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Uncommonly Sensible

Keeping the "anal" in analytical... (While trying to remain civilized)

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Location: United States

Monday, October 22, 2007

Humor in uniform...

...with apologies to Reader's Digest.
(For the headline)

I'd like to introduce you to one of my sailing buddies; here he is, on his boat in The Keys:

His boat at the Blue Water Marina in Bimini:

And under sail:

I've sailed with him (and his lovely wife) in flotillas, from The Keys to the Dry Tortugas, and from Florida to The Bahamas; he was the commodore.

He's currently serving in Iraq, and sent me some amusing anecdotes in one of his emails...he also gave me permission to share them.


In the midst of all this going on, there's humor.

Lots of it.

We get mortared and rocketed almost daily. On 9/11, we took a big one nearby. They come in at all times of day and night. Not predictable at all.

Two days ago, at about 10:30 in the morning, I felt the call of nature and left to go to the portapotties, which are nearby. As I pulled down my fatigue trousers and got comfortable, the electronic alarm went off (you can hear it all over the base) - "INCOMING! INCOMING! INCOMING!"

Now this alarm is not unusual. We hear it all the time. The purpose of it is to give you a few seconds to seek cover.

Except when you are sitting on the portapottie.

I was sitting there, staring at the plastic door, wondering what the density of the door was and how much it would slow down fragments of red-hot shrapnel.

"Great," I thought. "I'm going to get blown up while on the portapotty." I waited a few minutes, knowing if something blew up nearby, my biological function of removing solid waste would kick into overdrive.

I thought about the medics who would rush to the blown up pile of plastic and pull my bleeding, blue-stained body out and prepare to medevac me. The blue, of course, would be from the "water" you poop in.

The rapid-fire commands from the medics would go something like this:

"OK Private, get that tourniquet on him, NOW!"
"OK, now plug up that sucking chest wound with a compression bandage!
Now, Private! Move"
"OK Private, now wipe his butt and lets get him on the bird!"
"Say what?"
"I said wipe his butt. NOW. We gotta save his life!"
"I...you serious? He can die. You wipe his butt."
"Yeah. I see what you mean."

So they'd load me up, smelling bad, on the helicopter.

But there was no boom, so everything was good.

BUT... I later thought about what the local paper would say:

"**** *****, wounded in the line of doo doo is recraperating at a hospital in Germany"

Morbid humor, but funny.


Same thing. I'm in the "solitude cell" in the morning and I hear "ka-Boom! ka-Boom! ka-Boom! ka-Boom" Four mortar rounds about a half-mile away. I'm stuck again thinking, "Great. Now I can't go to the bathroom for the next six months."

I have put in a request for an up-armored portapottie, but I have yet to hear about it.

Yesterday we took two rockets at about 2:30 p.m. One landed nearby (300 yards). We stepped out to see the mess and went back inside. Very common thing.

My lieutenant comes in about ten minutes later. He is wearing his bicycle helmet, breathing hard. You have to understand that he is a little effeminate. He often reminds me of one of my seventh grade girls.

"Did you hear those rockets?"

We look around at each other. There are a couple of crusty sergeants with me. "No," I say. "What rockets?"

"Those rockets! One almost hit me!"
(Drama queen moment)

I look around. "Did anyone hear a rocket?" Everyone shakes their head ruefully.

"Lieutenant, I don't guess we heard a rocket. Did you hear one?"

"Yes! It almost hit me!"

We keep him going a while and finally come around to him admitting it was not really near him. He just heard the rocket motor as it flew overhead.

We got a big laugh over his hissy fit.

Later that night, my roommate asked if that rocket hurt anyone near us. He knew it hit near our building, but he is in a building a good distance away.

I said, "No, but we're still trying to pull my lieutenant's panties out of his crack."


My roommate is a Navy Lieutenant Commander, the equivalent of an Army Major. He just arrived in Iraq and has never been in country before. We were sitting around the trailer talking when we heard heavy gunfire break out nearby. It was pretty close, too.

I say, "Wow, they're shooting it up out there tonight!"

This is the first time he has heard gunfire close by.

He says, "Is that a shooting range nearby?" I almost break out laughing, but I don't.

"Nope. They're shooting the crap out of someone on the other side of the wall." The wall is about 250 yards from our trailer.

He is in a total state of denial. "I think there is a shooting range over there. They're probably night firing."

I point in the direction of the range. "The range is that way. The bad guys are this way." I point to the direction of the firing, which is intensifying. I'm having soooo much fun with this poor guy.

"You sure?" he says hopefully.

I crush his hopes. "Yep. That's a .50 caliber (you can hear the whomp-whomp-whomp). Those are M-16s. Someone has attacked one of the towers."

He looks around like, What are we going to do? I grab my towel and head to the showers.

The next day, he saw on the reports that, yes, it was a firefight.


Here's a picture he sent me of a li'l piece of "Americana" over there:

And last but not least, here he is hanging out with the locals:

A fine gentleman, outstanding American and a great sailor, with a terrific sense of humor...

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