FOB LAGMAN, AFGHANISTAN — A second lieutenant with 4th Battalion, 25th Infantry Regiment was excited about finally being in “real combat” after being assigned a guard shift in a perimeter tower, sources confirmed Tuesday.
Second Lieutenant John Seever, an assistant operations officer, was pleasantly surprised after receiving a memorandum from the commander stating that all staff officers would be required to pull a guard shift. In the memo, the commander wrote that he’d be giving the enlisted soldiers a rest day as a reward for their near-constant patrols around the area.
“This is so awesome!” declared the excited Lieutenant. “I’m so sick of being someone’s Power Point bitch all day long. Now I’ll finally be in the fight. Man, I hope I get to shoot someone!”
Not everyone on the FOB in Zabul Province was as supportive of the idea as Seever. Staff Sergeant Mark Shokley, the Sergeant of the Guard (SOG) for the day, expressed skepticism.
“These fucking kids haven’t even had platoon leader time yet, and we’re going to entrust them with the security of our FOB? You’ve got to be kidding me. I know pulling a tower shift sucks, but what if something actually happens? Have these guys even fired a rifle since basic training?”
Although enthusiasm ran high, the initial inspection before the shift began seemed to reinforce Shokley’s doubts. Seever reported wearing a pair of wrap-around Oakleys, an empty CamelBak, 16 magazines full of tracer ammunition, and both cargo pockets stuffed with a Kindle and an iPad, respectively.
Another officer showed up without any ammunition at all, stating that he never thought he had to draw it since he worked in the S-1 (personnel) shop. A third lieutenant was late to the formation, but when he finally arrived, he was wearing a helmet camera and had an airline-style inflatable pillow jammed into his canteen pouch instead of his PVS-7D night vision device.
After correcting the numerous issues, Shokley sent the motivated group to their assigned towers, with the additional instructions to “keep your eyes open and don’t do anything stupid. With all due respect.”
The first sign of trouble began when a soldier in the MWR tent assigned to Seever’s section was using Facebook to talk to his wife, and noticed that his Lieutenant was posting a significant amount of pictures online. Several images of the young officer were tagged in rapid succession, most featuring Seever in heroic looking poses while holding his weapon to his cheek.
‘Scanning the perimeter for hostiles’ was the description in one picture. Another showed him flexing his biceps, body armor and kit completely removed, with the comment ‘Defending Freedom Everyday!’ underneath it.
Minutes later another soldier who followed the lieutenant on Twitter reported an alarming series of tweets from his feed:
— Tower duty sukz, but some 1 has to protect this HOUSE! #BadassAFG
— Took apart my weapon to see how it works. Cant find bolt. LOL #HopeNoOneAttacks
— HaVe 2 crap. BRB #NotEnoughMREshitPaper
Staff Sergeant Shokley spent the remainder of the shift bouncing from tower to tower correcting the litany of issues, waking up one sleeping Lieutenant, and catching another with his combat pants around his ankles masturbating while watching an Afghan woman in a burka hanging laundry across the road behind a Qalat wall. After reminding the officers that the radio TAC-net was not to be used for gossip and fart noises for the seventh time, he’d had enough.
The soldier’s day-off was cancelled and the grumbling enlisted men returned to their towers, replacing the jubilant Lieutenants who were seen high fiving and taking pictures of each other in their combat gear.
When Shokley was asked if having the officers take a shift was worth it, the NCO snorted derisively.
“What shift? Those idiots were only up there for an hour.”
Check out After Action with Max & Paul, an awesome new podcast featuring the creators of Terminal Lance and Duffel Blog.