Friday, September 16, 2011

Time Warp

The 19 year old that wrote all this shit never saw this coming.

-The Learning Curve of the New GI Bill (and how to effectively use it)

-Other Shit

-Just click this link. Part One sucks anyway.

I love you all so much that it hurts in places that doctors can't explain.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Close The Book

This little chapter of this little story is over. The blog is moved, the link is on this page twice.

So anyway, we went out on a nice little field training exercise, using Fort Lewis as a sector of an Iraqi city or something. I'm sure its all over the internet, just google "Fort Lewis" and "JRTC". Let me break it down for you.

We were SUPPOSED to go to NTC in California for some hardcore hooah badass training to put hair on our chests and turn us into six foot tall ironmen that eat nails and shit bullets, don't take no for an answer, and chew up our beer cans when we finish with them. But then this dude whose name is Mr President or something like that was like, "Hey! I think we should send an asston of more troops over to Iraq, to help that crazy little country get its shit together! Whaddya say guys?!"

So it was decided that we weren't going to go to this NTC place. Instead, we were going to sit around in some random motor pool here on Fort Lewis, just like last time, only for longer. Sweet! Perfect time to learn NOTHING! And then another idea was shat from the collective anus of The Powers That Be.

"Lets take a bunch of people from JRTC (another high speed training center from Louisianna) and send them up here to facilitate our super awesome training!"

Here's basically what happened on my end.

We packed up all the gear that we've been packing and unpacking for the last month or year or eon or whatever the hell it was, and we stuffed it into vehicles to be taken to some motor pool over by 3rd Brigade, 2IDs little corner of the Lewis. We set up tents, and inside, they were cramped full of cots. An entire company in each tent. Minimal walking space, it was pretty bad. Naturally sickness spread around there like a party at Courtney Love's house.

I slept in my Stryker. So did most of my crew, which is pretty amazing if you ask me. There is NO room in that abomination. Every few hours someone would be waking me up, whining about wanting the heater on. I was smart and actually USED my sleeping bag, because those things are really warm. Like "Goddammit, my cheek is all sweaty and pasted to the side of this bag" sweaty.

We'd roll out in convoys, boring shit with a capital terrible. Thats all I do. I drive. I sit in the seat and wait. I drive. I yawn. I shift in my seat. I try to keep the blood flowing in my legs, but my ass gets sore and me foot goes numb, so I have to fake a seizure to get feeling in it again. Oh, and then I drive a little bit more, but not all that fast (I later found out that we were virtually untouchable, that the MPs couldn't do shit to us unless we killed someone or something. Had I known that, I would've been the bat out of hell).

They had pyrotechnic guys out there, that was pretty cool. Like, vehicles would drive up on our convoy and detonate, and there'd be all this smoke, and then some OC (Observer/Controller, like a referree from JRTC) would walk up and tell you just how fucked up your vehicle was. Same thing for the IEDs. G-Man (what the OCs call the enemy players) did a damn good job of hiding them. It sucked. And the players that played civilians and Iraqi soldiers (most of which were actually Iraqi Americans) were pretty good actors, based off of what I saw in a video during an After Action Report.

Oh I didnt tell you? I never get out of my hatch. My job is to stay in that god forsaken seat the entire time we're outside of the wire. So look forward to second hand stories from now on. And yeah, I'm a little bummed, but fuck it, less chance of me getting all messed up. The entire training exercise, I was never "killed" or even "wounded", so thats cool I guess.

One night, we raided Leschi Town, the huge mock city, elaborate as a movie set if you ask me. It was an all night mission, and I stayed awake the whole time monitoring the radio like a dumbass. And also spent a ridiculous amount of time driving around trying to get into the city to help tow a vehicle that had been hit. When we got back the next morning, I was so tired that I couldnt sleep, if you can believe that. Since then, I learned that any time the wheels aren't rolling, put the seat back and catch some shuteye. I hate being so tired that I'm nausious. I get so tired that my mind won't stop running, it goes haywire on this illogical wild tangent train of thoughts, scattered and unrelated. So sleep is good.

All in all, not sure if I learned much or not. Who knows. My job is simple. Drive. Do what the vehicle commander tells me to do. Its not such a bad gig really.

I don't spend too much time thinking about most things. Just chilling really. Otherwise I'd go nuts. As far as deployment goes, I got that cushy driver job, wont ever really be on the ground I dont think. I just hope I wont have to run anyone over. That would definitely be shitty. Dont even want to think about it.

I'm closing the book on this blog, this chapter. Now get your ass over to THE NEW AND IMPROVED UNLIKELY SOLDIERand bookmark it.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Two weeks.

See you then. This is the 200th post. I'll celebrate that by going out to the field for 14 days.


Monday, January 29, 2007

In Limbo

The clock is ticking with a mind-numbing sense of quicksand. I think I lied about my sleep patterns changing. Almost all of us lie when we go to these evaluations. If not, we'd all be in rehab.

Its not sleeplessness, its just lighter sleep. Noticing more sounds. Or maybe I'm imagining things. Self fulfilling prophecy.

My piece of shit Stryker always needs work. Its a hypochondriac oversized baby. Last Friday I gave the big bastard a big drink of fuel and then took it to drain out. Opened all the drain plugs, and the big bastard pissed its muddy water for ages. I was smarter this time. I changed out of my uniform inside the vehicle and put on a mechanic/flight suit looking green coverall. Nice to have a dry uniform to change back into.

And now I wait for a spot in the maintenance bay to open up so I can bring the stubborn multimilliondollar crybaby in for more work. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but now and then, I'm hit with a sudden revelation that reeks with deja vu. It comes out of nowhere, and hits me like a freight train carrying several tons of bricks.

Holy shit....I'm in the army...

Its something you know all the time, but the magnitude of it isn't always present. In comes in sudden glimpses, massive and all-encompassing, like the eye of God or something. And as quick as it came, its gone.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Someone from our unit died last night. Motorcycle accident. I honestly don't even know what to say. Its not real to me. I don't (didn't?) know him as well as I wish I did either. But I knew him well enough to know that he was a really good guy. I don't know what else to think, its hard to wrap your mind around something like that. But I'm going to spare the cliches and internalize it for the most part. I checked in on a few guys from his platoon to see how they were doing, they seemed all right. Not really words for things like this though. Don't think I have much more to say about it either. He was a hell of a good guy, and he shouldn't be gone, but that's how it is I guess. I don't feel right talking about him in the past tense.

I had to open up our Stryker and lounge out in its spacious driver's compartment and wait for our commo guy to work on some of our equipment, an arduous task that's taken a few days already. Days where I sit there and accomplish nothing.

Its slightly cold outside, not as bad as it has been, and the big green monster only has a little bit of frost on it. I removed the tarp covering the exhaust vents and opened the hatch. Plopped down onto the seat like a little kid and started monkeying with the controls, to wake my big friend up. It roars its waking salutation and I command it to drop the ramp. It budges only an inch or so and stops. Something must be frozen....God I hope so.

I turn on the heater and recline the seat.
I forgot my fucking book....

I napped a little bit, and pretty soon it was time to go to our little psych evaluation. We take little surveys and get our blood pressure taken, we go from one waiting room to the next. I visited with a very nice and completely awesome (or rad, take your pic) young Asian woman. She was really funny, so I didn't mind BSing with her for a while. Since there was nothing really wrong with me, we talked about some things other soldiers experience.

She asked if my sleep patterns had changed at all recently. "Not that I've noticed."
She said that sometimes, soldiers will be more on edge, more alert, and their senses will heighten altogether when they're getting ready to deploy. The sleep lighter, they hear better, they may be less affectionate, and altogether more focused on the mission at hand.

She also mentioned that a lot of the time, soldiers remain fixated in that mode, even after returning, and it takes a little work to return them to their original baseline. Makes you think.

Who knows what time. Same BatChannel.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

State Of The Suspect Address

We went for a run wearing our body armor today. That adds a significant amount of weight and constricts your movement a little bit. Good sweat though. Now I just need to eat and then go sit around while my stryker gets worked on.

I haven't been following any of Bush's announcements or anything like that, none of the debates about his plan, nothing like that.

"Your only job is to keep the guy to your left and the guy to your right ALIVE, and complete the mission. You are not IN the fuckin political arena." I heard someone say that not too long ago, and I liked that a lot. He was really cutting through all the bullshit. And that's good, because we're knee deep in it.

Posts will probably still be few and far between, got a lot of things we have to do. Going to the field for two weeks soon, then we'll have all sorts of other tasks to keep us busy.

Please be patient, and I'll bring you all that juicy writing you've been waiting for, when I have time and when everything isn't this mundane.

Monday, January 08, 2007

CLS Yet Again

Yeah, believe it or not, they put me in CLS (Combat Lifesaver) for a what, fourth time? I don't mind though, because I'd like to have as good a grip on this as I can. Hell, sometimes I think I'd like becoming a doctor, but I'm not so sure about eight years of schooling, not to mention the hours, etc.

Someone needs to remind me of course, but when I get out of the army, I'll be sure to post all kinds of videos I've shot, to include me giving and receiving IVs. "Oh yes, there will be blood."

Work is back to normal, and we're actually doing PT again. Seems like its been forever and good GOD do I feel out of shape. Some of the padlocks to our Stryker disappeared, so we'll probably have to get a brand new set. One of a million tiny issues I face as a cursed driver.

Now, I'm sure the internet knows way more about it than I do, but we all know that there's talk of more troops being needed in Iraq. Well I'm not even positive about our deployment date, and even if I was, I'd still be sure not to mention it, but it looks like this blog may become infinitely more interesting one of these days.

Kind of funny when you think about it. I've wanted to go ever since I signed up. The more that it seems like a reality, the more it nearly blows your mind, and that's only in the few and far between moments when your mind can actually grasp it. Despite the millions of questions I've asked people who have been there, I still really don't know what to expect. We, the infantry, never actually work unless we're deployed. Everything else is just training or details...or killing time. There's a blog called "Calm Before The Sand" (currently subtitled "Part Two: The Sand"), and that title really sums up what's going on here. Certainly would be nice to know for sure when we're going, if at all, but I never spend too much time worrying about it.

Typical Day In The Army: Revisited

o600: Wake up to annoying cell phone alarm, allow pure hatred to flow through your body. Self pity galore.

0605: Crawl out of bed, throw PT uniform on, brush teeth, shave.

0620: Head downstairs and stand in formation.

0630: Begin PT. Suck it up, always feels good to be done. Blame endorphins.

0730: Eat and change into BDUs (well, ACUs these days)

0900: Go to work. You are at the mercy of those in charge. God knows what you'll be doing.

1130: Eat. Waste time. Check your fruity myspace page.

1300: Back to work.

1630 (if lucky): Final formation. Released from work. Eat. Waste time.

2200 or later: Crawl into bed and embrace the wonders of sleep, before you know it, it all starts over again. Take it a day at a time and its usually not too bad.

Weekend: Deplete vitamins, minerals, and water in your system by consuming alcohol. Rehabilitate and repeat. Be sure to eat regular meals, eat vitamins, and suck down gatorade.

Relaxing and doing your own thing is also optional.

All things considered, all is well in my department. Homesick? Yeah, but I keep busy. All quiet on the Lewis front. I like it that way.