Friday, December 30, 2005

Home?

A year ago, I was sitting at this exact same computer desk, considering enlisting. The more intuitive of you can probably guess which choice I made. Now I'm on the last couple days of my leave. I was pretty excited to come home. After spending so much time at Lewis, I was good and ready to get the hell out for a couple weeks. Its kind of one of those "Grass is always greener" things.

The night before I left, I partied with a couple friends. Very good juju. Though it DID involve me being made fun of for drunkenly stumbling about on a Dance Dance Revolution machine in the mall, and doing somewhat well no less. My only defense was, "Dude, shut up. You watch Dawson's Creek....and LIKE it." The next day, I hopped on a train in Seattle, looking for a pretty young girl to sit with, and ended up meeting a guy who had just been medically discharged and had done two tours in Iraq. So we talked a lot, while some guy in the seat in front of us lied to his "Single Serving Friend" about being a former Marine. He talked about basic training and drill sergeants. Marines have boot camp and drill instructors. My veteran pal and I would listen and laugh quietly as we picked up on every discrepancy and blatant mistruth. Then I went down to the lower level of the train, and learned how to play Craps, thanks to an 18 year old kid who then invited me to "go blow a line" with him. I laughed and declined, because I'm smart like that. "Ok, I'll be right back," he said. God it was interesting. For anyone who cares, if you want drugs, take a train somewhere. I've never been offered so much or asked for so much paraphernalia. I should have brought rolling paper. I might have made some money selling zigzags.

The train ride was boring with a capital terrible, and sixteen hours later, I was at the town I was born in. I stepped off of the train, and one of my little brothers promptly saluted me, which was the last thing I wanted to see. And then I went home and lived boredly ever after up until now.

I actually had a conversation with my brother in law, who is an MP in the Air Force. We were talking about what it's like to come home on leave. He asked if I was being treated like I was still in high school. I had to laugh. Empty Nest Syndrome tends to creep up on the parental units. On to the negative side, the first few days were really bizarre for me. I couldn't think of anything but military things to talk about. Other than that, I had nothing to say, and nothing to relate to. Not a whole lot has changed in that department, but I'm starting to get used to it, which is perfect, being that I'm going back now. I definitely felt very different, and actually foreign.

"You can't go home again."

You come back home, and most things haven't changed at all. The things that DID change almost always bother you. And if you don't have a car when you're on leave, god help you. I lucked out. Plus, there isn't a lot of relaxing involved. Instead, its your duty to run around like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to balance seeing all your friends, etc and your family. There seriously isn't enough time.

I was actually uncomfortable coming back, at first, but now I don't really think about it. I figure its best to just turn your brain off and mellow out and behave like a deadbeat high school graduate. I still don't know if I'm looking forward to going back or not. I haven't really thought about it. It'll be nice. I'll complain a bit in the morning when we're getting ready for PT, but all things considered, all should be good. I got a text message from my team leader saying that our first day back will be a long one. No idea what that means, and I don't care right now.

My attempts to describe leave are failing, and my head is scrambled with fatigue. Leave is odd, it kicks ass, and it sucks. Its like everything else in life: pluses and minuses. The word 'duality' applies here, doesn't it?

Wherever you are and whatever you're doing, you can always find something to bitch about. Vent it. Maybe someday, someone will read one of my better posts and be inspired to rant and rave about whatever their heart desires. That would be cool. And if someone could email me and offer a suggestion as to why hotdogs are sold in packages of 10 and buns in packages of 8, that'd be awesome.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Short Timer...Sort Of

We formed up at 0600 in what I was told was 22 degree weather. Scheduled was a squadron level run. We waited in formation for a good minute, naturally, and frost collected on everyone's black PT beanies. Eventually, we moved to the area where we would meet the other troops (companies). We waited for the Lieutenant Colonel and Command Sergeant Major to give their speech. Are they gonna zonk us?

"Zonk" v. (zONk)
A sudden and unexpected command rarely given during first formation before PT that signals everyone to disappear before the officer or NCO giving the order can count down to 10.

Speakers and music were set up, and Ozzy's "Crazy Train" was rocking. We began to worry. From within my troop, I heard a Sergeant First Class tell those around him, "Feel the zonk, be the zonk, know the zonk. If you will it, it will come."

We willed the zonk. Hard.

The Sergeant Major gave his speech, told us we'd be going home to friends, old enemies, girlfriends or ex-girlfriends, which I applauded with a heartfelt "Hooah". It remained delightfully anonymous aside from the immediate individuals around me, and I felt super special.

"Dude, this is it. He's gonna zonk us..."

The Sergeant Major then turned the squadron over to the LTC.

"Fuck..."

He gave his speech as well, telling us to have fun, be safe, and not to go back to any old ways that would show up on a urinalysis. He talked about a few things we'd have coming up once we came back from leave. He complimented some of the things we'd been doing. He made mention of some changes that would be made thanks to the gripe session he held with us.

"All right, he's done, he's bringing the zonk, I feel it..."

He calls us to attention, and we unleash a sonic boom that is our squadron motto. My muscles tense up and I prepare to sprint up the hill and into the woods, where I can bee-line back to the barracks and catch a nap. Everyone's quiet, straining to hear it. Our First Sergeants turn to face us.

"Riiiiiight.....FACE!"

"FUCK!!!"

"Oh my god dude..."

"What the shit? Its like 16 degrees out here!"

An E5 ("Buck" Sergeant) looks at the person who made the last comment. "Shut up. Wait til you go to Alaska." He points to his PT cap. "This'll be a damn ice block. Negative 50 degrees, once that cold air hits your skin..."

And so we went on a little four mile run, and after the first mile, my face stopped hurting and my lips were able to form all syllables once again. We called cadences about jumping out of planes, and loving to run, and mowing down "Hajjis", and begging someone not to close the liquor store, and an old lady that's an airborne instructor and a Ranger Indoctrinate or whatever the hell RI stands for. The air is too damn thin this time of year. I'm not a fan.

I'm heading home tomorrow for leave, and its going to be even colder. So I probably won't even do PT. At most, I'll lift weights on the air force base, and be cooler than them, because that's what I'm about. I can pretend to be a total badass. Hell, I might as well walk around in Class A's, showing off my blue cord to everyone that doesn't care.

Realistically, I'll be wearing my army issue polypro thermal underwear (the stuff that puts Long Johns to shame, remember?) under jeans, a T-shirt and a hoodie, with a hat to hide my high and tight. The hat will be vital if I happen to go to Canada to do a little drinking, which is highly unlikely, but I've heard they aren't extremely fond of us. Aside from that, I'm all about Cartoon Network, a jar of peanut butter and a spoon, driving on the snow at 3 AM, wasting an entire night in a 24 hour diner with a friend, and being completely worthless, consuming large amounts of food and converting oxygen into carbon dioxide.

But for now, I need to get dressed, eat some toxic chow hall grub, and then stand in formation and pretend to care about whatever menial things we're doing until our early release, and likely extended safety brief, which is always the same.

Dont do drugs.

Wear a rubber.

Dont go swimming in the winter, and dress warm.

Get tire chains.

Dont beat up your wife, kids, girlfriend, boyfriend (pause for laughter), or battle buddy.

Police each other up.

Let the damn CO and 1st Sgt have a weekend (in this case, vacation) without getting a phone call.

Dont be stealing no damn cigarettes from no damn PX.

Dont do stupid shit. Dont do it men. I be jumping on yo ass like a frog on a damn hot plate. I'ma drop the hammer. You see that tall-ass tree over there? That's where I live. I'll swing on down and bust y'all up. Don't do no damn stupid shit. Platoon sergeants, take charge, get they asses outta here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Classes

We spent all day in classes once again. Same old story we've ever heard. Don't kill yourself. Don't drive drunk. Don't drive stupid, especially in bad weather conditions. But there was one class that left an impact on all of us.

The STD class.

Sure, we've all learned all kinds of crap about STDs and how they are totally terrifying, and definitely not cool, in any size, shape, or form. So you'd think it would be old news. Think again, cowboy. They had pictures. Projected on the huge screen behind the podium were horrors that no human being should ever have to see, ever. This is the only notes I took.

"My libido has been slaughtered in a manner very similar to the way Russell Crowe eviscerated his enemies in the film 'Gladiator'."

It was disturbing. I suppose the class had its desired effect. Once again, the army has excelled at creating an intense phobia of women for me. I'll probably be ok though, I'll just sign myself up for therapy or something. I don't think this is enough to constitute as PTSD though, which is a good sign. To borrow from James Bond, I'm "Shaken, not stirred."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Sigh of Relief

Understatement: It feels nice to be finished with a long roadmarch.

Throbbing feet, knees, and ankles are basically a harsh echo of the march. Shrieking shoulders and back, and face peppered with flaky white electrolyte sweat residue are the trophies of another "gut check", or test of fortitude. Most people aren't doing things like this, and that's actually a comforting thought.

Now and then, when no one "in charge" was around, I'd take my helmet off for a minute to let my head cool down. When I'd put it back on, the sweat inside it was ice cold and felt wonderful. During the first or second mile, the end nozzle of my CamelBak (basically a little backpack-like contraption with a rubber bladder and a hose, intended to be filled with water and used for hydration purposes) popped off and fell to the ground, spraying water out of the open end. So there I am, struggling to find and close the valve on the tube while it squirted water and I squirted obscenities. I looked behind me at the ground wherever the nozzle had landed, and new that I could easily retrieve it, but it was sort of a Harold and Kumar moment, when one of them realized he left his cell phone in his dorm room twenty feet down the hall.

"Forget it, we've gone too far."

I walked/ran the whole march with a friend of mine. We BSed about pretty much anything and everything. I harassed him about how he needs to grow some melons and sweep a particular girl off of her feet, and also about the book he intends to read, which I guarantee will be good. The subject matter is priceless, and the insight he has on it is so funny and so true, it should be a sin. Too bad I'm not going to tell you what its about. Its that good. We also came up with a great title, but you also don't get to hear about that. So you'll have to do what I do, and wait. The people you meet in the army, I swear...

There are also plenty of times where you don't talk at all during marches. Instead, you just let your mind wander, to whatever strange place it drifts to. I personally didn't care at all for this march as we were getting ready for it. Thing is, while you're actually doing it, its not too terribly long before you just say, "The hell with it," and start busting your hump. It seems easier when you just let yourself get pissed off at the march itself. I find myself aggravated, and as a result, walking at a pretty hard pace. It was a 12 mile march (alllegedly. Those last two miles are pretty long), which is the Expert Infantry Badge distance. I shaved a lot of time off of my previous record time. In fact, this time I almost "accidentally" made it within the EIB standard. So next time we do one of these, if I just happen to get a wild hair up my ass, I should be able to break the three hour mark.

A hot bath would be awesome right about now. Not to mention a skilled back massage. Cocoa Pebbles, Cartoon Network. Heh, I'm not even in the mood for a beer. Gimme a warm bed and a soft pillow.

Instead, I gotta take a quick shower, throw on a clean set of BDUs, choke down a PowerBar, and go to some class or something. Not even sure what its about, but I think its a holiday safety briefing, or something cute like that. Whatever, works for me. Each minute, I get closer to taking leave, so bring it.

It would be nice to use a wheelchair for the day. I'm being a big baby.

My Spirit Is Dry Heaving

Morning everyone! Been up since 0200, O-Dark-thirty in curmudgeon time. About to go on a 12 mile roadmarch in the cold. My sweat is going to freeze to my body, and I'm going to be fussier than any infant with the worst case of diaper rash. Its going to be awesome.

Right now, I'm wishing I had bought one of those damnable iPods to sneak along with me, because music would help a LOT. Instead, all I'll have is my mental music player, and all the random abstract thoughts that flow like molasses when you do things like roadmarch. At one point, I thought I had testicles, but I think they're trying to become ovaries, what with the cold and the anxiety about this wonderful endeavor we're about to undertake. I'm way too chipper at this hour.

Whenever I quasi-recover, I'll endow my beloved readers with a healthy slice of pseudo-comedic self pity, and all shall be great and wonderful in the world of The Enlisted New Guy. Atleast I'm not stationed in Alaska or Fort Drum, NY.

Happy trails, see you neat fellers on the other side. =)

Oh, and also, Git R Dun.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Assaulting The Bunker

We've been spending ungodly amounts of time in the field this week. The weather itself wasn't very sympathetic to our presence, but atleast it didn't rain or snow. Though I will attest that out in the boonies, there's still snow in Washington. Take my word for it. Now that its over (for today), I don't care at all about the cold. Its over, so its suddenly not so bad.

Our purpose out there was to do a squad sized assault on a a couple bunkers that have obstacles in our way. Thing is, this type of thing really doesn't impress as much as the old me would have thought. However, if anyone is going to take time out of their day to read this, then I'm going to take the time to atleast try to make it somewhat interesting, but forgive me when I don't marinade it in Hollywood sauce.

Mind you, we ran over this exercise many times, and it takes it out of you a little, but not terribly bad. I won't bore you with the mundane details, even though that's what most of the army is. Here's your badass, gung ho version, which is my scattered recollection of our final live fire run through the exercise.

We began out in the sticks, moving as quietly as we can through the thick woods, which basically means we might as well have had a mosh pit amidst us. I was somewhat nervous, but the thing is that most of the nervousness you may have takes a back seat once you actually start doing whatever it is you're doing. You've got officers watching you, observing, and looking for every wrong move to scrutinize, plus you've got live ammo, and you're a freshfaced moron with no real experience, and you're not John Rambo or G.I. Joe, but instead you're The New Guy (yes I'm referring to the movie again).

Now, this won't be the most informative narrative, because I want to make sure I'm not selling out our battle tactics or anything, but here's more or less what I can give you and still not have to worry that I'm not pissing off the OPSEC monster. So instead you'll get my personal experience, without the who what when where why and how.

We were walking through the woods, bushes thwacking against me from the guy ahead of me pushing through them. Our breath comes out in fog, and I can hear my own breath more clearly because of the foam earplugs I had in. I also had my goggles, I guess you'd call them, on, because usually we're required to wear eye protection. They were cutting off my peripheral vision and slightly dimmed everything. With the muffled sounds and the constricted line of sight, I felt extremely disconnected from everything, and I'd need to be as aware as I could, especially with live rounds, so I lifted the goggles off my eyes and let them rest on my helmet, which probably made them look like a second set of eyes.

My team leader stopped and signaled for us to get down, so naturally I did, and began watching my sector while we waited. After a short time, the ripping sounds of the 240Bravo machine guns broke the silence and we got up and started pushing through the woods again. Stepping over logs and all the foliage of this wet state, and finally pushing through the last of the brush, we came onto a muddy road, which we hauled ass down. At this point, my own breathing is pretty loud with the volume of the rest of the world turned down. I was doing everything I could to keep from flagging anyone with my rifle as I sprinted, which isn't a strong suit of mine, even as skinny as I am. We came to a burm and I found a place on it next to our SAW gunner, and we started shooting.

Across from us was a constantina wire fence, beyond that, two mock machine gun emplacements set up with the comical looking army targets. Beyond them was a downward slope, so nothing else was in view. We pounded rounds into the targets, and very soon, the only smell I knew was that of carbon. Expended shells from the guy next to me tapped off of my helmet. I have to shoot left handed because my left eye is dominant over my right eye, so with one eye, I'm looking through my optical sight, while the other one catches glimpses of my own shells flying past my face. To my right, the SAW is munching up rounds and spitting them out. As we light the machine gun nests up, we can see red tracers zipping through the air from the 240Bravos, whose location I never learned of until we had to pick up all the shell casings.

Two guys from the other team bounded towards the fence as we stopped firing. They hit the deck and went to work cutting a hole in the fence for us to pour in through. I can see them laying in the mud, working, while the 240s kept firing. The tracers are still doing their UFO streak through the air, and I wonder how close its firing to them. They finally get a hole made in the fence, and their team moves up, pouring through the hole while the 240s are still shooting. It looked like it was cut close when they finally did stop shooting. The first team ran to the end of the hill and hit the deck.

We waited for the command for us to haul ass through the hole. None, so we remained there, laying on the burm. The 240 gunners stormed through the hole next and took up another position. This had never happened in the practice runs. They'd forgotten about us. The other team leader finally shouted for us, so we eagerly popped up and sprinted. The constantina wire and its hole kept growing as I got closer, and I began to wonder in the back of my mind if I was going to make it through without getting snagged. I did, and continued to sprint to an open spot on the hilltop, at which spot I dropped to the ground and began firing at one of the bunkers. I ran out of ammo after a couple shots, so I screamed, "Mag change" and yanked a fresh magazine out of my ammo pouch and stuffed the old one back in there. I slammed the new mag in and slapped the left side of my rifle to release the bolt catch, so a new round would be ready for me to fire. It was ready, and with the squeeze of a trigger, I sent it soaring at ungodly speeds to the bunker, where it probably drove itself into a sandbag and stopped. I'm sure it wasn't lonely though, because I sent a good deal of companions with it, and I so did everyone else, and the SAW gunner brought even more to the party.

The air was filled with puffs of foggy breath and clouds spewing out of our rifles when we were given the order to pick up and move. We leapt to our feet and started racing down the edge of the hill. I was absolutely positive I was going to slip on one of the icy snow patches, or screw my ankle up in a small indentation in the ground or something. Downhill sprinting with a loaded weapon? I vaguely remember my hunter's safety classes way back when. I think they frown on this kind of thing. This was the sprint that our SAW gunner ate shit on during the last practice run. By some miracle, I made it down just fine and thumped my pathetically thin form onto another burm. We cleared the bunker with a grenade, which was actually a training explosive designed to simulate artillery. It even whistles in that decrescendo before the loud BOOM! Once that was clear, once again we were running, and then we were on the ground again, taking cover, and the other team was already taking out the second bunker. And then we were running again, and then we were on the ground again, lots of shouting, people doing their individual jobs to tie the mission up, and then we were off again. Not a bad run.

Now here's an interesting sidestory. During the last practice before the final run, things went horribly wrong just because our CO felt it should. Our squad leader was killed by indirect fire (mortars or artillery, whichever). There was then confusion as to which team leader would step up. We had managed to clear both bunkers, but things were degrading fast. We waited for the right orders to get the area finished up so we could move out, but they never came. Atleast not fast enough. The CO threw another artillery simulator. At this point, two people were already struggling to get our squad leader off of the field, and he is a BIG dude. The rest of us picked up and began to move out. One team leader pointed to me and ordered me to be the flank/rear security as we pulled out. So there I am, covering a very wide sector of fire with what must have been a priceless facial expression denoting confusion, anger, and an overall sense that we were doomed. I took a knee when they stopped, as they were struggling with the big dude. I'm scanning the area and fearing to think what the CO and First Sergeant are thinking as they watch this pitiful spectacle. It was right about that time that I noticed the CO look directly at me, and pull out another artillery simulator. He tosses it near our general area, and in order to play fair, I wait until it starts whistling, then I scream "INCOMING!!!" I sprint a few steps and hit the dirt, facing away from the explosion, praying that the slight dropoff from the grass to the road is enough to save my ass. BOOM!!!

The First Sergeant walks up to me as I prepare to jump back up. "Don't move, don't say nothin. You DEAD, private," he says with a grin, a heroic amount of chew in his lip. So I did as instructed, unslung my rifle, and went completely limp. I layed there for maybe fifteen seconds of confusion, when finally someone comes running back for me.

"Hey! What's your status? You all right?" He rolls me over. I say nothing and stare at the clouds, thinking about how cold we're going to be once the excess heat leaves us and only the sweat remains.

"Hey!!! Can you hear me?"

"What's wrong with him? What's his status?"

"He's dead!"

"FUCK!!!!"

"AID AND LITTER!!! GET YOUR FUCKIN ASSES BACK DOWN HERE!!! NO, THE FIRST TEAM!!!"

Two or three guys come running down, one takes my rifle, and the other two hastily try to decide how to carry me. I'm not cooperating either. I'm a wet noodle. Completely limp. One guy stands me up and the other gets me in a fireman's carry. Still I do nothing to assist, and don't use a single muscle. I'm slowly sliding down his back, and his elbow hits me in the helmet with every movement of his arm as he runs. My head is bouncing up and down, but I still didn't move. In the back of my mind, I was kind of hoping that I'd slide right off the back of him, because that would be pretty funny, but we got to our rally point before that happened.

During the After Action Report, we were told that we executed the mission first, and this was done to remind us that sometimes, things go bad, quick. Big inspirational speech, and then we walked back to go choke down some disgusting MREs.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

David Spade Must Retort


Hey there, Jen-Love. Goin' after the nerdiest of army guys now, are we? Wow, seems someone has hit rock bottom.

When's the last time you had a career? Just curious. Have fun with your newest enlisted infatuation. I'll be waiting in the car.

A Dose of Truth


Hi! I'm Jennifer Love Hewitt, and I totally WANT The Unlikely Soldier, but seems he is too busy to email me back. What do I do? I've never faces such rejection and I can't get him out of my thoughts!

Any advice? I'm sure he wants me, deep down! I'll make him see!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Today's Pics





The 50 Cal Range

My roommate and I got out of PT, so that we could head to the range early. Heavily insulated with two sets of polypros (thermal underwear that puts Long Johns to shame) and our BDUs under full combat gear, we loaded into the back of deuce-and-a-half trucks. With the back end of the tarp shut, its always pretty dark inside, and you can barely make out a handful of G.I.s sitting on benches, trying to catch a little shut-eye as they (and you) bob and weave from the bumpy ride. Someone makes a random comment about how "this guy can't drive", but there usually isn't much conversation, so naturally your thoughts wander, in any direction really.

Once we arrived, we were given the same safety brief we've been hearing over and over since we'd joined, and we set up our monstrous .50 calibur machine guns on their tripods facing the range. My team leader would be the one firing, and I was designated the assistant gunner. If there was time, I'd be able to fire too. Until then, my job was to bring belts of ammunition to my gunner, and look pretty. Perfect opportunity for my precious video camera to come out. I may even upload a picture or two for you great people.

Remembering what it was like to be half-deaf for a day after the live fire range in which my pal lit me up, I wisely inserted ear plugs as ammo belts were locked in place. The 50s were charged (the act of yanking back on a handle to chamber a round), and in turn, I became charged. I'd been waiting to see these evil beasts in action for a very long time. I'd heard stories, myths, legends, and fables of the power of the Ma-Deuce, as its called.

"It can chop down trees!"

"It annihilates anything!"

"It baptised Jesus!"

"The 50 cal took out Soddom and Gommorah!"

"It cured cancer!"

So of course, I'm ready to see the apocalyptic wonders of this heavy duty tank buster. To be honest though, I wasn't all that impressed. Sure, its powerful, and definitely should be respected and not taken lightly. But as I watched it punch holes in the paper targets, I half expected to see collateral damage or something, maybe a little fire and brimstone, or a new Spice Girls CD, or some other sign of the end of the world, but it was actually just a normal, beastly machine gun.

The sound wasn't as deafening as the 120mm mortars are, so who's dissing the Charlies now?

But in all seriousness, it was a pretty awesome spectacle, and those rounds are massive. Sadly, my gunner's 50 was all messed up, and so he could only fire a few rounds. We ended up putting it away, which meant I wouldnt be touching it. Which explains my disappointment with the beast. I've yet to grab ahold and see if I can hang on for eight seconds, so right now, my opinion doesn't mean a lot. Is it loud and thunderous? Oh yeah. Would I fear for my life if one were to fire one in the same zip code as me? You better believe it. Did it baptise Jesus? Doubtful. I can see the Soddom and Gomorrah part, but to be honest, that sounds like the work of mortarmen.

But seeing as religious references for comedic purposes are still a little touchy with some, I'll lay them to rest until next post. I spent the rest of the day messing with my camera, helping out with small errands, and relaxing. This has been the first day in a long time that I was glad to be in the army. We were actually doing something. We weren't BSing around with busywork to make it look like we were "training". No, this goes on my "Holy Crap This Stuff Actually Matters" list. GOOD STUFF!

Happy trails, pictures coming soon.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Another Update

Not a whole lot of intense interest has been going on. I spent Thanksgiving with nearby family members, which was a bit of a godsend. My roommate had left to stay with a friend in Olympia, and so all was quiet during our four day weekend. Also, since alcohol is no longer allowed in the barracks, the barracks were completely empty. It was like living in that hotel in The Shining, minus those two crazy twins. The silence was loud, if that makes any sense at all.

I had spent the weekend in a kind of limbo. There is no other way to describe it. It got to the point where I was actually watching TV. I normally can't hardly stand most of what TV has to offer, but this was a very desperate time. From what I'd been told, officers would be serving Thanksgiving dinner to soldiers still in the barracks, but luckily I had plans. I've had a chance to sample the leftovers of the meal, and I wasn't impressed. And yes, I'm being very generous with that statement.

The weekend itself crawled like a man dying in the desert. I was trapped in an abyss of boredom. No money, no minutes on my phone, nowhere to go, and nothing to do. I had learned what it was to merely exist. Granted, I'd done that so many times before, back when I wore Circa and Metallica T-shirts and jeans or cargo pants, and not BDUs. When my uniform was a hoodie and a pair of khakis. But back then, I was in my hometown, and whether or not I wanted to admit it, there were certainly atleast a couple things for me to do. If nothing else, I could drive (or even walk) across town and explore the lifeless downtown area. Here, I was pretty much trapped. It was the closest thing to a waking coma that I can imagine.

Monday morning was nothing special, another PT session. Another breakfast meal. I was certain we'd be having one of those rare days where we do best to stay out of sight and out of mind. Wrong. We were to go out into the woods and practice battle drills because we had nothing else to do. Naturally, we were slightly on the displeased side of that, being that its getting very cold out here, and we're whiny little girls. By some awesome twist of fate, my roommate and I lucked out. Since both of us are Assistant Gunners on the mortars, apparently that also means that we'll be the gunners on the Strykers. So we were sent to an all-day class regarding the 50 cal machine gun. Hey, atleast we got to stay inside.

This is called "getting over", when you luck out, and everyone else continues to get screwed. Its rare, but extremely rewarding, if for nothing else but feeling the warm wash of relief. Seeing the angry and jealous eyes of your friends is also pretty funny too, because you'll instantly remember all the times you've been busting your hump or shivering or whatever, while they were sitting pretty. Karma may be severely backlogged, but now and then, it'll throw ya a bone, it seems. So what if it's never enough?

We're spending today going over EIB (Expert Infantry Badge) tasks. Today was the first day I've ever touched an M9 (Beretta 9mm pistol). I can take it apart and put it back together well under the EIB standard time. To be honest, anyone should be able to. We also worked on a radio for a bit, and were given a very unnecessary demonstration on how to disassemble and reassemble an M4. Because I've never once taken my M4 apart. Nope, never, not once, uh uh, nooo way, no sir, not me. I can lay on another thick layer of sarcasm if you'd like, but I think you get the picture. The funny thing is that taking an M4 apart and haphazardly putting it back together is no longer even an EIB task. Killing time.

As of now, its snowing. My roommate is from Texas, and right now, he's like a kid in a candy store. Or maybe its more like bringing a caveman to the Las Vegas Strip at night. The guys in our platoon that are from parts of our wonderful country where they don't get snow much, they tend to ooh and ahh. Several times I've had to inform a Joe tugging on my sleeve that I'm from Montana, and believe it or not, I've seen snow before.

This wonderful snowing act of God, by the way, potentially means that we could get the next couple of days off. My guess is that its in sympathy to those living off post who don't know how to drive in snow. Whatever the case is, I'm praying that its true, because I'm a lazy young man. Thank god I wasn't stationed in Alaska. I doubt they get much sympathy for snow. Here, on the other hand, if we're lucky, we just may "get over".

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 21, 2005

A Brief Analysis of Garrison Life

To anyone considering joining the army, this is for you. First off, I'm not trying to dissuade you from joining. However, I'd love to atleast attempt to open your eyes a little bit to army life. So hell, maybe this "blog" (horrid word, I think) can be your guide. Either way, this is an important post for you.

The majority of the time, when an infantryman is in garrison, IE- not in the field and not deployed, but in the company area in or around the barracks, there is pretty much only one thing they/we do.

We kill time in the most idiotic and unfun ways.

Yes, you are supposed to be busy, always productive. But most of the time, there isn't anything for us to do. There are days when weapons ranges aren't available to us, or we won't have the resources to do this or that, or our primary leadership will be gone, busy doing something else, and there won't be anything important for us to do.

I've said before that our job while in garrison is to train. That doesn't mean that we're doing all the crazy hooah bullshit you see on TV. In fact, that's all very rare. Ignore those retarded goarmy commercials. If you want to join for the right reasons, you still will. Just know that what you see on TV will not be your typical day.

Ever hear the phrase "hurry up and wait"? Yeah, get used to that one. Today is a different day, on the other hand. Today is one of those days where there is seriously nothing for us to do, and our leaders are busy. There have been times like this, where a Specialist (E4) would march us out into the woods near our barracks and give us a class on different knots in ropes. Just bullshitting, really. Killing time.

Today, we're cleaning, getting ready for a bullshit inspection. Killing time. That's why I get an odd feeling when people thank me for serving this country. I don't feel like I've done a lot. Maybe if they would have let me go to Louisianna or Texas and do something to help the flood relief, I'd feel like I served my country. All I've done was donate money to the Red Cross. Along with paying taxes, I haven't done anything that an ordinary civilian cannot do. Just killing time.

Inspections are somewhat common. I can understand them to a point. Yes, for some reason we must maintain a military appearance. But our own rooms? I understand the reasons for keeping it clean and sanitary, but not to the point of being anally retentive. There's likely a perfectly good explanation for that too, but right now I don't feel like proving myself wrong. "Clean your room." Gotcha dad. Will do. Heh, Wilco.

Just killing time.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

DJ Jumps In


Guys! Why all the fighting? The war is out there, man, OUT THERE!!! Besides, everyone knows that when they make a movie about Ryan, only my nerdish charm could portray him. Keep your Grammy and your Academy Awards. I keeps it real.

Denzel Washington Responds:

Hey, Tommy, don't forget about me, sucka! If I make a movie the same time you do, it will cause global chaos, because no one will know which of us will be the shoo-in for all the awards. I'm the baddest motha out there. I got Training Day, you got The Burbs. If you can't take the heat, stay outta the kitchen, fool.

Tom Hanks Says:


Hi everyone, this is Tom Hanks. And I would just like to say that the author of this blog is the coolest person ever and I wish I was him. The only thing that makes me feel better is the fact that I can wake up on any given day and know that any movie I act in, I will receive a prestigious award for it. Its not much, but it gets me through the day.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Vaccinations

When I first processed into the army, I received all sorts of injections. An asston in each arm. And one penicillin injection in the buttcheek, which we called the "peanut butter shot" because it feels like someone is shooting peanut butter into your ass. It leaves a massive muscle knot or something, so it feels like there's a golf ball hibernating in your left cheek. It was interesting.

When I arrived here at Fort Lewie, I was fortunate enough to receive some more injections, but not the peanutter butter shot. This morning, we were given a flu vaccination or something. It was the same as the one we received at 30th AG during inprocessing before basic, except some new strand of the flu, or something crazy like that. That, or its the T virus from those Resident Evil games. So I figure I'll either be immune to a new flu, or else I'll become a zombie, and spend the rest of my days acting in the sequels to Shaun of The Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Land of the Dead, Everything Else of the Dead, and the Resident Evil series. Whichever works. If I'm lucky, I can even be an advisor to the director. Or else I just won't get really sick. I'm not sure. I just work here.

For these flu vaccinations, rather than shoving a needle in you for the fun of it, they take this syringe thing, which has no needle. You tilt your head back, they stick the tip of it in your nose and squirt it in there while you snort it. When it drips down from your sinuses, you get to swallow it. Coke-head jokes ensued. I'll let you all know when I start to feel like Chevy Chase's career lately. Hopefully it will never get that bad.

Yours truly,
Audie Murphy

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Returning Home...To The Barracks

High-Speed - adj.
Anything or anyone in the army that performs exceptionally well or is cutting edge, badass, or hooah.
1) That Ranger is one high-speed motha trucka.
2) We are going to engage in some high-speed training today.

We trained and slept out in the field yesterday and the first part of today. I woke up yesterday feeling more horrible than I had in a very long time. I had no drive to do anything, and simply ran on autopilot because its more convenient than drawing attention to myself. We spent plenty of time preparing out gear, being that its November, and Washington has been having a rather long romance with rain lately. Our rucksacks were a lot heavier than normal, though still not unbearable. We only marched three and a half miles out, so I couldn't figure out why I was struggling so badly, since I've finally become half decent at roadmarching. I later found out that it was because we were also wearing our body armor with the rucksacks. That explained why my shoulders were hurting so badly, combined with the extra weight. Plus I think I was dehydrated.

Once we arrived, we went through some very outdated battle tactics. There was no point in complaining, but with the huge possibility of vacationing in the Middle East present, I would feel a lot better if our training were more related to that. However, I also realize that we'll get there when we get there, and our chain of command is doing their best, and probably knows what they're doing a lot better than I do.

During an ambush exercise, my best friend (and luckily roommate) and I were assigned to be security elements. If you're curious about what that is, sorry, but I won't explain any further just to be on the safe side. Basically, my buddy and me did a lot of hiding in the bushes, and that was it. We basically laid there and watched an assortment of bugs crawl around us. I whipped out my video camera and caught a brief segment of us being stupid. With that camera and the footage I save, I'll always have something concrete to look back on.

After a few more exercises, we prepared to set up our camp, and I was extremely satisfied with that idea. The entire day seemed difficult to me, but only because my personal morale was sitting in the same spot your goldfish is flushed to when it dies. I slept horribly, my mind constantly running about this and that. Plus every few hours I'd have to pull guard duty. Luckily, or not so luckily, we had NODs (I forget what it stands for, but their nightvision goggles). Depth perception goes out the window with those things, and they give you a little bit of a headache. I ended up using mine more like binoculars. The moon was bright enough anyway. The only thing we were watching for was our platoon sergeant messing with us. If we didn't catch him, our entire squad would have to pull guard. Half-sleep sounded like a better idea, so we all just kept constant watch on the hooch he set up to sleep in. Behave, sergeant.

Earlier that day, his truck got stuck in a half formed foxhole, and hilarity ensued. I recorded a little of it, but I won't post it because I'd like to remain anonymous as long as possible, like I said before. Granted, if anyone in my immediate chain of command were to stumble upon this, they'd immediately know who it was.

We were setting up a pass phrase for our camp, and our platoon leader was saying that it should be two completely unrelated words. No one could come up with any good suggestions, because they were all related. So me, the moronic smartass that I am, I suggested "[My last name]" and "high speed" since they were totally unrelated. That won.

I woke up feeling a lot better. Granted, I awoke to guns ablaze all around me. Groggy, I had no idea what was going on, so I asked a buddy in a very professional way what was going on, by saying, "Dude, what the fuck are those assholes doing?" Apparently, we were to wake up, as it was time for our lovely day to start, and to expend all of our blank ammunition. So I locked and loaded and let her rip from inside my hooch, yelling for someone to cover my while I reloaded. Oh gosh, I am just so funny. If they make a movie about me, I'll be played by DJ Qualls, the nerdy dude from Road Trip and The New Guy.

I did a lot of thinking on the roadmarch back, and couldn't figure out why I felt better, but I also didn't mind. Feeling good is generally fun. As sick as I get of everyone and everything, there are some pretty badass dudes in my platoon.

Plus there's one other thing that always seems to make me feel better. Staind has a song called "How About You" that always seems to lighten the weight on my shoulders.

If someone else showed you the way,
Would you take the wheel and steer...

If they jumped off a bridge,
would you meet them on the ground?
Or would you try to claim
that it never made a sound?

Everyone plays the hand they're dealt
And learns to walk through life themself
Not everything in life is handed on a plate
When people think your words are true,
It doesn't matter what you do
I sold my soul to get here,
How about you?

Thanks for the uplifting comments. You know who you are.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Patient

I'm not totally in it right now. I could try to write a decent introductory paragraph, or in some way try to make this a really good post, but why? I'll just say what I have to say, and let it be mediocre.

I fucking HATE some of the mentalities that soldiers instill in each other. The natural distrust of civilians, for one. Womanizing. Not everyone is guilty of it, but I see it enough. The idea that its ok to cheat, or to take advantage of a girl who's had too much to drink.

That's right, friends and readers and my chain of command and everything else wasting its time reading this. I'm a fag now because I didn't try to get my swerve on with someone who was way too messed up. She's really cool, and she doesn't deserve it.

I'm pissed off at soldiers in general, myself included. Self-pitying, negative, alcoholic shit-talking retards. No, we aren't all like that. There are a few of us who don't slip into it. A small collective that don't regress. I'm walking the line myself. No one has anything good to say, anything positive. In a light hearted manner, I heard two of my friends talk about marriage and college and cheating and anything in general, and it brought me down.

I can't even find the write words to say to describe what's eating me. I hate almost everyone around me, save for a very small group of people. I'm sick of hearing the retarded things everyone has to say. Sick of the same group of dudes who can't ever drop a tough man act. If I had it my way, I'd end their Who's Dick Is Bigger contest by having them all just fight it out with each other. Don't try to convince everyone that you're hard. I don't know about everyone else, but I really don't fucking care. You don't impress me. You're an idiot.

Most of us soldiers are morons. Maybe jarhead is a good term. Fuck it, I don't even care if everyone stereotypes us as that. Seems to the be the majority. Atleast at the lower level. The Joes. The pieces of shit are usually fewer and farther between in some of the higher ranks.

It just feels like everyone's degrading and I don't want to go down with them. Keyword is WITH. I'll degrade on my own in my room, with my laptop, good music, and interesting people on the other end of the line. This'll pass too.

I'm just sick of trying to convince people that we aren't warmongering death machines. I don't care what anti-war people are saying anymore. I don't care what pro-war people are saying. I don't care if the whole country, the whole world hates us or loves us. I'm not serving your country. I'm existing under its control. When I go to Iraq, I'll be serving my country's interests. K, whatever, that's fine.

June 2009, I might get my life back. I'm sick of Joe.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Nugget of Joy from GW


"My fellow Americans, good evening. As we prepare to usher in a wonderful Thanskgiving, I would like to take the time out of my day to let y'all in on a very important and classified secret. Kany West is an idiot. Thank you, and God bless."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Counter Production

The only reason that Iraq is still a hot spot is because those who view us as enemies pass their hatred and bias onto their children. Its always been that way. To seriously win, we have to win over an entire generation. The children of the Iraqis that hate us.

I just pray that Iraq's law enforcement and new military can learn to stand on their own. I'm sick of hearing liberals say anything they want, without knowing anything. If you want to turn on your TV for ten minutes, see something bad, and give yourself another reason to hate Bush and all of us warmongering babykillers, by all means please do. I love talking to anti-war sympathizers. I love their sunshine and farts mentality about everything. Yes, let's TALK to the suicide bombers. That's how we'll get through to them. Maybe we can get A Perfect Circle to release another album of anti-war songs, on the NEXT election day, because it worked so well the first time. For those of you who "oppose the war and the troops", just know that your taxes finance it, and you've already lost. You've served your purpose before your paycheck fell into your hands, so you've purchased your right to whine. I'm not attacking liberal people, please don't think that. I'm vehemently attacking the point of view that some have recently shared with me. I don't claim to be liberal or conservative, or any of that stupid shit. I don't need a label, or a mold to govern how I'm likely to feel about any given situation. Peace isn't possible. People are beautiful and horrible creatures. Look at the picture of Joker, with the peace pin and Born To Kill written on his helmet. A perfect statement about the duality of mankind. Again, I'm not attacking anyone. I AM sharing a strong disagreement with the point of view that we are doing the wrong thing.

Now don't get me wrong. I oppose the war as well. I oppose the insurgents' war on us, and their war on their own people. I oppose their war that they've been living their entire lives. Would I bat an eye if we all pulled out of Iraq today? Nope. Iraq isn't the only country in turmoil. Yes, its a very sad fact of life. But I didn't put on this uniform to be one of Iraq's heroes. I didn't put it on for college money either. I put it on for the people in my country who were already wearing it, and were fighting in conflicts unrelated to them for the most part.

I support our troops. Literally.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

More MOUT

MOUT - n. military acronym.
Military Operations in Urban Terrain.

We hopped on buses, as opposed to the more common cattle trucks, and rode our happy asses to one of the billions of ranges here on this fanciful post. Weather conditions weren't bad, so there's something else to be greatful for.

At the moment, I'm preparing my room for an inspection, and as a result, this post has already taken me several hours to complete. So I'm going to rush it, and I hope its half decent. If not, well then you can always read "For Whom The Bell Tolls", because it drags on in parts worse than I could ever dream of.

The major and only focus of the day's training was entering and clearing buildings. Naturally, this has become an important military task. I wrote about being the poor fool inside the building when the big bad boys of U. S. of Fuckin A come storming in. Now here's a brief description of what its like to raid a decently constructed MOUT house.

In my team, I got to be the guy who breaches the door. This MOUT site actually HAD doors. Aww yeah. Get some. So when I got the signal, I'd run up, do something that I'm supposed to do that I'm not going to tell you about, and when ready, I'd kick that door in and get out of the way to let my crew into the room and I'd pour in at the end of the line. Violence of action? We've got it. Clearing rooms is one hell of a rush. I can't imagine what the real thing is like. From the moment I got the signal to the moment I heard the team leader say "Room clear," I didn't get one thought out. Just perception and action. Simplify to the point where the bullshit is gone. For once, I wasn't half day-dreaming. The only other time I've ever been that focused was while playing my guitar. And as soon as that particular run was over and we were having our After Action Report (AAR), we'd be asked to go over what all happened.

I had to seriously think HARD on what had happened. Its all a blur. By the time that I would make it in the room, guns were already ablaze. The only things on my mind were where my buddies were in the room, where the target was, and what my sector of fire was. There were a few other details as well, but does it really matter? The point is that clearing rooms is a rush. When we switched over to live ammo, things really kicked into a higher gear. You have to be fast, aggressive, decisive, perceptive, and SAFE all at the same time.

Our company commander watched a few of our iterations and he said that I really had him and my team fired up. Allegedly, I handled the training with a high degree of motivation and intensity. On one hand, its cool to be complimented and all that, but I'm not sure how I feel about that attention. Does this mean he'll have his eye on me from now on? Heh, life goes on. I'm just doing my job. Odd though, one of the few times I REALLY get into what we're doing, someone happens to be looking. Shit. To make matters worse (or maybe better, or both), when I came back from the range and was about to turn my weapon into the arms room, the supply sergeant mentioned that he heard that the CO was impressed.

Like I said, that's cool and all, but I don't see why no one else was mentioned. The kid who took point every time, with two groups, no less, was kicking ass. He almost always had the target down in one shot, before anyone else could even take a crack at it. Where's his kudos?

Right here.

How To Lose All Your Water Weight

I believe I've touched on roadmarches before. This morning, we went for a lovely 8 mile stroll to break our new rucks in. It wasn't too bad, so I suppose we're becoming very accustomed to them. Not enough, as I still managed to form blisters on my feet, but also not all that bad really. It rained the way it always does here at Lewis. A mild but ever present drizzle.

"Dude, rain sucks, man, its all like....depressing and wet and stuff."

Totally. But it was also nice at the same time. Sure, water adds weight, but when you take your soft cap off and orient your face towards the sky, rain will rinse some of the sweat off of your face and out of your eyes. And when one roadmarches, one sweats for a prolongued period of time, and the sweat will also dry. So you'll have trails of clearly visible salt on your face. I've also seen this on uniforms, especially around the borders of the body armor. Replenish your electrolytes, I guess.

Once we returned, a little bit on the fatigued side, it was decided that we would enjoy a 30 to 45 minute smoke session, I mean "motivational PT" session. Be loud for the hell of it, to rub this minor and insignificant accomplishment in the face of members of the other platoons who weren't doing anything. Right, because I'm sure they were jealous... Either way, to NOT sound off and make plenty of noise, that means that you, as a platoon would simply LOVE more strenuous and lengthy exercise.

After it was finished, one of my buddies said that it was exactly like PRC (Pre-Ranger Course). Sounds intensive. And for the record, its really hard to do pushups with the feet of the man in front of you resting on your shoulders while your feet rest on someone else's.

After lunch we played basketball, and that also makes you sweat. So I sweat a lot today. And THAT is how to lose waterweight, ladies and gentlemen. Sure you could sit in the sauna, but how is THAT fun?

Any questions?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

=)

Some images from the dinner ceremony thing with the awesome Japanese army. They are just straight up, the bomb dizzegety. H to the izzle.

Kendo fighters.
In action. Beats the hell out of our pugil stick fighting.
2 awesome drummers from the Japanese army, stationed at Mt Fuji (i believe)
Cheers.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Moment of Zen Brought to You by Me

Friday, November 04, 2005

Very Very Cool

We got there a little too late, so that part of our night is done and over, so now we'll just chill out here in the barracks. Again, I'll tell all of you all about it later on, once I'm a bit more calm and collected. I'm just really glad they came out, and glad I volunteered to go.

I've also never had a poem written about me, atleast not to my knowledge, so this is really cool. Tracy L. O'Very wrote this.

~~Unknown Not Ever Unknown~~ He is an unknown soldier. Unknown to you and me. We know not much about him or his life. We know he marched off, filled with pride. We know he served bravely for you and me. He protected our freedom, protected our lives. He gave his heart, he gave his love for you and me. He is an unknown soldier. Unknown to you and me. He is an unknown soldier. Unknown to you and me. They know all about him and his life. They watched him march off, filled with pride. They know he served bravely for you and me. They gave him their heart, they gave him their love. Unknown not ever unknown to all. He is an unknown soldier. Unknown to you and me. To all the unknown soldiers, their families and their friends, We stand with our pride-filled hearts, and give our love to you. And thank you, For protecting our freedom and protecting our lives. Salute!

Tracey L. O' Very 4/11/05 Copyright 2005 All rights reserved http://www.authorsden.com/traceylovery http://www.authorsden.com/traceylovery1

The spacing got all messed up, but its the idea behind it that matters to me, and not what format blogger.com presents it.

Much love,
RiaN!

I Really AM Turning Japanese

Just came back from hanging with the Japanese soldiers. Those people are completely.....AWESOME. I wish I was still there, chilling out. They had a few skits, some kendo fighting in armor, a weakest link Japanese style, and two AMAZING drummers. I filmed a decent deal of it, and I'll try to upload some, or atleast some pictures. Again, this was awesome. I am at a loss for eloquent words. I'm pretty much dumbfounded.

The Japanese seem to think we are the bomb diggety and then some. They were always like, "Gift! Gift!" We were exchanging everything we had. I gave away the unit crest from my beret, next went my unit patch on my right shoulder sleeve, then next to go was my American flag. They were digging that. I also gave one dude my U.S. Army tape that goes across my left chest above the pocket. I still have my name and my rank on my BDUs, I was trying to give away the rank, but they were cool. I think they saw how sterile my uniform was becoming. I scored a Tshirt, a cigarette case, a little card that had a tank on it, several rank pins, a unit crest. It was fucking AWESOME.

And now my roommate wants to go, so we are going back there. My platoon sergeant cut us off, while we're just buzzing. The Japanese see you without a beer, and they say, "Ohhh!!! Beer! Beer!" They love to hook you up. I'll tell you all more later.

Much love,
Private Ryan

Friday Is Good

First off, to Tracey L. O'Very, uh, yeah, you can use my posts on your site if you want as long as you credit them, that's cool. As for the picture, its just a screenshot from the move Full Metal Jacket. I just pulled it off the internet somewhere. Oh, and my name isn't really Hajji. Its Ryan. The word "Hajji" refers to anyone of the Islam faith who has completed their pilgrimage to Mecca. With us, the word "Hajji" refers to either all Iraqis or just the insurgents, I'm not too sure. I believe its been used in both context. It works the same way as the way we refer to ourselves, namely the low ranking nobody useful idiots, as "Joes", as in G.I. Joes. I played Hajji for an afternoon, but not the type that went to Mecca. Just to clarify.

Everybody has a freaking myspace. Everyone. What the hell? I created an account so I could view a friend's, and now my roommate is spazzing out and saying that we should create our own myspaces. The dude from that Laguna Beach tv show has one, and so does Tool's guitarist. THAT is saying something. This must be the beginning of the end.

Today we enjoyed the throwing of very nastily concocted pies in the faces of members of the troop to raise money for the family readiness group. I also donated money to the Red Cross, which for the first time in its history, has had to take out a loan. You, too, should donate atleast a couple bucks, some minute and useless amount of money that you'd normally spend on junk food and lattes anyway. This way, when your world turns to dogshit, god(s) forbid, they can help you out too. That, or you can spend your money to buy the first billion seasons of Survivor on DVD, so that the executives who produce it can continue to snort cocaine off of the asses of high priced hookers. Whichever works for you.

Later on tonight, myself and a few other members of my platoon, among more selected members of our company, are going to some get-together with Japanese soldiers that are visiting. I'll bring my Digital Camcorder of Ultimate Asskickery, and maybe even upload a few photos for all of you awesome people. Its Friday and I'm hoping to get my hands on some Saki, as I've never tried it, but prospects of that look grim, as my platoon sergeant will be there, and will likely say "Nay". Sadly, I am but the tender age of twenty. Two decades of existence on this fabulous planet are not enough to empart the necessary wisdom to legally allow me to drink. Luckily, if one so inclined as myself were to cross the mystical border of Canada, the curse would be lifted, and so would my spirits, with some good brews and laughter, and good times will be had by all. I still haven't gotten around to doing that, either. I'm slacking.

Alas, Cinderella must get ready for the ball. Necessary steps include selling out and creating a myspace. I'm sure I'll die a little more inside because of it.

Sincerely,
Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Hi, Call Me Hajji

Oh joy, interesting days indeed. Yesterday we had great fun with urban combat training. Since the army loves us all so dearly, our training took place in a ghost town that's been set up for this sort of purpose. It looked like one of those little European villages from Band of Brothers. The insides, however, were wooden skeletal abodes with no furniture or any decorations whatsoever. Very fit for a crackhouse, or hiding OPFOR (Opposing Force, good guys playing as bad guys so the other good guys can get more realistic training).

On this rainy Washington day, my platoon did our training in the morning, and we are all just so incredibly awesome that we should have our own cheerleaders, atleast I think so. But the cheerleaders have to be quiet while we're sneaking around. In fact, we'll keep the cheerleaders back at the rear to do our laundry and whatnot when we return from a hard day in the field.

But since that isn't going to happen, I'll get on with the story that a maximum of four people will be half interested in. During the afternoon, my platoon was the designated OPFOR, which meant that we were to hole up in buildings and be really mean Hajji type dudes while the other soldiers came in through anywhere they saw fit and put a jihad on our asses.

Now, I've done all the training that they were going over, and I was familiar with all these buildings. However, once the sheet hit the fan, all of that became irrelevant. U.S. troops put a monstrous Jihad onto any fools who want to play hide and seek. I experienced this firsthand, with a bunch of newbies attacking, no less. We, the humble OPFOR, were completley out-Jihadded. It was something ugly, like Metallica still trying to have a career. Or if New Kids On The Block had a reunion album singing selections by Bjork and featuring guest appearances by Yanni, Kenny G, and that guy from Van Halen, the replacement singer. That's right, a complete mess, a train wreck, the complete eradication of all things that once were. THAT'S what its like to have these crazy motha truckas sent in to light your fire.

After a while, we OPFOR losers started to get creative, and made it a little more challenging. Seeing as we were outnumbered and outgunned and disorganized, we decided to improvise. A buddy of mine, the fella that felt it necessary to unload on my Andy Dick from "In The Army Now" looking ass with blanks last week, decided that we needed a grenade or something. He ended up finding the casing for an illumination flare, which is tube shaped, like a pipe bomb or something. At one point, we were upstairs in one of the buildings waiting for the soldiers to come ass-kicking in. When they neared the stairs, he threw the 'grenade' down the stairs, and it was actually hilarious because you could hear them spazzing out and scattering downstairs, all their organization had turned to shit. FIGHT THE POWER! DRIVE OUT THE INFIDELS!!!

Once they were ready to reattempt to negotiate our Staircase of Impending Doom and Murder For Righteous Cause, we started hooking our rifles around the corner and blindly firing down the stairs, the way insurgents do. Now, this only works for a little bit, and only kept them at bay because they didnt have grenades. My buddy had to reload his weapon, leaving me in charge to cover the bottleneck that was the stairs.

Now previously, I was quickly eliminated by one of the sergeants from our company. He shortly after came back and "double tapped" me just to rub it in. I smiled and said something about getting him later. This is simply beautiful, as it was HIM who was now quietly sneaking up the stairs. I guess he was expecting one of us to lean around the corner again. I was hiding in a room and through the doorway I could see the stairwell. As soon as he came into view, he recieved a hail of divine punishment from my neck of the woods. "Ah fuck, I'm dead," was all he said as he stood aside and watched his men do their work. The man behind him had no idea what happened or where it came from, and he met the same fate. I am so awesome. The third guy to come up refused to accept that I already had three rounds in him before his weapon was even through the door, meaning that he wasnt hitting me, nor was he even firing until after I made him my Bullet Sponge Bitch. Suddenly, we're all seven years old again, playing guns in the back yard.

"I shot you!"

"Nuh uh!" BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM.

Ummmkay........Well then I guess I'M dead now. Here comes the fun part. Once the room is cleared, they've got to search you, etc. Hell, you're DEAD, so they can take liberties in maneuvering you around. At one point, I died in the way of another door that they'd have to enter. This big Specialist, a Hawaiian dude, grabbed me by my body armor and very suggestively repositioned me out of the way, in the same manner one would reposition a trash bag blocking the door to Eternal Happiness. Then some other dude raids me like some scavenger. I felt like Mike Tyson's girlfriend. (Sorry, that was low.)

During the final run, my pal Ol Buddykiller and I found another house, again upstairs to chill in. He rigged up a boobytrap to the stairs and readied another grenade. We traded off drags of a cigarette as we watched our Evil American Enemies clear the first building. As soon as they started moving to the second, we'd take shots at them from the windows, waiting for our turn to get our butts whooped. Once a team of Infidels prepared to enter our building, we dropped a grenade right on them, and again laughed at the thought of them scattering like cockroaches under the light. One guy saw our booby trap on the stairs and shouted it out, but whoever it was that was in the lead must have thought that it wasn't part of the training, and tripped it. At this point, we felt like some pretty badass Hajjis.

Guess what, we still got smoked.

The funny thing is that in an actual combat situation like that, we wouldn't have lived half as long as we did, and most times I was a goner within the first ten seconds. The Joes were everywhere. They're like ninjas or something. Even sneakier than the Giddeons who put Bibles in hotel rooms when no one is looking.

"Wow, RiaN!, that sure is cool! But what did you do today?"

Well my friends, we went to the rifle range and shot a bunch of stuff to relieve all our manly aggression and show those cartboard silhouette targets who the boss is. Get some!

And then, we came back, and had to hang around in the common areas for an extra what....uhh....oh yeah, three hours, thanks to a very interesting set of mess-ups. You see, two guys [OPSEC OPSEC] and then when they [OPSEC] they [OPSEC OPSEC-A-ROO] and that led to a Wild [OPSEC] Chase. Aside from that, there was [OPSEC] when there's only [OPSEC] to [OPSEC OPSEC OPSECUREME] and so we had to do something about it, which involved [OPSEC]. Personally, I feel that maybe a little more [OPSEC] should be applied to the news and the military channel and shitty shows like Over There, which seem to reveal way more than my gibbering ever will. But that's just me.

We finally got off work, and my roommate and I went to Subway. While waiting, I mentioned to him that we should set our alarms for 5AM because that's when we need to be up. The girl at the counter promptly said, "So do I" in a seemingly 'I have it worse than you and I'm still working' way. My homie and I exchanged looks like "Is she serious?" We held our tongues though.

Who knows, maybe she was having the worst day of her life. I was half tempted to mention some of the things we do, but why? What's the point? If I was in college right now, I'd be complaining about how difficult everything is, and how the sky is falling, and Pixar is making a movie about it. I got my sandwich, my drink, and my cookies, and that's all I had come for. Mission accomplished, dammit.

RiaN!'s New GoArmy Commercial:

As always, the commercial features someone at their new civilian job after getting out of the army. The employer is explaining a few points of the job to the former soldier.

Manager: "Now, there may be times where you'll have to work really late. Have you ever had to do that before?"

The former soldier's eyes become distant and the scene cuts to a company of tired and hungry soldiers standing in formation well after the sun has gone down and the rain has made everything cold and clammy. Everyone is still on duty because of some really stupid reason [OPSEC! HAHAHAHHA!] and is highly annoyed.

Cut back to the present.

Ex-Soldier: "Yeah.....at my last job."

GOARMY.COM

Monday, October 31, 2005

Mozilla Firefox Is Better


Just so everyone knows, anyone is welcome to post a comment or ten, its always nice to see some feedback. That, and if any other milbloggers (oh my god, I said it, WOW, I better repent) excuse me, any other members of the armed forces that write on a website annoyingly referred to as a blog, feel free to leave the link in one of the comments and I'll be happy to swap links with you.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Thanks, God!

We went to the same range today, initially with the intent of ripping that bad boy down and getting off of work early. Instead, turns out my platoon finally got a chance to run through the exercise. We ran through it, team by team, the teams consisting of 4 or 5 guys.

For the first iteration, we went "dry fire", which meant that we were just yelling "Bang bang", because that scares the enemy when you pretend to shoot him. Bang bang. I got you! "No you didnt!" MOM!!! Lots of running and diving into the prone and shouting and attempting to discern what the hell everyone was doing.

Next was the blank fire, which means that we had 3 magazines, 90 rounds total, of blank ammunition for our magically delicious M4A1 Assault Rifles of Doom. Once again, my team of miscreants fresh out of AIT kicked ass and didn't bother with the names. We were all dirty and sweaty and breathing hard from jumping up from the ground, bounding, and diving back onto our faces to shoot popup targets. All went well, as far as I knew. Shoot shoot shoot, reload, run, drop, shoot, yell, grunt, groan, thank god training actually means something today.

What I WASN'T aware of, was that the new guy in our platoon was suffering from the fogging of his eye protection, which are neat army issue sunglasses/goggles. The kind of thing a painter or sheetrocker who was fashion conscious but not informed regarding current trends would wear. Slightly retro. Rather than pausing in the prone to take his non firing hand off of his badass weapon and I dunno, maybe wipe off his glasses, he decided to shoot blind. Somehow along the lines of our action packed trek through the woods, battling for life against heavily armed silhouette targets, this fella bounded and got down once again, and assumed that he was shooting in the right direction.

A drill sergeant will kill yo' ass if you say that you "assumed" anything. Assuming the sun will rise tomorrow? Heh, you are done for, cowboy.

In all reality, from what I was told afterwards, his boom-stick was oriented directly at me. And APPARENTLY, he was spamming his trigger like a badly injured hospital patient mashing the button for his morphine drip.

Um, shit.

I wasn't too fazed about that. It wasn't until people were asking me if I was comfortable with doing the same thing, only live fire next. That type of question will sometimes get one's wheels spinning, just a tiny bit. I sucked a trusty Marlboro Light down very quickly and tossed a kevlar plate in the back of my body armor, grabbed 3 magazines of live ammo, and trotted over to the start point. Seems someone important still loves me, so I'm here to regurgitate my boring life one keystroke at a time.

And another thing, I forgot to put in my earplugs, so my ears are still ringing. Feels like I came back from a Mudvayne concert or something. Gwar even. Either that, or I've got a tuning fork in both ears. Stop the madness.

This has been a week in Ryan.
Signing off,

Stephen Colbert

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Shpadoinkle

A rather intersting week. We went out to the field to dig freaking holes while the rest of the troop had the day off, and that was all magic and delicious and holy. With e-tools in hand, we played in rivers of chocolate, and we all had gumdrop smiles. Basically, we were setting up a live fire range with pop-up targets. While everyone else had the day off. I just want you to know that.

On to the next day, and you will all simply loooove this. Yeah, prepare to laugh long and hard at my expense. Finish sipping your drink and set it down on a solid surface and prepare your pointing finger, so you can point and cackle with glee at my misfortune. You ready? Ok.

We had a sudden room inspection that morning. And as the fates would have it, it was ALSO on the morning that our room was the most ate up that it has ever been, in the history of our awesomehood in the U.S. Army of A. It looked like Hurricane Wilma made a pit stop in our barracks. "Well geez, dude, what was your punishment?"

Step one: Remove absolutely EVERYTHING from the room, including the army issue furniture.

Step two: Clean everything. A lot.

Step three: Sweep, mop, strip, and wax the floor.

Step four: Wait and wait and wait for your platoon sergeant to return from the field (which wasn't until dinner time, and yes, we got to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, don't worry America, we're doing swell!).

Step five: Attain approval of aforementioned Sergeant of Platoon, and commence returning everything in the room.

Step six: Rearrange the entire room setup just for the hell of it.

Step seven: Reorganize all personal effects.

Step eight: Grab your sleeping bag and sleep outside for the night, to learn to appreciate how wonderful the barracks are.

It didn't rain very much, so that was a plus. Aside from that, the sleeping bags that the army issues are the bomb diggety and then some. I don't have one solitary complaint about it, and that's saying something. We (my roommate and I) didn't have much trouble falling asleep, despite Blackhawks and Chinooks (both helicopters) flying overhead. It wasn't restful sleep though. Not like it was on Mount Rainier.

Since then, we have once again been allowed to exist in our wonderful hovel, and for some reason, we feel the urge to keep it tidy, but I'm not really sure why. Must be a midlife crisis thing. The past couple days, we've been returning to the field, where our job is to:

1) Load ammunition, both blank and live, into their respective magazines and give them to the guys from the other platoons to go play with.

2) Eat MREs (Meal Ready to Eat, the military rations

3) Sleep in the tent, trying your hardest to keep warm.

I probably only loaded a total of six magazines, 30 rounds each, this week. Other than that, I've been doing nothing. We DID learn how to make a tear gas-like "MRE Bomb". That's always good fun. I won't bother to explain how to make one, though its really simple, and really fun. As a hint, it involves the tobasco sauce that comes in little bottles in an MRE. Just imagine that converted into fumes.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Vicious Cycle

Today is just another day, just like the one before and the one that will come after it. After a while, the wonders of the army are replaced with something more mundane. Getting out of bed is a compromise again.

And you, my sacred pillow with my sacred sheets,
Leave of you must I take
To drag myself through another day,
and despise every moment I'm awake.

This just becomes the new daily grind. Once you get outside and downstairs, you begin to make more compromises. The wise don't weight the pros and cons. Instead they just do what they're supposed to, possibly grumble to themselves a little, and are thankful for their downtime. Life is fun when you take a position of cynical optimism. And no, that isn't an oxymoron. To anyone interested, I invited you to research the origin of the cynical way of thinking and what really defines it. Here's a hint: Jesus could be considered a cynic.

Things around here are fine, same old really. Found out something that I consider to be bad news, but this I know for sure I can't say because it violates OPSEC in some minute way. No, nothing major either. Once again, its just something that wouldn't seem even remotely special to anyone reading, but it does grind my gears.

Here's basically what the deal is. Our [OPSEC] won't be [OPSEC] with [OPSEC], instead [OPSEC OPSEC OPSEC] with [OPSEC] which I am not even remotely pleased about. Even worse, our [OPSEC] is [OPSEC] by [OPSEC], which is probably the dumbest idea I've ever heard of, even worse than the first issue.

Another compromise: when you realize just HOW full of shit the commercials are, and you just accept it and move on. In most of these compromises, you don't actually gain anything. By compromising, you don't lose more. Then again, that's how most facets of life are. The army itself (the intangible army, the spirit of it) seems to be a direct reflection of life in general, only its messages and lessons are in bold italic ALL CAPS BROKEN DOWN TO THE SIMPLEST LEVEL, PLAIN AS DAY IN LAYMAN'S TERMS.

Each day is a compromise, but the rewards are rarely handed to you. Seems you've got to grab ahold of them yourself. As for me, covered in mud from PT, I'll consider the shower I'm about to take as one of the small rewards of the day. By now, one should be open.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Random Thought

One really cool thing about the army is that you meet dudes of all walks of life. People you'd never of your best friends. And people you'd never expect will occasionally surprise you with something you've both got in common.

I was coming back from the latrine, scrubbing my face so as to retain my boyish good looks, and I hate left my door open with my craptop playing music. A guy from a different platoon walked by and said, "Oh, listening to the Mars Volta huh?"

Damn, no one I know has heard of them. I was a bit surprised, but quite delighted. I was halfway through saying that I saw them in concert with A Perfect Circle, when I realized we were both saying the same thing in unison. So we ended up bullshitting about them and Tool concerts for a few minutes. Neat fella.

We both concluded that we'll likely be in the field or deployed when Tool finally releases their album and tours around here. Such is army life.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I Think I'm Turning Japanese

Well, some things are new, many aren't. We've got a certain something going on, and that's probably the most I should say. Yes, this hush hush horseshit pisses me off, and I hope I'm just taking it too far. Either way, what COULD be a quasi interesting post, that would really be one more tiny grain of spice to season my altogether bland military career, is now just a question mark. Behold the mystery. I'll let your imagination run wild, because I'm sure that anything you'd come up with would be infinitely better than the sad truth.

And something else will get new too. Oh well. I'll obscure even mundane details. We love you, OPSEC.

In unclassified news, we played basketball for our second PT session of the day.

" *GASP* Really?! Holy cow crap, Ryan! That is soooo awesome!"

Yes, I know. This is pretty depressing for me actually. I started this site with the intentions of not only keeping a type of journal for myself to look back on, but also to let my friends know what was going on in my neck of Planet Shit, and maybe even provide a decent resource of information for any young whipper snapper considering joining the army. Whatever.

Anyway, something slightly interesting is going on that we're helping out with. By helping out, thus far I mean that members of my platoon set up a couple of tents, and then found some odd (training) site, which was just concrete tunnels that were all interconnected. Reminded me of Mario Brothers.

So we did what any respectable and grown up representatives of the United States would do. We ran in there and crouch-walked through the dark tunnels like little kids while I hummed the theme that plays in the underground levels of Mario, which echoed very well, and that pleased me.

And in today's news, my M4 is clean.

When you join the army, your life as you know it changes, a lot. That shouldn't come as such a revelation, but the magnitude of it tends to creep up on you. Four years, living almost a completely different life. And when its all over, I'm just supposed to pick my old one up?

You don't jumpstart or "accelerate your life" like those cute recruiter's pamphlets say. You completely change it, or put it on hold, or something like that. That's not completely a bad thing either, but when you're just laying there, smoking a cigarette and letting your mind wander, the badass patrol boy, Officer Reality, tends to sneak up on you.

Good luck keeping in contact with everyone that you're so sure you will. It isnt easy. You try, but there's a natural current working against you. People get busy, and things happen. That's why I look at the new soldiers I came in with, the ones who are/were in relationships. They last like paper dolls in the rain.

One thing is that you know that when its all said and done, your family will still be there. As for most friends, well, the way it seems now, its just best to hope you took plenty of pictures along the way. Keep a song on your mp3 player that reminds you of them. Enjoy what you had, and drive on. That's life.

Its already bizarre to know that my younger brothers are growing up without me. My sister is getting married. My younger brother is already a much better author than I ever was or will be, and already has more schooling in film. I suppose this is what a father feels like when his son beats him at something for the first time. You'd think I'd be jealous, but I'm not. I think its fucking awesome. I also hear bits and pieces about the even younger ones, and I'm sure my mind will be blown if and when I go home for the holidays. And more so in the next couple years. Here is the part where I guilt trip myself for not calling them more often, or not having my phone with me when my sister calls (Sorry Jentard).

Instead, I'm removed from my family, only hearing things second hand, not experiencing them myself. I never imagined how bad that would suck. It must take some adjusting, coming back out of the military. Luckily, I've still got three and a half freaking years before I have to worry about that.

And that's...the REST OF THE STORY.

Signing off,

Ben Affleck

Saturday, October 15, 2005

How To Disappear Completely

I spend pretty much every waking moment around these guys, and sometimes on the weekends, the idea of being able to relax and get lost in a movie or a book sounds like a holy gift from God himself.

So when I hear someone in the hallway shout, "Skinny!" and knock on my door, I don't even bother to take my eyes off the screen, instead I take another drag off of my cigarette and stare blankly, like the protagonist from Pink Floyd's "The Wall".

I'm not here, this isn't even happening. I'm elsewhere. See you at 0600 on Monday.

The Good Gibberish

How would you all like a good drunken rant?

Soldiers are known for their ability to consume alcohol like it was the source of all life itself, and it seems even MY bitch ass is no exception. So after a few more drinks, I'll begin a rant.

In the meantime, my roommate informs me that:

"You are good stuff, no matter what. And no matter what anyone says, my asshole is chapped. And yeah, I'm probably gonna throw up tonight."

Excellent, now its time to play catch up. In the meantime, if it is available, cue Tool's "The Grudge" on your music playing device, even though the mind blowing quality of it will be tainted by my ramblings, but that's something each reader must face alone. Its 1:19 in the morning and I'm still sober, and the less friendly and mellow drunks have turned in, and now I can relax and enjoy my stupor that is to come.

There's nothing quite like stepping into the latrine to use a urinal, and seeing it nearly clogged with cigarette butts. I mean what the fuck? Cigarette butts in my place of pissing? WHY? What about empty beer cans? Is that too creative for you other Joes? What the frickin shit? Put that bitch out somewhere where we don't risk a severe clog and the potential hazard of human waste and effluence pouring over porcelain precipices to splash onto tiled floors and taint the airways of residential soldiers of such a pitiful living environment. I mean hey, I love to breathe piss as much as the next guy, but come the fuck on, this is ridiculous. Atleast EAT your cigarette butts if you are too retarded to put them out and dispose of them like a human being who has graduated Neanderthal School. Goll-ee.

By the way, sandwich bag companies love pot dealers, because they are the leading purchasers of that particular product. Write Glad a thank you note, dealers.

Perhaps this is why I can't escape drinking. I have somehow established myself as a very fun and entertaining drunk, which powerleveled (raised significantly in a short period of time) my tolerance for the most wonderful liver killing substance since Courtney Love. Oh well, no one's perfect, and I still don't understand Phil Donahue.

Another thing that grinds my gears is imbedded reporters. I've yet to truly experience altogether what its like to be imbedded by a reporter, but I'm sure Connie Chung will come around eventually. =P But Geraldo Rivera giving away the top secret location of U.S. troops and then WONDERING WHY HE WAS KICKED OUT OF THEATER, come on. Please, Geraldish, don't attempt to project such pituary retardedness onto us, Dick Clark made you after Satan impregnated you with his black tar bat-blood seed, so take a seat and shut up, for my word is the truth. The moral of the rant was that it seems that most imbedded reporters are in it ONLY to make a name for themselves (unlike most reporters, because I'm sure they are all about self sacrifice and not about personal gain, yep, positive, I am in no way doubtful, oh no, not me, never would question THAT irrefutable logic, uh uh, NO WAY Sam, I ain't gonna have it...). There may be a FEW honest dudes and dudettes whose work I have yet to read, but so far, I have decided that they aren't kosher, and no one cares, and this post will be deleted in the morning as I struggle to hydrate and wonder where I went wrong.

Next: Global warming. For fuck's sake, stop warming the global. God, like its that hard. I took a conscious decision to stop green housing and stuff, so why can't you? Global warming raped my neighbor's friend's cat and stole their furniture. Its bad stuff. Yes, this is allegedly your nation's finest, right here, babbling online with a BAC to rival his high school GPA. Which leads me to the real point.

When I was home on leave after all my initial training (Basic and the combined AIT), the only type of people that ever THANKED me for volunteering for service were the very people that I had assumed to be bottom feeding leeches, though still humans and not to be stereotyped, as a whole were unmotivated, etc etc etc, anyway, every Native American that I came across thanked me and showed a deep respect as I worked OH SO HARD on Hometown Recruiters Assistance. I was blown away. Fuck, wasn't I taught by friends and overall stereotype that these people were just drunks and druggees and lived off of welfare? Well shit, these "bottom feeders" expressed more gratitude than any officious prick in a business suit. Kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it? You can suppress a culture for generations and reduce it to near ruin, and STILL the important aspects will shine through the worst that we have put on them.

And yes, it took a great amount of courage for me to admit this to anyone reading. I have never been one to claim racism towards any culture, creed, or heritage, but my overall opinion regarding MOST Natives had been changed dramatically.

Before I enlisted, when I was still working at Spencer Gifts, with a head full of blue hair, I met two high school buddies of mine who were home for Christmas, shopping for their families. Both of them had become Marines. One of them was a Native that I had always had a lot of respect for. I'd mention his name if I could only track him down to get his permission. I regard him that highly. In high school, he stuck out like a sore thumb, striving academically, where others of his culture fell prey to complete indifference. I still remember our graduation ceremony. We were all wearing our blue dresses, I mean gowns, with our mortar hats (OH MY GOD THE IRONY!), and his mortarboard or whatever the fuck your grandmother called it, was decorated with a feather, to represent his Native pride. I was completely blown away. Six months later, as I was directionless and looking to the army to serve a debt I felt I owed as a young American male to my brothers, I was attempting to suggestive-sell beer bongs when this familiar face in civilian clothes strode in.

Of course I'd approach him. Loudly, "Hello good sir! Welcome tae Spencer's! How may ah help you?!" I shouted in a pitifully offensive Scottish accent, holding a Simpson's beer mug. I then approached him and began a conversation with him, to find that he had become a fucking Marine.

Now normally, in the army, we give the marines shit for being robots, etc etc etc, which really doesnt mean shit. Bottom line is that they are our counterparts, and they are the same mofos that came from the same high schools as us and fight the same battles, and all brotherly rivalry can piss off when it comes down to the wire, but that's a different rant for a different day.

I can't describe my elation to hear that this guy, who I had always really respected but never knew how to acknowledge that and tell him in words that wouldnt creep the both of us out, had pushed himself to become one of our nation's finest. Most of the time, when you hear good news about someone, you say, "Well that's just great, I'm really happy for you," but you don't mean shit. You say that, but you really mean that you can't wait to go home, get some grub, watch some TV, and have some sex so you can wake up to do it all over again. I seriously meant it. It was insane to see this guy really raising the boundaries. I suppose you'd have to be from my hometown to understand exactly where I'm coming from, but damn, this guy had a hell of an impact on me.

I'm sorry, this was intended to be an entertaining drunk rant, and instead I ended up praising someone that never ceased to amaze me. Sorry. I hope that someday he finds this and sees it. At that point he can say, "Wow, what a fucking fruit," which would be TOTALLY cool with me.

I didn't violate OPSEC by mentioning that Spencer's sells beer bongs did I? FUCK! Well, BOHICA.

[BOHICA - Slang - Bend Over Here It Comes Again - A phrase to express the manner in which the army can and will "fuck" you in a sense of the word. Generally not a complaint, but a joke to relieve tension and aggression towards any and all unfortunate situations that are part of the territory of being a soldier. The remedy for such tension and aggression, of course, is to drink water, as that can cure any ailment in the Army.

And for any hopefuls that may stumble upon this absolute dogshit in HTML format that are considering the army, all I have to say is that on a day to day basis, you will bitch, piss and moan, and pass figurative kidney stones the size of the rocks of Gibraltar. But when you look at the big picture, its a good experience, even if it will set you several years behind all your friends at home.

Fuck it, college can wait. Let the army show you how to drink so that you can impress your frat lovers later.