KHOST, AFGHANISTAN – Specialist Rory Hayes, a soldier with 1-83 Infantry Battalion operating out of Forward Operating Base Salerno, mistakenly believes that each cup of tea he drinks with Afghan nationals is worth half a promotion point, sources confirmed.
Hayes’ fellow soldiers from Bravo Company jokingly told the Tampa, Fla. native that sharing cups of tea with the Afghans they met during patrols was worth promotion points when he first arrived in theater as an individual augmentee approximately halfway through the unit’s deployment.
In an e-mail to Duffel Blog, Hayes’ fire team leader explained. “Hay-Z came in on a flight from Bagram [Airfield] right after he deployed into theater,” said Sergeant Don Lewis. “When the rest of the guys found out this was his first deployment, we decided to bust his balls a little bit. We got the opportunity when we went on our first patrol and he asked why we kept drinking tea with all the ‘old dudes’ rather than ‘kicking down doors and fucking people up’. Out of nowhere, I told him that each cup of tea is worth half a promotion point.”
“I guess after a while we should have told him we were just messing with him,” Lewis continued, “but frankly, him trying to get those promotion points has turned him into a fucking counterinsurgency guru.”
1st Lt. John Day, Hayes’ platoon leader, agrees with Lewis’ assessment. “I thought they were being hard on the new guy, but now Hayes volunteers to go on every engagement with the village elders and slurps down tea like he’s drinking from the Holy Grail. The elders love him because he can sit for hours drinking tea while the rest of us are trying to get back to the FOB to play some Xbox or something.”
“I helped him make a spreadsheet to track the number of cups of tea he drank with a formula built into it to tell him how many more until he maxed out at 300,” said Sergeant First Class Dave Mack, Hayes’ platoon sergeant. “He gets cheesed up every morning opening up that spreadsheet and calculating how much longer until he is ready for the board.”
Specialist Hayes could not be reached for comment at press time since he has been occupied for the past week serving as the principal American liaison to a loya jirga at the Khost Governor’s Palace.