Sorry that it has been so long since I have sent out and email on what is happening over here and about my convoys. The last 3 weeks have been really confusing and the convoys have been boring to me. I really didn’t think that there was much for me to report, but someone back home told me that even though it may be boring to me, it is still exciting to ya’ll. So I will see if I can remember all that has happened.
I know that I told ya’ll about having to go to APO for a while and run mail. Those convoys only ran from Kuwait to Cedar. In my opinion and several other drivers, that is the most boring stretch of road that there is. Nothing happens on it. The most excitement is at the border. The kids are still throwing rocks every now and then, and are stealing anything off the trailers that they can. I did have a run-in with one of the CC’s while running APO. APO is more or less by the book on things. There are lots of things that we did in reefers that they just don’t allow. That was not a real big problem. We didn’t like it, but we adjusted. The thing with this CC is kind of funny. With APO wanting you to do everything by the book, it really surprises me that they would let this slip by. See, in reefers, we never signed any bills for any thing. They just put us under a trailer and the CC had all the paperwork. But the CC didn’t have to sign for anything either. At APO, they had you sign a paper saying that you were responsible for that mail. Then we would run it to Cedar and drop the trailer, grab retro and come back. On our first mission to Cedar, several of us old reefer drivers complained that there was no one to sign for the mail when we got there. The people there said that they only had to sign for the registered mail. We didn’t like it, but dropped our trailers anyway. When we got back to Kuwait we all asked about this. Our foreman said that yes, they should sign for all the mail, but no one has pushed the issue. Several of us didn’t like that answer and asked about making them sign for the mail and not dropping the trailer till they did. That was fine with them, they really didn’t blame us for it and would stand behind us if Cedar complained about it. Legally, when you sign that paper for that mail, you are responsible for it till it is unloaded, unless someone else signs, releasing you for that responsibility. Now, I don’t know about ya’ll, but I don’t want to go to jail for someone else. And messing with the mail means jail time.
The morning of the next mission, since I was the only truck that would be pulling a loaded trailer, I told Dan and Chris, the foreman and supervisor of Kuwait APO, that I was not going to drop my trailer until I had signed paperwork in my hands. That if they got a phone call about it, they would know before hand what was up. They said that was fine. See, APO runs 30 trucks up no matter how many loads there are. We bring back stuff on flatbeds that are coming down. So since I was the only loaded trailer, everyone else bobtailed up. When we got there, the problem started when I told the CC, Veronica, that I was not getting out from under the trailer till someone signed for it. I was not going to be responsible for it while someone else was pulling it. She got all in a huff and told me to wait there. Mario, the guy that handles APO in Cedar said that he didn’t have a problem with that, but would have to go get copies of the paperwork so that I could have a copy and so could the next guy. That was fine with me. So I stayed there and since we had brought up people that were moving to Cedar as passengers, Mike stayed with me because he had the trailer that had their luggage. Also, you are not supposed to left alone any where. They preach the buddy system. Veronica left taking all the bobtails with her as well as Mario. Two hours later, the drivers that were to pick up my trailer decided that they were going to dinner. Mike had left to take they luggage to the tents as soon as they had arrived. The DEFC closes at 20:00 and it was 19:00. They asked me if I wanted to go with them. And since they had to sign my paper work, and if they left, that would leave me sitting on the back side of the TTP yard, alone, I went with them. While standing in line, Veronica walks up and pulls me from the line and says that I have to go back to my truck right then. She didn’t get the drivers that were picking up the load. They were standing right beside me in line. On the way back to my truck, in an SUV, she threatened to write me up for leaving my truck. She also accused me of not riding the bus that I said that I rode over there. I told her to write me up if that is what she wanted to do, I just wanted a copy of it. When we got to my truck, she dropped me off and left. I was sitting there alone. Mario showed up in about 20 min. with the copies of the paperwork and told me that the next driver had to sign for it, he couldn’t. So I had to wait for them to get back from the DEFC. I the mean time, Mike asked me what was going on and I told him. He and several other of the old reefer drivers hit the roof when they found out I was back there by myself. Mike said that they would leave the staging area and come sit with me. Ron, the driver that was picking up my load came back from dinner and was pissed that Veronica had done this to me. He signed my paperwork and hooked to the trailer. I went and got my retro trailer and pulled into the staging area as the DEFC was closing. Veronica’s truck was already parked and had the curtains closed. Mike and I talked about her saying she was going to write me up. I decided that I was going to write my own statement as to what happened while it was still fresh in my head. I didn’t know yet if I was going to turn it in or not. I thought I would wait and see how things went on the way back and see if she really was going to write me up. The next morning, during TSTI, Veronica, proceeded to call me down for “not following instructions” in front of the whole convoy. She didn’t just address an issue that she had, she harped on it and harped on it. I turned and told Mike that was it and I was turning in my report. She yelled at me,” I am talking here.” I calmly turned to her and said,” I understand that.” She then started in again on what had happened the night before. I turned and walked away, so did Mike. She yelled to us that she was going to write us up. We kept on walking. When we got back down to NAVISTAR, where our phones worked, I called Chris and told him what had happened and that I had it all written up. When we got back to APO, Dan pulled me aside and told me I was wrong for leaving my truck. I told him that I had written up my statement and turned it in, if he want to read it and get my side of the story. He did. He thought that I was making a big deal out of being left alone in the back side of the TTP yard for nothing. I had to explain to him, that just because there are soldiers guarding the berm, it didn’t mean that I was safe. I wasn’t worried about what came from the out side of the camp. I was worried about the inside of the camp. We have some great men and women serving our country, but sometimes women get raped and killed on post. We also have lots of TCN’s running around the camp. Veronica was the CC and she should have never left me there alone. My safety is her responsibility. And as far as us walking away from the TSTI meeting, I don’t have to stand there and be degraded by her or anyone. Finally, he told me that she didn’t write me up for any of it. He said that she said that she thought about it, but just let it go if they would have a talk with me. I told him that I would pull my statement if they would have a talk to her about what she did. He said that they would. I don’t know if they did or not, because the next day they pulled us back to reefers. I heard through the grapevine that they are now making sure that every driver has an extra copy of their paperwork and gets it signed by the next driver picking up the load. So, maybe I did do some good. At least another driver wont have to go through that and worry about weather the next driver under their load is responsible.
Well, I am going to leave off there. I have a cold and have the day off. I think I will get myself back to bed. Ya’ll don’t forget that I will be back in the states for my R&R on the 20th. 11 days and counting. I hope to see as many of you as I can. Ya’ll take care.