After reaching Anaconda the other day, we all dropped our trailers and went through dispatch and had them inspected. While we were doing all that, tankers came over and said that they needed 5 drivers to run a mission. Since it has gotten hot over here they have lost over 300 drivers that I know of. I have heard that there have been as many as 500 through out the theater. So everyone is short handed. Now, tankers is borrowing people from all over to drive. One guy refused to go to tankers and was sent to HR and then fired. That afternoon, they came back again and ask for 1 more volunteer to go to tankers to make 1 mission out to Ridgeway. Ridgeway is in Fallujah. I had one of my guys refuse to go. He and the foreman got into a bit of a disagreement. The foreman was going to send him to HR till I stepped in. I went into his office and told him that before he sent one of my guys to HR and had him fired because he was scared to pull a tanker, that I would go in his place. I will not loose good people over something this stupid. Some of these guys have small children at home and are on the edge of going home now as it is. Most would have gone out to Ridgeway pulling anything but a tanker. Tankers gets hit every day and they are the most hit out of all the trucks here. There are lots of good people that have gone home because they would not go to tankers. I have some good people in this crew. I just couldn’t see them getting fired over this. I am not scared of tankers.
So when they pulled all the people together and asked again for a volunteer, I asked a few more questions. Could they guarantee that it would be for the one mission and one mission only? Could a Kuwait person do it? And if they didn’t get a volunteer, would they try to make someone go? And if that person refused would they be sent to HR? I got a yes on all? I again, told them in front of all the guys that before they sent one of my guys to HR for refusing to go to tankers, I would go in their place. He was not going to threaten my guys with that and I was not going to allow it to happen. So, the foreman and I made a walk down to the tanker office. When we got there, they said they may have another guy to do it. About 10 min later, a guy showed up and they took him. I didn’t have to go. When I walked back down to the reefer office, everyone asked if I was really going. I told them that they found someone else and that I didn’t have to go. They all were glad to hear that. The guy that was almost sent to HR for refusing pulled me aside. He and one of my other guys told me that they would have never forgiven themselves if I had gone and something had happened to me. I told them that it was my decision to go, not theirs. They had no reason to feel bad about any of it. He then told me that if I had gone and been hurt or killed, that the foreman would have had hell to pay. I told them that he was just doing his job and to not hold it against him. I know the guy from Houston and he is a good guy. Yes, he was a foreman from tankers before, but now he was in reefers and he will learn that we are a tight knit group. Now, I know that many of you think I am crazy. Several of the people here seem to think so. But I want all of you to know that I would have done this. Some one has to stand up for these guys. Most of them are too scared to buck the system and all that goes along with it. I did what I thought was right by my guys. You may not agree, and that is fine. I am not a brave person, I am not a hero, or anything along those lines. I am just me and I care about my crew and I will do what it takes to protect them as best I can. They look after me in several other ways when we are in some of these camps. They take their time and escort me to the DEFC and any where else I want or need to go. We all watch out for each other. Yes, there may be some that don’t and that is fine. I am the one that has to look myself in the mirror. I could not let them get fired. Agree, disagree, be angry with me, ya’ll can have and feel all of that toward me. That is fine. But I will tell ya, I would and will do it again if it comes up. Now that is all I am going to say about it.
Right now, I am waiting to go a few miles outside Anaconda with 2 straight trucks of ice for a small camp of guys. I am hoping that we will get to do this soon. I have a feeling that I am going to be stuck here for several days. With all the fighting that is going on right now, reefers has a convoy stuck at Scania and one stuck at Cedar. Then there is me here. I am going nuts sitting here with nothing to do. So I guess I will sit and watch movies and play on-line.
Well, that gets ya’ll updated on what I have been doing for now. As soon as I know that I am going back south, or anywhere else for that matter, I will let ya’ll know. Till then………