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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

Captain goes missing after disappearing up VIP guest lecturer’s butt

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. – The Army Criminal Investigation Division is investigating an Army officer’s apparent disappearance into a visiting professor’s rectal area in a case of extreme ingratiation gone awry, sources confirm today.

Capt. Dexter Edwards disappeared during a reception held after the 3rd Brigade, 82d Airborne Division hosted University of North Carolina political science Professor James Niles for a lecture on counterterrorism complexities in Afghanistan. Junior officers surrounded Niles and complimented him “like a school of company-grade suckerfish latching their lips onto a shark,” according to Sgt. Maj. Paul Stewart

Stewart said that Edwards pushed through the group and cornered Niles “with way more determination than he ever showed in his duties.” Talking over others, Edwards praised the professor for the lecture’s content, its underlying theory, his speaking voice, cadence, life choices, taste in suits, and colorful yet still professional socks.

“He must have been angling for a job at UNC because he agreed with every, single point the professor made, no matter how crazy,” said 1st Lt. Neal Mason. “Like, that national leaders should develop a practical way ahead for Afghanistan based on national security interests and the realities of Afghan political dynamics, as if that will ever happen.”

Attendees noted that Edwards called Niles a “visionary” and his points “prescient.”

“When he used that term, his ass-suck fest attained the level of fine art,” said Mason.

Most officers and sergeants turned to discuss more conventional topics including strippers and mixed martial arts fighting. But 1st Lt. Eliza Scott remained near the pair.

“Edwards really laid it on thick, which was a real accomplishment among that bunch of expert butt-snorkelers,”Scott said. “His sucking up was so powerful it generated air movement. I mean, dust storms in Al Anbar province don’t have as much air pressure. He talked so much shit that he eased right into the professor’s ass. It was mesmerizing, like watching a magic act or one of those videos where a python swallows a goat.”

Attendees noticed that Niles appeared uncomfortable, “like he ate a bad burrito,” according to Scott.

“I heard Edwards droning on about his respect for academia. Sounded like he was somewhere in the professor’s lower intestine,” she added.

Although it is CID policy not to comment on open investigations, officials confirmed that this is the third case of a captain disappearing up someone’s ass this year.

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Army

Trump declares fire stories ‘fake news’ after 82nd Airborne descends onto University of Notre Dame

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Students at the University of Notre Dame witnessed a spectacular display today as they looked up into the sky —thousands of paratroopers rained over the campus before securing the area for none other than the commander-in-chief, sources confirmed.

“Most of us just stopped in our tracks and stared,” said one student. “Were we being invaded? I dunno, the whole thing was surreal. Some people were freaking out.”

President Donald Trump ordered soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division, a unit celebrated for its role in Normandy during World War II, to save the university after news stories of a blazing fire began to surface.

“I’m well aware of the difference between Notre Dame and the University of Notre Dame,” said Maj. Gen. James Mingus, 82nd Airborne Division commander. According to sources, Mingus and several other advisers attempted to articulate the difference between the burning iconic cathedral in France, and the university in America that still thinks it has relevance in football.

“Look, President Trump made it very clear that we were going to be jumping into one of the Notre Dames,” Mingus added. “Frankly, this option was better than the alternative.”

Shortly after troops gained control of the university, Trump arrived on Marine One to personally assess the situation. Fearing another 9/11-style attack was underway, Trump expressed shock after analysts reported there was no evidence of any fire prior to their arrival, according to sources.

“There are no fires at University of Notre Dame. Fake news strikes again! #NoFireNoCollusion,” Trump tweeted.

American forces have confirmed six Army ROTC cadets killed in action. They were mistaken for terrorists due to their inside-out uniform blouses, backwards hats, and rubber rifles — likely role playing as insurgents for cadet training before the real soldiers arrived, sources say.

University officials weren’t available for comment due to the massive influx of students seeking PTSD counseling.

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Army

Army targets horny teens with Pornhub recruiting ads

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FORT KNOX, Ky. — The Army has shifted strategy and is now focusing advertisements on the website Pornhub after missing their 2018 fiscal year recruiting goal by 6,500 recruits, sources confirmed today.

The ads, which promise “hot singles in your area,” ask potential recruits for identifying information before scheduling them for an appointment with a recruiter.

“We haven’t been talking to prospective recruits in a language they understand or in places they spend their time” said Col. Mike Riggins, head of US Army Recruiting Strategy. “Then, one day at work, I accidentally clicked on a link advertising local MILFs and accidentally input my personal data, credit card information and emailed the site several images of my junk. I realized that if I could unintentionally set up a robust profile during work hours on a government laptop, recruits could do the same at home.”

It’s a new and innovative way of addressing the problem and one that is paying big dividends. Since making the change, the Army has already exceeded its full year quota of recruiter appointments for 2019 and 2020. Also, unprompted, hundreds of applicants are sending in nudes, which recruiters are able to forward to MEPS as part of medical pre-screening.

As a result, the Army has begun officially referring to all recruiters as “hot singles” and has relabeled Army recruiting stations as either “Cougar Dens” or “Bone Zones.”

When asked if he’s received complaints from married recruiters over being classified as “singles,” Lt. Col. Jesse Gabriel of the newly re-flagged Chicago “Hammer-Dong” Battalion said, “No, honestly now that you mention it, it hasn’t really come up.”

The program is not without its downsides, however. Several tens of thousands of recruiters are currently under investigation for illegal acts related to the program.

“We have way too many recruiters who are allegedly screwing applicants,” said Gabriel. “And not screwing them in the traditional ‘enlist them as a fueler with no bonus and tell them they can probably get Airborne when they get to their unit’ sense. I’m talking about screwing them in the equally traditional ‘creep on applicants and try to have sex with them’ sense.”

The program is likely to continue in spite of issues and even expand as the Army has announced a partner program for the active force.

“It’s basically the Tinder app specifically for Soldiers except swiping right in our program connects the Soldier with a branch manager or retention NCO in the area who is definitely looking to f-them,” said Riggins.

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Army

Command and General Staff College ranked among nation’s top 500 community colleges

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FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. – Faculty and staff at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, known as CGSC, are celebrating the school’s debut appearance on the U.S. News and World Report list of the nation’s top 500 community colleges, sources confirmed today.

“I couldn’t be prouder of our professors, students, and alumni,” said Army Combined Arms Center Commander Lt. Gen. Michael Lundy. “We almost beat Webster University, and we tied with the University of Phoenix Junior College. Even better, none of the other service staff colleges made the list!”

Lundy directed his staff to apply for regional accreditation last year as part of the Army’s broader effort to translate military skills into civilian credentials. After receiving a community college charter, the school began offering associate degrees in operational planning, business micromanagement, and reimagining historic military treatises.

Alumni have long considered CGSC the “Harvard of mandatory professional military education” due to its selective acceptance, rigorous curriculum, and near 100% graduation rate.

The school’s curriculum is designed to prepare senior captains and junior majors to become operational level staff officers by teaching them to skim or ignore volumes of doctrine, overanalyze simple problems, and brief senior officers while nursing crippling hangovers.

To many students, it is no surprise the institution was rated the 492nd best community college in the U.S.

“Yup, sounds about right,” said Maj. Joe Muto, a former Rhodes Scholar and current CGSC student. “I’m often stunned by the level of intellect and depth of my peers and instructors. Honestly though, I couldn’t think of a better way to train a few top performers on how to lead an inept staff through military planning for a pointless operation. It would be brilliant if I actually believed they planned it that way.”

At press time, sources heard Lundy calling the other service staff college leaders to console them and wish them better luck in 2020.

Duffel Blog reporters W.T. Door and Lieutenant Dan contributed to this article.

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Air Force

Fans excited for final season of Afghanistan

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BAGRAM, Afghanistan — Fans of Afghanistan, already America’s longest running drama, are excited for the premier of the final season of the conflict, whenever that may be.

A media darling at launch, Afghanistan has suffered from low viewership since the first season but remains a powerhouse moneymaker with an annual budget of almost $45 billion. Producers initially promised large, exciting battles and decisive story lines but thus far have had issues delivering consistently. Fans of the show place the blame for many of those issues on producers insisting the show split air time with spinoff drama Iraq.

Despite the small TV audience tuning in, a large number of Americans (about 14,000 at present) physically attend the conflict every year hoping to take part in events as they unfold.

However, many of these participants express discontent over the direction the show has taken and feel the program has been dragging for the last decade or so.

“I was skeptical at first because there had been a Russian drama about Afghanistan, but in the first few seasons, this felt very different. And when they surprised everyone by killing off Bin Laden in season 10, that was amazing,” said Capt Mike Watt, currently deployed to Sharana. “But l feel like lately it’s been the same story line every season. Just lazy writing all around.”

A quick audit of recent years supports Watt’s argument. Plot devices like COIN, blue on green insider attacks, and meeting with local leaders that end up accomplishing nothing have become repetitive. Despite these issues, there remain a strikingly large number of subplots and unanswered questions. So many in fact, that writers and executive producers have expressed that they can’t imagine wrapping this up even if they have 10 plus more seasons.

Regardless, fans remain excited for the final season whenever that may be. An online poll among attendees on who will end up on top received hundreds of thousands of votes and came back with a landslide victory for write in candidate “I don’t give a fuuuuuuck.”

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Army

Army leaders channel wrong Clausewitz in Pentagon seance

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WASHINGTON — In a bizarre Pentagon ritual, Army leaders accidentally summoned the wrong spirit when attempting to channel famed Prussian military theorist Maj. Gen. Carl von Clausewitz to help them counter growing threats from China and Russia, sources confirmed today.

“Complex problems require creative ideas,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. “It turns out we liquidated most of our out-of-the-box thinkers during the last NCO and officer retention boards, so we had to reach deep into our past military geniuses to come up with solutions.”

Recent Chinese threats in the South China Sea and Russian threats in Ukraine and the Baltics forced the hand of Army strategists to come up with unique ways to justify the Army’s growing budget. To counter these challenges, the Army gathered a panel of soothsayers, mystics, and government-funded think tanks to divine the way ahead for future ground combat. Army leadership ultimately chose to hold a seance to channel the long-dead Clausewitz, the father of modern Western military strategy, in an attempt to glean workable solutions.

Eyewitnesses claim the group of officers was successful in channeling a spirit, though not the one they intended. After asking the Ouija board how Clausewitz reconciled his principle of the culminating victory, the strategists were confused at his answer, “I reconcile culminating feels better.”

In an embarrassing turn of events, the group had been seeking advice from Pvt. Chadwick “Chad” Clausewitz, a Civil War deserter from the 56th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Pvt. Clausewitz was executed in 1863 for abandoning his sentry post after he was caught masturbating to a tintype of a woman’s bare ankles.

“I knew something was wrong when the spirit told me to ‘talk it off,’” said Pentagon psychic Gwendolyn Mabry. “After we continued to pump it for answers, the spirit covered our group with a large amount of what appeared to be ectoplasm.”

Milley was last seen wiping his face and grumbling to a subordinate that they would probably have to consult the think tanks for a solution.

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Air Force

Service chiefs really tired of this Congressional committee’s crap

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The military’s service chiefs have been tired, but never tired like this. (Source: National Guard Bureau)

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department’s service chiefs are massively weary of this stupid Congressional committee hearing, sources confirmed today.

Although the hearing on force readiness in the mid-term began moments ago, it has “nose-dived faster than Congressman Schiff’s reputation,” according to a military legislative affairs officer. 

“I put on a service dress uniform for this?” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein asked his peers, apparently unaware he was wearing a hot microphone.

The Committee chairwoman — no one knows her name because she did nothing notable before Democrats took control of the House —asked Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley for his assessment of Navy readiness.

Milley appeared confused by a question on a separate service and paused before saying, “I would like to respond by stating that the readiness of Congress to hold this hearing is a complete shit-show, ma’am.”

Rep. Slay Z. Lewks (D – possibly Queens but she doesn’t know) followed with a freshwoman attempt at putting the hearing back on track by asking about mold in military housing. The chairwoman informed Lewks the topic was not related to force readiness.

“Then what about mold readiness in the mid-term?” Lewks asked.

Rep. Sea H. Ag (D – San Francisco) then interrupted Lewks to repeatedly stammer over the word “the.” She finally finished her question on the best place in D.C to meet sailors, which was met by the audible sighs of the testifying service chiefs.

Before Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson could wipe the stunned look off his face, Ag told him “I’m a cougar, John, in case you didn’t notice, John — rawwr.”

The chiefs then appeared to be studying their notes, but they were actually playing sudoku on sheets in their briefing books, except for Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller. 

“He doesn’t know how sudoku works,” says a Marine Corps public affairs office. Neller instead repeatedly snapped a can of Copenhagen under the desk while glaring at Lewks and anyone else who lewks at him for more than a second.

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Air Force

Space Force already restricted to Earth liberty

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MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. — Military commanders have barred potential Space Force members from engaging in any liberty activities outside of Earth’s atmosphere, sources confirmed today.

The decision came after several hours of deliberation between key military leaders at the Pentagon. Expert testimony on the issues included representatives from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Air Force Space Command, and Christopher Nolan, director of “Interstellar” who described outer space as “totally nuts, man.”

“There’s just too many variables right now,” said Gen. Timothy Grey, commanding general of the 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. “Are liberty periods measured in the 4th dimension of spacetime? Are space suits issued gear? What happens if an alien entity lays eggs inside your libo buddy? I don’t even know where the settings in DEERS are for that.”

What was once thought to be just an idea in passing, the Space Force comes closer to reality with the February 19th issuance of the Space Policy Directive-4 that organizes the new unit as a sub component of the Air Force. What it fails to clarify however, are significant details concerning financial bureaucracy, the international consequences of militarizing outer space and whether or not there will be sexy coed showers for soldiers before and after defeating an alien species.

“It’s just important to preempt any liberty issues we may have before any incident arises,” Grey continued. “I know what kind of stuff goes on in space. Trust me. I’ve seen Avatar.”

Spc. Kyle Julliard, a satellite communications systems operator-maintainer with the Army Signal Corps, was disappointed to hear the news.

“I was really looking forward to marrying an alien stripper,” he said. “Where am I going to find a stripper now? Earth? The Marines already married them all!

Not every soldier was as pessimistic about their options. Pfc. Daniel Shaw, an imagery analyst with the 344th Military Intelligence Battalion, was reportedly seen working on a method of turning Mars water into toilet wine.

“They’ll have to lift the libo restrictions eventually,” he said. “And when they do, I’m going to get the first space DUI.”

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