FORT IRWIN, Calif. — Pfc. Amanda Richards surprised peers and superiors alike when she emerged from six weeks “in the box” at the National Training Center with an eerie hollowness in her eyes and a necklace of Donovian ears, sources confirmed today.
“Here at the National Training Center, we provide America’s soldiers with the highest quality, most realistic training available,” said Brig. Gen. Geoffrey Broadway, NTC Commander. “As they use the newest technologies to face the intense challenges of the profession of arms, they emerge as better fighters, better teams, and better prepared for complex…what the fuck? She did what? God almighty. How did she even do that? God help us all.”
National Training Center Rotations are designed to place soldiers in austere environment where they can develop new techniques, tactics, and procedures, while honing strengths and identifying weaknesses. Soldiers assigned to play opposing forces, or OPFOR, use tactics of notional countries such as Atropia or Donovia.
In the case of Pfc. Richards, who previously expressed little interest in basic soldier skills, the NTC experiment revealed she had always been three weeks of intensity away from being an elite killing machine, and six weeks of intensity away from being a war criminal, according to defense officials.
“We encourage the most realistic scenarios possible at the National Training Center,” Broadway added. “But not like that. Fuck me. Those men had families. The more you sweat in peace the less you bleed in war, but, for the love of God, we don’t mean real blood.”
Richards, a dental hygienist assigned to Charlie Company, 3834th Combat Hospital, was nervous about “time in the box,” but came to thrive in the intense environment.
“On day one at the RUBA, Amanda couldn’t shut up about not having her cell phone,” said Spc. Kelsey Appleton, Richards’ former roommate. “She’d been texting a guy who had a car and we were all pretty upset about the timing. But by day six, she was really getting into it, yelling at us when we went to the wag bag without our MILES gear on. By week two, she’d pulled all the aces out of a deck of cards ‘for her kills,’ By week four she walked out of the battalion fighting position shirtless with nothing but a DAGR and a dagger, challenging anyone to quench her thirst for blood and vengeance.”
Richards, after a thorough after-action report, will return to her duties as the records clerk at the Raymond Bliss Dental clinic until such time as an investigating board can determine if she is, as she states, the surviving embodiment of Tiger Force.
“I blame myself. When I put that bumper sticker on my Ram that said, ‘kill ‘em all, let God sort ‘em out,’ a couple of the PC types asked me if I was setting a good example for my soldiers,” said Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Rainier, Richards’ platoon sergeant.
“I said, ‘we’re all POGs, I don’t think anyone is taking this seriously. But then…sweet Jesus. Amanda just had to exact vengeance after the first harassing small arms fire. Men. Women. Some of those men weren’t even Donovian. I think they were OCs. Sometimes, as I drift off to sleep, I still hear them choking on their own blood as they futilely yell ‘ENDEX.’”