They Said It Better Than I Ever Could...

These words that I write, they keep me from total insanity. -Charles Bukowski

Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed? -Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Aug 30, 2008

And So It Begins...Again...

So now that I have gotten that bullshit 3 day pass out the way, we can actually get down to business. Which consists of something like an entire company of soldiers sitting on a drill floor made for a group of soldiers no where near a company size and sweating my entirely too small balls off for the better part of the evening waiting for the ridiculously early wake up call that will inevitably come and then we can actually get this show on the road.

I had to do the whole tearful goodbye thing again. Needless to say that sucked major monkey nuts. (Sorry mom, I am back to talking like a soldier) My mother brought forth the water works in the driveway today when I got picked up. Suffice it to say I needed to rehydrate myself after I had left. Then I proceeded to smoke an entire pack of cigarettes inside of 3 hours. My lungs are screaming for mercy as I write this.

Then after all that fun. We got to the armory and began the actually Army part of this my most wonderful day. So they fall us into formation and do the whole roll call thing. That went swimmingly. However, something did happen that I think bears repeating. So as is customary there was a bunch of soldiers that were late. Not to mention they weren't smart enough to stay out the AO until the formation was over and then take a beating from their platoon daddy. So they tried to run in through the door and get into formation prior to their name being called.

Our commander was standing behind the formation and as they were shuffling past him all I could hear was him saying in a rather aggressive voice, "Don't walk in front of me, you stay behind me when you come past." And then to put a little bit of icing on his cake when a guy came past him that didn't hear the warning and he walked right in front of him, he dropped him. Meaning he set him down on the ground and made him do some push ups. Embarrassing him in front of his family and what not.

Now I know that all the gung ho, hard charging, go Army types will say that proper military courtesy says that you don't walk in front of this guy during formation, and thats fine because technically they are probably right. But do I care? Nope, not even a little bit. That my friends, was bullshit. There was no need for all of that. This is stressful enough without this guy adding a little layer to it. I mean I couldn't help but start to sing, in a very soft voice to whoever could hear me in formation, "I SEE YOUR TRUE COLORS SHINING THROUGH" I mean, is there any need for this guy to swing his cock around at the expense of this soldier who's only sin was walking in front of him? But I digress, he's the one who has to deal with that in his own mind. Thankfully for him, its small enough to take that in stride.

Then he gave us our little motivational beginning of deployment speech. Holding true to form, our commander is about as inspiring and motivational as a good case of herpes. So he went through most of it without me being able to pick out anything to really get in a huff about, so I was a bit disappointed but then it happened. He stated that we should never forget our families. (Alright, no problem there) But we should put them in the back of our minds in order to focus on the mission. (No problem, you got it Sir.) Then he said, "Because if you don't put them out of your mind and focus on the mission, you might never see them again." (Alright, Now I've got an issue.)

Everyone's families were still there. They were all standing off in the wings and waiting for their chance to see us off properly, and they heard every word of what he was saying. Oh yeah, that is what someone's mother really needs to hear. I am sure they appreciated that greatly. It never ceases to amaze me how some people just have a gift for saying the wrong thing. He can say that shit to us, that's fine. How could anyone think it was a good idea to say that in front of everyone's family? Especially when they are sending us off to a warzone for the next year. I wish there was some way I could apologize to the families for him, but that ain't going to happen so I digress.

So now I am sitting here on a brand new Army cot, sweating profusely and tip tapping away at my computer with a very unique sense of dread coming over me. Fear of the unknown is setting in and I hope it goes away as I get busier because needless to say this sucks balls.

I'll leave you with a thought, and a take off of something that our commander told us. He said, that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Real original of him. I wonder if he checked the quote book for that little gem. But I say this...


And for those of you who are keeping track, I didn't make that one up, I am repeating it. Later...

Aug 28, 2008

Death By Powerpoint...

Another one of those universal soldier experiences that we have all had and we all hate with a passion normally reserved for Nazis, terrorists, and hippies...

Except this time, a bunch of family members got to go through it with us. Today we had our pre-deployment/family readiness briefings from about 40 different people from about 20 different agencies all saying the same thing. Usually something to the effect of, we'll help you while your soldier is gone, but good luck getting a hold of us.

The briefings started at like 0800, and oh did we have fun. I spent the entire morning trying to sneak out of the room to have a cigarette or two, or ten without my platoon daddy or 1SG seeing me and ordering me back to that dreaded seat.

I mean even the mothers were falling asleep. It was brutal.

Then we all went out for lunch to this place or that and enjoyed the time that we had with our families, or in my case someone else's family. Then we returned for the "Dog & Pony" portion of our day.

We got up there and fell into formation and realized that they were being nice to us during the rehearsals yesterday. They turned the lights down during rehearsals, today they were nice and bright. Like fire of the sun bright. Which was wonderful considering that the majority of us have spent the last few weeks drunk, up to and including last night. But I digress.

Fortunately, the speakers at this "Dog & Pony" were surprisingly brief. They got up there and gave the standard party line speeches. You know the drill.

1. Your soldiers are defenders of freedom.
2. They are the best the country has to offer.
3. They will make everyone proud.
4. They will all come home safe.

I mean that is really all that they ever say at these things. What else could they say. "Um, we really hope not, but your kids are going to one of the most dangerous places on the planet, and a few of them might get killed!" Well I don't think that the parents would appreciate that, so we get the usual every time.

Like I said, thank God that these people were very brief in their remarks because after a few minutes I couldn't feel my feet anymore. I mean I am in the Guard, I am not used to this kind of shit. Then after the ceremony we were released on a 3 day pass.

Forgive the profanity, but Son of a bitch, what am I going to do for three days. I am two hours from home and have three days to kill. Everyone else is going home to see their parents and loved ones for a few more days, and then there is me. The guy that thinks to himself, "Oh sweet Jesus if I go home I have to do the whole tearful goodbye thing again." Which is easily tops on my list of things to NEVER do again. But I go anyway. So here I am sitting at home writing this after going to dinner, and going for a nice car ride with my mom, and all I can really think about is the fact that in another two days I am going to have to kiss her goodbye for the second time...

Why Thank You All For Reading...

Well I got a few comments from a couple of other bloggers and I don't really know how to react other than to say that I really appreciate the comments and am extremely happy that you are reading. I will keep on posting and hope you will keep on reading. When I started this I figured that only my friends and family would read but I guess that I was wrong. I can't quite tell you how cool it was to find that you guys were reading. To thank you both I can't think of a better way than to link to your blogs and hopefully someone will find yours and read what you have to say. Like I said, thank you both...

Aug 27, 2008

You Bring The Dog, And I'll Get The Pony...

it is that time ladies and gentlemen for that time honored tradition of military bureauacracy and pomp and circumshit. (Not a typo)

The words that every lower enlisted soldier dreads even more than Article 15 and "is it in yet". The DOG AND PONY SHOW. Anyone who has been in the Army long enough to see a senior officer retire knows all about this shit.

It basically consists of an audience, a few VIP's, normally senior officers and congressmen and women, and local mayor's and the like. The last element that is needed to complete the dog and pony show is the company or more of soldiers that is required to stand there, either at attention or parade rest, both equally uncomfortable positions for extended periods of time while the officers and their buddies talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and get the idea.

Tomorrow is our going away ceremony which thankfully my family is not attending. Not only can I only handle one tearful goodbye per year, but I also would not want her to have to see the caliber of leadership that I am going with.

I would elaborate but I just heard about another blogger getting his ass in a sling over making fun of his commander. Not that I have any problem with the trouble part of this thing, I just figured I would wait until I have something really good on him before I go risking it.

Now we are probably going to end up standing there for about 2 hours while the lights from the stage beat down on us and listen to these idiots postulate about war, and politics and who and what we are.

Fine, whatever, military officers are full of themselves and have quite the inflated opinions thereof. I don't really care. The thing that really got under my skin today was this. The Sergeant Major (highest ranking enlisted man) said that this ceremony was for us, and we should stand tall and be proud of the Army and being soldiers. Alright, I can deal with the pride part,...

But there is no way in hell this ceremony is for us. This ceremony is for the news crews that are showing up tomorrow, its for the commander to show his new girlfriend what a big deal he is, its for the 1SG to be able to stand out front when we get applauded, its for the higher ups so that they can get a little positive press for the Army, and maybe their names in the paper as an added bonus. Plus they get to pretend for the day that they actually care about the soldiers. Which is something they claim every chance they get but never seem to do anything of any real consequence about it.

This thing is for us? Really then why do we have to stand up here sweating our balls off, and all the while staring at our loving families in the audience, so close to them but not being able to be with them. If it is for us, why do we have to listen to these bloviating old men as they relive their glory years by sending us off to get shot?

Fuck all that, you want to do something for me? Give me a gift certificate to Applebee's and let me take my family out for dinner. Let me be with them every single minute that is possible. But no you decide to put on another dog and pony show...asshole.

Aug 26, 2008

My Good, Good Lord Do I Ever Hate Stupid People...

and there is no shortage of absolute idiots populating the US Army today. I earned my ridiculous government salary today watching paint dry. Literally!! I am not kidding, I spent the lion's share of my day watching paint dry. We painted the bottom of our duffel bags a very snappy shade of tan, and watched them dry and then painted the number of our company and our identifying information on the bottom of this bag, then we watched that dry. Then the day was over.

We accomplished next to nothing but I guess that is all that is expected of government workers. I never really thought that I could honestly say that I earned my money watching paint dry. But why not. Then I filled the remainder of my day learning something about myself. Well not really learning, but reconfirming.

I reconfirmed that I have zero tolerance for any measure of stupidity and I have a real hard time keeping my voice down when dealing with a person that I consider to be of...questionable intellect.

In other words, I ended up yelling at some guy in my unit who said that he would love to shoot a dog or two while we are in Afghanistan. Needless to say that struck me as fucking stupid. I have very little tolerance for cruelty to animals just for its own sake.

I am not a P.E.T.A. person or anything like that. I mean if there is a viable reason for killing an animal then have at it. If an animal is hurting you or someone you love or is rabid, or needs to become a steak then by all means kill the animal, but do it humanely and with the minimum amount of suffering possible.

But this guy, whom I like and have respect for, just wanted to kill a dog for "target practice". It never ceases to amaze me how many people, who seem to be intelligent turn out to be just another dipshit. But why should I have expected anything more, especially from someone who joined the Army. And I do remember that I joined the Army...3 times. So yes, I am just a bit of a moron. But I digress.

He rebuked me by saying something to the effect of how can I think its bad to hurt an animal, yet I am more than willing to hurt and/or kill a human being. Human beings are more important than animals.

Well I guess the last bit of that is true. The problem lies in the guilt level. I turn again to George Carlin to express my feelings on humans, he said once, "Your birth certificate is proof of guilt"

Human beings are guilty, animals are not. Animals do nothing more than their instincts allow. Animals do not hurt each other for pleasure or profit. That's our job.

So I do not have even the slightest problem with hurting a human being. I would never hurt another human who did not put themselves in a position of deserving to be hurt. I am not a murderer, but I am a remorseless solver of problems. If a person, in the right set of circumstances becomes a problem, well then enjoy your ride to hell pal.

However, shooting a defenseless animal for nothing more than sport or a few chuckles is nothing more than barbaric and just a bit moronic. Catering to human beings basest nature and destroying the life around us is just fucking retarded. I thought the whole point of civilization and education was to rise above all of that.

But then again, I wouldn't want to claim superiority. I mean this is the guy who is more than happy to hurt people. Maybe I am the one who is fucked up?

Aug 25, 2008

Dear Mom,

[First and foremost someone needs to make sure that my computer illiterate mother reads this entry, I don't really care who, just someone make sure that she sees this after I go...hint, hint, HINT]

Dear Mom,

I am sitting here across the hall from you worried about how you are going to deal with the next year with me being gone and in Afghanistan. There is really nothing that I can do to alleviate the fears that you have for the welfare of your eldest son. All I can really say that will mean much of anything is this...

I owe it all to you. None of this is possible without you. You gave me life. You educated me. You showed me how to be a man. You showed me who I am and where I come from. Nothing I have ever done, whether good or bad or indifferent would have been possible without your love and saving grace. I cannot even begin to express how much you mean to me and my life.

I love you with all my heart and will always. I will do everything in my power to ensure that I come home to you safe and sound. I would never dream of hurting you in any way. I will not be able to protect you from the pain you are about to endure with me being gone but rest assured I am thinking of you always.

Remember that everything happens for a reason, and I think that deep in your heart you more than understand the reasons that I volunteered for this. Never was any of this meant to hurt you, even though it did and will continue to do so until I come home.

Slowly but surely you have watched me grow into the man I am today and I think that I am a good one. Regardless of how many flaws that I have. All of this is thanks to you.

Remember all those basketball games when I was a kid and every time I made a basket I would look into the stands to make sure that you had seen me? I never have felt better than when I knew you were proud of me. I will make you proud of me once again.

The ordeal that stands before me is nothing compared to what you will have to endure wondering about what is happening and what I am doing and if I am OK. I will do whatever I can to make this easier on you.

But make no mistake about it. This is my last rodeo. I will have proven all that I need to prove and will have earned the respect that I need from who I need it from. There will be nothing left for me in the Army. So hopefully that makes you feel a little bit better.

So, every time you start to hurt and miss me, just think of all the fun we have had. Telling stories, watching me and the little brother getting drunk and acting stupid, watching basketball, football, and whatever games. Seeing me graduate from college, getting married and all that good stuff. And remember that I will be home soon, and if you can stand it, just flip on that CCR song "As Long As I Can See The Light" and know that there is no stronger light than the love between a mother and her son.

And so long as I can see the light, You're going to be fine, I am going to be fine, Everyone is going to be just fine...

Your Loving Son...

Aug 23, 2008

Someone get this man a cold one...

Alright, regardless of my feelings about my government, this song gave me a serious case of the goose bumps.

Aug 22, 2008

There Are Only Two Things In This World That Are Infinite...

Alright so let me begin by saying that due to the fact that the Army has left me alone for the past 3 weeks or so I haven't had anything really funny or of any real consequence to talk about. So I have been filling that time thinking about this or that and then writing about it. Some of the stuff has been political, some has been stories from my past and still others have simply been funny videos or commercials that I thought might be worth sharing.

But this next post is going to be something that I think that everyone who reads this should at least take the time to mull over in their own head and decide whether they believe me or not, and whether it is relevant or not. Tomorrow I'll hopefully be back to my usual jovial self, but tonight that isn't possible given some of the things I just saw.

So here it is...

The only two things in this world that are infinite are human stupidity and even more depressing is human cruelty.

Whether it be cruelty to animals, the environment, or each other, humans contain an amazing capacity to hurt everything, and everyone around them.

I just got finished watching "Meet Your Meat", a hippy, tree hugging, Alec Baldwin style exploration of the meat industry. Now take it for what its worth, I am by no means someone who would be considered a bleeding heart liberal. I don't have a lot of sympathy for people and I don't believe in taking money from me or anyone else for that matter and giving it to those amongst us who will not work. Nor am I one of these people who thinks that every social ill should be medicated with another law written by a bunch of pandering punks, otherwise known as congress.

But when I watched this video I was literally sick to my stomach and I started to gag thinking that not more than an a few hours ago I had a chicken sandwich.


Well what did you think of that? Kind of makes you wonder about humans doesn't it? If you are like me, I wanted to find those farmers and show them what its like to get smashed in the head with a metal rod, or be castrated with no pain killers, or be branded with no pain killers, or be forced to live in a cage where you can't move for your entire miserable life, or live on top of 10,000 of your buddies in a space made for 10, or be forcibly impregnated every year, many things I would love to do to those pricks.

Just a thought, but you would think in a world where we can send people into space they would be able to devise a method to slaughter animals that would cause them no pain, and even if there was pain, it would only last an instant. I mean, we seem to have absolutely no trouble finding ways to kill each other in an instant, why can't we apply that to animals? (Those creatures we are supposedly superior to)

Everyone knows full well I am not going to stop eating meat, but I am going to think a little bit prior to doing so. Maybe I will stop just because every time I think about this video my previous meal jumps up to the top of my throat. But why does it have to be this way?

What makes it that this method has become the standard way of slaughtering animals? Oh yeah, money. The answer to every question regarding the stupid shit that humans do.

You see its kind of strange that I would feel so much sympathy for animals, but I guess it makes sense. Animals don't have any choice, they don't have a prayer. They are at our mercy right from jump street. They do nothing, but what they are either forced to do, or nature directs them to do. Thats what supposedly separates us from these creatures.

Our ability to choose. We could choose to treat these animals decently, but we didn't. We could choose to treat each other decently, but we didn't. We could choose to use our knowledge to better the world and all those in it, but we decided to make some more guns. Blah, Blah, Blah.

It also strikes me as humorous that if anyone thought of doing something like this to your dog, or my dog, I can literally say that I would most likely fight you to the death to protect my dog. However, so long as it is just a piece of meat on the plate that I don't have to think about, its OK.

Just think of how you would react if someone tried to pull this kind of shit on your dog, or cat or tweedy bird or whatever. What would you do? And why is it that its OK to do it to these animals but just not your pet? What the fuck is the difference?

Well I could sit here and preach at you for hours, but we have to get on to the second thing that is infinite...human stupidity. Oh wait, they're the same damn thing. Enough said.

So I'll leave you with a couple of ideas, the first being that I hope, I really and truly do hope for the first time in my life that the Hindu's are right. That when we die we all get reincarnated. And I hope every last one of us comes back as a cow.

Secondly, I want everyone to consider what we do to these animals and how it parallels what we do to other people. Did we ever keep people as slaves? Do those little pens remind any of us of our first apartments or barracks rooms? Have you ever been beaten, literally or figuratively into doing something that you didn't want to do? Do we kill each other? Whether it be for pleasure, profit or both. Do we take any members of our societies and basically turn them into nothing more than a commodity to be traded? (anyone who has ever had a job will agree with that)

Lastly, I'll leave you with a George Carlin joke.

Name seven ways human beings are superior to chickens...

...See nobody can do it.

Aug 21, 2008

Nothing Really Worth Writing About Today...

So you get this. Easily one of the funniest bits from the Daily Show with John Stewart that I have ever seen...God I hate hippies.

Aug 20, 2008

The Separation of Soldier And Self...

Now this is one of those little diatribes that I probably should have thought about a lot more prior to writing it. But I didn't, and I am not going to, so what the hell here goes...

I have been posting a lot lately on the complete and utter idiocy of war, and all the bullshit that comes along with it. So I am sure that it has become abundantly clear that I am anti-war. If it hasn't you should probably think about getting tested for a learning disability.

My anti-war feelings stem from a very deep seated affinity for life. Particularly my own life. I like being alive, war threatens that, so by default I am against war. I mean that is the whole secret of life...NOT DYING. Simple.

But I am also a soldier on his way to Afghanistan. I am going to fight a war. I am going to do exactly as I am told, I am going to follow my orders, I am going to serve honorably in the face of whatever.

Two ideas that are diametrically opposed. Another contradiction in the never ending stream of contradictions that make up the majority of my life. I don't know how anyone can deal with me for more than a few minutes without beginning to feel their sanity leaving them.

Regardless of all of that, I am able to separate the soldier from the self. I have a duty as a soldier that I will do. However, I also have thoughts and ideas myself and I will preserve them in spite of what I have to do as a soldier.

How can I do this, or a better question would be why would I think this way? I mean I did volunteer so I have no ground on which to stand to question the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. You hear that bullshit a lot lately. Soldiers in todays all volunteer military have no room to bitch and complain about their lot in life. They signed the fucking contract let them deal with what it has wrought.

Well allow me to retort. If you have a job, you have reached an agreement, dare I say a verbal contract, with your employer. You have agreed that between the hours of 9 and 5 or whatever, you will trade them you labor for a pre-determined amount of pay. Now your boss asks you to do something you do not want to do, maybe something you find repulsive, maybe something you think is immoral, possibly something that could get you killed. What do you do? Well either you try to convince your boss that you should not have to do that, or you quit. Then you go and find a new job. Legally speaking for the most part, all your employer can do to you is give you a bad reference. A lot of states they can't even do that, all they can do is verify dates of employment, otherwise risking exposing themselves to lawsuits. But as soon as you find a new job whatever happened between you and your employer matters, not at all.

Now what happens if you have the same exchange with the military? You are dishonorably or some other BCD (bad conduct discharge) from the military which you will have to staple to every job application you ever fill out in your life. You are completely stripped of all benefits that you earned while serving regardless of length of service, and regardless of whether you paid for them or not. You will never be able to find employment with any government agency, you will never get any of the college benefits for which you worked so hard and on and on and on.

Little bit of a difference there! When my drill sergeant told me, when I first questioned my decision to join the military, "No one held a gun to your head and made you join, boy!" Well that's very true, but they are certainly holding a gun to our heads in order to keep us in and in line.

I wonder what would happen if for one day, just one day, soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines were allowed to quit. What do you think would happen?

We get backdoored by the contract in that we have to spend all those years on the IRR, (Individual Ready Reserve, the list they call all the soldiers back from) and I swear to Christ if anyone says, you should've read the contract, I will find you and beat you to death with a rolled up newspaper. C'mon, these are 18, 19, 20 year old kids signing these contracts. They are lucky they can understand the oath they are taking, much less the fine print of an enlistment contract. Take a poll of soldiers in the Army prior to 9/11 and ask how many of them knew they would be in the Army for 8 years instead of the 2 or 3 or 4 or in my case 5 they signed up for, and you'll find that a good 2/3 to 3/4 of them had no idea. You think that maybe the Army wasn't really vocalizing that part of the contract?

But I digress. I just felt my plaque start flowing again.

This conundrum presents me with an interesting and thoroughly unenviable position from which to act. The only way that I can do it is to separate who I am as a soldier from who I am as an individual. Which I know, is exactly what the Army wants, but they don't want you to maintain the self, just the soldier. 1984 anyone?

So I can be a good soldier, well maybe an average soldier, and I can also maintain some sense of myself. I can maintain my ideals and still do what is demanded and commanded of me as a soldier.

The question that bothers me, keeps me up nights is this: When the time comes when I am asked to do something as a soldier that will destroy the self or when the maintenance of the self demands that I do something that would destroy the soldier, which side of me will win?

God, I can only pray that never happens...

Aug 19, 2008

A Little Dissent Is Good For Ya...

When I was in college there were always these little punk kids in the quad all the time taking a poll or a survey for this cause or that cause. You know the type, the kind of kid who is a business major and is probably just atoning for his/her future sins as a businessperson by being an ill informed, radical jackass while in college. You know before they get out and have to start making all that cabbage to pay back those pesky loans. So one day one of these kids came up to me while I was sitting there smoking a cigarette. I was bracing myself for the inevitable "smoking kills 8 zillion people a day" lecture, but thankfully all he did was ask me what my political affiliation was.

Not having ever really thought about what my affiliation was, I pondered the question for a moment. Now we have the Democrats and Republicans as our choices. I mean let's be perfectly honest thats all we've got. Which by itself is depressing. But I wasn't about to identify with either of them. Where's the fun in that. So I told this kid that I was a "fascist anarchist". (Stolen, of course, from Ferris Bueller) But the blank look I got from this brain dead little turd was classic.

I wondered if he could define the words "fascist" and "anarchist" defines them thus:

Fascism: a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.

Anarchism: a doctrine urging the abolition of government or governmental restraint as the indispensable condition for full social and political liberty.

So for all you dumbasses out there, the humor was in the fact that these are two diametrically opposed ideas. You know kind of like me. But I digress.

Back to the story, I was pissed off because I had wasted that little gem on this mutt, and now he still wanted to ask me the questions in his survey. After he had written "Fascist Anarchist" on the top of his little form in the box labeled, "Political Affiliation". So I politely answered all the questions he asked, never letting on that I was a soldier. (He was asking about the "illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq) I always wonder how many of these peaceniks could actually find Iraq on a globe. I also wonder if they ever spouted anything but the standard party line in response to any questions leveled at them about...well anything really.

I had to laugh that in a city known for its Democratic politics, at an institution of higher learning, where one of that institutions most hallowed purposes was teaching our young people to think for themselves...there was very little actual thinking going on. And that which was being done was taken care of by tenured faculty who spoon fed it to all those hungry young minds, who in turn regurgitated it out on anyone who voiced the slightest inkling of dissent.

Needless to say the majority of my collegiate experience was spent biting my tongue for fear of upsetting the belted earls in their ivory towers.

What does this have to do with anything now? Nothing, not a damn thing. I just love that story. But it brings me to my actual point.

The military for the most part is made up of the lower class, the working class, and a small segment of the middle class. Not to mention it is notoriously Republican. Last election, I heard somewhere that 90% of the military had voted for George Bush. (I don't know where I heard it so if the stat is wrong, please correct me, and then kiss my ass) Imagine the lack of forethought it takes to actually vote for a man who started a few wars, when you are the one who has to fight the wars. However at the time everything was different than it is now, so I would not presume to judge their choice.

But that doesn't change the fact that anyone in the military who does not for the most part, or at least vocally support the war and the policies surrounding that war is in for some shit from their superiors. It seems that lately any criticism of the military by members of the military, the prosecution of the war, or the President is labeled as, "giving aid and comfort to the enemy".

When you say it like that it sounds treasonous. Or maybe its just the usual griping from the ranks. But it never ceases to amaze me that an entire section of our populace would volunteer to defend this land (and that IS what we volunteered for, defending this country, not shitting on other ones) would think in such a counterintuitive manner. I for one, think that war for the most part sucks and I would rather not do it, and I know that most guys I know would rather not be a part of it and yet consistently the military votes for the guys who are most likely to get them killed. I just don't get it.

Whatever, they can vote however they choose. I just think that maybe its time for bit more dissent from the ranks about this whole situation. The closer I get to it, the more I learn about it, the more I think about it, the shittier it all seems. So we are going to have to see if maybe I can conjure up a little bit of shit while I am over there. I always did love a good dust up.

But this is probably all futile anyways, we are talking about something that has probably grown out of anyone's control. But why the hell not. I always did like going against it...whatever it was. I mean I never wanted a cigarette until I saw my first "No smoking" sign, and if I saw a sign that said, "Keep off the grass" Well my friends, someone find me a football. But we'll see if a little dissent really is good for ya...

Aug 18, 2008

As Always, Someone Said It Better Than Me...

I love this song, its fucking perfect.

Rest In Peace Brother...

First and foremost I am going to post a few links to things that I want everyone to read. Not for me, but for yourselves. So you can know what war does to soldiers. So you can understand what some of us go through. So you can feel is some small measure what we feel. So you can thoroughly understand the futility and destructiveness of it all.

Read these in order if you don't mind...

Number One

Number Two

Number Three

This was just another guy who got caught up in this whole war. He was probably just a guy who figured that he would give something back to his country for all it has given him, only to have that same country take everything from him, up to and including his life. Understand this, in my opinion Douglas Barber did not commit suicide. He was murdered. Murdered by a system that chews us up and spits us out. Murdered by the apathy and bureaucracy of a government that can't be bothered with those whose minds they have so completely destroyed. Murdered by the complete lack of essential services that a returning service member requires after the most traumatic event of his or her young life. Murdered by the apathy of the citizen zombies who would rather spend their lives drinking Starbuck's coffee and shopping for the latest lead laced toy that costs 75 cents at Wal-Mart than pay attention to a war that only effects those of us who have to fight it.

Like hundreds of thousands of others I am heading off into the meat grinder that is the war. I can only pray that somewhere along the line God allows me to come out the other end with my mind intact. Make no mistake, and have no illusions, the very thought of what I am about to endure terrifies me in ways that I could never verbalize. But who knows, maybe I am being over dramatic. Could be, I have a tendency to do that. But the fact remains that this war, like so many others before it is chewing up an entire generation of poor people and turning them into nothing more than numbers on a spreadsheet that government bureaucrats use every year to justify their budgets.

Wouldn't it be nice if someday the people of this country stood up and demanded an end to all the slaughter? Wouldn't it be nice if they decided that they would no longer support a war run by profiteering gluttons with absolutely no regard for the human cost or the suffering of those tasked with fighting? Wouldn't it be nice if someday the people started caring more about their fellow man than about their pocketbooks and the price of a gallon of gas? Wouldn't it be nice if someday the paper patriots were actually made to feel the cost of war?

Maybe someday...

In any event, Americans will always find a way to insulate themselves from the real world around them. Maybe they'll buy a new car, or some jewelry. Remember ole' Bushy boy saying that shit...spend some money, otherwise the terrorists win. Or maybe they'll slap a yellow ribbon on their cars that reads, "I support our troops" Well I say, ask them to donate some time to working at a veterans home and helping those veterans who weren't lucky enough to die. Or maybe they'll go to a parade and sing "Proud to be an American" even though there won't be too many veterans in the crowd because for the most part they are terrified of crowds, you know too much input for the hyper-vigilant.

Either way, you can go back to sleep America. This war is being fought by those of us who are most easily forgotten. It'll all be over soon, and when it is you can feel comfortable in the fact that you did your yellow ribbon part.

Or maybe you could do one better. Remember Douglas Barber and what happened to him.

Rest In Peace Brother. I never knew you, but I will never forget you.

...My sincerest apologies to all of you, that was just a tad bit preachy.  But do me a favor and email this to as many people as you can.  It would be fitting that Douglas Barber be remembered...

Who The Hell Would Actually Want To Write A Book...Oh And A Little Something Funny

First let me start off with something funny just to brighten up my, and everyone else's day...

Now let's get onto something a bit more serious, but not really. Not to mention the fact that this topic will seem somewhat random if not completely ludicrous.

I got an email today from someone, doesn't matter who. No one I even know, criticizing my blog as a dumb ass attempt to angle my way into some sort of book deal when I come home. Which is exactly why I threw that title out there in my last post. So for that person's benefit I will throw this one out there. I have no interest in writing a book. Some have suggested it might not be a bad idea, but truth be told, what could I say that hasn't been said already?

I mean, the whole disgruntled soldier fighting a war he doesn't believe in motif has really been beaten to death. Did I get the inspiration to write this blog from guys that had written books, of course. Colby Buzzell, Jason Harley and a few others have shown just what a few words on some goofy internet site can do. Do I have any illusions about being on a par with those guys, not even a little bit. Anyways who, besides my friends and family and this one asshole are going to read this thing?

So to that guy out there who thinks I want to get a book deal, I tell you this, I guess my writing is a little bit better than I thought for you to give me that much credit. However, if you need more proof that it is a crapshoot as to getting a book THIS

So now I digress from that. I am writing this for the benefit of myself and my family and friends. This way I only have to write once as opposed to a bunch of times to everyone. Don't worry Mom, I'll always write to you special.

T Minus 7 Days and Counting...

Well I've reached another milestone. Less than one week till this deployment kicks off. Terror level rising to critical levels. Pucker factor is in the red. Holy Mary, Mother of God am I scared.

The title of this post begs the question, what the hell does it mean when the NASA guys say T minus, what is T, and why are you subtracting from it? But whatever, doesn't really matter. I have entirely bigger fish to fry right now.

We are one week out and I still have not received any word from my company as to what the hell we are supposed to bring with us. I mean I know that I should bring all my military crap, but how does it need to get packed. Some of it is getting flown down to our mobilization station, and some is getting sailed over to Afghanistan. So the question becomes which box or bag should go to which place and what should each box or bag have in it. You would think that this is something they would've gotten on top of a long time ago but apparently this is a low priority on their radars.

That and the fact that I don't really think that our company actually has a mission or a purpose in that god foresaken country yet. I am pretty sure they are just sending a whole bunch of us over there and figuring that they'll just send us to wherever we can do the most good when we get there. I suppose there is some logic in that but it doesn't change the fact that we are still heading off into the wild unknown lead by the blind, deaf and dumb.

Admittedly, this has been getting harder and harder as the time draws near. I haven't slept for shit in the past 2 weeks. I mean I have been pretty much consistently drunk for the past week and I am still only sleeping about 3 or 4 fit filled hours a night. That and I have been listening to a lot of really depressing music lately. You know Amazing Grace on bagpipes and funeral marches and things like that. Probably not the best choice of fare for a man about to embark on the journey that could potentially end his life. But I digress.

I wish I knew how to make this easy. I wish I knew how to not be afraid. I wish I knew how to not question the wisdom of my leaders. I wish I knew how to not question my own sanity in volunteering for this. I wish I knew how to ease the pain that I am causing all my loved ones. But I think if I were to write a book about this experience it would have to be called:

EMBRACE THE SUCK: A year's worth of unanswered questions in Afghanistan.

I have never been a part of something that caused so many questions but offered so few answers, and I haven't even left home yet. Will my questions be answered when I get there? Or will they be answered when I get back? Will I finally have proven myself and by so doing be able to hang up my boots and live a nice quiet life with my family afterwards? Sweet Jesus I sure hope so.

But I guess that these feelings are all normal, at least I sure hope that they are normal. Talking to the other veterans they all say the same thing. "You did WHAT!!!!???" (Referring to my rather unfortunate decision to volunteer) "Why the fuck would anyone actually ask to go?" I am beginning to wonder just what was going on in my mind at the time. But none of that matters now, the why of this whole thing is a moot point. What we have to deal with now are the other interrogatives.

1. How, as in how the hell are we going to get through this year without anyone getting hurt or dying?

2. When, when are we actually going, and when are we coming back?

3. Who, as in who is going with us, who is going to be there when we arrive and who is coming back with us?

4. Where, as in where the hell are we going, I got the country down, now we need to narrow it down?

Once again, more questions with no answers. However, at least I know that all of these questions will have answers. Even more terrifying is that these questions will all be answered very soon.

So next Monday is the day. I guess it is fitting that the worst day of the week is the day we leave. I think that it would really suck if we had to leave on like a saturday night.

Well, I'll be writing a lot less very soon so hopefully you all stay tuned because I imagine that I am going to have some very good stories to tell in the near future...but regardless thank you for coming along with me thus far and...'s to unanswered questions.

Aug 15, 2008

My Drunken Nights...

So I was sitting here reading over my last few posts with my 2 liter bottle of ice water trying to recover from last night and I realized that I have gotten to be bit of a downer. Now I don't want anyone to go away from here with the misconception that I am all doom and gloom. So in order to remedy that situation I figured that I would tell you all my drunk stories beginning invariably with high school and moving on from there.

The booze has flowed like a river in my life and I have loved every minute of it. Some of this stuff is embarrassing, some heart warming, some completely ridiculous, but its all pretty funny stuff. Without further adieu.

One of the first funny things that happened to me while intoxicated was this one. I'll title every story in big letters so you know when a new story begins.


So my friends and I were at this party, everyone was getting hammered and then the cops came by and busted up the party. So being the good upstanding young man that I was, I proceeded to run my ass out the back door trying to escape.

Well apparently, these cops had done this sort of thing before. (Suburban cops have nothing better to do that bust high schoolers for drinking) In any event there was a rather Napoleon looking shorty of a cop waiting for me outside.

He grabbed me, gave me the usual song and dance about ruining my life with booze and tossed me in the back of his car and went back to wrangling up the rest of my fellow drunkards like so many stumbling cattle.

Evidently, however, there was some kind of problem with alcohol poisoning or some such nonsense where medical attention was required and this or whatever kept the cop who's car I was in, busy for quite some time.

So with nothing to do and no way of entertaining myself, I, as was my right, decided to lay down and go to sleep in the back of the car.

I don't know really how long I slept, but I do know that at the time I slept like a rock, and at some point post falling asleep and prior to the cop reentering the vehicle I rolled over and fell onto the floor of the vehicle.

So there I am wedged between the back of the front seat and the bench in the back seat. (Which I imagine is what kept me from snoring) And I am sleeping like I had a tit in my mouth for 8 hours.

Well time flies when you're having fun and the policeman's shift came to an end. At which time he pulls into the police station and exits the vehicle and opens the back door in hopes of retrieving his coffee thermos. (Which was empty by the way.) And to his horror he discovers a peacefully sleeping young man. (yours truly)

"Holy Shit!" He exclaimed, "What the hell are you doing back there? I completely forgot you were in there"

Groggily, I tried to shake off the effects of last nights alcohol consumption and answer this peace officer. But before I even got both eyes open he said, "Fucking stay here and stay on the floor, I'll be back in a minute to get you and I'll drive you home, and don't let anyone see you or know that you're here."

Realizing the pickle that I...and he are in I decide to stay on the floor. Shortly thereafter the door swings open and I slip out the back of the police car into the SUV belonging to the very conscientious police officer who had graciously taken me into custody the night before.

He proceeded to drive me home and drop me off about a block from my house, and the last thing he ever said to me was, "No one finds out about this shit ever, you understand me?" And for a brief moment I felt really powerful, like I actually had something on this cop. Shaking those thoughts off I politely thanked the officer for his assistance and began my walk home. I couldn't help but give the cop my patented cocky smirk as he drove off, which said, loud and proud, see you again real soon...

My contact with the local police departments is not what I would call legendary, but I guarantee that many a police officer tells stories at family gatherings about the time that he ran into me while on duty. I can hear the story begin, "You'll never believe this kid that used to live in my beat..."

Next time, I'll tell you about the time that my buddy took a tinkle on the countertop at Dunkin' Donuts...Stay tuned.

Aug 14, 2008

Why Do I Do This...

I don't think I have been asked one question more than why do I do this? Referring to my military service and the length of said service and the overwhelming difficulty of said service.

Well I guess right now I should take a stab at answering the question.

First, I'll go over the context in which I am usually asked this question. I normally get asked this right after I finish telling someone a story, any story really, about just how incredibly fucked up the military is or can be at times. Or, I am asked this question right after a news report plays on the TV detailing how screwed up the situation is in Iraq or Afghanistan and everyone looks at me and wonders why I would keep doing this even in the face of such an unpopular and somewhat unjust pair of wars.

So now that we have the context, my usual response is something to the effect of "I don't know, I really needed the college money and now I've got so many years in that it would be stupid to get out now when I am already half way to retirement."

Well, let me tell you, with apologies to everyone who has ever heard me say that or something similar. THAT RESPONSE IS COMPLETE AND UTTER BULLSHIT. It is just the standard, cookie cutter answer that I have come up with that serves me the best because people can't really dissect that answer or question me further. I mean who can really argue with college money and retirement?

So now let's get down to the nitty gritty. Why do I REALLY do this shit? And yes ladies, and gents it is shit. No way around it. I mean what rational person would volunteer to spend the lions share of their time away from friends and family, living in what some would call squalor, making next to shit in pay, taking orders from abused children on a power trip and sadists, fighting against other poor people in order to make more money for the rich of my own country?

Sounds singularly idiotic doesn't it? Well admittedly I am a bit of an idiot. However, I do think that there are some reasons that I have for doing what I do, and they really have nothing to do with freedom and liberty, and democracy. Quite frankly, in my humble opinion, anyone who believes that those things still exist in the traditional definition of the words is naive. Does freedom still exist? I can't even smoke in a bar anymore. Enough said. Liberty? Can the government tap your phone without a warrant? Yep, they can, just so you know. Democracy? Well if you look at it, a democratic government and a dictatorship only have one difference. In a democracy you vote on who is going to give you your orders, in a dictatorship they just skip the voting step. But I digress, that is another argument all together and a painful one at that.

So if I don't do this for the usual patriotic platitudes then what is it? Well one thing is, the guys. I cannot, nay, I will not describe to you just how close you become with the men and women you serve with. Suffice it to say that there is no deeper bond that human beings can have than entrusting their very lives to one another. And that bond drives me in that, I cannot really bear the thought of leaving them and going home while they have to go off to war. That gets me through most of it.

But not all, I am a rational person and I realize that I have paid what I owe, to myself, to my country, and to my comrades. There is no question about that. So what drives me the rest of the way down this twisted and confusing road?

My father...

You see my father passed away when I was three years old and my brother was still a bun in the oven. His death destroyed at least one life and completely altered the course of mine.

Instead of being a solidly middle class family, with the resources and comforts of that standing, my family slipped to what I would describe as upper working class. Where my mother constantly struggled to make ends meet and keep us in the house where we grew up and make sure that our lives were as stable as possible. (She pulled it off.)

Needless to say, I didn't have everything I wanted growing up, but I had everything I needed. Even though I was somewhat of a spoiled brat of a kid. But that doesn't really matter as far as all this is concerned.

What does matter is the stories that I heard about my father. I never heard a person speak ill of my father, never, not once. I met people throughout my life that knew my father, whether they be friends of his, ex-coworkers, or whoever and not a one of them ever had a derogatory thing to say about the man. In fact, they all had at least one or two stories about what a wonderful man my father was.

Then there was my family. My cousins, my aunts, uncles, and mother. These people, without even realizing that they were doing it, implanted in my brother and I an impossible standard of what it is to be a man, through the stories they would tell us about my father.

If you took my family and my father's friends at their word, (and I did and still do) my father was Zeus and could walk on water, eat bullets, and shit ice cream!

So that leads me to what that did to me. I have always thought of my life as this big ole' stairwell that I am walking up. Each step is another epoch in my life. School, sports, girls, work, college, the military, marriage, divorce, all of that, just another step.

Now there has always been someone walking up that stairwell in front of me. If you guessed my dear old daddy, then get yourself a cookie. He has always been walking up in front of me, pulling me at times, showing me the way. Looking back in disgust and picking me up off my ass at other times. But always in front of me. Never behind and certainly never even with me.

Now my father was a Vietnam veteran and a devout husband, and father and also a police officer. Which easily explains my habit of getting into law enforcement jobs even though I absolutely despise authority in all its forms. But right now we are dealing with the veteran part of the equation.

Maybe in some small measure I think that by doing what I do, and going where I have gone, and am going that maybe someday I will be able to look at my side and see my father as opposed to always having to look up in front to see him.

I don't ever want to be ahead of him, no son ever wants to eclipse their father, no son worth their salt anyway. But I do want to be able to look him in the eye and walk next to him as an equal.

Its funny too, because anyone who knew my father would tell you that, he would have told me a long time ago to get out of this shit. He would never have wanted me to go into harms way, he would've been proud of me but he never would've wanted this. I just can't seem to escape the fact that I have never seen myself as an equal to my father. I still, after all I have done and been through, have an unrelenting need to prove myself to a dead guy.

My brother (who is a lot smarter than people give him credit for) said it the best, "Dude, you have been chasing a ghost since we were kids." And I ain't Bill Murray and this isn't Ghostbusters so chances are real good that I am never going to catch that ghost.

So that's it, that's why I do what I do. I still have something to prove to someone who's approval I can never get, no matter how hard I try...

Aug 13, 2008

The Most Evil Word In The English Language...

Alright, so I have been up all night messing around with this blog and watching movies, so maybe my thought processes are not in top form this morning but I do think that there is something to the argument that I am about to present.

However, please cut me some slack as I have not slept in roughly 25 hours. Don't worry this is fairly typical for me. As lazy as I can be I have always had trouble sleeping.

Anyways, I ask you what is the most evil word in the English language? You can answer that however you please, but I think that the most evil word is a pronoun. Non other than the word, "We".

Why do I think "We" is such an evil word? Simply put, I hear it all the time from politicians and news anchors and pundits and other bloggers and opinion makers and intellectuals and other talking heads when referring to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We have to see this through"

"We cannot surrender"

"We can't fail"

"We have to build a better future for...(insert downtrodden group name here)"

"We need a troop surge"

"We need more money for the war"

And on and on and on.


"We" don't need or want a thing. When you hear that from a politician don't you realize that this mythical "We" he/she speaks of does not exist.

When they say that "We" need more money, what they mean is "you" need to pay more taxes.

When they say that "We" need more troops, they mean "you" give me your sons.

Doesn't anyone understand that? This country, as placated and lifeless as it is, has got to understand that, right?

Well the more I look around the less I believe that we actually get it. "We" are duped time and again by the power structure in this country. Dubya has managed to suspend posse comitatus, pass the Patriot Act, spy on Americans, invade 2 countries, line the pockets of all his boys, spill the blood of over 4000 young men and women, and countless other travesties. All in the name of "We".

"We" is bullshit. There is no "We". The bottom of the barrel is who goes to war, the bottom of the barrel is who does all the work, the bottom of the barrel is who is asked to make the sacrifices for the good of "We".

I defy anyone to find me a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine who's family is wealthy. I guess there are probably at least a couple but I have been in 10 years now and I have met one. In ten years, I met one. The price of this war, and the price of this country's wealth has been born almost exclusively by guys just like me.

"We" is a word that the upper one percent use to make us think that we are really a part of this shit. We aren't. There is this nice little club that owns everything, and runs everything. Guess what, "We" are not in the club.

The most depressing part of this whole thing is that regardless of how bad things get, I mean the country is falling apart around us. Nobody can buy or sell a house, gas prices are going ever upward (with periodic reductions for election time), and by default the price of everything is going up with the gas, no one can find a decent job, health care is in the toilet, prisons are overflowing, and our children are dumb as a box of rocks because schools are nothing more than degree factories. Regardless of all of that, a few platitudes and cliches about freedom, duty, honor and country and Americans fall right into line. Lock stepping it with whoever has control of the microphone at the time.

"We" have participated in our own subjugation by the ruling class of this country. "We" have offered up our money, our homes, our time, our labor and now our children to these cretins. Give Americans a few yellow ribbons and a nice parade and they'll think the war is going just fine. Give Americans a tax stimulus package and they'll stop bitching about gas prices. In fact don't give Americans anything, for the most part they are so complacent and gluttonous that they wouldn't dare upset the nice, bloodless, lifeless, consumer cesspool in which they live. "I don't really care how much pain and suffering there is in the world, I don't care about China, Darfur, Iraq, Afghanistan, Congo, or anywhere else, just make sure that my tank sized SUV has gas in it, make sure there are cookies and chips in the cupboard, and make sure (and this is the most important), make sure that I don't miss the latest episode of "The Hills".

Sometimes, I question the Army's motto. "This We'll Defend" Now at least there is a sentence containing the word "We", where it actually means something. "We" will defend this land, with our lives if necessary. But politicians and their ilk should be made to understand that "We" is not a term that applies to them.

You should only be allowed to use the word "We" when you really do mean "We". Shit, the politicians should be forced to go with the troops on the surge, I mean they did say that "We" needed a surge in troops. Well, strap on a helmet there big guy, and "We" will get this thing done.

Oh wait, what's that? You didn't mean "We". Well what did you mean? Oh, you meant someone else's money, not yours. Someone else's time, not yours. Someone else's labor, not yours. Oh my goodness, you meant someone else's child, not yours...

Well I think "We" need a little lesson on what the word "We" means...

This Is The Best Beer Commercial Ever...I Still Tear Up!!!

The Best Beer Commercial Ever!!! Almost

The real ironic thing here is that I found this video while doing a google search for...wait for it...FUCK THE ARMY

You see I really do love it. I love the comradarie, I love the guys, I love the hardness of it all, I love the adventure, I love the uniform, I just hate the GDMF in charge...

GDMF= ???

Aug 12, 2008

Can You Believe These People...

I just finished reading an article about the military shutting down soldiers blogs and handing out some stiff punishments to those soldiers for what they say in their blogs.

First of all let me sound off with a resounding, F.T.A. (check the definition in my previous post)

Secondly, I am going to say this. I put this blog up for my friends and family so I could communicate in a meaningful way with all of them. Quite frankly I couldn't give two shits whether or not the Army likes that or not. What are they going to do? Send me to Afghanistan.

But for the sake of expediency and keeping with military policy. I do understand that the military has an interest in keeping certain images, words and ideas private. So I am going to do things this way. From now on, if I ever mention a person in my unit I am going to give them a FUBAR nickname so that no one can try to figure out who they are. And to all my friends and family who may or may not post comments, please don't ever put anything in your posts that could serve to identify me. You know who I am and that is enough.

I wonder though, was the military's decision to shut these blogs down a matter of opsec (operational security) or was it more of a decision based on not wanting the criticism of them out in the open. Meaning did these pricks not want the public to know what a collection of dipshits they really are?

I mean when did we get to Nazi Germany? Did I miss a meeting or something? How is it that soldiers, who are the sworn protectors of the Constitution are not entitled to the protections of that Constitution? Like I said, if a soldier is giving out information that could harm his fellow soldiers or effect the successful completion of a mission then by all means shut him down. If he simply calls a spade a spade and tells everyone about all the idiotic bullshit that the Army comes up with, then maybe we should reevaluate our vetting system for blogs.

Its the old adage. Your right to swing your fist, ends where my face begins. Meaning that so long as you aren't hurting anyone you should be able to say and do what you want.

I don't want this blog to get shut down so I am going to take every precaution to make sure that it does not. However, I will not relent in the slightest in my criticisms of the military, its power structure, and the conduct of the war. I also will not relent in my unflinching patriotism and love of the United States.  I am an American by birth and will never do anything that would harm my country, I believe down to my bones in the spirit of the mission that the military has set in front of me.  Now that does not immunize the military and the mission from criticism and/or outright soldier bitching.  I perform the mission, it is my God given right to piss and moan about it.  These are my rights as an American citizen. I can say whatever the hell I want about the government. Especially when it is my blood that will be spilled in defense of said government.

The military is just going through one of their very typical knee jerk reactions to a new problem that they were not equipped to deal with. I am more than willing to submit my posts to a military censor, so long as the censor just edits for information that the enemy could possibly use to kill me. Not editing so that the CO, or the BC (Battalion Commander) or whichever high ranking officer becomes the target of my wrath doesn't have to read about what an imbecile he can be at times.

You would think that in a war that has been sold to us as a war for our way of life and for freedom and yada yada yada, that the government would make a concerted effort to maintain all the rights quaranteed to us by our most sacred document. Nope, not a chance, our government takes this as a wonderful opportunity to move in the other direction. Depressing.

I'll tell them this though. I got a computer, and I am writing all this shit down. Maybe I can't put it on the internet, but that doesn't mean its gone. I am going to leave this place someday, and even if I don't my words will leave this shithole everyday. So be ready, because when I come home and am no longer under your thumb. I am going to print every, single motherfucking word. (and if I can't, someone else will)

But I digress now. Suffice it to say, I will do my best to maintain this blog in accordance with military policy, and at the same time maintain my ability to bitch about the higher ups. So bear with me as I figure out how to pull that off.

Here are a couple of links to articles about the military shutting down soldier's blogs.

1 2 3 4

And here is the Army regulation governing blogs, "Army Knowledge Management and Information Technology"

My First Round Of Military Definitions...

Remember a little while back I said I was compiling a list of all the military terms and their definitions? Well here is what I have so far and feel free to comment back to me as far as suggesting any new ones, correcting the ones I have and/or clarifying them.

Here goes...

My compilation of military terms, jargon, slang, and acronyms.


o Acronym meaning: Bend over here it comes again. Referring to the military’s uncanny knack for making life suck on a regular basis.

Heavy Drop.

o Airborne term meaning to drop heavy equipment, i.e. trucks and humvees out the back of an airplane while attached to parachutes. Also refers to fat women.

Embrace the suck.

o OIF/OEF term used when soldiers are bitching. Meaning, we all know this situation is fucked, but deal with it.


o Rear echelon mother fucker. Referring to anyone who spends the majority of their time filling out paperwork in an air conditioned office as opposed to humping.


o Area of operations

Charlie Foxtrot

o Polite way of saying “clusterfuck”

Goat Fuck


o Expiration of term of service. Getting out! Also can mean “Embrace The Suck”


o Easily the dumbest thing that soldiers say (makes us sound like Marines) Superlative meaning anything and everything except “no”


o Commanding Officer

Monkey fucking a football

o Colorful, multi-syllabic way of saying this situation is screwed up.


o Derogatory term used by airborne troops to refer to everyone else.

Dirt Dart

o Derogatory term used by everyone else to refer to airborne troops.

Dope on a rope

o Derogatory term for air assault troops

Blue Falcon

o Buddy Fucker, anyone who would tell on a fellow soldier when they do something wrong.

The Ville

o Whatever town is right outside whatever post you are on.


o Nickname for Fayetteville, NC.

Burrito Bus

o Term coined at White Sands Missile Range referring to any multi seat vehicle carrying Mexicans.

Shit Bag

o Derogatory term for a lazy or incompetent soldier.


o Fuck The Army

Ranger pudding

o MRE chocolate drink with too little water in it so it forms a pudding like concoction.

Sham Shield

o Refers to Specialist/E-4 rank and its resemblance to a shield and E-4’s penchant for knowing enough about the Army and the way things work to be able to avoid the majority of the work.

Armpit of the Army

o Whatever post you are on.

Asshole of the Army

o Fort Polk, LA


o Refers to any and all middle eastern natives.

Hard Charger

o Hard working, ambitious soldier


o Squad automatic weapon

Oh Dark Thirty

o Early in the morning.

Ground Pounder

o Refers to infantry soldiers

Mud puppies

o Refers to military police soldiers

Cannon Cockers

o Artillery soldiers


o Dumb Ass Tankers

POG’s (pronounced POAG)

o People other than grunts, term used to describe anyone who fits the definition of a REMF. Infantry soldiers will say it refers to any non-infantry soldier, but nowadays that doesn’t quite work.


o Permanent change of station


o Common tasks training


o Warrior tasks training


o A little can opener that can be used for just about anything.

Pig sticker

o Boot knife

Queen for a year.

o An ugly or average looking woman who, due to her proximity to soldiers during a deployment and/or hardship tour and the relative unavailability of English speaking women, becomes very popular.


o Derogatory term for the guy who is banging your girlfriend/wife while you are gone.

Willy Pete

o White phosphorous


o Acronym, My Ass Rides In Navy Equipment

U.S. A.R.M.Y.

o Acronym, Uncle Sam Ain’t Released Me Yet

Y.M.R.A. S.U. (US Army-Backwards)

o Acronym, Yes My Retarded Ass Signed Up


o Airborne soldier with over 100 jumps

5 jump chump

o A soldier fresh out of airborne school


o Airborne asshole with under 10 jumps. Numbers can vary between airborne units. (I am using 82nd ABN values.)

Morale vulture

o Asshole who bitches and moans without the gift of being funny or clever.


o Situation Normal All Fucked Up


o Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition

Ate Up

o Refers to a substandard soldier


o Parachute Landing Fall

4th Point of contact

o Your ass


o Drop zone


o Time on target


o Landing zone

Household 6

o Military wife

Six: As in, watch your…

o Directly behind you.

Smacked Ass

o Ugly or beat up.
• “I can tell you were out drinking all night, you look like smacked ass”

11 Bang-Bang or 11 Bush (or 11 Bushmaster) or, pejoratively, 11 Bulletstop

o An infantryman. Officially "11 Bravo" which refers to type of training e.g. "11B".

4 fingers of death

o Another name for the MRE beef franks, so named for their number and
unpleasant taste. Also known as "Beans and motherfuckers" for the same reason.

40 mike-mike

o 40mm grenade or M203 grenade launcher, often mounted underneath an M-16 or variant

90-day wonder

o Newly-commissioned (O-1) graduate of Officer Candidate School or DIRCOM (Direct Commissioning) program. Derogatory.

Air Force mittens

o Front pockets of BDU pants. Also, 'Air Force gloves'.

Ali Baba

o During the Iraq war, name for insurgents, local thieves and looters.

...and a wake-up.

o Term used following a particular period of time to reference how many complete days plus the time spent on the last day leaving a service member has before a tour of duty or field evolution is complete. e.g.: "Two days and a wake up, and I'm gone!"

bag nasty

o The name given to the fast food options in chow halls, ie; hot dogs and hamburgers. Also common reference for MRE's.

bag of dicks

o Describes a problematic or intractable situation.

bag of smashed assholes

o Highly derogatory, typically used to describe a soldier whose uniform wear is unsatisfactory, as in "Private Smith, you look like a bag of smashed assholes". Can also be used in a more general sense to describe anything that is heavily damaged or poor in appearance.


o Birth Control Glasses. Military issued eyeglasses, typically first issued in basic training, noted for their unappealing appearance which would prevent attracting members of the opposite sex. See also RPGs

BFE or Bum Fuck Egypt

o An isolated deployment, or any other extremely isolated or distant location; pejorative. Used mostly about the disgust at the distance or remoteness, but also implies that there could be little worthwhile in such an isolated place. The variants "Big Fucking Empty", "BFN" or "Bum Fuck Nowhere" are used in the same sense.


o Big fucking rock. Sometimes used as a reference point on tactical radios: "We're 100 meters south of the BFR."


o Big fucking wrench. Refers to the wrench used on generators to tighten the grounding nut.

Big Red One

o The First Infantry Division, so noted for the unit insignia of a single red 1. "If you're gonna be one, be a Big Red One!

blanket party

o A form of hazing meted out to unpopular service members. Involves covering the head and arms of the target with a blanket to prevent fighting back or identification of the attackers while a beating is administered.


o a slur the early twentieth century for recruits who could not attain an adequate degree of marksmanship. It comes from the idea that they should grab a bolo and attack hand-to-hand.

brain bucket

o Combat helmet.


o A soldier with a medical condition that would hinder the soldier's ability to perform certain tasks; alternatively, equipment that is not operationally ready.


o (kah-DID-iot) Slang term for an officer cadet. In Canada, term also used to indicate youth cadets of all branches. See also "cadink", below. Pejorative.

o (KAT-foo-(ed) ) Completely And Totally Fuck(ed) Up (i.e. "This thing is CATFUed")

cat eyes
o A helmetband with two pieces of luminous material at the rear.

Chairborne Ranger

o referring to someone who works a desk, in comparison to an Airborne Ranger

Chair Force

o the Air Force, referring to the perception that many Air Force personnel spend their time "flying a desk", i.e. doing office work of various sorts.


o A specific aircraft load, especially a group of airborne soldiers which deploy from a single aircraft, typically a platoon for air assaults, or company-minus sized for airborne drops. Originates from Vietnam War practice of chalking identifying marks on aircraft sides involved in such operations.

clearing barrel

o A promiscuous female soldier, referring to the red, sand filled barrels used to verify that small arms are unloaded before turn in. Soldiers preparing to turn in weapons line up and dry fire their rifles into the barrel. Extremely derogatory. See also "regimental groundsheet".

crutch brigade

o a rear-detachment unit, usually full of soldiers who are unable to deploy due to medical or legal issues.

Cunt cap

o The flat garrison cap, the kind often seen tucked under a shoulder epaulet in the movies. Particularly descriptive of the female version of this cap discontinued in the late 1970's, which had an inverted fold in the crown. Also called "piss cutter".

desert queen

o A promiscuous woman who sleeps around while at a deployed location. (US Air Force) Any female at a deployed location, especially an unattractive one. The stereotype is that because of the imbalance in the male to female ratio, unattractive women become attractive in lieu of sufficient quantities of attractive women.

dairy Queen

o A promiscuous overweight woman who sleeps around while at a deployed location.

Hands and/or fingers

Dicked up

o Generalized state of being incorrect.

donkey dick

o 1. The bottom section of a PRC-25/77 radio antenna.
o 2. A detachable fuel nozzle for 5 gallon fuel containers. See "horse cock" below.
o 3. A Mortar cleaning brush.
• 4. By extension, any long cylindrical object.

Dune Coon

o Derogatory term for Iraqis and Afghanis


o Teeth

o (US) Fairly new term used to describe soldiers who do not go outside their Forward Operations Base (FOB) in Iraq, or a soldier stationed in Iraq who has not seen combat. Derived from J.R.R. Tolkien's Hobbit, a creature that didn't like to leave the safety of their homes or "The Shire."


o A disorganized group, a clusterfuck

G.I. party

o A term used to describe scrubbing the barracks from top to bottom. This sort of "party" is seldom, if ever, fun.

goat rope/ing

o A useless, futile, or foolish activity. A waste of time directed by higher authority.

goldbrick, goldbricker

o (US) A member of the military who feigns illness to avoid duty; more recently, any service member who shirks duty.


My Last Day of Work...

Today was my last day of work. No more, just get to spend the next two weeks or so sitting around and doing pretty much nothing except getting ready for this deployment. That and I'll most likely be drunk for the vast majority of that two weeks.

However, something happened to me last night that bothered me. Bothered me enough that I thought I might share it with you. What happened? Sometime during the course of the night, something inside of me decided that it didn't want the shift to end. Oh Dear Lord.

I have never thought like that in my life. I hate work. Especially government work. Pay is good, benefits are great, everyone loves a pension, but other than that being in the employ of the government is the worst form of masochism.

So I started interrogating myself as to why I was feeling like I didn't want the shift to end. (I didn't water board myself though) Maybe next time. And here is what I have come up with as far as explaining that insanity.

The end of work is just another landmark in the "time horizon" (Bush B.S.) until I leave for Afghanistan at the end of this month. Getting off of work today and by default for the next year or so, was just one more thing in a long line of things that remind me that I am on my way out the door in a couple of weeks.

I actually dreaded finishing work today. All it meant was that another 8 hours had ticked off the clock and I was that much closer to being in deep shit...(sorry mom, sometimes profanity is necessary.)

I don't know what is going to happen and that is the worst part of it all, the uncertainty. I mean I could be going to someplace that never gets attacked, has running water, air conditioned sleeping areas, hot food three times a day, internet and phone hook ups, and all the comforts of home.

Then again, I could be going somewhere that will keep me in full battle rattle (Army slang for "all your gear") all day and night. Will keep me patrolling for days at a time, and will make sure that I fire my weapon in anger quite a few times. All the while I'll be dirty, smelly, and basically funky.

Then there is always the in between areas which are simply a sampling of both extremes. But I have no idea where I am going to fall. But I am going to find out, and now I am going to find out 8 hours sooner...

Aug 10, 2008

My Going Away Party...


Alright, now that we have that out of the way. I can actually say the things that I want to say.

My friends and family threw me a little going away party this evening. Nothing special, just a nice little gathering of those of my friends that are most near and dear to me. I couldn't have asked for a better send off.

I was deeply touched by all of it. Regardless of what you may think, I do have a heart. (I know sometimes its hard to believe)

I didn't quite realize how all of this could effect everyone around me as much as it has. Once again, just like my mom I think to myself..."My God, I volunteered for this and am putting all of them through this" Yeah, I can't help but think that I am a real dick.

I am going to miss all of you in ways that I'll probably never discuss with any of you just because, well that is the way I am.

I got hammered (always a good thing), I got to spend some time with my friends, I got to sing (Purple Rain, Come Sail Away anyone?), and on top of all that I didn't have to pay for shit...I can't think of a better way to spend an evening.

Never underestimate what you all mean to me. Some soldiers go their whole tours without anyone back home to care about them. Some soldiers go their whole tours without getting one piece of mail. Some soldiers go their whole tours without ever knowing that someone will miss them if and when they are gone.

These are problems that I will never have.

I never really thought about just how much love there can be in one little bar, but now that I have seen it, you all, and that bar have become a part of me...and if there was nothing else that by itself would be reason enough to make it home.

I will make every single one of you proud of me. I will always do my duty regardless of the cost.

So Paulie, Tony, T.J., Kenny, Jeanne, Free Willy, Keith, John, Ray, Philly, Dennis, Beth, Tracy, Fred, Doug, Rosey, Arty, and everyone else (don't get pissed if I didn't mention your name, its fucking 4 in the morning and I am drunk.) Thanks for coming out and showing me just what I am defending, and just what I have to come home to.

For this I will never be able to thank you enough...

And as usual someone always said it better than I ever could. The following poem was written by a 10th grade student, "A.M."

A Soldier’s Farewell

Belov├ęd, do not weep for me today,
Nor sigh on the morrow when I depart.
For though I am from thine eyes far away,
My thoughts dwell on thee as the battles start.
Death’s cold embrace might appear a relief
From this hellish battlefield’s roiling sand,
Yet then I dream my death writ on a leaf
And with renewed spirit protect my land.
I shirk not my duty to my country
And will strive to bring liberty to all;
When peace and hope shine through the night ‘round me,
Homeward shall my steps delightedly fall.
For one’s heartstrings in his own country lie
And calls him with more force than battle’s cry.

Aug 7, 2008

Every Now And Then...

...Something happens that makes me stop caring whether or not my government is telling the truth about what is going on, and why we are in Afghanistan. Every now and then something happens that seems to crystallize my purpose in going to Afghanistan. Every now and then something happens that makes my hatred of some/certain people so pure and concentrated that I cannot wait to be afforded the opportunity to send them to their 72 virgins...

Watch this...

Now I don't actually give a damn if these women worked as prostitutes or not. Frankly, that is immaterial to the larger issue here. These are a people who rule through tyranny and terror. I don't really care anymore whether they were involved in 9/11 or not. They deserve to die either way. How could anyone believe in a god (lower case for muslims) that condones the killing of people for any reason. These men, cowardly men, who decide to videotape the execution of these women and then talk about it on the news while hiding behind sunglasses and that towel around their head. How could anyone think that these are a people worth redeeming or helping. Like a rabid dog they can only be put down, and put down quickly.

Why should I feel the slightest bit of sympathy or empathy for these animals? Anyone who could murder another person in cold blood deserves no less than cold blood in return.

In the United States there is a lot of talk about understanding and multi-culturalism and fairness, and not judging a culture by your cultures standards. Really? Then by what standards should we judge this culture? There are some who would go so far as to say that we have no right to judge anyone else and how their culture works. By that logic we should just let these Taliban murderers have their way and roam the countryside slaughtering people wholesale. Maybe we should go back to the days of the Taliban regime when they held public executions in a stadium just like back in the Roman era.

If a culture meets certain standards. For example, some modicum of respect for the process of MAN-MADE LAWS. If we went by religious laws...well needless to say there would be no population problems anymore. A culture should have to place a high priority on the sanctity of life. It should place high value on education. It should place a high value on protecting its members from harm and the rule of force.

If that culture does not do those things, and probably a few more that I can't think of right now. Then in my eyes, that culture is deemed to be inferior and is worthy of nothing more than obliteration. Simply put, wipe that methodology and ideology and philosophy from the earth. I have a problem with anyone who thinks we have no right to judge. If not us, then who? Someone has to stand up and say, "Yes, we are superior to you, and you should do things our way, if you don't, we will force you to, but don't worry after a while you will see that we were right all along." Obnoxious? Yes. Nationalistic? Probably not, Europe fits the bill as thinking like we do. Xenophobic? Hardly, I do not fear these people or their culture. I pity them.

How could a place that not more than 1000 years ago was the center of all learning in the world. The finest of everything was in the middle east. Now a scant millennium later, they have managed to plunge themselves to the depths of barbarity.

Someone who makes a lot more money than I do needs to stand up and say, "these people are wrong, what they do is wrong, following them is wrong, listening to them is wrong, doing things with/for them is wrong, and all they stand for is wrong. And be warned, those of you who work with them or assist them will pay the dearest cost." This is what needs to be done. However, Americans have a very hard time dealing is such absolutes. Maybe I am wrong, maybe I am just so angry at what happened in the video that I am not thinking straight. Regardless, the fact remains any culture that would allow and even encourage actions such as these is by its very nature inferior and barbaric and is worthy of annihilation.

Make no mistake, I am not talking about the people. I am talking about he culture. Think of the evolution of America. We started out as religious zealots (THE CALVINISTS, AND PURITANS) and eventually we saw the folly in that, then we became a slave owning nation, then we saw the error of that, and on and on, until today. Needless to say we are not perfect but we continue to evolve and move forward. Improving ourselves and by default our nation and culture. We have a long way to go, but at least we are moving forward.

These people are devolving. Starting out as the cradle of civilization and moving backwards until they are nothing more than animalistic quasi-humans.

The culture is what needs to be eradicated. I mean, what sort of religion would promise 72 virgins as a sexual reward in Heaven. Imagine how base a belief system would have to be to actually appeal to man's most primal instincts in order to convert followers. These men actually killed these women for doing on earth, exactly what these disgusting beasts are hoping to do with 72 virgins in heaven?

Ironic, don't you think?

Aug 6, 2008

Mil Speak...

I know that a lot of my military buddies are reading this so I am going to ask for your help.  I just saw an excerpt on where the phrase, "Embrace The Suck" came from and its in a pamphlet compiled by some Colonel with too much free time, but he also put a bunch of other acronyms and military slang and their definitions.

I was thinking with the combined years of experience and differing experiences of all the military guys that I know we could probably compile quite a list.  So if you don't mind do me a favor.  Send me an email with all the acronyms and slang terms that you have used in your military career in a military setting and the definitions thereof.  I think this would be crazy just to hear some of the shit that we have used in our lexicon over the years.  I am going to put the whole list together and post it in my blog and send a copy to all of you too.

I want them from all the services too.  I know the Marines will have a hard time with the whole spelling part of this task, but you can do it if you try.  Thanks...

You can read about it H...E...R...E...  Check it out they have some funny stuff.

Back To The Bullshit...

Well the US Army is up to its old tricks again. So here's the situation. (and yes I am unabashedly bitching here) We are leaving for this deployment sometime within the next month or so. (Actually like 3 weeks) And we can't even get our command group to tell us how much shit we are allowed to take with us!

I'll get into all the other stuff later on down the line in this post, but just think about that for a minute. We are leaving to serve our country for what will probably turn out to be a year or more. And they won't even tell us what to pack. Am I the only one that thinks that this might be an important piece of information that we would need...preferably at least a month or two prior to leaving?

So we are going to a foreign land for a year and they haven't even told us how many pairs of underwear to bring. What a crock of shit this is shaping up to be.

It really makes me laugh to, because I came from one company to another one for the purposes of this deployment. When I got to the unit the first day I was there, late no less, I got a good, long speech from the First Sergeant. Outlining amongst other things the fact that this is the best company in the state and we would always have the information that we need and the equipment that we need. Well Top, I've got to call bullshit on that one. We are 20 some days out and I don't even have a packing list.

Even worse, one of my bosses has called the unit several times trying to get information for us, and you know what he got from those fuckers? An order from the 1SG to stop calling the unit unless it is an emergency. They even went so far as to tell him that he will know when he needs to know! Motherfuckers! This is about as chewed up as it gets. Completely and utterly unacceptable. Failure of leadership and failure of the chain of command to do its fucking job.

Now if anyone of us, meaning those of us in the line platoon were to neglect our duties in this fashion we would be swiftly and harshly dealt with. However, so long as you have a little bit of rank on your collar or with the new uniforms your chest just above your gut, you don't have to worry about being held accountable in any way, shape, or form. I'll bet you my left nut that the commander and 1SG and all their boys know exactly what to pack. They know how much they can take, what to take, how to pack it and where to stow it. Meanwhile we are all sitting here with our thumbs up our asses and all of our shit laying all over the garage waiting to see if it has to go or not.

Not to mention, when we get to the Mobilization station we are going to get a whole mess of extra shit to take over there with us, and we are going to get even more when we get in country. You think this might cause a little bit of a problem? I do. A company full of soldiers trying to pack enough stuff to get them through a year and not have to shell out a mountain of their own cash buying stuff that they should've either been issued or been able to bring with them prior to deploying, and then being given a shitload of extra stuff when we get there. Where the hell are we going to put it all? How's it getting over there? When do we have to have it in to get it shipped and on and on and on...

So far my command group has lived into every stereotype that there is about higher ups in the US Army. Which wouldn't really bother me that much, I mean they are who they are. And I'll tell you this you don't make it very far in the US Army being a good person and taking care of troops. You make it up there by making everything look right on paper and making your superiors look good. And it is a tried and true fact that making your superiors look good involves making your subordinates feel like shit.  However, this bugs the shit out of me because they told me that they were different.  They lied.  A liar is the worst kind of coward.

Now they'll defend themselves with the standard line of shit.  The whole, "We're sorry, but the guidance hasn't come down from battalion yet.  We'll let you know as soon as we can."  Yada Yada Yada.  Blow it out your ass.  You are telling me that the Army has been sending soldiers to Afghanistan for oh, about 7 years now and there is no cookie cutter list of the shit we need to bring?  How full of shit can you be?  

But I digress on that.

Now, remember that whole extra week firing weapons that I told you about? Well we got a lovely email from our Platoon leader about what would happen to us if we didn't go. Which makes me laugh because they already know that this is fucked up and that a good portion of those told to go wouldn't show up. They said that we would have to live with our decision and would be dealt with harshly. OK, so what does that mean? I figure it means that anyone that doesn't show will probably lose some rank and probably lose any shot they had at getting promoted within the next year. Like I told you before thank the good, good Lord that I don't have to go, but this. Actually resorting to threatening your soldiers on the cusp of being deployed to a war zone with them for a year. Well they can do that simply because, they aren't going to have to go outside the wire at all, ever.

None of this means anything to them. When we get there (and any one who has ever been in the military knows this is true) the command group is going to be shacked up in some nice well air-conditioned tent and they will hold their little meetings and fill out their paperwork and issue their orders, but they never actually have to do anything. Why would they care about ordering us to another week or training right before we leave? They are going to be home eating good food, and being with their families, and doing whatever else they do. All the while these guys who have to go are going to be firing weapons they already fired and will fire again before we leave. Away from their families and loved ones. But who cares at least the bosses don't have to do it right?

The Urban Dictionary contains a phrase that applies here, it is defined as follows:

1. A common situation, experience or every day activity that inexplicably becomes disorganized, confused or grossly fucked up.  Similar to but more severe than goat rope.
2. Being in a situation SO screwed that there is no hope of recovery or clean withdrawal. also see FUBAR.  Next stage up from Cluster Fuck is simalar to goat rope.
3. A reaction one has when he knows when he or she will eventually get screwed. Or already has been screwed.