Postcards from Tradocia

four wheels and a prayer

It’s common knowledge in the Army that if you have to draw a vehicle from another unit that it will automatically be the shittiest, most broken-down machine conceivable. Otherwise perfectly serviceable vehicles suddenly become rolling tenements when another unit shows up to use them. Either that, or each unit has a designated crap-pile of vehicles earmarked especially for use by poor suckers from the outside.

Yesterday was no different – SGT P and I quickly dubbed our ride “Four Wheels and a Prayer” considering its features:

a) no driver’s side seatbelt
b) no left and right front turn signals
c) no functional lock pins holding up the brush guard (the front grille), causing a fantastic rattle (not to mention what would happen if the brush guard dropped while driving)
d) squeaky steering
e) marginal door-closing capability
f) loose driver’s side window
g) and no headlights.

(also add item h, discovered later, that the weapon mount on the roof was hammered into oblivion – though it would still traverse and tilt down, but couldn’t elevate above level.)

Hey, good enough, let’s rock and roll!

By the time we reached the range, the sun was already up. After the usual round of safety briefings, range orientation, and general human inertia, our 4-vehicle group mounted up and moved onto the range for the blank fire exercise.

It was hardly “shock and awe” kind of stuff – we mostly cruised along at about 5 or 10 miles per hour while the M249 gunners on the roof blazed away at popup targets. At the end we jumped out and fired off a few rounds from our M16s. Today it was the same drill, except with live rounds – which means the safety factor will overrode everything else, making the process even slower.

I meant to have a picture with this entry but the network is still ridiculously slow, so perhaps another day. Okay, actually, this entry was supposed to go up yesterday but it was SO jacked up I couldn’t even do that. And now I can’t get to my email because of “unscheduled maintenance” – i.e., some shit broke.


  1. Mom and Dad

    Great Pix, Alex

    Hope all’s well

    Love, Mom and Dad

  2. Inna

    These are amazing images Alex, Worthy of publication or exhibition. Keep up the good work and they’ll publish a book of your work!

  3. Mom and Dad

    Hi Alex- I called Best Buy today. The work on your video camera was completed 4/2 and it’s being shipped to the store in Apple Valley – should get here midweek this week. We’ll send it right off.

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