Sunday, September 28, 2008

Palm, meet Forehead; Forehead, Palm.


Looks like Jay G. decided to post a bit o' public mea culpa. Seems like the ole goober's been reading this li'l blog for awhile with not so much as a link... on... his... blogro-

*ring, ring...* [clue phone]

"Hello? Oh, it's for me!"


Hey everybody, guess what time it is?

Yup, blog love time!

is the cleverly titled blog of the above named author. Dad, gun-nut, biker, owner of what is possibly the best crazy-face with a shotty at the range that'll I'll ever see, and all around Masshole of the highest caliber (ha!). I've likewise been reading his blog for quite some time. 'Wicked Pissah' blog, Jay.

With a casual glance over at my feeder and blogroll, I note that I'm obviously not only in that particular same boat, but I'm the friggin' designer, captain, and ship's monkey. More blogs to be updated soon...

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I was on the couch the other evening, 'sleeping well and dreaming of large women', when the television I had fallen asleep on - woke me up.

In the moments immediately after waking, still half-asleep, I caught the first part of the clip and thought to myself, 'holy crap, Rachel Lucas has advertising now? That's so cool!'

Oh yeah...

Anybody watch the show?

Me neither. Thought the ad was funny, though...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Man, I HATE when that happens

Coupla things;

1) Wear your cammie blouse next time. It might not have stopped it, but on reflection, wouldn't it be swell to improve your chances (however slightly) of that never happening again?

2) RSO, good on you for grabbing the weapon. A little sooner next time, and then we can all sit back and watch him squeal, m'kay?

3) Why am I thinking of the Johnny Cash song, 'Burning Ring of Fire'? Hmm, must be because they're on ship...

Pleasant Conversations

In the movies, the guys take a moment from the action to wax eloquent about the meaning of life, make heroic speeches, and/or foreshadow their impending doom.

Real life, as you might be shocked to learn, is usually a wee bit different.

We were set up just outside the boundaries of a cemetery and on either side of the only decrepit pontoon bridge for miles around. Beyond the cemetery, on a slight rise and to our direct front was the village, and to our rear was the river. It wasn't the greatest of locations by a long shot, but the mission of being ready to provide support for friendly units in the immediate area left us little choice in the matter. My APL (Assistant Patrol Leader) grumbled about why we didn't go ahead and drop trou, bend over, and spread the cheeks for the bad guys, but he was always the pessimist. I rationalized that the village folks only marginally hated our guts, so we should be okey-dokey. (If they openly despised us oftentimes very little actually happened (right then) and if they apparently all loved us you knew you were royally screwed).

Nevertheless, we of course followed SOP and set up our security. 'Complacency kills', you know...

It was shortly after we had all set up for the indeterminate wait and I had linked up with our sister-squad's leader that I realized we'd be there for much longer than originally anticipated.


I began to make my rounds.

After the squad sets up pretty much anywhere for any length of time, I would go around and double-check the situation. There's quite a bit to look after, even when the squad was just hanging around; dismounted Marines' positions to check, vehicles' lines of sight / interlocking fire, VCs (Vehicle Commanders) understanding of the plan / the back-up plan / the plan for when plan Z goes bad, quashing horseplay and/or general mischief - all this while/after co-ordinating with friendlies, checking in with the rear, and the like. When passing my vehicle again, I found my APL doing pretty much the same thing.

Good man.

We took a moment, at my vehicle.

We covered some of the rough plans for the day, all of 'em pretty much at some point involving the phrases 'goat rope, semper gumby, SNAFU, and follow my lead'. There was some discussion as to the two guys that were still blowing mud from eating the local... 'food' that the ING soldiers offered us the other day (there's being polite, and then there's being smart. Guess which one I was? Most definitely in the 'smart' column, thanks be to Allah). Coming back to the matter at hand, my APL nodded in the direction of the graves and grunted. I responded by telling him that we'd try to stay off the final resting place of dear ole Ab and Om if possible, but if things got real interesting, we might have to really piss off everybody in the village by driving right through. Thankfully, the local po-po and ING showed up around that time, marginally reducing my ever-constant expectation of attack.

Important business nearly completed, it was time to move on to the next order of business; chow. Opening the flaps on the MRE box in the foot well of the rear-right passenger seat, I saw that the top-most MRE was Frankfurters; Beef, 4. Uhhh, no. Flipping that one to the side, I saw that there was only 4 or 5 MREs left in the box, and the second one I looked at was also the 4 Fingers of Death meal. Ignoring the chuckle from the gunner in the turret, I was about to check out the rest of them when one of my Lance Coolies popped his head around the vehicle and excitedly informed me of some Important News.


Sighing at the collection of Meat-Sticks and Crapolaya, I grabbed a MRE, tossed a curse in the general direction of my vehicle crew (and promised them more fire watch), and turned to the Lance Corporal. "What was that?", I asked. "Whores!" was the excited response.


"Wanna check it out on our way out of town?", my APL asked, "might be something... uh, interesting going on in there. You know... uh, suspicious activity, or something."

I'm pretty sure he was mostly joking around.

"What in the heck are we gonna do in an Iraqi whore house?", I asked.

I decided to ignore his raised eyebrow.

My Lance Corporal put a disappointed look on his face and commented as to how I never let the guys have any fun [pout]. I told him that the squad, their weenies, and for that matter his mom would thank me later. He trudged off to tell the rest of the guys the bad news.

I know, I know, no 'troop welfare'. Bad Sergeant...

HERE was going to be where I linked to a story about a visit to 'what just happened to be' a south american brothel (yeah, just one), but I wasn't able to find it. Have I not posted it on this blog?

Turning to my APL who looked like he wanted to continue the discussion, I held up one of the weenies from my MRE. "Can we talk about something that else, at least when I gotta choke this bad boy down?"

"Sure", he said, " I got this rash..." [scratch, scratch]


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Shaking My Head

Check out this turd.

John 15:13

I sincerely hope that the Peralta family knows that to many, Sergeant Peralta could not possibly be held in any higher esteem throughout the Marine Corps. Even when I was still in Iraq, his name and actions had already entered into Marine Corps lore, and will be carried forth for many, many years to come. I am only one of many that feel that the Navy Cross, while a very high honor itself, is insufficient in this situation.


Semper Fidelis, Sergeant.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Semper, Semper, Semper Fidelis

There are a number of stories that I remember on this anniversary. Some are of cops, many are from firefighters. Those stories from 9/11 and many others from day to day life are mainly now why I consider both of the above to be brothers in arms or members of a sister service, if that makes any sense.

Of course, it's hard to forget the responses of 'regular' folks, men and women, just going about their lives. I do have to say though, if pressed, that this story is one of my personal favorites.

"You can call me Staff Sergeant."

Semper Fi, Staff Sergeant.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Gonna run run run...

The running post a ways back was inspired largely due to the fact that I'm trying to get back into running shape. Only slightly more accurate of a thing to say would be that I'm trying to get back into some sort of shape other than what I am right now. I'm not wheezing from climbing a set of stairs or from a couple of 12 oz curls, but I've notice quite a bit of decline in my conditioning since I've gotten out.

Shocker, I know.

Not trying to set any records here, and I'm being careful to not set any impossible goals (can you tell I've done this before?).

A brief snippet of what runs around in my mind nowadays when out for my PT run.

Ok, here we go, easy little run... how did it go? 'Forward at a double time!' Pffft...

Allrighty, not so bad... keepin' it slow and easy... well, slow, anyways.

Damn, shins are starting to hurt, wonder if I should change out my 'go fasters'. The shoes are only...oh hell, 5 years old. Yeah, I should probably put that on my 'crap to do' list, volume 1, section 2, chapter 3, page 12.

Damn that sun is awfully shiny today.

Geez, this sucks more than I remembered. Must've gone a couple of miles by now... hmmm, how long've I been running? Crap, 5 minutes. Definitely not a couple of miles.

Ugh, just got passed by Timmy... on his tricycle.

Stupid kid... with his stupid lacrosse? stick... running (at a friggin' sprint) in his stupid h.s. jersey.

Urf, think that was breakfast threatening to make a re-appearance.

Ooh look, shiny!

Dang, those shorts on that lady are pretty... uh, short.

Note to self: no need to run faster when other folks are running by, no matter what they happen to be wearing... *urp!*

Little Known Greek Mythology

It seems that I might have possibly discovered a new god - in the Greek Mythological sense of the word, made even more interesting by the fact that it's been years since I've done any reading of the myths.


Murfisticles, better known in his modern incarnation as Murphy, is the god of general goings wrong and is the inspiration for this humble blog. He is the bastard child of Ares and the result of what was reportedly a helluva liberty party with some 'ladies' of questionable reputations.

Tequila... does it every time.

Recent research has indicated that, interestingly enough, he got his start as the more specific god of... the nut shot. Bear with me here...

Many of Murphisticles' fans were ladies of course, but only guys are... er, properly 'equipped' to serve this minor deity. Proper worshipping position was remarkably similar to the fetal pos, on the knees, hands cupped around ones tender bits, moaning softly.

Murphisticles works in mysterious ways - including, as recently discovered - small toddlers who, excited at their new found jumping ability, visiting family, and by life in general, land - not on my lap, no! - my right. square. on. my.... urf!

'When In Doubt, Whip It Out'

Like the title?

Cheeky monkey, it's not what you think.

What the phrase referred to (ok-ok, amongst other things, I admit), was the practice of saluting. All Marines learn very early in their careers that they will salute all Officers, it will look sharp, and they will not %~@# it up.

Like everything else in the military life, there's rules for everything, and we learned that it was always better to say, salute an Officer that was aways away and walking in another direction in the parking lot, rather than learn what his personal feelings on 'appropriate saluting distance' was. 'When in doubt, whip it out'.

If you even think you see an Officer decal on the windshield of a vehicle, whip it out (the salute, that is). Don't be the PFC I had to instruct after I had some Captain get about neck deep in my ass on account of the PFC being in lala land, or something. Also, don't assume that the sweet young thang behind the wheel isn't an Officer, 'cause they're making 'em younger every year...

When spending time on the occasional foreign base, better to incorrectly salute a foreign subsergente during a hastily thrown together flag detail than to pass some dude on a sidewalk, nod and say 'whassup, dude' to your Major's personal shower buddy, 'el comandante' (generally, never a good idea to piss of your Major, for whatever reason, fyi). This one wasn't really too much of a problem, due to the fact that enough of the Os hung out with the foreign Os to make things somewhat workable, but still - 'When in doubt...'

You get the idea.

Generally, like I mentioned before, the ground rules were clear enough not to cause too much of an issue. Don't salute anyone in the field, you can get away with a salute to darn near everybody in a ceremonial function, don't just think that 'always salute the guys with the shiny rank', because Chiefs can be notoriously... ornery. Courtesy is always good, and when in doubt...

Now that I got that covered, another example.

I had the occasion when I was a much, much younger Marine (read: boot Private) to attend a formal event on a local college campus. It was a memorial-type event, so I decided to wear my Dress Blues. After the event, I ran into a lady friend of mine, and as it was getting kind of late, offered to escort her to her car. Thought it might be the Gentlemanly Thing to do. To get to her vehicle we had to walk through a somewhat dimly lighted park, and as we were walking in one direction, there was another couple approaching us. I was able to make out that the male half of the duo was wearing the formal uniform of the campus' ROTC, but not too much else.

He performed a rather good salute, complete with the greeting of the evening, in my direction.

Yeah, he called me a 'Sir'. Nope, didn't get offended.

My first thought was that a sneaky Officer had somehow ninjaed his way behind me (some've been known to do that, on the rare occasion). Second thought that was when he didn't see any shoulder rank on my blues, he must've ASS-U-MEd that I was a boot-Lt., and not a boot-boot (a stretch, I know, but still). My third thought, and the one I went with, was just that it was dark, he could tell I was wearing some sort of military uniform, custom and courtesy might have had something to do with it and therefore, what else was I to do, but return the salute? I did leave off the 'carry on' part of the response, though.

I did get a chuckle out of the thought that in about a year, if I remember the cadet rank correctly, I would be obliged to salute the same guy, and call him 'Sir', to boot.

Friday, September 5, 2008

As a general rule, I try to stay away from celebrity news as much as possible because, quite honestly, I just don't care enough to be distracted from vastly more important matters, like belly-button lint cultivation, pillow poofing, and yard grass growin'.

Awhile back now I got fed up with all the ego-centric proclamations, arrests, political opining, 'poor me' whining, and panty flashing from people with too much time and money - and that was just from the dudes.

When you watch a bit of the news, however, on occasion the odd celebrity news blurb will rise (sink?) to my attention - two of which, I just had to comment on.

First of all... BWAHAHAHAhahahaa....


To sum it up, apparently Ms. 'Bootylicious' has a younger sister that fancies herself something of a.... uh, dunno. Singer? Dancer? Designer? Diva, for sure, but I just don't care enough to find out what, exactly. Apparently, the celbre-twit was doing an interview for some show, and confused the pre-interview conversation with the actual on-air interview. She proceeded to go off on her interviewer on air and, well, if you can struggle through the short clip, you might just get a chuckle out of it like I did.

Now to be fair, on occasion there's something from Hollyweird that shows that not all people are bat-shit loco. Might even be applauded, even.

Hope for all man-kind.

This one actually impressed me. Seems like David Spade is thought to have fathered a child. Conga rats for him, but what's more impressive is that he's reported to have said that he would accept responsibility if the child is proven to be his. I know, I know, on the grand scheme of things nothing extra-ordinary, and quite possibly something that he's legally strongly encouraged to do, but it's small steps for famous folks, ya know? Oh yeah, the mother of his child? Playboy playmate Jillian Grace.

I'll give you a moment for Googly...


David, you are my hero.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Say What?


Long story short, the VFW has drafted a resolution calling for the creation of a Combat Action Medal, to go with the currently awarded ribbon, for Marines. The article sites the recent creation of an Air Force Combat Action Medal, and later quotes,

"If the Pentagon is interested in keeping awards consistent across the military services... it’s only fair that sailors and Marines be eligible for a combat medal...."

'Keeping awards consistent across the military services...'


After a brief survey - granted, a small polling number (one) - I found this to be a bit silly. All of the Marines (moi) polled in my survey think that there are already quite a few medals and ribbons awarded to Marines, some too easily granted in a few cases, *coffNAMcoff* and some well deserved awards that never seem to get to the individual Marine as often as they should (MoH, Silver and Bronze Stars, etc). The Combat Action Ribbon has worked well enough, why fix what isn't broke?

Course, some of those awards just seem to get handed out to some. Nothing against my Officer brethren, but I personally know Marines who did absolutely crazy-heroic stuff under fire... and got nada except for an 'atta boy', and a slap on the ass. Makes my ass twitch when I hear about guys getting awarded stars for leading convoy security details, fuel replenishment, and the like. I understand they have an important job and did it exceedingly well, and good on 'em for it, but still... Mebbe it's just an old grunt mindset of getting awards in combat being for... oh I dunno, combat?

Your thoughts?

Besides, when it all comes down to it, we have the best decoration out there, the Marine Corps Dress Blues. Dead sexy, they are. I'm a decent enough looking dude, I guess, but when I wore 'em, I was a veritable stud-muffin! Of course, I'm completely unbiased...

Then again, if we're gonna follow the Air Force, wonder if we'll get other neat and interesting medals and ribbons, like...

I don't remember where I got that, but it made me chuckle. I still haven't found any kind of decoration for e-tool qualification, dumpster diving, running the gauntlet, or crossing the line, but there's always hope...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Fog (Smoke) of War

Combat photography is an interesting subject, full of cool photos, but often I can't help but think to myself, 'Self, why does this guy not have a rifle in his hands and why is he not killing someone right now?'

Well, I found out the answer to that one... sorta.


The distinctive "Wwwwwwwhhhhhrrrrr!!!!" preceded the inevitable explosions as the enemy mortars and rockets exploded within the Forward Operating Base (FOB) perimeter. Inevitably, curses and joyous shouts filled the air from my Marines.

Myself and my squad were hanging out in the 'morgue', so named for the large empty rooms filled with the slabs of concrete, about 25 of them, that would be perfect for bodies... except for the whole being in the middla Iraq, no A/C, and all that jazz. This being the Corps, said slabs were topped with 3 inch high foam pads and called, 'beds'. 'Morgue' was just another name for our quarters.

We'd made do with what we had at hand, filling the odd sand-bag that had emptied out and re-stacking them in the windows, re-hung a black-out curtain in the doorway, 'acquired' an odd mattress and some cots, enough for each slab, and even appropriated some spare lumber for the cause. I had a number of amateur and semi-pro carpenters, mechanics, computer super-nerds, electricians, and assorted riff-raff to take care of the odd jobby here and there, and while it was still far from approaching a comfy level, my guys had managed to work between patrols to add some appliances, hang some speakers, and construct a few lofts. One enterprising bugger had made his loft about eight feet high, hung curtains all around his rack - from top frame to concrete slab, organized a veritable dry-goods grocery / uh... 'alternative reading' aisle on the slab, and hung a sign from the head of his rack entitled, 'The Jack Shack'. Even had a little platform for his DVD player that angled down to his rack, I guess to leave his hands free for... whatever. His favorite line before getting in the rack wasn't the infamous 'Prepare to mount...' that most every Marine remembers from boot, but 'If the rack is a rockin', don't come a knockin...'

That's my war, baby.

The slab next to his was empty and served as the community care package, extra pogey bait, 'instructional DVD', 'reading material', and etc collection point. It also was the MAPs card table, as needed.

Marine will gamble and bet on darn near anything.

Call it too much time and money and not enough sense, but Marines will take bets on how long they can avoid taking bets. They would bet for firewatch, chow, DVDs, bragging rights, money, trinkets, and just about anything you can imagine.

They would even bet on stuff like enemy action.

If I remember correctly, the longest we went without enemy mortars or rockets was something on the order of about 9 days, so whenever we'd get to about four or five days free from incoming, you better believe that there was some interesting bets going on. Whenever the inevitable would happen, there were a few phrases that you could always expect to hear;

1) Incoming! / Cover! (no kidding)

2) Get some!

3) QRF up! (Quick Reaction Force, or the guys that go looking for trouble when it's already found you.)

4) Yeah, Five and a half days! Pay up, bitches!

Number four was what I heard immediately after the explosions.

I mumbled and grumbled and jumped out of the rack. We weren't officially the QRF (Quick Reaction Force), but the assigned QRF had already been launched for some suspicious activity in the AO. As we were the only MAP (Mobile Assault Platoon) on the reservation at the time, it wasn't a leap to figure that we'd be tasked with going to the party. My guys, seeing me grabbing my gear, muttered their own commentary and grabbed their own gear. Not that it needed to be said, but I sounded off to my Assistant Squad Leader across the room, 'Comm and weapons checks, stage the Victors by the CoC, stand by to Oscar Mike!' He gave me a sleepy thumbs up and scratched his nuts whilest looking for some gear. Guess it was nappy time for him too.

I hustled down the stairs at the end of the building, narrowly avoided getting run over by one of my own Hummers tearing ass over to the staging area, and jogged to the Command Center.

It was hoppin'.

I blew a kiss to the new PFC manning the radio, sidled up to the Staff Sergeant at the map table, and asked if he knew where the POI (point of origin) was. He nodded as the building rattled with more incoming. I told him that I was going to the vehicles, my call sign, and that we'd be ready to launch in about 3 minutes. He nodded as the room began to flood with Officers and Staff NCOs. I exited the room, turned the corner and was pretty much at my vehicles. Victor 1, my own, was staged just beyond the edge of the building, facing the road that eventually led out of the FOB. My guys were tightening down straps on their flacks, fingering their mags, and re-checking their gear - basically just killing time before we launched. I yelled at one knucklehead and asked if he heard the incoming, then asked him why his kevlar wasn't on his head. My ASL came up to me, told me that all Marines were present and ready to go, victors were good, the radio on victor 4 was acting froggy, but he had the comm Yoda on it. If Yoda could get it up and running before we left, great; if not, we'd just swap out vehicle positions.

I grabbed the command dedicated radio and did a comm check.

"Command, Command, this is Black 1, radio check, over."

"Last station, say again your last, over?"

"Black 1, comm check, I'm good to go and ready to launch, how copy, over?"

"What's your pos, Black 1?"

Come on, PFC, get with the program...

I leaned over a few feet and pounded on the wall with my free hand.

*thump, thump*

"Roger Black, stand by."

Turning back to my vehicle, I looked through the windshield and noticed a curious sight from the palm groves down the way... smoke, and lots of it.

I looked up at my gunner standing in the turret, behind the 240G and with binos to his eyes. "Is that what I think it is?" I asked him, and he responded in the affirmative. "Fuckers look like they are just inside / behind the tree line, but yeah, Sergeant, that's where it's coming from."

"Do we have the range?"

"Nope. Our mortars do, guys at the gate do... maybe, but not us, not here."

I rogered up on the radio to tell command that we had eyes on, and to request permission to leave friendly lines. I got told to stand by. Again. My Marines were getting antsy, looking to kill something, anything, wh-

There was a massive explosion that rocked the buildings, shook the ground, and rattled your teeth.

As we still hadn't gotten the go ahead to depart the FOB, I told my guys to leave the (unarmored) victors and get inside the (sandbagged) building. They immediately made for the nearest building, and probably got a few looks as they tried to occupy the same space as nearly all the FOB's Staff & Officers. Hey hey hay! - Party time!

I had stayed with the vehicles to maintain eyes on (my vehicles - heck, there's Marines about) and to welcome any unexpected visitors should they over-run the combination USMC and ING gate guard contingent (unlikely). Probably a good thing that the ING guys didn't cut and run (more likely), because if they had come running around the bend in front of my vehicle, well... it probably would've sucked to've been them.

About the time when I started to wonder if I was gonna have to run down to the FOB's 81smm gun line and start kickin' ass and takin' names, the FOB resumed their return fire.

'So there I was', hanging out at the vehicles, out of return fire range, well within enemy range, on orders to 'stand by to stand by'... business as usual. I just happened to have the camera that my folks sent me...

Mortars: Reach out and touch someone.

It got kind of busy after that but all in all, it was a good day.