Surfing for Dolphins


If I could make a fist, I’d punch you.

sgt. loudmouth

When the unit I was in got a new batch of marines, one of these marines was a friendly, smiley, outgoing guy we shall call sgt. loudmouth. Now it would seem that this would be good, but it turns out that loudmouth is a topper. What ever the current discussion, loudmouth had a story to top it.

I’m sure if I ever really paid attention to him, I have all manner of ricockulous stories to share that he claimed were true. But between him not appearing to be competent, and him being a real loudmouth, I quickly stopped paying at attention to what he said.

One time some event was going on and a corporal, my self, and a couple other warm bodies were tasked to be the labor for it. A sergeant was tasked with setting up the event, and he was to communicate his needs to sgt. loudmouth who would command the cpl. and assorted warm bodies self to get the job done.

The working party gets there on time. Per the course, loudmouth was running late. I’m certain he had some suitably epic excuse why. Well the working party and the sergeant NCOIC, got to This sergeant appeared nervous. I got the impression he was a newly minted sergeant and didn’t really seem to be comfortable leading yet. I might be wrong, but that is the vibe I picked up.

As loudmouth was late, and the NCOIC nervously asked what he was like. Our corporal chimed in that he was a topper. That no matter the story, sgt. loudmouth had to top it. Our NCOIC didn’t believe us. So we challenged him. When loudmouth shows up, tell a ridiculous story and watch loudmouth top it.

Well, moments after that suggestion, loudmouth shows up. Loudly, he asks what’s going on. With out missing a beat, the cpl says something along the lines as that they are talking about combat stories, and he was talking about when his platoon sergeant got shot. The new sergeant, playing along, tentatively adds that he was talking about when he was deployed that his company gunny got shot.

Pssh. That is nothing. When I was deployed my First Sergeant was shot by a .50. . .

sgt. loudmouth.

Our sgtl. loudmouth immediately starts into a long winded story. He immediately revealed his character. And helpfully enough, the NCOIC immediately appeared to relax and had no problem running things.

For all the bad times, the miserable tasks, and stupid jobs, one thing always cheered me up while I was in. The pain and suffering of fellow marines is probably the only thing that kept me happy enough to not kill my self.

There was a training op we did. I could write a book on just how fucked up this op went. But most of it would just come across as me being whiny, so I won’t.

But to give you an idea, our unit was split and one part would act as defenders while the other would attack. We were told that the attackers would land Zodiac boats on the beach, advance up a mild hill with tall grass for concealment, then assault through the defenders position.

Our Zodiac boats came to a cliff face. Upon scaling the cliff, we had about a 60 degree incline with thick brush taller than I am. Downed trees rest horizontally, at about waist and chest level that had to be climbed over to navigate. The defenders were able to fire blanks, downwards at us the entire time. Had they had live ammo we would have all died tired and miserable.

Finally, it was our turn to defend. I had a M249 SAW and a few hundred blanks. Maybe 600, I’m don’t recall. I fired all my blanks, decided there was nothing else for me to do, and since the attackers were suppose to win, I sat down against a wall, took off my cover, and was notionally dead.

After a while, the attackers finally managed to get to my position. With a belt of blanks draped over his neck like a movie action hero, sgt. loudmouth comes over to me and asked to take my SAW. Before I can answer, he reached over and grabed the barrel.

Mind you, you are NEVER suppose to grab the barrel of an automatic weapon. Not that we don’t occasionally, but you are never suppose to grab one for the following reason.

Immediately, there is the sound of burning flesh, that sound of bacon sizzling on the griddle.

Let me remind you that I had just recently fired several hundred blanks at the cyclic rate. I was holding my SAW vertically, by the receiver and stock as the barrel was still smoking.

He removed his hand from the barrel. Not all of his hand, a fair bit of it was left on the barrel.

I looked at the fleshed burned into my SAW barrel and my first though was how very hard it would be to clean that off. It took some time with a wire brush that night at the Armory trying to removing sgt. loudmouth’s fingerprints off that barrel. You could see a discoloration matching his hand for some months on that gun.

I don’t remember how sgt. loudmouth reacted to this injury, as I was too busy howling with laughter.

He was upset, I think more at me than at his burned hand.

If I could make a fist, I’d punch you.

sgt. loudmouth

I looked at his hands outstretched in front of him. One was burned. The other had a splint on a finger that he injured playing football earlier that week.


My response, as I continued to laugh like a hyena.

For a long time afterwards, when I saw sgt. loudmouth, I would acknowledge him with, “Sssssssss”. He would get mad, and once his hands healed up, he would make a fist in response.


  1. Hahaha. Love it. Sssssss.
    Used to work with a guy like that. We all called him “the one upper”. Still remember the time when he finally didn’t one up us.


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