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Surfing for Dolphins

Eat the apple, fuck the corps.

Regarding drugs… Part one of several

Prior to deploying to Iraq, my roommates (shitbags) were smoking dope. My new command thought I was a shitbag, so they bunked me with shitbags.

I told these druggies that I didn’t care that they did drugs, but if I thought in any way it might get me in trouble, I would turn them in my self.

To their credit, I never saw them do drugs again. But one day I did hear a massive crash and crunch sound coming from the bathroom that was shared by our room and the next one. Much much later, after deployment, I learned the noise was the sound of the guys taking their pipe (presumably glass or ceramic), and throwing it into some sort of service hatch in the bathroom wall to dispose of it.

After we came back from deployment. One of my former roommates popped on the piss test. Also went UA for the fourth time. Then cried when he told the superiors that he wanted to stay in. But that is a separate story. I’ll tell you more about him some other time.

I don’t get why a guy would take a phallic shaped pipe, put it in their mouth, and suck on it. Seems kinda gay to me.

If someone told me this next story, I wouldn’t believe them. So I don’t expect you to believe me. That is fine.

When you were in, how often did they do drug tests? It varied drastically for us. Between quarterly and weekly. We didn’t get tested while we were deployed, but it was threatened a couple of times. I did get tested once during a field op, we suspected that we were so dirty that any tests would not be valid.

Back to the story.

At one point our state side training unit got some new guys that had recently returned from a combat deployment. It was cool having some real combat vets with us now. It ended a bunch of a bullshit that previously was going on. The guys who had been in the fleet kept telling us we weren’t real marines since we hadn’t been to the fleet. Well these combat vets show up and when they overheard the former “fleet” marines saying this crap, these guys chime in with, “You’re not a real marine unless you have seen Combat.” They didn’t feel that way, but saying it shut up the better than thou attitude from the former “fleet” marines.

One of these new guys, let us call him Cpl. 8Ball, was a hard charging, motivated, role model marine. War hero, squared away, etc. A great person all around. I was proud to be in his fireteam, and I wanted to be more like him. His leadership was excelling, and that was helping me improve as a marine and a person. He had just reuped, and was loving life.

Like the rest of the marines that came to our craphole of a unit, I got to witness his decent into hell. His was worse than most. His young wife was expecting their first kid. They bought a house, he was now safe in a non-deploying unit. Everything was looking up. A bright and glorious future awaited them.


His wife got miserable. Wanted to be elsewhere. Anywhere else. He became miserable. Tried to get orders anywhere else so that he could get his wife away from the place that was only associated with horrible memories now. Corps told him that he was stuck here. He requested to be sent anywhere else, any duty station, any job. Corps laughed at his misery, reveled in it.

This guy went from living sunshine and roses to the deepest pit of despair. I watched him go from being the perfect marine to one of the worst shitbags in our unit. Then, to top it off the office made him the office bitch.

*A tangent, when I use the phrase “office bitch” I mean no disrespect to all the amazing secretaries and administrative assistants. They often are doing vital work. In this case, we used that term to refer to how the command treated the person they had helping and working in the office.

I learned why later the command made him work in the office. One day he was allowed to leave the office since they didn’t have secretarial or demeaning work for him to do, and he was at the barracks hanging out. He confided in me that he tried to get kicked out. That he invited the company commander and the first sergeant over and did a line of coke in front of them. Asked to be drug tested, so that he would be kicked out. Instead, to punish him, they made him work in the office. That way they could keep an eye on him, and force him to do what ever punishments they saw fit.

I didn’t believe him. I didn’t believe him until we went six months with out a drug test.

Six months with out a drug test. Then I believed him.

An outsider might argue that the command did this to keep a good marine from ending his career and give him a chance to work things out. Said outsider would have no idea how this guy was treated. How we were all treated.

This is my marine corps.

Let me share another story about drugs from my corps.

There was a Sgt with cauliflowered ears. I heard he wanted to become an Olympic wrestler. For some reason or another it didn’t work out so he wanted to join the usmc wrestling team. Recruiter told him he had to go in a normal MOS then we would get to apply to join the team. Once he was in, his various units never let him apply. Or something along those lines. I don’t know the exact details. But this guy was a monster of man, and I mean that as a strong complement.

Despite looking like he could pick up Hulk Hogan and rip him in half, this Sgt. seemed like a hell of a nice guy to me. From the very limited interaction with him.

One evening I was walking along near Battalion HQ, and saw him walking up to the HQ. I rendered him the greeting of the day when I saw him, “Good Evening Sergeant” and went along my way. He did not acknowledge me at all. As I pass him, I saw corporal chevrons on him. The next day I asked some of my buddies what happened.

The Lance Corporal Underground knows all.

Sgt. Atlas here was on liberty, out a party, and some girl slips a drug in his drink. Possibly ecstasy. He immediate leaves, makes sure he is ok, and contacts command and reports the incident. Commanding officer tells him he is ok, don’t worry about it, it was good he told them so they can take care of him. Not that exact language, but this is what the office bitch reports was said. Our guy here comes in to work, and -BAMCIS- surprise drug test. He pops positive, and gets busted down in rank.

Now, in hindsight, Charles Atlas here should have gone straight to the ER when he realized he was drugged, and filed a police report. That would have saved his rank, and it would have been the right move when ever anyone drugs you. Never trust your command if they tell you they will take care of you, they never do.

I really hope he understood that I didn’t know he was busted down when I ran into him that evening (presumingly as he was checking in for restriction) and that my greeting him as a sergeant was because I thought he was one, and I meant no disrespect or slight by calling him the wrong rank. I genuinely liked and respected the guy from the little bit of interactions I had with him. Also I know that if I pissed him off he could pick me up and work me over like a Stretch Armstrong.

This is my corps. This is how we take care of marines.

“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.


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.



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.


“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.


*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.