5.30.2008

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?

“SUSPECT!!!”

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.

HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAH!!!!!!

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.

"....Dunno."





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.

Free Bird Part Two

After eons and millenia of waiting, we loaded our gear up once again. Let me tell ya, we are so fucking sick of packing and repacking and moving and hauling duffel bags and rucksacks, that at this point, I'm almost ready to just cut them adrift and show up with a carry-on bag.

We were stuffed into a tent, all on cots, cots against both sides of the walls, crammed together, cots wedged up next to each other all down the center, gear in the aisles for everyone to trip over, power that goes out at the hottest time of the day, killing the AC. And wiley MPs and Oakley thieves.

That is, until the Hurry Up And Wait game brought us to the airfield and we loaded up on C-130s.

"They have to leave the engines on," some dude instructed, "so make sure you have hearing protection."

I thought to myself, Dude, at this point, you can't do shit for our hearing. Explosions, gunfire, loud machinery, and iPods? Pretty sure if we're fucked, we're fucked, and our aging asses will watch The Price Is Right with subtitles on. Now move.

Rather than panick about the noise coming from the bird, they should warn you about the wind and heat that shoots out of the engines. It's like a giant blow dryer trying to knock you down and scald you.

I put on my headphones and jammed Skynyrd and fantasized about Irish Carbombs and attractive women when the plane took off, and it was just another military flight to me. Didn't really feel like we were leaving, just moving to another shithole, which technically is true. Some dude threw up during the landing procedure, inspiring passionate, "Aww, what the FUCK, man?!" cries from a couple of people. When The Vomitor got on the bus later, we all clapped and cheered for him.

They herded us all across white sand type places to new temporary living places.

Welcome back to Kuwait.

5.28.2008

Oakley Bandits

As we continued our reign of terror in this big Pleasantville FOB full of M16-toting clerks, I saw a couple of my friends standing by some concrete bunkers, with a group of Air Force MPs.

Apparently, one of the insidious Anaconda Gangs broke into the Oakley shop and stole a bunch of shit, and when some of my friends walked into the shop this morning looking to waste money, they found the door open and a bunch of shit missing. The vendor ran up on them, spazzing out, and the almighty authorities were summoned.

[Sgt BenHur] had been in the PX earlier and had bought a Monster energy drink. The Oakley Shop was his next stop. In all their action-seeking glory, the MPs commanded him, "PUT THE CAN DOWN AND STEP AWAY! STEP AWAY FROM THE CAN!!!"

How in the fuck can you even call a tour of duty on this FOB a deployment?

Questioning went on for about two hours or so as each guy gave the same story. Walked into the shop. Door was open. Display case was open. End of story.

Personally, I probably would have made an indignant scene had I been one of the individuals in question. After well over a year of the shit we've gone through for god knows what reason, I just don't see myself taking any rent-a-cops seriously.

No offense, Sandy. You are not, nor will you ever be associated in my mind with these vile creatures. Stay tuned as the bullshit unfolds. I expect a year's worth of idiocy, IEDs not included.

Arrogant Little Bastard

Never one to be the patient type, I've been keeping myself entertained while waiting for the next phase of travel. Thing is though, this typically involves me having fun at others' expense.

Me (to a young MP): "What the fuck is that on your unit patch?"
MP: "Huh? Where?"
Me: "Is that a BEAR?"
MP: "Yeah."
Me: "Wow. I've seen some really gay unit patches. I've even seen one with a little seahorse on it."
MP: [nervous chuckle]
Me: "And the 2nd Cav patch, looks like a girl scout patch if you ask me."

Of course I'm wearing the 2nd ID Indian Head patch. One of the few unit patches that doesn't look retarded. The 101st probably tops ours, and 1st ID has a simple cut and dry one, but for the most part, unit patches just look stupid. Especially when they have a cute fuzzy bear on it.

Me: "What's going on, sergeant?"
Sgt (as he places an order in Subway): Not much, you?"
Me: "Not much. Going home."
Sgt: "On R&R?"
Me: "No. For good. Redeploying." [Shit eating grin]

It's essential to point out that you're going home, especially to the non-combat MOS types that hang around this base. Plus, we already stick out like sore thumbs here, being that we're Infantry and have no regard for social norms or manners or the opinions of others.

We're like outlaws in this domesticated, glitzed out FOB. America, you're next.

5.27.2008

Free Bird Part One

We packed the last of our shit up and tossed duffels and rucksacks into the backs of five ton trucks and played the waiting game on the gravel.

Sprawled out at the airfield and shot the shit til the sun went down, and soon the helicopters touched down in shifts, loading us up. The wind from the rotors damn near knocked me over, same as it always does, and we squeezed inside. I found myself staring at a wall of duffel bags, thinking about how bad it would suck if it all avalanched on me.

The bird began to lift off and I flipped the bird towards the back ramp and shouted, "FUCK YOU, WARHORSE, FUUUUUCK YOOOOOU!", barely audible over the roar of the helo.

Warhorse disappeared underneath us and dropped us off at our next transient destination.

My friend and I ducked out of a detail, cocked our hats on our heads, and went for a walk, proudly showing off our stripped weapons and making it known that we are going home.

Render salute. Greeting of the day.

"Going home, Sir!"

The officers from other units sure love it. The look on their faces isn't one of pure hatred or anything.

Phase One complete.

Lulz

This came from a post at http://zionred.livejournal.com/.

"Of course, you do hear of a few that stray from the pack and try to give American soldiers a bad name. Unfortunately, those are the soldiers that the media often profiles while ignoring the rest. Case in point: just check out this blog from a soldier who calls himself The Unlikely Soldier. (warning: it is layered with profanities)It's a perfect example of a "rotten apple" within the armed forces that gives other American soldiers a bad name. His ramblings are some of the most immature, thoughtless and senseless postings you will ever read from a soldier. Thankfully, most soldiers are not like this. "

Oh the irony. I like this fellow already.

5.26.2008

Final Minutes

The Strykers pulled back onto the FOB, about a week or so ago, and the ramps dropped. We piled out and pointed our rifles at the clearing barrels.

"Clear."

"Clear."

We mounted back up, stripping off our gear and shutting radios down. I didn't know it at the time, but that was my last mission.

We turned in all sorts of high tech sensitive type items and gadgets. Turned in what ammo we had left. Cleaned gear, packed huge metal containers, the type of shit you see at docks, repacked them, unpacked them, had them inspected. We kept busy with all manner of Preparing To Leave busywork. And the whole time, it was never real.

Just going to a new tent. Maybe a new FOB. That's it. The States? Shit son, that's just a myth to keep morale up. There is no world, there is only Iraq.

We had all sorts of formations and award ceremonies and horse and pony cuteness on top of the scrubbing of body armor and the chainsmoking of cigarettes. Got me that fancy Army Commendation award, and wouldn't ya know it, El Tee pinned that Combat Infantryman Badge on my chest. Pushed the needles in all slow like. I don't remember where I put it, if I even kept it.

Asinine traditions aside, the best part is realizing that you will never shake another Iraqi hand (probably not, anyway). Never hear the screech of, "Mistah! Mistah! FOOTBALL! CHOCOLATA!" Never smell the burning trash and shit and body odor stench of Baghdad again. God I better not.

Not worry if a house is going to explode when I walk into it. Hopefully.

Not worry that some chubby woman in black is going to explode once she gets close enough to me. I pray.

Not worry about shit exploding in the road, about assholes with table cloths wrapped around their heads shooting at me for no particularly good reason. None of it.

Nah, truth is, shit like that, just might stick with you for a while. So be it. I can check my corners while I'm renting DVDs. Small price to pay.

This place isn't my problem anymore. In a matter of days, it'll just be another name in the newspaper. Headlines and warped stories nowhere near the truth. No more body armor, no more rifle, no more ammo or night vision or knee pads or helmets, only thing left is the idiot-patterned uniform.

Yeah, tap the kegs and hand over the American luxuries, in excess. The world can eat my ass, because I've done my time in Purgatory. As far as I'm concerned, I have no sins, never did. Sweated them all away. Blood, sweat, tears. Hell, I even have some credit now. Got some goodness to burn off. Sounds great.

It's over. Never bother me again.
Fuck you Baghdad.
Fuck you, Dourah.
Fuck you, Baqubah.
Fuck you, Iraq. Fuck you, Kuwait.
Fuck you mosques and run down schools and pitiful masonry and stripped down "houses".
Fuck you, donkey.
Fuck you, mangey dog.
Fuck you, screeching children.
Fuck you, corrupt militia dude.
Fuck you, lazy public defender.
Fuck you, Stryker.
Fuck you, M4.
Fuck you, FOB Warhorse.
Fuck you, pitiful attempt at a Pizza Hut.
Fuck you, bootleg DVD vendors.
Fuck you, Iraqi people with your cotton track suits.
Fuck you, soccer.
Fuck you, triple digit heat.

Fuck y'all. I'm out. It's over. Done. I've fulfilled my commitment. Enlisted with a mission in mind, and I did it. It's over.

Now how the fuck am I supposed to take my last year in the Army seriously? My mission is complete. Part Three oughta be interesting.




Shamming, short-timing, scheming. Cuz fuck it, it's all over for me. Garrison life is a complete joke. Tradition? Multiple formations just because the clock reads a certain time? Pristine uniforms and customs and courtesies? Come on. You gotta be joking.

It's going to be a rough year.















FUCKYOUIRAQIAINTNEVERCOMINGBACK.

5.21.2008

Untitled

Shh. Just listen.










Soon.

5.09.2008

Too Short For This Shit

It was a whiz, a zooming, a whistling, kind of like a low flying jet. You know, until it exploded.

[Sgt DolphLundgren] locked eyes in a moment of idiotic disbelief, just as that adrenaline ice-water-in-the-face feeling took over. We were taking incoming. And close.

We stumbled out of his trailer and outside was complete insanity, everyone running in different directions. One of the impacts was DAMN close.

"Suspect! GET AN AID BAG!" Sgt "Dolph" orders.

"Gotcha! .......Where?"

"On the truck!"

"I don't have a key!" I shout back at him.

"On TOP of the truck!!!"

"Oh! Ok!!!"

I sprinted towards our vehicles and started to climb on top when a thought hit me. I turned around and ran back.

"Where do we meet up?!"

"WHEREVER A BUNCH OF FUCKING PEOPLE ARE!!!" he yells back.

"Oh! ....OK!!!"

I rushed back out to the truck, scambled on top, spitting a cigarette out of my mouth and tossing a water bottle with NoXplode over my shoulder.

Aid bag, aid bag, aid bag, where the fuck, where the fuck, come on goddammit...

"SUSPECT! HURRY UP WITH THE FUCKING AID BAG!!!"

I stumbled forward, thinking I spotted it on the truck and racked my skull on the frame of the camo net. Then I threw my rifle behind me onto the front of the truck and scrambled through ammo cans and all sorts of shit on top of the truck while screaming and chaos ensued all around. When I finally spotted the bag and reached for it, the damn thing rolled back further and I had to crawl to get it. I was grunting and panting and cussing myself out while mental images of dudes thoroughly ripped up raced through my head. Once I grabbed the bag, I threw it off the truck, climbed over the cage and stumbled down, grabbed my weapon, and sprinted to the first crowd of people, screaming.

"AID BAG! AID BAG! GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY!"

Meanwhile, [Sgt CoolCat] had been in the latrine, taking a piss, when the impact occurred. He stood there, dick in hand, trying to decide if he should finish or not. People immediately start shouting for him, being that he's a medic, so he cuts off midstream, sprinkling piss on his PT shorts, and scrambles outside.

[Stan Marsh] is on the way to call his wife when one of the rounds impacts nearby. Before reporting back to the company for accountability, he assists with wounded. We didn't find out til later, as he never said a damn thing about it.

I looked around as everyone quickly got their shit together.

"Man, I'm too fucking short for this shit," says [Sgt Trucker].

"So, do I sense another blog coming on?" asks [Staff Sergeant Suspect-Almost-Killed-Me-In-A-Rollover]. I look back at him and quickly babble something about MySpace, not wanting to outwardly shush him. Attempted anonymity is a bitch.

The mantra of all the guys: We're too fuckin' short for this kinda shit.

That night, I couldn't sleep worth a shit. Maybe it was the NoXplode, maybe it was wondering if someone was going to spaz out in their sleep and start babbling about incoming, maybe it was because my new bed sucks ass and there's always a light shining on my face. I don't know.

But we are WAY too short for this shit.

5.01.2008

The Ringing

The heat wasn't too oppressive, in fact, there was a little bit of a breeze. The funny thing though, is that we didn't even notice.

"FRAG OUT!"

The grenade explodes, throwing up the big cloud of dust, not the fireball you see in movies. A 105mm tank round blasts its target with another deafening roar. 5.56mm shell casings are bouncing off of my helmet from the guy next to me, and my shell casings are hitting the guy on my right. We're spitting lead with apocalyptic fury. The .50 cals are rocking, the 240Bravos are chattering, the shotguns, the pistols, the mortars. It's an orgy of firepower.

Destroyed vehicles and scarred wastelands are once again disturbed by our mindless onslaught, and there we are, getting gloriously lost in the insanity of it all. Squeezing triggers and belching out metal, stopping only to reload. Our ears are ringing in ridiculous octaves and still we're throwing flashbangs and firing explosives and spitting out small arms fire.

The best part of it all, is that no one is shooting back at us.

Just a group of frustrated, overworked, tired, homesick, angry motherfuckers letting loose with everything we got. Relentless. Chaos. Sheer animosity. Beautiful.

I side-arm a grenade and hit the dirt while everyone laughs at my feminine throw. I blast away with my M4, switching to burst and chewing up anything downrange that looks fun to shoot. I hopped into the gunner's seat of one of our MGS Strykers (the ones with the 105mm tank gun on 'em) and blasted away at a couple car hulks. When I fired the first round, the whole vehicle bucked so much that the screen I was looking at kicked me in the face. It was awesome.

With the 240, I squeezed the trigger and held it down, spraying left and right with a nice, passionate ten second burst.

By now, I've fired almost every weapon the Army has to offer. When the fun was over, I reloaded my magazines and piled back into the truck, completely satisfied. Our female interpreter didn't seem too pleased. Apparently she can't relate to the pure joy that man gets from explosions and guns and all things rude. Amidst the fury of it all, our commander could be seen walking behind the crowds, with a cigar in his teeth and an ear to ear grin.

Hey, this is what it's all about. Part of me wanted to shoot off every last round we had, but we aren't done yet. No matter, consider this a refresher, because the amount of firepower we pack is astounding. So if shit hit the fan, we could let loose with epic wrath.






Tubular.