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“Surfing for Dolphins”

More quips from my time in the fuck-fuck circus.



I hate the fucking cold.


Being from the greatest state in our union, Florida, I have grown accustom to our pleasant and perfect weather.

I should probably put this in perspective. Once as a kid, my family was visiting a relatives home for Christmas and they had their heater set to 70°F. This was so miserably cold that I felt like I was in pain. Now later in my life I would work at much colder temperatures, and learn to accept that 70°F was not as terrible as I initially thought. But still, that is miserably cold.

I HATE the fucking cold.


It snowed on my while I was in Iraq. Sorta, but it did. I was in the back of a high back Humvee and we were driving in a convoy. I don’t remember if we were heading to Fallujah or away from it, but we were driving along and I was in the middle vic with the job to watch the rear vehicles and report on the radio if they break down or get lost (a common occurrence). Well it fucking snowed on me. It was just warm enough that the snow did not make it to the ground, but since I was sitting high up in the high back the minuscule amount of snow did land on me.

I HATE the fucking COLD.


I’ve read that there is some generic marker for a mutation that makes some people more resistant to the cold than others. If this is true, I don’t have it.

One winter when I was working as OPFOR for a unit in training, another gyrene and I were send to be an LP/OP, where we would be the first group the enemy would encounter and we would die in place. We would just go to the designated grid coordinates, wait until the enemy showed up. Fire some blanks and then play dead. We get there, and it is so damned cold that I am in pain. What ever part of my was touching the ground was losing so much heat that I was worried about injury from the extreme cold. I had to stand on one leg for as long as I could stand it, because of this immense cold causing pain in which ever foot was touching the ground. When the pain became unbearable, I would switch to the other foot, and repeat this process. This let which ever food was off the ground to warm up a bit before I had to put it down again. I did this for hours until the OPFOR finally showed up, late as usual.

The other guy just laid down on the ground and went to sleep.

I HATE the FUCKING COLD.


One time I was tasked along with a few others to help test a REDACTED that would go on our MOPP suits. So, I had to wear this REDACTED on a MOPP suit while I performed a normal field op. It was winter, and snow was on the ground, and I had to wear MOPP tops and bottoms. They kept me warm, and they are waterproof. I could lay down on the snow and not get wet. Somehow they were just right so I could move, run, and be active during this exercise and not overheat.

That time actually wasn’t so bad, kinda fun.


A fireteam I was a part of for a field op was tasked for ambushing OPFOR movement along a road. Snow was on the ground, and it was stupid fucking cold. Our squadleader, who would later go to the brig, actually cared about his guys. So he had us put down a poncho, then a poncho liner. We all laid down side by side, weapons towards the road, and pulled a second poncho liner over us. Spooning to stay warm, we would alternative who was in the middle and who was in the outside.

We had a guy in our team who nearly became a cold casualty during this FX, so at least I knew he was as miserable or more than me.

When our OPFOR finally showed up, late as usual, I went to engage them with my M249 loaded with blanks.
I couldn’t bend my fingers. None of them.
I used my right frozen claw like hand to prop up the SAW and aim at the enemy. Then I took my left hand, and just jammed my fingers into the trigger guard and pulled my left hand towards me to actuate the trigger. It felt like my fingers were going to snap off or shatter.

We engaged our enemy, got up, snatched up the ponchos and liners, and ran the fuck away. Ahem, broke contact.

I HATE THE FUCKING COLD!


Bonus

My squad plus attachments got sent to Bridgeport for cold weather training. Somehow I got out of this. I think I might have been on a punishment detail when they were tasking people for this, so that might have been why I wasn’t sent. If so, I am ever so grateful for that punishment detail.

My squad comes back from Bridgeport all motivated and telling horror stories about the cold. How they would get their asses chewed for leaving the heaters on all night. They were told that could cause them to die from CO poisonings. Their response, “I don’t care, I’ll die warm.” So very many stories from them.

They would proudly end their stories to me with, “… and the instructors there said we were the WORST Marines they ever saw. And we would just imagine what they would have said if YOU were there.”

Fuck you bitches, I was somewhere warm.


Bonus 2

In our workup to go to Iraq, one of the field ops we were told to only pack the intermediate weather sleeping bag. Now the Modular Sleep System (MSS) that our military used is a very good sleeping bag system. You have an bivy sack to stay dry, an intermediate weather bag, and a cold weather bag. They combine, all 3 for more extreme weather, or can be used individually. It is a good system, but there are plenty of better, more compact, and lighter options since the MSS was initially fielded.

During our gear inspection prior to the FX, we had to show the intermediate weather bag. We all did. After the inspection I put it away in my room and packed the cold weather bag. If I was going to bring one bag, I always bought the cold weather bag. I could sleep on top of it when it was warm. I could leave it unzipped if it was cool.

That night, it was horribly cold. Everyone was miserable and didn’t get much sleep. Everyone except for two people, the platoon sergeant and my self, who each packed the cold weather bag.

Fuck you bitches, I slept warm and well.


I’ll skip the story about the night patrol I was on where they forced us not to wear warming layers because we would be so active. Then, instead, they had us lay prone on a road for most of the night. I got so dehydrated because all the water I was carrying froze and I couldn’t warm any of it up to drink.

Well, I suppose, I didn’t skip that story, that was pretty much all of it.


~FIN~

7 thoughts on ““Surfing for Dolphins””

  1. Hunkered down in a sleeping bag for 30 hours one time in Korea. It was cold but not bad, cold enough to snow the whole time but not bad. You’d think I would have had to piss once in thirty hours but we were out of water… The assholes we had linked up with the day before were supposed to bring the resupply but said they thought we had water for them. The second morning it warmed up and the sun came out so we caught the melt off the pancho hooch in mre bags to drink. The snow all melted so we could walk out in the mud, which was nice. The morning I derosed out of the ROK it was 7 and blowing snow. Don’t really miss that place much.

    Reply
    • I’m fairly sure that had I been in the Frozen Chosen, I would have just opted out and died.
      After I got out I had the chance to talk to a Korean War Vet. He said he doesn’t know how we (as in my group) could fight a war having to wear so much gear, armor, and carrying all that heavy stuff. I told him I can’t imagine fighting a war with out having it.

      Reply
  2. I feel the same way about heat. A bit too much insulation. Much past 80 and I start whining. It has to get below 20 before I start looking for a warmer place.

    Reply
  3. “I got so dehydrated because all the water I was carrying froze and I couldn’t warm any of it up to drink.“

    That happened to me once on a night hike in wintertime (long story; no Marines involved). My friend, who had more winter hiking experience than me told me the trick is to put your water bottles upside down so the mouth freezes last. NOW you tell me.

    Reply
  4. I like the cold. My wife likes the cold even more.

    Cold keeps the riff-raff out of Wyoming. They’re here in 90 to 100F summer temps, and they think “Oh, this place is lovely! And the heat is such dry heat!”

    First comes winter – you know, snow, temps below freezing, etc. Then comes Winter – when it gets down to -20F at night, when it snows, and the wind blows three inches of snow into drifts that could be several feet deep. When you’re experienced at moving around in sub-zero weather, you can tell when it’s 5 above, 5 below or 20 below by the sound the snow makes under foot.

    Suddenly, all these outlanders who were burbling “What a beautiful place!” only eight months ago are calling real estate agents, putting houses back on the market, etc.

    Reply
  5. In northern New England it can get cold but not as cold as Korea/Wyoming ect.As long as dressed for it and moving about working on something tis OK,being in one spot not moving for hours,eh,not a happy spot at all.

    Reply

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