Saturday, January 31, 2009

I remember a conversation that I had with a pair of my gun teams, in Iraq. The conversation was actually part 3(?) of what had started in an argument between a few of my guys. The argument itself wasn't really all that important, and honestly, I don't recall exactly what it was about. I do remember generally that eventually it had something to do with citizenship, either natural born or naturalized.

We were up on a lonely hill, watching a whole bunch of nothing, again. The only item of interest that had occurred was that one of my guys had invented/discovered that, with only minor modification, a wooden ammo case can make a pretty good shitter, for field use. He was quite proud of this, and tried to insist that everyone take a look at his ingenuity.

Yeah, it was a real slow day.

After mean-ole Sgt. Murphy made him dispose of his 'perfectly good' shitter, the conversation took a turn towards when we would see (if ever) an influx of Iraqi-born servicemen in the U.S. military. Most seemed to think that there would be a few here and there, but most likely no huge numbers, for a long while. Some pointed out the ING soldiers that nearly killed their fellow soldiers in training and ops, to support their dim views of the prospects. Others pointed out the soldier we nick-named 'Old Blue', as damn near the highest mark of respect for a crusty old bastard.

Even our translator got into the mix.

'Yusef' was a good guy, a bit older than us, in his late 20s - early 30s, very bright, motivated, and interested in a lot more than just collecting a paycheck. His family was Christian, and therefore didn't do all that great before but were managing ok, in their current situation. He was happy to have work far from home to protect his identity, but even still he would cover up on some of the ops in town of larger populations. His accent was only medium thick, his grasp of subtleties, innuendos, and whatnot was kind of tenuous, but he could definitely read between the lines. He was able to tell when to immediately stop whatever he was doing if say we needed to un-ass an area, post haste. He would at time saunter up to us, and with a whisper and a nod, tell us that the two detainees in the line were educated Saudis, and therefore the guys that we might really be interested in taking back to the detainee facility. He taught me a lot of Iraqi Arabic, and I taught him a little bit of Spanish. He had asked about Marine Corps training at one point, but honestly admitted he might have a better chance at going Army, due to his age and conditioning. His main goal was to one day live in the States.

Shortly after we were rotated out, the unit that replaced us took a pretty bad hit due to a land mine strike. KIAs included too many Marines, one doc... and one translator.

There was no word for a while, and eventually / for the longest time I assumed that he was the unnamed translator onboard. Word eventually came in a roundabout way that it was another translator that died, and that he was not only alive, but had figured out a way to make it to the States.

A little bird told me a while back, so I'm not sure of the exact date, but I'm just going to mark it down here for me how happy it makes me to hear that soon (if not already), 'Yusef' will complete his training and become a fine addition to the United States Army.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Now This Makes My Leg Tingle

Update for the Blog get-together right over hyaw.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

From my inbox, the other day;

"Are you the J. 'Old Goat' Murphy that went to Undergrad at Oregon State?"

Nope, but all indicators are that I'll be an 'Old Goat', one day...

What followed was a nice back and forth with someone looking for an old friend. It's a bit of a stretch to say that this'll work, but stranger thing have happened, right?

So, other Murphy, OSU class of '90 and deployed Lieutenant(?) in Iraq around 3 years ago, shoot me a mail, you got an old buddy looking for ya.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sweet, Sweet, Merciful Death...

... take me now.

Just follow the trail of crumpled tissues, pitiful moans, and gurgled hacks up the stairs to the couch. You might not be able to actually see me, what with the additional tissues, 'medicinal' bottles, lozenge wrappers, blankies, and whatnot, but I'm really here, lying on the couch waiting for your touch.


Edit to add:

Bwaha *hack-coff-whimper-hack* haha...

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Six Things/Habits/Quirks meme

1) I like memes, but rarely find myself following them to a T...

2) In a recent financial-type discussion with My Love, I jokingly mentioned that, after reading our latest and 'greatest' investment reports (long story short, t.u.), I should pull some money out to invest in... 'precious metals'. She sounded pretty receptive to the idea. Now, I'm sure that her idea of precious metals doesn't include those that come in firearms form, but as I consider them precious to me, I'm currently debating my desire for sound, diversified, and solid financial planning (international and domestic, of course) vs. my desire to enjoy living, and sans one of her high-heels through my sack.

3) I spent much of last year testing out different fertilizers for my lawn. I fear that landscaping is going to be yet another one of my hobbies/second jobs (too much time, too much actual work, too much money, etc). I started with my back yard, mainly because I figured that I could hardly screw it up more than it already way. In the portion of the yard that actually has grass, there area sections that have the normal winter look to it, some that seemed burnt to the dirt, and a nice, pristine, lush area covered in dark green grass.

I've forgotten what type of fertilizer I used for the green area.

4) Since I've started planning a trip down south for my great-grandmother's birthday later in the year, I've been craving ceviche and pisco, two things I rarely have.

5) I love the COPS-type shows, but I don't really consider them a reality show nor do I consider them to be the end all be all of techniques and tactics. It can be a heckofa comedy, though...

6) Speaking of comedy, I really get a kick outta this guy...

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Go here for details re: blogshooty goodness, and the list of prospective attendees.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pucker Up, One Last Time

Peter had a post recently, here, about a li'l old lady that brought what she thought was a land mine to her local police station. Kind of humorous, in the end, due to the fact that no one was seriously injured by the antique... thing.

Reminded me of a story 'bout those who play by 'Better Safe Than Sorry', and those who should.

It was during the left seat / right seat, them in the left seat. This is to mean that the new Battalion was essentially running the show and that we had a few guys stay behind to sit 'right seat', to offer last minute advice, instruction, and anything else that might help.

Guess who was one of those that was initially told his services wouldn't be needed.... and then they were?

Yeah, I got a good picture of all my boys givin' me the friendly one finger salute as their 7-ton pulled out of the FOB.

We were out on patrol one day, nothing too extravagant, just moseying up and down our AO, seeing what was crack-a-lackin', and I was pointing out items of interest to the VC and crew that I was riding with. The reason I was talking to the Vehicle Commander and not the Squad Leader was that my Captain and the new companies OIC were chit-chatting in the vehicle, with the squad leader. That only leaves room for a driver and a gunner, both most likely Lance Corporals, and if anything was gonna get done in that vehicle, they'd need both of the work horses there. Besides, I had sat down with the new Squad Leader already, he looked like he had a good head on his shoulders - nobody I needed to worry about.

I was continuing a conversation that I'd started with a bunch of the new Lance Corporals - where we'd been hit, where we suspected the enemy was moving, how to read the roads, our immediate action drills according to specific situations, particularly spectacular convoy failures, the worthlessness of the average ING and IP when our Battalion started and some of their improvements, enemy tactics, their IED and land mine camouflage - you know, a few odds and ends here and there.

One of the Lance Corporals had asked me about our actions with landmines vs. IEDs, and what my personal thoughts on the matter were.

I started by telling him that there was definitely a progression in the ability of the enemy to set up, camo, and implement their weapons. During the time of my deployment, I'd noticed landmines that I couldn't see from more than 4 feet away and on foot, armor piercing MG rounds wrapped around arty rounds, incendiary IEDs, all building up to where our forces were at that day. The weren't too many stupid Jihadi Joes left, 'cause we'd already killed most of 'em. Our usual action once we determined that we had an actual threat was to call up EOD and let them take care of business. I stressed the fact that EOD was going to be escorted by some of their sister squads on their 'off' days, so it might be nice to know that when your squad is rolling out of the racks after only 2 hours of sleep that you can be pretty sure that you aren't going to get called out to disarm a bag of trash, a dead sheep, or a pillow. I told them that even if they were Blue Falconed that way, in my opinion it was always better to be safe than sorry. I'd take a shit-talkin' every day of the week for calling out a false alarm if it meant I could avoid a KIA, particularly moi.

One of 'em asked about shooting the IEDs. I told them that we hadn't, and that it would eventually be up to their command whether that flew or not, but from my experience, there was quite a few IEDs that were set up interior to a city, on a local bridge, or otherwise in an area where shooting it wouldn't be an option, really. If, on the other hand, they just happened to be out in the dunes oh, say, randomly conducting a test fire and 'just happened' to hit an IED, well then...

They got the idea.

It was about at that time that the lead vehicle spotted a possible land mine in the shoulder of the road, left side, immediately before crossing the bridge. The road was littered with previous craters lining both sides of the road and various vehicle debris, so it was something that definitely looked promising.

The call went out over the radio, the lead vehicle hauled ass over the bridge, the second and third were kind of stuck on account of terrain, but made do the best they could. Another vehicle started to make their way, off road, to link up with the lead victor, just in case. My vehicle stopped in place, turret faced to the rear, and the VC and I got out to check our area. I could hear the initial vocal tension of the FNGs' voices over the radio, and the relative calm as they realized they weren't dead, there was (initially, at least) no further threat, their figurative cherries were kinda-sorta popped, and there was still a job to do.

As the VC and I checked the area, I asked him for a verbal run-down of immediate actions that his vehicle and the squad needed to do. Once we established that our vehicle was secure, we pushed out a bit to face-to-face with the next vehicle and to cover ground in likely areas of attack. I had a separate radio on my gear, for my guys that were right-seating in other vehicles. One of 'em asked me to head up to his position, if I wasn't too busy. He was closer to the suspected mine, had better eyes on, and wanted me to confirm something for him. As the VC and I walked back to the road, I pointed out debris from convoys that littered the area. I wasn't trying to scare the guy, just impress upon him that this particular area was one to keep in mind, for the future.

As we were walking up and over the last of the hills before the road, he asked if I had any EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) trained Marines in my squad. I - still examining old tire, motorcycle, bicycle, sheep, and herder tracks - responded in the negative. I told him we had some former EMTs, some recreational gun-nuts, one radioman, one guy who liked to work on low-riders in his spare time, and an Irishman in some serious throes of alcohol withdrawal, but no EOD guys.

He paused, and asked if we had no EOD, why was one of my guys working on the landmine?

It was the guy who had called for me earlier.

The image that flashed though my head at the moment was one of a curious monkey poking a stick into a potential grub hill, for some reason. Brain Donor was using his k-bar to gently poke around the edges, at a good 45 degree angle, around the circular edge of what, from my closing distance and perspective, could be the edge of the pressure plate. As I contemplated getting blown up two days after my squad officially stopped patrolling, he managed to fit his knife under the device, and more or less pried up...

... what looked like an old, dusty, large paint-can lid that had been embedded in the dirt.

Good thing I had left a few extra pair of clean skivvies for the return trip to the states...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Death in combat is something that, for some, is not really talked about too much. Just by the nature of the environment it is commonly accepted knowledge that there are plenty of risks in war, everyone is exposed to them, and sometimes, your number is called. When someone dies, you console yourself with the knowledge that the person died 'fighting the good fight', doing what they volunteered for and were trained to do, alongside their buddies.

It's still never easy.

Death, in training, is something that is possibly even harder to bear, but it does happen on occasion. The soldiers here still volunteered, were still among buddies, and even though it happened in training, I believe that they were still fighting the good fight.

Thoughts and prayers to the families of the broken and broken-hearted.


Saturday, January 10, 2009


I got an email recently from SpeakerTweaker, and he had a interesting proposal. The idea that he had was to suggest a gathering of like-minded bloggers in our area (roughly San Antonio to Austin) for food, firearms, and fun. Some others have held similar get togethers and have managed to have a great time. Well why not us, then?


During a recent planning conversation/spitball session, we chatted a bit about guns, better halves, Christmas guns, ammo, kiddos, possible ranges, recently purchased guns, rising prices, bare gun shelves and the like.

This could take awhile...

So, in the interest of testing the waters so to speak, we're both planning on tossing this out there to all who might be interested.


Pretty much everything is up for debate right now, from location, ranges, food, dates and times. As I understand it, responses and those interested will determine exactly where (what city) this'll be held, and from there where we go, etc.

Anybody up for this can email Tweaker or myself to let us know of your interest, make suggestions, offer sponsorship for my ammo fund, and/or donate small children for the post party clean up.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Via Snigs.

1. Do you like blue cheese?

Nope, as a rule I toss it before it gets medium-dark green.

2. Have you ever smoked?

Cohibas are pretty good...

3. Do you own a gun?

a) Uh... no. They are scary, evil, death machines that should only be used by other, better trained... guys.
b) Sumdood stole 'em.
c) I lost them all in a freak accident whilst on a boating/poetry/nature communing trip.

4. What flavor of Kool Aid was your favorite?

5. Do you get nervous before a doctors appointment?
Only if they were to say that I was going to get 'tutored'.

6. What do you think of hot dogs?

I'm not one of those sick puppies...

7. Favorite Christmas movie?
Full. Metal. Christmas.

8. Favorite thing to drink in the morning?


9. Can you do push ups?
Not like I used to.

10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?
Hip metal.

11. Favorite hobby?
I dunno if it qualifies as a 'hobby'...

12. Do you have A.D.D.?

Huh, what?

13. What’s one trait you hate about yourself?
I'll tell you later, sometime... mebbe.

14. Middle name?

15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment?
1. Two is one, one is none.
2. I should probably run.
Mmm, pizza good.

16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink?
Coffee, coffee, and coffee.

17. How many siblings do you have?

18. Current hate right now?

Close race between the Sham Wow guy and B. Mays...

19. Favorite place to be?
At home.

21. Where would you like to go?
To visit familia and Dad.

22. Name three people who might complete this:

No idea.

23. Do you own slippers?
With or without duckies?

24. What shirt are you wearing?
T. (Not 'Mr.', but 'white'.)

25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
Dude, really?

26. Can you whistle?


27. Favorite color?


28. Would you be a pirate?

Nope. Definitely a Ninjer.

29. What songs do you sing in the shower?
Row, Row, Row Your Boat.

30. Favorite Girls Names?

'Peaches', 'Bubbles', and 'Candy'.

31. Favorite boy’s names:
Sorry, bro, Homey don't play that.

32. What is in your pocket?

Pocket pool balls.

33. Last thing that made you laugh?

Previous post (link) & comments.

34. What vehicle do you drive?

35. Worst injury you’ve ever had?
I had a bad hang-nail once...

36. Do you love where you live?

37. How many TVs do you have in your house?

38. Who is your loudest friend?


39. Do you have any pets?

Quite a few dust bunnies.

40. Does someone have a crush on you?

Heck if I know.

41. Your favorite book(s):

42. Do you collect anything?


43. Favorite Sports Team?
Swedish Bikini Team.

44. What song do you want played at your funeral?
Uh, I'll be dead, what's the difference? As long as folks aren't clappin' and dancin' in the aisles, I'm good.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Oh my. The possibilities are endless with this one.


I can't really get behind this... can you?

I hate to think of Francis and Flynt down on their knees beggin' for this kind of package.

This just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

This is truly a sign of today's hard times.

I'm sure that all of the 'jobs' in the porno industry aren't all at risk.

Lot more companies are more hard up than I thought.

Too big to fail? Methinks they exaggerate a bit.


Hope they don't go tits up.

Not sure of all the details, but I'm sure that the taxpayers are gettin' screwed in the end.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Customer Satisfaction...

... we'll get it, one way or the other.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Blog Pimpin'

Voting for the 2008 Weblog Awards starts on Monday, January 5, go and check out the finalists.

Heh, I'm sure that I was this close ][ to making it to the 3rd alternate, honorable mention, sub-list 3(c), 'other guys'.

Seriously though, I'd encourage all of yous to go and check out Big Tobacco. A cigar smokin', coffee chuggin', tail chasin', snark spewin', menorah lightin', FOB livin' kinda guy whose blog just seems to fit my sense of humor - what's not to like? Heck, his post from yesterday could have been taken pretty much word for word from my 'dating' days. Good times.

Word is that this just might be a good step along the road to book authorship, and that would be pretty cool.

I can heartily recommend BT even if he is, you know, one of them Army guys.

Good luck, bro.