Combat Blue Balls

This expression, in this particular context, is not one that I made up. I read it somewhere, and lemme tell ya, it's a dead-on description.

I sat on a cooler up in my tower, miserable and sweating. I'd pull on the neck of my body armor and feel heat steam up from my chest. My Gatorade was piss hot within minutes. Minutes dragged on and I cursed all who were responsible for putting me on this detail.

"Hey," my Ugandan counterpart broke the silence, "That ambulance is coming down the wrong side."

I looked down the entrance and sure enough, there was an Iraqi ambulance with lights flashing heading down the military lane. I snatched my M4 up and chambered a round (I don't chamber one until I dismount or need to fire) and waited for him to reach a point that justified a warning shot.

"Wait, call it up first," the Ugandan Tower Guard Veteran advised. I grabbed the radio with my free hand.

"[BossMan] this is [TowerDude], we've got an Iraqi ambulance attempting to enter [EntryPoint]."

"....Say again, over?"

Ambulance slows as a couple Iraqis near the gate try to tell him he can't come in this way. Thing is, when the insurgency first kicked off, they'd use ambulances to get through checkpoints and ambush people. When I saw it coming with lights a-flashing, it flipped that Activate Infantryman switch. I sent the report up again, cursing this guy on the other end.

"Roger...well they aren't supposed to come in through that gate. Do you have an interpreter? If you have an interpreter, have him tell them--"

Is he fucking SERIOUS?!

"--that they need to go to [OtherPlace]."

I dropped the radio on the cooler and waited for the ambulance to come closer, ready to rock. It turned around and left.

There is such a thing as Combat Blue Balls. It occurs when something kicks off and your adrenaline starts rushing and you're more than ready to get it on and all you need is that final go-ahead, whatever it may be.

And that go-ahead never comes. Gets canceled. Disregard that. Negative. Return to FOB. Cease fire. Stand down. Abort. Pull out, Goose.

So there you are, all jacked up over a false alarm, and pissed about it. Not even getting to fire that one inconsequential shot. Can't get a healthy dose of what you came here for.

Hearts and minds? Come on, we never thought anything about that when we were signing up, when we were packing our gear, when we were eating Chicken Freezedried Bleu on the plane. No, we had all that action and insanity on the brain. That's what you enlist into the Infantry for. Young, dumb, reckless assholes like myself wanting to wreak some havoc on some bad guys. The hearts and minds thing, that only comes in small doses, when you have those occasional moments out in sector that make you want to ooooh and watch LifeTime for a month, that's just not us.

Instead, you're standing there with sweat running down your face, thumb still on the safety, ready to feel like you're in Iraq for a reason, to fulfill your own individual purpose, and nothing. Sorry bud.

You wait for your nerves to settle while you listen to the radio traffic. Big incident inside the city. Large number of casualties, civilian. The reports of wounded come in systematically as injured civilians are brought in to be treated.

Burns of all degrees.
Head trauma.
Gunshot wounds.


So there's the proof. The assholes are still out there somewhere and I got a hardon that slings 5.56mm lead and agonizingly blue balls.


  1. Red said...
    I'm tempted to make all kinds of smart*ss remarks, but strangely, I just can't do it. I'm feeling too much...what is this strange sensation...pity? Maybe, but I doubt it.
    BigD said...
    Hey Suspect,
    Don't usually get to see your post until later, this requires some rumination on my part. However, for right now these would be my initial observations:
    Is "Tower Dude" sort of like Surfer Dude only with a big ass gun?
    Is Bossman a euphemism for Desk Jockey/Idiot POG?
    Who did put you on this miserable detail...sounds like some Gorilla is in order for that guy.
    Medical advice for Combat Blue Blues....hmmmm, have to get back to you on that one. Stand down, Troop.
    David M said...
    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 04/15/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.
    Anonymous said...
    Yeah, hey, you'll remember the good judgement later. It doesn't feel right, right now, but you'll be glad you didn't whak that ambulance. I sure am.

    I mean, hey, don't hold back when it's right. It just wasn't right, right then.
    Vixen said...
    So, in other words, the whole situation was a Combat Cock Tease. Another night of jacking off to 'Apocolypse Now'? At least your libido isn't down in one area!
    Anonymous said...
    Whenever I am perplexed by human nature, I think about my teeth. The ones in the back; nice grinders for grains and vegetables, get a little farther forward and we have the all-purpose omnivores, at the front these pointy sharp ones...It's all in there.
    Anonymous said...
    On a very, very small level -- kinda like one of us civilian types all pissed off at the boss from the day before and get yourself all ready to go in there first thing in the morning and really let 'em have it over -- over everything that you are just so pissed about and so fed up with and so -- you just name it!!

    And then you get to work and find out the boss took a week off to fly to the Bahamas, just because they needed to. Well, crap!

    Except you get to have a big gun in your hands -- thank goodness I don't.

    So I don't know you well enough to say, Babe, big hug!! But -- you know, Babe, big hug.
    (Don't really expect it to help, but it might help me to feel like I made you feel a little better.)
    Anonymous said...
    My Dh just got there....ok so they were to do tower,gate, and convoy guard...so....my husband gets stuck in an office...so I say that I'm sorry and that how it must be boring...then he says better than being in a tower!!! I feel for ya!!! apart of me wants everyone to be fobbits (for safety)but I'm sure that is the most boring thing you can do!!!!

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