officer, and having spent 28 years in corporate America and industry, I have never, ever, seen anything like this before.
The only thing that remains is for Colonel Ulses to put hugs and kisses on the letter. Something like this:
Which, as best as I can tell, is big, excited hugs and kisses since it is followed by the exclamation marks. Oh … oh … I feel that I’m going to be sick to my stomach. So would there have been a more appropriate way to end this sniveling letter? Has anyone even seen anything like this? My God. Give us men like Chesty Puller!!!!! (In a tip of the hat to the subject of this post, I thought it appropriate to end this sentence with some exclamation marks). No hugs and kisses, just exclamation marks.