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Biscuitsjam
01-05-2008, 13:43
This is back from when I was a PFC without much experience. I was wondering if anyone had similar stories to relate about FUBAR soldiers who don't maintain their equipment...


Our tank had mechanical problems in Iraq and we had to borrow another tank within the platoon for a "fun" mission (destroying two houses). We didn't have much time to get the vehicle ready, but it should have been enough -barely- if the vehicle had been properly maintained.

When we got out to their tank prior to the mission, we discovered that the .50cal was seized up and we couldn't even pull back the charging handle. The tank commander had not cleaned it in about 2 months and had just periodically poured bottles of water over it. We were unable to fix the .50 cal in the time we had, but we wasted a lot of time trying.

I got into the loader's position and found the M240 in almost as bad of shape. The headspace was way off and the weapon clearly couldn't fire without jamming. It was also absolutely filthy. In the ammo can, there were only about 50 rounds (instead of 200+), and those rounds had lots of rust on them because standing water had been allowed to sit since the last rain. I reached down inside the turret to get another ammo can and realized that the crew only had 4 extra ammo cans on the whole vehicle. None of those ammo cans had been prepared for combat, and the 7.62mm rounds were still packed in cardboard inside the cans. I cleaned the weapon, adjusted the barrel, and got a couple ammo cans ready for use before I ran out of time.

We also discovered that the tank was 4 quarts low of oil, which we promptly replaced. The cooler was mildewy, but we dumped ice and bottled water in it. At least the rear fuel tanks were full and the track looked decent... We didn't have time to do much more. It was SP, so we rolled out the gate with our fingers crossed.

Out on the mission, we had to fire the coaxial M240 machinegun. While it DID fire, it wouldn't STOP firing. Once the trigger was pulled, the weapon continued to shoot until the gunner pulled the charging handle to stop it.

We also tried to fire the main gun. Needless to say, it didn't work either. In the (only) time the crew had ever tried to clean it, they managed to break off the firing pin. Apparently, they never did any kind of functions check after reassembling it.

So, what was wrong? The tank commander was tactically brilliant and extremely knowledgeable about every military subject. You could put him under enormous psychological pressure and he could quickly come up with the proper solution to any combat problem. He was also extremely lazy. He hated working on his vehicle. His gunner, a kiss-ass, tried to emulate his don't-give-a-damn attitude (he's normally a hard worker, but he wanted to impress the tank commander). The loader was the kind of guy that needed his ass kicked every now and again to do his job. The driver was a hard worker, but the tank commander repeatedly ordered him not to do maintenance. Why? Because if the driver was out working on the tank without him, he thought it made him look bad.

In summation, NONE of the weapons on that tank worked:
.50 cal inop
Loader's M240 inop (and ammo situation FUBAR)
Main gun inop
Gunner's M240 malfunctioning


When we were towed back to base (IED actually launched us airborne), the crew just scoffed at our complaints about their maintenance. I don't know what-all happened behind the scenes with the NCOs, but not much changed with that crew.

It made me think. I realized that even the best-skilled soldier in the world wasn't worth a damn if he didn't take the time to properly maintain his equipment. I think I'd rather have an idiot with working gear watching my back.

fourdeuce2
01-05-2008, 17:55
We were doing a roadmarch from our duty station to Grafenwoehr once(about 20 miles), when about halfway there we stopped to do a maintenance halt. As the crews dismounted to open the hatches and check fluids, clean air filters, etc., the company commander walked up and down the line of vehicles to watch. He just happened to walk in front of one vehicle(113) when the driver popped the "cannister" over the air filter. As the company commander watched, the driver pulled down the fiberglass filter cover and found out that he didn't even HAVE a filter element inside it. Needless to say, the company commander was not happy with that crew.:steamed: