Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Top 5 dumb things I did this week

Top five dumb things I did this week.

1. Going on mission with the wrong eyewear.

Note to self: It gets dark at night. Just because you roll out at noon, don’t expect to be home by dark. We never go outside the wire without eye and ear protection. I am a nazi about it, and the boys don’t ever not do it, because they value their eyesight (and their paychecks—if I catch them without the glasses). The eyewear of choice is the Wiley-X sunglasses. (For those who are thinking about them, I’ve used the following models: SG-1, SG-1 V-cut, CQC Goggle, XL-1, and PT-1. Every model except the PT-1 fogs up like the golden gate bridge. I had to poke holes with a hot needle in the lenses of the SG-1s to mitigate it, and cut out some of the foam around the lens, but it still isn’t enough.) Anyway, there I am, sitting at an OP, in the middle of the night, wearing sunglasses. Choice between being blind, and risking being blinded. I compromised. The NVGs I was using (A/N PVS 14, for those who are interested) are monocular, so I popped out one of the lenses on the SG-1s and put the NVG over that eye, and kept the other one in. Sure, I have the clear lenses for the SG-1s. They were in a pouch on my shelf when I left.

2. When The Pin on Mr. Grenade is Pulled, he is not our friend.

Note to self: As far as grenades go, I don’t schlep around the frags. I keep them in the truck until I need them, which is usually right before I get out of the truck to raid something. No point in a) carrying the extra weight (they are a little over 1 LB each) and b) risking getting them snagged on one of the other hundreds of things I have tied to me. Now, I do carry smoke grenades in my pouches. A red one for MEDEVAC, and a purple for marking, and a white one for obscuration. I also carry a flashbang, because it can serve my purposes until the frags are needed. Well we needed a smoke grenade to mark our position for the whirlybirds who were helping us look for bad guys in the palm groves. I reached into my pouch, pulled a smoke grenade, pulled (and subsequently tossed away) the pin, and realized I was holding the wring friggin grenade. Mr. Flashbang sat there in my hand. It’s the same size and shape as a smoke grenade, and I couldn’t tell the different texture because I was wearing gloves. The spoon is taped down when it rides in the pouch, but I’d already torn that off, so I couldn’t set it next to me. Sure I could throw it, but it’s really loud and everyone would think we were being attacked. So I said “Here, hold this” to my driver, took out the marking grenade, and tossed it instead, this time keeping the pin, which I put back in the flashbang. Stupid is as stupid does.

3. If god wanted me to eat goats, he’d have made me an Arab.

Note to self: The food here will give you the squirts. Never drink the water, unless boiled. Goat actually tastes a lot like pork. (another note to self: Don’t feel the need to share this with Muslims who are providing the goat) Really greasy pork. Ever eat a plate of really greasy pork chops? Ones that were cooked in canal water? Ever feel your intestines percolate like a coffee pot? You may have to eat the food to not offend, but don’t eat hearty, and take an immodium. (another note to self: a) carry immodium on your truck b) carry baby wipes.) Since I use hand sanitizer religiously—I don’t carry the wipes with me. Holding it is usually the best course of action. Wait until I can get back to the little plastic box to poop. Well, that wasn’t necessarily in the cards. I’ll spare you the details, save to say that I could have shit on a screen door and not hit a wire.

4. Clipping the mic to your helmet is a bad idea.

The hand-mic. It has a clip on the back for some unknown reason. You need it to hear and talk on the radio, and the clip holds it almost perfectly to your head while wearing a helmet. This allows you to do other things with your hands. Like drink coffee, play with your map, scratch yourself… you know, other things. When dismounted, clipping on your helmet keeps your hands free for shooting and other stuff.

When you have to get out of the truck in a hurry, having something attached to your head that is also tethered to the truck is not so good. You end up wrapped up in the cord, lying on the ground with a very sore neck.

5. Portajons stink. (Note to self, for extended sitting sessions, bring air fresheners.) My life is getting entirely too poop-centric. We don’t have plumbing, so I crap in a plastic box. Just like everyone else. These boxes sit in the sun all day and ferment, for lack of a better term. They are emptied daily, but after Mexican night in the DFAC, they get a lot of repeat customers in 24 hours. Must remember to keep the anti-stink spray close by the wipes.

Okay, the last one wasn’t all that dumb, just forgetful.



Charles Amico said...

I came across your Blog by acccident but am glad I did. Was thinking of you all there yesterday, Memorial Day, and praying you all stay safe but get the bad guys. I have noted your site and will visit as often as I remember. Thanks and God keep you and your guys safe, so you all can come home.

Ventana said...

Thanks so much for your humor and detailed accounts (not so humorous, really) of what you are goinbg through over there. My heart is with you -- it is such an ordeal, and we appreciate you!

chaoticsynapticactivity said...

Nice report from the front...Found you via Mudville...and put you on my blogroll....you have lots of great material here, and I haven't seen it all.

Anonymous said...

Hey Kiddo,

Yup, you definitely fit right in at Two Babes. Hey, are those your kids in the pictures? And, where are our pictures BTW.

We got a box coming your way for you and the guys. Keep your eyes peeled. Still looking for the Pork shirts for you.

Keep your head down and your spirits up and stay safe.


Anonymous said...

Try some Vic's vapor rub around the nostrils before visiting the plastic box. Also works to keep the stench down when dealing with KIA hajjis.

Peter said...

Could be worse. In my day we had to burn the half-barrels in our plywood and canvas johns.
I once knew an LT who chucked a frag through the door of a Viet hooch and then backed up against the wall made of flattened tin cans a la John Wayne. His helmet and vest kept him alive but he rode the dustoff face down.
In the decades since I've wondered how he showed off his battle scars.

Anonymous said...

I'm not in the military but years ago I was on of those lowest of scum, a military contractor. We were supporting Border Star '85 in Texas. We had a seperate,on-base, setup for supporting the equipment that was in the HQ section behind the wire and signs saying "Lethal Force Has Been Authorized". We had porta johns as well, and yes, in the Texas heat they got ripe, and they were NOT cleaned every day. But when they were cleaned they were sprayed inside with some sort of chemical disinfectant. One day I went in just after it had been cleaned. The chemical smell was heavy but not as bad as the smell of a full porta-john, so I started to urinate. Note to self: urine when combined with whatever cleaning solution they were using forms poison gas. And I do mean poison. It smelled like chlorine gas, and I literally could not breath. I zipped up and got the hell out, coughing like mad. But that's just the prelude to this story...

The porta-johns at the HQ area were behind the secure fence and so could not be emptied for the duration of the exercise. Most of us who had an option held it until we got back to our own area where the johns were cleaned every few days. One day I go out to use ours and notice that it's been tied down to the cyclone fence behind it with a vengeance. Heavy duty rope. So I asked one of our technicians what the deal was and he told me that he had tied it down. Winds in El Paso get heavy in the afternoon, and he had been over at the HQ area checking on the equipment when a huge wind blew through. So strong that it blew over one of the porta johns. One of those which couldn't be emptied because it was in a secure area. Worse yet, there was a GI sitting in there when it blew over. And worst of all, it landed face down on the ground...on the door, so he couldn't get out quickly. Our technician saw the poor guy have to use his combat knife to cut his way out of the back (now, top) of the plastic porta-john. It was after that he immediately came back and secured ours to the fence.

Barb said...

Chuck - these are classic ! I'm still ROFL at #4 and #2 ;-)
Love your site - added you to my sidebar so I can visit often.

Anonymous said...

wow.. that's pretty good... especially loved the part about the flashbang... good deal...

SGT Hawkins

Zos said...

Thanks for a well-needed laugh about the goat, and thanks for retaining your sense of humor and perspective. Keep your head down and the immodium handy!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your wonderfully humorous stories! "When The Pin Is Pulled, Mr. Grenade Is Not Our Friend" caused my keyboard to be in immediate danger, since I was drinking tea at the time. ROFLMAOSTC

Keep safe, you and all your guys, and thanks for all you are doing for us over there. I've added you to favorites, so will enjoy further accounts.


alix said...

ROFL i'm laughing my ass off over here!
will be back. nice foil chapeau, btw. ;)

Anonymous said...

Re #2, might it not be a good idea to attach just a pin (ie, not the ring) to your gear or dogtags for just such an emergency?

Maybe a cotter-pin would be a good substitute, because you could bend it open to keep it in, until something more suitable could be located, and you could just slip the eye over your bead-chain.

Lemme know what size cotter-pin it would need to be , and I can send you a box (or four) of them.

~Rick Berry Rick.Berry at gmail.com