Wanna see some scars and shit? Maybe some video? Some shit I couldn't talk about when I was in the Army? I might even throw in a set of tits, just to take attention away from that god-awful Jersey Shore bullshit.



Vets got venom.


An Afterthought

Sorry for not telling the whole story, for omitting what I felt I had to. And for what I couldn't bring myself to write about. Maybe someday. Maybe never. Re-reading old entries takes me back there, and I can only do it one or two posts at a time before I have to stop.

I just still don't get it.



We're back now. Back in the states.

Back to the booze. Back to the insanity of normal living. Fresh introduction to ridiculous gas prices. Great guys coming home to disastrous situations. The most unexpected, failed marriaged, and thankya very much Uncle Sam. Seeing as ol' Unc gives such a shit about fixing these quiet problems. Cheating wives. And who can blame who? Gone for over a year, what is a human being to do?

Just don't discredit the army, and everything is ok. Fuck you, Joe. Figure it out.

The Army cares about families. Really, it does. And that's why the happiest couples are in such an interesting state. That's why a married guy is crashing in the extra space in my room. Because we're all such heroes, we're all supported oh so much. But I guess refusing the dick is a bit much to ask from married women. I guess this is just our new culture. More money for the lawyers.

Here is your shiny happy future! Repetitive briefings filled with scare tactics, to the point where you don't even want to leave your room because it is a FACT that you will fuck up and the Army will destroy you. You're back, and "thank you" and all that, but really, hardly anyone truly cares. You're not in Iraq anymore, you're just another "vet" and yawn an' fuckoff kindly. Deny it all you want, but its the truth. The second day we were back, we went right back to not meaning shit to anyone except our mothers.

When I left, phones flipped open, but made sense. Now my phone has a keyboard and a touch screen. I should need a degree from MIT to run the bastard. You can't find a normal TV, they're all flat pannel HD spreadyercheeksandcoughupthecash crazy contraptions. Now I can see all the starlets blemishes in SUPER HIGH DEFINITION.

Sure, I catch myself scanning the freeway in high def, and the strangely shaped roofs. The shops and malls and hotels and godknowswhat. All to find even less.

"Oh, you're [Father]'s son, the one that just came back from Iraq?! How was it? Was it fun???"

I couldn't make this up if I tried. I've just been holding my tongue, being on my best behavior. That is, til I ended up at a friend's house, this friend being dead, and talking to his widowed wife, drinking wine and feeling awkward. Before I know it, I'm on the porch, hiding from everyone else, and the faucet is turned on, and I'm completely losing it, trying to find logic behind everything when I know that there is none. Trying to come to grips that one of the greatest people that I'll ever meet wasn't able to come home, and now I'm a guest in his wife's house. Oh you can bet I hung my head.

And then I went back to the Consumer Binge, namely in the mall. Sure, the Arabic fellow selling lotion didn't deserve the instinctive freak-out that I gave him, or the threats of bodily harm. He didn't deserve my desire to stomp the life out of him, but what business did he have being in my homeland, freedom aside?

Half the time, it's like I'm still There. The other half of the time, it's ALMOST like I had never actually left. Maybe just slept in. But now people are "proud" of me for doing whatever it is that I did.

I asked a Vietnam Vet a few questions. He said that it took him no time at all to readjust. Once again, we were the weird ones. Step outside and hear some other unit at the range unloading rounds, and for a second, it could be another firefight in Dourah, Baghdad. But no, it's not.

You're home now. You're no one again. All thanks aside, you're just a Joe. And no one here gives a shit. Most of 'em have done it, and the ones who haven't, well those newbie bastards are heading there sooner than soon. No ticker tape parade. Just a slideshow. Powerpoint.

Just liquor. Pouring as much of it into your face as you can, just as long as you don't have to work the next morning (even then, it's debatable). Everything is explainable, but nothing makes SENSE. We got no action, we got no motion. Don't think the boy can play much anymore.

We're kinda just like the rest of you now. Trying our damndest anyway. Got another year left. Then four years inactive.

Far as anyone else is concerned, I was never there. Never once.


The Grand Fucking Finale

Kuwait. Nightmare of customs.

Waiting. Sleep deprivation. True sand. Dangling freedom right in front of us.

One flight after another. Layovers. Sitting in a bus in the middle of nowhere in Kuwait. Popping Unisoms and watching flight attendants disappear before your eyes. Next time they open, everyone else is eating. Everyone but you, as you wipe a thick sticky streak of saliva off your cheek.

You wake up in Ireland, just long enough to smoke a cigarette and catch another briefing.

You wake up in Bangor. By the time we got to our destination, no one even seemed that excited. Only a little. I always imagined that the plane would be fucking INSANE as we were landing, like a riot of very pleased Joes that no one could contain.

The truth is that most people were too tired and worn out or self conscious to even make a sound. Scattered "Whooo!" and clapping could be heard, but ultimately, our shit was weak.

When I stepped off the plane for the last time, a three star general and several other officers were waiting. As I shook the general's hand, I really couldn't think of a profound reply, so I responded to his thanks and hooah-congratulations with a heartfelt, "WHHOOOOOO!!!!!" Fuck it, treat it all like an AC/DC concert, right?

Another briefing. Turned in our rifles. Received packets. The voices echoed in the large room and no one had a fucking clue what the important ones were saying, and really, we doubted that it even mattered. We were home.

They stuffed us on buses. And to my LEGITIMATE SURPRISE, we waited. And waited. In my wildest dreams, I always thought that when we went home, it would be an expedited process. Truth is, they drag it out so long that you can't even get excited about it.

Then we arrived at Fort Lewis. It was weird. It was the same, and different at the same time. I didn't know WHAT the hell to think. They had us form up, big mass formation, complete idiocy if you asked me. Finally we marched in, in columns of twos, to a live military band.

Cheers. Like we were fucking rock gods or something. We were heralded, and for who know's what reasons, and dammit, who cares? It was without a doubt the one and only cool part about the redeployment process. The Beatles couldn't generate this much cheering. The families looked like they were ready to tear the gym apart. Ravenous for their American Boys.

It was weird. It was like I'd never left, but at the same time, like I was going to wake up at any moment and still be in Iraq.

I got my room key, threw my bags inside, and left with the family. Steaks. Beer.

My time in Purgatory is fucking OVER. Nice ride. See you on Part 3.


The Cover Jacket For My Book

Yes, all this time on my hands to spam and spam meaningless posts about how great I think I am, naturally when I saw this, I'd repost it. It's all about our favorite subject: Me.

This is from Big Tobacco's blog at http://big-tobacco.blogspot.com

The Usual Suspect

I wrote this while smoking a Fincks Maravilloso.

I don’t know Specialist Suspect, but I’ve met him before. Suspect is the specialist that haunts my dreams. He is the one who cracks jokes in formation, shams to get out of duty and is the reason you always find yourself in front of the commander explaining why the lieutenant is so pissed off.

Suspect is a nightmare because he was good enough to reach the rank of specialist and smart enough to stay there. He’s figured out the system and he works it.Detail to do?He’ll grab a private to do it.

Need him to draw an expensive piece of equipment?

He’ll get his team leader.

Found “Two Girls One Cup” as your default webpage?


Yet somehow, Specialist Suspect always endears himself to you. You find yourself screaming at him, smoking him, and then walking away laughing. There are times when you don’t know whether to kiss him or kill him. If you are training, running patrols or blowing stuff up, he'll be the first one in line and you will be amazed at his performance. But if a truck needs to be moved, he will disappear. You will wish you had ten Suspects out in the field, but one Suspect in the rear is too much.

I started reading Suspect’s blog sometime in October of last year. He was featured on The Sandbox, a website that I started reading out of morbid curiosity when I found out that I was deploying to Iraq.

I’ve found that many milblogs are full of posing and preening. They use deep thoughts and beautiful, surreal colors to describe the sense of determination and wonder that soldiers want the world to think that they feel.

Suspect’s blog was different. First of all, he didn’t care what you thought of him. While other bloggers talked about the beauty of an Iraqi sunset, Suspect would be talking about masturbating in the porta-shitter. Secondly, he wasn’t afraid to show the world that he was only in this for the college money and definitely NOT having a good time.Suspect’s attitude is real. I would say that 80% to 90% of all soldiers are only in it for the college money. They only intend to do one tour. They bide their time shamming, play practical jokes, get drunk and lose their wallet at some fat girl’s house off post and come back to the barracks a vomit-soaked mess. Suspect’s Army is the real Army. His blog opened a window for the world to see Joe through the eyes of Joe.

Suspect is in Kuwait now, waiting to redeploy. As much as I’ll miss the stories he posted every few days, I start my own rotation in mid June and I’ll have my own stories to tell.Welcome back, Suspect. You made it. Now I need you to get a detail together to…SSG Big Tobacco

Not bad huh? He's about to hit the box, so put that link in your favorite's list and keep checking in on him. Hell, that post was so motivating that I kind of want to rip apart a huge steak, swallow some potatoes whole, and suck down a cigar, maybe even slap a General when I'm done.

This'un's for you, Sarge.

For The Nam Guys

While I'm busy here in Kuwait, fucking off and wasting more time on the internet than I have in a single month in Iraq, I'd like to address something.

Some of the coolest emails and comments I get come from Vietnam vets. If anyone gets it, they do, and then some. I've heard some amazing stories from these guys, and I also read John Leppelman's book Blood On The Risers.

It blows my mind, because I end up feeling a little guilty for all the gratitude I get, when we don't have it anywhere NEAR as bad as these guys did. Most of us don't get spit on, at most, an idiot will spout their mouth off about how evil and brainwashed we are, and we laugh it off and that's it. Nam vets got fucked every step of the way. I think the Thank You emails are vastly overdue.

You can't cut it by putting out movies with Sean Penn and Charlie Sheen and dramatizing and Hollywood-fucking their war. What kind of consolation is that? If they feel anywhere near as pissed off as I felt when I watched "Stop-Loss" or any of the bold new Iraq cash cow dramawhoring movies that are eeking their way into the box office, then we all owe some massive apologies.

Yet another reason why I won't wear the CIB. My deployment really wasn't all that bad all things considered. Now stand me next to someone who spent insane amounts of time out in the bush with rotting feet and 90 day wonder left-tenants, and you'll see a Wayne's World style "We're not worthy!"

Warm beds, phone connections, INTERNET FOR CHRIST'S SAKE, laptops and portable DVD players with bootleg movies that we can watch as soon as a WEEK after the movie hits theaters, showers, a chow hall staffed with little brown people working for KBR, and the list goes on.

The hell with me, thank a Nam vet. Or Korea vet. WWII.

Then again, most of us, we just watch our war movie reruns on Memorial Day, catch the repeat of Band of Brothers, and that's pretty much it. Doesn't bother me personally, I won't need a designated day to remember my guys. I'm sure the vets don't either. Guess we'll always have our shitty movies.


Pff. Gimme a break.

If I ever sat down at a VFW bar and ended up in a conversation with one of the old-timers, I think I'd just shut the fuck up and listen, because I feel like I really don't have a damn thing to say in comparison.

And then again, "Thanks" just doesn't cut it either. I draw a blank on this one. Whatever it is, I guess it's just unspoken. You can't really communicate it either. But this post's for you, boys.

Vultures and POGs

Here in Kuwait, there isn't a damn thing to do, and that's precisely the reason why posts have been so frequent now.

One of my friends and I were out and about exploring this wasteland (after Iraq, this place really doesn't seem that bad. It just sucks, but it doesn't seem like its been marinaded in runny, sickly shit for eons). Kuwait has REAL sand, not the Iraq dust and dirt, but legitimate sand. In the movies, when you see someone walking aimlessly across the dunes, there's always vultures circling overhead, waiting for the lost traveller to grow too weak to continue, then they descend on him and pick his bones.

Here, it's bootleg vendors. They've got their shops set up all over the place and they shout at you as you walk by, explaining how incredible their shitty merchandise is.

"Mista, you want dress? For sister, wife, girlfriend, mother, anyone, very good dress," one of them hounds me.

I looked at my friend. "Dude, I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I'd come to the Middle East to be harassed by carnies."

My friend picks up a power adapter for an iPod.

"Hey, how much for this?"

"Fifty dollar."

Without hesitation, he chucks it back onto the table and walks away. I don't blame him. We survived a tour of duty in Iraq. Hell, this dude was SHOT. Saved by his body armor. In our cross between being completely worn out from the whole process, and travel, and being completely elated by the fact that we're supposedly going home, we just don't have the patience to deal with little bullshit like this. In fact, we feel above it all, like it's so inconsequential that we really don't have to take it seriously. We can have fun with anyone.

The people we overhear in the chow hall, Navy personnel who verbalize their training plans.

"Well, I think the first week, we should leave the plates out of our IBAs (body armor) and then the second or third week, put them in."

"But the plates are half the weight."

"No, not exactly I don't think."

I look at my friend. "Plates? What about all the AMMO? No one ever takes that into consideration."

"....Who cares?" he stares at me with utter contempt for even paying attention to a conversation that no longer applies to us in any way.


As I write, some older guy with a perfect high and tight hair cut and a hook nose struggles with his body armor, an assault pack (army style backpack, really) and a bag from the PX while trying to log onto a computer. He makes strange grunting noises, like Donald Duck meets Gollum as he quietly curses the machine and the cubicle that he can't seem to navigate.

He swipes his card, and it doesn't work.

"Ah, dangit....grnn..."

His body armor smacks against the wooden wall and his bag rattles and makes that ruffling sound plastic bags always make. His assault pack snags on the chair or something as he tries to move it to the other side of the chair. He half stands, getting his ass thoroughly kicked by the desk and his equipment. I have no idea why this guy even has this shit in here.

"Gah........rrn! C'mon....shitshitshitdamn!"

He finally gets up and drags his shit to another computer.

With as much negative criticism as I have for the Army and the military, I'll still always have that Infantry Superiority Complex. Seeing noncombatant personnel, it's always surreal and comical for me. Their priorites all out of whack, their leadership with no clue what combat is really like.

"I make my soldiers roadmarch all the time, teach muscle memory," a female First Sergeant once told me when I was going on leave. We never roadmarch in Iraq. And her soldiers never patrol. It reminded me of the time I was driving one of our Strykers to the fuel point, and I saw a bunch of finance clerks outside, doing reflexive fire exercises (raising your weapon, ready to fire, on command). They had no ammo, just the clumsily long M16s, standing on the side of the road, looking like idiots, preparing for something that they'll never actually do.

Asinine. The new word of the year. Mark my words.