From the memoirs of El Jefe.
Fort Campbell, KY (2000): My squad leader says to me congratulations. You''ll be going on a FTX (Field Training Exercise) with battalion to the back forty. The back forty is the training area in....it's the woods. Myself and other soldiers from my company were going to be attached to Headquarters company. If anyone that's been in the military knows anything about field exercises you know that you never want to be attached to another company. They usually want lower enlisted and you get stuck with shit details. To make it worse you never want to go with HQ because they are the laziest bunch of fucks that I have ever been around. They are admin people so most of them aren't used to digging foxholes and all that HOOAH Army shit. The good thing was it was a short FTX only about three days if I recall correctly.
My role was to be a member of the battalion Quick Reaction Force (QRF). The QRF is responsible for guarding the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) in the event of an attack. The commander also has the option of sending the QRF to augment any sector of the battalion's perimeter defense. In this particular case only a small contingent from each company were out there. When we hit the site just as I expected, the QRF was tasked to setup the TOC and the HQ tents.
One of the guys on the QRF with me that also came from my company was this skinny Nigerian kid named Chidi. He worked in our company's Avionics platoon (arguably our worst platoon next to SSA). But I digress. The key word in the QRF is QUICK. Chidi was anything but quick. He had attended a Nigerian boys military academy when he was younger but that didn't seem to transfer over into being a good soldier. His movements were slothlike and he could put away some MREs. He could eat three whole MREs in a 8 hour period. How he ever made bowel movements I'm not sure but he took in a lot of calories per day. He had this thing for fat White chicks. I bumped into him at the PX one day and he had these two cows with him and he looked at me with a devilish grin and said "Jefe I got the white women" and gestured with his head at the two chicks in the back. I kindly declined the offer and informed him I was married and I don't fuck skanks.
The QRF was a disaster. The NCO in charge had never ran a QRF before. I wasn't sure how a QRF was supposed to operate but myself and most Joes know when you have somebody in charge that doesn't know what the fuck they're doing. It's like when sharks taste blood in the water. His first speech was him rambling about us doing what the fuck he tells us to do, all the while in a monotone voice and not really making eye contact with us. Now this being a POG unit (Personnel Other than Grunt) we are used to certain luxuries..like generators and light. We didn't have any in our tent since we were a slice element and apparently no one checked some of the other joes' rucksacks before they came out there because some people were missing flashlights. The NCOIC (Non Commissioned Officer In Charge) didn't provide us with chem lights either. So it was dark as fuck in the tent and for tactical reasons soldiers can not use white light when out in the field. Gives away your position to the enemy.
We did a clusterfuck of a patrol around the perimeter the first night and when we returned to the tent this asshole SAW gunner on the cot right next to mine plops down and his M249 lets loose with about four rounds of blanks. He had forgot to put his weapon back on safe. The dark tent lit up like strobe lights for a second then everyone (not me) erupts into laughter. You fucking idiot!..sez I. He's laying on the cot whole body shaking from laughter. As I write this now I'm laughing but I wasn't laughing then. Three years later I was in Mosul, Iraq when a soldier from another battalion negligently discharged his SAW on the flightline as I walked past. Piss poor weapons discipline.
The next day in broad daylight we got another alert so we didn't have to contend with the darkness but yet and still the QRF was anything but quick. I was dressed and ready to go but Chidi....he took his sweet ass time. 15 minutes to get less than a 100 feet away and the NCOIC wasn't really taking charge of anything. At that point I realized I could lower my expectations for this goat fuck. Although I preferred not to be on this detail I was expecting something more exciting just on the basis of the name alone. Quick-Force. Doing Rambo type shit. I was still relatively new to the Army.
I had to take a deuce and walked to a porta potty down the road. As I exited said porta potty my peripherals caught a humvee heading in my direction. It had two antennas on it so I knew it had to be brass. [Brass-commissioned/warrant officers. Their rank insignia shines] I had just put my kevlar (helmet) on but the chin strap was dangling. In WW2 or Vietnam that might've been the norm but in today's Army that's a no no. Motherfuckers will ask you if you think you're John Wayne and correct you on the spot. Being a confrontational person that I am I didn't fix my chin strap when I exited said porta potty just to see if they were going to say something to me. I began walking up the road in the direction of the humvee with my strap dangling. The vehicle approached and it was major and some other officer in it. Hey soldier you need to fix that chin strap! What unit are you with? I replied that I was with the QRF and I was from Charlie company. He stared at me for a second. QRF huh? Okay. Then they drove off. I was with the QRF but I was a Bravo company soldier not Charlie. I learned early in the Army that if you meet some random NCO/officer and you're in trouble (not serious trouble) don't tell them what company you're in. Tell them you're from some other unit. Chances are they're not going to pursue it any further. Unless of course said NCO/officer wants to be a dick. Surprisingly there are quite a few assholes in the military.
Disclaimer: Written from the perspective of Specialist Jefe.
Glossary for Civilian Pukes (GCP)
FTX - Field Training Exercise; When soldiers go in the woods and play Army
HOOAH - Army slang with wide ranging meaning; Anything from roger that to fuck you.
HQ - Headquarters...duh; place where people come up with shit for other people to do
NCO - Non Commissioned Officer; he/she...mostly he...runs the day to day operations of the Army; without the NCO everything goes to shit
NCOIC - Non Commisioned Officer In Charge; self explanatory
POG- Personel Other than Grunt; a term combat arms soldiers use to describe support soldiers to make themselves feel superior because they are envious of support
POS- Personnel Other than Support; a term I made up to describe combat arms
QRF - Quick Reaction Force
SLICE ELEMENT - A piece of a larger organization. Think pie. You're not taking the whole pie just a slice.
SSA - Supply Support Activity; basically the warehouse
TOC - Tactical Operations Center; headquarters when we are in the field or deployed