Wednesday, September 24, 2008

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]



Old NFO said...

We were lucky, at least a shot fixed "most" of our problems after a visit to the local yokels... :-)

AND you could get a beer before and after :-)

Bobby G. said...

'Ya See?
Condoms...they're NOT JUST for keeping the business end of you RIFLE free from foriegn matter...LOL!
(can also be used for your "gun")


Murphy said...

Exactly why I was reluctant to dip my wick... Beer's still a good option, though!

Ha! "This is my rifle, this is my gun!..."