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the Unbelievable Oil Change Fiasco

Oil changes & contracting rules

I know we’re losing the war on common sense – one civilian contract at a time. Get this, I use and am responsible for two civilian vehicles – an armored pickup truck and a regular pickup truck. One of them is dispatched and serviced by local civilian contractors (now FLUOR). The other technically belongs to an organization based in Kabul. We rent it from them or something like that. I never looked into the nebulous contractual relationship we have with this company, I don’t care and it wouldn’t matter if I did. But when the vehicles need servicing, problems surface.

I’m in a war zone, I don’t care where the food comes from – just feed my Soldiers. I don’t care where the bullets come from – just supply us with ammo. I don’t care who pumps the fuel – just fill up my tank. By extension – when the tire on my armored truck got a flat I took it to our motor pool yard, run and staffed by contractors. But they wouldn’t touch it, because it wasn’t one of their vehicles under their contract. It didn’t matter that I had my own spare tire. It didn’t matter that one of my Soldiers volunteered to jack up the heavy armored vehicle and change the tire herself (love you Sister Mary Danger). The contractor wouldn’t allow us to use their yard, jack, etc because my vehicle wasn’t allowed servicing! Are you kidding me? I’m in war zone trying to keep your lame ass safe from outside attack and you won’t change my tire because by contract you can’t account for the man hours required to do the work? What kind of nonsense is that? Why do we have contractors here at all if they aren’t able to work on everything? We’re contractually losing this war kids….

Another example is more ridiculous. My buddy Nick uses a Suburban type vehicle. It needed an oil change – said the rental agency with whom his office has the contract. Nick calls the motor pool to see if they’ll perform the oil change. Nope – vehicle isn’t on their books. It gets better. Nick contacts his boss at BARF for guidance who contacts the rental agency. The solution: the company flew a mechanic from BARF to do the oil change, but get this: by regulation the work had to be inspected and supervised by someone so the company flew in a manager from Kabul to watch the mechanic do the oil change! Brilliant and efficient use of American taxpayer dollars isn’t it? Yeah, but you know there’s more.

Because neither the mechanic nor the manager had an office or representative on our base, they weren’t allowed to use the contractor’s motor pool to perform the oil change. Are you laughing yet? Here’s the best part – the three of them (Nick, mechanic & manager) were forced to drive out the main gate, pull over on the side of the road in front of the base and conduct the oil change, letting the discarded oil drain onto the roadside. Can you say kidnapping, drive by shooting, vehicle born IED? Some idiot rule put the lives of three men in danger all because of a stipulation in a contract about an oil change. Ladies and Gentlemen, you cannot expect order and accomplishment out of idiocy and stubbornness. We are our own worst enemies.

Assclownery at FOB Salerno

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