Jump Commands in Farsi

Credit to SOF News Update for finding this gem.

Night has closed in over the Zagreb Mountains of northern Iran. The sound of a plane is heard. Inside the plane Iranian Special Forces paratroopers prepare to jump into a maneuver area. There is a sense of urgency as last minute commands in Farsi are given by the lone American among them, a United State Army officer. How this officer, Captain Paul Wineman, is trained in the military and language skills needed for his urgent task overseas is the subject of this week’s documentary, “Special Forces Advisor.”

Special Forces Advisor – The Big Picture – YouTube

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The Hobbit on Yadkin Road: Jewel of Fayetteville

Maps
Three maps done by The Hobbit: NTC, Afghanistan (folded), Fort Hood.

The best things you learn in the Army you learn by word of mouth from good NCOs and officers (mostly NCOs). When I was a brand new Private in the 82nd Airborne Division, my first squad leader told me to go down to The Hobbit on Yadkin Road and get a proper cut and laminated map before I went out on my first field problem. I was new and impressionable and didn’t want to disappoint, so I did as he said, without question.

The Hobbit, mind you, is a hobby store very close to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. It’s a nerd’s paradise full of Warhammer stuff, models, and role playing clubs on weekends (and I’m not judging, readers of this blog know my interests). When I opened the door in my green BDUs with rolled sleeves and a high and tight, meekly looking around as I stepped inside, the guy behind the counter, a large man with a Game of Thrones-esque beard quickly said “Map?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Right there in the box behind you. It’s fifteen bucks.”

I turned around and saw that indeed there was a box full of cut and laminated maps of Fort Bragg.

The Hobbit has made a small business out of cutting and laminating maps that are foldable and can be placed neatly in the cargo pocket of a soldier’s trousers. Since awkwardly walking into the hobby store back in 2001, I’ve sent every map I’ve been issued there to be cut and laminated and sent back to me.

I have no idea how long they have been providing the service. They don’t have a website or even a legit Facebook page. I’ve always just mailed them my maps with a handwritten note of what I want and a phone number to call me to finalize the deal. It’s relatively inexpensive, fast, and the end product is a map, beautifully cut and laminated.

So, what I’m saying is, if you want your maps expertly cut and laminated, send them to The Hobbit. While there may be someone else that does it locally here at Fort Hood or other posts, I don’t know them. I know The Hobbit. They’re a known quantity and they’re good.

The Hobbit
6111 Yadkin Road, A
Fayetteville, NC 28303
(910) 864-3155

I’m a bit remiss to do this post, because I feel like I might be letting the cat out of the bag. But I like the service so much that I felt it would be helpful to spread the word.

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Valentine’s Day Deployment

January 2003

Once upon a time on Ardennes Street…

Another morning like any other in the 82d Airborne Division. A company run at a nice, easy pace. A run designed to build esprit de corps and unit cohesion.

I had been in the Army for almost two years. The entire division had deployed to Afghanistan since 9/11 with the exception of the 325th AIR, the Falcons. War with Iraq seemed more likely with each passing day and each week brought news reports of units being tapped for deployment to Kuwait. At the time, the rumor was that we were being held back to serve as a strategic response to any worldwide contingencies. Paratroopers from the 504th and the 505th were cycling back to Bragg, chests puffed out at the Airborne PX, showing off their new CIBs. Our fear was that this whole thing would pass before we got our chance in the show.

As we beat feet, singing cadence, the company I was running in started rumbling loudly. I looked up and saw that we were passing a company from the 504th who had just returned from Afghanistan.

“Three Two Jive!” someone shouted from the passing formation.

“No war Oh-Four” someone responded from our formation.

“We got ours! You guys missed it” we heard.

A junior NCO from our formation got out the last word “They’re saving us for Iraq” which was said with more hope than fact.

We passed the formation and continued running, wondering if we would ever get our shot.

14 February 2003

Worst. Valentine’s. Ever.

Wearing my brand new desert uniform and maroon beret, I stood outside on a browning grass field, worn down from sweat and mountain climbers. Hundreds of paratroopers were busy all around me checking and double checking serial numbers, burning 550 cord, loading trucks, and making sure duffel bags and rucksacks were nicely lined up in formation. I called my girlfriend to tell her that I was leaving to deploy “somewhere” and that I didn’t know when I would talk to her again.

For weeks prior, we trained and prepared for a deployment to Iraq, although no one told us that is where we were actually going. We all suspected it was Iraq, and I am sure our command new that was where we were going, but that word didn’t filter down to my level. The war hadn’t started yet and everything was a secret.

Instead of finalizing romantic plans for the evening, I made sure she knew where she could find my will. I tried to sound as confident and reassuring as I could as I finished up the call like it was any other night. “All right, I’ll talk to you later. I love you. Bye!”

I powered down my phone and turned it over to my squad leader who placed a piece of white tape on it with my name and date. I let out a deep breath of air and turned my attention to the best Valentine I could get – my team, my squad, my platoon. We would spend the entire year together in a hot, exotic locale. Romantic for all the wrong reasons.

I wouldn’t hear her voice again for three months.

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