southpark red

The Army and Life

(Back Story: I am enrolled in an English Composition class because they want to make sure I can write. The assigned reading is a concentrated pile of whale dreck entitled "Nickel and Dimed in America", an execrable piece of turgid prose from a pedantic, condescending upper middle class twit. I was to write on something brought to mind by my “active reading” of this schisse, but I wasn’t to mention the text itself. Think I made my point? %-)

If Soldiers make it through Basic and AIT, and into their first unit, they will have undergone a transformative process that they likely won’t even recognize until they return to the scene of their previous civilian life, either on leave, or, if they are a Reservist, when they are released to their parent unit. While one is in training, or assigned to a unit, the world inhabited is only tangentially related to the existence that was once labeled “normal”. When a Soldier goes home, things that bother friends and family will amuse them, or, sometimes, irritate with the pettiness involved. After all, it’s hard to get excited that they’ve run out of someone’s favorite soup of the day when the daily diet has been nothing but MRE’s and sometimes not even that, because the supply truck broke down, or got lost, or orders came to move before they could get to that far. People complaining that they couldn’t possibly drink tap water because “it’s so nasty” really irritate people who have picked pieces of ice up off the ground for moisture, or refilled their canteens with swamp water and hoped the purification tablets really do work.

If a Soldier is one of those who spend a good portion of their career in the field, especially in a Cavalry, Infantry, Armor or Artillery unit, they quickly develop new standards for cleanliness; sleep requirements, and life priorities. 18 days without a shower in 120* weather is uncomfortable, but when the choice is between getting enough sleep to function safely when the next tasking starts in 5 hours, or spending 2 or more of those precious hours on getting to the shower and back, one racks out in the first reasonable location to be found, bearing in mind, of course, that “reasonable” has precious little to do with soft, warm, dry, or even overly comfortable, and everything to do with security, and a reduced likelihood of getting run over by a moving vehicle, or worse, being woken up early.

Another cleanliness adjustment is dealing with things that need to be cleaned. One hasn’t lived until they have participated in cleaning a shower/latrine facility that is in constant use by thousands of troops. The diet of a field soldier is not conducive to intestinal calm, both from the nature of the rations themselves, and the fact that there’s rarely a sink to wash up with before eating. The end results must be experienced to be believed, as should the joy of being on the team that transports portable toilets from the field sites back to the dump point and then cleans them out for reuse. KP, which is always a fun filled adventure, includes, among other things, cleaning all the pots, pans, and other cooking utensils needed for preparing the meals as well as the trays and silverware the Soldiers eat with. However, it rises to new levels of sensory pleasure when said cleaning is done using only water filled trashcans warmed with immersion heaters and scrub brushes, while standing on wood pallets in a dirt field in whatever the weather is that day (or night). Still, it has to be done, and everyone gets a turn at doing it. That is why we have duty rosters, to share the wealth evenly.

The primary purpose of the US Army is to kill people and break things in pursuit of national objectives delineated by the civilian leadership. We are the best in the world at this, and over the years the organization has honed the skills, values and methods that make this possible. One of the first things inculcated into a recruit’s mind is that what matters is the mission. This ethos is expressed most succinctly in the motto, “Mission First, People Always” because, while each Soldier is a valued team member and precious asset, getting the job done comes first. GI’s don’t get to say “I quit” and go home when it gets hard. They embrace the suck and drive on. It has been said that a veteran is someone who, at least once in their life, wrote a check to the USA and it’s citizens, “payable in any amount up to and including my life”. What few outside the services understand is all to often that price may be extracted for the most trivial of reasons, even in peacetime. This is the bond that makes the relationship between all veterans unique, and it is our shared experiences of deprivation and sacrifice that often lead the sheltered amongst the general population to not understand when their delicate sensibilities and overly wrought “concerns” are met with our outspoken derision and often, utter contempt. We are not the same as them, and having been through the fire, we recognize dross when it is attempting to pass itself off as the pure quill.
southpark red


well, maybe not, but i'm doing a one man Mardi Gras dance around the house and yard today:

i just got a call from CA OTAG, Retirement Division: i am now a proud member of the US Army Retired Reserve, and officially an old fart.

yup: my records are finally unfucked. for those of you who haven't been playing along, i spent 20 unusual years serving in the Army, mostly in the Guard here in the PRC (with a few years in the USAR)and was unceremoniously booted out a few years back, allegedly just shy of retirement eligibility.

i reached out to friends in low places, and secured copies of the records that they used to calculate things. comparing them to the OTAG paperw*rk showed an apparent error, which i finally got off my ass and wrote a letter about last week, addressed to the state CSM.

as CSM's are legendary for doing, when they want to, he got things done. it went in the mail last tuesday, and now, a week later, it's a done deal. i would have loved to have been there when it all went down. the look on his face alone when he read it would have been worth doing an AT for free.... well, almost worth that. AT's generally suck bowling balls through IV tubing tied up in knots and heat sealed at both ends, but still, his reaction was undoubtedly priceless, especially after they got my file out and looked at it. he too was likely wondering how an E-4 made it to 20 years, since that's impossible, according to regs........ %-)

of course, it didn't hurt that i am the letter writing son of a bitch from hell either.

and now, back to my beer drinking happy dance, already in progress.
after all, i'm retired: it's *always* 5 o'clock!
  • Current Music
    Beau Jacques & the Zydeco Highrollers Give Him Cornbread
southpark red

it's over: we won. get used to the idea.....

i know there's lots of you out there still stuck on "quagmire" or whatever other bullshit you've allowed yourself to be wedded to because of your untreated BDS and/or distorted world view, but the facts are blindingly obvious, no matter how painful that may be to you.

we beat Saddam and his army, and now, despite your best efforts, and theirs, we have beaten the insurgency. Iraq is a free and democratic country. sucks to be you..... it's USA FTW!
and, just to thoroughly piss you off, we pretty much owe it all to George Bush and the American Armed Forces, as discussed here: 

after all, had we listened to you, Code Pink, Murtha, the MSM,and everyone else that was part of the 5th column, we'd be running away with our tail between our legs again.   Juggy will have to find a way to fuck this up all on his own if you still wish to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

a hat tip to my fellow LGF lizard "Zombie" for the great idea, a thorough overview of why it's time to call it, located at:    and for hosting the iconic graphic below.

most of all, both a heartfelt thank you, and the acknowledgment of an un-payable debt of gratitude to all my fellow Soldiers as well as the Marines, Sailors and Airmen & women who have or are serving, and, most of all, to those who have been  wounded or killed during OIF/OEF as well as to all the families of Service personnel. i cannot speak for the country, but as far as this household is concerned, you all have the thanks of a grateful nation.

Scouts Out!

southpark red

the end times are nigh?

that very well could be: as of this afternoon, i am officially a full time college student again, after a hiatus of way too long. i found an online program through a real ass, no kidding, accredited university here in SoCal, and it appears, after all the hemming & hawing, that i will finally have a degree in about 18 months.....  appropriately enough, it will be a BS.

i'd comment that the class load might cut back on my poasting here , but that might be hard to do, given how little i do poast to begin with.

since there aren't any online frats, i guess i'll pledge ADB, but since my ISP dropped all the alt newsgroups at the behest of the whore-monger AG from NY, i'll have to find an alternate route to alt.drunken.bastards..... that seems appropriate. %-)
southpark red

full bird potty dance

this was previously posted on Usenet many moons ago:

"This is no shit":

it was one of the early days of that magnificent adventure now recorded in the annals of history as "Golden Spike 01", and yours truly was off to the makings of yet another fine army day.

leaving our palatial barracks i evidently was targeted by persons  unknown with a wrinkle grenade.....and got  caught in a dust barrage trying to avoid the full effects of said insidious device. 

surviving the onslaught, i made my way to DISCOM's alleged mess hall, where i was part of yet another Bio-War experiment against helpless soldiers.

using my grab for an MRE as cover, i barely escaped with my life.

pondering my options at such an early hour on Club Bob, ("The antidote to reenlistment" TM,) it was sadly apparent that my only real option was to saddle up in my UAV and do a mounted recon/ road clearing movement to my duty AO... so off in to the sunrise i went.

having made the trip with negative contact, i maneuvered my vehicle up under cover for the day, and dismounted.

now we had this really "nice" old Sargent pulling night duty, mostly to avoid having him have to deal with people or problems........

i walk up to the building and standing out front is our resident SPOT, an e-4 idiot child who's greatest accomplishment of AT was constructing name plates for people's desks out of 100mph tape and WORD documents, smoking a cigarette without a care in the world.

inside was SGT Afewbricksshort, and a ACTIVE full bird........
(right here all my ECM went off, but obviously just a skosh late %-)

said Col was in the midst of a full fledged "potty dance", bouncing up and down the empty building ranting and raving about a mission, a driver, a fast approaching SP time, and a general......(oh joy)

first words addressed to me were "Are you my driver?" Always bright, witty and cheerful at such an early hour, my reply was along the line of:  "I haven't been briefed on any mission sir, but i'm sure we can figure
out who is...." (yup, i can sling it starting REAL early)

we went to the mission board, and the initial problem was glaringly apparent. we had it for a 0700 departure, and his nibs wanted to be moving NLT 0630.

feeling suicidal, i allowed as how that if no one assigned showed up in time, i would be happy to drive him...... sure enough, no one came, and off we went, leaving dumb and dumber to relate their version of the
events to the command group as they came in.........

meanwhile i'm sailing down 101 to Paso Robles with said bird, exchanging pleasantries and tid bits of military background. having mentioned that i was Cav, we discussed the Squadron for a bit, with him singing their praises, and me wondering what unit he was talking about.... %-)

he then proceeded to call ahead to the CSM that we were indeed en route, on time and would be ready for his nibs, rather than making him wait, as they had been afraid of.
(evidently this is a very *bad* thing for active types)

(at this point i told the Col that he had witnessed on of the great battles in history, my sense of duty vs. my survival instinct in avoiding Col's, generals, and such.... he seemed amused)

we get to Paso, clean up the van as best we can, (for some reason we had plenty of time) and wait................. then we wait some more. finally, i move the van over to the rooms, load the baggage and we're off to the airport.

there everyone dismounts, i load the baggage into the CSM's pov, and stand around with a thumb up while they brief the days festivities. (i can't leave until the crash hawks get off the ground,in case their
hamsters are tired and they have to move by ground after all)

briefing is finally over, out comes the whole parade, and said General says, "Where's that Specialist that drove us?"  wondering what PFC pay for AT was going to be, i said "Here, Sir", saluting.  

he simply shook my hand, placing a coin in it, and said, "Let's go!"

out to the birds the went, and off to Hungry Lizard they were in a few, leaving our hero standing there slightly stunned, and in possession of a coin from the Commander, US Fifth Army.

gathering my wits, i stopped in paso for a taste of real food, and proceeded to RTB........ where the story of the morning had evidently been subject to inflation and no little consternation.

i pulled in, and Top was out front maintaining his nicotine level. he thanked me for taking the fall, and asked how it went.... (preparing for damage control, no doubt)
finally awake enough for full smart ass mode i said, "Okay i guess..." and flipped him the coin....... %-)

who NEVER wants to meet another 3 star
  • Current Mood
    nostalgic nostalgic
southpark red

i'm the luckiest man alive

and yes, i realize that several LJ friends may debate this.

however, denying the validity of an essential truth doesn't make it any less so.

today is the 7th anniversary of my PCS to Ft DeDe.

best unit i *ever* served with. %-)
southpark red

ever wonder why some folks drink?

years ago, i was told i was a negative person , and that i should just get with the program.....

i told that fool that it wasn't  whether  the glass was half full or half empty, but that i wanted something entirely different in the glass...... i left before their head exploded...... they never did get it, and they got laid off before i did, and never understood why.

after years of observing the program, i decided that i wasn't cynical,  i was just experienced.

after last week, i've decided that one can never be cynical enough.


the swarm is my salvation*....... long live the swarm!


* and scotch. %-)