Thursday, August 30, 2007

Olfactory Assaults & Delights

Transporting the I dunno how long deceased/buried/dug-up body of an ING soldier about 30 miles from one base to another, those of us not in the gun truck were having a few chuckles at the poor bastards who were stuck in the vehicle with the leaking body bag. Due to our recently found natural ability to locate IEDs with our vehicles, all vehicle were buttoned up, as well as our un-uparmored, jerry-rigged, underground-doped-dealed-steel-plates-welded-to-the-doors, only-been-rolled-twice POS Hummers could be. Add to this aromatic assault on the senses the relatively nipply 110 degrees, and it makes for an interesting eau-de-dead guy. The Vehicle Commander could hardly avoid gagging every time he came on the radio to request that we haul ass back to the house. This occured roughly every 5 minutes.

The road we were using (& hoping had no recently planted "things that make you go 'boom' ") was mainly a convoy route, plainly marked as a convoy route by the numerous 3 to 4 ft deep craters on alternating sides of the barely one-lane road. Made the concept of traveling with all due haste pretty much moot. I hated convoys, because it seemed that they were all to often getting: 1) lost and in need of rescue. 2) lost and ambushed and in need of rescue. 3) lost, ambushed, and then opening up on anybody in the immediate vicinity, to include friendly forces. (my personal favorite). Of course, not all were that bad, just the ones that we had to deal with. And we had some doozies...

Sure enough, here comes one of those long-assed convoys. Yay.

SOP for our area was that all convoys had right of way. Fine by me, let them sweep the route. Besides, if the convey is escorted by an Army unit, there might be some hot chicks manning the turret guns. (After a couple months of Iraqi TNA (toes and ankles) all chicks are hot chicks, even the Army ones. The cammies effect, anyone?

A few words on the plumbing of military bases at the time.

There were actual flushing toilets on bases, but the overwhelming majority of crappers were the port-a-john variety. Of course those things needed to be emptied regularly, and that called for what we ever so eloquently dubbed 'the shit-sucker truck'. As bad as some of our duties were, at least we weren't the poor SOB that had to do that one. Said duty was performed by a local, and is the same that is done here in the states. Truck rolls up, guy gets out and unreels a large hose, er... cleans up the deposits, then uses another hose to fill the tank, cleans up the interior, etc. Something that most don't think about is what happened to the uh, 'collection' once it is removed from the cans. Out of sight, out of mind.

In Iraq, the trucks would drive to a location off the grounds of the base, dump their load (Har!), and then get back to the base to resume work.

Well before the convoy can make any attempt to run us off the road, we stop and turn off into the dunes. We get set, only to realize that, once the winds shifted, we were pretty much on the outskirts of the shit-dumping-ground from the nearby Iraqi Air Base. Joy!

Some 45 vehicles, (only 4 with any kind of turret guns, what genius planned that one?) only one 'hot' chick, and dunno how long later, we finally got moving again to the relief of all, especially the dead-guy taxi crew.

Got back to the forward operating base to find that: we had missed the PX truck again (not really, at least we got to look at it as we escorted it back to civilization) and, I 'shit' you not, some one had taken a dump in the newly set up and now secured shower tent. WTF, over?

At least our admin guys got to clean their cracks that month before it got shut down.


Anonymous said...

Write back and tell me what CHL stands for? I'm dumb

Old NFO said...

And you wonder why I went Aviation??? I admire y'all for what you did, but I will also say that flying 12 on/12 off patrols in an "unarmed" aircraft over there was not a lot of fun either... We had no armour and no speed to get away from anything. The only advantage at night was to take the props out of sync and go lights out. Of course that drives the crew on the airplane nuts from the harmonics...