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9/19/2017 7:27:10 PM
Posted: 8/28/2003 12:23:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/28/2003 12:24:07 PM EDT by MouseGun87]
Folks,

my best friend Chris, also a Missourian, is now working in Iraq as a US instructor for the new Iraqi army. Chris was in the Army for 9 yrs. Among the units he served with are the 101st and the 10th Mountain. He loves to train people in the art and science of small unit tactics. Heck, he even wrote an excellent small unit tactics manual to be released by the publisher this October. So this job is just perfect for him.

Anywho, he sent me emails and pictures from his tour in Iraq. I thought I would share it with you Show-Me guys and gals in this forum.



Chris supervising the markmanship training for the new Iraqi recruits.

I asked him if it is safe to be around these guys with loaded AKs in their hands. Chris replied:

"I'm not too worried about the troops anymore. They're here in earnest, and they understand the dangers they face, and what is expected of them. At first we talked about conducting training in body armor and with loaded sidearms. But we decided, rightfully, that such a position doesn't show trust to our students...and therefore decreases our integrety. I've worked closely now with these troops for the last few weeks. I trust them, and I think they trust me."

Notice that he wore a grey fatigue uniform & black hat to distinguish his status as civilian instructor hired by US government. But he said the US military personnel simply view the guys in grey as "mercs" and giving them special status. The GIs seems to have a lot of respect for these instructors and they get full cooperation from all coalition forces, US, Brits, and Aussies.

The pics below shows Sam, Iraqi-American working as an interpreter in Chris' team, between an Aussie Sgt. Major (left) and a Brit Sgt. Major (right). To the rear is a platoon of new Iraqi army recruits ready for training.



More pics and story coming up soon.

Note: I will try to get Chris to visit this forum so we can have the story straight from him.
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 12:52:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/28/2003 1:01:13 PM EDT by MouseGun87]
Like I said before, Chris is an excellent instructor. Not surprisingly, he received a MS degree in educational technology from MU College of Education last year. I owe my understanding and basic marksmanship skill on the AR15 platform to his superb instructional skills. He loves the AR15/M16 family of rifles. But he also has a healthy respect for the AKs and he has a handsome collection of AKs.

Below is a pic of Chris in his "William Tell" pose holding the Tubruk, an Iraqi made AK47, with an Iraqi made vinyl chest pouch over his kevlar vest. He said the Iraqi recruits are using the East German MPI Kalashnikov & Yugo RPK. Both are good quality AKs but .... they are lacking sight tools for zeroing these guns ... hehehe.. He said the shooting accuracy is a joke since almost none of these AKs are zeroed properly. I told him, maybe he'd better leave it that way, so just in case some of these new Iraqi troops decide to turn against the coalition forces, they wont be able to hit what they aim at .... :)

So he asked his wife here in MO to order a truck load of the AK sight tool from Cheaper Than Dirt and have her ship it to him in Iraq. His employer, Grumman-Northrop, will reimburse him for the sight tools.



Here is a pic of Chris in the middle of the desert near the Iraq-Iran border where many bloody battles were fought during the Iran-Iraq war in the 80s. He said that there were all kinds of debris in this area. Empty casings, from 762x39 all the way to large field arty. RPG, mortar, arty shells, both exploded and unexploded .... There are also lots of boots, clothing, bandoleers, and helmets. One of his friends saw a steel Russian helmet. As they walked out to get it he said, "Uh, Chris, what's this?" And he points about 10 inches in front of his boot. It was a Russian mine set into the stone ground.



Notice he is carrying an underfolder AK47. A Brit Sgt Major working with them gave the AK to Chris before they hop into the vehicle ... just in case. Oh, he also told Chris to sit on his kevlar just in case they hit a landmine. A week before 17 iraqi civilians were killed when their vehicle hit a landmine on the same road they took to the Iranian border.

Oh, Chris also picked up a souvenir: an Iraqi fiberglass helmet with a bullet hole through it. I wonder if the helmet was occupied when the bullet hit.
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 1:00:20 PM EDT
And just to think the country he is putting his life on the line for feels he doesnt deserve to own or bring home the rifle he is using.

Good pics though!

Link Posted: 8/28/2003 1:05:21 PM EDT
Well, I asked him if he has his own rifle. Nope, but he is thinking about buying an AK for his own protection. An AK47 only costs $25 over there and ammo can be found just about anywhere .... .. He said he will keep me posted of his new "procurements" in the near future ...

On the story that US tankers started picking up AKs, well, Chris has not seen any US troops carrying AKs, except for those on special assigments. But when he met some US tankers, they had their eyes on the AK folder Chris had on him. So the story maybe true ...
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 2:30:18 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/28/2003 2:38:38 PM EDT by -Duke-Nukem-]
I've been getting the same emails. Guys, this fellow is the man who taught me ambush and fire and movement tactics, and then we used to go out and practice using blanks! So yes he loves his job right now.

I have to brag on him just a bit more. Guys, this man served with honor in South Korea for years and years, and you know why he left the Army? He fell out of a Blackhawk helicopter while on manuvers. He says, without humor, that the reason he survived is because his M249 SAW broke his fall. And again he goes off to another country to help us out, while people sit here and bitch and second guess in the comfort of their air conditioned homes.


Ozy, have you found out a way to send him those sight adjustment tools?

Chris emailed us and said that there are NO sight adjustment tools to be found anywhere in Iraq, and further the idea of each man keeping a certain rifle and zeroing it himself was very foreign to them! I guess they usually just keep the AKs in a rack or something and grab a different one off the rack every time. They have alot to learn about basic marksmanship!
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 3:02:31 PM EDT
neat pix, oz
tell him to be careful and how much we appreciate him
his wife is the best--i think id be out of my mind by now, if i was her
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 3:17:49 PM EDT
Duke-Nukem,

I found the best deal for him. CTD has them for $5 a piece. Chris ordered the sight tools himself, but they refused to send the stuff to Iraq. So, Chris had them sent to his wife here in Missouri, and his wife will mail the tools over to him in Iraq.

Yep, Chris was an M60 gunner patrolling the 38 parallel line in S. Korea.

When with the 101st, he was fast-roping down from a Blackhawk helicopter when something fell and hit him causing him to lose control over the rope and free-fall the last 30 feet to the ground. He landed on his back. His rucksack and weapon on his back helped broke his fall and saved his life. But he still sufferred an injury to the hip that still bothers him till this day.

I think Duke will agree with me, that being an infantryman is what Chris loves best. It is in his blood. Although he does not have a CIB, but he did earn an EIB (Expert Infantry Badge) which I think shows how good of a soldier he is. In one of the "practice" using blanks and blank adapter, I saw how Chris wiped out an 8-man squad of opfor single-handedly. By expertly employing his IMT skills, he moved around up and down the hills confusing the opfor picking them off one at a time and really confused the hell out of the opfor guys. I was not part of it, but I had a front row seat when all of these were taking place. I wish I had had my video camera to record it.
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 3:25:07 PM EDT

Originally Posted By diabolical_chicken:
neat pix, oz
tell him to be careful and how much we appreciate him
his wife is the best--i think id be out of my mind by now, if i was her



Mrs. Jake,

I will pass the words along. Chris' wife is a lovely woman. Err ... Chris asked me to keep some of the stories out of his wife's ears, like the "oh it is a Russian mine 10 inches from my boots" kind of story. He is not only my best friend, but also my family's best friend. My wife and daughters miss him a lot and worry about him. I know Chris is very capable of protecting himself and others around him ... but I feel better if he is wearing proper gear .. you know, kevlar vest with steel plates and a loaded rifle .... even when he is teaching his students.
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 3:31:40 PM EDT
Great story, Great pics, SUPER GUY!

I'll remember him and his family when I talk with the BIG BOSS tonight.

MM419
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 3:42:42 PM EDT
IIRC, Chris attended one of our shoots at Finger Lake this Summer. I missed the shoot due to work related issues. But Chris stopped by before and after the shoot. I recall seeing the pic of Duke-Nukem giving a short class on room-clearing. I think he had a couple of Daewoo rifles with him that day. He likes the Daewoo for sentimental reasons since they remind him of his years in the DMZ.
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 3:54:18 PM EDT
DAMMIT! HAVE HIM SEND ME AN APPLICATION!!!! He's having too damn much fun! I had applied for a similar position with Vinelle, but they require you to have been an E-6 or above. Drat!
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 4:13:21 PM EDT

Originally Posted By MouseGun87:
IIRC, Chris attended one of our shoots at Finger Lake this Summer. I missed the shoot due to work related issues. But Chris stopped by before and after the shoot. I recall seeing the pic of Duke-Nukem giving a short class on room-clearing. I think he had a couple of Daewoo rifles with him that day. He likes the Daewoo for sentimental reasons since they remind him of his years in the DMZ.



Yep I remember meeting him.
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 4:49:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/28/2003 4:50:54 PM EDT by rmdye]
I didn't quite know what to say with this thread, I just do no have the words, or the ability to put my thoughts into words. this shows what type great young men and women we have in this country. coming off injury he still wants to help and goes and does this. it speaks a lot of the character of Chris. Oz I guess I haven't improved from today I still cant say what these pictures speak to me. thanks again for sharing. Ronald
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 5:14:38 PM EDT
Ron,

I think these pictures reaffirms that Americans do not wish to conquer another people or land. Sure, they came with guns, tanks and bombers. Kill people who stood to fight againts them. When it is over, they tried their best to help the country and its people to get back on their own two feet. No country can stand without a solid and professional military. So once they destroyed the old military, now they help building a new one who will protect and defend the Iraqi people under the umbrella of democracy. The US military may be too busy and under strength to take care of everything, so they find qualified individuals who can help put together the new Iraqi army. I believe Chris is one of the most qualified individual they could find. I think this job is very important. The quicker they can put together the new Iraqi Army and Police force, the quicker American servicemen/women can get out of the country ... and back home to their beloved families.
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 5:30:49 PM EDT

Originally Posted By MouseGun87:
IIRC, Chris attended one of our shoots at Finger Lake this Summer. I missed the shoot due to work related issues. But Chris stopped by before and after the shoot. I recall seeing the pic of Duke-Nukem giving a short class on room-clearing. I think he had a couple of Daewoo rifles with him that day. He likes the Daewoo for sentimental reasons since they remind him of his years in the DMZ.



I remember Chris from that shoot. A real nice guy. He was there with another guy, who I believe was a few weeks away from going into the marines. They both liked shooting my .458 and let me shoot the Daewoo's. Chris even dismantled it for me to show the similarities with the AR15. I hope he is being careful. That would be a tough job. I'll say a prayer for him.

Eric
Link Posted: 8/29/2003 7:16:14 AM EDT

Originally Posted By kpel308:
DAMMIT! HAVE HIM SEND ME AN APPLICATION!!!! He's having too damn much fun! I had applied for a similar position with Vinelle, but they require you to have been an E-6 or above. Drat!



KPEL308, check your email. Chris read your post and ask me to forward the contact person to you, just in case you are still interested to help out in Iraq.

Guys & gals, Chris came here and read your replies. This is what he wrote me:

"I just went to the AR15.com site...heady stuff, very flattering. If my head swells any more my feet won't touch the ground. Thanks for the kinds words and prayers, but you do realize that I'm one of about XXX (removed) staff (XXX of which are trainers) here in XXXXXX (I removed the place)? I mean, there are some really impressive men here. These are extremely professional men who have also left their families behind to do what we hope is a worthy mission. I'm lucky to be counted among their ranks."

He will try to register and post here when he can.

Link Posted: 8/29/2003 9:17:45 AM EDT
Mail checked. Thanks Oz. Hmmmm... Should I wear the 3 color or the chocolate chip...
Link Posted: 8/29/2003 10:13:31 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/29/2003 10:43:44 AM EDT by MouseGun87]
Here are more pics ...

US instructors just arrived in Baghdad International .... that was Chris walking away from the C130.



Chris took this next picture when he visited the Iran-Iraq border. Notice the building on the hilltop ... it is an Iranian commo bunker. To its left are two Iranian army post and machine gun emplacements. The ground between the Abrams and the posts contains thousands of landmines.

Link Posted: 9/1/2003 12:08:31 PM EDT
I remember Chris from the Patriot Day Shoot in June...
Really cool guy...

What a small world we live in - to meet someone in your backyard, and then see them half way around the world doing an important job for their country and the Iraqi people...

God bless Chris, and keep him safe...

Thanks for posting this Ozy...
When does Chris expect to be back to MO???
Love to have him tell stories at on of the upcoming shoots...

Link Posted: 9/2/2003 6:18:06 AM EDT
Cutter75,

We will not see Chris again till July or August of next year. His deployment term is for one year, and may be renewable depending on the needs.

Be careful about asking Chris to tell stories .... he is a very good story teller.
Link Posted: 9/21/2003 9:49:36 AM EDT
From the NYTimes 09-21-2003

www.nytimes.com/2003/09/21/international/middleeast/21TRAI.html

Here is the picture from the article ..... According to Chris this is what he is doing in the pic ....

"You can see your's truly running my mouth--as usual--instructing the NCO school sergeants in the proper execution of a near ambush in urban terrain."

Link Posted: 9/21/2003 4:23:58 PM EDT
Good to go!
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