Saturday, March 17, 2007

More Cops?

I find this pretty wild, if only because I know one of the two "new" cops hired by Eureka P.D.

Gary Cooper is an old National Guard buddy of mine. He was a Eureka Police Reserve officer for quite a while but was never able to get hired for some reason. The Sheriff's Office hired him, eventually, and he's worked there for years.

I was under the impression he was fairly happy with the Sheriff's Office. I'm dying to ask him why he chose to return to Eureka P.D. I suppose I shouldn't have long to wait since he works in Eureka now.

I'm not sure this will be much of a boost in manpower, though. Gary is- last time I spoke with him anyway- the Platoon Sergeant of my old National Guard unit: Det 1, 870th Military Police Company. Last time we spoke, he said he was looking forward to an upcoming tour in Iraq. You still going there, Coop?

Then again, I don't recall just how long ago that was. Maybe he decided to retire from the Guard? He had enough time to.

Can't wait to ask him.


At 8:55 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Hmmm...interesting that I tried to link to the second page of the story but the link leads to the first page. Gary Cooper's pic is on the second page, although you can see him in the background in the first photo.

At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't know you were in the guard Fred, how long ago, and was it a good experience? What was your duty?Just wondering.

At 10:57 AM, Blogger Fred said...

I joined A Company, 579th Engineer Battalion back in '76. That was back when there were two engineer companies stationed at the Sequoia Park armory.

Spent six years with them; started out as the lieutenants driver, then a dump truck driver, then demolition sergeant and finished off as a squad leader.

Took a two year hiatus, going to what's known as Inidividual Ready Reserve. With IRR you don't have to go to drills but they can call you up for emergencies, like Iraq.

I was just about to go back on active reserve with the engineers when I heard they were going to start up a military police detachment up here. Since I was interested in law enforcement anyway, I decided to switch over to the MPs. Thought it might look good on my resume.

That caused a bit of a brouhaha with the higher ups as they were trying to enforce a policy of no transfers between engineers and MPs- my case being a bit different since I was IRR. They ended up letting me join the MPs.

I was with the MPs for nine years. Spending most of my time as a squad leader. I actually worked full time there for six months when our full timer had to go away for training.

MPs were fun because we went all over the place. Back then, the engineers did the same two week annual training all the time: Camp Roberts, CA. The MPs went to Korea (missed that one), Alaska, Washington to name a few places. After my time, they even went other places around the world including one of those ***bekistan places over by Russia.

Duties, believe it or not, were pretty much the same, that being mostly combat grunt type work. The exception being we did do occasional law enforcement work.

I really enjoyed it, for the most part. Good life experience and had a lot of fun. Good money, too, but after nine years of going to drills once a month I got tired of the monthly meetings.

Besides, I had become a self- employed one- man shop. No way I could take the constant time off.

Funny thing is, with the National Guard, you can nearly always find temporary duty you can volunteer for, either within the state or outside the country. I might well be in a lot better shape financially if I'd stayed with the Guard, even if it was just doing temporary duty stuff.

At 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never participated in the military but those I know who have tell me the MP job is a dumping ground for misfits who have no abilities, skills or aptitude that are needed for a military mission.

At 1:06 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Not anymore.

I understand during World War 2 MPs were chosen from physical attributes such as size and strength. They just wanted people that could physically handle other people.

I don't know what the standards are now, since the qualifications have been lowered quite a bit, for entrance into the Army and Marines, anyway. Don't know how the lowered standards have been applied to particular occupations.

When I was in the MPs, you had to score above a certain level on the armed forces entrance exam, or whatever it was called, to be allowed into the MP units. It was no different than having to have a score above a certain level to be considered for Officer Candidate School.

Don't recall what the required scores were but myself, bright guy that I am, scored high enough I could have gone to OCS and, in fact, was asked by some officers in the engineer unit if I was interested in doing so.

We had a handful in the Det that obviously weren't all that bright. They were usually brought into the unit under a non- MP Military Occupational Specialty (MOS)- as a cook, for instance- and eventually someone would figure some way to get them awarded the MP MOS.

Even if they couldn't finnagle way to award them the MOS, they might still serve physically as MPs but were something else on paper and couldn't get promoted unless there was a open position available in their "official" MOS.

At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would they let a filthy drunk into the National Guard?

At 4:48 PM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Interesting tale Fred. The only contact I had with MP's during my stint as a draftee was an admonishment to put my hat on while in the Chicago train terminal when returning to Ft. Ord from overseas for discharge . Other than that was in the Combat Engineers as a front end loader operator in Newfoundland and hearing the Newfies yell: "Go home Yank!"

At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool Fred, I had no idea. I also had no idea that our local folks went all over the place from our local armory. I remember being a kid and thinking all that military equipment by the park was pretty cool. Back in the 70's when Bill the Chimp could still throw a strike with his turds.

At 5:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way Fred, happy St. Patrick's Day.

At 7:49 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Leonidas wrote, "The only contact I had with MP's during my stint as a draftee was an admonishment to put my hat on while in the Chicago train terminal when returning to Ft. Ord from overseas for discharge .".

In fairness, though, "correcting a uniform violation...", as was done with you, is within the purview of any officer or non- commissioned officer.

While serving in Saudi Arabia, we had a Battalion Sergeant Major whose only purpose seemed to be going around hassling people for uniform violations.

He finally caught me- having sew- on rank on my uniform. That was not allowed. The guy really pissed me off with that.

In fact, that was one of the things they dealt with when I attended the Primary Leadership Development School, at Camp Williams, Utah: How to deal with uniform infractions. They didn't address it for more than fifteen minutes, or half an hour, but that was part of the course.

Hate that stuff.

Suffice it to say, while MPs hassled you about it, it is within the role of anyone having a leadership role to make such corrections, as much as I hate to say it.

At least in regards that particular Sergeant Major.

At 8:23 PM, Blogger Fred said...

5:20 wrote, "Cool Fred, I had no idea. I also had no idea that our local folks went all over the place from our local armory.".

Yep. All over the place. Now it might well be INvoluntary, but generally, in my time, it was usually voluntary.

I remember when a small detachment of us in the MP unit went to Saudi Arabia. That was as part of the Southwest Asia Sustainment Force- relief for those who had served in Iraq War 1.

There was a call for volunteers. A number of us signed up. We were given orders and sent to Saudi Arabia.

We were all volunteers, but we spinned it differently- perhaps for sympathy, maybe for publicity:

Some of us that were "into" the Guard were always looking for publicity.

One of the guys who signed up's mother called a local TV station. I believe she said that she heard that members of a local Guard unit were being mobilized and sent to Saudi Arabia and wanted to know what was going on. She knew what was going on.

We were going, but we were volunteers. But, publicity is publicity, and we played along with it.

Channel 3 showed up at the airport that morning and did an interview with one of our higher ranking NCOs. The gist of the story that aired was that we were being sent to Saudi Arabia- no mention that we were all volunteers.

Tom, the guy who was interviewed, was a public safety dispatcher with City of Eureka. He gave his boss folks the impression it was an INvoluntary mobilization. He didn't want to get on the boss's bad side.

He did a good job when interviewed. He said something along the line of, "We saw this coming...". Boy, did he avoid saying anything incriminating. Sure, we saw it coming. We were asked to volunteer.

More recently,I remember seeing some news about some local folks from B Company of the 579th Engineers heading to Kumait at the start of Gulf War 2. No mention of whether they were INvoluntarily mobilized. I'm sure the impression most people had was they were INvoluntarily mobilized.

I have no idea under what mechanism those handful of Engineers were mobilized but, if I were a betting man, I'd lay money that the first bunch that went over there were volunteers.

Of course, after things went south, many Guardsmen and Reservists DID end up being INvoluntarily activated.

At 8:33 PM, Blogger Fred said...

5:20 also wrote, "I remember being a kid and thinking all that military equipment by the park was pretty cool. Back in the 70's when Bill the Chimp could still throw a strike with his turds".

Before I joined the Guard, I saw some "Army" guys with a bulldozer doing some land clearing over between J and K streets in Eureka. I remember thinking, " I didn't know we had an Army base up here...".

Wasn't until a little later I found out it was a National Guard unit that was doing the work. I learned about the National Guard from a guy who frequented the restaraunt I worked at: The late Bill Bayich, killed a few years ago in a collision in Henderson Center, Eureka.

As far as "Bill the Chimp"; A number of Guardsmen used to head to the Sequoia Park Zoo for lunch back then. I don't know all the details, but apparently some of the guys were provoking "Bill" and getting turds thrown at them.

The word came down that we weren't allowed to go over to the zoo for lunch.

Again: Don't know all the details with that. I was a newbie in the Guard then.

At 4:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dang Fred, no wonder he was so pissed off when I was in kindergarten; the guard had just been f*cking with him. I'll never forget this unsuspecting old lady, just getting walloped with one of Bill's famous fastballs. Er, turds...

At 4:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gary has already been deployed to Iraq and came back over a year ago now.

At 5:10 PM, Blogger Fred said...

I know that. The unit went and came back. I believe he told me last time I saw him they were scheduled for second Iraq tour soon. I thought it was this year(?).

Maybe I'm wrong, or maybe things have changed. That's one of the things I wanted to ask him.


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