MARJAH, AFGHANISTAN – Multiple sources with the 1st Section of 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines 81mm Mortar Platoon are confirming today that they are never able to finish their card games or complete other important duties, because they keep getting interrupted by annoying calls for fire support.
“The Marine Corps sends us here to do a job and as 0341’s [Military Occupational Specialty], we perform that job flawlessly,” said LCpl Ryan Eagles of Springfield, IL. “But all my spades training at 29 Palms, Hawaii, Bridgeport, and basically everywhere is going to waste when we have to do these goddamn fire missions.”
Infantry Mortarmen typically serve in 81mm Spades platoons in Weapons Company or alongside 0311 rifleman in smaller 60mm sections. They receive years of training in card tricks and gameplay, proper dodging of higher-ups, and how to drink far beyond human capacity.
“At SOI [School of Infantry], our instructors really taught us the fundamentals — spades always trumps, you need to get to 500 points, that sort of thing,” said PFC Hugo Rodriguez. “Then when we got to the fleet, the training got even more intense — we had nightly binge drinking events and PT runs away from the OOD, and belligerence basics.”
“This is my first deployment, I know, but it seems like all that training is going to waste out here, having us drop mortar rounds as collateral duty,” he added.
In their short time here, the section has received numerous calls for fire from riflemen in their area of responsibility, like one request last week for immediate suppression from a platoon in a savage firefight roughly 3 kilometers from their position.
“Archer, archer, this is Blackbeard, immediate suppression, grid 32783732, over,” said radio transmission operator LCpl David Alarik of Lima Company, who was pinned down by approximately 40 enemy fighters.
1st Section Fire Direction Chief Sergeant Brandon Davis shrugged after receiving the radio call. “These guys are so goddamn needy.”
“Roger, Blackbeard,” Davis responded, keying his handset. “Be advised, you came in broken and unreadable, say again, over.”
“That usually delays them for a bit, then of course next I’ll tell them that they are danger close,” Davis told Duffel Blog reporters. “Then if they figure out they are good with range, I’ll tell them Battalion Fires isn’t allowing me to drop the rounds.”
“But sometimes, we’re forced to actually do this bullshit. I wish I could just serve my country like my recruiter told me I would, playing cards on training missions and having sex with Thai prostitutes,” he added.