The Washington Times came out with a great article (http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/mar/25/5-billion-for-afghans-still-unspent/)about how there is $5 Billion (with a B) dollars still unspent and most of that was under the direction of then Lt. Gen. Eikenberry from 2005-2007. “E3″ as he was called when I was there was known to not be a friend of the US Army at all, but pretty much looked at Afghans like they could do no wrong.
From a very Sr. Sergeant Major that was serving with him at the time up at Camp Eggers I heard the following “he is considered the anti-morale device on the camp”. What this Sergeant Major was talking about was the fact that whenever “E3″ was around on the camp, nobody laughed, or joked or anything. E3 was known for leading by fear and intimidation rather than respect according to this senior leader I talked to. Whenever E3 was away from the camp, the morale went up considerably among the officers and NCOs that were the primary residents on the camp.
One time E3 came down to my FOB to “visit” and it was a complete joke. First he went to the PRT up the road and was then coming to see us in our little crappy FOB in the wadi. We were told by higher that E3 wanted to talk to guys on the front lines but did not want to hear anything “bad”. Yes, this very senior General wanted to input from the guys on the tip of the spear but he only wanted good stories from us and did not want to hear any complaints from us about Afghans.
Well hearing that, we pretty much threw our hands up and said “F*** it, I will be in my room playing PS2″. I mean it would be one thing if they guy wanted to hear the ground truth, or at least pretend like he did, but to put the word out that he does not want to hear anything negative goes against everything that military leadership is built on. To me it was a better use of my time to sit on the Holy Throne and
read the latest issues of Shotgun News or play PS2 then it was to see that guy. Pretty much everyone on my team stayed in our room and never saw him. My NCOs had all felt the same as me with the thought of “if you don’t want to hear bad news, then you better not talk to me”.
It was probably a good thing that we didn’t talk to him, because on his visit to the PRT and our ANA FOB he pretty much yelled at and degraded every US soldier he encountered, to include several O6s. The rule of thumb was; if you had “US” on your name tape then be prepared to be disrespected and screamed at, but if you were Afghan then you could do no wrong.
As a result of his visit, the Senior officer (the Brigade Team Chief) on our FOB, an O6 Colonel, his Executive Officer (O5-LT. Colonel) and the Command Sergeant Major of the Brigade were all relieved on the spot. He fired all of them after a 30 minute one way yelling match. Match may not be the right word, because it was one way, from him to them.
As you may be able to tell, I am not a big fan of E3 and was not happy to see the President pick him as ambassador to Afghanistan. I mean, he is a good choice for the fact that he has Afghanistan experience. Even though O.J knows a little something about knives I still would not pick him to be a door to door cutlery salesman.