Thursday, January 27, 2005

Deep-fried hopes in the grease of reality.

Just returned from a three-day excursion to the field where we learned all about the M249, M240, MK19, and M2. None of that makes any sense to 90% of you, and that's okay. All are different weapon systems that will be employed by us before too long. Somehow, despite a great deal of learning material available, practical application, and even a live-fire excercise, we managed to get almost nothing out of it, thanks to idiot politics between active-duty & reserve Marines.

But the good news is that we probably have a whole extra month to work on those deficiencies, since our earlier flight seems to have been canked for reasons unknown. I figure it's more money in the bank, but it's taking a toll on a lot of the Marines in the company. When it will be sorted out is anyone's guess, but I'm doing what I can to roll with the punches & be happy for what I've got. Namely, good chow, a nice rack, a cellphone, and evenings (generally) to do what I like with.

Speaking of evenings, I'm exhausted, so I think I'm going to go back to my hooch, drink a beer, have a smoke, shower, and go on some rack ops. I could and probably should type out some more, but I'm pretty goddamn frazzled. We're supposed to have this weekend off, so I'll go into a long, drawn out speech sometime then. More gouge soon.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Amore: Not just sea creatures

In the evenings, I try and make at least one phone call a night. I figure, hey, I'm in garrison, I can do this shit, right?

Anyway, I was on the phone with Anne the other night, talking mushy (as Marines days from deployment are known to do), when she twisted my arm. You see, she's been reading this webpage and wants me to talk about her, and how great she is. And that got me to thinking: Wouldn't it be nice if I did that for everyone that has made an impact in my life?

Now, in the interest of brevity and keeping people's feelings from being hurt, I'm only putting two types of people down here: The ones I am immediately related to, and the ones I'm making sweet, sweet love to (imaginary or factual). So without further ado, here I go. And no, these aren't listed in any order of importance.

Brennan: The first name that popped into my head, for obvious reasons. When the balloon first went up in 2003, he helped me without any hesitation. Power of attorney, Will, Moving all my junk, Bills, he did it all. Now, he's doing it for a second time. I've thanked him before and will do so again, but I don't think he will ever be able to fathom the gratitude I felt when the lives & finanaces of other Marines were going to hell and I was able to stay focused on the mission at hand. He's one of the only Non-Marines I would trust with my life in a second. He's that good, and I love him (you're going to be reading that a lot) in a way that few people can know.

Dad: It took me a long time to get right with this side of my family. When I finally swallowed my pride and did the right thing, he was the first to give me a hug & welcome me back. Re-entering a (dinner table talk aside) normal family has been a big change from what I was used to, but it's been a good one. Dad, thanks for being there for me. The last two years have been great. I love you.

Andy: For telling everyone I'm a "War Hero" at every opportunity imaginable. You're stranger than year-old meatloaf, but I love you anyway. Take it easy on the ladies, tiger.

Kim: We don't share a drop of blood between the two of us, but that hasn't ever stopped you from treating me like a son. I know I haven't always been the easiest person to get along with, and I appreciate your understanding. Heck, I love you too, ya crazy old battleaxe. But that still isn't an excuse to send that goddamn movie to me. I mean it.

Anne: Ah, the grand finale. I don't know what I could say to you that I haven't said in some capacity already. I spend well over a year away, meet up with you for some dinner, and fall head over heels all over again. I wouldn't have blamed you for a second if you refused to take me seriously. I never thought I would be at a loss for words for describing the way I feel about you, but I think the essence is carried well by saying: "I love you."

Salma Hayek, Milla Jojovich & Allyson Hannigan : I'm sorry what we had couldn't work out, it wasn't you, it was me. I'm still not over a certain Air Force babe, okay? Stop calling me.

A special aside to Lcpl Hart: I'm going to bring a grenade home from theatre & make you eat it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Not checkers but chess

Yesterday & today have been full of briefs. Everything from the law of land warfare (again) to IED (bomb) detection & convoy security operations. Our training schedule is fairly rigid, but still manageable. We'll be in the classroom for the rest of the week, and will begin field training first thing next week. Most of it will entail convoy operations.

I'm torn between the need to keep everyone in the loop, and the need to keep you from worrying too much. I've been considering both sides of the coin for the last couple days, especially as I get specific details about what exactly our mission will be and our area of operations. I don't want to put up the tough guy facade, saying things like "Yeah man, we're in the shit now." But the fact of the matter is, this is going to be pretty dangerous. The mission we are being tasked with is very different from my first go-around, but I decided last night that you guys have a right to know what is going to be happening. At least, the stuff I can tell you

I could put down paragraph after paragraph about how this isn't me trying to sound tough, or play the hero. But I think that those of you that know me are already aware of this. I don't want to sound like a whining reservist fuck, either. "But, but, but...I only joined for the college money!" I don't mind saying it: I'm a little scared. But to be percieved as a whiner? Fuck that.

And now, in the spirit of uplifting news, I know when I'm leaving. I can't say when, exactly, but it'll be before Valentine's Day. That means Valentine's will be spent in the desert. That means I get another Desert Valentine. It's going to be Cpl. Munson. I will cut up an MRE poundcake in the shape of a heart, and pledge my undying, eternal love for him until we DEROS. Sometime during the seven month deployment, I hope to consumate our love, utilizing apple jelly from an MRE as lubricant and chemlights in place of candles. It will most likely take place inside a bunker, but I will make reservations in the back of a 7-ton truck if time permits. Gosh. He's so hunky.

Three quick things before I take off:

#1 Kim, sorry I haven't been able to give you much info. It looks like we should get done fairly early tonight. If we do, I promise a phone call is coming your way this evening with some details.

#2 In addition to Kim, there are a lot of people I haven't emailed or called on the phone for awhile. I apologize, I really do, but there is a lot of shit to get done and a lot of deployment left. Except for immediate family members, don't count on hearing from me much. I wish it didn't have to be that way, but I have to keep my head in the game as much as possible. I'll make up for it when I get home.

#3 Waffles are delicious.

That's about all the useful gouge I have to pass for the time being. More later.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Camp Lejeune at last. The last time I was here was back in 99', for engineer school. Since it's winter, we don't have to deal with any of the brutal humidity just yet.

In other news, the Corps has made history by actually giving us useful gear for deployment. 3 liter camelbak daypacks, three point slings, sunglasses, and some more goodies slated to head down our way in the next week. I'm completely flabbergasted. Nothing like this has ever happened in the last six years. Welcomed, with open arms, by active duty Marines, then given ace gear.

If you doubt that the apocalypse is nigh, The first horseman just saddled up.

I can't say how long we'll be here for two reasons. #1 is because they told me I can't. #2 is because it makes me sound extremely mysterious & important. "That's right baby, I could tell you when I'm coming back, but I won't. Because it's classified."

Further updates soon. And this time, I say it with certainty.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Headed East Tonight

As I type this, over a hundred seabags sit on the quarterdeck, along with packs and a motley assortment of weapons. I've been given the distinctive honor of carrying the M240 Golf Machine Gun for our platoon. Well, some would call it an honor. I'm calling it a huge, heavy bitch.

If everything goes the way I've been told it's going to go, I will be able to continue updating everyone fairly regularly. If things go the way experience shows me, I might not be making any updates for awhile yet.

Still no overseas address yet. We have one for Lejeune, but I don't see any reason to give it out for two reasons. 1. Getting care packages while you're still stateside is weak sauce. You can still buy anything you need; and 2. We won't be there for very long and my MOLLE and seabag are already quite full, thank you. Lil' debbie snack cakes will only hinder me.

More word as it arrives my way..

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

I am the walrus.

Still in Eugene and not scheduled to punch out for another day or two. Looking forward to becoming a first-class gear whore when we touch down in Lejeune. New (and lighter!) kevlars, neck-gators, 3 point slings, and more.

More word when available.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Training in Eugene

Arrived at the Eugene HTC this morning for an assortment of fun & games including, but not limited to, the following: Gear inspection, Commander's Brief, PT, and a new platoon.

More to come when time allows, we expect to punch out for Lejeune sometime early next week.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

My Snafu is Fubar

Today we got a few details of when & where we are going. We're not allowed to reveal specifics, but the long & short of things is that we will be operating in the vicinity of the Sunni triangle, conducting engineer operations in direct support of the MEU. We're leaving Portland to marry up with another unit in southern Oregon on Friday morning, and scheduled to be in Iraq in late Jan/early Feb.

We're going through all kinds of tremendously exciting briefings, such as "Law of land combat", "Reservist Rights", and "Code of Conduct." No word yet on how to deal with being stuck around hundreds of smelly, oversexed 20 somethings in a country that you can't take porn to. While I can think of an option or two off the top of my head, none will be appealing until a few months into the deployment, when such thoughts begin to truly ripen.

I'll continue to keep everyone updated as I get word passed to me. Still no address, Alas, but soon.

(Todd A: Word, amigo. Glad someone got ahold of you, I either lost your email or never had it.)