Never According to Plan
An Excerpt from
The Lieutenant Don’t Know
by Jeff Clement
After deploying, one of the reasons that it took so long to
to not be on edge, was that nothing in Afghanistan ever went according to plan. We always had to ready for anything. May 23, 2010 was supposed to be a routine day.
“Alright, guys, another recovery mission. 3
Marines is up north of us. They hit
a couple IEDs last night, but they’ve pulled the
two trucks and one mineroller back to a relatively secure area.
” A mineroller was a
9000 pound sled with wheels that would be attached to the front of our trucks to limit the damage from IEDs
the IED would go off under the mineroller instead of under the truck with Marines inside. I was five months into my deployment as a truck platoon commander with Combat Logistics Battalion 6, a Marine Logistics unit. We had the cranes, trailers, and wreckers needed to recover vehicles that were damaged by IED strikes.
I continued briefing. “The idea is that we’re going to move fast. This isn’t a resupply, so we’ve only got 15 trucks. We know that the insurgents will try to target us with
IEDs on the Tabletop, this ridge in the middle of the route. So we are going to try to run up to the objective, load up and get back. Mission time, six to eight hours.
I looked up. Calm, dirty faces stared back at me. Dirty was good. It meant they had spent time on maintenance. Calm was good too. They knew what they were doing. My routine mission was disrupted right from the start. At the last minute, we had to bring some supplies up to 3/7, so we left about six hours late. Still, the trip up to the recovery site was smooth, and I thought we were back in a groove. I found the officer in charge and asked him where the equipment for us to
recover was. “Alright, so we got three MRAPs,” he said, “and one mineroller.”
“Three?” I cut him off. “The request was only for two.”
you show me where this mineroller is?”
Jeff Clement with his armored MATV, May 2010.