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AWOL Private Returns After Seven Years With Box Of Grid Squares

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Box of Grid Squares

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Army Pvt. Steven Gerner disappeared seven years ago, officially listed as AWOL. His family, friends and Army buddies all assumed he’d had an accident or lost his nerve and no one ever expected to see him again. He returned yesterday, only to find himself arrested by Military Police. What happened in between is a tale too implausible to be disbelieved.

Pvt. Gerner joined the Army in 2004 out of Sangre de Cristo, Arizona. He reached his first assignment, to the infantry, in 2005, eager to please and wanting to belong.

“Well, it was my first day, and I guess I was pretty nervous and not really sure of what to do,” said Gerner. “Before I had even reported in to the first sergeant, a sergeant, and two specialists walked up to me. Of course, I did what I was trained to do, and immediately snapped to the position of parade rest and gave them all the greeting of the day.”

He continued: “After that, they started laughing and talking among themselves about ‘this gay-ass slick-sleeve saying good morning,’ whoever that was. Before I knew it, the Sergeant was in my face and told me to find a box of grid squares. I tried to explain I didn’t know where to find that! Hell, I didn’t even know where the unit supply office was, but he didn’t relent.”

Soldiers new to units often become the subject to pranks that are as old as the Army itself. Often, these pranks involve seasoned soldiers sending the new Private on a quest for objects that don’t exist. Chem light batteries, exhaust samples, frequency grease, and muzzle blast have been sought after by well-intended, yet unaware, junior soldiers.

Former Sgt. Zachary Willburn, who sent Gerner to find the box of grid squares, took a break from “smoking flavored tobacco” to speak with Duffel Blog by phone from his home in Boulder, Colo..

“Yeah, Gerner. That guy went AWOL his first day after I told him to get some grid squares. I’ve never seen someone take off so fast. Me and the other guys had a pretty big laugh, but, uh, we kinda expected him to come back a few minutes later. I never saw him again after that,” said Willburn. “After a few days, they officially marked him as AWOL. We all though he deserted because we were heading to Iraq in a month.”

Gerner claims to have found the elusive box of grid squares in a remote region in the Himalayan Mountains. “At first, I spent about a year traveling across the United States, Canada, and then South America. After I couldn’t find it in Colombia, I almost gave up hope–you can find anything in Colombia. That’s when I caught a flight to the Middle East. I figured, it’s the cradle of civilization; if this exists, it has to be there.”

When asked how he was able to afford the airline tickets, Gerner explained, “Apparently when they marked me AWOL they never stopped my pay, so I just used what I had at the time to move around. I also got tax free pay and combat pay while my unit was in Iraq for 18 months. I filled out travel vouchers through the Defense Travel System over the course of the last seven years, but I still haven’t seen any of that money.”

While he ultimately found the mystical box, Gerner relates some dark times during his journey. “Once, I was making my way across Iraq and  ran into a pretty crazy firefight. The other soldiers were screaming at me, telling me to ‘get inside the wire,’ whatever that means, but I told them I had to go find a box of grid-squares or my Sergeant was going to kill me. They all started laughing until some stuff started falling out of the sky and blowing up, I think they might have been the air-launched improvised explosive devices that I heard about at Basic Training.”

Gerner’s quest had a happy ending, after one final twist.

The official report released from Gerner’s unit states that he returned to his unit Friday morning with an odd-shaped box, after being marked AWOL seven years ago to the day. The current company commander, Capt. Gregory Schwarz, was stunned.

“Private Gerner was arrested for desertion, but the interviewing JAG officer released him as soon as he heard his story. He won’t be receiving Non-Judicial Punishment, or a Court-martial for being AWOL, as it has been found he was simply following orders. Truthfully, he was officially separated from the Army after his six year contract was up.”

Schwarz elaborated, “In light of his actions, a review board has found in his favor and will be upgrading his Dishonorable Discharge to an Honorable Discharge. He has also been awarded the Iraq campaign medal with two stars, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary medal, and the Afghanistan Campaign medal with one star, as we found in our investigation he traveled through all of these areas while looking for this box.”

“Gerner was also awarded four Army Commendation Medals due to his unit being deployed four times during his 7 year journey,” he added.

Gerner’s mother was ecstatic at the news of her son’s return.

“I’m so proud of my baby boy. We were so worried while he was gone. I guess I’ve always kind of known my son was destined for great things, ever since that large black recruiter with the sunglasses on told me when he was just a child, ‘he’s the One.’ I didn’t know what he meant at the time, but now it’s all so clear.”

His recruiter, Sgt. First Class Stokes, recounted of his meeting with the then 18 year old shortly before he signed his papers, sealing his fate. “He asked me about Iraq. I said, ‘unfortunately, no one can be told what Iraq is. You have to see it for yourself.'”

Even though his journey was harrowing at times, Gerner expresses nothing but fond memories of his time in the Army, especially when he searched in Tahiti for three years.

Army

Black Mold replaces Black Knights as official Army mascot

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WEST POINT, N.Y. – The United States Military Academy at West Point announced today that all academy sports teams, previously known as the “Black Knights,” are re-named the “Black Mold” in solidarity with Army families suffering from the deadly spores in military quarters.

The re-naming is a reaction to recent Congressional inquiries into the deteriorating state of living quarters throughout the Department of Defense. Multiple service members and their families report being plagued by persistent black mold as well as mice, rats, and other disease-inducing conditions. The plight of quarters residents invoked outrage in Congress and support from West Point.

“We sympathize with Army personnel and families suffering from black mold, said USMA historian Allison Wright, “and we understand the value of tradition. Believe it or not, we’ve never been certain how that ‘Black Knight’ nickname started, but black mold is actually a deep-rooted Army tradition.”

“Throughout our history, American soldiers have encountered black mold in other places that are equally as comfortable as current Army quarters, like Valley Forge, Andersonville Prison, and World War I trenches just to name a few,” Wright continued. “And since black mold is a tenacious adversary, it reflects the resiliency of Army personnel. As a deadly substance it sends a badass message to young cadets.”

The re-naming is part of a larger effort. The USMA will begin teaching cadets the rich history of black mold. West Point will also update its etiquette guide so new lieutenants and their spouses know how to tactfully and politely inform Congress about living in slum-like living conditions.

Recognizing the need for updated symbology for the new name, USMA leaders are consulting with the Army Heraldry Institute, the Army Center of Military History, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We want new imagery that is inspiring, historically accurate, and serves as a bio-hazard warning,” said Wright. USMA is reportedly receiving several symbology suggestions from the Army Chemical Corps.

“This finally gives all the chemical officers out there real jobs beyond battalion unit status reporting and voting officers,” she said.

Possibly echoing the Army move, the DOD is encouraging families to adopt household rodents as pets while Congress develops solutions to the situation.

Reports that “Golden Spores” is replacing “Golden Knights” as the name for the Army parachute demonstration team could not be confirmed.

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DTRA major wears his uniform for the first time in five years

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FORT BELVOIR, Va. – Surprise and confusion occurred at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) headquarters when Army Maj. Greg Tomlinson wore his uniform for the first time in as long as any employee there can remember, sources confirmed today.

“Wearing it felt weird,” Tomlinson said. “I’ve gained some weight, so I had to suck in the old gut a bit. I doubt anybody noticed.”

As at most commands and activities, DTRA policy requires military personnel to wear their uniforms regularly. However, Tomlinson chose a path that could be considered unorthodox.

“I like to look sharp, and that’s almost impossible in that ugly-ass mashup of camouflage and velcro called the Army Combat Uniform,” Tomlinson said. “So I bought some blazers from J. Crew and ditched the ACUs. The last time I wore a uniform was on Veterans Day in 2013 to get 30 percent off at Denny’s.”

“But this month I got a wild hair and decided to break out the ACUs,” Tomlinson said. “I found them in an old aviator kit bag in the basement next to the cat’s litter box. My rank badge was stuck into the family cork board, holding up the school lunch schedule and some coupons for KFC. My beret was in our son’s toy box, and how it got there is anybody’s guess. Kids!”

Personnel at DTRA showed a variety of reactions to seeing Tomlinson in uniform. Sgt. Greg Gomez, administrative NCO in Tomlinson’s division, mistook the major for a newly arriving officer.

“I scheduled him for a newcomer’s briefing and the next unit weigh-in and PT test,” Gomez said.

“It was a little odd that they scheduled me for a newcomer’s briefing, but I attended anyhow and learned a lot, like that it’s policy for military personnel to wear their uniforms weekly. Who knew?” said Tomlinson.

“If he’s going to sham out on the uniform, he should at least get a clue about style,” said Staff Sgt. Rachel Bailey. “He acts all ‘Mr. Fashion’ in his J. Crew outfits but in reality, Tommy fucking Hilfiger here can’t match a tie to a shirt to save his life.”

Wearing the uniform resulted in distinct changes in how people perceived Tomlinson and his role in DTRA activities.

“Nobody bothered me when I wore civilian clothes, said Tomlinson. “Maybe my identity was ambiguous, or people thought I was a senior warrant officer. Now that they know I’m a major, everybody keeps asking for help with their PowerPoint presentations as if I’m some kind of PowerPoint expert! Actually, I am a PowerPoint expert, so its really okay.”

Tomlinson’s return to the uniform may also have unintended consequences for other officers at DTRA headquarters.

“I thought he was your typical civilian with an over-inflated ego and a limited duty day,” Thomas Bowles, a senior executive, said. “Now I know he’s actually your typical major with an over-inflated ego. I’m going to see if we have other field grade officers masquerading as civilians. We make a lot of PowerPoint presentations here, so we need all the majors we can get.”

Departing for the day, Tomlinson said he intended to “devote some serious time” to getting rock hard abs. And finding his PT uniform.

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Soldier avoids UCMJ by living inside amnesty box

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Photo Credit: Duffel Blog

BAGHDAD, Iraq — A soldier in Iraq is successfully avoiding the Uniform Code of Military Justice by living inside an amnesty box, sources confirmed today.

Spc. Ray Thomas, a communications specialist deployed to Camp Taji, began residing in the amnesty box after becoming the focus of a 15-6 investigation into unauthorized drinking on post.

“It came to light that Spc. Thomas, while intoxicated in direct violation of General Order No. 1, allowed a negligent discharge of his M4 rifle in his housing unit,” explained Maj. Robert Sandusky, the officer in charge of the investigation. “Unfortunately, when Spc. Thomas learned he was facing punishment that could include extra duty and/or reduction in rank, he just disappeared.”

Thomas was declared AWOL 36 hours later when base security contractors discovered him inside a 5’x5′ amnesty box near the post airfield, along with his sleeping bag, a log of Copenhagen, and a rucksack full of MREs, according to sources.

“That amnesty box is essentially a legal forcefield,” admitted Sandusky. “Therefore our investigation is on hold pending his emergence from said box.”

Prominent experts on military law begrudgingly praised Thomas’s legal acumen.

“It’s a brilliant move,” commented Lt. Col. Simon Curcio, an attorney for the Army’s Judge Advocate General. “Under the UCMJ, nothing inside an amnesty box is subject to punishment, so they can’t touch him. If he can hold out until he leaves theater, he’s home free.”

“He’s really got them over a barrel — or over a box, so to speak” he added. “But my question is, ‘where’s he relieving himself?’ You know what, never mind. Please don’t answer that.”

Soldiers on post say that despite the lack of latrine or running water, Thomas has remained in the box for six days and shows no inclination of leaving.

“Ironically, this shitbag move displays more creativity, initiative, and discipline than I’ve ever seen from Spc. Thomas,” said Sgt. Dominic Johnson, his former squad leader. “He should be recommended for promotion to E-5 if he doesn’t end up getting a GOMOR [General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand].”

Speaking from inside the amnesty box, Thomas said he has been busy making the most of his environment.

“It’s amazing what people just toss in here,” Thomas said. “Just in the last week, I’ve collected a baggie of cocaine, a smoke grenade, a vintage Penthouse from a care package, and two extra-large dildos, which I can use to weigh down the corners of my poncho.”

“Plus, I’m supplementing my diet by licking used candy wrappers,” he continued. “Those sort of make up for all the cigarette butts and dip spitters that fall on my head when I’m trying to sleep.”

It remains to be seen whether Thomas can hold out until his redeployment flight in April, but he remains confident.

“I’m in here for the long haul, man,” he said. “You know if I’m living off MREs I won’t have to shit for at least another month.”

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E-4 accidentally joins actual mafia in mix-up

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JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. — In an effort to join the E-4 mafia, a local soldier has instead joined the actual mafia, sources confirmed today.

Newly-promoted Spc. Rafael Hernandez first realized something was amiss when, according to his testimony in court, he stuck a hastily-constructed shiv into the base of an old Italian man’s skull.

“This just didn’t seem to be in line with the Army Values,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez attempted to establish contact with the E-4 mafia in the traditional way, according to witness testimony. He placed an all-day appointment on his calendar, indicating that he would not be available for any additional duties. Then, Hernandez stood in front of a bathroom mirror and recited the words “I don’t know anything about that, sergeant,” three times. According to urban legend, after doing this, a specialist passes out and finds himself sleeping in the back of a vehicle in the motor pool while the lower-ranking enlisted do all his paperwork.

“I really thought it was going to be that easy,” Hernandez said. “I mean, nobody ever told me outright how you join the E-4 mafia, but I’ve heard stories. It made perfect sense to me at the time.”

Instead of passing out, however, Hernandez was met by a man in a seersucker suit who kept adjusting his tie as he looked at himself in the mirror. He wore an unbuttoned striped coat, and did not meet Hernandez’s eyes. The man asked him if he’d be willing to give an “associate” of his a “very close shave.”

“Seemed normal,” said Hernandez when asked how he felt about the approach. “I thought maybe it was one of the specialists from medical hinting that he could write me a shaving waver. I always wanted a beard.”

As it turned out, it meant slitting someone’s throat.

“Shit, I thought ‘these E-4 fuckers are hardcore,'” Hernandez said. “But alright, whatever it takes to get out of KP duty I guess.”

“Normally it starts with small tasks, favors, stuff like that,” FBI Agent Tricia Patel, head of the Newark Organized Crime Unit, explained in an interview after the trial. “But in this case Hernandez just went right for murder. It got him fast respect, and respect is the only currency these guys deal with.”

The spree that followed involved three bank heists, two more murders, and one extremely complicated case of horse theft involving swapping a prize racehorse with a Shetland pony wearing stilts. Hernandez rose through the ranks of La Cosa Nostra in mere days, catapulting himself to lieutenant of a smaller capo.

“I thought the people calling me lieutenant were being cute,” Hernandez said, “you know, because LTs don’t do any work either, right? I guess I was wrong.”

Hernandez was finally arrested not by local authorities, but by army MPs, after it was discovered that he had missed a mandatory urinalysis appointment.

“What’s funny is that I was actually peeing at the time anyway,” Hernandez said. “Just not in a cup.”

Hernandez is currently out on bail and sleeping in the back of a vehicle in the motor pool.

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Army

Optimistic private sees burn pit as half full

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CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti – Pfc. Braddock Chase, the highest speed motivator in the 1-167th Infantry doesn’t listen to the haters and draggers and prefers to see the burn pits as half full, sources confirmed today.

“A lot of guys, you know, focus on the bad shit. I focus on how much shit,” said Chase, coughing up a suspiciously dark loogie. “Whatever, maybe the burn pits aren’t as dank as the old timers talk about, but they’re still burn pits.”

Chase, a PT stud who volunteers for every additional duty, is also known for having the best e-mail signature block in the battalion. Half full, half empty, full of diseased dead camels or just human shit, Chase is always willing to see the best in his situation.

“Chase just won’t stop,” said Sgt. Maj. Ted Hopper. “Some guys would see a bunch of cocks drawn in the port-a-shitter and only notice that there’s no balls. But not Chase. Chase would focus on all the dicks.”

When reached for comment, Chase was leading his squad patrol despite his oozing eye infection in his left eye, preferring to focus on how well his right eye was working.

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Army

Absence of assassin from future confuses ambitious company commander

Aspiring military dictator wonders why agents from the future have not been sent to stop him… yet

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Fort Bragg, N.C. — A company commander is expressing shock and dismay that after six years in the Army a future assassin has yet to travel back in time and attempt to kill him, sources confirmed today.

“Boundless ambition? Check. Contempt for subordinates? Check. Rejection of enlightenment values combined with a burning desire to usher in a fascistic, military-style dictatorship with myself at the helm? Check, and check,” said Hawkingson. “Why haven’t I been targeted for elimination by a temporal agent desperate to stop my inevitable rise to power?”

Capt. Ben Hawkingson, a company commander with the 82nd Airborne Division, has accomplished every goal he’s set out for himself so far to date including: being promoted below zone, taking top honors at West Point, leading the scout platoon, intriguing against buddies during Ranger School resulting in their getting peered, and immediately taking command of B Co, 4/325, 3rd Brigade, 82nd ABCT upon arriving at Fort Bragg. In spite of all Hawkingson’s successes thus far, the future has yet to reach backward to stop him.

“It wasn’t until after I received a silver star for heroism in combat that I realized my true potential,” Hawkingson said. “At West Point, I knew I was destined for greatness, but everything began to fall into place for me after the award. Now, I know what I’m meant to be: leader of then newly-formed United Federation of American States. So why has no temporal agent from the future been sent to destroy me while there’s still a chance?”

Hawkingson said that he compulsively checks his rear-view mirror while driving, expecting at any moment that leather jacket-clad, sub-machine gun wielding operatives sent into the past from a dystopian future will pursue him on Kawasaki Ninjas. He keeps a loaded pistol in the glove compartment of his truck for this reason. Hawkingson also enrolled in a defensive driving course that taught him how to maintain control of a vehicle that’s being attacked by a single well-trained martial arts expert with cybernetic implants or waves of monomaniacal assailants.

“I don’t do drive-through any more,” said Hawkingson, “not since my awakening. And I try to avoid tolls, too. I’d be a sitting duck.”

While Hawkingson admitted that there are probably other threats he’s missing because the motivated and fanatical resistance his regime will inevitably provoke has yet to invent them, he tries to keep his mind open.

“Science fiction films and television programming seem convinced that the future will include directed energy weapons, and it’s already pretty easy to use drones right off the shelf,” he added. “Subversive assassins may have access to the type of technology necessary to control groups of them to rain down death from above or below. Submarine drones! Think about it.”

Another possibility, which Hawkingson considered briefly before dismissing it, is that time travel isn’t possible.

“I suppose it’s possible that at some point in the future, my bold scheme is thwarted, there is that,” he said. “My plots have never failed before of course, including when I sabotaged another platoon leader’s packet for Special Forces selection. But if I did fail, I guess there would be no need for an enterprising, aging quantum physicist to dedicate his life to vengeance after I somehow cause the death of his only beloved daughter.”

One thing is certain, according to Hawkingson.

“If they don’t kill me, in 15 to 20 years, you can expect either a presidential run from yours truly, or a no-holds barred military coup,” he said. “One way or the other. It’s happening.”

“Unless someone thinks they can stop me!” he shouted, turning to the sky.

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Command climate survey filled out in bile

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FORT BLISS, Texas – Recent command climate surveys from 28th Personnel Services Battalion have proved difficult to compile due to the high proportion that were filled out in bile, semen, and spit, sources confirmed today.

“We’re not really sure what’s going on at the 28th PSB,” said Col. Megan Smith, a spokesperson for army G1 at the Pentagon. “We weren’t able to get many data points from these poorly or incorrectly completed surveys.”

Command climate surveys have been a tool in the army since 2013 and are now usually completed online with a paper option. West Pointer Capt. Keith Konzel had the grand idea to initiate the 28th PSB’s surveys as famously hands-on. The 28th was unique in that the entire unit completed the survey without reminders and a high proportion of soldiers opted for paper surveys.

“It’s really unusual to get so much participation,” said Smith, pinching her nose above a seeping pile of climate surveys. “Soldiers often feel that they can’t be completely honest on the survey.”

The chaplain reports an unusually high number of pastoral care requests for the company, and medics have been attempting to track down a small typhoid outbreak related to a batch of surveys covered in “sick baby shits.”

At press time, G1 was close to compiling the command climate results based almost entirely on the one survey where the bubbles had been filled out to resemble a penis.

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Army Fortnite Lieutenant Goes Missing During Navigation Exercise

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FORTNITE ISLAND — A lieutenant in the Army’s eSports team was reported missing early in his training, and leaders are conducting a thorough search before a virtual storm makes rescue efforts dangerous, sourced confirmed today.

Hundreds of Soldiers have flocked to represent their service branch in popular games such as Call of Duty, League of Legends, and Fortnite since the Army’s announcement of plans to create a number of sponsored professional eSports teams

The Army recently completed its first pre-screening cycle for what will become its Fortnite team. 150 Soldiers undergo an intensive selection cycle in the hopes of earning the coveted “Fortnite Ranger” tab and a spot on the eSports roster.

Second Lt. Joshua “$n1P3$” Sykes, a recent graduate of West Point and one of the four Fortnite platoon leaders, was reported missing just a few days after the start of the selection process. Sykes and his platoon were out on a routine navigation exercise when the lieutenant took a wrong turn, according to Staff Sgt. Elizabeth “MtND3W” Hernandez, a spokesperson for the Marketing and Engagement Brigade at Fort Knox.

“$n1P3$ and his team were en route to Polar Peak from Pleasant Park. Upon arriving at Tilted Towers, the first rendezvous point, platoon sergeant Sgt. 1st Class Jason ‘D0r1To$’ Kissinger noticed that the Lt was no longer with them,” Hernandez said.

“He honestly could be anywhere,” D0r1To$ told reporters as he expressed his dissatisfaction and concern with a “Heartbroken” emoticon. “The best thing that we can do now is hope that he can manage to look at the top of his screen to see in which direction our markers are.”

The search area has been widened to include all of the spaces between Loot Lake and Paradise Palms.

“We just hope that we can get to him before the storm does,” D0r1To$ said as he rallied his team after an intense dance off to go find the missing lieutentant.

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