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NSA Director Announces Purchase Of All Four Major Cell Phone Companies

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This week Duffel Blog sat down with Gen. Keith Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency, for an exclusive interview about Edward Snowden’s defection and the Agency’s relationship with Congress. The following are some of the highlights of that interview.

DB: Gen. Alexander thanks for taking time for this interview today. I know you’re very busy so let me get started. I can imagine it’s been a very difficult few months. What are you feeling right now? Angry? Vengeful?

Gen. Alexander: You know not really. A lot of people are surprised when I say I’m more frustrated and confused rather than angry.

DB: Confused? Over what?

DIRNSA: The first thing I want you to know is that everyone who works at NSA, be they military, civilians or contractors, are all US citizens just like you and I. Well, except for the Brits, the Canadians, the Aussies and the New Zealanders, but don’t mind them. We wouldn’t want NSA gathering intelligence on us any more than you would.

I know people are angry when they hear we’re “collecting metadata” on people but I look around at our society and I just say, “Jesus Christ! Come on people!” We live in a country where it has become the norm to share the shape, consistency and odor associated with you last bowel movement on multiple social networks. You really shouldn’t bitch that I’m invading your privacy by checking to see if you calling terrorist on your cell phone. Should you?

DB: Well, that is a good point if maybe a little overly graphically made.

DIRNSA: Here’s another one. I have this friend on Facebook who just about every freakin’ day posts an article to my wall about how NSA is invading America’s privacy and using our advanced technology to track US citizens using their cell phones. I don’t have to use advanced technology to track Dave because this asshat updates his GPS coordinates from his iPhone every 15 minutes. Sometimes I log on and all I have is, “Dave is at the Burger Barn.” “Dave is at the dry cleaners.” “Dave is at the drug store.” You know what? Screw you Dave.

DB: Wait, you have a Facebook account? You have friends on Facebook?

DIRNSA: Yeah, Dave sent me a friend request a few years back and I remember him as a pretty cool guy in high school. Now he’s just a dick.

DB: Sir, we seem to have gotten a little off track. Let’s get back to Snowden. How is NSA responding to this monumental intelligence leak?

DIRNSA: That’s a good question and one the American people should be asking. When we first learned Edward Snowden had disappeared and was likely in the People’s Republic of China we began an intensive review of his background, his work assignments and professional behaviors and his lifestyle to determine what we missed that would have indicated this was going to happen and to identify key indicators to help us prevent this type of thing from happening in the future.

DB: Can you tell us what you discovered?

DIRNSA: Absolutely, after a great deal of research we’ve determined the primary issue is that he’s a ginger.

DB: Excuse me? A ginger?

DIRNSA: Absolutely, my grandmother always told me that people with red hair are the children of the devil and they get a freckle for every soul they steal. It looks like Memaw Jenkins was right.

DB: So what actions are you taking in response?

DIRNSA: I have asked the Deputy Director to begin a review of all security files of every Agency affiliate who meets similar criteria. Let me stress, we’re not just talking gingers. We’re going to be investigating everyone from the strawberry blonds all the way to the fiery red heads. I’ve also directed that anyone with more than 15 visible freckles should be polygraphed immediately in case they have dyed their hair or tried some other subterfuges.

DB: Have you had any complaints about your new program?

DIRNSA: I got a late night call claiming to be from the Hibernian Society of Baltimore saying I was discriminating against Irish-Americans. They sounded drunk so they probably were Irish but I want to stress this is not racial profiling. NSA is not prejudiced based on race or ethnic background. If a person of Asian or African ancestry comes in here with red hair, they’re going to get treated the same as the Paddies.

DB: But sir, I’ve seen pictures of you as a young officer where your hair was brown but it had definite red tinges in it.

DIRNSA: I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about but if you bring it back up I’ll make damn sure you don’t complete another cell phone call until you’re 60! Any questions?

DB: Umm, no sir. Let’s move on to the fallout from the Snowden defection. You’ve been hauled before Congress on several occasions. You have spoken to the media more than once. The American people have expressed deep concerns about a court-sanctioned relationship between NSA and several cell phone providers. How is this going to effect NSA intelligence collection mission long-term?

DIRNSA: First let me say this. I have nothing but respect for our Congressional leadership. It is a basic principle of our nation, enshrined in the Constitution, upheld in the Courts and proven by history to be the greatest and most robust bulwark against tyranny in the long narrative of mankind. Sure they will bang any cocktail waitress in the District of Columbia and some of them like to send snapshots of their man parts to unsuspecting women. God only knows they haven’t passed a serious law in around eight years, and if they could pass a budget I wouldn’t have to furlough a big chunk of my workforce but they are there for a reason and we have to respect that.[pullquote position=”right”]That is not what I said. I said we’re buying four cell phone companies: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.[/pullquote]

And in the Executive Branch it could be very easily said that these people are nothing but political hacks that got their jobs through campaign contributions, favors and cronyism but these are our leaders. I have to respect their authority and their responsibilities. And let me makes this perfectly clear, when I say, “I have to respect their authority,” I’m saying I am legally obligated to. It’s the law. It’s not like I have any choice in the matter.

DB: So what are you telling Congress about the future of NSA?

DIRNSA: Great question. As you know we’ve been taking a lot of flak in the press for our court approved relationships with several cell phone service providers. As I have said on many occasions we have court orders approving the data mining. We briefed Congress on the program many times and we brief the President on our findings regularly. We’ve also briefed Congress regularly on what we’ve discovered from the data we’ve retrieved and the terrorist plots we’ve uncovered. So we’ve done our best to do our due diligence in order to ensure the American people we’re staying within the limits of the law but still, that hasn’t made people happy. So we’ve decided if they’re going to hate us anyway, we might as well do something big. So I can announce today that we have Congressional authorization to buy the four biggest U.S. cell phone companies.

DB: Excuse me; did you say NSA was going to buy a cell phone company?

DIRNSA: That is not what I said. I said we’re buying four cell phone companies: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.

DB: Isn’t that kind of a bold move?

DIRNSA: Not really. We had this idea a few years ago when through a front company we bought MySpace. That was a dead end. Who knew there wasn’t any information of any sort on MySpace anymore? Then we thought about Facebook. It was going public, we could suck up most of the stock and make sure nobody knew it but like I said earlier, any jackass with a computer can log on there any find out anything he wants about anyone with an account. We looked at Google but it turns out they’ve already been picked up by the Chinese or Satan, assuming there’s a difference.

Then this whole Snowden thing happened and we were out of the closet so to speak. We don’t have to skulk around any more. So we’re picking up the four largest cell phone providers overtly. It will cost a little more up front but those guys make huge bank, I’m telling ya’ and it will save us a ton of money on lawyer’s fees.

DB: So let me clarify my earlier question. When I said this was a “bold move” what I should have said was, “Isn’t this patently illegal.” Will the American people stand for this?

DIRNSA: Illegal, as in against the law? Since Congress writes the law, they decided to write this into it. And will the American people stand for it? No they won’t. I’m sure everyone will turn off their cell phones and do without… NOT! We’re a country welded to our phones. Listen, people are so stupid about their phones we have to spend millions of dollars to tell them not to text and drive. Do we tell them they shouldn’t read a novel and drive? No, or wear a blindfold and drive? No we don’t because people know that would be stupid but we have to tell them not to text and drive. Why? Because cell phones are like electronic crystal meth. Once someone gets a phone they have to have one all the time. And what are they going to do if the decide to leave Sprint or AT&T? Go to Cricket or Tracfone? No, I don’t think so.

And yes, I know what you’ll say next. We’re the government and the government screws up everything it touches but the amount you’re paying for that smartphone in your pocket makes a $300 ashtray on a submarine seem like good fiscal planning.

DB: And it’s not like you would make customer service any worse.

DIRNSA: Exactly.

DB: Gen. Alexander, thank you for your time. It has been very informative.

DIRNSA: It’s not a problem. My Public Affairs Office will be available if you have any follow-ups. Oh, call your mother. You blew off those two voicemails last night. I didn’t want to say anything but your dad’s drinking again and she needs someone to talk to. Have a good afternoon.

Sandy is a guy who enlisted in Army Intelligence when he realized his Liberal Arts Degree wasn’t going to get him a good job. When he got out of the Army he was still saddled with the same degree so he just went to work for the Department of Defense.

Marine Corps

Opinion: I am very tired

By Gen. Robert Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps

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Good Morning, Marines.

As the 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps, it is my distinct privilege to lead and serve you in this unique and essential war-fighting organization. Despite the hardship of this position and the responsibility it entails, working alongside our dedicated Marines and Sailors has been one of my life’s greatest joys.

However, one thing has weighed heavily on my mind these past few years, a confession that needs to be made before God and man, alike. Fellow Marines, I, Gen. Robert Neller, am very tired.

I’m just exhausted. I’ve been doing this shit since 1975, and I’ve got to tell you, man, I’m pooped. I legitimately can’t remember the last time I slept. I think I took a nap in the Pentagon parking lot last week before a meeting with Dunford, but I’m really not sure.

I mean, what kind of shitty-ass job is this when I can’t let my head hit the fucking pillow without some cracked-out aide telling me a 28-year-old staff sergeant in Miramar texted a picture of his ding-dong to a lance corporal and now its on Reddit. What-the-literal-fuck, Marines?

Or how about this, the other night, I was having dinner with my wife — who, by the way, has seen me about four times in the past eight weeks — when I get a call from Gen. Berger, who’s like, hey Commandant, guess what, a 7-ton in Okinawa just crashed into a light pole, and now you have to speak to the fucking Japanese Prime Minister. Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me.

Listen up idiots. I get it. This isn’t a zero-defect organization. Mistakes happen. I’m fucking tracking.

But you assholes — and I’m speaking to everyone subordinate to me, which is literally all of you — need to get your heads out of your buttholes, for… I don’t know… the next three hours.

Just let me rack out under my desk. I mean this. I will call a Marine Corps-wide safety stand down if it means I can take a nap.

Bottom line, Marines: It’s not easy at the top.

So next time you think about drinking and driving or smoking near a fuel pump or breaking into the amnesty box, please reconsider. Remember, protect what you’ve earned and let me sleep. If you have any questions, I’m in the fucking Global.

Gen. Robert Neller is the 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps. Prior to his current assignment, he served as the Commander, Marine Forces Command from July 2014 to September 2015 and Commander, Marine Forces Central Command from September 2012 to June 2014. He hasn’t had a full eight hours of sleep since around 1997.

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Air Force drone pilot ejects

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NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE — An Air Force drone pilot accidentally ejected from his Nevada office while flying an MQ-9 Reaper over southwestern Yemen, sources confirmed today.

“This morning, at 0900 hours, we lost 1st. Lt. Denton Link,” said Capt. Maria Lopez, an Air Force spokeswoman. “After he ejected through the ceiling of the Ground Control Station during an operation supporting the Global War on Terror. An investigation is underway to determine the cause of this terrible accident.”

With the call-sign “La-Z-Boy,” Link was well-liked in the Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) community, and his death has set the elite group of aviators on edge.

“Well, people kept saying this might happen after we started installing those ejection seats around the office,” said squadron commander Col. Mike Lee. “Drone pilots don’t really need them, but it was the end of the fiscal year and the Air Force had a surplus.”

“We probably made a mistake there,” he added.

Numerous bystanders witnessed the incident, with the aftermath drawing crowds of onlookers from across the base.

“We’re just sitting in the truck in front of that building when all of the sudden we hear this loud-ass noise and see this scrawny, pasty looking kid flying through the air,” Mike Hatfield, of facility maintenance, told reporters. “Ceiling tiles and debris were trailing behind him. The dude made it all the way to the base swimming pool. It’s a real tragedy.”

Following this accident, the Air Force has prohibited ejecting indoors until its investigation is complete.

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Army

Former PT stud now lives in barn

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CLARKSBURG, W. Va. — A retired 82nd Airborne soldier who was once known for having the fastest two-mile run time in his battalion currently lives in a barn, horses confirmed today.

Thomas Chatterton, 32, of Clarksburg, entered basic training at Fort Benning in 2004, where instructors quickly noticed his speed and endurance on the track, said one horse who lives in the barn with Chatterton.

“We do three things around here. We run fast, eat oats, and we piss all over the floor. Anyone who wants to be a part of that, well, we’re happy to have you! Damn happy! We certainly don’t discriminate based on race, gender, orientation, or ability to take shits so big that a team of professionals has to come clean them up with snow shovels,” he said.

Chatterton got serious about running in middle school and remained dedicated in high school, according to his mother.

“Tommy was always a fast kid,” said Wendy Chatterton. “His 1600-meter time is still the state record for boys under 14. He went through the usual phases high school boys go through, you know. He grew his hair out into an enormous tail he could flap at flies, he slept standing up.”

She added: “I have to admit, though, we were somewhat surprised when he began soiling his pants wherever he was standing.”

Horses claim that Chatterton’s dedication has inspired them to be better competitors on the track.

“Tom’s an athlete through and through. Incredible focus,” said one horse who has raced with Chatterton. “Back at the barn, he’s the nicest guy you’ve ever met. But, the moment that gun goes off and all the other horses blow immediately past him, he’s all business.”

At 32 years old, Chatterton is a bit of an anomaly on the track, according to Crackling Thunder, a gray-spotted horse. Especially, he said, after a horrific trampling accident that occurred last year.

“The average life-span of a horse is about 25-30 years, so Tom’s really got guts to be mixing it up with these younger studs,” Thunder told reporters. “We take injuries pretty seriously here. They can mean life or death. After he got trampled that last time, I knew he was having some second thoughts.”

Video of the incident, which happened at the Hollywood Casino’s Charles Town Race Track near Charles Town, West Virginia, gained popularity after airing on America’s Funniest Home Videos, said one horse who was there.

“Oh, it was awful,” he said. “Here’s a competitor who only draws breath out of the love of the sport, and these jackals are putting slide whistle and boing-boing sound effects on the video of him getting trampled by 16 race horses charging at full speed? It makes me sick.”

Horses say that Chatterton wasn’t fazed by the incident, though, and his recovery has gone well.

Although he declined to speak to Duffel Blog reporters for this article, he did release a statement through his trainer, telling fans that any paper mail they send him is usually eaten or used as bedding by other horses.

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Coast Guard

Coast Guard suspends hurricane relief operations for racial sensitivity training after circle gesture airs on national TV

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COAST GUARD STATION NEAR YOU THAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW EVEN EXISTED — The Coast Guard has suspended Hurricane Florence relief operations in order to address a service-wide racism problem that nobody even knew about until one of its own played the “circle game” on national television yesterday, sources confirmed today.

During a briefing about the response to Hurricane Florence, an unnamed Coast Guardsman, seen in the background, appeared to scratch his forehead and then make a circle with his thumb and forefinger as another service member briefed reporters.

The gesture was immediately noticed by the nation’s best thinkers, who are all on Twitter, Vice and Facebook. After scores, or maybe five, intellectuals reported the offensive act, the Coast Guard sailed into — or actually, out of — action.

“We are aware of the offensive video on twitter – the Coast Guard has identified the member and removed him from the response,” the service tweeted. “His actions do not reflect those of the United States Coast Guard.”

Operations then ceased as hundreds of Coast Guardsmen departed the Eastern Seaboard to assemble in front of giant screens placed well ashore, on which PowerPoint briefings projected images of reported racists making the circle gesture, such as Alabama police officers, Oprah Winfrey, Colin Kaepernick, and — briefly — Presidents Trump, Obama and Clinton.

Speaking at a hastily-called press conference far away from Florence’s impact, Vice Commandant Charles W. Ray told reporters, “We used to be tremendously busy with the response to Florence, so we don’t have time for these games, whether they are intended as harmless fun or are actually symptomatic of a long-standing, service-wide Aryan skinhead alt-right hate problem we just learned about like, nineteen hours ago.”

Ray added: “But now that the nation knows that we’re really a bunch of heehawing, Sieg-Heiling fascists just looking for the chance to ignore a minority’s distress call, we have ceased all operations worldwide in order to conduct sensitivity training about the racist ‘circle game.’” 

But while speaking, Ray scratched his ear, which according to the Internet is a white power gesture that symbolizes crackers not wanting to hear minorities speak truth to power.

He was immediately removed from the podium by his own security detail and replaced by Commandant Karl Schultz, who was subsequently removed after an American Sign Language interpreter to his left made the letter “f” with his hand while Schultz spoke. That letter is the same “A-OK” symbol used by white supremacists, Coast Guardsmen and deaf Americans, according to several Redditors contacted by Duffel Blog.

Reaction to the Coast Guard’s response was swift among the nation’s five military forces.

“Overblown,” declared Air Force Master Sgt. Jermaine Grier, two-time winner of the Pacific Air Forces’ annual circle game competition. “First of all, it was above the waist. That’s a foul and the captain — or was it a petty officer? I can’t tell their ranks — should have turned right around on camera and punched that guy’s arm off.”

At the Pentagon, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russ Smith noted that while everyone needs to combat racism, the A-OK sign was disguised as a scratch, which violates rules.

“It can’t be set up like that,” he said, adding, “speaking for America’s real sailors, we work hard to maintain high standards of integrity and honor.” Smith then turned to an aide and requested the statistics on how many Pollywogs kissed the Royal Baby in the last fiscal quarter.

After the video of the gesture went viral, sales of Margaret Atwood’s 1966 poetry book, “The Circle Game,” increased dramatically in Coast Guard exchanges nationwide. This caused the Coast Guard’s Office of Public Affairs to tweet, “The book, ‘The Circle Game,’ is not an instruction manual. Furthermore, Joni Mitchell’s 1970 song of the same name is not to be played during any Coast Guard formation.”

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Army

Wow! This man was born on 9/11 and gets to fight in the same war it inspired

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Not every soldier is as lucky as Pvt. Jesse Butler, who just signed his enlistment papers on his 17th birthday and will get the opportunity to fight in the same war that the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks inspired.

Although Butler came into the world on a terrible day in U.S. history, he’s thanking his lucky stars today that he has the privilege of avenging that attack just like thousands of others that came before and after him.

“I’m really thankful for people like Jesse who are stepping up to serve this country at a time of war,” said Sgt. 1st Class Elon Rodriguez, his recruiter. “And in his specific case, the war is the same one he’s known his whole life.”

Butler will soon ship off to Army basic training where he’ll get physically fit and learn all kinds of skills that will serve him well in Afghanistan, which the U.S. has been fighting in since before people knew what an Apple iPod was.

(Although the “classic” Apple iPod was discontinued in 2014, the obsolete War in Afghanistan continued its production run to the present day).

Sources say it’s possible that Butler may be sent to Kandahar, where his father once served, or to Bagram, where his older brother is currently deployed.

Butler has told reporters he can’t wait to pass on his knowledge of the country and how to fight the Taliban to his own sons.

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The best Girl Scout Cookie pairings for every deployment moment

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Each year, the Girl Scouts of America donates thousands of boxes of their delicious signature Girl Scout cookies to thousands of America’s men and women in uniform deployed overseas.

Whether you’re waiting for the Girl Scout cookie load-in before your ship leaves port or hoping for a box of Tagalongs to show up at your FOB, are you getting the most out of your seasonally available cookies? Try our handy guide for pairing Girl Scout cookies with the right moment in your deployment.

Do-si-dos: These delightful little peanut butter sandwiches remind you of home, the place you’re proud to defend!

Trios: What the hell are these? These are the worst cookies you’ve ever seen. You never got cookies like this at home.  Leave it to the military to ruin everything. Kind of like your leadership.

Samoas: These little chunky rings are loaded up with bits of goodies, kind of like your wife, Savannah, who’s really putting on some weight since you left.

Savannah Smiles: These lemon cookies are as sour as your feelings when you find out that Savannah has been getting railed by your best friend, but it’s good that someone’s smiling! That powdered sugar is about as hard to clean up as the nasty custody battle you’re about to start out of spite.

Tagalongs: These peanut butter and chocolate classics will make you wish that something, anything will break of the monotony of deployment.

Thin Mints: Your first kill. You’re a frosty bitch now, aren’t you? The cool mint flavor will match your soul, now that you can feel what it’s like to see a life slip away before you and know that you caused it. These come packaged in sleeves, but you’ll be surprised how easy 24 cookies will go down, just like you never realized how easily, in the moment of truth, you would kill to further a political goal you can’t even understand, let alone justify.

Trefoils: You never sleep these days, and you’re always on edge. You’ll redeploy and end your time in the military. You’ll even go to college; find a new wife. Just like these cookies that haven’t changed their recipe since 1917, you’ll find a way to make each day look like the last, even though you’re a shadow of the man you thought you once were.

You finally reach out to Savannah, and realize that you left her long before she left you, the way that you had to chase what? Glory? An outdated version of manhood? Just like it’s hard to believe that a cookie made with ingredients so simple and wholesome is also so fattening, it’s hard to reconcile with an organization that talks about duty, and purity, and integrity, but then pays you to spend the best years of your youth mired mud, sand and blood.

Thanks for the generous donations, Girl Scouts. We love our cookies, and we love our troops!

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Army

Dishonor Flight brings veterans back to the bar tabs they never settled

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WASHINGTON — An innovative new veteran’s non-profit is using private donations and support from several national airlines to reunite veterans with the shady shit they did in the past in their final days, sources confirmed today.

The program, called Dishonor Flight, has now helped more than 200 World War II veterans get back to the bar tabs they walked out on and women they lied to in order to sleep with.

“It was so inspirational,” said Kaycee Spisak, a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines who volunteered during a Dishonor Flight coming in from Duluth, Iowa. “These brave veterans, mostly in wheelchairs, were greeted by literally dozens of bartenders, bookies, pimps and landlords. That kind of passion is really inspiring.”

Dishonor Flight was off to a shaky start after several older veteran service organizations like the U.S.O. and Honor Flight refused to support the cause.

“I’m glad I did it,” said Battle of the Bulge Veteran Edwin Puller. “I heard about that Honor Flight, but it’s not worth missing 60 Minutes to see a duck pond in D.C. a bunch of no-good politicians built. But when Dishonor Flight called and reminded me I never settled up with my landlord at Camp Lewis when I left in ‘42, I got a good chuckle out of that. Good luck outliving me, chumps.”

Puller was shocked and surprised when not only his landlord, but a card shark and phony life insurance salesman were there to greet him, too.

“I wanted my grandchildren to see this. Grandpa went for one wild ride in ’42. After all the issued benzos and PX beer I’d roll into town and get deep into USO bitches. I’m surprised these are the only people I owe money. They must not know about the jazz clubs I snuck into.”

The Dishonor Flight ended with the old veterans and retired creditors kicking back some shots, reliving old times, and pointing out the errors in Band of Brothers.

Dishonor Flight plans to expand in the near future to set up flights to help Vietnam vets meet their middle-aged kids in Saigon and smoke a joint together, according to officials.

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Army ‘Undercover Boss’ filming delayed after Major suffers hazing-induced heart attack

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VICENZA, Italy — It was a simple concept. Invite the hit CBS reality show “Undercover Boss” to film a special Army-edition episode featuring 30 days of a field-grade officer going incognito as a junior first-term soldier.

But the episode — which will air next year during Season 9 of the series — went horribly wrong, a CBS spokesman confirmed today.

According to sources, the episode centers on Maj. Brandon Greenglass, with the U.S. Army Public Affairs Center, who assumes the persona of “Spc. Mark Fishman,” a new soldier with the Italy-based 173rd Airborne Brigade. As soon as “Fishman” arrives at his unit, several corporals immediately begin screaming at him to get off the grass. And within a matter of minutes, a staff sergeant has Fishman in the front leaning rest outside the company headquarters building, where he stays for the rest of the morning.

Later in the afternoon, Fishman is ordered to do lunges around the battalion footprint, while mimicking gills with his hands on his cheeks and chanting “Splish splish, I’m a fish,” as two team leaders follow him, pouring water from canteens onto his head, yelling, “Swim, fish! Swim!”

“I’m told they may have been trying to give him a period of instruction on proper camouflage while underwater,” an Army spokesman said.

After being given five minutes to change into a dry uniform, which took Fishman 20 minutes (an offense which cost him fifteen minutes of corrective exercises), he was then instructed to go “touch the chapel gate” on the small post of Caserma Ederle, which meant that he was to run to the gate and back.

It was on the return trip, in the July heat and humidity, that Fishman — really a 35-year-old staff officer whose last Army physical fitness score of 225 had been logged over three years ago — collapsed on the sidewalk in view of dozens of passing motorists and PX patrons.

The team leaders who had been trailing him with canteens assumed he was suffering from a minor heat injury and proceeded to render treatment, which bystanders say consisted of a token effort to move him to shade and loosen his uniform top while ridiculing the state of his physical fitness, impugning his value as a human being, and suggesting that he should commit suicide, sources said.

He was rushed to San Bortolo hospital in Vicenza, where doctors determined that he had suffered a mild heart attack.

Several soldiers who witnessed the event noted that Fishman’s “welcome” was more or less on par with how new soldiers were usually greeted.

“That’s how it was for me when I got here. I basically got smoked nonstop the entire first month I was in the company,” said Cpl. Ricardo Villanueva, one of the team leaders tasked with welcoming Fishman. “My squad leader said we got a new nerd college E-4 coming in, go scuff him up, so we did. I mean, everyone gets it when they’re the new guy so we can see what they’re made of. Guess he just got a weak little baby heart.”

“Well, he’s a little older than most new guys,” said Pfc. Lawrence Barksdale, one of Fishman’s platoon mates, “But we get all kinds of guys who come in later in life. One time we had a college E-4 who legitimately had a master’s degree from MIT. Comes into the Army as a specialist. Who does that?”

As of press time, production was wrapped on the episode, which, apart from the initial incident, mostly showed “Fishman” performing menial area-beautification and command-maintenance tasks, completing 20 hours of annual online training, attending a mandatory day-long sexual-harassment and assault brief, and filling out two command climate surveys — all while being relentlessly mocked by NCO’s and other lower enlisted soldiers over the “dead-man” physical profile he had been given after his release from the hospital.

In an unexpected twist, the episode’s climax features Fishman’s entire company leadership down to the squad level being relieved for cause. Show producers say the episode will be the season premiere.

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