Roger's Show Biz Debut

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

23 - 30 May 1996

Thu 23 May

It's sunny and cool. MAJ Prusiecki, SFC Coyle and SSG Goodman of the 40 Engr come by at 0900. Prusiecki and Hadrick go to Staric to check out the school. Wally, Goodman, Scott and I go to the school to do the mine class. We're running late and the director hasn't given any thought how to do the class - he just searches for a class in session and steers us in there. Despite the chaos, it goes well. The kids are third graders. A CBS news crew is on hand and films a little.

In the afternoon we visit the Mayor, let him know we will be leaving soon. He invites us to a farewell next Thursday.

George McClellan shared with us three rules for Special Forces:

Fri. 24 May

Over to demi at 0700. MAJ Bestul told me that the data disk I dropped off a few days ago had a virus, so I get the virus fix disk from the Signal Officer. then Scott and I talk to the village head in Staric. Sem tells us that the reason the phone line to Imamovici has not yet been fixed is that people there are behind in their phone bills. That is not an IFOR problem. We go up to Stupari and talk with the Matacar and the village secretary about the transition. We mention rumors we had heard of trade across the ZOS, mostly people driving flocks of sheep. It got very still indeed, so we abruptly changed the subject. We got group photos of everyone.

Then we go up to Nocajevici. It's a beautiful day with gorgeous views. We hike to the mosque to say goodbye to the Hoja, but we got there just at the start of Friday prayers - bad timing. (We forgot about Daylight Saving Time - it's 1300 on our watches but noon by the sun, and Moslem prayer times go by the sun.) Then we go back to Stupari, drop off more donated clothes at the Red Cross, and psyops delivers their papers. We had planned a run up to Tarevo but dropped it; we had met our main contact from there in Nocajevici anyway.

We're back early, at 1600. I ran the virus checker. Our computer is infected with a prank macro called Concept, which is more a nuisance than a serious threat. Judging from the dates on the infected files, we picked it up in February from the office computer downstairs. The cleanup program is very slow, and it displays the file being cleaned. I all but fell off the chair when some very explicit imagery of an unofficial sort popped up. Later on, I counseled another user that, even though he may not save his love letters on disk, the computer makes a backup when it prints, and under the wrong circumstances (like doing a virus cleanup) somebody might accidentally see the files. He turned very red indeed.

I prep for Command and Staff, and take it for Scott. There's a lot of CA stuff to brief: the mine class, rumors of cross-ZOS trade, rules on cross-ZOS visits (the good news for IFOR- UNHCR does all the coordinating. This applies to visits by groups looking to return home, not solo personal visits.) I also briefed on the elections procedures and possible civic actions projects. The commander's comments were first class CA, and I said so. Among other tidbits: "Road damage - don't do it! This is not a giant Hohenfels. They do not shoot MILES lasers." Also, on flying flags: "This country has been conquered many times and they start killing the conquerers. We are not an occupying force." One of the main problems in the military is that people are often gung-ho to obey stupid orders, and at the same time ignore good orders.

Sat 25 May

We spend the morning on cleanup because BG Cherrie might come by (he doesn't). Scott gets a call to go to LA Pat on several missions. Hoskins needs to go to sick call so I drive.. At LA Pat we discover the mayor of Sekovici wants to talk with us but we can't get there (we came with two maintenance vehicles). We also need to contact the baker about his contract. The phones are not yet in at LA Pat (five months and still no commo!) so we go to a house across the street. We call the mayor and baker but have to leave messages both times. (They never come.) The woman who owns the house was very hospitable but complained about dust raised by the vehicles. Then we go back. I wait at the gate, Scott goes in and tries to call brigade on other issues. He spends over an hour dialing. We leave about 1600, stop at Demi. Scott coordinates with the TOC and we're out at 1815. Very hot and sunny. I was soaked with sweat.

We hold a fairly jovial planning meeting to deal with departure issues. Also, we meet with the interpreters and warn them that people are talking and they may lose their privileges if they're not careful. The next team might not be as flexible or as willing to accomodate their needs.

After sick call Roger was stuck at Demi. In the afternoon the 4/12 put on a talent show so he did an ad-lib routine about "Bosnian syndrome": after he leaves, he'll push a wheelbarrow to work, keep goats and chickens in the yard, etc. He got big-time laughs and for the rest of our time here, people came up to him and complimented him on the act.

Sun 26 May

Get to sleep in. Roger and George are out early to check a damage site near Vlasenica. I work on the transition book and updating our phone list. At 1300 we hike into Kladanj along with Barb and SGT Novotny. Scott checks in with a local painter. His wife and her sister work as cleaning ladies at Demi and Diane. We have coffee and soda, and chat a lot. Scott asks if he can do a painting of the mosque. We return about 1500. The cooks put on a barbecue lunch of burgers and steak just about the time we got in. It's cloudy and cooler but very humid - I'm soaked in sweat again.

I redo Hadrick's ARCOM recommendation; I get the feeling the skids are greased. He and Scott went in to Demi for the Broken Bayonet supper, and I pull radio watch. With all the senior people tied up, it's very quiet.

Mon 27 May

Up at 0600, convoy in at 0700. We get chow, radio frequencies, and fuel up. I ask a sergeant to ground guide me and he spots a leak in my rear hub. Psyops, it turns out, has a leaking front hub. Ours gets fixed in half an hour but Psyops takes longer and we don't leave until 1100. We go to Vlasenica. While CI does their mission, Scott and I go to PTT, call the baker and Jezdemir in Sekovici, and set up a meeting for Wednesday. Then we hike up to the market (Scott's looking for an Orthodox cross). It pours rain there so we wait it out.

Then on to Milici. We get to the Boksit office at 1345. We see the manager, inform him of the new team, and thank him for all his help. They need a new request letter for the new firing range location. Then we try to see the priest, but he's not in. We drop off a small gift and a note. We visit the hospital but the doctor is sleeping after a rough day. Drawing blanks all around. The rain is over and it's hot and sunny. We wander around, have a snack at a cafe, and run into CI at another. Then we drive back nonstop to Diane - ouch! We get in at 1750, just in time for barbeque ribs and chicken and corn on the cob. The pretty girls were out in force today; a blonde at PTT in Vlasenica and one at Boksit in a cerise dress were especially memorable. After chow I draft maps of the lodgement areas for the transition book. We also found that somebody had installed speed bumps in the road in front of LA Diane today - this would be an issue the last few days we are here.

Tue 28 May

Went to bed early and got a good long sleep. I needed it - hot days drain me. Not a problem tioday; it's chilly with heavy rain. Hadrick and Hoskins go into Kladanj; Scott and I stay back. I spend most of the day on the computer copying files, updating the phone list, and finishing the virus cleaning. Roger and George come back soaked - they should have stayed under cover. Chief Kennedy comes by, gives us a SAEDA briefing, then goes into town with Psyops. They come back late in the afternoon, fairly dry.

Scott is getting very tense. He's concerned about his OER and getting snappish. He's playing games with Roger, telling him his rotation date has slipped, and so on. It's getting a bit old. The word is our replacements might arrive on May 31. We are slated to go to Tuzla on June 6. There are no flights booked for us yet - we may go out on an R and R flight.

I pull radio watch 1800-2100.

Wed 29 May

9 days! Single digits! Cold and rain all day, tapering to drizzle.We're up at 0545, over to Demi by 0730. I get radio frequencies and the artillery target list, Roger picks up a new antenna, Scott tracks down a demobilization packet that was sent but not received. At 1030 we head for LA Pat. Bachi and I go across the road to make a phone call and also a bit of hospitality. Bachi takes the lady there soem fruit to thank her for letting us use the phone. We stop at Pat for lunch, then are out at 1215 to Sekovici.

First stop, the baker. We give him a contract through September. Scott notices a discrepancy in the dates on the contract and wants to change it. I'm very dubious. In the end, we don't.

Then we visit Jezdemir in his office. We go check out a proposed factory site near the high school, with a convoy of two vehicles plus his car. then we go back downtown. We patrol up a side street, get into Jezdemir's car, and go out to the monastery. We have a fish dinnet at the restaurant there and sample the schnitzel. It's very good but runs very long. Bachi is exasperating - he just cannot finish a meal. We stay until almost 1800, then rush through the monastery, which is impressive anyway. Then we head back to town, unload, and walk back to the convoy. The kids are real pests today around the vehicles. After Psyops gets done with their radio show, Chief and Scott hang around some of the shops another half hour. I'm fed up (I get that way when I'm tired) by the time we leave at 1950. We get in at 2100, just in time to pull radio watch until 2400.

Thu 30 May

Cold and damp most of the day, clearing late in the afternoon. I spend the morning on the transition book and planning. Scott is getting a bit antsy, but chilled out a bit after I told him he was "slipping into micromanagement mode". Although a very minor thing, this incident sticks in my memory as exactly the way an officer-NCO relationship should work; that an NCO should provide feedback if needed and a good officer will take it seriously.

After lunch, Roger and George go into town, talk with the baker, the mayor, and Mr. Hrnic. Scott goes into Demi to show the transition book to Dark Helmet. I get a couple of hours to work in peace and quiet, a real rarity. I pull radio watch 2100-2400. Both Chief at LT MacDonald have me call QRF's.

My Journal of Geoscience Education article was published; I got the issue today. Scott was highly impressed.

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Created 23 Apr 1997 Last Update 15 January 2020

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