Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Day In The Life

I drive a truck. Among the slew of other glorious jobs I perform truck driving is one of them. I never intended on driving trucks in the military but Uncle Sam saw fit to retrain a lot of us last year to fill the need for supply haulers in Iraq. So here I am the last two months of my deployment back out on the road in a big army semi. It is a broken down piece of crap that looks like it came out of the losing end of a monster truck show. The bumper is cracked, the brush guard doesn’t fit right, the seat belts are temperamental, my headlights choose to alternate between various stages of working and not working, and I’m lucky if something doesn’t go wrong each convoy.

By no means is my job held in high esteem. I am not driving a 25-ton beast of a Stryker vehicle nor am I in a cool looking tank with a giant gun coming off the top of it. No one looks twice as we drive down the road in our trucks. If my truck ate wine and cheese it would do so out of a box and an aerosol can.

So just what is it like to be a truck driver in Iraq you may be wondering? Well since we don’t get much airtime in the news (unless we’re dying) I’ll go ahead and share with everyone about a day in the life of a truck driver in Iraq.


Me Doing What I Do Best: Smiling


Long story short we spend our off days from the road getting our trucks ready for the road. For example we check the tires, belts, fluids, and the general drivability of our trucks. We make sure nothing is wrong with the truck that will get us into trouble out on the road. Most of the time this goes well but something always manages to go wrong that we can’t predict before hand. A tire might hit a pothole and pop or a whole wheel hub might crack and fall off under the weight of the added armor intended to protect us from IED’s but never intended for in the original design of the trucks. The extra weight of the armor leads to a lot of problems with these trucks but is a necessary evil since it ultimately helps to save our lives.

Once our trucks are ready to go, and the time has come for a mission, we prepare to go out on the road by getting the latest intel for the area we are traveling in and rehearsing just how we are going to go getting to our destination. We leave time to discuss what we will do if a truck breaks down or gets hit by an IED or if we happen to come under fire. Once finished we climb in our trucks and ready to leave the base.

The thing about being a truck driver in the military is that it is not a glorifying or attention grabbing job. We aren’t fighter pilots blazing through the air, we aren’t kicking doors in with our steely knives looking for bad guys, and we definitely aren’t jumping from airplanes behind enemy lines in the dark of the night. My uniform has my name on it and not a bunch of cool guy patches that let everyone know how badass of a soldier I am. Not that there is anything wrong with anything of these things, we are often jealous of these guys and the cool stuff they get to do. The thing about our job is a lot of the aforementioned guys think we are crazy to be out on the roads in Iraq with little security driving in slightly up-armored vehicles. We pretty much go out every night and take our chances with what we are going to encounter along the way. I often wonder why we couldn’t just train monkeys to do our job because it sure isn’t that hard.

While on the road we are taught to look around and scan our field of vision for anything that might go boom in the night. As hard as we may look there is just no way to find everything out there especially with how trashy some of these cities are. If we really wanted to turn things around on the roads in Iraq we would invest in the broken window policy that helped Rudy Giuliani turn around New York city. We would clean the streets up and fix all of the roads and curbs. Every time they were blown up we would be back out there fixing them so that if anything looked out of place we would know it. But with the roads in such disrepair and trash strewn everywhere it is hard to tell rubble from bomb, not that we really even could at 45 miles an hour and if we were to slow down it would enhance the chances of causing damage when we were hit. Now I honestly don’t believe such a policy as fixing all the roads in Iraq is even feasible but I do think it would be a good solution if we were able to do such a thing.

Once out on the road we travel at our predetermined speeds and intervals and just sit there hoping not to get hit with a bomb. It is much like being on a “hot” base and hoping not to get hit with a mortar. There is really nothing we can do to avoid getting hit with an IED besides taking the necessary precautions to eliminate unnecessary damage by doing such things as wearing our seatbelts and keeping our body armor on. We often sit in our trucks bumbling down the roads and have conversations that go something like this: “Yeah I saw the Buckeyes win last week yeah that was a great ga--oh look at that trash in the road I hope it isn’t an IED. Don’t blow up, don’t blow up, don’t blow up. Okay we are passed it now. So yeah it was a great game on Saturday.”

We are used to the game by now so we just go on with our daily business without sweating the small stuff. If something blows up, as it has, we do what we have to do to get out of the area and continue on with the mission. We can’t stop to go and find who tried to blow us up and we often times have no clue which direction to shoot in if there is even anyone out there to shoot at. Like I said we by no means have a glorifying job. All we are supposed to do is drive our trucks to the designated spot and nothing else.


Just so you know I really exist


Once we make it to our destination we drop our loads and try to rest for a while before we turn around to do it all over again. Such is the life as a truck driver in the army. We perform a necessary job and the war effort wouldn’t move ahead without us but you are not likely to see us in the news or any movies made about us in the near future. We definitely don’t do our job without complaining but we do get the job done, anyway else and it simply wouldn’t be the army. We get to travel around Iraq and that is good enough for us. At least we aren’t stuck on our bases wondering what is going on outside the wire. We get to go out there and “experience” it first hand and feel like we have accomplished something each day when we have a successful convoy. We are the driving force behind much of what goes on in Iraq. We supply fuel, food, ammo, supplies, vehicles etc each time we hit the road and without us the planes wouldn’t fly, the Strykers wouldn’t drive, and the “cool guys” wouldn’t have vehicles do infiltrate with. C’est la vie.

35 comments:

Libby said...

I know it's not much and it sure doesn't get said enough, but THANK YOU -- you seem cool to me.

Anonymous said...

You rule Tim....you are not one of the cool guys. You are THE coolest guy. And oh yeah....we think it would be a great idea to train those monkeys up even if they couldn't do half the job you are doing. You are right about the smile. That is one nice looking smile. The girls are going crazy.
Neatie

Anonymous said...

Why can't the IA do this job? Oh, never mind...I think somebody already suggested that.

Anonymous said...

Sgt. Boggs,
This is a great blog. You are correct that the information you gave us here does not appear in the media. I had no idea of the dangerous and crummy job driving a truck in Iraq was. They really leave you hanging out there it seems to me in spite of what you are doing in support of everything else that is being done. You are also correct that we hear only if there is bad news. I wish we could make some Congressmen drive those trucks for just one week. I am sure things would change. I don't think there is a chance in heck of that happening though. Maybe we should make it a requirement for running for election next election. It sounds like filthy living is a way of life with some people. Your idea sounds a good one but not a chance in heck of that happening either...right? Maybe Ladybird Johnson's idea of litter bags in every car....or a program for Iraqi citizens of Adopt a Highway. Thanks again Sgt. and our thoughts and prayers are with you in your dangerous, if not glorious mission. You are the best.
Annie

Anonymous said...

Boggs - My husband and I have four people working for us.
Two turn screwdrivers, one types, one does marketing.
Years with us are 9, 8, 8, 3.
These are every day jobs by any standards.
They are the jobs that are the bedrock of America's success.
Each of these people are extremely important to us and we are very proud to be associated with them.
I know without a doubt, according to the definition of Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman, that we have three sheepdogs and one sheep working for us.
I know our military is full of men and women truning screwdrivers and typing and marketing and driving trucks - the bedrock of our military - and I know without a doubt also that the majority of those are sheepdogs, watching our backs.
Hear me, if you haven't before, shout it from California to Iraq - I am so grateful to and so darn proud of our military!
THANK you for your service.
Andrea in California

Anonymous said...

Someone should come up with a really cool patch for you guys and gals. You put your lives on the line every day just like the guys who kick in doors and engage the enemy on purpose. Without you the military would come to a screeching halt. I know all our guys who rely on you know the danger you face daily and are greatly appreciative. Thank you for a job well done. My prayers are with you.

Margarita said...

Tim,

You guys are awesome and don't get enough credit for what you do. You totally deserve an "Absolute Coolness" badge!

Also, I think you really hit on something with your broken windows theory... I'm pleasantly surprised to discover I'm not the only one who thinks that way. =)

DayKay said...

Cool Movies that shoulda been about Army truck drivers in Iraq:

The Magnificent 7 Truck Drivers

Cool Hand Truck Driver

RoboTruckDriver

A Few Good Truck Drivers

Top Driver

Truck Driver I, II, III, IV, V, VI, and VII (I'd like the one where you out-drive the Russian best, no doubt)

Saving Private Truck Driver

etc. etc. etc.

And yea, that smile just encouraged my daughters to hope that they too can marry an Army Truck Driver! LOL

mamaworecombatboots said...

The more things change the more they stay the same. Different day, same channel. When I first joined the AF soooo loooong ago ('77) I was a truck driver at Grand Forks AFB, ND. Our challenge was the opposite, but just the same(and minus the IEDs of course. I drove a raggedy-ass old 5-ton truck to the missle field with rations for the crews with their fingers on the button. I could see the ground through the missing boot around the emergency brake, and often had to zip my artic parka hood to the tunnel position and scrape the frost off of the inside of the windshield while I was driving so I could see where I was going. When we broke down 300 miles from base (and we did, often) we just had to sit there and wait for somebody to miss us and come looking.(No cell phones) Could be fun @ -20 and windchill of -50. You are so right, you have the job nobody appreciates until you don't show up with the food, bullets, fuel, etc. So Boggsy, I appreciate you!

t.h. snure said...

Hey Nephew,

This sounds a lot like what I did in the Navy flying H-46's, we humped the bombs, bullets, milk and eggs to the war fighting fleet, and did it with no glory. The only difference was we had a couple of whirly-gigs over our head and no armor (if they tried to up-armor, we couldn't carry enough coffe for the carrier to last a night underway).

The only sporadic glory we saw was when one of us picked up a soggy jet-jock out of the water when he had lost his ride. We would get a few cases of beer and a few drinks at the O'club when we hit the beach, but then it was back to the same old stuff.

You can take a lot of personal pride in the knowledge that glory guys can't do their job without you. Like mamaworecombatboots said, they'll realize just how important you are when they are sitting there hungry and bullet-less waiting for the bad guy to show up and finish them off.

See you in a couple of months,

Todd

DJ Elliott said...

Anonymous said...
Why can't the IA do this job? Oh, never mind...I think somebody already suggested that.
8:16 AM

FYI:
Training and forming IA Motor Transport Regiments started in Aug05.
By end-Sep06 all nine planned IA MTRs will be "formed".
Four are In-lead or Independent ATT.
All are planned to be independent and supporting IA Divisions next-summer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks dj elliott.....That's a year from now before they will be 100%. Looks like you guys have a ways to go Tim. I wouldn't tear up my drivers license just yet. Buck Sargent has a great blog, not as good as yours Tim, but great. It has very good insight into the IA and Iraqi police force in Baghdad. I think it is a must read.....right after you read Sgt. Boggs Blog again. :)
http://americancitizensoldier.blogspot.com/
Keep on truckin' Sgt.

Susan said...

Too bad monkeys *couldn't* do the job - but you know everything would have to go right for them. They don't think fast or divergently!

Thanks for doing the job that needs to be done, whatever it turns out to be.

Anonymous said...

POGUE!

Anonymous said...

PWOOQ!

William Eaton's Last Stand said...

Mid-east bound and down
Loaded up and truckin'
We gonna do what they say can't be done...

jordan said...

Listen, we know it takes a boatload of courage and intestinal fortitude to get into that truck, and it sounds like you've got it in spades. Chin up.

gypsy said...

t.f. thanks for some additional insight into your current job over there. It takes various folks doing various things, whether they are HSLD or not, to make a whole. I may not know you personally but I'm dang proud of you for serving, no matter your job. Thank you for doing what you do...and stay safe.

Kat said...

THANKS! I have had a few adopted truck drivers... got one over there now, in fact... and it's great to get a glimpse into "A Day in the Life of..."

God bless... we appreciate you and are proud of you!

Derek said...

Thanks, Tim!

I'm gonna print this entry out for my brother "the truck driver". He whines like a little girl with skinned knees about what he has to "go through" driving a rig here in the U.S..

He would crap himself if he had to do what you're doing.

I think I'm going make my him help me design a proper (cool) patch for military truck drivers (i.e. unsung heroes) like yourself.

Thank you for your service to our country Tim!

You're in our thoughts and prayers daily. Stay alert and as safe as possible.

Derek

Bag Blog said...

Trucks and guns - boys and their toys!

Nice smile too! Neatie is right; girls will go crazy.

Bag Blog said...

My daughter confirmed it. Her quote, "He IS cute."

tanksis said...

Oh Sgt., you are quitle the ladies man now. Who says you get no glory, soldier?

Not many of those guys with the "glory" jobs have their own blog, where they can entice a whole gaggle of females to fall in "like" with them based on their strong minds and the fact the they are exceptionally gifted articulators.

Truth be told, you have one of the most dangerous jobs in the military today. You'll get your glory, maybe just not in the present, or in the form you may be expecting, but you'll get it. Hell, I would say being on Cavuto was a grand start!

Thanks, as always, for being a soldier committed to his duty. As the relative of a Tanker, I am especially grateful to you for getting the goods to where they need to be. You know the saying, "Behind every great man is an even better woman"? Well, behind every great Stryker team and tank crew is an even better support team.

Rock on.

And a final note. On this 11 September, I remember those who lost their lives, and those lost trying to save so many. A special thanks to the first responders and workers who gave it their all that day and in the ensuing months. May we never forget...

T. F. Boggs said...

Ha, thanks Tanksis. I'm just trying to do my job so I can come home in the vertical position. As far as being the ladies man we'll see about that when I get home, I haven't talked to a girl in a year so who knows if I'll be able to do it when I get back.

I don't think I have tapped into the young 20's crowd of girls yet so that sucks. Maybe I could make my blog pink and have Maroon 5 playing when you click on my site. Then I could list my favorite things below my picture along with my credit card number and the status of my bank account. Maybe that would work.

gypsy said...

t.f., lol it's like riding a bike, once you learn you never forget. Methinks you'll have no trouble at all...

Anonymous said...

Older girls are more grateful, Timmy.

Anonymous said...

What!? You haven't talked to a girl in a year?! What the heck do you think Annie and I are? Trees? I'm hurt Tim, very hurt. I guess all of us girls in our 30s can just forget getting a date with you. Oh well. I guess I'll just go sit in my rocking chair and knit a sweater before I go to bed at 8:00. Gosh, I hope I didn't forget to take my Geritol!
Neatie

Anonymous said...

I agree with gypsy - - It IS just like riding a bike...........only you're nekked.

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't down play your job as a truck driver. I think you and your unit are very brave. Keep up the great work that you do - stay safe and don't get too cocky. Prayers are being sent on your behalf daily. We love you and support all our wonderful young heroes. God's blessings.

Tom said...

Glad to hear that you got to watch the Buckeyes!! Nate and Carolyn missed you on defense, but managed to get the job done. Hope you make it home for the Fiesta Bowl. Miss you!!

Tom

strykeraunt said...

"By no means is my job held in high esteem. I am not driving a 25-ton beast of a Stryker vehicle nor am I in a cool looking tank with a giant gun coming off the top of it."

I remember a story about a time during the deployment of the first stryker brigade when the convoys were having problems getting supplies to the bases in the north because of attacks...and the chow halls started running out of food...I believe that those truck drivers who were finally able to make it through were held in very high esteem by the soldiers at those bases. Support jobs never get attention when they are able to complete the job...it is always more noticable when the job doesn't get done.

Anonymous said...

Exactly Strykeraunt! It got reported in the news when the job didn't get done. It is the same with every endeavor of our Military when the job doesn't get done. That is why we need blogs like Tim's showing us the jobs that are getting done! The News people should be reporting as well on ALL the jobs getting done, and done well. Thanks Sgt Boggs for doing your part in getting the truth of this out. Your story said much more than you might think it did.

Anonymous said...

Look it's Osama wearing an American uniform:):):):):):):):).

I guess they made him shave.

If your gonna say something Boggs say the TRUTH or be called an accessory to MURDER.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 11:53

You are a frickin moron, I am now dumber for having read your post. Pleae post your stupid "Americans are terrorists" claims on a site that cares.

Anonymous said...

Nice smile!