Friday, January 30, 2004

My Beloved Company 
“Lots of idiots know tactics. The professional understands logistics.”
--SFC Milton Yee, my very first platoon sergeant, on his first day of breaking in a very young infantry second lieutenant.

Nominally, I’m the executive officer of a headquarters company in a light infantry battalion. For those readers who aren’t military, let me fill you in: each light infantry battalion consists of three rifle companies, authorized 130 men each, plus one anti-tank company, plus headquarters company, which is the largest company of all of them, and contains the vast majority of the battalion’s vehicles, and all of its heavy equipment.

Headquarters, Headquarters Company (or HHC) comprises the following:

The battalion 81mm mortar platoon, consisting of four gun crews and a fire direction center.

The battalion reconnaissance platoon (also called the ‘scout platoon,’ including its sniper teams.)

The battalion maintenance section
The cooks.
The transportation section (truck drivers)
Ammunition section
Supply section
Aid station, with a battalion surgeon and PA.
Ambulance section
Maintenance section
Communications platoon
The S-1 section (Administration, legal, finance, and chaplain)
The battalion headquarters and all of its radio operators and drivers
The battalion supply section.
The Nuclear, Biological, Chemical warfare officer and NCO.
The battalion commander and his staff themselves.

Plus we help out with any attachments. For example, we’d routinely get plussed up with a fueler and crew, an extra evac ambulance crew, or a platoon of combat engineers, for example. HHC handles the coordination and support functions of an infantry battalion in the field.

For those of you who’ve never commanded an HHC company, think “herding cats.”

I’ve been with these guys for three years. I commanded the unit for over a year, before the war, as a lieutenant, although we have a captain in command now.

It’s no secret that we will soon be rotating almost everyone currently in Iraq back to home. Our year is coming up soon (although the date of the movement out of here I’ll keep to myself until after it happens.).

To the extent that I can, I’ll be keeping a running journal of some of the logistical issues and problems we’re dealing with here, related to the redeployment homeward. For the military reader, I hope there’s some instructional and training value. For the non-military reader, consider it a behind-the-scenes look at everything that goes into a movement.

Splash, out


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