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

Sep 30, 2008

Let's Meet The Crew...

So I went out to the field for an overnighter. Not a big deal really, except for the fact that when you cannot bathe yourself in any real way and you spend 36 hours sweating profusely and running around with 50 pounds on your back and what not, you start to smell really bad. I mean when you can smell yourself you know its bad.

Next thing I would like to say is (and this may sound a little arrogant) as my readership grows, I would like everyone to know that regardless of how much pissing and moaning I do about the military, I love this country with an unboundless passion. So now that I have got that out the way...

I figured that I needed to start introducing everyone to those soldiers, NCO's and Officers around me. You know so you can have an accurate picture of the funky hodgepodge of personalities and characters I have around me.

First we have the soldiers. All ranks are actual ranks, but the names are all aliases to protect the innocent and the guilty.

1. PVT Pigpen: We call him that because about the same time a girl in our unit came up with a rash, so did he. And she is a dirty, so he became pigpen.

2. Ole' Red (SGT): My team leader, a good man, pretty goofy and a little twisted but all around a good soldier. Looks like a hobbit. The Ole' Red comes from his disturbingly red hair.

3. General Lee (SPC): My driver, a hillbilly from Southern Illinois, he loves the civil war and is a huge fan of Robert E. Lee, hence the moniker, General Lee.

4. Token (SPC): The only black guy in the squad. One of the funnier dudes around. Manages to integrate himself into the most lilly white unit in the entire army without much trouble. Works as a DJ and loves to give the honky's shit.

5. Stoner (SPC): Gained his nickname due to the fact that it actually is his name (permission granted by him) and the fact that he just seems to be walking around in a drug induced haze every minute of the day.

6. [I really hate myself for what I am doing right now, but I have to delete this due to concerns over disciplinary action. It doesn't change that I meant every word I said about this person but they have a lot more rank than I do and they could make my life really suck.]

8. Francis (SPC): A reference to the movie "Stripes" Remember the guy who said, "any of you homo's go touching me and I'll kill ya" Well that guy's kid is here in my unit. He is the most uptight overbearing asshole on the planet. I am currently contemplating ways to shove a lump of coal up his ass so that by the time this deployment is over I'll have a large diamond.

I'll add others as I think of names that they have earned. But on to the douchebaggery, or as the army likes to call it training.

So there is an old saying in the Army, "Hurry up and wait". Basically referring to the Army's uncanny knack for making you get up really early, and move really fast to a training area or whatever and when you get there they make you sit around for hours while some minor logistical issue or what not is sorted out.

So when this happens soldiers are forced to come up with really stupid ways of entertaining themselves for hours on end. And here is some of the stuff we have come up with. (Spades is being left out, everyone knows that soldiers play spades like prison inmates)

1. The name game: Players-infinite, How to play: first person names a famous person, next person takes the first letter of the person's last name and names a famous person with a first name beginning with that letter and so on down the line. Yeah, we really do this in a big circle like camp fire girls singing Kum by yah.

2. The List: Each person names off the top five celebrities of the opposite sex they would most like to have "relations" with. The only wrinkle in the game being that at the end every player must name the celebrity of the same gender that they would have "relations" with if forced to do so. (Hugh Grant, at least then I can be the man)(Oh, Lord, My mom is going to read that)

I'll add more of the goofy shit that we do, as we do more goofy shit. We haven't left the country yet so things haven't gotten too far out of control yet. I mean besides the "gay chicken" but thats a story for another time.

Well I got to bail because besides the sox playoff game being tonight, I have guard duty from 0100-0330 tonight. God I hate my life...

But I love you mom...

Sep 26, 2008

A Day Without NCO's

Well everybody, I have been sitting here at Ft. Bragg "training" for my eminent deployment to beautiful, sunny Afghanistan. I have been embracing the suck everyday but I have not been posting everyday like I was. It sucks, but the simple fact is the army has very strange ideas about what I am supposed to do while I am here. These pricks actually want me to work...wait check that. They want me to be occupied all day every day, but none of it is actual work. More or less we spend the majority of our time cycling through this station or that station to complete the ridiculously long checklist the army has for all the shit we are supposed to do in order to be deployed.

Basically, the attitude of the majority of the soldiers here has become one of bemused indifference. The phrase most heard around this place when soldiers are confronted with something that good ole' Uncle Sam wants us to do is quite simple, and yet quite appropriate, "What the hell are they going to do? Send me to Afghanistan." Normally in response to some officer or NCO informing them of the tremendous amount of trouble that awaits them if they don't complete whatever task has been presented them, which of course (in the minds of all the leadership) the entire world will come crashing down around us if it is not completed within the next 2-3 seconds. Whatever, its fun watching them getting all riled up over shit that will not really affect our deployment at all, then they run around like chickens with their heads cut off. Like I said, fun to watch.

However, when something actually comes up that will affect the deployment, or more specifically the deployment of an individual soldier they are exceedingly cavalier about that. Funny how it works, things that will affect their evaluations before the army are taken care of almost immediately or are given ridiculous amounts of attention until they are finished. Whereas, issues that only affect one or a small group of soldiers are left to fester until someone really gets ready to go postal...shitty part of this is, we've only been here for a little over a week. I wonder how much fun this will be to watch when we have been in country for 6 months or 9. Stay tuned, this is going to get a lot better.

So today was something that I have never seen in ten years in the army. A day without NCO's. Now for those of you who don't know, NCO's are the guys who run the day to day operations of the military. They get you up in the morning, feed you, keep track of you, (constantly, like you are 2 years old), they teach you, they discipline you and all of that shit. Officers sign papers and walk around looking for people to salute them. Small differences in the rank structure, but whatever. So today, they had to go to a class to learn about a new piece of equipment. (OPSEC rules prevent me from telling you what it is.) They were gone the whole day. No bosses, anywhere. I mean all of them were gone. Not one NCO anywhere. Oh, the fun that we could've had.

But noooooo, what do we do, we do laundry, pack our gear, and train. You see the army has changed in the last decade. A LOT. At one time the military was quite a good time, not to mention a hard fighting, hard training, bunch of hellraisers. Now we are populated with, well there is no real way to categorize what we are populated with now. But I will tell you this, they are not quite as fun as the ones I started off with.

I wish there was more fun stuff to tell you all about but this is ridiculously boring, so I am going to take a nap.

Love you mom...

Welcome To Fort Bragg, You Nasty Guard Pukes...

Well after going to bed about 1 a.m. last night we got up at 4. Always a joy. Then we did the whole get on the bus and get on the plane and land at Pope Air Base, and then take another bus to Fort Bragg and then get our barracks.

And that is where I'll begin this one. It never ceases to amaze me that the US Army has buildings from about 100 years ago still in service for the deployment of soldiers. This joint we are in has probably got sweat stains from paratroopers leaving for WWII. I shit you not. I'll throw up a few photos of this joint in a little while and let you judge for yourself.

But I have to admit that today has been quite a non-clusterfuck which is surprising to say the least. I would think that moving this many people from point A to point B would be a rather large pain in the ass. But it went pretty well. Most likely because the civilians drove the bus and flew the plane but whatever.

Then we got here and off loaded all of our stuff. All 200 pounds of it. Fun, Fun, Fun. Needless to say its pretty hot here. At least its quite a bit hotter than it was when we left, but I am glad this whole thing has begun. The quicker we get it started the quicker we get it done.

So now we are at Fort Bragg, for how long, I have no clue. The home of the 82nd Airborne Division. Easily one of the more twisted divisions in the army. A division that worships at the altar of the airborne god. A division that has been known to drive people insane. (Lots of love, J.)

I always remember when I was on active duty, and how I used to react to the National Guard guys coming around. I thought they were pukes. I thought they were weekend warrior P.O.S.'s not worthy of wearing the uniform. And I imagine that is exactly how all these active duty guys here are looking at us. Which is probably why they stuck us in this nasty barracks out in the boonies. You know, keep the sub-humans away from the real people.

So we are going to get a little bit of time here today and maybe a little bit over the next few days so I am going to write and call home if I can pull it off. Got to talk to the mom, and see how she's doing. Then the actual training begins. Moving out to this FOB (forward operating base) is going to happen sometime in the next week. I don't think that is an opsec violation because we are still in training. But if it is...


Anyways, I am about to have to go and off load a conex (I don't know what that means, but its basically a big container that you can put on trucks or ships) And it is made of metal and has been sitting in the North Carolina sun for a couple of days eagerly anticipating our arrival. Prepare to vacate sweat glands.

Enough for now. I'll write back later.

Alright, Its later. I just saw a few things that made me feel really lazy. Fort Bragg is the place where all the airborne guys are. You know the type, real hard core guys. So I just saw a PV2 or E-2 who already has his jump wings, and his nice little red beret and the whole bit. These are the kind of guys we need defending this nation. Then there's me. Fat, lazy, with a bad attitude. Its not so bad when I am standing next to the guys in my unit. But standing next to these guys here makes me look really bad. But thats OK, because quite frankly, I don't really care what these brainwashed freaks think of me.

That led me to another problem that I have with the military, and this one isn't even the military's fault. Its my own damn fault. I have reenlisted twice now. And each time it came down to one simple fact. I reenlisted because I allowed my brain to suppress all the goofy, horrifying, painful, and downright stupid events of my military career. I just thought about the good things that went on. I only thought about the guys, I didn't think about the work. I didn't think about the lack of forethought in the military. I completely lost sight of all the bullshit. Hence, I reenlisted twice and now as I sit here I realize that I may have made a few mistakes in my life.

Don't get me wrong. I do love the Army in a sick, psychotic, co-dependent kind of way. However, that does not change the things that I have seen and done and the effect they have had on my mind. And I forget all about all of that every time the moment comes when I have to sign those damn papers. But I digress. As my wonderful, and loving mother would say, "Its nobody's fault but your own"

So here we go, we are here at Bragg, and only God knows how long we are going to be here. Probably 6 weeks or so, you know, training. Lots of Army fun. I could've been done about two years ago. Off the IRR (individual ready reserve), done with it all. No more deploying, no more Army shit, no more Army food, No more power tripping college boys with a Napoleon complex, and no more half witted Non-com's. Oh how grand life could've been. But no, I went and signed the papers again...

But I don't regret it, not too much anyway. I love the guys that I am here with. They are good men all around. Some are a little bit on the odd side, and I will tell you all about them sometime. We are going to perform a mission that needs to be accomplished. Anyone who thinks otherwise should just think about how they would react if they had to live in Afghanistan for a while, and whether or not you would want anyone to come and help you.

And so it begins...again...

Love you mom.

How Much Fun Can You Have In One Day...

So here I am wasting the governments money again. Lazing around the barracks for the afternoon. Went to the PX (post exchange) grabbed some dirty magazines, cigarettes and all the other little knick knacks that you never remember to bring with you. Had some pizza with the guys and now I am here wondering just who is running this shit. Mostly so I could go on over and give him a swift kick in the tool bag, but whatever.

Well at least I know that in the coming weeks when we get out to the field training part of this little excursion I'll be making every dime that they pay me. Unfortunately I am not a big fan of that whole work thing. I mean I'll do it, but I am not going to like it.

We went through a wonderful set of briefings yesterday. (Briefing: Military term for when a senior ranking official type talks at you for several hours while the entire audience tries desperately to stay awake for fear of public embarrassment and or physical reprisal.)

We learned all about "Battle Mind", the wonderful military term for how you have to think while in Afghanistan or Iraq. Suicide prevention, which is good, except I think that the army does it to protect its reputation rather than to protect the soldiers. And a bunch of other shit that will be of little to no use to us once we leave the states. Good times all around.

Now I have to vent a few things about these Airborne pricks at Bragg. I know that most of the military is based on a lot of adolescent posturing and strutting along with a disturbingly large dose of testosterone and what not, but these assholes take it to a whole other level.

I was walking this afternoon down the block to change my laundry from the washer to the dryer, and I got a little lost. So I stopped and asked some SFC (E-7) where the laundry facility was. He stared right at me, looked me in the eyes, looked up at my hat, (not a red beret) looked me back in eyes and walked right by me without saying a word. After I had specifically asked him a question.

Really? You have got to be kidding. Fuck these guys and their red berets. Dirt darts the lot of you. Anyone stupid enough to voluntary throw themselves out the back of an airplane deserves a medal for dipshittedness.

Then another pair of these pricks was walking along, privates no less. These guys saw us and apparently one of us looked at their beret. They said, "Don't look at our berets, shitbags" I was actually dumbfounded. I am usually pretty quick with a "kiss my ass", or a "fuck off shitstick" but I couldn't believe that a pair of privates who I have boots older than would say something like that.

But go ahead fellas, keep offering your bodies up to the service of Uncle Sam, even though the airborne hasn't been used in any major capacity since WWII. Go ahead, bring up all the little islands the airborne invaded in between and I'll tell you that beating them was like me beating up a 4 year old. Keep being cocky, stay in the army, live your life for the airborne god. I'll be over here doing my thing. With my sanity and my legs intact. Enjoy your next jump, I hope you land in a tree.

Alright, to hell with the airborne. Moving on...Nothing really happening here right now, hopefully something worth writing about will happen very soon. I am tired of pissing and moaning about what is going on around here. Later.

Love You Mom.

Another Day Without NCO's

For the second day in a row our NCO's are off doing something incredibly important that only they in their advanced state of being could handle. And we, the lowly enlisted soldiers are once again left to our own devices for the day.

We spent the morning playing the Army knowledge game, lots of fun there. Basically, its the military version of jeopardy but instead of money you win push ups and sit ups and shit like that.

Now I am sitting here on my nice camo wooby (poncho liner/blanket) and am enjoying some much needed rest. Well maybe not much needed, but much appreciated rest because sometime within the next 2 days we are headed out to the "FOB" for our train up to this deployment. It does kind of make me laugh that here on Fort Bragg it has been impossible for me to get on the internet for anything, but when I get out to the "FOB" which is supposed to be just like where we are going to be living in Afghanistan I am going to have wireless internet.

I got 3-1 odds that they take that away from us within the first 3 days because either someone looks at porn or because everyone spends all their time on the internet and not paying attention to the army shit. You'll see.

Now I was wondering something today that I thought was pretty interesting. I was walking around the barracks here this morning and I realized that there was enough electronic equipment here to sink a battleship. There are at least 15 laptops just in my platoon and I figure by the end of this everyone will have one. There are countless iPod's and various mp3 players. I am still amazed that all the cell phones charging hasn't either caused a blown fuse or a fire.

That and all these guys are sitting around playing Halo 3 over the blue tooth network and killing each other for hours on end.

I wonder how the guys from the Vietnam or Persian Gulf era would react to seeing all of this. I mean the amount of pornography possessed by my platoon alone, if converted into DVD, VHS, or magazine form would be able to fill Yankee Stadium. However, due to the wonders of modern technology all of that fits into something the size of a book.

Have You Ever Seen The Rain...

3 Hurricanes...

That is how many are rolling around here right now as we speak. Check that, I think one of them already passed. But we still got two wandering around and causing a lot of fun around here.

I have been pretty much soaked to the bone for about three days now. Lots of fun. But the old army adage, "if it ain't raining, we ain't training." That definitely applies here.

Second thing that makes me laugh about this situation is the fact that our rain gear. You know, wet weather tops and bottoms, and ponchos, seem to work quite well except for one thing. The tops, meaning the rain coats and the ponchos seem to have one glaring flaw. They stop the water just fine, but then they redirect all the water that hits you on you upper torso from there to the front of your pant legs. So I am sitting here with a perfectly dry upper half and a saturated pair of pants, socks and boots. Damn do I wish I had a pair of rain pants. But I don't so I'll run with it. I have successfully embraced the suck of all of this.

So we went through a couple of classes this morning about different weapons. Not bad, they were given by one of the most butch women I have ever seen. I have been in the army a long damn time, and I have run across a lot of really butch women but this one was something else. Terrifying...

I have been sitting around here this afternoon for about 3 hours or so now. Which is funny because at around 2200 last night we got a little warning from our platoon daddy that today was the day when the shit started to hit the fan, and the operational tempo was about to go through the roof. OK, well let's get to it. I am actually getting sick and tired of sitting around doing jack shit.

Next subject, the election. Not going to talk at you about who you should vote for or anything like that, but I am going to say that there is one definitely good thing that has come from me being here doing this shit while the campaign is going on. What is it? Its the fact that I don't have to listen to all of it. That and political banners and signs and shit are prohibited on military bases so I don't have to see it or anything. The only time I have to deal with it is at chow time when we get to see the news, and then most of us only watch it to see Robin Meade on CNN (sweet Jesus is she hot)

It is going to get even easier for us now that we are headed out to the field tomorrow, because we won't have to worry about hearing any of it anymore. But the field is going to be a Charlie Foxtrot (cluster fuck) of epic proportions. I can't even begin to imagine what its going to be like on a base with about 2000 soldiers all trying to get through training lanes at the same time and all being trained by active duty guys who don't particularly like national guardsmen.

I can only imagine how little sleep we are going to get. Maybe 3 hours a night tops. Its going to rain just enough to make the days suck, but not enough to get them to cancel anything. It'll be hotter than hell out there and couple that with the rain and you have one hell of a bug problem and humidity that makes the air feel like peanut butter. Oh Joy!

Now here is another little piece of military douchebaggery for you all. We all have weapons that are assigned to us. They are assigned to particular soldiers for a very good reason. The reason being that we alter these weapons to our own eyes. I would go into it but I have no idea if that would be violating opsec or not so I'll leave it alone. But we do it so each soldier can shoot better.

Well, I had my weapon all set up nice, and so did everyone else because all of you who have read my blog know that we qualified with these damn things like 3 times in that past months. And I was actually looking forward to firing it again. Shooting guns makes me smile. But I went to the armorer and drew my weapon yesterday and what did he do? He gave me a different one. Now I have to do all that shit again. But enough pissing and moaning.

I really do hope something worth writing about happens soon because this has been one of most boring times in my life. Sitting here doing absolutely nothing or doing things over again for like the 40th time.

Either way, later.

Love you mom...

Holy Mary, Mother Of God, Three Days and No Bosses...

This is really starting to trip me out. We have gone 3 whole days now with not an NCO in sight. I don't really know whether to rejoice or think to myself, "they have been watching us the whole time and we are going to burn for all the shit we pulled while they were gone." But whatever, I mean you leave 40 soldiers between the ages of 18 and 30 with a combined IQ of about 70 and there is going to be some goofy shit going on. If I were them I would be thankful that we didn't burn down the barracks.

So all was well and good today until about 1430 hrs. (2:30 you civilian pukes), when I was sitting around watching "Heat" with my platoon. It was a training aid on "fire and maneuver" or at least that is the story we are going to run with. Then some guy from second platoon comes up to our bay and tells me that the 1SG wants to see me.

Wonderful, I couldn't think of a better way to spend the remainder of my afternoon than getting my ass chewed off by one mean ass 1SG. Then I start racking my brain trying to figure out what the hell I did. I am going over and over the last week or two in my head trying to think of what I could've done that would piss him off. The worst part of it all is that I couldn't think of anything. I know with me that may be hard to believe but I really haven't done anything worth a good ass chewing in over two weeks.

After figuring that out, I started to wonder if I am slipping in my old age. I mean a few years ago, if I had to go over any two week period of my life I would've been able to rattle off at least 3 things that are illegal in at least 50% of the states in the union. Just kidding.

But anyways, I go walking to where the 1SG is, all the while sweating bullets thinking that I am about to get busted for some stupid shit that I don't even remember doing, and when I get there...

He gives me the phone number to my job. And tells me, "your human resources administrator called and needs you to call her at this number." Then he turns around and goes back to whatever the hell 1SG's do.

How anti-climactic. But OK, now what the hell is wrong at work. I'm thinking, I am the only moron in history who can actually get fired after having been gone for over three weeks. Yep, I am that guy.

But then I call and she tells me I got to sign some paperwork for life insurance and some such shit. Now that was a whole lot of build up for nothing. I mean I really am a big fan of a good ass chewing. Not to mention there is nothing quite as exhilarating as getting yelled at by a 1SG that knows what he is doing. I mean when I was on active duty I would needle the man just to get him to start yelling. It was sport at the time. Now I worry about it... Hey Zeus Crisco, am I ever getting old.

But that was the only excitement generated today, but its still only like 1700 so we got some time to stir up a little shit. About the only real news that I have is that I have a new address, oh boy, oh boy. And this one is just for the mom, I got my head shaved. Right down to the bone there Mama. I'll be sure to take lots of pictures of it and send it to you. I'm sure you'll love it.

Hopefully, something actually starts happening soon, this is getting mighty boring, and when I get bored bad things start to happen. But then again, I'll probably have to take some viagra or metamucil or some shit to actually get something going. Ha-ha.


Love you mom.

What A Tool...

Just a small little entry to tell you about an experience at a formation that we just had.

We had a company formation minus all the NCO's because they are still at the training thing they have been doing for two days now. So we go out there and the commander is there.

Now there is an old joke that soldiers play on officers, some know about it, some don't. But the thing that made this experience shitty is that we were not even playing the joke it just worked out that way.

Now, the joke goes like this. An officer will be standing or sitting somewhere that they are not going to be moving from for a while. Then the lower enlisted soldiers will walk by him or her, one by one, usually about 30-35 strong, and make them salute each and every one of us. This is incredibly annoying for the officer and incredibly humorous to all of us.

So we were walking out to formation and I saluted the captain, not remembering that my entire platoon was lock stepping right behind me, and they all saluted him also. They had no idea what they were doing, but I turned around and saw what was happening and couldn't help but laugh. The problem with that being I am a naturally loud person and when I laugh it can be heard for miles.

The commander assumed we were having a little fun at his expense, and decided to get us back. Now he didn't do anything really good, he just made us stand at attention for a while. But I confirmed one thing for damn sure, my commander has NO sense of humor...What a tool.

Message received Sir, moving on, Love you mom...

Thinking Back...

Here We Go Again...

Same Ole' Shit Again...

That is the first line of my favorite cadence from basic training. Back in 1998 at Fort McClellen, Alabama. I sang that one with such gusto that even the drill sergeants laughed at me.

I stand around now looking around at all the insanity going on around me and I can't help but laugh. (I do that a lot). Mostly because if I didn't laugh at all of this shit I would most likely have a rather debilitating psychotic episode within the first week or so.

I have been reminiscing a whole lot lately about my military life. Which has been interesting to say the least, but given the fact that I am now at a post, and in a unit that is chock full of privates (lowest rank in the army) I have been thinking a lot about my experiences in basic training.

I remember getting there and having a rather large black dude step onto the bus and bracing myself for the Full Metal Jacket style tongue lashing that was certain to be on its way. At which point he politely smiled and asked, very cordially for me to step off the bus and stand on the yellow line.

Alright, not what I expected but whatever. Its supposedly a new Army so I guess they do it this way now. I got in processed, got my new haircut, which made me look like an alien because not only do I have a misshapen dome piece but it is also incredibly large. I mean the damn thing has it's own weather system.

Then I packed up all my civilian shit in a bag, locked it and handed it over. I am still missing a pair of underwear from that. I am still disturbed by the thought of exactly what happened to that pair of red hot chili pepper boxers. I ate some dinner and went to sleep. Not bad food either. Then I spent the next few days going back and forth from this place to that, seeing the doctor and all of that crap. Filling out paperwork and what not. Then one evening a drill sergeant, who was very disappointing to me since he was a very nice guy, came to me and said, "Hey bud, get some sleep tonight because tomorrow morning at 0400 you are going down range." Down range in the military can mean a few different things. You've got the basic training definition, which is leaving reception and heading to a basic training company for the next 16 weeks. Then you have the deployment meaning which is heading into the shithole that you will call home for the next year.

I had yet to realize that basic training still had not yet begun. I saw all the usual stuff. Marching, singing cadence, getting up ass-crack early in the morning and all. However, as yet I had not seen one person get a real, solid, profanity laced dressing down. I mean I felt cheated. Little did I know what was about to happen.

The next morning I woke up at about 0300, I was excited. I was finally about to get to do all that hooah Army shit. So before breakfast they loaded about 80 of us onto a bus and drove us for what seemed like forever but it was really only like 20 minutes and we got there. Bravo Company 787th MP Battalion. My birthplace as far as the military is concerned.

We got off the bus and still nothing good...we marched up the walkway and still nothing good...we walked around the corner (carrying two duffel bags full of all our shiny new Army issue crap)...and still nothing...we crossed under a little banner that said some goofy crap about Bravo being the best company in the Army or something happened...

About 100 or what seemed like 100 but was really only 8 drill sergeants swarmed at us from all directions. I swear to God some of them dropped from the sky and they were all really pissed, had some serious halitosis going on, and they all hated me. I remember shaking. I actually shook. Now ladies and gents, I don't scare easy. But this little surprise got under my skin. I blame it on the fact that I had already been up for two hours and the sun was still not up.

For the next two hours we stood there while we were accosted by these guys who didn't know us from Adam, but were still able to say some of the craziest stuff I had ever heard. "Holy Jumping Fucking Shit Balls Private, You look like about 250 pounds of chewed bubble gum!" "For the love of God private, you must've been born in the ugly tree, fallen out and hit every ugly branch on the way down and smashed into the ugly puddle at the bottom."

All the while as they are screaming at us to hold our bags up. HIGH!!!! Now I don't care who you are holding a bag that weighs 35 pounds or so up in the air is hard, and then to have to do it for any extended period of time is murder. And it had only been like 5 minutes and my shoulders felt like they were being burned by the devil himself and I wished they would just fall off, and I distinctly remember thinking to myself. "You volunteered, dipshit."

Two hours later, caked in sweat and not being able to lift my arms above waist level I dragged my shit upstairs to the wonderful government issue bed of nails that was to be my home for the next 4 months or so.

I spent the next 4 months in one level of pain or another. Never getting enough sleep or enough to eat or ever having enough time to even stop and think. I had taken the first steps down the tumultuous, crazy, enlightening, difficult, heartbreaking, homesickness inducing, thought provoking, and full of shit roads ever. Which has led me to right here.

Sitting on top of a government issued bed of nails with a pile of army issue crap and my shoulders feel like they are being burned by the devil himself and I wish my arms would just fall off, and I continue to think to myself..."YOU VOLUNTEERED DIPSHIT"

Ah, whatever, I guess I am just a glutton for punishment. But then I think about all of them. Who? My mother, my brother, my cousins, my friends, my home, all the people who whether they know it or not depend on dipshits like me to live their lives the way they want, and a strange sense of calm washes over me.

I've done this for over a decade now. Anyone who thinks the military hasn't sent me through the ringer a few times can kiss my Irish ass. I have been through it once or twice. And I still cannot keep that line from "Patton" out of my head.

"God help me, I do love it so..."

Note To Self...

To be read in case of personal contemplation of reenlistment. I have successfully embraced the suck for the majority of this huge pile of bullshit that the army has been putting me through for the past couple of weeks. Its actually turning out to be quite a bit of fun. In that I have taken to watching everyone else as they descend from mature, intelligent adults, into sniveling, whiny, soft little children. Good times for me.

We have been training out here for about two weeks now and people are already starting to crack and its fun to watch them march right up to the edge and then just give them a little shove and watch the fireworks.

But that doesn't change the fact that I have been doing this shit for in excess of a decade now and I should've known better than to come along for this. Anytime you let the people that the Army finds to be in charge run anything, the reindeer games are something to behold.

We have been placed on guard duty for trucks that do not exist, we have stayed up until 2 in the morning to be told that we are getting up at 4 in the morning. We have been given a mountain of equipment that no one knows how to use. Half this stuff, when I look at it, I can't even tell what it is, much less how to use it. We have been given briefings until 2300 and taken a PT test at 0400. We have been given blank ammunition with which to fire in training simulations in the forest (which is so similar to where we are going) and then told that as we fire the ammunition we have to pick up and account for every single round due to the fact that there is some endangered frog in the woods or some shit.

We have been ordered by our commander to turn in all our weapons to the head shed (the commander's minions.) So we threw 200 and something weapons into the tent! That wasn't at all hard to figure out later. We have spent 6 hours in the middle of the night looking for a piece of equipment that was right where it was supposed to be the whole time. We have been scolded for not saluting officers when we are carrying weapons systems that weigh more than some people. We have been forced to wear equipment weighing more than 50 pounds for literally 12-16 hours at a time. We have not gotten more than 5 hours of continuous sleep for two weeks.

Am I bitching? Yeah a little bit, but I go through this one as a reminder to myself of all this shit for when I come up for reenlistment. You see every time I have reenlisted it has been because of the fact that I ignored all of this shit and only remembered the good stuff. I suppressed every ounce of bullshit the army sent my way and only thought of the things that made me smile and signed the dotted line on faulty information.

I do not regret my decision to volunteer for this, not even a little bit. I know for a fact that I will rise to any challenge that the army sends my way. Embracing the suck is all you can do, because it only gets worse. However, that doesn't change the fact that a few years from now I am going to be asked to raise my hand again and to those pricks I will say, "Kiss my ass, I'm out of here"

I paid what I owe, I paid what two people owe, and you Uncle Sam have gotten everything out of me that you are going to get. How you like them apples?

This We'll Defend...

Now the title of this post is the Army motto, "This We'll Defend". A good motto if you ask me, but I am not quite sure I really understand what it is we are defending anymore.

The reason I am writing like this is because my buddies and I just went to the PX here on post and were sitting down enjoying our sandwiches from Charley's when a news report came on that stated that there is some chick out in Nevada who is selling her virginity online for a million bucks. So I am sitting here wondering exactly what this world, more specifically our country is coming to.

I mean I didn't really care one way or the other about this woman. I don't know her, and I don't have a million bucks so who gives a shit right? But then I started thinking how I would have reacted to all of this if I were her brother or worse yet her father. Holy shit, I can only imagine.

I mean this girl should lose her virginity like everyone else. At a party when she is 17 after having way too much to drink and waking up to some ugly ass dude drooling on her shoulder. I mean is that too much to ask. But no, she is going to sell it at a whorehouse to some dirty old fart with too much money and too little time to live and a truckload of viagra and then she is going to be set for life. I gotta admit, I might be just a tad jealous. All except for the geriatric sex part.

But is nothing sacred? Are human beings capable of anything? Is there nothing in this world that is not for sale? Answers, no nothing is sacred, humans can and will do anything, and everything is for sale. Even your daughters honor. Embrace the suck on that one all you fathers out there. And people wonder why I don't want to have children.

That, and the fact that our entire nation for the most part, has spent the last 8 years at the mall while all my boys and I have been doing this military bullshit.

They have been buying their hummers, and Beamers, and Lexus, and shit while gas shot through the roof, and the world outside our borders steadily collapsed and they spent all that time at the mall. Or in college, protesting our very existence while enjoying and exercising the rights won by guys just like me. (Yeah, I'm bragging, you don't like it, f**& off)

All the while, through all of that, we kept on defending. Kept on doing as we are told. Kept on, keeping on. While I watch as this nation that I love has fallen under attack, not from the outside, but from within. By all these cry baby assholes who think that everything is ok and no one should be accountable for anything.

So I wonder, is there anyone out there who will change the tide. Could I do it even if I tried. Is there any real point in trying because of the simple fact that for the most part this great land of ours has degenerated into one big joke. Not that I am complaining. There is a lot of fun to be had there.

But then I look around myself here and I see all these people more than willing to sacrifice everything for this nation and I think we just might be OK. I just wonder if these guys and gals are enough to stem the wave of shit that is coming down from all the douchebaggery happening in the world right now. Are we enough, and are we too late?

The World's Most Expensive Game of ...

Today was a joke. From top to bottom, left to right, and from 0830 to 1730. We sat there and didn't do shit. I mean literally, not a thing. We got up really early, like 0530, which isn't Army early but its early to me, then we got some breakfast, laid around for another hour and then we got told we were going to some convoy simulation training.

We have learned that simulation means "video game". So we get there and there are all these trailers set up which people are going in and out of doing important looking things, and carrying official looking papers, and moving quickly and yelling at each other in military acronyms and what not. So I, correctly, assumed that this is the place where the training was going to take place.

Shortly after arriving we were notified that another company had to go through the training also. No big deal, we'll just get in line with them and we'll all get through this. Right? Not a chance baby, this is Uncle Sam's mean green machine and we don't do anything the easy way.

We sat there all day. Now when I say all day, the only exaggeration is that we didn't sit there for 24 hours. We sat there on the pavement, moving our gear from this place to that, and shuffling it around to avoid the sun as it passed over our heads and redoing this and adjusting that to get comfortable enough to sleep on the blacktop. We sat from 0830 alllllllllllllllllllllllll the way through to 1700, for those of you keeping track that's 8 and 1/2 hours. Then we finally got into this thing, which turned out to be a big plastic humvee with a bunch of cords coming out of it and a fake 50 caliber machine gun on top, all facing a huge screen.

We then pretended to drive this plastic beast through a stretch of simulated Afghani land. We ran into some explosions, we got shot at a little bit, and we ran over some civilians, shot a camel, and accidentally lit up an ambulance. Lots of fun, but all in all we were in there for 15 minutes.

So I would just like all the taxpayers in my audience to think about this. Your government, due to lack of competent leadership, subjected an entire platoon of mobilizing soldiers to a day spent sleeping on the blacktop outside a training facility, while somebody else played with the toys, not to mention the government has managed to sink what I can only imagine to be zillions of dollars into a gigantic video game for soldiers to learn how to run a convoy in the middle east and Asia. Relax ladies and gentlemen, your government is in charge, you can feel free to go back to sleep now...

Don't forget to vote.

Love you mom.

Hey La Di Da Dee...We Got Attacked Again

Ah ladies and gentlemen the reindeer games are in full swing here at the feaux FOB here at beautiful Fort Bragg. Apparently, and this one really made me laugh. We got attacked last night and only about a quarter of the soldiers here on the FOB responded because for the most part soldiers are a lazy and uninspired lot and they will do anything they can to avoid work of any kind. Myself included.

But how the hell do they expect us to know. We spent the last few weeks listening to nothing but fake grenades, artillery simulators, blank rounds and a whole mess of other shit going off all day and all night. About the only thing we haven't had is tanks rolling through here, other than that it is pretty much non stop. I go to sleep every night to a symphony of booms, bangs, and rat-a-tat-tats. So after all of that why would I care if there were a few more going off around here.

So we had to go and get into a formation so we could be told that we had not done very well on this little test and therefor the SOP would be changing on how we do things here at the FOB. OK, but if you have ever seen the snail's pace that military commanders can move at we will probably see our SOP changed sometime after we get back from Afghanistan.

But that is not such a big deal, anyone who knows the military knows that the only constant is change. That and whenever you start to wonder what is going to happen next the easiest way to figure it out is to find whatever event will suck the most. And that is exactly what is going to happen.

Now the big deal is guard duty. I love this stuff. Its one of those things that they throw you on when they really don't have anything else for you to do. I mean I get the fact that we have to guard the vehicles but that is because all these other shit bag units around here will cannibalize and steal all of our parts. But now they want a guard on the company TOC (tactical operations center). I could see why they would want a guard on that if it weren't already behind a tollbooth. I mean really, there is the front gate of the FOB and then there is this little thing that looks like a tollbooth that controls entry to the area of the FOB that has the TOC in it. So what's with the extra guard. But that...(had to stop writing because we got fake attacked again)

How much fun can you have in one day. 200 soldiers all running around like chickens with their heads cut off, firing off blank ammunition like we will never run out of it, NCO's yelling at each other trying to figure out what the fuck is going on. About 10 guys who all think they are Delta force or some shit running out into the woods to chase down the bad guys and getting lit up by a crew served machine gun as soon as they left the wire. The rest of us all laughing at them because they decided to run directly in front of all of us making us completely useless because you can't fire when some dip shit is in front of you. Now I am sitting here wondering what the letter would read like to their parents after that shit.

Dear Patriotic Parents,

The Defense Department regrets to inform you that your children are dead because they were stupid. Life insurance collection forms are enclosed.


Douche Bag in charge.

Admittedly, that was a bit brutal. However, it doesn't change the fact that some of these young guys have to realize that this is not a video game. People have died, are dying, and will die. Not to mention the ones who will be maimed and wounded and completely mind fucked by this whole thing. There is a very, very, ridiculously thin line between heroism and stupidity. What I saw tonight was nothing more than stupidity.

I have no interest in dying. I have no interest in getting wounded. I don't give a damn about getting the bad guys. I have one prevailing thought in my head. Accomplish the mission, stay alive. That is all there is and that is all I will do. I wish to God that these young ones get that through their head sometime real soon. I mean I saw guys climbing over concertina wire. One slip and they would have been wrapped in this shit and cutting themselves up like grated cheese. But hey they got the testosterone and their all going to slay the huns and save the world.

I don't know about you but I wonder about these young guys. They got it all ahead of them. I swear to you some of them haven't even gotten their dicks wet yet, and they are going to pull some shit like this. Not that it really matters. I wholly expect that they knew in the back of their minds that this was just training and that nothing real was going to happen to them and that might be why they conducted themselves the way they did.

But that doesn't change the fact that I don't want to be around when some 19 year old kid gets boxed up...

I'll See You In The Next Life...

There is a song performed by a band called "Suede", called "The Next Life" and I just started listening to it. The problem with me is this, sometimes we all do this, but I do it on a fairly regular basis. I start thinking about the wrong things.

Things you should never let enter your mind. Why? Because they will only do one thing, and that is fuck up your head and make it impossible for you to focus on the task at hand.

My task at hand is simple. Survive the next year and get home to my family and the rest of my life. Unfortunately for me, I have been thinking quite a bit about death lately. Not my own so much, but everyone else's. I look around and I can't help but wonder...

Who's it gonna be? Who is not going home this time? Is it him...or her...or him...or him...or that guy...or that girl? Which one of our parents is getting that letter. Which one will it be?

I am trying so very hard to put this shit out of my head. I wonder if everyone else wonders about this kind of stuff too, or are they smart enough to just not worry about it and focus on what they are doing and get through this?

It's funny, I haven't even left the states yet. How jacked up am I gonna be when we are in country? Am I a coward? Will these thoughts pass?

Once again, a million questions, and not a single answer.

I wonder if I am still cut out for this? Have I passed my prime and am not of any use anymore?

I know deep down that none of this is anything that I should worry about. I know that I can do this job, and I can do it well. I have been trained, I am ready, and if at anytime the Taliban decide to come dance with me they will be meeting their 72 virgins just a little bit sooner than expected.

But that doesn't change the things running through my brain at a million miles per hour for every minute of every day that I am awake. Thankfully, all I think about while I am asleep is sex.

But its funny how fast your mind, or in actuality, my mind can change. Just ask my ex-wife. Now I feel OK. Nothings changed but it doesn't bother me anymore. Maybe its just because I got it out here onto this "paper" and got that bullshit off my chest.

I'll leave you with two maxims.

Fuck the bullshit.

Its all bullshit...

Sep 11, 2008

Just Letting You Know...

So I am here at Bragg training for this eminent deployment. Just wanted to drop a quick note because I haven't had internet access for like 2 weeks now. Its funny that when we are on the base it is hard to get on the internet because the MWR joint is all the way on the other side of post, but the FOB (forward operating base) where we are training has wireless. Explain that shit! But I haven't been ignoring my blog, as soon as I get wireless I have all my posts saved on my laptop and they will all shoot up as soon as possible.

I am OK, and everything is going as well as can be when everything is run by officers. Later, and pray for all of us...

Love You Mom.