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

May 27, 2009

Three For The Price Of One...

So They Got Another One...

Another one what? Another blog. Another good blog. Popular one. So popular they make shirts about this guy, sold at Rangerup.com.

So why am I writing about this? Because I am pissed. Almost as pissed as when I took my blog private because I was warned in no uncertain terms that disciplinary action was imminent unless I either took it down all together or made it so that only a select few could read it.

Why was I warned? Disrespect. Plain and simple, I said some things about commissioned officers that the military doesn’t tolerate. I called them, or at least one of them a douche bag. So I guess that could be construed as disrespect, but I always figured that the truth was an absolute defense of whatever you wanted to say. And yes this guy was in fact a douche bag. But I was wrong.

Now I don’t know what BT said, I don’t really much care what he said, I am just glad he said it. It may have been stupid of him to write whatever he wrote, but I still like the fact that he wrote it. Whatever it was...

You see the military has a really difficult time dealing with this whole blog thing. I don’t really understand why. They have a real issue with information being released, regardless of form, without their prior written approval. Myself, I have a real problem getting approval for what I write. I don’t really care one way or the other what the military thinks of what I write. I call this war as I see it, and if they don’t like it, maybe they need to consider prosecuting this whole thing in a different manner. Then maybe we all wouldn’t have so much to write about.

If you ask me it all comes down to transparency. If there is a medium where literally everyone could report on the conditions, the actions, the triumphs, the failures, the stupidity, the brilliance, and the food of this war then there is really no way that the military and by default, the government cannot be transparent about the way they conduct this, and all wars. Now since that medium does exist, they have to control it. Because it is much more beneficial and pragmatic for the military to control the medium as opposed to changing their methods in the conduct of war.

If there had been blogs throughout history just think of the difference that might have made. The massacres in Vietnam may have been avoided had those men feared being exposed for the world to see on the internet. The Abu Ghraib scandal might have been prevented or exposed earlier if it had been blogged about. There are probably a million other examples of incidents that could’ve either been prevented, or at least brought to light quicker through the freedom of information that the internet provides.

Character is what a person will do when no one else is watching. Well, I think that might be a bit of a leap of faith when you are considering the military. Nope, in the military’s case, everyone needs to be watching! One of the ways to watch and understand what we go through is through these blogs. They are the words that drip directly from the lips of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. They write them right after patrols, they write them right after firefights, they write them right after an IED blast, they write them after they just finished running for lives from incoming mortars, they write them after they watched their buddy being carried off the field of battle on a stretcher, they write them right after they listened to taps and knelt before a pair of boots, a rifle, a helmet and a set of dog tags.

There is no better window into this, or any other war than the words of those who had to fight it. Its unfiltered, its brutal, its profane, its hard, but its the truth.

Do I think that soldiers should be given free reign to write whatever they wish? Well, there is certainly a part of me that does, but I also understand that there are certain things you can’t write. You can’t tell people how to defeat our tactics or equipment. You can’t tell how we move, you can’t say how many of us there are, you can’t tell when and where we are moving. I get all of that. So if it turns out that that is what BT did, then I’ll have to say he got what he had coming. But its just another hole in the info dam that the Army has managed to plug. I wonder how many blogs got shut down this month, or year, or since the beginning of the war?

Before I privatized my blog, I had about 50 followers, and was getting upwards of 15-20 comments per post, and I was just over 10,000 hits in just the few months that I was up. But then I gave them a reason. I gave them a reason to plug the hole that was me and my blog. And plug it they did.

Now for the sake of my own vanity, lets say that 10,000 different people came to my blog and read something, anything about the war in Afghanistan. Now that is 10,000 people who have a different perspective on this whole thing than the brain dead masses who get all their information from MSNBC and CNN, which if you ask me are sometimes nothing more than unpaid employees of the Department of Defense. Maybe there are 10,000 people out there who can look at the news and using their new perspective deduce what is really happening. Or at least they can chuckle when they hear the mountain of military approved bullshit that spills off the newswire everyday! Hell, if there was one person out there who could do that I would consider it well worth the trouble.

But they got him, plugged one more hole, eliminated another leak. Closed off one more source of information so that the only thing that gets through is exactly what they want to get through. I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but think of the scene in “Good Morning, Vietnam” where Robin Williams reads the news off the wire without having taken it through the military censors prior. Everyone from the Sergeant Major on down had a baby in that scene. The military has a hard time dealing with any information getting out that they didn’t write, sanitize and approve.

Please excuse the profanity, but that is FUCKED UP!

I mean think of one of the military’s rules about blogging. One of them actually prohibits the use of profanity. Are you kidding me? Anyone who has ever spent more than 5 minutes around the military knows that it is about the most profane organization on earth.

So what to do about this. Well there is pretty much nothing that I can do about it, other than write this under a pseudonym, like a chicken shit. But that’s the nature of the beast here in Uncle Sam’s Mean Green Machine. They’ve got you by the balls. Disobey them and they can ruin your career, take away your income, take away your status/rank, give a discharge that will be stapled to every job application you will ever fill out for the rest of your life. So unless you are independently wealthy or an idiot, you quietly toe the line. Always wondering what sort of world we live in, that the truth can get you in so much damn trouble?

Anyway,

Later,

I love you Mom...

The Shit List...

Alright, so in a testament to my complete inability to mature, and in an attempt to alleviate at least a little bit of the boredom that is FOB Sharana I have composed the following. It is a list, a list of all the different types of shits you take in a combat zone. Each shit is named, with an explanation immediately following.

It is unfortunate but each and every one of these shits has been taken by this GI at one time or another. These disgusting situations are due to several factors, most important is the quality of the food that they feed us, but also due to the quality of our water, the amazing amount of foreign non-mind altering substances that we imbibe, and just the basic unhealthiness of this entire situation.

This is intended to be not only instructive but also humorous, and a thinly veiled plea for Pepto-Bismol or if you are cheap...Pink Bismuth.

Without further adieu, I present for your examination, THE SHIT LIST.


1.The Bubble Guts Shit: Normally a shit that happens about 3-5 hours after Mexican night in the chow hall. Characterized by a sort of bubbling in your guts prior to an explosive shit. Somewhat akin to the bubbling of a boiling pan of water, right before it comes flying out your ass in the most relieving of waves!

2.The Ambush: Simply put, a shit that sneaks up on you. You may be standing there doing this or that when your body tells you, “Hey We have to shit!” Prior to your brain even registering the 4th syllable of that sentence your bowels begin to vacate themselves. Normally this shit is preceded by some sort of either natural or man made laxative or a healthy helping of enchiladas.

3.Combat Shit: Any and all shits taken outside the wire. (We’ll get to the ones you have while being shot at!)

4.The Ghost: A shit where you visit the crapper and you go through the motions, you feel all the feelings and then when you go to wipe you are greeted by none other than clean paper. On the first swipe, no less. Then when you examine the receptacle you find...NOTHING. Creepy.

5.Blowback: This is when you have a particularly large shit that is taken in a freshly cleaned and emptied port-a-shitter. Which has also been freshly filled with whatever the hell that liquid shit is that they put in there. You drop trou, pop a squat, shit, and the splash from the liquid flies up and gives you a little kiss on the ass. Blowing back, right on your butt.

6.The Mountain: These are rare, have only seen them in Sharana. They have really bad shitters here. Sometimes they are without water, which doesn’t stop the GI’s from dropping a deuce. Sometimes these nasty pricks shit in one that already has a load sitting in it, left by some undiscerning GI who couldn’t care less that he couldn’t flush. Anyway, another GI will sit down and drop his present off right on top of the other one which creates a pile somewhat similar to a mountain. Note: Some of these piles have been known to exceed the threshold of the toilet seat. That guy, whoever he is, is one nasty fucker.

7.The Two-Fer: These are hilarious. As I said previously, the military shitters are notoriously bad and they also are notorious for not being able to handle the bombs we drop. Given the caliber of food we eat here you would think that someone would figure out we need like industrial shitters made to handle a 2000 pound bull, but I digress. So as a courtesy you flush at least once mid-shit just to make the room tolerable to the other nasty GI’s in the room. When you do that, you promptly clog the toilet making the continuation of your task an impossibility. So you have to pull up your pants, and carefully, move the operation to another stall. This is especially funny if, at the time, all the other stalls are full. Yet, due to the low quality of the shitters, when you get to the next one you clog that one too. Hence, the two-fer!

8.Torpedo in the door: This is the name given to your shit, after an ambush between where you are ambushed and where you are going to shit. It is basically a synonym for the Frankenstein. Used also by some to describe a particularly large shit. The only way to characterize these is to say this. When you are done with one of these, you ask yourself what women are bitching about with the childbirth thing. Because you are fairly certain that no child has ever been born bigger than that turd you just dropped.

9.Shittus Interruptus: A shit that interrupts anything you really want to be doing. Perhaps you are courting your own personal “desert rose” and you have an uncontrollable urge to make a B-line for the shitters and take care of business, during which time your “desert rose” is yanked for some detail that needs to be done, or perhaps even worse she is surrounded by four guys from another unit and is enjoying the attention. Making her of absolutely no use to you.

10.The Marathon: Fairly self explanatory. Any shit that takes an inordinately long time. This can be used as either the descriptor of a particular shit, or it can be used to modify another type of shit. For example, “I just had a marathon bubble guts shit!”

11.The Gotcha: These are especially funny to watch. This is a shit where the GI in question thinks he or she is finished with their business, has cleaned up, and is walking away from the shitters when their body informs them that they are so very, very wrong and they have to quickly face about and move back to the shitters posthaste. Basically, this is your colon playing with you. “Ha Ha, you thought you were done! I gotcha!” (That’s what would be said if your colon could talk. Which after a year or so of Army food is not beyond the realm of possibility.)

12.Whistling Ass Piss: Everyone has heard the phrase, pissing out your ass. Which is when you have a particularly watery shit somewhat similar to what comes out the other end. The only difference between that and this is, in this you add a nice long bit of flatulence that whistles out along side of it.

13.Midnight Prowler: Any shit that wakes you up and forces you out of bed. Every GI knows that in a combat zone, shitting is a process that will take you far from your bed. So even if a shit wakes you up, you have to decide whether you have to go and get it taken care of. If it can wait till the morning it will. There is no reason to get out of bed for a non-emergency.

14.The Tease: This is a real pain in the ass...literally. This is when you feel all the tell tale signs that it is time to visit the shitters. You get there, you may even drop trou and sit down. And you get nothing! Basically, you colon is teasing you. “I got to shit!” then you get there, “Oh wait, I was only kidding.”

15.A.M.M.R.E.: A military acronym for the After Mission Meal Ready To Eat Shit. Anyone who has ever eaten an MRE or even better subsisted on them for any length of time exceeding 1 day knows this utter joy. It is a commonly held belief amongst GI’s that MRE’s are laced with a constipation producing chemical. After having eaten these things for any length of time you become about as clogged up as a Polynesian whore after a long weekend. Which has led to another bit of slang, “Popping the cork”. In our case it has nothing to do with wine. But you will be whining when it happens. So you have to get back, and you know you have to shit because you have about 27 pounds of MRE shit waiting behind the blockade that has now taken over your booty. So its time to pop the cork. You sit down, and you push, and you push, and you push and finally the dam breaks and every MRE, along with a burger you had in 1985 comes spilling out your hind end.

16.The Frankenstein: This is a bi-product of the ambush. First you are ambushed, then the dump in question sets up residence half way out your butt so you are forced to clench your butt cheeks together so hard that you can no longer bend your knees when you walk because you need all those muscles to keep the beast at bay. So now you are relegated to walking from wherever you are to the shitters with your legs straight and unbending making you look like a camouflage Frankenstein.

17.Radio Watch Shit: You have radio watch. Maybe you are on the Quick Reaction Force for your FOB. You proceed to the shitters to do your thing. You are sitting there mid-poop and the radio screams to life. Something bad is happening, the Taliban is coming over the wall, there are mortars falling everywhere, the Sergeant Major just showed up. (All these things are equally horrible.) So you have to either force the rest of this out in about a nano-second or you have to stop, and return when you have available the time that this beast requires. Whatever you do your life will suck.

18.The Taliban Assisted Shit: Some GI’s may refer to this as a combat shit. Possibly you have been out on mission for several days and either you don’t want to shit out there or because of your MRE consumption you have been unable to do so. Either way there is quite a back up in the pipes. Then the Taliban decides to do something, whether it be shoot at you, drop a few mortars on your head, launch an RPG right at your face, or maybe you just drive over an IED. Promptly after which your bowels vacate and you are all better. Except for the rather unfortunate mess in your pants.

19.The god Hates You Shit: This is a shit where everything goes wrong for you. First, this is a bubble guts shit, but you didn’t feel it because you were asleep at the time. The trip to the shitters reveals that this beast is also a “Frankenstein” And the fact that you were asleep also makes it a midnight prowler, you get to the shitters and find out that it has now become a “blowback marathon” and finally you are confronted with the fact that there is no TP in the shitter and you forgot your baby wipes. Not to mention even if you did have them you wouldn’t know if you were clean anyway because you forgot your headlamp. Everything comes at you at once, everything goes totally wrong because god hates you!

20.The Glorious: This is where everything goes right. The polar opposite of #19. Not to mention it should alleviate some deep seated stomach problems that you had been having. The sense of relief cannot be described in words.

Yes, ladies and gents this is how bored I am here. So bored that I actually took the time to name and describe all the different sorts of shits I have taken while here in country. I just want all of you to remember that I did this during working hours, so all of you paid for this. So I hope you enjoyed it, it is the end result of your tax dollars at work. I hope the President will remember that the next war he decides to start!

Later,

I love you Mom...

So I Was Thinking...


Which we all know is a bad thing. But at least this time I was thinking about someone else and not so much about myself. I was thinking about the mom.

Why? Because I got to talk to her the other day and she was supposed to go to some seminar or class or some shit that was supposed to teach them how to deal with me when I come home all screwed up on the head.

But she didn’t go because she had a pretty bad cough. So we talked for a while. Unfortunately, she had recently caught up with all her reading in the blog. And she got to the posts about all the fun I have had recently with Mr. Taliban Man. Oh joy.

Well, given the fact that I lack the required equipment and disposition, I have never been nor will I ever be a mother. So I have never quite understood just how much moms worry. I never could feel what she feels when she reads that sort of shit. So unless there are some cosmic changes in biology and/or evolution in the next few years I’ll never completely understand the next sentence that came out of her mouth.

“I think I am going to wait until you get home to read anymore.”

Now to me this doesn’t make any sense. Mostly because I am male and by default a bit of a moron. My mother has always been the nosiest person I know. Which, regardless of how much strife it caused me as a younger man, was a good thing because her nosiness led to her finding out about many of the evil and/or ridiculously dangerous things I was doing and promptly stopping me. So I figured that this blog, given the fact that it would tell her everything that was going on with me over here would appeal to her, and her almost pathological need to know everything!

Then I started to think about how well the mom knows me. This is a woman that can formulate my sentences in her head before I do. This is a woman who can call my reaction to any given situation without so much as a second thought. This is a woman who knows exactly what to say to me regardless of how I have fucked up my life at the time. Mothers. Anyone who says that they aren’t all witches. I will tell, that they haven’t been paying attention.

Then I thought about my dog. My little pain in the ass Mutt/Chow Katie. Now by no means am I comparing my mom to the dog. That would end badly for me. I have had that dog forever, or what seems like forever. I got that dog when I was still married, which seems about a lifetime and a half ago. She has been with me through all the trials and tribulations of marriage, and divorce. She has ridden cross country with me. She used to fit in the palm of my hand. I used to help her up onto the couch when she was a puppy. She would stand on her hind legs, and put her front legs on the couch and try to pull herself up onto the couch. But she wasn’t strong enough, so I would put my foot under her ass and lift her up until she could walk onto the couch. She used to sleep with me every night. I taught her how to walk up and down stairs and not a whole lot else, just because she was born house broken and on top of that she is a willful little bitch and is not about to sit for anything less that a piece of bacon.

And I wondered to myself, if she were in danger and there was absolutely nothing that I could do about it, would I want to know or hear about it? Answer: Probably not.

So I guess I can understand why the mom wouldn’t want to hear about all this shit.

Which brings me to an apology, any mothers that read this, I’m sorry. Mrs. Ghost, sorry. I didn’t mean to worry you. Mom, please don’t kill me when I come home. Airman Mom, hopefully your son is in a plane and doesn’t have to put you through this kind of shit.

Anyone who has read this blog knows that there is a special place in my heart for mothers. Regardless of how witch-like I may think they are. There is something very special about a woman who carries you in her body for nine-months (or in my case, 8 months and a couple weeks.) And even after you cause her all that pain she still takes you home with her. Then she feeds you, clothes you, puts up with and cleans up all your shit (literally and figuratively). Only to rewarded with a lifetime of worry and heartbreaking goodbyes. At least that is the case for my mother. If there is one thing that I have done quite a bit of in my life, its leave. But don’t worry I always come home. Normally when I need money or am homeless.

So maybe I should try to make it not such a thankless job for her. Maybe I should have figured that out a long time ago. But hey, am a guy, moron by default, remember?

Thanks Ma, (she hates it when I call her that.) You’re the best, whether you read this now or after I get home. You’re the best at either time.

Alright, I’m done.

Later,

I love you Mom...

May 19, 2009

Are You Fucking Kidding Me? Does This War Actually Need Hall Monitors?...

What’s the word for aggravating large numbers of people with your writing? Someone find me that word! Because very soon, I am going to need that word!

Anyway, so here I sit, listening to the Reverend Horton Heat, and his classic, “Where In The Hell Did You Go With My Toothbrush.” My all time favorite break up song, that and I am contemplating watching Romeo & Juliet when I am done with this. I suppose that means I am in a somewhat tragic mood.

Why? Because I just talked to my platoon leader and he told us that starting tomorrow we have to work 4 hour shifts doing that L&O shit that I told you about in the last post. Here’s the best part of this though. This FOB is not slated to have MP’s, we just kind of showed up on our way someplace else. So there are no police cars, there are no radar guns, there are no sirens, no lights, none of that nifty cop bullshit. Which begs the question, what the hell are we going to do? We are going to drive around in 1151’s (the same humvees that everyone else drives around, like when we expect someone to try and blow us up, or launch an RPG up our ass, or pepper us with 7.62 rounds.), and I guess we are just going to yell out the window or the turret at them. “Hey pull over asshole!” Which will promptly be followed by a middle finger out the window of the offending vehicle to which we will respond, “Hey, I am a real MP you can’t do that to me!”

This is why I hate most cops. We already got a few guys that heard about this and got a hard on about it. Oh boy, I get to go out there and show everyone what a stud I am, and how they have to do what I tell them. You know, the kind of little Napoleon’s that got abused in high school so they figured they would become cops to get back at everyone who ever pissed in their Cheerios. Yeah, those guys. The MP Corps, probably just like the real world coppers has a few distinct groups.

First group, The Barney Fife’s, you know the type some hillbilly that joined the military and became a cop. He doesn’t know what he’s doing, nor does he want to get into fights or anything like that. These guys don’t particularly bother me, except when I needed them in a bar fight or something they were usually hiding behind their car doors. Other than that, they aren’t bad, just a bit naive.

Second group, the Robocops or Little Napoleons. Easily the most dangerous and the most annoying all at once. These are the guys that go into every situation like they run the world. These are the guys who would talk to a kid like a convict. These are the guys who can’t even dress themselves without a regulation. They can escalate any situation just by showing up. They especially are dangerous when the situation in question involves a subject of the same gender who is either larger, and/or better looking. They tend to take their insecurities out on people on the job. I hate these motherfuckers with a passion. These are your abused children. These are your 40 year old adolescents who still have to prove what a man they are.

Third group, Those of us who don’t think much of the whole power thing. Those of us who feel kind of hypocritical arresting or even accosting someone for doing the same shit that we do everyday. In my case, for the most part I was like this. The bar fights were fun for me, just because I do enjoy a good dust up.

Now, most guys fall into the last group. However, we do have a few who fall into the first two and these are the ones that are going to get us into some shit over these next few days or weeks however long they have us do this shit.

Personally, I am not going to do a damn thing. If you honestly think I am going to give a soldier in Afghanistan a speeding ticket you got another thing coming. However, I will take every opportunity I get to fuck with the war-profiteering contractors. Yep, that’ll be fun.

The only problem is that the Barney Fife’s won’t be ready for this shit, and I can almost guarantee that the Robocops will cause some shit. Anyone agree?

But the question has still got to be answered. Does a war actually need hall monitors? Soldiers have enough shit to worry about without having to deal with some dickbag MP with a Napoleon complex breaking his balls because he isn’t wearing his uniform correctly.

I don’t know who thought of this shit or who volunteered us for it, but I’ve got a pretty good idea. And you aren’t going to believe what we are doing. However long we are here, we are going to be in charge of “Safety, and enforcing military standards.” What in the hell does that mean? We are going to be the pricks catching people shitting where they aren’t supposed to. We are going to be the ones yelling at them for not wearing those damn reflective belts I told you about in the last post. We are going to stop them when they drive too fast. We are going to fill out our little reports when someone loses and iPod and says that somebody stole it. We are going to bust all the guys who are in the female barracks after 2000. Which really makes me laugh, if the females didn’t want them there they would kick them out! Who am I to stop someone else from grabbing a piece of ass in this hell hole? Hey, I admit it, I’m a little jealous that he’s getting a piece and I’m not! I have just slipped from the level of combat MP. A respectable position in life if I do say so myself. To that of a fucking hall monitor! Sometimes I truly hate the Army.

Its not so much the fact that this work has to be done that bothers me. Its the fact that I have to do it. I don’t want to sit around here and do this shit. I want to get out there and have some fun. I want to move again. I want to do something that actually has some effect, however small, on this war. What do I get? I get a military that doesn’t know what to do with us for a couple of weeks so they make this shit up! That, and we were told that eventually we are still moving on to somewhere else to do another mission. An actual combat mission. So basically, we are going to do this shit for a couple weeks and then we are going to stop. Doesn’t that seem a little counterproductive? We’ll enforce the standards and safety for a little while, we’ll monitor your halls for a couple weeks, then you all can go back to whatever you were doing before. Have a good day!

So moving on to something funny. There are very few things that I find as humorous as the stall walls in military shitters. You know, the quirky little sayings, the random jokes, and the homosexual jokes written in broken english. Is anyone surprised that the gay jokes are written by semi-illiterate idiots? If they had any brains at all they would’ve found out what a wonderful thing gay guys are for straight guys. But I digress. Now normally, none of these stick in my mind. Its just a good time killer to have while I am dropping a deuce. Today, however I found a couple of gems. And here for your reading pleasure they are...if I feel an explanation is needed, I provided one. I also provided my own review of each.

#1 Here I sit.
Cheeks a flexin.
Trying to birth.
Another Texan.

Review: Clear, concise, and to the point. Rhyme scheme works well. Bonus: Insulting a state that I truly despise!

#2 Here I sit.
On The Crapper.
Trying to birth.
Another Sapper.

Explanation: A “Sapper” is a military engineer with an additional skill identifier. A Sapper is a guy who goes out and blows up enemy assets. He “saps” enemy strength and viability with explosives.

Review: Again, clear, concise and to the point. Rhyme scheme works well. (Probably the same author, and probably a Ranger.) Bonus: Insults guys from a military job that is here with me, so I can use this little poem to piss them off!

Now the part that really sucks is that now, with this new mission we have, I would have to write this guy up for writing on the bathroom walls, as opposed to what I would really like to do. Which is congratulate him for his cleverness, and offer a small measure of praise for filling my day with a little more humor. Now I have to fucking tattle on him!

Anyway, there isn’t a whole lot else going on. This mission begins at 0700 hrs tomorrow morning. Stay tuned for how this debacle pans out. This ought to be good, or at least funny.

Later,

I love you Mom...

May 17, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Hilary, she got it right, but she asked her boyfriend who is a SGT over here. So we are going to have another one. And this time no help...from anyone. Stay tuned.

Later,

I love you Mom...

May 15, 2009

Killing Time...

[Unfortunately, this post was written for no real reason other than to kill time. FOB Sharana is easily the most boring place I have ever been. So you have been warned. This is just me thinking and fighting the boredom.]

I didn’t know you could pause a war. But it sure feels like Sharana is where you go when you need to get a taste of home with your dust. I guess Bagram is still worse, but this place is pretty bad, or pretty good depending on how you look at it.

From my point of view this place is shit, because it gives me exactly dick to write about. The best story that I’ve gotten here is that the other night the FOB got mortared and the sirens and the warning bells and whistles all went off and not one of the people in my platoon even got out of bed!

You see, that story sucks! I probably could spice it up a bit if I wanted to but why? There are plenty of fobbits here to spice up the story for me. I was sitting at the computer the other day as one of these oxygen thieves was regaling his mother with a story of how the mortars were coming into the FOB and he was running like hell to get to the bunker and how he pulled one of his buddies into the bunker before any thing bad happened to him.

Well, let me translate the “fobbit talk” for you.

Fobbit: The mortars were coming into the FOB.

English: There were mortars being launched in our general direction, maybe one of two of them made it into the FOB but no where near anyone but the guys who were guarding the perimeter at the time. (I couldn’t even hear the explosions, just the alarms. Of course I was still half asleep.)

Fobbit: Running like hell to get to the bunker.
English: (This is probably the only truthful part) He ran like hell to get to the bunker.

Fobbit: Pulled one of his buddies into the bunker before anything bad happened to him.
English: (This is a fobbit language staple, using non specific sentences and words so that the listener is led to believe that the speaker did something heroic.) Yelled to his buddy that he was going the wrong way, and that the bunker they were assigned was this way! Then grabbed his hand because it was dark and fobbits don’t remember flash lights when they are rudely awakened by all these explosions.

This is one of the reasons that I hate fobbits. First of all, they get all the best stuff, because when they get supplies they keep all the good stuff for themselves, and send the rest of us the shit. Secondly, they are usually on this ridiculously large FOB’s that have everything. Wireless internet, green bean cafe’s, a PX, real gyms, cell phones, tailors, bazaars, and what not. Yes, there is a cell phone company here at Sharana. I couldn’t believe it either. Wouldn’t want to miss that all important text message would you? Is this actually a war? I could’ve sworn it was, in fact, some dickbag just tried to kill me about 10 minutes before I got here and now some guy is trying to sell me a cell phone, to go with my mocha choca latte! Are you fucking high?

Except for the haji’s and the occasional mortar round, this place looks like Arizona! So like an Xbox, I guess you can pause a war. Because thats what this place feels like. The war stopped, so that I could get a double chocolate smoothie.

Well, Okay that doesn’t bother me so much. I needed the break, now I’m bored. Let’s go find someone who wants to blow us up, or shoot at us, or at least give us dirty looks as we drive by. Lord, give me something.

So I was on the internet the other day and I found this guy, SGT. Albert J. Merrifield. I love this fucking guy. He apparently, is either a fobbit with a sense of humor, or a line soldier with a special place in his heart for all these shitbags. Here is some of his art work which we may or may not discuss later...

(Sorry I wrote this in the barracks and brought it over to the computer lab. I'll post the pictures as soon as there is a half way decent internet connection. So I am going to have to wait until 0300 and come back. Probably not going to happen.)

I don’t care who you are, those are some funny cartoons. He explained each of these degradations of the gene pool with such humor and grace that I had to share them with all of you. Just so you see what type of people that we have to deal with in a place like Sharana.

So what has this left me time for? Pretty much the worst thing in the world, which is time to think. Bad for me. Give me time to think and I usually come up with some sort of legally actionable trouble. I mean I actually had a buddy of mine, who’s dumb ass bought one of those cell phones, call his dad who is a math teacher and get him to tell us what that word problem is where you have a 2 gallon bucket and a 3 gallon bucket and a 5 gallon bucket and you have to get exactly 1 gallon into the 5 gallon bucket or some such shit. I don’t remember, I wrote it down and will solve it for the 5000th time when I am really bored. But I did get some reading done.

I read Chuck Palahniuk’s book, “Snuff”. Oh, yes, its always a good thing for a sexually deprived GI to read about a 600 man gang bang. I bought it at 1400, I finished it at 2200. Well, the book cost me a dollar an hour. I guess that’s not a bad price.

You see what I’m talking about? This is the sort of shit that happens when I get bored!

I did find something that made me chuckle though, I bought a Time magazine at the PX. The April 20, 2009 issue to be exact. On the cover is a soldier looking pretty rough, and the title, “How Not To Lose In Afghanistan” Now the first thing that I wondered about was where this guy was, the mountains definitely look familiar, but the other thing that got me was his uniform. It looked like any soldier’s uniform does after a day or two outside the wire tangling with Mr. Taliban Man. So I got no problems with the way this dude looks. However, anyone who knows the military understands the fetish some military people have with looking the right way. I swear that some of these guys had to have been potty trained at gun point. I also wonder if they could dress themselves without a regulation to tell them how to do it. These people have a shit fit anytime that a soldier is out of uniform in any way. They damn near lose their minds when your shirt is untucked. They have an aneurism when your pants are un-bloused. Senior NCO’s for the most part take up these positions, but there are a few officers that have the same disorder. I could just imagine what the Sergeant Major of the Army had to say when he saw the picture of this kid on Time magazine. I tell you that so that I can tell you this.

We have a newsletter that they send to our families or whoever the hell else is on our mailing list. They even sent one to me, which made me laugh, ya know given the fact that I was there and all. Moving on, well they take pictures for this newsletter. Pictures of us on our missions. Pictures of us around the FOB. Pictures of us doing whatever. With our chain of command, God help you if you are not in your proper uniform. If you’re not, they’ll take your picture out of the newsletter. Or the guy who does the newsletter will photoshop the picture so that you look right! I am not making this up! If you are outside the wire doing a mission, regardless of what the mission is, or how much shit you saw, or how long you have been out there...if you are not wearing your uniform and personal protective equipment (PPE) properly then they won’t let your picture go in either the company or the battalion newsletters. They sent a few pictures up to the battalion for some reason and the guys in the pictures were not wearing their kneepads, or their eye protection. First of all, the kneepads they give us were made for a hard working whore, not for soldiers who have to run around all day. Secondly, the eye wear, is uncomfortable to say the least. Its like everything else in the Army, it was made for a midget with a raisinette for a head. So yeah, people take that shit off.

Well someone up at battalion had a baby! Why aren’t your guys wearing their PPE? What’s the matter with you guys?

Right in the middle of all this shit, this is what the Army finds to worry about! Helmet, I get that. Bulletproof vest, I definitely get that. Uniform, I get that. Boots, I get that. All the rest of the shit...to hell with it!

Second thing about that magazine that made me laugh. It was a two page article or something like that. It was supposedly outlining what we needed to do to avoid losing this fight here in Afghanistan. It was written by some guy or gal, I don’t remember, who most likely makes a whole lot more money than I do. Yet, they said absolutely nothing that any lowly private who has spent more than 8 minutes outside the wire could tell you about this place. It just never ceases to amaze me where Americans get their information from. If you want to know about the economy, ask an economist. You want to know about Mexico, ask a Mexican (a real one). You want to know about being a shithead, ask a politician. You want to know about war, ask a soldier. You want to know about Afghanistan, ask someone who is either here or who has been here. Pretty simple if you ask me, but apparently I am operating in some parallel universe here.

So anyway, there is a little rumor floating around here that we are going to have to do some L&O (law and order) operations while we are here in Sharana. Holy shit, are you kidding me? There is no way in hell I am going to pull somebody over and give them a ticket here, or any where else in this country for that matter. But that would most certainly be, “What sucks the most.” So I guess that is probably what we are going to do. At least this will give me the chance to avenge that motherf$%#er who stopped me for shitting in the wrong place up in Bagram. I’ll probably nail somebody for...sorry I can’t think of anything sufficiently stupid to compare with the shitter incident.

Strange site # 1039: Observed in Sharana. One thing that the military stresses in a combat zone is noise and light discipline. Basically what that is, is not giving away your position by either being noisy or turning on the lights. Now on the FOB, there isn’t much point to either of those. The Taliban knows exactly where the fucking thing is. They saw it during the day. But they still do this, for the most part all the lights are out at night. I don’t know, maybe they think mortar rounds are like moths, attracted to light. Anyway, they have this other thing that I told you about earlier. Uniformity, especially on the FOB. So part of the uniform are these damn reflective belts, so that vehicles can see you as they move past. Now down at Waza Khwa we didn’t ever turn the vehicles lights on. Up here, is another story (fucking fobbits), so we have to wear these belts that basically turn us from camouflaged soldiers, into walking glow sticks. I don’t know, maybe on these big FOB’s this makes sense, but I am used to little ones that have Taliban around so this makes no sense to me. Why don’t we find something that our soldiers can wear that will make it easier for the enemy to see them? That’ll be a good idea!

Luckily, some other soldiers have a sense of humor about this and have taken to writing on these big yellow belts that reflect every light within 10 kilometers. They have begun to scrawl, “Can You See Me Now!” on the belts. If you ask me that is a properly rendered, “FUCK YOU” from the lower enlisted to whatever officer thought of this shit.

Oh, hey that reminds me of a story. I think you’ll like it.

One of my cousins, who will remain nameless, had this girlfriend. A girlfriend who had a monstrously huge ass. So one day I was making fun of the copious amounts of derriere meat that this woman had. I made the comment that her ass was so huge that during the last Verizon commercial the Verizon guy was walking on her ass saying, “Can You Hear Me Now...Good.”

Come on, that’s some good shit!

Anyway, I am bored again. I am going to watch Fight Club.

Later,

I love you Mom...

P.S. This is how bored I am, anyone that can decipher this sentence will get an Afghani Flag personally signed by yours truly!

ACTUAL SENTENCE SPOKEN BY MY PLATOON SERGEANT!

“Take the RG-31, the ASV, and five 1151’s down the MSR north and conduct a TCP. Try to take some EPW’s for the CO from A Co. Make sure you follow all of our TTP’s and watch your six. Watch out for IED’s, IDF, and SAF. Engage AAF only after establishing PID. SP is at 1300, RTB is at 1900. Conduct an SI check as soon as you get back and report to the PL for your debrief.”

May 11, 2009

65 Miles, 6 Days...Ladies and Gentlemen This Is How Fast Your Military Moves...

Alright, so here is how this little move of ours went. Never in my life have I been a part of something that had so many different things go wrong. Never in my life have I ever been a part of something that moved so slow. Never in my life have I ever been a part of something that made me laugh so damn hard. So bearing all that in mind let’s begin our tale.

We started the move at 1500 hrs. On the 2nd of May. (Only a full three months after we were originally scheduled to move)

First thing I did was set the over/under on IED’s. You know we needed to entertain ourselves so a few friendly wagers is a great way to pass the time. Especially, when the aforementioned wagers are on something that could potentially end the life of one of the bettors. I mean all things considered it could work out for you. If the guy you bet, blows up then you don’t have to pay off! Okay, maybe that was a tad morbid but please forgive me, I have been here a while.

I set the over/under at 9. I figured we had a pretty long way to go so didn’t want to set it low. But didn’t want to go too high either, didn’t want to scare any of the potential players off. All in all, I ended up making about a hundred bucks. I took the under.

But we’ll get to the IED’s later, right now I have to stick to my notes. Given the fact that I didn’t have access to my computer I had to keep notes on my little pad so that I wouldn’t forget all the hilarity that surrounds any military operation.

First thing that happened on this little jaunt was none other than a broken truck. The trucks that we had thoroughly maintained for the past week or so in preparation for this move. The trucks that had been gone through with a fine toothed comb by the mechanics. The trucks that had been deemed worthy of driving 65 miles through the Afghani countryside, which is like 1000 miles anywhere else.

Now was it a little break, or something simple that could be fixed in a minute or two. HELL NO! We get a bent tire rod or some such shit. Something that needs an entirely new part. Oh really, well let me just run down to the AutoZone and we’ll be on our way in a jiffy. Well shit, I must’ve forgotten that we are in the middle of Taliban Land and there is nothing but dirt and buried bombs. Well we don’t need any of that stuff. So where are we going to get this part from? Okay, the guys who are escorting us up there will bring it to us.

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you about that one. Remember that RCP I told you about? Well remember that it stands for Route Clearing Package. Well the military in its infinite wisdom decided that it would be a good idea for us to go out ahead of the RCP and overwatch the route for them. Am I the only one who thinks that if you get there ahead of the RCP, that you are defeating the entire purpose of having an RCP in the first damn place. Sure guys, lets take a drive out into IED heaven before the guys with all the really big trucks and fancy equipment for finding IED’s. Brilliant!

So how are we going to deal with this whole broken truck thing? Sit there. And wait. Until they get there and then we’ll change it out on the fly. Which basically means a whole bunch of really pissed off mechanics who have to deal with fixing this truck and changing out this part while in the middle of the Afghani desert. Good times all around.

So we sat and we sat and we sat and we sat. For like 36 hours waiting for these d-bags to show up. We saw exactly...shit. We did exactly nothing except sit our asses on top of a mountain. A mountain that overlooked the route that they were supposed to take.

Now normally, this wouldn’t be so bad. Just another night sitting out in the country waiting for something to happen and finding new and interesting ways of killing time. And of course nothing did happen. Apparently, the Taliban don’t like to fight in inclement weather. What inclement weather are you talking about Mud Puppy? Well, let me tell you. The wind was blowing. Tornado style. It blew and blew and blew me right off the hood of the truck. What? How the hell do you get blown off the hood of the truck?

Well, that’s where I sleep. If you don’t remember I am a pretty big boy. I am about 6’2” and I weigh in about 250 pounds. And these trucks that we have are built with a skinny midget in mind. I swear if you are over 5’5” and weigh over 150 pounds you are basically fucked. So I say, “Screw this” and I grab my sleeping bag, wrap myself up in it, put my bulletproof vest back on over the sleeping bag, and stretch out on the hood of the truck for a wonderful night of pleasant dreams of flushing toilets, pavement, hot food, luke-warm showers, and anywhere with no dust. (Yep, that is all I need for a happy life anymore.)

So there I was, no shit, on top of the hood right in the middle of an Afghani tornado, sleeping my ass off. And about 0300 hrs. I find myself rudely awakened by the sudden contact of my ass with the ground as I was violently thrown off the hood of the truck by a rather powerful gust of wind. It isn’t bad enough that the army won’t ever let me sleep, now mother nature has decided to join the conspiracy! Apparently, the gust had managed to slip its way under my sleeping bag liner, filling my bag with air and creating a somewhat kite-like effect, and sending me sailing right off the hood of the truck and onto my ass. Luckily for me, there were a whole bunch of sharp rocks on the ground to break my fall. Thank God for small miracles.

So we are sitting there and a little bit later a pair of trucks come by. Afghani trucks, just your normal run of the mill jingle trucks. (We call them jingle trucks because the Afghani’s decorate their vehicles with little steel chains with ornaments on the ends of them. They put them all over, on the bumpers, along the running boards, everywhere. And they jingle when they drive, hence the term jingle truck. Anyway, we let them pass.

They got about 800 meters past us and...BOOM!!! Ha, fuck you, you Taliban pricks, you blew up one of your own countrymen. Couldn’t even get us. Well once again, one less IED that I might drive over. We went back to try and help them but they didn’t want anything to do with us or our assistance. If you didn’t know, accepting help from Americans is a death worthy offense as far as the Taliban are concerned.

So we couldn’t really do anything for them. Who knows whether we could’ve done anything for them either way. But regardless of that, its still one less IED we could drive over.

But then there was something weird that happened. It happened about midnight that night, about 3 hours before I was sent hurtling off the hood of the truck by the rather rude wind gusts that mother nature decided to hit us with. Now what I consider to be the strangest thing about this whole experience is not the combat, its not the IED’s, its not the people, its not the culture, its not anything about this whole war thing. Its the things that I have seen and the beauty that I have seen here. Between the sunsets, the sunrises, the moon, the sky smiling at me, the mountains, and the countryside (when there is no one shooting at us, and the road isn’t exploding) I have seen some of the most beautiful scenes of nature that I have ever beheld in my life.

So here is what I saw on this particular night. I was lying on the hood, staring up at the sky. Now the gun that is on top of the truck hangs over the hood, so I was looking up at the moon and the stars with the gun in foreground. I wish I could more accurately explain what I was seeing at the time. I don’t really give a shit what anyone thinks or says about this but I seem to find beauty and meaning in the goofiest of places. But looking up at this gun, with the moon and the stars and the clear, unpolluted Afghani sky in the background was beautiful to me, not to mention ironic. Here is this weapon of death and destruction (or a tool of freedom, depends on how you look at it) and behind it is all the beauty a night sky can muster. The worst of man, followed by the best of nature. Kind of ironic, don’t you think? Either way, that is a memory that will stick in my head for, well probably forever.

Moving on, so only one other thing of note happened that night. We have this little satellite computer thing in our truck. Its a communication tool. We get messages on this thing all the time, its like our own little combat internet. So sometime in the middle of the night, when everyone was sleeping no less, we got a message. Contained in this message were the details of a planned Taliban attack that was supposed to come sometime during the night. Where the powers that be got this intel, I’ll never know. Even the lowest private here knows that the Taliban never attack at night. But whatever, I just found it a little funny that we would sleep right through that.

Anyway, the next day, we sat there and kept right on waiting for the RCP to show up. Why would they be on time, or at least only a little bit late? Nope they decide that they are going to be like 12 or 16 hours late. Well, there was another company of guys out there with us. Apparently, whatever this RCP was moving was important. Now I already know that there is no way they would’ve done this for us, so there had to be something valuable in that convoy. I still have no idea what it was. Regardless there was a company of infantry out there with us. Apache Company. They have a fetish with Indian names in the 25th Infantry Division. They were positioned about 2 clicks west of us on the other side of the route that the RCP was supposed to take.

So about mid morning we hear the first boom. It was faint so nobody even stirred, just a few heads turned looking for the source of the kaboom. Then we heard them on the radio, “Holy shit, we are taking mortar fire, and small arms from the hilltops.” We watched as the Taliban dropped their little packages of exploding death from the sky closer and closer to the Apaches. There was no way we could negotiate the distance between them and us in time, the most heavily IED laden route in country was between us. We could only watch.

Now either these guys all have brass balls, or they are really stupid. There is only one way to defend against mortars. RUN AWAY. That’s it, its all you can do. When bombs start falling on your head from some unseen location, the only thing you can do is run away. At least if you are running you can either get out of their range, or you can at least be a much harder target to hit.

What did these guys do? They sat right where they were at and looked up into the hills trying to figure out where the fire was coming from. So I am going to have to go with stupid. These guys are fucking stupid. Just like every other engagement we had been in, this one ended just as soon as it started. I think the Taliban attack on union hours.

Now after all this was over, they went searching for where this was coming from. Shortly thereafter they decided to call in a few fire missions. I, for the life of me, cannot figure out what the hell they were shooting at when we all knew that the enemy was long gone by now. But they proceeded with their little fire missions anyway. Now in order to get a fire mission approved you have to call the commander, so they did. Bear in mind this is the same motherfucker that only a few days prior made us ask him like three times before he would call in a medevac for that guy that got his nuts shot off. But he approved a fire mission in about 10 seconds and one call. I found that a little humorous that a medevac would take us begging and pleading, but a fire mission would get approved with just one call. Fucking asshole! Yes, Apache 06, 25th Infantry division is a fucking asshole.

Now for whatever reason, they decided that it was time to zero in their mortars. Kind of a cart before the horse type thing. Fire the weapon, then zero it. Brilliant. Last time I checked these weapons didn’t work real well when they aren’t zeroed, but what do I know, I’m just a lowly peon. So fuck it. Funny part of this was, that my boss at the time needed to take a shit. So he walked off about 100 meters so that no one had to worry about stepping into his little gift to the world, and did his thing. Shortly after his leaving for this operation, the mortars started flying again. Impacting about 1000 meters from us. Impacting with a rather large, resounding BOOM.

Now I can only imagine what it would look like to see a guy trying to drop a deuce right on top of a mountain. So he’s probably doing the squatting thing, trying to squeeze this thing out, when off to his right there is a rather large explosion. One which he was unaware was coming, and may have even thought to be a Taliban attack.

All we heard was him screaming, “For fuck’s sake, I’m trying to shit!” Another way to know you are at war. Your potty breaks are interrupted by explosions.

So the RCP finally shows up. They even got out and fixed that busted vehicle for us. Which was nice because we had figured that they were just going to pull up and wing the part out the window and fly right on by while we tried to fix this flipping thing. We all consolidated into one convoy and we move out.

Finally, at long last, we are moving. Going somewhere else. Which is good for me. Anyone that knows me well, knows that after a while I have a tendency to get wanderlust. So moving makes me happy.

First thing that happens on our way up there is a rather funny sentence was said over the radio waves to the entire convoy. A guy comes on the radio and says the following, “1-2 this is 1-1 charlie, do you have my weapon?” Are you fucking serious? We are in Afghanistan, we are at war, there are Taliban in them there hills, and you don’t know where your fucking weapon is! Am I the only one who thinks this guy should be sterilized?

Moving on, what happened next? Oh yeah, BOOM!!! What else is new? We hit an IED. Imagine that. The funny part of the whole thing is this. We were watching them search this wadi for IED’s. They went through it with all their little machines, they dug down into the ground with their trucks, they did everything that they could to search this wadi for bombs. Once they decided that it must be clear of IED’s they sent the first truck in to cross over and what happens? They hit a damn IED. Why wouldn’t they?

What happened next made me laugh even harder. They come over the radio, “Alright, we hit and IED, 2-1 you need to look for secondary IED’s” About 3 seconds after the guy got that sentence out, BOOM!!! About 2 seconds after that the guy comes back on the radio and says, “Good job finding the secondary 2-1.” After that I had to pick myself up off the ground from rolling around laughing.

So now we have moved about 32 clicks, which is about 10 miles, and we have been gone for a few days already. Now we have two RCP trucks that are shredded, and another one about to go down. Well, it wasn’t a military truck, but the RCP brings a crane with it when it goes out. It uses this crane to help pull out trucks that get badly stuck, and it also uses it to right overturned trucks. Which happens quite a bit.

So one of these trucks hits a ditch, and flips over. They bring the crane up, the crane lifts the overturned truck back up. Then the crane blows a tire. Where’s the spare? We didn’t bring one. Really, why would you bring a spare for the crane? So what do we do? Well we have to wait for another RCP to bring us a spare tire. Really, how long is that going to take? I don’t know, a few days. So we have to sit here for a few days just to change a tire? Yep!

Shit. So we wait a couple of days and they bring the tire. I wish there was more that I could write about that but it literally was us just sitting there, staring at each other, doing absolutely nothing while we waited for this tire to show up.

They bring the tire, we change the tire, and we get moving again. We move all the way to a FOB that is about 50 clicks north of where we started. Now its 4 days and we have gone all of 50 clicks. 31.25 miles in 4 fucking days. I think that has to set some kind of new world record for slow. We could’ve walked there faster, literally.

Now we are going to stay the night at this FOB. Not bad digs. Gave us a tent, gave us something to eat, let us wash our asses for the first time in 4 days. So all in all, I liked the place. Then it hit. The biggest dust storm I ever saw. And I have seen a few.

The sky was black, the wind was howling, the tents were shaking like a whore in church. You saw it coming. A big, dark ball of dust swirling in the distance getting ever closer. It looked like something out of one of them Mummy movies. I couldn’t believe it. People were running for cover.

What was I doing? Shit, I was putting on my face mask and my goggles so I could get out there and stand right in the middle of this thing and watch the show. If there is one thing that I love its when mother nature flexes her muscles and shows us just what a bitch she can be!

The sky was black for about 30 minutes, it blew down a few tents, it tore the sheet metal off the roofs, it sent grains of sand flying into just about everything. As I was standing out there watching this spectacle I am pretty sure it sanded off the top 3 layers of my skin. Needless to say, it was fun.

We got up the next morning at the ass crack of dawn, and got moving again. We got about another 54 clicks to go till we get where we are going. Fun for us, what’s going to explode today? Surprisingly, it went okay...for awhile.

Then our next pile of suck set itself right down on our heads and started to wiggle. This one was pretty straightforward. We were driving through a village about 20 clicks from our final destination. I was the third truck from the front. The first truck made it past the village, the second truck moved up to the edge of the village and then it started.

Ratatatatatatatatatatatatatatatat...green and red tracer rounds were flying over their heads like some kind of fucked up death Christmas thing. And all the while we are driving straight toward this shit. I ready my weapon because luckily I am facing the contact side.

I press my cheek to the buttstock of my ever present M240B machine gun and wait while we move up to the edge of this village. Knowing next to nothing about what is on the other side of this wall at the end of this village.

We come past the wall that marked the edge and I see what all the fuss is about. About 100 meters from the road, behind some little building out there are a few Taliban assholes firing at us with a couple of machine guns and an RPG launcher or two. Fun for us.

I open up and start sending round after round in their general direction. It sucked because it was just after dusk. Sun was pretty much down so I couldn’t actually see them. All I could see was the muzzle flashes and the poof of smoke and light that would come every time they launched one of those damn RPG’s at us. So all I could really do was shoot at the muzzle flashes. Which is exactly what I did.

Each time one of them would pop their head up to fire a volley at us, I would zero in on the flash and light it up with as much lead as this damn weapon could spit. Then his head would go down, and another one would pop up, and the process would repeat itself.

Then I heard the “woosh” of an RPG as it sailed about 10 meters to my rear and impacted and exploded about 20 meters past our trucks. Whoever invented those damn things needs to get punched square in the taint! Well, thank the good, good Lord that the Taliban can’t shoot for shit. One of those RPG’s would probably send me home to Mom in several more pieces than I came here in. Then another “woosh” ran right in front of the truck in front of us, and this one exploded about 10 meters in front of us.

All this was happening, and we were driving along the whole time. This is the thing that truly pisses me off about these convoys. The military has orders of precedence for just about everything. In our situation, the cargo that we were escorting was more important than closing with, and killing these motherfuckers. So instead of stopping, laying down suppressive fire, and sending some guys out there to end these pricks. We just kept right on driving. Oh, does this war piss me off sometimes. Whatever, there isn’t anything I can do about that. But about 5 minutes after the fire started, it stopped and that eerie quiet took over the landscape again. Like I said before, combat and premature ejaculation have a lot in common. Especially when you are fighting these Taliban pussies!

Uneventful is the only way to describe the rest of this ride. We drove along, we got to where we were going, and we went to sleep for the night. Okay, maybe boring would be another way to describe the rest of this shit. But nobody got hurt, and now we are here waiting to see what is next. Where are we going? What is next in this big blur of suck?

Well, that’s where I’m at now. Hopefully, something worth writing about will happen soon, but I don’t see much coming. Just a whole lot of meaningless busywork, then we’ll find out where we’re going and move there. So stay tuned...this ought to be good, I hope...

Anyway,

Later,

I love you Mom...

Just a little joke to finish this whole thing off. I know some of you heard it already but it bears repeating.

So a general, a major and a lieutenant are standing around discussing what percentage work, and what percentage play the act of sex is.

The general figures that sex is 80% work, and 20% fun.

The major figures that sex is 50% work, and 50% fun.

The lieutenant figures that sex is 20% work, and 80% fun.

A young private strolls by and salutes the three officers at which point the general says to him, “Come here private, we have a disagreement that we would like you to settle. We are trying to figure out what percentage work and what percentage play the act of sex is. The major believes it is 50-50, the lieutenant believes 20-80, and I believe it is 80-20. What do you think?”

The private smiled and said, “Well sir, its actually quite simple, it must be all play because if there were any work at all involved you would have the enlisted men doing it for you!” With that the private walked away with a big ole’ grin on his face.

May 7, 2009

Be Advised...

I am on the road now. The move finally started. We left like 4 days ago and have gone exactly 50 clicks. Which is around 32 miles. Holy Shit that's slow. The over/under on IED's is 9 and we are at 3 so far. Everyone's fine. So I probably won't be writing for at least another week. Time to go sight seeing through the Afghani countryside.

Suck for me!

Later,

I love you Mom...

May 2, 2009

Had To Think Long And Hard About This One...

Which is probably why this one took me forever and a day to write. I have been thinking about this little fight we got into and trying to figure out what I should say about it. In some ways its a story that I didn’t ever want to tell, but I have to. For several reasons. One, what fun is a war without the battles. Secondly, my complete and utter inability to take even the most life threatening of experiences seriously. Third, my ability to make fun of the aforementioned situations. Forth, I want people to see what combat here is like. At least the general idea. Its not like any of the shit you see in the movies. It lasts all of 5 minutes and then its over...

So let’s begin.

Here is how the last 56 or so hours of my life has gone. We are supposed to leave Waza Khwa in southeastern Afghanistan sometime in the next 72 hours. We are headed to Khost and Paktya provinces which are in central Afghanistan, on the eastern edge of the country. At least that is what they have told us so far. Now in order for us to leave this place we have to wait for this thing called the RCP. RCP means, Route Clearing Package. Basically, a whole shit ton of really large trucks with a lot of fancy bells and whistles geared at finding IED’s, or if they can’t find them they are big enough to hit them without anyone dying. Which is always a good thing. Because we all know that government equipment ALWAYS does exactly what it is supposed to do! (Sarcasm intended)

So they were coming down to Waza Khwa on the 23rd, I am writing this at 2300 hrs on the 25th. I left the FOB at 0600 on the 23rd. Needless to say, I was out there for a while.

We were supposed to overwatch a route that the RCP was taking. You know, make sure that the Taliban don’t litter the damn thing with IED’s, and make sure that they can’t set up those fucking mortar tubes that we all love so much, and keep them from setting up in nice little nooks in the mountains where they can rain a few hundred bullets down on our heads. You know, the usual.

So we are sitting around this route waiting for the RCP to come down. Now the only way I can really explain this is to give you a few numbers. The military uses meters to measure distance, so 1000 meters is one “click”. The military also numbers these clicks, in both directions, east and west, and north and south. The RCP was north of us, we were at click number 80 and the RCP was at 96. The RCP is supposed to move at about 5 clicks per hour. Not real fast, but given the loads that they haul its understandable. Even us, given our humvees and lack of anything else to pull, we can only move at about 15 to 20 clicks per hour. And here that is hauling ass. Its funny because when I get home and we get on the road and someone starts driving like 30 miles per hour I am going to shit myself and start yelling, “slow down, what the hell is wrong with you.” But whatever. Our FOB is at 62. So we hauled our asses up to 80 and found some hilltops and started waiting. Now its like 0800 in the morning.

And we waited and waited and waited. Then we finally got word that the RCP was moving. I don’t remember what time it was because its all basically just one big blur of suck. Then it came over the radio that the RCP had hit an IED. Always a good time. Especially when someone other than me hits an IED. And yes I do know that Karma is going to get back at me for saying shit like that.

Not usually a huge cause for concern though. The RCP rolls out with enough trucks and assets to recover themselves. I mean they can put together a vehicle from scratch and get rolling again. Right out in the middle of all this shit. So we just figured that we would be waiting for a while. No big deal. We have done this shit before. I mean the only constant in the military is the suck of it all. So bring it on.

Then we find out that they are moving again. Literally, about 5 minutes after they told us they were moving again, they hit another IED. Alright, so basically they got moving, moved about 10 feet and hit another one. Holy shit! Isn’t the RCP supposed to have all these neat toys that are designed to detect IED’s and keep them from hitting them?

In any case, they dealt with that IED, and they got moving again...and hit another IED. Now I can be cavalier about this whole situation because no one got hurt, and every IED they hit is one less for me to drive over! So everything is working out famously for me so far. Now the funny part of the last one is that apparently the RCP got a new toy. I don’t know what the hell the thing is, but it is supposed to be the new hotness in country for IED detection. It is like some underground radar thingy. It is supposed to be able to detect any IED that the Taliban can throw at us (or bury underneath us). Now some big wig officer somewhere ordered them to use this thing. I mean it can find anything. Why wouldn’t you use it?

So what happens the first fucking time they use this thing? (which probably cost about $10,000,000) It rolls right over an IED, doesn’t detect it, and the damn thing blows it all to hell. Really? Ladies and gentlemen, this is your military. Give us something really expensive and we blow it up!

So now the RCP is shredded, they have more trucks broken, or blown up than they can put back together again. So we sit there and wait, to see if they can figure out a way to get up and moving again. I mean there is nothing we can do for them. We have about 10 trucks, none of which is anywhere near able to pull these big ass trucks they have. Not to mention our mission was to secure this section of the route so it wouldn’t make much sense to go up there and help them and let the Taliban set all their little exploding toys down here, now would it? So we sit, and wait. For about 26 hours. Then we find out that two other RCP’s are coming from different parts of the country to help these dickbags out.

Why do they need so much help? Because they are the new guys and they don’t know what the hell they are doing! Really? Why wouldn’t they send the new guys down the worst route in the entire country? I’m not kidding, these guys had probably been in country no more than 2 months and this was like their second time out. You would think that they could start them off with the baby routes and work them up to ours, but no we have to throw their asses right in the fire from the jump. It sucks but its true. The route that leads to our FOB is the most heavily IED laden route in the whole damn country. Throw into the mix the fact that the Taliban pricks control most of the countryside between here and where the RCP’s come from and you have a recipe for a lot of fun for me!

So now we have to wait for these other RCP’s to get to the one that has been shredded. Except they are coming from Bum Fuck Egypt and this is going to take a while. I got intimately acquainted with that hilltop. I dropped my first deuce outside the FOB. Which I have to say sucks. I mean our missions have always been either 8-16 hours or a two day mission at the longest. Now we were out there so long that nature called and I had to drop a bomb right on top of an Afghani mountain. I hope one of the Taliban shepherds comes by and steps in it!

Now the powers that be are trying to figure out what to do. Anyone who has ever been in, or has any knowledge of the military at all, knows that when officers get together to make a decision...the results are really something to see. (Sarcasm intended)

Finally, at long last, they all get there. There are now three RCP’s all in one place. I could only imagine what this looked like. Probably a combat zone truck stop sort of thing. I mean the RCP convoy stretches for miles, literally. Now there are three of them there!

Anyway, we went through like 6 different plans. They are going to pass all the trucks off to one of the other RCP’s and they are coming down, then the other RCP’s are going to get the shredded one back on its feet and send it down, then two of them are coming together, then they are going to take trucks from all three and come down, and blah, blah, blah. Each time, we were supposed to set up and do something different and bring them on down. So we are running around doing all sorts of goofy shit, driving this way and that, setting up here, setting up there. If anyone was watching us, and undoubtedly the Taliban were, they must’ve thought that our element was being run by the Marx brothers. But I digress.

Either way, everything we did was for nothing because finally they figured out what they were going to do and we were supposed to clear an area so that the RCP could stay off its intended route. We came to find out later that in addition to the IED’s they had already hit, they had found twice as many. They found 6, hit 3, and bear in mind they had only moved 2 clicks by this time. 2000 meters! And they had found (one way or the other) 9 IED’s. Mr. Taliban Man is getting ambitious. Apparently, there must’ve been a sale on homemade explosives at the terrorist Wal-Mart.

So here’s what we have to do, the danger zone is considered to be from 90 down to 72. 18 clicks of danger area. 18 clicks where the RCP doesn’t want to drive on the route that they are supposed to. 18 clicks that we have to recon and clear for them ahead of time. By the way we only have 2 hours of daylight left to go at the time. And so this debacle begins.

My group got assigned the first 6 clicks. No problem, we got a platoon daddy that knows his shit so we get our 6 clicks done pretty quick. We found them a route, we secured it, and we took up positions on the hilltops to make sure nobody fucked with it while we were waiting for them.

The second 6 clicks were being secured by an element run by a lieutenant. Anyone remember what I think of officers? They are dumbasses! And this one is dumber than most. So bear that in mind, because later on you will understand. Suffice it to say he “told” us that his 6 clicks was secured and a route was found. So we went with that.

The last 6 clicks were being secured by another company, so we didn’t really give a shit what happened down there. So we waited until just after dark for the RCP, finally they showed up. However, they didn’t want to move at night. I can’t really blame them for that. Moving around this country during the day is a big enough pain in the ass. Moving at night, is damn near suicidal. But I want to get back to a hot meal, a cold shower, a good shit, and my cot! (I can’t believe that a cot is something that I would want to get back to) But I want to go back so fuck you guys, get in your trucks and lets get moving.

However, I have no where near the rank to say that, but some guy who did came over the radio and told the RCP to get their asses in gear and get to Waza Khwa by daybreak. Well thank God for small miracles. So we started moving, us in our 10 trucks, and the RCP which stretched as far as the eye could see. It looked like a line of traffic on the 290 at 7 o’clock on Monday morning!

So, believe it or not, our 6 clicks went without incident. We picked them up, drove them down, and passed them off the lieutenant’s group. For any of you who have read my blog for a while know that this is no small accomplishment. No explosions, no bullets, no nothing. Just a nice leisurely drive through the Afghan countryside. I couldn’t stop thinking, “Yep, this is just the calm before the storm!” God do I hate it when I’m right.

We passed them off, then the other group started leading them. We tried to get past them, but given the size of this convoy we couldn’t get that far ahead of them. So we basically just drove inside the convoy for this leg of the trip.

Now bear in mind, the whole idea of what we were doing was to keep this big ass convoy off the route they were originally taking. Mr. Taliban Man decided to put all his bombs in one place, and he chose this road. So keep them the hell off the road. That was the cardinal directive in this little mission. Whatever you do, keep them off the road.

So half way through their 6 clicks what do these pricks do? They take them on the road! Assholes! Now what happens about 8 seconds after the RCP jumps on the road? Another damn IED blows the shit out of the lead truck. (Once again, nobody got hurt) Wonderful, now we are stopped until we can recover this truck. Now the entire convoy is stopped and stretched across a swath of land probably covering 4 miles. Oh, really, the Taliban won’t think that this is a tempting target now will they?

So we pull up next to this truck that has just been introduced to the effects of homemade haji (haji: a demeaning term used by American GI’s as a name for the local nationals of this country. Literally, a haji is a person who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca in their life. From Muslims, haji is a very complimentary term, from us it is paramount to the “C” word) explosives. We can’t really do anything to help, the RCP is handling this, we would just get in the way. Then from somewhere behind me I hear it, another large explosion, I turn to observe a rather bright fire burning somewhere off in the distance right between two sets of headlights. What is this? Well, its called a command detonation. IED’s can be set off several different ways. We drive over them, and they go boom. Which is basically like a land mine sort of thing. Sometimes they are on a timer. But they usually only use those exclusively for mortars. This one that went off was possibly command detonated, either by a cell phone, or by a really long wire running from the bomb to the Taliban asshole with the trigger. (Or maybe the asshole driving the truck just decided to drive outside the tracks made by the trucks ahead of him that did not explode.) He waits for something or someone to get close to this thing and then he hits the button and boom! Fun for all.

Like I have said before though, I have gotten so used to these damn explosions that I just watch with a kind of bemused indifference and wait to hear if everyone is okay. What made this one funny is the radio traffic after the boom.

1st guy: What was that?
2nd guy: An IED, what are you new?
1st guy: What truck did it hit?
2nd guy: One of the RCP trucks
1st guy: Is everyone okay?
2nd guy: Yeah, everyone is out but...
1st guy: But what?
2nd guy: The truck is on fire
1st guy: But you said everyone is out!
2nd guy: Yeah, they are.
1st guy: So they are okay!
2nd guy: Yeah, I think so.
1st guy: What do you mean you think so, they either are okay or they aren’t?
2nd guy: Well I think they might have some brain damage!
1st guy: What?
2nd guy: Yeah, the truck is burning and these dipshits are trying to pull all their gear out.
1st guy: Really?
2nd guy: Yeah, and they are making multiple trips!

Now I don’t care who you are that is some funny shit. You see the Army drills into its young soldiers that their gear is the difference between life and death. Well, I have been in the Army long enough to know that the difference between life and death is the guy next to you. Not your gear. Fuck the gear. The truck is on fire. Don’t run into the burning truck. I mean how would you like to have your mom get that letter? Yes, ma’am your son is a hero, he saved a bag full of underwear prior to being burned to death! Oh and bear in mind this truck that is now engulfed in flames is full of ammunition, frag grenades, incendiary grenades and a million other little knick knacks that are designed to end lives, all of which do not get along well with fire. And these dipshits are running back and forth trying to save all this crap! My personal opinion would be, to hell with that stuff, its the governments shit, and besides now that it got all burnt up, its less shit I have to carry!

Moving on, so now since our second element couldn’t manage to find a way around the road, we are now stuck here for another few hours while we recover these two trucks. Oh, what a clusterfuck. Thanks a lot Murphy! You and your stupid law.

So we sit there, and the sun comes up. I imagine that the leaders of this little convoy caught a lot of shit from their bosses for us not being into Waza Khwa by daybreak. I am not saying that I didn’t want to have them move throughout the night, but it was a stupid idea to try and move all this shit in the middle of the night anyway. I mean there isn’t a paved road for probably 100 miles in any direction. And the RCP is driving huge trucks, some of which make semi’s look like VW Bugs. Then on top of that you have all the civilian trucks that are along for the ride. Ladies and Gents, this was a bad idea.

Now the sun is out. Afghanistan is different than most other wars. IED’s are a constant threat. But the rest of the shit, mortars, small arms fire all that shit, at least down here, goes on during the day. You see the Taliban know that they don’t have a prayer against us at night. They can hardly see and we have our night vision shit and a million other gadgets that allow us to fuck their world up when its dark. The only time that they can effectively engage us is during the day. So your guard never comes down, but during the day its a bit higher than normal.

We finally get this whole debacle moving again. Now we run into the guys who are supposed to run us the last 6 clicks and get us out of the danger zone and then we can fly back into the FOB because we don’t have to stay with this big ass convoy anymore.

Everyone is up and running, things are going well, we wrangle all the locals back into their trucks and we get moving again. Five minutes after we start, Murphy decided to fuck with us again, and a rather large tanker truck got stuck in the sand. Of course, why wouldn’t that happen? Karma hates us, she is such a bitch!

So here’s what happens. The RCP keeps moving, they have certain trucks designated to pull the other ones out. We get ordered to stay here and secure this truck because the fuel is too important to be left out there. If a truck full of twinkies had gotten stuck we could’ve gone home. But no, it had to be fuel.

So we are sitting there trying to get this truck out. Finally, a big enough truck comes by and we yank this bitch out. Then what happens? The dumbass in the truck behind the recently unstuck one, drives right into the hole that we had just yanked him out of! Yeah, he did just that.

Oh dear Lord, give me the strength not to shoot this guy! So now we are sitting there again, while they pull this oxygen thief out of the muck. Now we are all sitting around the trucks, no one has a helmet on, we are just smoking and bullshitting while they work on this truck.

What are we bullshitting about? Boredom, which runs a close second to suck as the most common states of being for soldiers in Afghanistan. Even when we are doing something everyone is bored. Then the Friendly Ghost says, and I quote, “I am so fucking bored, why won’t someone just shoot at us so that we have something to do.”

BOOM...(first mortar round impacts about 150-200 meters from us. Taliban can’t shoot for shit anyway.)

But the part that disturbed me was the fact that the first one didn’t get anyone to even flinch. Everyone just kind of turned around and waited for the next one. Its not so much that we are shitbags or anything. Its just that we have done this a few times and we were waiting to find out whether or not this was going to be an actual attack...

BOOM...POP, POP, POP, BOOM, RATATATATATATATTAATAT....

Holy shit, we are under attack. A few rounds of small arms fire land within 10 meters of us. I run my big ass back to my truck, launch myself from the ground onto the hood, and jump into the turret. You’d be amazed at just how fast you can haul your ass, when someone starts shooting at it.

“Motherfuckers, let’s go” My driver and my platoon daddy jump into the truck.

Where’s it coming from? Over there on the ridge line! What do you see? I don’t see shit, wait, 4 of them, shooting at us! What are they shooting at us? Fucking bullets retard. Wait, and RPG’s. Gotta love them things, a grenade on a stick. Kind of like a really big bottle rocket.

BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM...they kept coming. Falling from the sky like so much rain. Oh yeah, I forgot about the mortars. Shit, I hate those damn things. You never know where they are going to land. Each one a little closer than the last one. Hey, lets get the fuck away from here. A few more rounds and maybe they get one of us.

We tear ass in the truck over to the other units in the vicinity who are already lighting up this mountainside. Where do you need us? Over there, you should be able to get them from there! Alright let’s go.

We get there.
I look up at the mountains.
See two guys.
What the fuck are they doing.
Looking right at me, or at least my truck.
Then their arms move.
Then I see the flash.
I hear the crack.
I see the rounds hit the ground near the truck.
“Motherfuckers are shooting at me! (How dare they)”
I reach down.
Flip my weapon from safe to fire
Press my cheek to the butt stock.
Take aim.
Ratatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatataatattatatatattat (I don’t know how else to spell the sound a machine gun makes.)
Shit, there’s two more of them 100 meters down the hill.
Ratatatattatattattat...you get the idea.

I see the rounds flying out at them, I see the tracers lighting up the side of the mountains, I see these guys damn near shit themselves and run down the back side. I don’t know if it was my fire, or the hail of grenades coming at them from another truck. Probably the other guy, but whatever, it all works out in the end.

BOOM, BOOM, BOOM...more of this shit. Where the hell is it coming from? Behind the mountain. Oh fun, that means we have to get back there. No biggie, just have to drive across a field that they already have zeroed and covered with small arms fire. Lets get moving. Alright here we go. No don’t go through the field asshole, its all wet and we are going to get...stuck. Yep we did, right there in the middle of a firefight we got fucking stuck. Like I said, this was turning into one big, rather dangerous Marx Brothers movie.

Then it was over. Just like that. The world fell silent. The guns stopped barking. The bombs stopped dropping. And for one split second all was quiet. Creepy quiet. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long.

Then the screaming started. Oh, great. Who the hell is screaming? Better yet, why are they screaming?

What is it? Some guy.

One of ours? Nope.

What happened to him? Got shot.

By who? Nobody knows, probably the Taliban. Hopefully, the Taliban shot him!

Where did he get shot? In the ass.

Too bad for him that all the weapons are so damn powerful that any bullet that hits you will probably go right through you and blow a whole 3 times as big out the other end. Gotta love the human race baby. We can’t manage to feed or educate all the people of the world, but we can damn sure make a machine that will blow your nuts off! (Apologies, hippy moment)

So here’s this guy minus his balls and a good chunk of his upper thigh laying there screaming and bleeding. I mean what else can you do when you get shot?

Why did he get shot? Really, are you fucking kidding me? He got shot because he was standing between us and the Taliban. The Taliban started shooting at us, and we started shooting back. He was in the middle of this. You do the math!

We drop the medic off and he starts to patch him up. Is he going to be okay? Sure if we get him to a hospital. Where’s the hospital? Oh, about 90 clicks north of here. How do we get him there? Call a helicopter. Okay, hey commander, can we get a bird down here? Maybe, is the wound life threatening. Yes sir, he is missing his balls (which would be enough for me) and he is bleeding out, you know there is an artery in your upper thigh. Commander asks us three times to make sure it is life threatening before he calls the bird. Really? This isn’t one of those situations where time is of the essence or anything. Apparently, he doesn’t want to believe the medics. Fucking asshole!

Finally the bird comes and takes this guy away. Then there is more screaming. Aunts, brothers, wife, kids, everyone is running around screaming and crying. Oh, do I ever love to hear this shit. That stuff doesn’t stick in your mind or anything. Probably going to wake up to that sound a few times between here and the grave. Then again, I am not all that deep of a person, I may forget all about it by Tuesday.

I wish I knew what to say about all that had just happened. I wish there was some cosmic secret that had been revealed by all that had just took place. You see, all the combat that we have seen so far has seen me as a minor bit player. I was in the area when the rounds came in, but they were never directed at me. I was always around, just never directly involved. I can say that thus far on this deployment God was looking out for me. But this one I was right in the middle of it, not as close to the middle as the guy with the extra hole in his ass, but close. I just wished that something clicked on, and I learned something from the whole experience. At least if that were the case the whole thing wouldn’t seem so God damned useless. I wish that there was a reason for all that had just occurred. But what the fuck does it all amount to? Yeah, Jack and shit, too bad that Jack just left town. We shot up the side of a mountain, we are all going to get our Combat Action Badges. Woopty fucking do!

Did we take any ground? I didn’t know we had lost it, I am not even sure if we ever had it. What was accomplished? Um, I am going to have to go with...not a damn thing. Well, we proved that our weapons work. Yep, if you put bullets in them and pull the trigger, they will go off. Alright, at least that’s one thing in the win column for us. Did we kill any of the Taliban? If we did, we sure couldn’t find them. Which would lead me to believe that we didn’t kill a one of them. Dead guys would be fairly easy to find, don’t you think?

Except now for whatever reason, some poor sap who was probably just trying to tend to his field in this God forsaken piece of shit country got blessed with a rather small hole in his ass, and a considerably larger one out the front end.

So back to this whole “combat” thing. What the fuck is the point? A whole lot of really loud noises, a whole lot of adrenaline, a whole lot of yelling, a whole lot of taxpayer dollars well spent. And then its over. Just as quickly as it started, its done. Combat and premature ejaculation have a lot in common. But nothing has changed. I don’t mind sacrifice, I don’t mind hard work (even though I do avoid it as much as possible), I don’t mind violence, I don’t mind...much of anything really. However, I do mind a lot of things when I cannot see the point. I mean the point of what I did out there was simple self preservation. These guys were shooting at me, so I shot back. Not so much because I hated them, or I had any particular goal (other than getting them to stop shooting) but because I like being alive. What’s the best way to get someone to stop shooting at you? Shoot at them more! Simple math, the military calls it fire superiority. I call it having bigger guns that can fire more bullets, and having more of them.

But we just went through a pretty damn intense situation. We just tried to kill several people who we already trying to kill us. Why did we do that? So they would stop trying to kill us. But hey, at least a few of these guys who have combat hard ons can go home and tell their moms and girlfriends what badasses they are. The younger guys got pretty jazzed up by the whole thing, said some stupid shit, which was promptly ignored, and we reconsolidated and moved on.

Is it possible that I am over-thinking this? Its not possible, its probable, okay its a certainty. But that was, is, and will always be my curse. I am entirely too fucking smart for my own good. But I can’t help it. So might as well run with it.

You know the part that worried me the most? It was how calm I was afterwards. I was scared when I started thinking about it. I have been skydiving, I have been bungee jumping, I have been in fights, hell I’ve been to Detroit, and in all of those situations my hands shook. I guess its my tell. You want to know if I am scared, check my hands. If they are shaking then I am scared.

But my hands weren’t shaking. They were set, still as stone, right on top of my weapon as I looked around for anything else going on. I pulled out a cigarette, placed it between my lips, lit it up, and sat and leisurely smoked it. Calm as a fucking hindu cow.

Don’t really know what that means. Don’t particularly care to know. All I really know now is that for the life of me, and I have been racking my brain, I can’t come up with anything even remotely resembling a point. A reason, purpose, goal, objective, explanation, defense, justification, vindication, or excuse for what we did and for what was done to us. I get the whole party line justification that we are trying to fight terrorism and keep them from having a safe haven here in AssCrackIstan, and to give the Afghani people a country of their own and la di da dee da.

I guess this is just another battle in that epic war that has been raging in my head since I was three. One half against the other. One part of me knows that the Taliban and al Qaeda are bad. Knows that these dickbags are a threat to America, Americans, and our way of life. Knows they need to be killed. Knows that we need to be here to accomplish whatever the fuck it is they sent us here to do. Knows that whether I see it or not there is a point to what we are doing here. Knows that in my small part, I am helping this big ass play unfold as it should.

Then there is the other side of me, that just doesn’t give a shit, and hasn’t quite decided whether or not this is worth it.

But at least the day didn’t end on a sour note. We found two RPG rounds that hadn’t detonated and had landed on the ground. Fun for all, I got a picture. Two high explosive rounds that had just been used in an attempt to stop us from stealing any more oxygen, and what are we going to do with them? Why, play with them, of course.

Now we have been stuck out here for going on three full days now. We are tired, hungry, dirty, thirsty, and just a little riled up after what had just happened. Put all that together and people’s judgement suffers. If we call up two unexploded ordnance situations, we are just going to be stuck out there longer waiting for the “explosive ordnance disposal” team to arrive. Then they are going to take 8 hours to do something that should take 20 minutes and I am going to be pissed. Along with everyone else.

So the platoon daddy came up with a fun little plan. He is going to set the high explosive weapon of dune coon death on its side and shoot the shit out of it with his rifle. Oh, nothing could go wrong here, could it?

Well, luckily it didn’t. First round tore that bitch into a million little pieces. One RPG round down, one to go.

This one didn’t want to go quietly into that good night. This one wanted to rage.

So he proceeded to shoot this one up. About 4 times. Nothing, the thing didn’t explode, it didn’t shatter, it didn’t do anything. The round would hit, go right through, and pop out the other end.

Now we still have to get rid of this thing. If we don’t the Taliban will come by and make an IED out of it. Resourceful little pricks. So what to do? Isn’t that a frag grenade I see on your vest there big Sarge? Why yes it is. Well why don’t you strap that to the round, throw it into a hole, and watch the fireworks.

You know, that isn’t a half bad idea. Take an already unstable explosive and add to it another explosive. Good call! Always nice to see that people are thinking.

Alright hole is dug. Grenade is attached to the round. Ready? Yeah we’re ready. Okay, here goes. Pull the pin, throw the bomb into the hole, and run like all hell while pushing both your index fingers into your ears so that you don’t blow an eardrum. And may I say that a grown man, running as fast as he can, with about 60 pounds of gear on his back, over uneven ground, with his fingers in his ears...is absolutely hilarious.

BOOM...oh fucking wonderful. Its bad enough I have to hear this shit from the Taliban, now I have to hear it from you too. This is the kind of shit that gives the National Guard a bad name!

Anyway, I am done for now.

Later,

I love you Mom...