This morning's activities got me thinking: what exactly is a Mounted Combat Patrol? One will see or hear fellow soldiers claiming outrageous amounts of MCPs, or just CPs. As in, "I've been in Iraq for six months now and I've done 279 combat patrols."
Well, that's awesome, troop. So out of that 279, how many times did you make contact? How many rounds have you fired (actually aiming at a positively identified target)?
Any time one rolls out the wire via vehicle, it is classified--I think officially--as a Mounted Combat Patrol. Even if the patrol is just rolling out to drink some chai with an Iraqi counterpart (which was the Mungadai reason-for-roll this morning). Granted, one must make the same preparations, contingency plans, and conduct the same pre-combat inspections as if one were actually rolling out expecting to make contact and then close with the enemy and destroy him using fire, maneuver, and overwhelming violence of action, but all of those preparations occur prior to moving out the wire. So, is it not a little disingenuous to claim (yet another) Combat Patrol when one rolled out with no expectation or hope of getting in a firefight? Granted, you could bump into the enemy anyway (thus all the prep), but it's not the main intent of the mission. You can just as easily--and definitely more tragically--get killed while sleeping in your rack.
This morning, the Mungadai were just planning on drinking chai. I have a hard time equating these missions with those in which we roll out, link up with our counterparts, and go looking for a fight. I guess I'm just observing that at this point, I'm more than a little skeptical when a hardened "combat vet" throws out his triple-digit number of combat patrols right at the beginning of a conversation in order to establish his creds.
Dude, you were just drinking chai.