I grew nostalgic last night after I finished clearing my house. My wife thought she heard something- again. This is a multiple week occurrence. I swear, she does it on purpose. However, it reminded me of clearing glass houses while out on a field problem. I do sometimes miss those days. I have written about things that piss me off. Now I am going to switch it up on write a few things which I miss from my military days.
Crossing the Road: When I am out walking and cross the road I like to pick up the pace and jog across because, well, I am not an asshole. A quick aside, anyone who takes their time slowly meandering across the road and holding up traffic is a fucking prick. Seriously, pick up the pace a bit fatty, you might actually shed a few pounds. Then go do some Body by Waterman. Anyway, whenever I shuffle across the street I think of that shuffle we did when we tried to run with all of our gear on. You know the one where you want to move quick, but have about 100 pounds of gear on. So instead of running, you kind of shuffle from point A to point B; it is a kind of fast walk with all of your gear flopping up and down. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you obviously have not completed many operations or field problems in full kit. Your knees are, no doubt, in better shape than mine.
While we are on the subject of roads, does anyone else think of the term linear danger area when encountering a trail in the woods? Every single time I come across a trail I want to do a slashing motion across my chest and start figuring out if I am going to scroll the road or set in near and far security teams. I never did think that scrolling the road was particularly effective. I think people just like to say it is because it is a ranger’s staple. It even has the ranger term- scroll- right in the word. Must be badass, right? Anyway, I am reminded of these tactics as I am walking around my city and come across a road. This is not some weirdo flashback, I know that I am not in a war zone when this happens. It is simply a fun reminder of my old profession. I do know that I am not the only one to think this…
Tactical Whisper Yell: Sometimes I hear my kids “whispering” while failing miserably and instead managing to be loud as fuck. I appreciate the sentiment, but they are absolutely failing at being quiet and/or sneaky. It reminds me of it being zero-dark-thirty, deep in the Alaskan or Tennessean woods- or in the remote mountains of Afghanistan or inner cities of Baghdad. Either way and no matter the unit, it is always the same. There is some miscommunication and someone wants to get another's attention. Unfortunately, that person, usually a private, is not paying attention so it turns into an escalation of hand and arm signals and then verbal commands. The hand and arm signals become more frantic as the private is intrigued by whatever butterfly or daydream has captured his attention. Then it happens, the tactical whisper yell, “PSSST, hey dipshit. Get the fuck up and pay the fuck attention. We are moving again….” This will be said loud enough for everybody to hear, but soft enough for the squad leader to know you are still tactical as fuck. After all, it isn’t your fault that Private Wondernuts was so engrossed with butterfly fucking that he was almost left behind...in Iraq. You know, where they will only cut off your fucking head and put it on the internet for the world to see… For whatever reason, these are the moments I miss…
Trash on the side of the Road: Wait, this is supposed to be a funny one. I’ll save this one for another article.
PVC Pipe: Piss tubes!! Sticking out of the ground at your local combat outpost. It is the drive through of pissing. It is the convenience I miss most about these...and all the meat gazing. They did their job, keeping your piss area separate from the rest of the FOB in order to keep contamination at bay. Because of this, PVC pipe will be forever linked to piss tubes. Now, everyone should remember how they are supposed to be lined up. It is pretty standard, usually facing a wall and in rows. Not at FOB Andar in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan. Nope. Anyone who has been there might remember that the tubes there formed a triangle….facing in...so you got to look at your friend’s penis because you weren’t already close enough. Why anyone would do this, I have no idea, but it was truly the definition of a circle jerk. It had to have been intentional, and if it was, whoever did this is the fucking man. Oh, I always wondered why they put that mesh over it until I witnessed a man trying to take a shit into one. Not a Haj, mind you, but an American soldier. I didn’t even say anything. Just walked on by even as he was on his tiptoes, trying to get himself high enough and bend over to shit at the same time. Absolutely amazing. Infantrymen will truly overcome all obstacles, even ones they do not have to.
Flies: HOLY SHIT, the flies in Iraq. Okay, I really don’t miss these, but remember those little bitches? They were bad in Afghanistan, but never did they reach the raw numbers they had in the cities of Iraq. They would fucking swarm everything! Did you ever consider that all of them had just been walking all over the porter shitter before you entered and sat down. You disturbed them from their feast of human MRE shit! Now they will swarm and engulf you in a literal shitstorm. God, that was awful. I also know that I am not the only person who worried one would fly up my butt as I took a poo. I wonder if that ever happened to anyone? Did they go to the medics to get it out or did they just pretend that it didn’t happen? I feel bad if you were sexually assaulted by a pervert Iraqi fly, but someone has to ask the tough questions.
Speaking about sexual assault, remember those flyers in the bathrooms at the big FOBs like Striker or BIAP? That had the tear off tabs that had an emergency number to call if you were sexually assaulted. Wasn’t it always a bit unnerving when there was about half the tabs pulled? Especially if you were in there late at night with no one else? Seriously, how big a problem was there because it would appear that it was a huge fucking problem. Striker Five much, anyone? How many Camp Striker people remember Striker Five? We will just leave that topic right there.
Finally, while I am on the topic of bathrooms and showers, (it is weird the direction this one took, isn’t it?) did you ever go searching for a shower on the bigger FOBs and find one that had no one in it? It was like finding heaven. You could spread out all of your stuff and take off your towel early. Perhaps you even shaved naked. The entire time, you would look around in amazement, wondering how no one knew this was here. The other showers you had been in were filled with dudes who, apparently, loved to be naked and close to other naked guys. Then, one of two things would happen. Either a few women would come in or when you left the showers you would notice the female only sign. If it was the latter, then you only felt like a pervert for a few minutes. If it was the former, now you had a decision-you could either wait them out or exit immediately, apologize, and pray there is no SHARP response. Although you know in the back of your mind you remembered a porn that started this way…
Thank you for reading and remember to share so your family and civilian friends will understand that you aren’t the only weirdo veteran out there. By the way, let me know if you have a better caption for my cherry ass in the above picture.