Afghanistan Diary Part 8- Task Force Nomad (October 29 2011)

Well we have now completed three missions. This last mission was somewhat of a repeat of mission two in that we were at the same location. That is where the similarities end as we did not have the same problem with the tram. No, we had an entirely different set of problems today which have me at my wits end. 

Okay, how do I get into this next topic? How can I explains this in a somewhat tactful manner? I am the second in command on these missions. My boss is the Convoy Commander and he is a Captain. He and I have very differing opinions in regards to security. He is a very difficult man to work with, as he refuses to take advice from anyone, including his senior advisor, aka myself. I am the Assistant Convoy Commander, but more importantly I carry a second billet of Security Team leader. It is actually the entire reason myself and my personnel are up here with this convoy and work crew in the first place. We are the security experts assigned specifically to keep these personnel safe on their worksite, as well as during the movements from place to place. It is what we train almost every day to do. Yet, Captain…let’s call him “Custer,” insists on running everything and taking advice from no one. 

He made two decisions on this last mission that dismounted troops from the safety of their up-armored vehicles unnecessarily, placing all in greater danger during a time of darkness when our convoy was halted unexpectedly. These were not questionable calls whatsoever. They were decisions that were 100% wrong, 99% of the time. I knew before approaching him after the convoy that my advice would fall on deaf ears, nonetheless, I felt a moral obligation to approach him and get my concerns into the air. Yes, I knew he would immediately become defensive and would never admit that my security tactics were correct, much less admit that his decisions were incorrect. 

That is precisely how it played out, with him again dismissing my concerns with his favorite defense line, “That was a risk I was willing to take.” This is becoming an extremely difficult position for me. I can continue pointing out the glaring errors, knowing full well that his pride and arrogance will never allow for him to accept that he is wrong about anything. Eventually this will lead to disaster when we become just fed up enough with each other to throw down one evening. I am 40 years old now and the prospect of “throwing down” with anyone just sounds like a bad idea from the start. 

The second option is to let it go and let Custer rule with his iron fist. This option seems morally reprehensible to me as each time he makes such decisions he puts lives in danger. It may be a risk he’s willing to take but it is most assuredly not a risk I am willing to take. I do have a third option. An option that is thoroughly frowned upon by the structure of the military. I could go around him to the next higher authority and let him know my concerns. This is called not utilizing the chain of command properly, and if not done with surgical precision, it could get me in a lot of hot water and turn me into the bad guy. I will not sleep well tonight contemplating my next move.

Author: Ronald - Silent No More Majority

I have been serving on active duty in the United States Marine Corps for 17 years. Originally from the "Show Me State" I believe in action over symbolism and "doing" over "feeling", and I'm a staunch, Constitution following, Reagan Conservative

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