CAMP MUJUK, KOREA – Some Marines get awarded medals for distinguished service on the battlefield, but one young PFC has been given a Navy Cross for an achievement closer to home. PFC Esteban Rodriguez, a Food Service Specialist with 3rd Combat Logistics Battalion, received the award at the close of Operation Freedom Banner in Korea for improvements made to the archaic cooking service.
Life can be tough in the frozen wasteland of Mujuk. The Korean winters are especially harsh and the camp is isolated, with conditions rendered somewhat spartan. Despite the challenges, this motivated young Marine has, according to his award citation, “Made the best damned plate of instant eggs the Colonel has ever eaten.”
For years, Marines on deployments around the world have been forced to eat disgusting, slimy, unevenly stirred concoctions served on trays made of broken dreams, all provided in lieu of real rations. Some have said they even prefer MREs to the hot chow. The most infamous examples of these “food items” are the instant eggs served by the pan. While normally uneven and disgusting, PFC Rodriguez has turned stirring fecal matter into an art form.
“I ate the ‘eggs’ he made in the makeshift chow hall for the first time yesterday, and amazingly I didn’t shit my pants thirty seconds after I finished. So that was a first for me,” said Lance Corporal Ian Baker, a Motor Transport operator who worked nearby. “I asked him what his secret was the next time I went through the line but he just said ‘Aye aye, Lance Corporal.’ He’s going to go far in his career.”
Others expressed skepticism.
“Yeah, those were some pretty good eggs,” said GySgt Ronaldo Vasquez. “But I can make a real omelet back home that’s almost as good, with genuine eggs, so I don’t know what the fuss is about. But in the end it’s the Colonel’s decision who gets what awards.”
GySgt Vasquez denies his comments were because he did not receive any awards for his time in Korea.
But the eggs are only a small part of the miraculous work PFC Rodriguez did in the makeshift chow hall. He also claims to have made the sausages edible, the bacon crispy, removed every bit of E. coli from the vegetables, and swears on his good name the biscuits are nearly palatable. “I did some research on the Internet on how to cook,” he admits. “All we learned in MOS school was how long to microwave pasta. I even took the initiative and started wrapping next week’s food in plastic!”
The Navy Cross is normally presented with V to indicate valor in combat situations, but Jenkins’ medal carries a small attached A-for-effort. “I will carry this proudly on my chest,” says PFC Rodriguez. “I only have two ribbons after all. This one means officers have to salute me right?”
Beyond just the young cook’s achievement, 384 of the 386 CLB-3 Marines on Operation Freedom Banner received Navy Achievement Medals, and the CO was written a lengthy commendation for introduction into the Legion of Merit. He also threw out some less-than-subtle suggestions concerning his own promotion to Brigadier General.
Commanding Officer Colonel Jim Hegrel, when asked about the high amount of awards given to his Marines, said, “It was a good effort out there. Everyone did really great. I was proud of ‘em. I’m just so happy to be in command of such exceptional men and women, as long as I get the credit for it. Go Team on 3!”
Camp Arifjan, Kuwait - Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recently paid a visit to Kuwait to view the large stock of Mine Resistance Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles leftover from the drawdown in Iraq. The Department of Defense purchased over 200,000 MRAPs in response to the threat of roadside bombs during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. While they significantly reduced the amount of deaths and injuries sustained by service members, the MRAPs now pose a new problem – what the hell is the DoD going to do with them?
Secretary Panetta sought to answer this question as best he could while visiting 3rd Army Headquarters at Camp Arifjan.
“You see, the MRAPs were great for Iraq. But, they’re too top heavy for Afghanistan. That’s why we fielded the MATV there. It’s a great mixture of mobility and armor against IEDs. The problem is, now we have, like 200,000 of these fucking things, and I really don’t know what the fuck to do with them. Seriously, they’re goddamn useless now.”
He continued, “It’s not like we can give them to the National Guard like we did all the old M998 Humvee’s when we fielded the armored M1151 Humvees. These stupid things literally have no place outside of the battlefield in Iraq. I came here today to announce to the troops stationed in Kuwait that you will have the honor of continuing missions into Iraq simply because we don’t know what else to do with these fucking things. Someone’s got to put them to use.”
COL Scott Efflandt, the commander of 1st Brigade, 1st Calvary Division, took the news in stride when announcing it to his men.
“I realize that we left Iraq in December thinking the mission was complete. I know that I announced prematurely on Facebook that Ironhorse Brigade would be home by the end of January. While we here at 1st Brigade have been sucking it for the last 7 months — we’ve got to suck it a little bit more. The nation needs us to use these stupid piece of shit MRAPs, and the only place to use them is Iraq. Take heart men, as not many will get the honor of re-invading Iraq simply to have something to do.”
Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Iraqi Minister of Information, released a prepared statement on behalf of the Government of Iraq to address the situation.
“We are very excited that the Americans are coming back. We look forward to the continued monetary and military — but mainly monetary support that the U.S. government provides.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Pentagon announced today that the Navy will be installing strip clubs and bars aboard all aircraft carriers. The unusual move comes at a time when budget cuts loom and the public has questioned the need for extravagant military spending.
Commander Ethan Granger, a Navy spokesman, explains:
“The time has come for the US Navy to face the facts and come up with innovative solutions to the problems we face. The first thing Sailors do when they hit shore is to patronize the local strip club and bar. By being proactive, the Navy can keep this behavior on board and avoid problems with drunken Sailors getting in fights on shore. We are also pleased to announce that the profits from these activities aboard our ships will go directly towards the Navy’s budget.”
Public watchdog organizations have praised this move as a sign of the times.
“We are glad our armed forces are taking the initiative and making responsible changes amid our financial crisis,” says Kenneth Johnson, representing The Center For A Responsible Future For America.
Sailors at large support the new move as well. “It gets quite boring on long tours. I think this makes for a great way to keep people occupied,” said one sailor, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The new move does not have total support however and some worry that it only serves to ‘promote immoral behavior’. CDR Granger dismissed this criticism, stating “Our sailors would be doing this whether or not it is on or off a ship. It really changes nothing.”
But what about the possible breakdown in discipline by allowing alcohol on board?
CDR Granger has thought of everything, and calms fears from TDB and others: ”We have considered instituting a ten drink maximum so that sailors don’t get too out of hand.”
The Navy has not said yet whether the strippers will be Naval personnel or civilian contractors, but Granger says, “Both options are on the table.”
TAMPA, FL – Today the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) announced the resignation of its top commander, General James N. Mattis, who plans to retire from the Marine Corps in a matter of months. Mattis is best known for commanding the 1st Marine Division during the opening phases of Operation Iraqi Freedom, but has also been criticized by the media for his outspoken opinions and controversial quotes.
Some believe this to be the reason he was passed over for promotion to Commandant of the Marine Corps in 2010.
General Mattis, 62, is circumspect about his upcoming retirement. “I postponed my retirement to lead CENTCOM, but it’s just time to move on. Years ago I was called to serve my country by means of conferences and briefings, but I feel like, after forty years of that, I’ve done my duty.”
Mattis, pausing in a dead hang to speak with reporters during a set of weighted pull-ups, continued, “Now it’s time to admit that two hour update meetings are a young man’s game, hang it up, and live out my next sixty years as a private citizen back on the world’s battlefields, away from the constant stress of the office, like Al Gray would do.”
Mattis then effortlessly raised his chin above the bar, in spite of the thirty-five pound plate hanging from his dip belt.
The decades on the job have taken their toll on the General, a fact immediately apparent as he shuffles into the first of his day’s many meetings and briefings.
“What have we got today?” Mattis wearily asks his young aide. “Sir, we have Professor Eugene Shirley Blankenship here from the Geopolitical Military Policy Institute to discuss the historical role of local markets and bazaars as tracers in establishing metrics for the effectiveness of counterinsurgency strategies. He’s prepared a hundred slide PowerPoint brief for you.”
A nearby rotund man in a tweed jacket then extended a pudgy hand toward Mattis. A look of revulsion immediately spread across the General’s face, after which he sprang upon the wide-eyed sociology professor, hurling him against a wall and holding him there with his forearm pressed tightly against the visiting PhD’s throat. Mattis was in the process of drawing his pistol when he was restrained by CENTCOM deputy commander Vice Admiral Robert Harward, Command Sergeant Major Frank Grippe, and his own aide. After several other staff officers assisted in subduing the aging General, his brow gradually unfurrowed, and he apologized to all present.
“Guess I’m just getting old,” Mattis explained.
As he sits in his office hours later, Mattis reflects on how the years have passed by. “When you’re young, it’s nothing to sit through even a four hour meeting. You think ‘oh, I’m only thirty, I’ve got plenty of time left to spend killing the enemy’, or ‘it’s okay, this asshole wasting my time will get shit-canned if I just outlast him, and then I can get back into the field.’ But the hours turn into days, the days turn into weeks, then one day you look up and you’re sixty, still sitting in these goddamn meetings.”
Mattis speaks softly as he slowly grinds one of his knives across a whetstone.
“Eventually, you just have to accept that you’ve reached the limits of what you can do where you are, and it’s time to move on to the next obstacle.”
The upcoming generation of Marine Corps leadership has expressed eagerness to take up the slack left by Mattis’ departure. “We owe a debt to these old Marines,” says Lieutenant Colonel Skip ‘Waggles’ Wagner, the incoming commander of a Marine fighter attack squadron and recent graduate of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, “but the fact of the matter is that they’re just not suited to the technological nature of product-driven warfare and modern counterinsurgency.”
General Mattis, who utilizes the radio callsign “Chaos”, has repeatedly denied that he has failed to adapt to new technologies, and remains the only living Marine to have killed enemy combatants with non-weapon programs of record, having slit the throat of a former member of the Fedayeen with a large fragment of a broken FEDLOG supply data CD, garroted a Fallujah insurgent with a length of CAT-5 cable being transported to an infantry battalion’s communications section, and exsanguinated a foreign fighter from Iran by making a “bone deep” cut down the length of his arm with a laminated cultural smart card bent to form a razor sharp edge.
Mattis admits that the third does not technically indicate a use of technological systems, but notes that he originally attempted to kill the man with a “Phrase-alator” translation device, which shattered after being used to stun the man with a series of softening blows. A planned attempt to crush the skull of a fourth with a “Command Post of the Future” computer was stopped when the general was halted by a civilian field service representative as he attempted to carry it out of a forward Combat Operations Center.
Regarding his plans for retirement, Mattis says he hopes to make more time for his neglected hobbies, which he describes as the study of history and the systematic hunting and killing of enemies “with my own two hands.”
“I’ve got a pretty good area picked out in the [Autonomous Tribal Area] on the border of Pakistan,” said Mattis. “I figure it should take a single well-trained squad of fine young men about a month to have the warlords under their thumbs, you know, as long as they don’t have a bunch of policies restraining them from befriending the people or killing the enemy. I intend to form and lead that squad.”
“Like Al Gray would do,” Mattis repeats, staring gravely out his office window at the setting sun.
While somewhat expected, the timing of Mattis’ retirement came as a surprise to some, including a few of his colleagues, including General John R. Allen, former CENTCOM deputy and current commander of United States Forces – Afghanistan (USFOR-A).
“Jim’s retiring?” asked Allen, seconds before being cornered by several high-ranking members of the International Security Assistance Force to discuss problems with a Memorandum of Understanding for the joint use of a British civilian curry trailer by Marine aviation personnel at Camp Bastion, immediately followed by a three hour discussion of whether an upcoming joint operation would be best described as mentoring, partnering with, or supporting the Afghan National Security Forces.
“Lucky bastard,” Allen added.
CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA - After more than a decade of war, the Marine Corps is beginning a new mission oriented towards the Pacific Ocean. But in keeping with its traditions as a desert-deployed force, Marines will be bringing their beloved-Forward Operating Bases (or FOBs) with them, and the key to this new mission is the Aqua-FOB.
“We’ve had two decades worth of experience building FOBs, from Desert Storm to Afghanistan, and the Aqua-FOB is the culmination of our modern FOB-building technology,” said Lt. Gen. Kenneth J. Glueck, Commanding General of the III Marine Expeditionary Force. “Make no mistake. This will not be your father’s FOB, or even your older brother’s.”
Traditionally, most FOBs are built out of available materials, usually sand and earth. Their simplistic design means that they can be constructed rather quickly, but carries some obvious limitations – like their inability to move or float on water. That’s where the US military came up with the idea to replace sand with steel.
While a normal FOB is constructed on-site near a piece of key terrain, the new Aqua-FOB is actually assembled thousands of miles away at a US naval shipyard. First, the main berm, or “keel” is laid, followed by the rest of the berm, or “hull”. The flight-line, or “flight deck” goes on top, as well as the other buildings, or “decks”. Lastly, the ECP, or “gangway” is added to allow Marines to enter or exit the FOB.
To save both time and money, the first group of Aqua-FOBs will be a group of converted flat-deck ships called Amphibious Assault Ships, which the Marine Corps had been using for the last decade to transport battalions to and from the Middle East.
“These Aqua-FOBs are a real change from Camp Fallujah,” said Lance Corporal Ken Sullivan, part of the first group of Marines on FOB USS Kearsarge. “We’ve still got a chow hall, a motor pool, and a flight line, but they’re all on top of each other.”
Corporal Dominick Franco, who’s stood post at three different FOBs over his career, was also excited. ”They’ve even upgraded the gun platforms. Instead of a SAW or a 240B, they have this gun called the Phalanx that can shoot-off something like a dozen rounds a second! Man, I can’t wait to stand post with that! Bye-bye Momma Dog!”
However, other Marines see the Aqua-FOB as a deviation from the Marine Corps’ historical mission.
“This mission is taking us further and further away from our roots as a second land army that conducts operations in the desert,” said Sergeant Major Rafael Busto, who has done over a dozen deployments to the Middle East since 1990. “Why would we need a sea-going FOB anyways? Did Al Qaeda suddenly build a navy?”
Regardless, Lt. Gen. Glueck believes that the nay-sayers will eventually come around to the Aqua-FOB. “As Marines we have to be prepared to operate outside our comfort zone, and even though we’ve been deploying to the desert since Presley O’Bannon, I think the Marine Corps will eventually come around to the idea of being a seaborn force.”
Still, Marines will have to adjust to some changes.
“I’m used to only dealing with a couple sailors, but here they’re everywhere,” exclaimed Sergeant Alan Michaels. As part of a deal with the Navy, the Aqua-FOBs will be staffed and operated primarily by naval personnel.
“I went up to one yesterday to complain about a rash I had, and he got all pissed off and said he was a radar operator. How was I supposed to know not all sailors are Corpsman? I even saw a full-bird Colonel yesterday, but the sailors kept calling him ‘captain’ for some reason.”
In the release, PAO stated that they are a platoon of Cavalry Scouts, but wouldn’t share details of the unit or location — to avoid unwanted attention during filming.
TDB Correspondent John “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” Mittle was granted access to the soldiers, and talked with them about their thoughts.
“This show is going to be a hit, and I’m going to be on TV!” said Private Edgar Thomas, as he picked grass out of the cracks of the motor pool parking area.
In the parking lot, supervising and administering ‘corrective training’ to Thomas, was Sergeant Ethan Smith.
“Who wouldn’t want to watch the daily life of a Cav Scout? Hell, I hope they get a good shot of me sending rounds down the firing range with my .50 cal. Chicks dig that shit, right? I’m gonna get so much ass.”
The show’s producers say it will be a mixture of ‘The Real World’, ‘Army Wives’, and ‘Flavor of Love’.
“Most of the public has no idea of the hardships our servicemen go through, and we intend to bring some light to the situation,” said Producer Antonio Mora. “We’ll show you what it’s really like and who these men are — the Specialist getting busted down for showing up to PT drunk, the old, angry Sergeant First Class that hates everyone and everything, and the loving, caring Platoon Leader, filling out stacks of paperwork 95% of the time and then leading his men through turbulent times the other 5%.”
The platoon leader believes it will be a great experience for the men, the Army, and for himself. Wearing his Stetson, silver spurs, saber, and mirrored aviator glasses, 2nd Lt. Alan Johnson spoke candidly about the show:
“The Navy had Top Gun in the eighties. The Marines have Jarhead. The Air Force — I guess they can claim Office Space,” referencing popular films of the past. “Now we have ‘Army Lives’. Just think about how my resume will look when I get out.”
Sources within the Department of Defense say that the reality show will premiere this fall, and was designed with recruiting goals in mind. Early test audiences made up of only civilians have been highly receptive.
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, AFGHANISTAN – The Air Force has released information regarding a new weapon in their arsenal: The MX784 Irritant Dispersant, or “Glitter Bomb” as it is known in the service, has arrived on the scene in Afghanistan to the applause of many troops.
Colonel Stanley Roberts, a representative for the Air Force, explained what the bomb does over a phone interview.
“The glitter bomb has been used effectively on a smaller scale basis for years. Even Newt Gingrich got a face full of one. We simply adapted this weapon to use on a much larger scale. It’s an airburst weapon, meaning it doesn’t hit the ground and impact, but explodes over head of the enemy. Once the bomb detonates, an area of approximately one square mile is coated in glitter.”
But why glitter?, we asked.
COL Roberts responded, “Honestly, I can’t think of anything more annoying than this type of warfare. It’s been extremely effective in every engagement. In each case, the Taliban fighters immediately committed suicide once hit with the MX784. Everyone hates glitter, well, except for the gays and Ke$ha. The main drawback is that the affected area has to be treated like a radioactive site, because that glitter is never coming off. ”
While not prohibited under the Geneva Conventions, the Taliban has spoken out against the US saying the use of this weapon is a violation of human rights. Maktadar Al-Sabib, a spokesman for the Taliban, spoke in a video released to the web:
“This is an absolute affront to humanity. This type of weapon cannot be allowed! It is not surprising that the barbarian Americans developed such a sinister device to use upon Allah’s people. My poor friends Ahmad and Abdullah both had glitter covered beards and man-jammies. Our revenge will be swift and just!”
When asked about her view on the subject, Ke$ha was all for the use of the MX784. “I love glitter, and I think this is a great way to spread democracy to Afghanistan. Maybe everyone will learn to party and the war can end sooner rather than later.”
The gays declined to comment.
KHUBARI CROSSING, KUWAIT - What should have been a routine mission almost ended with an international incident for 1st Brigade, 34th Infantry Division, a National Guard unit from Minnesota. Deployed to Kuwait for the past ten months, the unit assisted in the drawdown of Iraq and has been in part of the Middle East Area Reaction Force, in order to help thwart the threats of countries like Iran. An infantry unit in 1/34th, the 2-135 IN, recently went out on an area patrol around Camp Buehring and Camp Virginia.
SSG Jonathan Erikson, a squad leader in the unit, was in charge when the events took place.
“We were headed north from Camp Buehring, just doing a patrol of the routes trying to make sure everything was ok. We came up to a large compound which I now know is Khubari Crossing. Apparently the gate was closed for some reason. We didn’t realize that at the time and just kind of drove around it. I thought we were still in Kuwait. Next thing ya’ know we’re in Sadr City.”
SPC Tyler Lokken, SSG Erikson’s driver, had a different story to tell.
“I kept telling that idiot we were going the wrong way. He kept insisting that we push forward and that we were still in Kuwait. When comms dropped out he just marked it off as shitty radios. Then, after about six hours of driving, I tried to explain that it only takes about 3 hours to drive all the way across Kuwait. He said to me, ‘Who the fuck do you think you are huh? I’m the damn Staff Sergeant here, so shut the fuck up and drive.’
The Iraqis were distressed at the sight of Americans once again. Lieutenant Sadik Al Mahara, an Iraqi Army Officer, elaborated further via telephone:
“As soon as we saw the Americans, I honestly thought to myself, Allah damnit, a THIRD invasion? Seriously? So I did what I did the last two times and threw my AK-47 on the ground and surrendered. Well, this time I didn’t get to surrender. When I approached the Americans to turn myself in, they were not prepared to process me as a detainee like they had before. It was at this point that I knew something was wrong. I was glad to give them directions back to Kuwait and send them on their way. Those Americans are always so nice.”
The White House released a statement following the event apologizing for the confusion. SSG Erikson was immediately promoted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.
Kabul, Afghanistan – With the focus on stopping shrapnel and explosive projectiles from causing injury, the military has recently fielded new groin protectors downrange. The gear, dubbed “combat diapers” by the troops, add a layer of protection that has been celebrated by some, according to Military Times, and blasted by others.
“It just adds more layers and not enough protection,” says Private Jennifer O’Brien. “I sweat in it all day in this ridiculous heat. I would almost feel bad when a guy went down on me right after taking that thing off.” After careful consideration she also added, “Plus that’s one more thing to take off right before a quick romp behind the Comm[unications] tent.”
But the problems didn’t end there. Despite being touted as an excellent form of additional protection, Sgt Benjamin Harris had qualms with its level of protection.
“It’s Kevlar, so it’s made of the same stuff as our helmets, right? Yeah it might stop a 9mm pistol shot, but direct rifle fire will tear right through it, I bet. And deflecting a glancing blow sounds great before you realize it will probably deflect into your femoral artery.”
Several others gathered around to express their agreement. It was soon obvious that tempers were flaring. One bystander was heard saying, “And it’s not like we can test it to make sure, because I’m required to wear it at all times! No one points a rifle at my junk!”
Still another Marine, highly traumatized by the issued gear, shared his story with us on the condition that his last name be kept secret for fear of command reprisal. Jamal, a Lance Corporal with 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, told us his first try at wearing the diaper went horribly wrong.
“It just wouldn’t fit,” he said glumly. “I tried all I could, but they didn’t even have a larger size. What am I supposed to do? I have more to lose than those guys and they can’t make an Extra-Large, Extra-Wide cup for me? Man, screw those bigshots, they don’t ever care about the little guy unless he’s THEIR little guy.”
These problems are certainly viable, but perhaps most outspoken against the entire issue was the Commander, Brigadier General Alan Foster. “It’s the name that bothers me most. It’s called a diaper but the engineers clearly did not take the collection of fecal matter into account when they made it. It’s totally ineffective as a diaper,” he lamented. “I have put it through several trials during my time in the COC, and every single time some poor schmuck PFC gets stuck cleaning the business off of my chair.”
In the end, the criticism boiled down to one thing: “I don’t have to poop in it, but I’d really like to one day.”
JACKSONVILLE, FL - What happens in Thailand stays in Thailand, but apparently not for Chief Rick Wilson. During a speech at the retirement ceremony of his friend, Senior Chief Eric “Scooter” McGavin, Wilson became flustered after a failed joke and began telling stories about a port call in Pattaya, Thailand.
McGavin’s retirement ceremony was held on Thursday afternoon at Naval Station Mayport, in the Foc’sle CPO Club. McGavin’s wife Sheila was in attendance, as was Laura Sanderson, his 18-year-old daughter from a previous marriage.
After Chaplain Warren Sperling gave the opening prayer, Wilson walked to the podium and took out a thick stack of index cards. “I’m sorry for the notes,” Wilson said. “I get nervous talking in front of crowds.”
Wilson looked down at his index cards and leafed through them until he found the one he was looking for. Then he read aloud, “How many days are there in a retiree’s week? Two. Six Saturdays and one Sunday.”
Wilson looked up from the index card, clearly expecting laughter, but heard none. He wiped the sweat off his forehead and slammed the cards down on the podium and said, “Okay, well, I’m gonna go off script for bit. One time during a WestPac, Scooter and I had some liberty in Pattaya, Thailand.”
Chaplain Sperling stood up and took a quick step toward the podium, but Wilson waved him off and said, “Naw, I’m good now, Father. Let me tell this real quick.”
Wilson continued: “So Scooter and I were at this place called ‘The Banana Hammock,’ which should’ve been our first clue, right? And we were sitting there chatting it up with a couple of foxy Thai ladies named…ah, shit, I don’t remember their names. They were bullshit names, anyway. Let’s call Scooter’s girl ‘Lexus.’ It was something like that.”
“Don’t worry, Sheila,” Wilson said. “This was way before he met you. I think he was still with Laura’s mom, in fact. Anyway, I go to the bathroom and start taking a piss at the urinal, and then Lexus comes in. And guess what? She starts pissing at the urinal next to me. Standing up. I finished and got Scooter and said, dude, we need to get the fuck out of here.”
Chaplain Sperling stood up and rushed to the podium. He put his hand on Wilson’s back and gently but firmly guided him away.
After the ceremony, McGavin commented, “I’m just glad the chaplain got that dumbass out of there before he started talking about what happened later that night.”
When asked to comment about Wilson’s speech, Sheila said, “I felt bad for that poor man. He looked so uncomfortable up there. And he was so confused too. Scooter told me he’s never even been to Thailand.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the Department of Defense budget gets slimmer each day, military and civilian personnel are getting creative with how to cover shortfalls. The Pentagon has already started using candlelight to save on energy, and they are back to notepads and pens instead of computers. Now, they are trying to get some help from the business community.
“It’s a real shame when we can’t spend all the money we want anymore,” said General Raymond Elliott, “so I figure, let’s try something different.”
Elliott proposed a novel idea to the Joint Chiefs and the President: Corporate sponsorship.
In a pitch to a joint conference of Pentagon officials and business leaders, Elliott laid out what he said was a “synergistic relationship.”
“Our troops use your products everyday, so why not use product placement and a little bit of advertising on the battlefield,” said Elliott.
Elliott says that many companies can benefit from sponsoring American soldiers. Chewing tobacco from U.S. Smokeless Tobacco, makers of Copenhagen, for example, is very popular with the troops. So why not put a Cope logo on every service cap?
“Cope can provide a free can a week to each military member, plus some money, and in exchange, we’ll place your logo over the rank insignia. It’s really a win-win.”
There were also a few contract stipulations that Copenhagen required to sign on. One provision requires troops to use product placement in the field. If approached by Afghans who are dipping their popular hashish-laced chew, troops are required to display a Copenhagen can, mention “It’s the fresher choice”, and give them a free sample.
“It’s a global economy, and we’re competing with hash. We understand it, and we’re trying to win this fight,” said Gene Alwer of U.S. Smokeless Tobacco.
Anheuser-Busch, brewers of Budweiser, have also jumped on board.
“We’ve actually analyzed our sales figures, and the U.S. military makes up over 70% of our revenue,” says Bill Nelson, Operations Manager of Anheuser-Busch, “Apparently they drink quite a bit. They really make us proud. We already have plans in place to put Budweiser logos on tactical vehicles in all theatres of operation. Anheuser-Busch will pay the manufacturing cost for each vehicle that is branded with our logos. It’s the logical choice for the Armed Forces.”
Other companies have expressed interest but have yet to close the deal. They include the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Military Times, and The Military Channel.
“I don’t care if the troops are covered like a goddamn Nascar,” says General Elliott with a smile, “we’re going to get these budget problems fixed.”
CAMP BEUHRING, KUWAIT — The latest addition to the soldiers’ packing list for deployment will contain a unique item: a fleshlight. The toys to aid soldier “urges” comes after a study titled “Combat Zone Pregnancy Rates On The Rise” was released earlier this week.
According to the report from the Department of the Army, each female that gets pregnant on deployment costs the Army over $100,000 — in training, transport, and health care costs.
Leading the study was Lt. Col. George Frampton, who elaborated on the findings in a telephone interview.
“The situation is an absolute waste of taxpayers’ money, and we need to come up with a solution before we drive over the cliff,” he said.
Frampton estimates approximately $27,000,000 has been lost in the past year alone. The Lt. Col., not known to allow such disgrace under his command, has devised a campaign to stop combat zone pregnancies in their tracks.
Every soldier, male and female, will be briefed upon entrance to theater on the effects of their actions. But before males head to their forward bases, they will be provided a fleshlight, masturbation aid, and a one year supply of lubricant.
“This move will be controversial but its an absolute necessity. A secondary benefit of the new program will be less lines at the troop medical clinics,” Frampton explains. “Since combat has died down [in Iraq], more soldiers are finding different ways to occupy their time. Some go to the gym, some to the MWR, and some choose to ‘PT their little soldier’. Unfortunately, most soldiers do not realize that Axe body wash is not a lubricant.”
Frampton says the move is crucial to reduce the amount of “masturbation injuries.”
“Nearly ten percent of TMC visits by males are for ointments to alleviate the burn caused by the exfoliant used in this product. Ninety percent of these rashes are noted to be in and around the genitalia. The fleshlight that will now be issued upon entrance into theater should decrease these problems.”
Sergeant Daniel Barnes, stationed at Camp Beuhring, and father of two bastard war children from previous deployments, was ecstatic about the new initiative.
“This is clearly the best piece of regulation instituted since the introduction of walking profiles on the APFT. Seriously, have you seen these women? We are all much better off because of this campaign.”
Even though this campaign is still in its infancy, soldiers have already deemed Camp Beuhring the “Masturbation Station” of the Middle East.
Sierra Vista, AZ – From dealing with uncooperative detainees during interrogation to piecing together critical intelligence, military interrogators have experienced it all. But the experience for female interrogators is sometimes even tougher. Some have said they’ve had enough.
“Look, I know we’re supposed to be all about human behavior, but this is getting out of hand,” says SPC Holly McWhite, a 23 year-old 5’8” 36-24-36 blonde-haired, blue-eyed, Human Intelligence (HUMINT) Collector with the 309th Military Intelligence Battalion.
McWhite expresses a common complaint of a female typically practicing the craft of a HUMINT professional: Male soldiers cannot apparently distinguish between illicitation from a female to a female ”being into you”, as McWhite phrases it.
During exercises on elicitation and tactical source operations, McWhite struggles to contain her irritation. “When I ask for your contact information, I just really want to exploit your phone and email for other contacts. If I task you, I am not hitting on you! I am this close to punching someone in the dick! Either that or calling Equal Opportunity Office and file a complaint against…the unit. One of the two.”
McWhite knows she isn’t alone.
SGT Andrea Mueller, with the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, reported similar problems during her deployment to Afghanistan. “It’s not like I don’t know detainees won’t gawk at me. Those guys haven’t seen a female outside their respective eye slit, let alone one who’s going to address them as an equal. It’s culture shock. They have an excuse. The guys in my unit don’t.”
Mueller went on say that although she likes to handle this kind of trouble at the lowest level of the chain of command, it does not make it any easier. “It’s like the Army robbed them of social skills in an MOS where we specialize in having social skills. I hope none these jokers gets hit on by foreign intelligence service (FIS). We’d be fucked!”
While McWhite echoed the sentiment, both she and Mueller want to be clear: They don’t necessarily feel sexually harassed, but are more concerned about male soldiers falling under the spell of a FIS agent that is clearly out of their league.
“They won’t get that Natasha or Zarina aren’t really interested in listening to them drone on about how tough they have it until it’s too late. The smoking hot Russian or Persian model that just so happened to stumble into that meth laden hole-in-the-wall club in Sierra Vista really wasn’t out there for a good time.”
Aside from wanting to warn their fellow soldiers of potential “honey-traps”, their main complaint is still their male counterparts’ hormonal achilles heel.
“Who knows?” Mueller says, shaking her head. “Maybe it’s my fault for not being up front and telling them I’m really only into contractors. Or officers.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Marine Corps’ top general held a press conference this morning to address the increasing violence in Syria and to request that the Syrians somehow move their conflict to the Pacific Ocean.
Speaking from the Marine Barracks, General James F. Amos said that the Marine Corps would be more than willing to intervene in Syria, provided it was in an amphibious capacity and off the coast of China.
Syrian rebels are currently waging an insurrection against the mostly land-locked and distinctly non-Asian government of President Bashar al-Assad.
“For the past two years we’ve been saying that the Marine Corps is not a second land army, but they obviously didn’t get the message,” Amos told reporters.
“After a decade in which the Marine Corps conducted combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, we’re eager to get back to our roots as an amphibious force in the Pacific — not another land campaign in the Middle East.”
General Amos has repeatedly talked about pivoting to the Pacific after Afghanistan, starting with his confirmation hearings in the United States Senate in September 2010.
“Right now the biggest issue for the Marine Corps is our forward presence in the Pacific,” he reiterated this morning. “Earlier this month we had 200 Marines arrive in Darwin, Australia – which is nowhere near Damascus – for six months of training.”
However, six months after General Amos first spoke about transitioning to the Pacific, Marines were fighting in Libya as part of Operation Odyssey Dawn. But despite its lack of rice paddies, chopsticks, and massage parlors, General Amos believed that Libya was a step in the right direction.
“At least Libya had a coastline,” he continued, “which allowed us to showcase our fantastic operations by the 26th MEU featuring the MV-22 Osprey. Did you know we have nine Amphibious Assault Ships, capable of transporting up to two Marine Expeditionary Brigades to places other than Iraq and Afghanistan?”
The main problem with a Syrian intervention, according to General Amos, is that the Marine Corps is worried about being typecast as an expeditionary force that only deploys to Middle Eastern countries.
“Yes, in 2001, we were able to insert Marines by helo 400 miles from the North Arabian Sea to Afghanistan, and then two years later we moved the 1st Marine Division 500 miles from Kuwait to Baghdad, but that was the limit of our expeditionary experience. Then it was just nine years of mud huts and room clearing.”
General Amos spoke of the palpable sigh of relief when the Marine Corps left Iraq. “After OIF, we threw out our Arabic language books, fired our staff at the Center For Advanced Operational Culture Learning, and burned Twentynine Palms to the ground. Last month we were even able to change the channel from Al Jazeera to CCTV.”
At the end of his remarks, General Amos offered some helpful suggestions to the Syrian rebels. “Maybe if they could have Syria reclassified as an island, archipelago, or even a peninsula, we could get involved.”
“Yesterday I read that the rebel Farouk Brigade had seized control of the city of Homs. Come on, there are 750 islands in the South China Sea! Why couldn’t they have grabbed one of those?”
CINCINNATI, OH — For over 30 years, Wornick Foods has been producing the Meals-Ready-To-Eat (MRE) that are familiar to troops worldwide. As the years have passed, the meals have changed substantially — and many troops agree — they’ve gotten better.
“I remember my first MRE,” says Marine Staff Sergeant Nathan Puckett, “It was Country Captain Chicken. It looked like the assembly line worker puked inside the wrapper and then sealed it.”
Some new offerings of MRE’s that have been popular with the troops include Chili Macaroni, Beef Brisket, and Chicken Fajita. Despite the success of the latest line of meals, Randy Newbold, Director of Wornick’s Military Business Unit, says the company is trying to innovate further.
“We’ve seen what Hollywood does and what the automakers have done. They look to the past to innovate for the future,” says Newbold, “so we’re re-releasing some of the troops’ favorite old-time meals.
Newbold showed TDB some of the meals chosen as part of their “MRE Throwback Campaign.”
“We’ve received a lot of feedback from our soldiers, sailors, and Marines, and they agreed on quite a few,” says Newbold, “to include the Hot Dog meal, Bean Burrito, and Pasta with Alfredo Sauce.”
“The four fingers of death?” asks Specialist Alan Engel, “Are they fucking serious? I think I may have to kill wild animals or eat nothing but Ramen on my next deployment.”
Newbold also believes that these ‘long lost meal-time favorites of the troops’ as he puts it, will serve another purpose: Preventing swapping. “We believe the re-issue of these meals will significantly reduce the occurrence the troops call ‘rat-fucking the MRE box’. Now they’ll always be able to get their favorite.”
And he says there’s even an added benefit for Wornick Foods. Although its not the main reason, Newbold concedes that the campaign is also part of a broad cost-saving strategy.
“The fact is these meals have been sitting in our inventory for almost 10 years, and they’re are taking up shelf space. We actually got a big inventory return when we sent a ton of these meals over to Somalia for goodwill. I guess they are not a big fan of Jamaican Pork, but the troops love ‘em!”
COP SULLIVAN, AFGHANISTAN – When Corporal Victor Foster says he has a dirty job, he’s not exaggerating. As an MOS 5711 Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) Defense Specialist with the 1st Battalion 5th Marines, Foster is exercising his skills all day digging latrines and burning shit at his company’s combat outpost in southern Afghanistan.
To prepare for his critical role, Foster, 23, from Ames, Iowa, received five months of intensive training in hazardous material detection, containment, and decontamination at the Marine Corps’ CBRN School in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
As part of his training, Foster was required to spend ten hours a day in his Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) suit in a hazardous materials environment, identifying various nerve agents and other chemical weapons. By the end of his training he could identify any chemical in ‘just seconds’, said Foster, as he poured diesel fuel into one of several shit-filled barrels.
“When I first arrived in Afghanistan, my commanding officer asked me when the last time was that the Taliban used a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear device,” Foster said. “When I told him never, he handed me a shovel and said ‘start digging’.”
In addition to his own training, Foster was responsible for ensuring that every Marine in the battalion was equipped with, and knew how to properly operate, a gas mask.
“The M40 field protective mask is a critical piece of equipment,” said Foster, repeatedly stirring the flaming waste. “If an attack occurs, Marines have only seconds to don and clear their masks. If they miss that window due to lack of training, or unserviceable masks, their odds of survival drop exponentially as the seconds tick by.”
Corporal Foster then attempted to elaborate on the various agents Marines were likely to encounter on the battlefield and their effects, but repeatedly fell over vomiting due to the stench coming out of the burning barrels.
The battalion’s other CBRN Marine, Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan Cooper, amplified on Foster’s remarks with an example of CBRN in action.
“A few months after we got here, the S-2 reported that a cluster of unexploded chemical munitions left over from the Soviet occupation had been uncovered nearby, so we got ready to crack open our ISO”, said Cooper, currently acting as a doormat for the battalion commander’s office.
Battalion CBRN sections are equipped with an entire shipping container that holds a several hundred thousand dollar suite of equipment to deal with various unconventional weapons.
“It was like, this is what you train for,” said Cooper, as the operations officer wiped his muddy boots on Cooper’s face, “then we got word that the munitions were just conventional, and the following week we had to empty out our ISO container for the Sergeant Major’s new CrossFit equipment.”
In light of near emergencies like this, Foster’s commander has been extremely pleased with the performance of CBRN on this deployment.
“For all the time we wasted in the work-up doing gas chambers to train to fight an enemy that has never used chemical weapons, just to stick our gas masks at the bottom of our sea bags for the whole deployment, bringing CBRN has still really paid off,” said Captain Alexander Hunt.
“Normally, whenever I needed a working party, I’d have to hunt down a bunch of pissed-off grunts who had just gotten off a patrol…here all I have to do is grab my CBRN Marines, my ground sensor platoon, and the chaplain’s assistant, and nobody cares.” Hunt then sent his police sergeant to inform Foster of a working party to repaint the entire base in preparation for a visit by the Commanding General.
Corporal Foster admits that he didn’t exactly see himself spending six months burning other peoples’ excrement. “In the schoolhouse, everyone was talking about North Korea, and the possibility of fighting in a full chemical environment,” said Foster. “Our instructors warned us that we could be responsible for saving hundreds of lives.”
He then began hosing out a new barrel. “Yeah. We’re saving lives alright.”
CAMP SHELBY, MS - The Army’s Warrior Leader Course is a big step in a soldiers’ progression to Staff Sergeant. Sergeants take part in field leadership exercises, physical training, and operations. But for Sergeant Nathan Brown, his behavior at the course means he’ll have to try again.
Brown, an Infantryman (11B) from 155BCT, was attending the Warrior Leader Course to further his career and make himself eligible for promotion. His record was impeccable until a recent exercise at the Urban Operations (MOUT) town. He was armed with twenty blank rounds — already expended moments after the exercise began. When tasked with clearing a room, he went with the only option he had left – his knife hands.
Administrative specialist SPC Katherine Young was present the day that SGT Brown lost control.
“It was horrible. I was playing OPFOR. I thought it would be fun to yell ‘safety kill’ as someone came in the room. I had no idea what SGT Brown was capable of. I thought he was such a sweet man.” Young stops to wipe away tears at this point and continued, “He did a flying bicycle kick against the door, knocking it off the hinges. After that he turned to me with this look in his eyes: the only way to describe it is blood lust. I looked down and saw he had his knife hands at the ready.”
At this point, SGT Brown was heading straight for Young, knife hands fully unsheathed.
“I didn’t know what to do. I just started screaming for help. ‘Someone please stop him’ I yelled over and over. It was no use; he attacked me uncontrollably with those terrible, terrible, killing machines.”
The TMC at Camp Shelby treated SPC Young for minor wounds. She was returned to duty the same day, but with stipulations. TMC Doctor COL Bob Gearhart commented, “She’s a brave soul, having gone through such trauma and still being willing to return to duty. While her physical wounds are superficial, the mental wounds inflicted by knife hands can sometimes be more traumatizing and may stay with her for her entire life.”
SSG Bagely, an instructor at the 3rd NCO Academy issued the following statement on behalf of the Academy:
“What happened here was truly tragic. Knife hands are a dangerous tool that should be used only in the most dire of situations. We here at the 3rd NCO Academy do not tolerate this kind of behavior and are deeply sorry for the trauma that has been caused to the other soldiers enrolled in the course. The situation is currently under investigation and will be resolved as soon as possible.”
SGT Brown was unable to comment at the time of this publication as he is in the custody of the Camp Shelby PMO awaiting a military hearing. SPC Young is currently in counseling for Post Traumatic Stress.
CAMP PENDLETON, CA — In his senior year of high school, Anthony Smith decided he wanted to be a Marine. He had a high-and-tight before ever stepping on the yellow footprints, and he greeted his classmates with “Ooh-rah” instead of hello.
After the completion of his basic training, he realized he wanted even more.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to be in the Corps and to be the top Marine,” said Private Smith, “whether that be Marine of the Year or some award like that.”
He hasn’t yet earned the Marine of the Year award but he’s gotten another distinction from the leaders at 1st Platoon, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines: Super-Boot Of The Year.
The term “Boot” is rumored to come from the Vietnam era, meaning “Beginning Of One’s Tour.” It’s generally thought to be derogatory, but Pvt. Smith doesn’t think so.
“It’s really exciting to win an award. Does this mean I get to wear another ribbon? I’m going to call my mom to tell her I have a two-stack now. I’m really getting there!”
His squad leader, Cpl. Jason Eisen, is less congratulatory.
“Private Smith is the biggest goddamn boot I’ve ever seen. He actually enjoys getting high-and-stupids, and he wears his cover everywhere so he has a perma-tan line.”
Smith says he distinguished himself from the other boots in his platoon by taking charge.
“Whenever they called for working party, I was there. Phone watch – I volunteered. Mopping up puke around the barracks – I got it. The squad leaders really see me as reliable.”
Another squad leader tells a different tale.
“Yeah, he volunteers for damn near everything,” says Lance Corporal Gregory Mickel, “but it’s the other stuff that gets him this award: falling asleep in formation, putting your flak on backwards, and asking the stupid-ass questions.”
“Oh, don’t get me started on the dumbass questions this kid has,” recounts Lance Corporal Nick Emory. “He actually asked me the other day if combat was like Call of Duty. What a fucking boot.”
So what does this mean for Smith? Besides the bragging rights he now has over his fellow Privates, he’s been awarded with phone watch in the company office over the weekend.
“Yeah, we’ve got a Duty NCO to cover it, but I think it’s kind of funny,” says Platoon Sergeant Alvin Erickson. “Everytime the phone rings — he’s such a boot that he stands up at parade rest and answers. You can’t teach that level of boot-ness.”
Cpl. Eisen pokes back, “Yeah Staff Sergeant, he must have trained for years.”
Monterey, CA– Do you speak the language of love? Well two students at the Defense Language Institute certainly do.
PFC Mike Keenan, 19, and PFC Tina Lowry, 21, are from two different worlds. He is a small-town farm boy from Wisconsin, and she is from the suburbs of Philadelphia. He is in the Arabic basic course at DLI, and she is studying Korean. He likes quiet evenings playing video games, and she likes spending evenings down the hill at the Mucky Duck, a local bar popular with students.
But despite their differences, Keenan reports that the two are very much in love and will be together forever.
“I went to community college for a year before I joined the Army,” Keenan said. “I dated a couple girls there. But no one makes me feel like Lowry does. She is incredible.”
About three months ago, the two met at Combs Dining Facility during breakfast. “She asked to sit at my table because it was real busy and there was nowhere else to sit. We talked, and then I asked her if she wanted to go see a movie. She laughed at me at first, but when she kind of, I guess saw she had hurt my feelings, she said, ‘Ah, sure, why not?’”
It hasn’t been all flowers and roses, though. “It’s been tough communicating,” Keenan said, “especially with the language difference. I asked my teacher how to say ‘soul mate.’ She told me it’s ‘rooh-sadiqa.’ So I told Lowry that she was my rooh-sadiqa, but she didn’t know what I was saying.”
The couple has also had to deal with Keenan’s insecurity. “I get a little jealous sometimes. Like, we went to an 18-and-up club together in Salinas, and she started dancing with some asshole Marine in her class, Yung Jae. Like, not just dancing, but dancing dancing. I pulled her away, and was about to punch that guy in the face, but she kept screaming, ‘Me and Yung Jae are just friends!’ I was so pissed, but we left the club together and she tongue kissed me in the cab, so I knew everything was going to be okay.”
Despite the fact that they have only been dating a short time and that their different languages will likely send them to separate duty stations thousands of miles apart, Keenan is sure that their love is strong enough to overcome all obstacles.
In fact, Keenan is planning to ask Lowry to marry him.
“I’m going to pop the question on Sunday night, after she gets back in town. I’d ask her tonight, but she and Yung Jae went up to San Francisco for the weekend for some kind of class trip or something.”
ARLINGTON, VA - Recently the Army has undergone a change of leadership in the G-4 shop, with Lieutenant General Raymond G. Mason being promoted to the position. At the spearhead of logistics for the entire Army, LTG Mason released his list of priorities for his tenure as Chief of Staff for G-4.
His number one priority was addressing the issues that have been brought to light by soldiers about the Individual Physical Fitness Uniform (IPFU).
In a press release, LTG Mason said, “First of all, everyone complaining about the liner in the shorts, how the shirts don’t breathe, the pointlessness of wearing a reflective belt when the uniform is designed to be reflective, and any other silly and menial stuff, can shut the hell up. When I was a young Lieutenant in Khe Sanh, Vietnam, we were lucky to have shirts at all.”
He continued: “My first priority as Chief of Staff for Army G-4 is to rename the IPFU to the Uniform for Individual or Group Physical Training All Weather Environment Uniform, or the UIGPTAWEU. If there’s one thing I’ve had enough of, it’s soldiers referring to the IPFU simply as a PT uniform. From now on the IPFU shall be referred to as the UIGPTAWEU and anyone caught referring to it as a PT uniform or otherwise will be subject to UCMJ.”
LTG Mason went on to describe the changes to the uniform itself.
“We’re going to make the new UIGPTAWEU out of 100% fiberglass insulation. It’s going to be American made so it’ll be good for the economy and job market. The tag on the shirt and pants will be 6” long by 6” wide so it will be able to fit the full name of the new uniform. Our testers have also found that the zippers located in the IPFU jacket’s armpits were completely useless so we’re adding four more down the back of the jacket. The entire UIGPTAWEU jacket will be manufactured out of reflective material. Soldiers will still be required to wear reflective belts while conducting physical training per Army policy.”
The Duffel Blog tried to reach LTG Mason to comment further on his proposed changes to the IPFU. Upon calling his office and questioning the direction of the new uniform, The Duffel Blog was told “I’m G-4 bitch. Shove it.”
When pressed, he said, “Go cry to the IG, I’ll give you the phone number myself if you want to be such a prick about it.”