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

Nov 17, 2008

Dogs, And Ponies, And Sergeant Majors, Oh My...

November 17, 2008 2005 hrs.

Well guess who showed up today. The Sergeant Major. Now for those of you who don't know who he is, he's the top enlisted man in our battalion and a pretty good guy from what I see so far. So I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt in reference the amazing amount of bullshit that flowed down the pipe today.

However, no one else will be spared. We had to clean everything. I mean we have dirt floors here and we had to clean. Am I the only one who thinks its kind of pointless to clean rooms with dirt floors. I mean it was like a permanent haze of dust floating in the air all day. If I didn't know better I would've thought there were Jamaican's living in our barracks. My apologies to any Jamaican's that don't smoke weed.

Then we had to clean up the MWR building. Which was humorous for me, given the fact that in an Army FOB there was Marine Corps recruiting literature. Really? The Marines recruit at remote FOB's in AssCrackIstan? But whatever, it brought a smile to my face. We had to stack all the books neatly by size, then we had to line up all the movies, and pile all the magazines up nice, and sweep the floor and wipe off the TV and all this and that. All the while the locals were laughing hysterically at us due to the fact that we pay them to do this exact same thing.

Then we had to dress right dress all the vehicles and everything in them. (Dress Right Dress=Making everything look the same) DRD does not really serve any purpose other than making things look pretty. Someone will have to explain to me someday why anything in this country needs to be prettied up, but I digress. I mean really? A dog and pony show in a war zone? You have got to be shitting me.

Then they got onto us. I mean our personal hygiene and what not. Now bear in mind 80% of us do not have all of our bags here yet, which is another story all together. But I only have one uniform, one pair of skivvies, and one t-shirt. Not to mention had the mail not come I would have no personal hygiene items but the boys and girls back home came through for me. So thanks. Anyways, these goofy ass NCO's walked around to everyone staring at their chins and cheeks and upper lips to ensure that we had shaved recently. One of them even walked around with a credit card. And was doing the under the chin swipe to see if we had shaved. Basically, all that is is taking one end of a credit card and dragging it along your face and listening for the distinct sound created by a piece of hard plastic grating against little whiskers. I was aghast. Yeah, how many of you thought I knew what "aghast" means? Am I the only one standing in sheer amazement at the Army's preoccupation with looks. Form over function as Pigpen would say. I mean really, is a man with the responsibility of the Sergeant Major really concerned with whether or not I had shaved today? Well, apparently so.

So, now he gets here. Flies on in with his entourage. I couldn't help but wonder how much money and manpower is spent sending this guy to this place and that within AssCrackIstan to make sure that everyone is clean shaven.

Now all these guys jump off the bird, turns out that the Sergeant Major brought some Colonel with him, now things really got fun. The pucker factor went up about 10 degrees.

Definition, "Pucker Factor": Any situation that causes the asshole of anyone to tighten exponentially due to the situation's probability of causing any manner of shitty things to happen. Measured in degrees.

Well now the commander is there smooching booty and the 1SG is doing his politicking with the Sergeant Major and everyone is falling all over themselves trying to make them as comfortable as possible. I was waiting for the order to come down that all the lower enlisted were to lay down in a row so that the Colonel and the Sergeant Major didn't have to get dust on their boots. But thankfully, that didn't come.

What am I doing? Hiding in my room praying that no one sees the "Combat Jack" tally board that is written on the wall directly outside my room.

Definition, "Combat Jack": Masturbating in a combat zone. Normally characterized not only by being done within a combat zone but also by the disgustingness of the surroundings in which said activity is being performed. For example, a port-a-shitter in Afghanistan.

The board is part of a running contest that the platoon males have going to see who can do it the most. Right now I made it to 5, but suffice it to say that I am in the middle of the pack. Some of these guys are going to pull the cap off by Christmas. But moving on...(Oh Dear God, my mom is going to read that)

But whatever, it is what it is. Now I manage to fall asleep for a while and apparently my buddy, Wonderboy woke me up and told me that the Sergeant Major wanted to see me at 1800. I don't know about you, but whenever you wake me up and tell me something, all I do is figure that it was part of the dream I was having and I go back to sleep. Why the Sergeant Major wanted to see me while I was on the moon with the entire USC cheerleading team, I'll never know. But these are dreams people, who knows what the hell they mean.

Luckily for me, I woke up around 1715 and was hungry as hell. I mean these cheerleaders will run you ragged. So I go to chow and my team leader says, "When are you going to see the Sergeant Major?" To which I reply, "What did I do?" He replies, "I dunno, they told me you were supposed to see the Sergeant Major tonight sometime"

So my brain kicks into overdrive again trying to figure out what I could've done to piss the Sergeant Major off today or anytime since getting in country. Well thankfully before I drove myself too nuts Wonderboy came over and told me what was up.

I would tell you exactly what it is, but once again I don't really know if I can. We'll just say that everyone was doing something they shouldn't and we told them, "Hey Sergeant Major, that's fucked up. We shouldn't be doing that." To which he replied, "I'll check on it." To which we replied, "Yes, Sergeant Major." All the while thinking to ourselves, "Go ahead, you check on it, why don't you just tell us to fuck off?" But apparently, he did check on it and he found out that we were right. And now the policy for the whole joint is changing. Not bad for a smart ass who barely graduated high school. But enough tooting of my own horn.

So we got dragged into a conference room with all the senior NCO's in our company waiting for the Sergeant Major. Now this is easily one of the top 5 most uncomfortable rooms I have ever been in. And I have been in more than a few prison cells so that should tell you something. Don't worry, I work in a prison, I was not a resident.

Now he gets there and he goes through about a 5 minute spiel about how we were able to right a wrong within the theater and all that. Interestingly enough while he was giving his speech and looking at us he was looking at our chins. I can only assume to make sure we had shaved. Then he gave us a coin. Which is what the Army does when you do something good but they don't want to do any paperwork for a BS award. I mean its nice, but this coin and a buck will get me a coke. So whatever, he gives it to us and we leave. Now I am sitting here in my rack writing this and hoping that he and his entourage are gone by now.

Tonight brings another shift of guard duty. Which basically is two of us stuck in a tower that is roughly the size of the trunk of a honda civic with a heater blowing in the window that is made to heat an area the size of a football field. I mean these fucking heaters can melt concrete. All the while staring out at the Afghani countryside through night vision goggles and wondering if and when something is actually going to happen. I have had to do this for 12 hours a day for the past two days. Not really bad duty, I got to hang out with the ANP (Afghan National Police), and the "terps".

Definition: "Terp": Shortened version of interpreter. You know the guys that speak Pashtu, Dari, and English.

So I got to pick their brains about this war, this country, our country and a million other things. Not to mention I bought a couple of ANP patches off the guy for 5 bucks. Should've seen the look on his face when the terp told him how much Afghani money 5 bucks would get him. I'll tell you some of the stuff they said when I have more time to think and a little less acrimony about this shit today.

Well the big dogs went home so everything has settled back to some semblance of normalcy. Or as normal as things will get in Afghanistan. We are settling in for the winter. Which apparently is going to be brutal. We are about 7000 feet above sea level which says that it is going to get really flipping cold, and that explains why I get winded walking up the stairs. If everything stays this boring for the remainder of my time here I will be the happiest GI ever. However, I would have to assume that the "whatever sucks the most" principle would have to apply here. That and everyone seems to think that the bad guys have slipped back over the border into Pakistan for the winter to regroup and will be back come the spring. Well I guess we need to go someplace that stays cold all year round then.

I'm done for now.


I love you mom...


  1. mud puppy...My hubster works for the navy...obviously the motto of "run she might, shine she must" knows no military barrier! Hang in there, you know the game has rules, and no doubt by now you know how to play by them. Keep your mind clear and C.Y.A.!
    If you get a chance, please e-mail your address to me. I have a few care packages to send to you and your platoon.

    ~AirmanMom returning to her blog...

  2. I have never, for the life of me, understood 'dress right dress' of tents, vehicles, anything, in a freaking combat zone.

    Did someone NOT get the memo that they teach you in training that you keep items separate so they don't ALL blow up at once in an attack?

    You're supposed to combat park the vehicles and separate the tents by what... i forget the distance now... like 30 feet.

    During Desert Storm we had a great platoon sergeant that addressed these issues while our platoon was out away from the company. Then our shiny new LT countermanded his orders. However, to keep the hummers and tents from being visible in the flat open desert, she had us DRD them down in a wadi (dry gully). Needless to say we lost all of our tents, most of our gear, and 3 hummers to a flash flood when the monsoon started.

    The shiny new LT was standing up on the rim of the Wadi yelling orders down at us indians... do this, get that, tie this down, tow this out. High and dry while we were soaked with mud and water to the bone.

    I'll never forget or forgive her. God help her if I ever see her as a civilian. *EVIL LAUGH*

    Note to Mud Puppy's Mom: Don't read this post. hahaha

    aka V5

  3. Do you have a little time to read other blogs? is discussing Afghanistan, and you'll love his "deciding to change your underware in the middle of a firefight." and realizing while they have an archaic culture, they are individuals. He uses big words like you do, too.

  4. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 11/18/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  5. The 2008 weblog awards nominations have started. Go here and put in a comment to nominate your favorite milblog:

    Someone nominated this one.

  6. I found your blog via airmanmom's...thank you for your service!!!! I will be stalking your blog as well now....

  7. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog & will definitely pass it along as not enough is out there about what is going on in Afghanistan. I would like to write to you & send you cards to send home to your loved ones if I can get your mailing address. Take care & be safe.

  8. I also found you via Airman and have been thoroughly enjoying your writing. Definitely appreciate the honesty. Stay safe :)

  9. Dog and pony shows know no barriers, because higher ranking individuals like to have pretty, pretty soldiers.

    It's the one thing I really never will figure out.

    At least it's over though!