I was deployed to Camp Taji and Victory Base Complex(Baghdad area) from August to December of 2012. At the beginning of our tour we were supposed to spend a full year in Iraq, but due to politics out of our control we were told in November that we would be going home very early. What ensued was a cluster-f*#k of hastened withdrawal and the logistical nightmare of closing down operations.

I had the honor of leading a 140 man strong logistics company as we did our part in closing down that theater. Figured I would do an IAmA for the 5 people on reddit that may be interested. AMA!

Heres the best I can do for proof? I can try harder but... heres a pic of me at the Hands of Victory (Swords of Qadisiyah) which we took, like many many others folks do, in the Iraq. - took this down just cause the internet is scary. Ill send to mods though :/

Comments: 293 • Responses: 96  • Date: 

Fandorin24 karma

Most people don't really understand that logistics is what wins wars. It's always been like this and the US army has taken it to the next level. Could you throw some stats at us? What does it take to clothe, feed, arm, and fuel a division? What does it take to do it in a desert, as opposed to a Western European climate, for example? How many men did your 140 man company support and help withdraw?

vagabond363610 karma

Thats a very hard question to ask. I can internet and try to find the answers but that would take effort outside of what I know, and I'm becoming absorbed by this AMA I dont know what to do. The last question I CAN answer. I dont know the numbers... we had Soldiers in 3 different bases, supporting everything from convoy escort teams, to fuel distribution, vehicle repair, logistical convoys, etc. To put a # to it is pretty difficult but we easily saw hundreds of vehicles and many customer units serviced by us. I think in a 3 month period we did over 4000 work orders, but I was just a small piece of a very large pie.

randomguy18616 karma


vagabond363611 karma

Alright alright... NCOs lead the way. Let me try.

BDE ~5K people. Division ~15k? Average cost on a hand receipt for Soldiers = ~4K? (not counting costs to train etc.) So thats .... 60 million just to equip. Average water consumption daily ~10 gallons (planning factor) so thats 150,000 gallons of water a day, 45,000 meals a day (lets say 5 bux a meal) so thats what... $225K in food costs.... Daily fuel use was around ~800,000 gallons a day towards the end (very rough estimate?) so thats like 2.1M dollars in gas...

I dont know, thats sort of it. I mean hell I was a company commander, not overly responsible in all of that. and my company was a DS Maintenance Company that provided support to our sister companies in the BN so we did Maintenance, Trans, POL, Supply, Security. I was branched Ordnance and when I turned into a captain it became Logistics Corps.

randomguy18635 karma


vagabond363612 karma

My pleasure, and thanks for the comments! I think that certain captains get picked to be in HHQ positions of responsibility, and a lot of the bad ones get sent out. If you google captain brain drain there is a lot out there about how the talented and successful captains in the Army are getting out to pursue private careers. Maybe thats whats changing, I'm not sure.

dre6271 karma

Do they really drink 10 gallons of water per day out there?

vagabond36362 karma

PLanning factor includes water for washing/cooking. Rough estimate.

phdpeabody3 karma


vagabond36369 karma

just to make sure, unless im going crazy, I think i was pretty clear that I only had a small piece of the pie, right? Thats why I said "in part." Just wanted to make clear to folks that I'm not trying to be over the top or act like I did something more grandiose than I did... Just had an experience I thought might be worth sharing :/

Fandorin2 karma

Is there separate personnel for logistics or are you embedded in the structure that includes combat troops?

vagabond36364 karma

The modular structure has forward support companies accompanying combat battalions. For the most part we are separate. At the end of the day though in asymmetrical warfare they train all of us to deal with everything. Example I was a log company commander but half my mission was gun-trucks. I'm pretty sure its different in Afghanistan though. I had a lot of log buddies though that are on SFAAT teams now in Afghanistan.

ObsidianSifaka17 karma

How much equipment do you think got left behind due to lack of organization/how quickly the withdrawal happened?

vagabond363644 karma

That is a tough question to answer. In many ways, its sort of disgusting to think about. By the time I left (in December), the vast majority of people were gone. I was lucky enough to be using a 2011 Suburban as my vehicle for getting around post. This is a ~$50,000 vehicle. I was later told as we turned it in to be "sold" to the Iraqis that it was being sold for ~$5,000. I have a feeling that we sold a LOT of shit for extreme discounts just to get it off our hands.

I will say that one remarkable thing that happened was when we turned over the bases to the Iraqis, the moment we were off-base Iraqi Army folks would come on base and basically pillage everything. They were taking Air conditioners, copper wiring, etc. We took all of our sensitive equipment out of theater, but im sure millions upon millions upon millions of dollars worth of materiel was left behind. Thats sort of a reality of leaving a theater.... we're talking hundreds of thousands of tonnes of equipment that had to move out in ~3 months. It was crazy - they had been scaling down for an entire year but for the last 3 months we were still pushing tens of thousands of truckloads out of theater.

assumption3 karma


vagabond36368 karma

I heard that priority #1 was nice furniture from offices and sexy air conditioner units.

ezxhaton1 karma

I was on VBC and got sent home early during the start of the drawdown (mid '09). I saw my CG's Suburban every day walking into the D-Main and lusted after it hard. Crazy to think they let a newer model go for as much as I bought my Integra!

I can't remember names of DFAC's and CHU pads (I was right there on Z Lake), but did they just leave those buildings standing, along with the D-Main and the PX complex?

vagabond36362 karma

Yes. they left all that shit standing. Empty though. Some of the unserviceable kitchen equipment was left. But basically they left it all standing, took all the crap out, and then signed the base over to the Iraqis. I used to run on Z Lake, ohhhh VBC....

Dannoman809 karma

Good on you, brother. Thanks for your service!

vagabond363615 karma

Thanks for your support!

gunvsaliens8 karma

So how much shyt did we end up leaving? (Amunition, guns, air conditioning units, etc.) By the way my bro does a similar job (not same as he does state side work) for the navy.
Edit you already answered.

vagabond363629 karma

We don't leave weapons and ammo behind. The Army is really good about not losing shit like weapons. Ammo we brought out with us but worst case they probably blew it up if we couldnt take it for any reason. But leaving a weapon is sort of out of the question, that would be the commander's ass on the line.

I once had a Soldier who left his rifle at some base because he was a piece of shit.... I got woken up at 2 AM and spent basically the next five hours chewing the ass of the Soldier, my lieutenants, my NCOs, and then I went and got MY ass chewed by a lieutenant colonel and a colonel for a few hours. So thats kinda how important weapons are to us. And this was just a rifle :/ But i cant speak for every unit.

REVIT9K6 karma

I've always wondered why the army treated these rifles like they were made of gold.

I've seen people get less shit for losing a NTV.

vagabond363612 karma

What you're saying makes sense, and I want to agree, I just am incapable after a career of thinking weapons = life = dont lose ever. Funny how I can lose a 10,000 dollar piece of equipment but if I lose a 50 dollar sensitive item its my ass. Good point though. womp womp

VictorianTariq138 karma

I'm doing Army ROTC at UMass Amherst next year, any advice Captain?

vagabond363616 karma

MR now, but yes I feel strong on the subject. LEARN as much as you can but dont get too absorbed into all the bullshit they try to feed down your throat. I ENJOYED college and partied/drank/etc. There were a LOT of cadets who made ROTC their life. They got the ribbons for honor guard and they were in special clubs and all that crap - all that means nothing once you are actually commissioned. I made a distinct decision to enjoy my college experience before my service started.

With that being said, learn as much as you can. That sounds obvious, but having strong foundations from ROTC will help you as an officer later in your career. I was a dirtbag in ROTC, but I learned as much as possible. People thought just because I didnt care about ROTC would mean I would be a bad officer, but in the end none of that crap mattered. I knew kids from top of my ROTC class who were shit officers (one got discharged) and then there were guys like me who got consistently top ratings from my superiors and had strong careers. At the end of the day just make sure you are happy with your ROTC-Student life balance, because you never get your college years back. Also make sure you get good grades. I got an "E" at camp and was top 5% in the nation but my grades were so bad from having too much fun that I placed 40% overall or something due to grades being factored in. I wanted to be a tanker, but got ordnance (later logistics corps) and still loved it. Good for you going to UMass Amherst btw!

jyeung2812 karma

So you have your major in college and you take an extra class for ROTC? I plan on joining air force ROTC and was hoping I could hear it from someone that already went through it.

vagabond36366 karma

Thats basically exactly it. I took all my college classes, and then had to take ROTC classes. In my program it worked like this:

Thursday 0800-1200 "leadership lab (think weapons training and tactics and other army BS)" followed by Friday 0800-1000 "leadership 101-401" each semester the class gets more advanced in how to lead people.

One weekend a semester we would go off to do some fancy training scenario. In the summer, all of the soon to be seniors went off to Ft. Lewis washington and were assessed/trained for a month. Then we got our ratings in senior year, told our branches, and then sent off to go do the whole Army thing and love/hate life.

ashmole1 karma

What BN were you attached to?

vagabond36361 karma

A little too much detail (not that it matters too much) but we were 1st Armored Division. Iron Soldiers!

stuckoverhere7 karma

I was involved in the withdrawal as well, but the convoy security aspect. I was absolutely flabbergasted at the total sandbagging the US did leading up to the withdrawal. My unit would take 50+ empty semis up from Kuwait to any base in Iraq and over and over again we would return to Kuwait with 50+ empty semis. We didn't start seriously collecting equipment until there were only a few months left to do it, and at that point it was a scrambled clusterfuck. It was like watching a doctoral student wait until the week before his dissertation was due to start on it. Can you explain why the withdrawal was handled like this?

vagabond36367 karma

I really wish I could. I can tell you for a fact that I was around the guy that planned a huge piece of that. Daily I would hear "okay we have X units bringing Y" VIX up to retrograde equipment from these locations. For the most part, stuff would get sent back. We were only doing this from September onwards though. from MY experience (and experiences can be flawed) I think the BS happened because we were caught off-guard that we would be leaving so soon. The whole no diplomatic immunity thing made us say F it and we had to get out of there pronto. From my perspective though I know that we did move a lot of crap out. Probably in the end just bad leadership. Sorry to hear that you guys had to be on the road for no reason. That was a tough job.

AliveInTheFuture7 karma

How prepared are the Iraqis to actually sustain their own military force? Is there still a large insurgent contingency to deal with, or has it died down?

Are we really gone?

vagabond363634 karma

I think Iraq is a mess. I think anywhere that we destroy an Army and then rebuild it is going to have growing pains. I met some hardcore Iraqi Army Soldiers, but for the most part I was not impressed. The insurgency has died down but I know they still have a lot of terrible shit going on. Towards the end of our time in Iraq the insurgents were mostly attacking Iraqi govt and Army/police. The shitty part is that the insurgents have infiltrated so many parts of Iraq. I read/saw a video post from last year where 10-15 insurgents drove to a town dressed as Iraqi Police and provided warrants to "arrest" the local police force. After the police force had surrendered (maybe like 20-30 guys?0 they bound all of them and then shot them all in the back of the head. So yea, shits not good over there.

Calculator_on_Desk6 karma

Did attacks pick up near the withdrawal?

What did you think of Iraq as a country and the Iraqis as a people? Did you eat any of the local food?

What did you move around in your logistics company?

Which would you rather transport, 100 duck sized horses, or 1 horse sized duck?

What everyday items were there shortages of in your time in Iraq?

vagabond363615 karma

The attacks seemed to pick up during the withdrawal. We got IEDed a few times on our convoys and some other folks not in my BN were killed a few times. We thought it would be a LOT worse bc they wanted to take shots at us before we ran, but basically all that happened was rocket/mortar attacks picked up. That was fun (no, not really).

Our company was equipped with MRAPs (i cant even remember the variant at this point) and one of our many tasks was providing convoy escort support (facilitating as gun-trucks) for logistical convoys. Other than that we had a wide range of equipment, HEMMT Wreckers, PLS's, etc. Yea... thats all logistics terms for big vehicles that move shit.

I would much rather transport 1 horse sized duck. I put that shit on a HET and strap it down real good, mmmm easy. 100 duck sized horses would be tricky because of all the moving pieces.

Everyday items that i missed most towards the end... Soda, Cigarettes( worth their weight in gold), functioning bathrooms, warm food. Oh well, thats the Army Life, right?

doc_fan5 karma

I was there when it was going on, and I'm actually still there. It was extremely weird the day after everyone left.

vagabond36364 karma

Contractor or State Department?

doc_fan2 karma


l337sponge1 karma

I do not envy your position.

doc_fan1 karma

I enjoy the work that I'm doing, but it has it's drawbacks.

vagabond36361 karma

are the bad guys still lobbing bad-guy stuff at you?

mtbr3115 karma

So what you're saying is that pulling out was not as effective as planned? snicker

vagabond36365 karma

They say pulling out is only effective 60% of the time, every time.

cp51845 karma

What do you think about the hmmwvs, and MRAPS?

Logistics companies handle basically food, fuel, and general inventory?

How well do you think the military is generally run? What do you think about how they handled Iraq and Afghanistan? Do you think they basically did the best they could in a situation where they was no real way to "win"?

What was your favorite part of the job?

What sort of things did the soldiers need the most? Want the most? Were there any things that people needed but couldn't get?

vagabond36368 karma

We handled food, fuel, inventory, maintenance, then everything else (convoys, security [gun trucks], vehicle recovery, basically anything they needed a Soldier to do).
I think the US military is the most superb fighting force this world has ever seen. I think that in every situation you are going to have folks who bitch or say things are bad, and you are ALWAYS going to have some bad leadership, but for the most part I have never been more privileged in my life than to serve with the US Army.

Favorite part of the job was doing everything I could to improve the quality of life of my Soldiers, and to help get the mission done.

I don't know what they wanted the most. I would assume they wanted me and other officers to get off their asses so they could do their jobs. At the end they wanted cigarettes and fast-food the most. But deal with it, its the Army. Towards the end I would have given anything for a clean toilet, I'll tell you that.

Soldiers are very ingenuinitve (thats not a real world, I just made it up). I had 3 Soldiers that basically turned a CHU (like a connex, but a room) into a world of warcraft gaming center. No idea how, but hey... gotta love it.

PruBear1 karma

I'd take a HMMWV any day. I hated riding in MRAPS, always bouncing around smashing your head on the ceiling. Nothing ever worked in our MRAPS and they get stuck in sand really easy. Way easier to get in and out of a HMMWV.

vagabond36361 karma

If you were about to drive over an IED what would you rather be in? HMMWV or MRAP? :P

PruBear1 karma

I'd take my chances in the HMMWV. I was in the Marine Corps so we didn't have the luxury of everyone getting to ride in MRAPs. We had 1 MRAP per section and they only went to the LT and the section leaders. Spent the whole 6 months I was over there in a HMMWV. I felt safer, but that's just me. HMMWVs are easier to maneuver.

vagabond36362 karma

I agree. Safer but less maneuverable. MRAPS just felt so damn bulky.

hamsterdamster5 karma

Did you ever get to interact with any military Veterinarians? And likewise any military working dogs?

vagabond363616 karma

We had a stray that we adopted in our motor pool. Then my battalion commander found it, and the vet put it down. Rest in Piece CPT Nibbles. And working dogs, unfortunately no i never had the chance to meet one, saw several but never went up to a handler.

thegreatk85 karma

He was only a Captain?

vagabond363617 karma

he was a lieutenant. I posthumously promoted him after the vet put him to sleep. RIP :(

urban_hermit1 karma

Your BN CO is a heartless cocksucker.

vagabond36366 karma

At one point I used to think so. But I actually admire the guy and think he was a good CO in the end.

stnikolauswagne4 karma

How long can taskforces/occupying armies sustain themselfes without resupply from the homeland? Also did you ever run into a situation where some materials just where not sent?

vagabond363616 karma

We ran into situations when shit didnt come, ALL the time. Towards the end they shut off all class IX materiel (repair parts). I remember we would get vehicles breaking down and we did not have the parts to fix them. End result is we sort of made it work (think lots of tape). When you are in those situations you find a way to make it happen.

We once had a national guard convoy come into our motor pool before they had to convoy out of theater in order to get "tuned up." They were in such bad shape that we couldn't let them leave. If one of those bad-boys breaks down on the road that causes a huge issue (think, sitting target... RPGs, bad guys, boom boom). The shitty part about that situation is we had limited repair parts to fix their stuff. We ultimately had to "cannibalize" some of their broken equipment to get what we needed. Think -> 5 broken cars, take all the parts you need from 1 of them so you can fix the other 4, and then put the cannibalized vehicle on the back of the trailer. That kind of crap.

As for sustainment - > Every part of the Army has a role. The warfighters kick ass, and we enable them to do it. Tanks are sexy as hell but they break all the time, if you don't have guys like us then your sexy tank won't be in the fight to get the job done. Without sustainment an army can only go so far. Look at the Korean War... North Koreans could only push maybe 3 or so days against NATO forces before they had to stop, because they had shitty logistics. Soldiers arent good at fighting when they have no food, bullets, or fuel.

Bottom line, sustainment is just as important as fighting the battles (but i've got to give respect to 11B)

thegreatk84 karma

Do you think the situation in Afghanistan is/will be similar, now that the President has declared a draw-down?

vagabond363611 karma

No. I think there are things inherent in a drawdown that will occur every time. When you take into account the people factor, and varying levels of incompetency, there will always be chaos. I think they will start a similar program to Iraq, where we close down more and more bases until the biggest ones are left, but it will still be a mess. That is just the nature of the beast when you have so many Soldiers and equipment somewhere. I can barely keep my apartment clean... imagine 100,000 Soldiers in a war environment. Ridiculous.

VileSinusTrap3 karma

Thanks for your service! Best and worst days over there?

vagabond36365 karma

I was lucky to have a fairly tame experience. Worst day would be any of the days in which rocket attacks went boom near us and we werent happy about that. Best day was: One morning I was walking to the gym and heard a loud boom outside the perimeter. Saw some smoke. Later in a midnight meeting I found out from our intel guys that a bad-guy blew himself up accidentally while working on a vehicle borne IED. Made me kind of smile :) There aren't many best days when you deploy... I guess the day I flew from Kuwait to Germany was kind of nice.

VileSinusTrap3 karma

Damn. I wouldn't call that tame, but I suppose it's relative! Thanks again for your service. If you have time, how do you think the sequester cuts will affect individual soldiers and the military as a whole?

vagabond36366 karma

i think sequester cuts are going to fuck us overall. I think panetta was on the news saying that our army risks becoming second rate. Sequester affects training budget. Low training budget = less training. Less training = poorly trained soldiers. Poorly trained Soldiers = Not good.
With that being said Afghanistan is drawing down as is the Army as a whole, but the impacts will still hurt.

Kavc2 karma

Did you have any life changing moments while deployed?

vagabond36362 karma

Not really. I guess i learned to appreciate life more, not from a life-threatening situations perspective but from a "it sucks living here, I want to go outside and do stuff... I am going to do more "stuff" when I get home. I definitely appreciate it more.

REVIT9K2 karma

Former 44C here.

What happened to all the outstanding contract balances we had left outstanding to the Iraqi vendors?

QIT, SNS, 77 Construction ring a bell?

vagabond36363 karma

Honestly... I tasked my LT to handle the contracts, and he dealt directly with BN on that. I have no clue what happened with all of that. From what i can assume though (based on the little I do know) those were closed out and ended. I would imagine any remaining contracts that were pertinent to us (thinking State Department folks still in Iraq) were probably switched over. Sorry I'm not too knowledgeable about all of this.

SandwichArtist2102 karma

Are you, in any way, an amphibian?

vagabond36367 karma

Nah, just a pogue.

Conclude2 karma


vagabond36360 karma

Yea too personal, but I do okay.

I_MaDe_It_CuZ_i_CanZ2 karma

I was at Al Asad airbase in 2008, really how much shit did we leave behind in Iraq because we were too lazy or to cheap to bring back?

vagabond36362 karma

I hope not too much

Kalimerra2 karma

What are your plans for after the military? And thank you for your service.

vagabond36362 karma

I ended command in May. Got out of the Army in August. I work as a management consultant now (think a much more boring version of House of Lies) but I love what I do! And my expertise is Supply Chain, so thats nice. I work with wonderful people and we definitely help our clients a lot.

Stooooooopid1 karma

Are we really fully withdrawn? The net says we have only 300 military personnel at the embassy. I find that hard to believe.

vagabond36361 karma

Yes. Other than remaining diplomatic security, we are done.

Spastic_Mastic1 karma

Ring knocker or ROTC?

vagabond36361 karma


shiv4m1 karma

When you say logistics company Commander, do you mean the US government contracted an outside company to help with the moving of soldiers?

vagabond36367 karma

Ah I guess I should be more clear. The Army's command structure goes from Division(General), to Brigade (Colonel) to Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel) to Company (Captain). Within companies there are more breakdowns but a "company" is typically a unit of 80-200 men (mine was ~140) that is the lowest level of command in the Army. I was part of an 8 -company battalion responsible for providing logistical support to various locations throughout Iraq. There were a LOT of contractors in Iraq (less so towards the end) but we were exclusively Army Soldiers.

footpetaljones1 karma

I"ve always been curious where a Major fits into the command structure. They seems like a 3rd wheel.

vagabond36360 karma

Majors are extremely useful, we had several good ones in my command. Their time in the spotlight is when they function as a battalion executive officer (2nd in command of a battalion commander).

brachunok1 karma

Do you have any degree/background in logistics?

vagabond36362 karma

I was an International Relations Major in College, so no. After college we did a lot of training, one leg of which was 6 months in basic logistics out of Aberdeen proving grounds (now the training is done at fort lee). When I was promoted to captain I was sent to Fort Lee to attend a 6 month "Army Logistics University" where I learned more supply chain and management fundamentals. At the end of the day though the majority of your experience comes from hands- on training.

armyflanker71 karma


vagabond36363 karma

ROTC. Dad and Bro went to WP though

VictorianTariq131 karma

How did you get your commission? OCS?

vagabond36362 karma

Boston University Army ROTC. Did 6 years before i got out.

Dollar505-2 karma

Hello, I am about to commission in 3 months, Transportation Corp... As I am excited to serve my country and do my time, I was always curious how well a former Army Logistician transfers into the private sector. I know a lot of Captains who are getting out now because private sector jobs are offering high high salaries (some six figures)... So I was wondering how your transfer went, are you still doing logistics, was it hard finding a job once you got out, how is the money in the private sector. Thanks!

vagabond36362 karma

Good question. #1 most important thing you are going to learn in the Army is leadership. Leadership is a rare skill that few possess, and unless you are a worthless douche you should pick up on that. I was able to get out and transition into a role using my learned supply chain skills. It was not hard for me. For my friends that are combat arms officers they are able to get jobs too, but don't have special skills like I do. With that being said, they obviously would have the one-up if they went into something like law enforcement. Either way to answer your question yes, I am still doing logistics but I wear a suit now, and I'm doing well for myself.

jay2121271 karma

Do you feel there is a big difference between commissioned and non commissioned members, obviously a difference being one is more operational, while the latter has more personal connection to the grunts, but do you feel it is similar workwise.

I am a Clerk in the CF, so was curious what you thought. Purple Trades Unite.

vagabond36362 karma

I think there is a very big difference, but by nature of the roles. The Officer Corps is responsible for planning and thinking big picture tasks. The NCOs and enlisted Soldiers are responsible for getting shit done. I've got nothing but respect for 95% of the NCOs out there, the other 5% are the dirtbags (just like the officer corps has some) and for those people I have no love. NCOs definitely have more of a connection with the Soldiers and thats great. At the end of the day though, we are all together in our goals of accomplishing the mission and getting the job done.

Gloria_Patri1 karma

What percentage of vehicles came back with full BII/COEI? Did you try to get them back to 10/20 standard or just cannabalize them to maximize FMC numbers? Did you have hundreds of vehicles on your primary hand receipt or were they managed differently?

vagabond36362 karma

My HR I only had maybe 30-40 VIX in my company during the deployment, and i think we only got 10 more for in theater, im not sure. Since you're in the Army you know that full BII is a joke. Even in garrison half my stuff was on shortage lists as missing BII. As long as we had the life-saving stuff on-board we were good.

Cannibalizing is really difficult to do and requires a lot of signatures, so we did that as seldom as possible. I have to give hats off to my Soldiers though because they found ways of making things happen. I would see a deadlines vehicle and come back an hour later to find it repaired and my NCOs telling me not to worry about it. NCOs lead the way.

Kavc1 karma

What do you do if you really need a part and you can't take it from anything else's? Do you make it go boom?

vagabond36364 karma

if we really need a part and we cant take it from anything else we say "sorry sir/ma'am, we can't fix your shit. The part is not on hand and is backordered, we don't have any spares. I recommend you let us lift your vehicle onto that truck and you haul it out of here when you leave."

And they kind of have to take that answer for what it is.

MichaelJayDog1 karma

I crossed the border coming from Adder on the evening of Dec 17th. You were probably right behind our convoy.

vagabond36362 karma

you definitely crossed before I did. We left the day after VBC closed (Joe Biden was there. yay.) Took i think 3 days to get out.

phdpeabody1 karma


vagabond36361 karma

We had a lot of equipment. Most units sign over their TPE (Theatre equipment) and leave but we owned a lot of it so we had to drive that crap out.

purkle1 karma

Was there ever an action done by a single person not directly involved in your operation that made the biggest difference in executing your plans?

vagabond36364 karma

Everything has trickle effects. If we have to move a convoy at 0800 but some asshole didnt do his job and we get delayed 5 minutes then theres huge impacts. We have to notify all the folks who are depending on the convoy that we are late. We have to notify any support (like gunships) that we are going to be late. Then that affects 100000 other things.

I cant specifically reference any one thing without getting too detailed about crap that doesnt matter, but far too often do individuals make fuck-ups that cause everyone else to suffer.

sovietskaya1 karma

I imagine that it would be bad to get killed as a war is closing, does that thought bothered you everyday until you left?

vagabond36367 karma

Well, no one wants to be the poor soul who is the last casualty. No one wants to be a casualty period. While my experiences were distinctly different from the folks who were in intense combat (earlier in Iraq, or Afghanistan) I think that the strangest thing I remember is that the fear of death sort of passes when you are there. You get to a point in which you realize that there is little to nothing you can do to prevent your death. For example we used to get hit with rockets all the time. After a while you realize that there is nothing you can do and its just out of your control, so you sort of accept it and put it out of your mind. Most people can deal with this, but for some people it becomes something they think about constantly, and it breaks them down.

deadjawa1 karma

From your perspective what was the worst decision you witnessed that was done for bs political reasons?

vagabond36361 karma

My experiences were fairly boring. I mean, the whole getting out of Iraq way faster than we should have was kind of shitty, but I don't know the full reasoning behind everything. I was probably too low rank to have to witness any of the hard bullshit.

And now i've missed my lunch due to being on reddit. Fail.

Piotr5551 karma

Do officers think the same of enlisted as the enlisted think of officers?

vagabond36364 karma

No. We don't hate enlisted Soldiers as much as they hate us :(

neverthesaneagain1 karma

Do you know Lt Col. English?

vagabond36361 karma

No sir.

Otiac1 karma

If you're anything like any other LG Captain I've met, you were/are a fucking retard.

I really, really hope you were the diamond in the rough. Really.

vagabond36363 karma

Odds are im a fucking retard, tbh. I used to think I was good at the Army because my Soldiers didnt hate me and my NCOs liked me, but if theres one thing I've learned its that you never really know until you get out.

When i ETS'ed my BN CSM cussed me out because he said it was fucked that I was getting out because I was one of the good ones. I think that was the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. So maybe? Idk. Too many haters out there to know.

Otiac1 karma

So many just focus on the wrong dumb bullshit. I know of two in the past six months that were relieved. The Soldiers have already taken to calling their new commander 'the sequel'.

Thanks for your service anyhow.

vagabond36364 karma

I had two buddies who were both relieved of command. Its a shame but Id rather someone get relieved than be an incompetent leader and treat their soldiers like shit.


What kind of advice would you give to a 17 year old kid that just joined the army and is shipping to basic in a few months?

vagabond36362 karma

Dont get fat, stay in shape (thats one of the easiest things you can do to shine amongst your peers when you are in the Army). Show up to the right place at the right time in the right uniform.

Thats basically the key to being successful in the military. That and further your education so you can get promotion points.

Too many Soldiers settle for the bare minimum. Its the ones who strive to be "better" that do well. Listen to your NCOs and don't get caught up in all that drinking BS. I drink and love to drink but I do it responsibly. Im sure you will under-age drink, but when you do it dont go overboard. I chaptered a few Soldiers out of the Army for alcohol related incidents and have seen it ruin too many careers. Good luck and thanks for serving!


Thanks for the advice and your service! I'm going in as an E3 because I'm taking JROTC in high school, and Ive been working out for a few months but still would like to get under a 7 minute mile. I actually can't wait to leave.

vagabond36362 karma

" I actually can't wait to leave. " is something you will say when you get into the Army. :P JK Good luck!

RedLine19K1 karma


vagabond36363 karma

I have to agree with Redline 100% here. Loved being in the Army when I was in it. People who complain all the time and whine are the ones who have the worst careers.

RedLine19K1 karma


vagabond36361 karma

never got to fish :( and i wouldnt have eaten anything we caught. Did get to drive a couple golf balls off of Al-Faw palace though :/

usscrambler1 karma

What do you do now? Did your time in logistics translate into a good civilian career?

vagabond36362 karma

I work as a management consultant with a specialty in supply chain.

usscrambler1 karma

Can I ask how you like it? Is it a lucrative career? current cadet looking at trying to figure out what he wants to do in the Army and afterwards.

vagabond36361 karma

I love it. I get to do work that is intellectually stimulating, it pays well, and I get to work with cool people. (consulting)

revices1 karma

Great work with the withdrawal sir! I was in a transportation unit out of Taji in 09-10, and I can't even imagine how they closed that place down. There was a lot of talk about shutting it down while I was there so it's interesting to hear it stayed around so long after we left.

vagabond36361 karma

I think that State Department took over TAJI and there are a few Americans over there still. But I know VBC is gone. Hooah.

Cauca1 karma

Hi, how did the military solve water supply in their bases? Is that evolving currently?

vagabond36361 karma

At VBC we had a water plant which bottled hundreds of thousands of bottles of water for consumption, which were then distributed. That and bulk-water for cooking/washing were sent through trucks from the plant.

jpwhitney1 karma

This is only partially an Army logistics question, but here it goes:

Do you think the Iraqi military will be able to keep their more advanced military equipment running if there was a major regional war today? Do they have enough spares to keep their M1s running? Do they have a supply system that can keep those tanks full of fuel and ammo? If their troops are fighting outside of their major cities, would their nation be able to keep them in food and ammo? I guess what I'm basically asking is whether the Iraqi army has the logistical situation to where they could fight a serious war against a foreign nation such as Iran on their own.

vagabond36362 karma

It is my personal opinion that I think they would be capable of fighting a war if they needed to defend themselves. We had the best Soldiers in the world training them for many years. Hell, they fought a long war against Iran and found a way to get it done. I also think that we have stronger ties to them now.... so yea I personally think they could handle it.

Shrappy1 karma

Sir, I was deployed to BLAB/LSAA/JBB (whatever the hell we're calling it) during the last rotation up there and was responsible for a good deal of network infrastructure equipment on the AF side. My stuff up and disappeared one day and we suspect the Army took it. Do you know where my switches are?

vagabond36361 karma

The one thing I regret is that we did not steal enough stuff :( I wish I had your switches. I wish I had all of it.

camsmith3281 karma

Hey there! My dad is also a highly ranked logistics officer in the army and he as well helped with the operations you're discussing. So what is your experience with superiors and how has it affected your job?

vagabond36361 karma

I have had some REALLY great experiences with some very inspiring leaders. On a very general note I have been impressed with our lieutenant colonels and above. There are a handful of men and women that I served under that I still remember lessons from and use in my every day life. Part of me regrets that I did not stay in and grow old in the Army (the part of me that selfishly believes that I was one of the good ones) because mentorship and passing on knowledge is a good thing.

ClubsBabySeal1 karma

I've always heard logistics officers can make pretty good money in the private sectors working for large corporations after they get out. Is that true?

vagabond36361 karma

I'm happy with what I make, I would like more though. I think it depends on the individual quality of the person and their experience

JeremyNJ19841 karma

Seeing that your work was done primarily in Baghdad, how do you feel about the fact that groups such as Aqaib Al-Hug, JeM, Mahdi, etc that have been involved in the killings of thousands of our soldiers have been part of the Iraqi political framework thanks to Iran? Also, how do you feel that the Iraqi police and Army can do its job adaquately and prevent inter-communal violence among sunnis/shi'as ?

vagabond36361 karma

The fact that the govt "supports" some of those groups is probably a necessary evil, but still makes me sick. Iraq hasnt broken into civil war yet, so thats a good thing... I hope they hold it together.

Potatoe_away1 karma

Balad Vet here, I've been curious about how much crap we left there. (trailers, T-barriers, air conditioners, GSA vehicles....etc. )

vagabond36361 karma

turned in all the GSA VIX (I think we sold them all to the Iraqis) and all that other shit, like CHUs and aircons and furniture and barriers, etc, got left behind. Id be curious to see what someone more senior says about whether or not we gave it away or sold it.

Gesonta1 karma

Did you ever go really hard on a soldier just to make an example for the rest of the company, such as an article 15 for something like say, no boots while driving a motorcycle, or did you always take things on a case by case basis?

vagabond36361 karma

Everything is case by case. Non-judicial punishment only works if you are fair and reasonable when carrying out punishment. I would not give a Soldier an article 15 for a small offense (I would let my 1SG or their PSG/SL deal with it). If however the Soldier did some crazy shit, like cocaine (kicked 3 Soldiers out of the Army for cocaine and my drug problem in my company magically stopped) then I would be harsh on them. Every punishment carries fair severity with it dependent on how bad it is, and at the end of the day I'm only going to punish someone to an extent that I feel to be reasonable and not keep me up at night second-guessing myself.

xereous1 karma

How many tons of concrete "T-Walls" did we leave behind? They will probably use all those t walls against us when we re-invade them years from now.

vagabond36361 karma

I think we left them all behind. Cost to move T-Barriers > Cost to Not Move them. Womp Womp

dmukya1 karma

I was at Balad from 09-10 as the S-5 for a 1200+ person unit. I did my part cutting down the flow of folks into theater, lining up deployments so people wouldn't need to come home extra early, and built/executed a unit withdrawal plan.

Thank you loggies for keeping everything moving.

vagabond36362 karma

we all did our part to get the job done! Thank you for your hard work.

tjdziuba1 karma

How real is the Good Idea Fairy?

vagabond36362 karma

I would imagine that there are many majors out there that are intimately familiar with the fairy and full believe.

uptonhere1 karma

I am at camp buehring right now, where is your T barrier located

vagabond36361 karma

I feel for you. Camp Buehring is the worst, atleast during the summer.

gfowler921 karma

I'm currently studying logistics myself. I'm interested in going into a branch of the military to do what you are doing yourself. Any advice on how to get into this field? Thanks

vagabond36361 karma

its very difficult to get branched into something specifically unless you sign extra years. Even if you have a degree in logistics, the Army might put you into any of its branches after you go through OCS. Kind of makes no sense, but thats how it is :(

historyduhr1 karma

Hoq so you feel about women in combat positions?

vagabond36361 karma

yea... thats a complicated one.

oxide-NL0 karma

Did you feel useful around there ? with that i mean did you think you're presents there and fellow soldiers improve safety and quality of life for the locals.

Or was it clear for you that from the beginning that wasn't the goal of being there ?

vagabond36362 karma

I dont think that any of that mattered to us. We were there to do a job : Support US Forces/Iraqi Government and then help in the retrograde of personnel and equipment of Iraq. I personally did not interface with the locals but if anything that we did helped, I am glad. There were people whose mission was to support and help the locals, I personally fell into a second tier of supporting US Forces only.

ShutYourFuckinSuck0 karma

What ensued was a cluster-f*#k of hastened withdrawal

im pretty sure some LtCol/ Col out there is happy to see what you thought about his leadership if he happens to be reading this AMA,lol (that is if you had one over you..)

but anyhoo, you have balls for making this post, good shit. if i weren't so lazy right now, i'd photoshop some dicks in your hands.

good job though.


vagabond36363 karma

Im not saying anything that people wouldnt agree with. Just trying to share an experience. Thanks, knuckle-dragger :)

NorthStarZero0 karma

Seacans! Seacans everywhere!

Loggies sure do like them some seacans.

vagabond36361 karma

we also like beer, food, and cigarettes!

NorthStarZero0 karma

Funny about the cigs. My guys are almost totally non-smokers.

Dip, however, runs rampant.

vagabond36362 karma

Part of me missing staff meetings where half the people have dip cups. Dip cups = something you never see in the civilian world. I think maintainers smoke a lot because...... well I don't know. I dont smoke anymore though :(

oishiinigiri0 karma

Just come to say good on you and thank you for your service. I am getting ready to deploy as a BN S-1 and my fiancé is a loggy taking over a company in a couple weeks (he is quite nervous/excited). No deployment for him with the company, I definitely wouldn't have wanted to be in your position with that logistical nightmare!

vagabond36364 karma

Hey! BN S1 Good Stuff! When I was a 2LT I was sent to Korea to go work as a maintenance platoon leader for some ADA unit... The day before I went to my unit they sent me to an ordnance battalion instead and I had to be a BN S1. Didnt know anything about anything and I did that job for 6 months. Defend and Serve!

oishiinigiri1 karma

Oh man yeah hahaha. All the LTs I know who are natural AG -still- don't know crap when they get to BN level. I am CM (branch detailed), was lucky enough to get a job a year ago as BN S-1 as a 2LT. Still have my job but was headhunted for deployment with another unit - the BN CDR isn't too happy about it, but knows I want to do it and luckily my replacement is in since we technically didn't have a 42, and CM is really dead end. He's understanding and wants me to get my deployment experience, which is great, so he signed off on me transferring. Very excited :)

Lucky you going to Korea! I actually chose it as my #1 spot but honestly I got a great post anyway. Going back to Korea as a CPT, and potentially living off post by Yongsan (if fiancé and I both end up there), would be my dream.

vagabond36362 karma


AnotherMilitaryAMA-2 karma

  1. Do you think the US military should immediately get out of Afghanistan? Why or why not?

  2. Do you believe the US military is creating more enemies by continuing to occupy Afghanistan?

  3. Why do you think the US military is still in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2013?

  4. What do you think about US drones killing a lot more civilian than actual Al Qaeda members in Pakistan?

  5. What do you think about the CIA drone "double tap" policy of shooting hellfire missiles at targets, then circling around to kill people rushing to the scene of the attack who are trying to save the civilian casualties?

  6. If the US went to war with Iran, would you consider a service member who went AWOL a coward, or smart?

  7. What do you think about the NDAA allowing for American citizens to be indefinitely detained without trial if they are "suspected" to be associated with terrorists?

  8. What do you think about women being allowed in direct combat roles?

  9. Do you think that more servicewomen will get raped since the lift of the ban on women in direct combat?

  10. Do you think that Major General Smedley Butler was right when he said "War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives."

vagabond36361 karma

While i appreciate your long post, I think I should be a little bit political in my response. I have some personal opinions but since this AMA is much bigger than I thought it would be I'm not going to get too hot-buttoned on anything and risk someone taking my comments out of context or think I am speaking for all servicemembers, or something silly like that. I'm just a dude who was once in the Army, is new to reddit, and thought it would fun to talk to 1 or 2 people about my sole experience. Womp Womp.

statikuz1 karma

Just ignore him - he pastes that same list of questions to every military-related AMA.

vagabond36361 karma

Figured something like that... links and everything in his reply! WOMP WOMP!

radii314-3 karma

Is the average soldier informed at all are woefully ignorant? Did most soldiers know we were lied into that war by the israel-first neocons and that we should never have been in Iraq in the first place - that Saddam was contained and against Al Queda yet now Iraq is aligned with Iran?

vagabond36366 karma

I dont think most of us cared about any of that. We were told to go (because our people elect the government and the government makes these decisions) so we went, we did our job, and we left.

YoureNotMyRealMum-3 karma

How come army people think they are all heroes, when they are simply retarded people who can't get real jobs?

vagabond36362 karma

We dont all think we're heroes? Im definitely not a hero, but I do have a real job. Part of me wishes you would have spelled it "retarted."

Johnny_Cash-5 karma

Anybody who can spell "thermate" knows that Israel and America's Jewish shadow government did 911. Do you ever contemplate that you and your "brother" officers are going to hell for your treason in helping to disgrace and bankrupt America?

vagabond36362 karma

I hope not! I hear hell is warm.

us74k5-5 karma

Logistics CO, gtfo bro. Pogs don't have good stories.

vagabond36367 karma

awww trolololo. Didnt claim i did, BRO. Just a dude answering questions on a slow Friday. Don't hate cause you're mad.

us74k5-1 karma

Lol, me mad? I was a real soldier, I am not mad, just frustrated with douches like you who love to be glory hogs. Acting like you did something worth talking about on a Friday. How about send your soldiers home or something.

vagabond36363 karma

I know that battling a troll over the internet is senseless, you can be a sad upset guy if you want to, thats your right as an internet warrior. If you read any of what I said I'm pretty clear that there is nothing "glorious" about being a logistics guy. I'm sorry if me putting up my perspective of an experience on a Friday morning has angered you so much - you must have a lot of rage inside you. And yea all my Soldiers did come home. whysomadbro?

us74k5-1 karma

Hmm, read what I say before you reply maybe? I am really not angry, but if you watch AMA's, it seems to be littered with trash that wants attention for doing nothing more than sitting back in a chair and collecting a paycheck. I didn't ask if your soldier's came home, I said send them home. As in, its Friday, and you are doing an AMA, do something useful instead, like send them home for the day. Genuinely not angry.

vagabond36362 karma

I'm in the Army anymore, I'm a civilian. No way in hell I would sit in my office if my guys were working and do this. That would be so terrible. And when I was in command I did my fair share of zonks and half-days. Got to love morale, I was very good about it... b/c if the Soldiers got to go home early it meant maybe i could leave by 5 :/