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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~

“Surfing for Dolphins”

I’d been talking to an Army guy about some of my USMC experiences and it got me remembering a whole lotta stuff when things get quiet. I figure I am going to start writing some of these down and sharing them.


SEMPER FIDELIS*

*may not apply to wives and girlfriends

When I got to my first unit, there was a guy there who made fun of me and picked on me. We’ll call him LCPL. Wally. I don’t think he was being malicious, or a bully, or the like, but it did annoy me a good bit. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the guy, but I don’t like getting picked on.

Finally, one day we were going out for a field op and we had all gotten into the back of the 7-ton trucks to ride out to the field. LCPL. Wally was clearly having a bad day. He was really down in the dumps and appeared to be depressed. Mind you, many Marines are depressed. I think I was depressed for 4 years straight. I got out and felt happy and I didn’t know what that emotion was or how to deal with it. Anyways. So LCPL. Wally is clearly miserable, more so than the normal Marine misery. He looked like he just found out that his dog died, and his grandparents passed away, and his girlfriend left him all on the same day. Me, being the clueless yahoo that I am, didn’t pick up on this until some some of the guys started chatting with him and he indicated that he was feeling down. So I chimed in.

“Hey LCPL. Wally, when ever I feel down or depressed I have this way to cheer my self up. It works EVERY time.”

Now at that time I was rather quiet and reserved, I didn’t really know the people in the unit, so this got people’s attention. Everyone in the back of this 7-ton truck shut up and listened. LCPL. Wally perked up a bit and responded, “Oh?” as he waited for me to continue.

“Well. . . when I feel down, or bad, I tell my self, ‘At least I’m not Wally.‘”

I could never describe that look on his face, but I could feel that I applied the right weapon at the right time. It was like something inside him broke. You could see the instant it happened. A moment later when the others grasped what happened, they started ragging on Wally. I just returned to my stoic silence for the rest of the ride.

Wally never picked on me again.


You can actually pin point the second his heart rips in half.

Bart Simpson S4E15

I was going to write more, but this might have been my finest movement. I’ll write on other memory some other time.