Brothers

Brothers
E Plurubus Unum, Rex Montis

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Winter night

It is cold out, my fingers tingle…

Something is tugging at the edge of my subconscious. I push it away, it is unimportant. The night sky is crystal clear. A puff of steam appears in front of me, I inhale another icy breathe. The moonlight casts long shadows around me. A crisp winter night in Minnesota. A question tickles my mind; I push it away, harder this time. I close my eyes for a moment and tilt my head back, feeling the sharp wind on my face. Another thought. NO! Leave it alone for a minute more!

Then I hear it…faintly at first; wump wump wump……wump wump wump. It’s getting closer…what is it? I don’t understand…wump wump wump…something in the sky. Moving fast. Getting closer. Stars are winking out of sight, and then re-appearing. The smooth dark body glides closer like a shark in the deep. Wump wump WUMP…it’s almost above me. I look down…mistake…the insistent tugging breaks through…I have a gun in my hand…what the….? A helicopter roars overhead. My moment is shattered. The sensations are still there…but I’m not in Minnesota. I’m still in Iraq. I’m still in the desert...............sigh......

It is cold out, my fingers tingle…

Sunday, December 24, 2006

....."You WILL be proud, that's an order!"

We are being forced to wear our redbull combat patch. A combat patch is a unit patch, worn on the right shoulder. Wearing of this patch is authorized if you were with or attatched to a unit in a combat zone for 30 or more days. In the authorization form, we are alowed to choose which of the patches we want to wear, or we can choose to wear none at all. However, commanders can add to any standard/order, but cannot take away from. So, our "higher up" commander decided to give an order that we HAVE to wear our redbull combat patch and no other.
Now the questions arrise;

#1 Why would anyone order you to wear something that you should be proud to wear? Now it is no longer simply a right and something to be proud of, it's just something we have to do, a shame, like the scarlet letter for doing something wrong.

#2 Why would any commander care if you wore a combat patch or not? Combat patches are to show that (chuckles) you've been in a combat zone. Big news flash...WE'RE STILL IN THE COMBAT ZONE! So in essence, we're telling everyone, we're "here." As if you couldn't tell by looking at me.

#3 So is it something obscure and simple perhaps? Maybe POG's (see earlier post October 27) wanted to wear a combat patch...but then they saw that the grunts weren't wearing theirs and began to fuss. Again, worried about their uniforms. (note, before this order came out it was easy to distinguish POG's from grunts......grunts didn't feel the need to show other soldiers that they had been here for over a month)

Conclusion. This might not make sense, or seem like a big deal, but when you're on the ground here, it is little things like this that bother us, erode our moral, and make a simple thing a real pain. Our moral is not "...at an all-time high..."

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Avoid foot in mouth

My buddy Grey posted this on his blog

"Asking a combat vet if he has killed someone is as sensitive as cutting the head off a six year-old girl’s favorite doll while cackling insanely. I don’t feel I need to explain this one."

I would write more on this, the reasons and what not, but I don't feel I could do any more justice. Just do yourself and your soldier a favor, don't ask.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Back in the sand

Hi everyone! I've been back in the box now for about a week. It seems to suck a lot less than it did before pass. All that pent up resentment is gone. Going on leave was just the thing for me at this point in the deployment. Only a matter of months and it's all over.
Pictured is one of my buddies on the flight back to Iraq. He brings great credit upon himself, his unit, and the US Army (part of a speach we hear over and over...).

My R&R was everything I hoped it would be. Lazing around the house, spending time with my family, and just doing what I wanted to do, without worrying about getting blown up when I'm out driving.

Now, the count-down is on. It's almost time to go home and I am pumped! Yes, I must still keep my head in the game, stay safe, and stay low. But I can do that and still mark off the calender when I get back to my can.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

All good things must come to an end

Here I sit on my last couple days of pass. It went nice and slow, just like I hoped. Pictured, I am chowing down on an all American $4 heart attack, and loving it. It really is the simple things in life that mean the most. Iraq sucks, don't wanna go back!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

....um, ya, so, this civilian thing.....

So, I was over at my sister in-laws for a late Thanksgiving with all the gang......
We had our dinner, which was wonderfull. The thing that was exceptionally tasty were these little cresent rolls (we'll come back to that).
Dinner ended and we were playing various board games and chasing the kids around. I was feeling a little bit of the munchies, so I wandered into the kitchen to look for something to scavange. Scavange, interesting how that word comes into play.

I happened to glance over at the full garbage. On top were at least 9 of those yummy cresents. I found out later that one of the kids had spilled a little bit of soda near them and since everyone was done eating, they just tossed them. Well, they were right on top and unsoiled........(well, I am a grunt you see, and grunts will do what grunts will do) so I started chowing down (what a sav*). As I was munching away, my sister-in-law walked in. I smiled and said, "Not bad for eating out of the garbage." She was doing something, but stopped and looked up, gave a little giggle and said with a confused look, "Oh, he he, I thought you said you got that out of the garbage......!" I smiled, took another bite and said, "I did." You should have seen the look on her face. Apparently no one told her they had "let me out" for a while. Also, it occured to me that I definitely wasn't in Kansas anymore.

*savage/rough character/savy(the bad way)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Give thanks




I am thankfull for many things this year. As a soldier, I can be thankfull for all the wonderfull support I have seen from all my true American brothers and sisters in the great USA. I can also be thankfull for my brothers in arms that have served with me through the many hazards of war. I am thankfull for all the sacrafices that have been made, and all the blood that has been shed. I am thankfull to have all my limbs attatched to my person.

As a husband I am thankfull for my beautifull wife staying by my side through two long deployments.
As a Father, I am thankfull to be blessed with such a beautifull son.
As a son myself, I am thankfull for such wonderfull parents and siblings.
As an American, I am glad to be home from Iraq for Thanksgiving, and won't it be wonderfull when we are all home for good? I have much to be thankfull for this year, and I hope all of you do too.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Home





I am home on leave. It is wonderfull. I am very excited and happy to be home. I wasn't sure if I would be or not. I knew I was going to enjoy it, but I didn't know what to expect.
I am still in "the mode." I get ancy when vehicles get too close, I yell "clear" when approaching a cross road. I constantly scan the roadsides even though I KNOW there are no bombs here. So I'm adjusting. About the time I do, it will be time to go back.
Even so, I LOVE this. Eating where I want when I want. Not so much with the sleeping in because of the little one being up and ready for the day bright and early, but I cherish even this.

The pictures are......

#1 Landon

#2 Us on one of the planes home

#3 Grey after we finished taking a bath in the air-port bathroom sinks. (we got some looks to say the least)

#4 Landon and tired Daddy at home

Friday, October 27, 2006

The POG's are back in town

I had posted an article on POG's a while back, then removed it. I had removed it for my own reasons. However, due to some recent events I have realized that it is a post that must be posted, as well as the posts that will follow it. Enjoy!

This post and the posts that follow are not in disrespect to Men and women who have served in the past, present or future. It is neither a tribute. I wanted to make that clear before a bunch of people got their feelers hurt because they know someone who did a great job and want to tell me how wrong I am. I am aware of this. Now let me say that there is one main job of the military. The fighting force. The Infantry. This is not to brag. It is history. It is fact. Everything else besides infantry is support, supporting infantry.

For too long there has been a misconception of what a POG is. I shall now set the record straight. Perhaps you have watched a movie and you have heard a reference to the word POG (pronounced Poag or Poge). It was referenced in the movie “Full Metal Jacket” the reference was, “…..you fucking POG, I’ve been in the shit with the grunts man….” That statement in and of itself is a contradiction, because the speaker in that movie was implying that he was not himself a POG. This is the main reason I address this, because numerous people in the army either don’t know what a POG is, or they are in denial because they are one.

POG is an acronym. It stands for, “People Other than Grunts.” (or Personnel/Persons Other than Grunts) That means two categories. Grunts (INFANTRY) and non-grunts (non-infantry) POG’s and non-POG’s. Somewhere along the line, someone got it in his/her head that if you are combat arms (Scouts, tankers etc) you are not a POG. Not true. Combat arms are not REMF’s (Rear Echelon Mother Fuckers) A REMF is a guy who stays in the rear all the time. A paper pusher who never leaves the wire. Most POG’s fall into this category, but not all. For instance, a scout may not be a REMF, but he is still a POG. This is not an insult, it is merely fact.

For the near future posts I will be making, I will however not make separate references to POG and REMF. I will combine them in one by just using POG.
Now that all readers have a solid grasp on what POG means, in my next post I’ll tell you from a grunt’s perspective what they do.
So there, I have thrown down some thoughts, facts etc. Let’s have it. Who’s toes did I step on? Any comments? Questions? Statements or accusations? Or Kudos?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

My current duties.....












Me on machine gun, big Abram tank approaching, Tank has arrived.

I was unable to access the internet for over a week……..yes, that is my excuse.
There are many MANY things that I want to post about, but I can’t. Either for security, political, retribution or just plain stupid reasons, I can’t post everything I want to. Maybe some day…….
I always did think it ironic that the people that fight and die for freedoms, most of the time, aren’t entitled to them……

I was down on my gate guard today, and I was asking the questions I always ask, at the front window of every vehicle that comes through…..I finished my question with…..”…..and would you like fries with that?” The poor Marine I was talking to had no idea what to do or say. His lips started moving, but nothing came out. He got a panicked look on his face that screamed “Someone tell me what to do!!!” I waved him through with a well concealed smile and a small shake of the head. You have to keep your humor over here. If you don’t, you’ll go insane. But that’s world wide.
Shall we go into definitions of “sanity” and “normality?” No, not tonight. Brain is fried.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Old Glory, still flying high

Flying high, flying proud.
There is a lot of cynicism that builds up over here in the sand. It isn’t intentional. Far from it. That’s the last thing you want. But you can’t help it. Time away from home. Time out in the desert. Mind numbing time, passing so slowly.
I was going through my pictures and came across this one that I took a month or so ago. I felt a small stirring of something inside. I’m not sure what it was. Adoration, pride, and a sense of history all mixed together. I look at this flag and I remember why I’m here, (the reasons are unimportant). I am here to do what I do. To be a soldier. To follow in the footsteps that thousands of others before me have made over centuries untold. That is what I have limited myself to for now. It’s easier to deal with everything when it’s in a small package. I love of my family, my friends, my home land and countrymen. That is the reason I feel moved when I look at Old Glory. For now, it’s enough.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Enemy fighting positions

This is an enemy bunker with an 18 inch solid steel door at the entrance. It didn't help them too much, as one of our bunker busters ruined their day.

We decided to check the place out even though it's been abandoned for a while. Lots of bats, but no nasty suprises, which was nice. Lots of little rooms and hallways. Not a place I'd care to stay in for any amount of living time.........just like IRAQ!

I'm wearing my pajamas this patrol. Or at least, that's what I call them. They are the army version of a flight suit. One piece, and a lot more comfortable. No belt diging into my waste either.
So there you have it, a small update. I'll try to keep you all a little more up to speed.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

....but it's just dry heat....right?


I've heard this a couple times from people back home. YES, it's just dry heat...like that makes it any better. It got up to 138 here once. Someone told me it doesn't get that hot........my aching ass if it doesn't!!! So, turn your oven up to 138, stick your head in it for 12 hours, and I'll just remind you that it's "only dry heat."

Another day passes in the endless sands of time. We are fast approaching the 1 year mark since we left home. Isn’t that crazy? A whole year already! I’m trying not to look too far into the future, but I can’t help keeping a mental tally on the months until I am home for good.

Right now I am trying to focus on the job at hand, taking each day in turn. Two months until I go on my leave back home. With any luck, after I get back to Iraq after leave, it will only be an additional two months until we pack up and leave. I’ll expect a longer stay, and hope for an early return. One thing I have learned is that having expectations leads to disappointments. Having an expectation is setting yourself up for failure.

The days are passing ever so slowly. Even so, the weeks are flying bye. After this is all over and I am home once again, I know that this time will seem but a distant memory. I will however, look back on these days as the golden years of my life. I did my duty, I served my country, and I made my family proud. No matter what else I do in life, I can have done this, and no one can take that away.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The silver bullet

Since I don’t have much to report, I shall share a rare story from basic training (5 years ago)
I was one of many head of cattle being herded through the vaccination process that the military “offers” when you first enlist. This mainly consists of pumping as many antibodies and mystery shots into us as they could. The culmination was the dreaded penicillin shot (silver bullet). They take a huge needle (looks and feels like grandmas knitting needle!), and it goes directly into your ass cheek. Not just a little bit, more like, to the bone.
When it came my turn for the needle to rape me, I dropped my drawers and tried to “relax.” Then I head the words that no one should ever have to hear in this situation….no, not that, you’re SICK! You don’t ever want to hear the words “Ooops.” I was like “Oops? Whats wrong?” The nurse said the needle had snapped. I didn’t believe her, so she kindly showed me. Yikes, I nearly passed out. I wish I would have. So, the nurse can’t get a hold of the 3 inches or so of needle in my right cheek, as it broke off at the surface. So, she gets a special tool (needle nose pliers…..I shit you not) and manages to grab the nub of needle. She can’t pull it straight out though, it keeps slipping because of the blood and white goo. So, she is forced to wrench it back and forth, sideways, to loosen the needle. After several tries she manages to remove the huge ass needle, and I collapse on the floor……my kind Drill Sgt came over to see if I was ok “YOU BETTER NOT FUCKING DIE! IF YOU THINK YOU’RE GETTING AWAY WITH BREAKING MY NEEDLE YOU’RE WRONG! I’LL FUCKING DESTROY YOU! GET THE FUCK BACK IN LINE!” Welcome to the army huh?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ever work one of these?

I have noticed a trait in people at their respective work places. This trait is seen in military and civilian jobs alike. As I have had the fortune, or misfortune of observing both, I shall convey my opinion.
This trait I speak of is displayed in a work place where there is little or no work involved. The worker bees of this class don’t really work at all. But try to justify themselves instead. Indeed, they must put on a display that would put Shakespeare to shame
First, you each need to imagine a job, whether yours, or another’s. This job must have very little work to do, and copious amounts of time to do it in. This job must then be executed with vigor.
I shall share an example from my experience. I used to work a non-job. It involved sitting at a desk, and administering medication once a day to 1-3 people. With an occasional trip to town a couple times a week. This job could be as easy or as hard as you want it to be. Each day involved perhaps ½ hour of paper work…TOPS! Our job was simply to be there. That’s it.
The thing that was difficult about this, is that the vast majority of the 90% female work force were intent on saving the world. This means that they could not simply sit at a desk without any advanced purpose. So, they would make up work. When even this failed, they would then begin a series of stories that they would add to each time said story was told. The story could be about a person under our care, or about a fellow employee. Each story was then passed from mouth to mouth, with a little tid-bit added here and there to “spice it up.” I believe this is called gossip, and made sure everyone knew what I thought. This way, I could bow out of story time.
For the most part, people seem content to complicate their simple job, or attempt to make it seem far more important or strenuous than it could ever be. All for the purpose of justifying their lack of responsibility and purpose in life.
I prefer to just do the job I have, and if I can’t justify my existence, I read Tony Kramer’s best seller, “Doing shit the hard way.”

Friday, August 18, 2006

Fragments of home


My vehicle recently found a pressure plate connected to an IED on one of the routes, it was close, and we are all thankful that it was spotted before damage was done. Scanning the roads for these small signs of danger is continuous for everyone. Sometimes we get blown up, sometimes we miss them, and sometimes, we find them. It is an ongoing search…find them before they find us.
I was driving out on a night mission last night. We were driving on and on down the road. For a minute I was driving down Hwy 2 back home…it was wonderful. Then I snapped back to reality and franticly scanned the road for pressure plates…nothing, open road.
I got back to my rack in the wee morning hours and fell into a deep sleep. Again, I was home. My wife and son greeted me as I got off a bus. We all went home together. I rocked my boy to sleep and stayed up with my wife. Then someone pounded on my door. Once again I was snapped back to a reality I’d rather not face. A new day in Iraq
I live for those moments in time….I thought I was home.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

.....conclusion

I was attempting to put into words what I am feeling this moment and the post below is what came out. Now I’ll try again,
I was thinking about being over here, returning home, existing day to day. The things we have done, the things that have happened. The things we should have done, the things that shouldn’t have happened.
Why is it that all these things have happened to me? What am I supposed to learn from all this? What will I be when I have passed through the fire? Am I going to be someone else? I don’t think so. I will always be me. Will I have a different outlook on life? Yes. Will it affect me? It’s unavoidable. Is it a good thing? Yes, is it a bad thing? No. Do bad things happen over here? Yes. Do good men die? Yes. Do innocent suffer? Always. Just over here? Everywhere, always. Do I care? No. Why? Why should I? Am I some depressed person living in gloom writing to sound like a sappy poet? No. Just trying to get some thoughts out. I am still jovial good natured Zeke.
I wasn’t going to write this, but I can't keep it to myself, I’ll let a little of it out. I’ll bleed the valve as it were.
While over here I have seen (to quote some soldier who served in Nam by word of mouth) “more than some, less than others…” I’ve been shot at, mortared and recently blown up. Not a scratch on me or my fellows. I’ve seen a lot of smiles, and a lot of hate. I just don’t know what to think. As a soldier I have the luxury of not having an opinion on politics, and it’s refreshing.
As a person, I always try to conduct myself in my own way. By doing this, I can always sleep soundly, knowing I have made choices born of my own conscience and my beliefs.
Some say that no one should ever have to experience the horrors of war. I say more people need a reality check.
Most of these thoughts are born from a lack of desire to ever have to explain myself to anyone…ever. When I see someone arguing about something that seems important at the time…I think of the soldier who’s just bled out from a neck wound, and won’t be going home. When I hear myself arguing, because there is something I don’t like….I think of the kid going home who won’t ever walk again…
These things may sober me…I don’t believe they will haunt me. But I’ll think about them from time to time. It’s ok to vent, complain, and ridicule. It is this that is to be human. But instead of standing in line back home, pretending not to notice as some jerk screams at some scared sales rep about his receipt, maybe I’ll go over and ask him what he ever did that he should be treated any better than yesterdays bath water.

Contemplation...

We are born

We laugh, we cry

We joke, we insult

We embrace, we shun

We dream, we cringe

We love, we hate

We accept, we reject.

We hope, we despair

We wake, we sleep

We talk, we are silent

We are wronged, we forgive

We live, we die.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Thoughts from the sand

So, up to date I haven't really thought much about what we are doing over here. That's how it always goes. You get in the zone, you do your job, and the days pass.
So far our Division has built a new water purification system with reverse osmosis for the locals. Built and furnished 12 schools, and helped 14 more get well on their way. We have also helped the locals with our medical personal. This in addition to helping their struggling government get it's wings in the air. (This includes rooting out and attempting to stop terrorism at every level).

So, you would think we would get a nice big thank you from the local leaders and government right? Ya.....Right.

I read today in the Army Stars and Stripes that the new government is offering amnesty to terrorists. Yes, thats right, amnesty to the terrorists. Oh, it's ok, they have to meet a certain criteria. They can only get cleared of all their wrong-doings if they swear that they only ever killed Americans, and no other nationality.

I could go on about this for a while, but I'm sure you can all about guess my feelings on this. Now I can say I'm ready to go home. They don't want us here and I no longer wish to be here. Thanks alot Ali Bin whatever your name is president.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Ties


Ties
Why do we wear ties? What kind of sick person thought up this cockamamie idea anyway?
What exactly are ties good for? They are just plain annoying no matter how you look at them! They are/will/continue to be
#1 Hot and uncomfortable in all weather
#2 Flap and annoy in the wind
#3 Choke and restrain you
#4 Look stupid
#5 Waste valuable time putting them on
#6 Just one more piece of clothing that I have to make sure “matches!”
#7 You must learn how to tie one! Whats up with that anyway!? And why are clip-ons a social taboo?
What are the positives? The inventor of ties should be taken out and hanged with his own plaid tie.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Singing in the rain...er...hummvee

My squad was out on patrol today. We had the addition of Maddog to our truck today (Maddog is an interesting fellow, go to the link I have for him on the main page to really see the dog)
As anyone knows, maddog is quiet, but sometimes busts out "the voice." Today was no exception. We were discussing deep things, like lazers, and gamma rays, and partical beams, and negative and positive matter, and energy and so on and so forth. The pointless things we debate for the sake of listening to something besides the engine.

After we tired of talking, we started singing. He would think up a song that we both knew, and then me. We did this for a while, neither one of us remembering all the words to all the songs, but some of the words to some of the songs. We went from Billy Joal's "the piano man" to songs I don't know the name of but sang anyway. Then, we were singing "You've lost that loving feeling" I was just hitting the high notes and actually just screaming off key, when I noticed a wierd sound. In addition to the mellow dramatic voice I usually hear when I sing (me) I heard my own voice coming from somewhere else....what could it be?

I looked around and saw that my vehical leader had a shit eating grin spread accross his face. I looked at his hand and realized he was broadcasting my window breaking voice over the radio for all to enjoy!!! I stopped singing, and after much name calling, had the best laugh I've had in ages. The end

Thursday, June 15, 2006

just a little blood

The other day, we all assembled to brush up on our combat lifesaving techniques. This usually consists of tournaquites(sp?) trama bandages, treating for shock, blood loss, IV's etc. Well, this day was a day for IV training. It is always good to practice this. We don't get nearly enough opportunity for this, and it is a hard skill to master. One that is always good to practice.

So, we prep our bags of saline solution, our alcohol swabs and needles. Rubber straps are twisted around arms like so many junkies and we get to stabbing.

The process seems fairly simple; select a vein, pull skin tight to prevent vein from rolling and easier insertion of needle. Insert needle into skin at 35 degree angle. You will feel the needle pop/push through the vein, followed by a "flash" of blood in the flash chamber in the needle. Now you know your needle has entered the vein.

Now, lower needle to a 20-25 degree angle and advance the cathider (plastic sleeve over needle) into the vein to it's limit of advance (aprox 1-1 1/2 inch). Remove needle from cathider while holding cathider in vein. Release rubber strap and test blood flow. Attach hose from prepared bag of solution to wide end of cathider and start the bag flowing (tape for stability as needed).

There, in a nutshell. Well, not so easy sometimes. Shakey hands, tough skin, nerves, pain. All are factors in making this easy job...not so easy sometimes.

I have done this procedure many times. I get a little better every time even though sometimes I think I'm worse.

This time, I was getting stuck, and my skin was being tough. My partner was having quite the time getting the needle in the vein. He finally succeded and got the cathider advanced all the way. However, the needle had punctured out of my vein at the end, and it had to be removed when swelling under the skin occured.

As he took the needle out, a virtual river of blood burst from my arm and coverd the table, my partner, and my arm. I was like cool! Then, I started getting that buzzing feeling that comes shortly before a black out/faint. Uncool. I didn't feel good and felt like throwing up. My good friends brought a garbage over and cameras to record the momentous event of me losing my lunch. However, I did not faint, or yammy. No fun for anyone.

This just goes to show me that I'll never stop being supprised. Still trying to figure out just why the sight of one's own blood can do that to a person. I have heard of this happening before, but never experienced it myself until now.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Sun-tea VS Honey dew

My topics have been serious and slightly rougher than I would like so this post is dedicated to all the guys, and lightheartedness.
Just like last deployment, our rooms come with bathrooms. However, unlike last deployment, these bathrooms are constructed. They come in liter and 1.5 liter sizes. You see, these bathrooms are empty water bottles.
Explanation; for most, the latrine (bathroom, pisser, shitter) is a couple dozen meters away. In the middle of the night, a person is inclined to do one of two things:
#1 (short version)He can get up, walk down to the bathroom, do his business and come back.
(long version) Drag himself out of bed, loosen up comfortable muscles that have been sleeping, further wake up by walking down to the latrine, squinting in the bright light of the bathroom lights (or daylight if you are on night missions), do your business, then walk all the way back and climb back into bed, only to lay there for unknown amounts of time as you toss and turn in a futile attempt to regain that which is lost….sleep.
#2 (short version) piss in a bottle and fall right back asleep. (Long version) Piss in a bottle and fall right back to sleep.
See what I’m getting at here? Falling right back asleep is very important to a grunt.
Sun-tea; is the end result of one night of urinating in said bottle, to be thrown away when morning comes.
Honey dew; is the end result of multiple trips to the bottle over time, even days. The original amount of urine is allowed to sit and ferment. Then, it is added to. Again, sitting to ferment. The end result is a very yellow, very full bottle that only has to be taken out when you have filled aprox 3-6 bottles (in some cases more).
Now my fans you have more clear-cut understanding of a small piece of army life. Got you good you fuckers!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

B-Town Boys

so thirsty


So, there we were. On orders to sit on top of a hill, from can't see to can see (9pm-8am) simple mission of kill or capture enemy attempting to place roadside bombs.

Well, the simple mission turned into a long one. At 0930 when our extraction was an hour and a half late, we called up to ask "what give!?" they told us due to a mission change, we would be required to bake in the sun for an aditional 14 hours on top of the 10 we had already spent out there. This was awesome because we hadn't slept in 30 hours and had nothing to eat. That will teach us to trust our command. So now we had almost no water (because we had to carry everything out there, we only took enough for our shift)

So, we sat there and baked all day and into the night. We were able to get some more water from a passing patrol. It was wet, but hot. Still, hot water is better than no water.

I guess we learned some things, always plan for the unexpected and all that. I find more and more that the real enemy over here is my chain of command...

I got back to my can (room) some 30 hours after I left, thanked God for a shower and AC room and crashed for 12 hours....the end

Monday, May 29, 2006

One weekend a month...ha ha ha


I was just thinking today that after this deployment is over, I will have spent 6 years in the national guard, and almost 3 years of that has been on active duty...

We switched from towers to patrols. Patroling around in a Hummer is nothing new to me, did it for 7 months in the Boz. However, it is infanitly hotter here, and there is a little more of a pucker factor ( I plug my ears every time we pass an Improvised Explosive Device-IED- hole) as I counted 17 IED holes along the highway, with parts of the road blown away by previous attacks. I caught my heart in my throat several times.

But, we're hanging in there and still going strong. Every day is different, and I finish them all exausted. Only 10 months (give or take) to go.
(Pictured is Zeke and BJ)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Can't we all just get along?

So, today in the tower; HUGE explosion off to the east, about 1900 meters. It still shook the tower. Some rag head trying to blow up one of our tanks. In the course of the next couple minutes a building cought on fire near the explosion. I was watching this through bino's. After the tanks rolled out, about 40-50 people swarmed up and into the building. I thought they were going to help put out the fire, or perhaps see if anyone needed help.....NOT! They were just bent on stripping the building. They ran in and grabbed anything they could, then ran away.
I would like to say, what the hell? Take and run? Nothing like coming together and helping each other out. I would like to say that, but I can't say it's just this country that is messed up, because I saw this same thing happen in my own country...I won't mention any states (*cough* Mississippi *caugh*) but it leads me to querry, why can't we all just get along? Well, I have an answer for you. We can't. It is agains human nature. Some would say that mankind is basically good and it is the events that surround us that make us bad. I say bullshit. Each individule has a choice. So choose it wisely.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

War

4pm tower guard. Another day another dollar. Bored, just the way we like it, nothing happening. My buddy Ryan and I were starting our day just like usual. Lots of sitting, and looking at "H town" a scant 1200 meters down hill of our tower.

Our attention was focused as a rattle of gunfire errupted from town. This is an almost daily occurance, but we jumped up anyway to see if we could get eyes on to report a distance and direction over the radio...
I start scanning with binos to see what I can see. Ryan takes a couple steps outside to better hear the direction of the gunfire. I shift to a different window to get a better look. Just then I notice a puff of dust in front of me, then a hissing/buzzing sound, none of these things registered until Ryan exclaimed, "Oh SHIT!!!" He made a spectacular dive through the door way. Uppon his shout I dove for the floor..."We're being shot at! One went right past my head!" Ryan shouted. I saw several more puffs and heard one more bullet whiz by overhead. All this was happening so fast! "What the hell?" I thought, gripping my rifle, "This was supposed to be a quiet day!" No time for that now. I grabbed the mic and yelled into it, "CONTACT CONTACT, THIS IS TOWER 1 WE ARE TAKING DIRECT ENEMY FIRE!!!" The next few moments were a blurr. We huddled on the floor as another large volley was unleashed from town.

"Tower 1 tower 1, where did that second burst land?" crackled the mic in my hand. "I didn't see!" I yelled back. "Why can't you see?" Came the voice, "Because we're huddled on the floor!" I yelled back.

Ryan decided to low crawl under cover of sand bags outside to see if he could get eyes on the enemy position. I kept the mic to my ear and eased up behind some bullet proof glass to see what I could see. At almost the same instant, Ryan and I saw our attackers. About 4 men running up an alley with long rifles. They ducked into a building.

I described this to command and they gave us the go ahead to return fire and engage the enemy. "Wow" I thought, "this is it." Ryan got behind the machine gun and sighted in on the building. I readied my M-16 wondering if I'd be able to hit anything that far away. However, there were just too many civilians and children in the area right then, and we exercised some restraint and eased up on the triggers. Not a shot fired from us.

I was given direct control of a tank and guided it up close to the building. The TC (tank commander) asked if I would give them permission to fire. "Negative, thats a NEGATIVE! Too many civilians!" I replied.

We continued to scan, and saw briefly some other hostiles, again with no clear shot.
Some of our command showed up at our tower to give us support and see how things were. They let us do our job, and we appreciated their help.

More scanning was done, and more reporting to higher command.
Not much else happened after that.

Ryan and I sat down and let our adrenaline run its course through our bodies, leaving us both shaking uncontrollably. We verbally replayed the events that had taken place throughout the attack and got a good sense of what had happened.

We talked to several soldiers that day, and they thought we should have shot back. They had their own opinions. Maybe they would have, maybe they wouldn't have. But it didn't matter, it was our decision to make at the time. We would have been justified in returning fire, but this was one of those days where it would have been right to fire back, but it would have been right not to. We chose not to.
It all comes down to this, I can sleep with my decision at night.

I thank God neither of us were hurt, and I also am thankfull that I didn't have to take any lives that day. Maybe I will in the future, but that is something only the future can tell. Until then, Ryan and I are safe and sound. Looking forward to more boring days, and hopefully no more close encounters.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Hey everyone

Not much going on.
I am on tower guard making sure the "Huns" don't invade. Our command is dumber than ever, insisting on things like carrying our weapons "at the ready" (while inside a guarded base), making all of us look like morons, and everyone else on edge. A commander put out a notice that we weren't allowed to have any shade on base. Now how stupid is that? You would think with a bunch of officers that have at least 4 year degrees, that a little bit of common sense would leak through. The [stupid]is so high right now I have to have a snorkel when I walk around just so I can breath.
Well, that's all for now. We are surviving and we're all in good spirits despite the incesent stupidity.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Finally

We are finally getting out of this place that passes for an army base.
Got a look at where we will be staying in Iraq, it's way nicer than here. Strange, I always thought that the deployment should suck more than the train up. Here we have 45 dudes stuck in a very small 40x120ft barracks. In Iraq we will have 2 man rooms!
Not much else to say, and not enough time to say it. The first two months in country will be busy. I don't know when I will update again.
See you later fans!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Night out


Hello all, not much to write, but I haven’t updated in a while, so here it goes.
All our training is done. Yet a certain essence of stupidity remains. We are all sitting here wondering why we are still here. One more month and we’re hopping the puddle to the big cat litter box.
Everyone is getting stir crazy to be out of here.
The other night we went out to a bar, finally. The evening started off just fine, and we maintained a good buz while singing on stage and playing pool. Then, the Vodka started being consumed. I was in rare form to say the least. I was running around while making mischief. I’d walk up to someone and ask them if they would like an Irish kiss (for all of you non Irish out there, that’s a head butt), and regardless of the answer, would get a solid one to the face. One unlucky Lieutenant felt the wrath of Zeke in the form of 6 head butts and a slap across the face. However, he gave me the love right back with several of his own, leaving me slightly tippsy. There was no topping that, so I subsided for the night, that and I ran out of people to “kiss.” Hey, even the Irish only have so much luck.
We made our way back to our barracks and crashed for the night.
The point of all this is, it’s really nice to get off base and let off some steam. Even getting off base we are extremely limited in where we can go and what we can do. We have to be in uniform and be baby sat by a Sergeant.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

deception at it's finest...aka the officer corps


What do you do when confronted with absolute stupidity? Not only stupidity, but incompetence, ignorance, and arrogance!? Well, that’s what I am trying to figure out. Most of my complaints on this are in our own chain of command. Yes part of this problem is part of the training NCO’s, but a big part of it is a group of officers trying to cover their butts.
I will limit this to one complaint. (Even though it could easily go all night)
Some who read this don’t really know what’s going on. However you can still understand the following.
We have been getting jerked around for the entire time we have been here. Information is put out at 10pm, we go to bed at 5am that information mystically changes to something completely different. So here it is. For the past week we have been looking forward to an official day off. A day to leave this stinking military base and go into town, or do nothing, for a whole day of freedom. That day is tomorrow. Tonight we were allowed a very limited pass to go to town and blow some steam. Tomorrow we are supposed to sleep in or whatever. Well, we just got back from town. We were informed that for no reason, our pass tomorrow is canceled and we have to wake up at zero dark stupid (5am) and do physical training. What the fuck over!?
So that’s what I’m upset about specifically right now. But it’s not just now, it’s every day. This keeps happening over and over. Like my friend Grey is so fond of saying, “This is learned helplessness. It’s like the rat test where people shock rats randomly no matter what they do. Then, the rats curl up in a corner, their hair falls out, AND THEY DIE!!!”
It’s not the war that pisses me off, it’s my own command. I’m done now.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Embracing.....the suck

.....and I want to scratch this smallpox off my shoulder, rub it until I bleed, then douse it in bleach....OH IT ITCHES!!!
In other news president Bush gave a formal appology to the united states and the peoples of the Iraqi war for his decision to go to war with Iraq. He admitted that his purpose was personal in nature. He wanted to expand his legacy and oil........right, but someone would believe it if that WAS in print now wouldn't they? I don't know why I decided to write that, but I haven't played the devils advocate in a while. No politics just yet. I'm too busy scratching my smallpox in irritation, my head in confusion, and my ass in frustration... to have an opinion on anything right now.
I think if time permits I'll start a controversial issue soon...but it might not be what you expect.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

At long last....

At long last, some time off.
My platoon has been in the field for 10 days. "The field" was actually a simulated FOB (forward observation base). What a joke. We spent 10 days running around in circles. We got 2 hours of sleep per night. These two hours (give or take an hour on any given night)were periodically interupted by "morter attacks" (glorified fire crackers that were very loud) to which we responded by dragging our tired butts out of our warm sleeping bags and into cement bunkers.
My day typically started anywhere and ended anywhere, on the clock that is. One day we got up at 1am, ran missions all day, missed breakfast and lunch, ran more missions, got back at 8pm, had supper, went to bed, got up one hour later, and din't get to sleep until 10pm the following day. That is how it went for 10 days, except it felt like forever. So the worst stretch was about 1 hour of sleep in 50 hours or so. I can't believe we were still driving vehicles in that zombie state.
Anyhow, this is how I vent and relieve myself of pressure so I don't choke someone to death.
Now we have an evening off. Except we can't leave the area, so all we can really do is drink and not be bothered much. Which is just fine with me.
I can't wait to get to Iraq. We'll have our missions, and when we are done for the day, we are done, and no one will bother me until the next mission. Perhaps I'll write something happy later.

Friday, January 06, 2006

I was bored

I was bored so I thought I would post this. I agree completely. This is what we as the American country should do for all the country's that hate us so much.

1) The US will apologize to the world for our "interference" in their affairs, past and present. We will promise never to "interfere" again.2) We will withdraw our troops from all over the world, starting with Germany, South Korea and the Philippines. They don't want us there. We would station troops at our borders. No more sneaking through holes in the fence.3) All illegal aliens have 90 days to get their affairs together and leave. We'll give them a free trip home. After 90 days the remainder will be gathered up and deported immediately, regardless of who or where they are. France would welcome them.4) All future visitors will be thoroughly checked and limited to 90 day visits unless given a special permit. No one from a terrorist nation would be allowed in. If you don't like it there, change it yourself, don't hide here. Asylum would not ever be available to anyone. We don't need anymore cab drivers.5) No "students" over age 21. The older ones are the bombers. If they don't attend classes, they get a "D" and its back home, baby.6) The US will make a strong effort to become self sufficient energy wise. This will include developing non poluting sources of energy, but will require a temporary drilling of oil in the Alaskan wilderness. The caribou will have to cope for a while. 7) Offer Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries $10 a barrel for their oil. If they don't like it, we go someplace else. 8) If there is a famine or other natural catastrophe in the world, we will not "interfere." They can pray to Allah or whomever, for seeds, rain, cement or whatever they need. Besides, most of what we give them gets "lost" or is taken by their army. The people who need it most get very little, anyway.9) Ship the UN headquarters to an island someplace. We don't need the spies and fair weather friends here. Besides, it would make a good homeless shelter or lockup for illegal aliens9a) Use the buildings as replacemetns for the twin towers.10) All Americans must go to charm and beauty school. That way, no one can call us "Ugly Americans" any longer. "The Statue of Liberty is no longer saying 'Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses.' she's got a baseball bat and she's yelling, 'You want a piece of me?'" -Robin Williams