KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN — Pentagon sources were proud to announce the success of a new, yearly event which allowed Fobbits — service-members who spend their entire tour on Forward Operating Base — the opportunity to venture out into Afghanistan alongside combat units.
“I was super excited when I first found out,” said Specialist Jimmy McNulty, a finance soldier. “I’d spent months in my guard tower wondering what was out there. I couldn’t wait to finally ‘get some’. You know, when I got home and told a girl in a bar about the one time I left the wire.”
The ‘wire’, as service-members call the protective barricade surrounding coalition bases, represents the departure of relative safety into the unknown.
While the thirty Fobbits who volunteered for the event were enthusiastic, their counterparts were less than thrilled. An embedded Duffel Blog reporter with the 101st Airborne spoke with a few infantryman who participated in Operation Zero to Hero.
“I couldn’t believe the ‘mission essential’ crap they had,” said Staff Sergeant Omar Little, a 24 year-old squad leader. “One guy brought a pillow because it was going to be a long convoy and he was kind of sleepy.”
“Some Sergeant had a blank firing adapter,” chimed in a young Private. “I found it in his grenade pouch which had been in there since his MOB [mobilization] training. I was like, what the fuck dude, we don’t fire blanks here.”
Despite the initial gung-ho spirit, the Fobbits quickly discovered life outside the wire was less glamorous than it seemed.
“I was attached to an infantry scout/sniper platoon,” said 1st Lieutenant Rhonda Pearlman, pausing between tears. “We set up something called a hide site on a mountain and watched an empty town for three days. Three days of watching and nothing else, except peeing in water bottles and pooping in used MRE bags that we carried back with us. These people are animals.”
A newfound respect was shown the following day as hungry, blood-shot eyed combat troops returned from patrols and were turned away from DFAC’s [dining facilities] across Afghanistan. Instead of being threatened with reprimand, they were politely asked to return with cleaner uniforms.
The historic day did have its drawbacks. 27 Fobbits were wounded in action but tragedy was averted thanks to a cadre of well-trained medics. Major Ervin Burrell, an Army quartermaster, was one such unfortunate Fobbit when he encountered a cell phone detonated IED.
“How could something like that happen?” said shocked and wounded Fobbit PFC Clay Davis. “One minute, the Major is walking along dialing on his iPhone. The next, people are screaming for a medic. For Christ’s sake, he had AT&T. I can’t even get reception in the states.”