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.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The OPSEC Monster

Well, as I figured, the time came. We, as a troop, were all herded into one room to receive yet another briefing. The subject: OPSEC (Operational Security, protecting confidential information or any knowledge, etc that could jeopardize soldiers through the exposure of patterns, tactics, equipment, weaknesses, etc).

Our troop commander made a brief mention of milblogs, a word he seemed unfamiliar with, and I knew from there that things will be a bit more sensative for me now, though with good reason. There are people that provide enough information about themselves online that a few Google searches can provide all the intelligence needed to cause them harm in one way or another. Milblogs have of course come to the forefront in discussions about OPSEC.

Thanks, Buzzell. =P

I really don't know how much I should restrain this blog, but I'm also not going to ask, because I don't want the attention. I'd prefer to remain anonymous to all except the few back home who know about this, other than them, I'd just like to be a shapeless entity. Either way, its going to be difficult to continue this AND keep it interesting, especially given the fact that the unit I'm with, which I won't name in hopes that I haven't already, is becoming more and more proficient at a quickening pace [I'd like to describe vague events coming up, but that may not be a good idea]. Fear is the perfect tool of control. Twisted religious leaders in the past have used fear to control their people. A perfect example is witch hunts. In this day, we have terrorist hunts. Granted, the "witches" of Salem weren't beheading people.

I'll continue to do my best with this crappy ass site, but I may have to take a little time to figure out how I'll need to go about it. Thanks, and bear with me.

Love,
Morgan Freeman

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Q&A Time

"Dear Ryan,
Like, omg, what is army life like as opposed to civilian life and all that stuff?
Sincerely,
Avril Lavigne"

Well, Avril, its like this:

Imagine living in college dorms, except with members of the same sex. You share bathrooms and laundry rooms, and have to listen to other people's shitty music and any noise they decide to make. Sounds like college so far right?

Let's take a trip to the chow hall, or DFAC as we call it. This is an area that we go to nourish ourselves with food that is prepared by people who really don't care. I don't mean like "McDonald's don't care", I mean the kind of 'don't care' that comes from having a job that you can never be fired from, and have little or no opportunity to get ahead. They work for the end of the day, Clerks can never compare. They don't have to worry about losing business, so manners and customer service are used about as much as profilactics at an ecstacy fueled rave.

Have you ever had to take a urinalysis for a job? If you have, you will able to understand this a little better. Imagine taking one at random times every two weeks or even more often. "Well that don't sound so bad, G!" Wait, there's more. When these little surprise tests come up, you are awakened at around 3:00 AM, if your karma is good. You are then herded into the Day Room (lounge or living room of the barracks) with 150 other dudes, and are advised to drink water, and lots of it. You consume large quantities of water so as to encourage the need to piss. It is also required that you are "observed" while you do your business, and the number of observers is always very limited. What results is a very long line of men doing the pee pee dance. Usually about four dudes at a time are taken to drain their snakes, and too many of them get "stage fright" which really slows things down. So now you've consumed water until your bladder is ready to burst, and its time to stand in line for an hour. FUN!!!

Sometimes I consider smoking weed once I get out, just to feel like I've earned the agony of those tests.

Aside from that, there is pretty much NOTHING for a single soldier to do. Got no car, can't go anywhere. Got a car, nowhere worth going (especially if you're part of the Under 21 Club). There is pretty much NO SUCH THING as a single female on post, so any woman you see within the gate is unavailable. Outside of the gate, too many women like to use Joe for money. We call these "gold-diggers". Others are not into the military type, and assume that we are all testosterone fueled idiots etc. We call these "liberals". Just kidding, we love you.

So as I was ranting, nothing worth doing is within walking distance, and owning a car is for people who have lives (Catch 22). You can talk to people from back home, but really, it isnt the same. Our lives aren't that interesting to others on the outside for the most part, and we no longer have much in common. You've now been cut adrift. You have two choices. You can reach your arms out and scream for Wilson until you're hoarse, or you can paddle around in the water in search of something that works.

Welcome to the wonderful world of barracks parties. Doesn't matter how old you are, you can always find a way to get good and liquored up, just like high school, or Lindsey Lohan. Other than party, what is there to do? Well, I suppose you could sit in your room and watch TV and play video games. For four years? Sit in your room alone and waste time? Or you can walk down the hall to a friend's room where everyone is laughing and joking and carrying on, and you can party with them too. No matter what, its almost ALWAYS a good time, even if you can't remember much of it the next day. That's what everyone else does. Its not about the In Crowd. You aren't doing it to be cool. You're doing it to stay sane.

Well, if you're the type that likes to Drunk Dial, your friends back home will naturally get the impression that all you ever DO is drink. Great, you've alienated yourself even further. And when drinking gets old and you get sick of it, you REALLY begin to see how bad this sucks.

You aren't receiving adequate training, you aren't the soldier you thought you'd be, you're nowhere you hoped to be, your recruiter lied about everything, the commercials were full of shit, home is very far away, and you still owe Uncle Sam plenty of hard time. And what do you do when you get out? The job market doesn't hold a lot for Infantry.

[My Version of the New GoArmy Commercials]

A mid twenties aged male is having a job interview at his local Hastings.

Employer: Well, your resume says you spent four years in the army, and your past jobs are solid. You seem to be able to keep a commitment, no criminal record, great. All that's left is a urinalysis. Have you ever taken one before?

At this point, the ex-soldier's eyes shift to the side and become distant.

Cut to a scene in which 150 men are crammed into a room nearly pissing on each other with the urgent need to piss, watching the line that moves slower than the one at the DMV. One soldier is holding a piece of paper with the number 134 written on it. Above the door is a sign that reads "Now Serving: 4".

Cut back to the job interview.

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

Monday, October 10, 2005

Rallos Zek Cons Green To Me

I've begun reading a book that doesn't suck, the way this blog DOES suck. You will now click on the link that reads "My War", and find that there is indeed a book called by a similar title, and then you're going to go read it. If you don't, you forfeit your right to inform me exactly how badly my shitblog sucks, and how every time you happen across it, you are strongly urged to scoop your eyes out of their sockets and hang them on your rear view mirror like fuzzy dice and then careen your car across several lanes of traffic, taking out any and all billboards you can before getting into a cataclysmic wreck and spending the next 90 days in a coma, to which you will wake up, take note of the fact that you have a catheter now, and can once again reminisce on how bad I suck.

Or you could just read the fucking book because I like it and my word is god.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

A Neat Little Anecdote

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this or not. I'd always been planning on chronicling a lot of what happened when I was in basic training, but it seems I rarely ever get around to it.

Around our seventh week or so, if I remember correctly, we once again loaded onto the cattle trucks and were transported to the M240Bravo range. The M240B is an automatic weapon that uses 7.62 mm ammunition, and its quite a beast. I recall standing about 30 feet behind the two man team in front of me who were operating the 240. At that distance, you can still feel it rattle your teeth with each shot. A heavy but excellent weapon. Unfortunately it isnt extremely mobile, but you pick the right tool for the right job.

Backing up to the point I intended to make with this story, we had just received our briefing for that particular range, and we were moving in a single file line to receive our belt of ammunition. My senior drill sergeant was standing in full battle rattle next to a table covered in belts, and was handing them out to us in a very efficient manner. He was never really one to fiddle fart around.

He ripped another belt off of the table as if he was pulling out waist-high stems of grass, looking for some prized possession that had fallen and disappeared in the growth. The belt fell into my hands and I began to range walk (moved quickly, but not running), excited as all hell to finally have my chance to put the M240Badass to work.

Immediately behind me I heard a sharp combination between a pop and a crack, and I half turned to look over my shoulder. Drill sergeants and range cadre swarmed my drill sergeant and the private standing next to him and began to tear their gear off. The private was holding his eye, and his kevlar and body armor, followed by BDU top, were removed with an exceptional lack of gentleness. Within seconds, both were half undressed, being inspected for injuries.

The private had what I believe is called "flash burn", though I could be wrong. The drill sergeant was slightly wounded in his arm. We were all ordered to ground our ammo and move back a good 50 meters and stand by while EOD (Explosive Ordninance Disposal, or some bullshit like that) was called to attempt to determine what had happened.

At this point, it was already discovered that a round from the privates belt had fired, even though there wasnt a weapon within 50 feet, and none were loaded. It was eventually concluded that what had happened was that as the belt landed in the private's hands, one end swung around and the tip of one round hit the primer of another, causing it to explode. No one was hit by the actual round itself, and a small amount of the shell casing had hit the drill sergeant in the arm.

Later that day, we were able to continue the training. That night, as mail was being handed out, our drill sergeant cracked a joke about how it just wasn't his week. "The shit I put up with for Uncle Sam," he said in his Missouri drawl, "on top of everything else, tore my damn rotator cuff playing basketball with my wife, what the hell, gotta spend 14 weeks with you sonsa bitches, and then I get shot. You'll still see me in the morning for PT. Drive on, goddammit."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Reality TV Is The Meaning Of Life

Well, here comes a rather bitter and menstrual post from your favorite geek. A nice sour lemon for you to suck on, and temporarily make your face scrunch up in the most bitter-beer of ways.

Looking back at my posts from when I was PREPARING to join this lovely, absolutely wonderful organization that never fucks people over, I was reminded of my original aspirations. I was attempting to become an infantryman (instead I was designated an 11C mortarman, which is still technically infantry, but that's HIGHLY debatable. In fact, if it weren't for the fact that I'd lose what little traffic I do get, I'd change the name from eleven-bravo, which I am not, to eleven-charlie, or something sarcastic and angry. Leaving the name as eleven-bravo is sarcastic enough now) and also to attain Airborne status. Well wouldn't you know it, I didn't get airborne school.

Now, I'm assigned to a unit that doesn't even have Strykers yet. Its a unit of firsts. Still not on its feet, and vastly different from what I had expected. All in all, its really not a big deal. Life has an annoying habit of going on, regardless of what happens. We'll see what comes from this whole experience.