December 13, 2003
The Infantry Gods must have realized that things had only sucked in ways of coldness on our recent six-day field exercise, so for the exercise we just finished they decided to have it suck in multiple ways. Even though we were only out for two days, I’d have to say that it really sucked. Let me ‘splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. Yesterday: rained all day. Today: was freezing ass-cold all day. To use the parlance of my urban brothers, it was brick, yo. I shouldn’t have to explain why it sucks when you get soaked then the temperature dips below freezing. We moved out Thursday at 3am. I got three hours of sleep. We spent much time dismounted from the Humvees getting rained on. Last night we were in an overwatch position for a traffic control point. The four men in the truck should have slept in shifts, one guy in the turret, one on the radio. We all fell asleep at one point. The OPFOR (opposing force) actually did a drive-by shooting on the vehicles at the check point. We slept through the entire thing. Um, this is really really bad, but really really funny in retrospect. I was so profoundly unmotivated at this point that I didn’t care when someone banged on the window and said, “What, are you all asleep? We just got in a fire fight! Did you see any of it???” I should have gotten destroyed by my leadership for this fubared move, but most the guys in the other two trucks were asleep too. Crap weather, lack of motivation and massive sleep deprivation really test discipline during training.
Today wasn’t much better. We assaulted a small town training area, something we’re getting pretty comfortable with on the whole. My lack of motivation bit me in the ass again. We made contact as soon as we got to the buildings and I had the worst weapon malfunction of my career. My rifle was stuck like chuck (duh!) from all the rainwater that had frozen in it. Note to self: better pre-combat inspections. I fired one round, had a misfire, charged it, then had a wicked double-feed. I couldn’t get the magazine to drop, I couldn’t get either round to extract, I couldn’t even get the charging handle to move anymore. I was completely flabbergasted. Matt was dead at this point (i.e. his MILES laser tag crap was beeping, signifying that he was killed), so I took his SAW and gave him my M16 doorstop. The rest of the mission was completely uneventful. Cleared a building, made no contact, then continued on to the second phase of the mission. For this phase we sat in a hasty ambush position for two hours. We froze. And the enemy never came through our ambush point. This is probably good. Anthony has a chronic cough and Juan’s snoring made us the loudest ambush point ever. This field exercise didn’t exactly see our best soldiering abilities, I’m a little embarrassed to say. No sleep, very little time for food and utter crap weather will really test your mettle. Commanders: give your men time off from their training schedules every once in a while, otherwise motivation goes straight to hell. This is no excuse on the part of the soldier, but come one, you don’t want us to be basket cases before we even get to the desert, do you?
Tonight I’ll probably get six hours of sleep (I’ve had about four in the last two days combined), we’ll spend tomorrow prepping for the field, then it’s another 3am wake-up on Sunday to go to the field for a four-day operation. I could tell you more about how Willy had an instrumental role in this operation and basically did the job of a lieutenant or how it’s funny how one can easily be transfixed on thoughts of sex during states of great physical discomfort (similar to thinking of food when you’re hungry, perhaps?), but I really want to get to bed right now.
Whiskey and Peter patrol the woods. In the rain.
Peter keeps an overwatch on some “Iraqis” protesting in the distance. In the rain.
Peter and I agree that you’re not actually miserably wet until your crotch is wet. Peter stopped me at one point and said, “Sergeant, you know what? I’m miserable. You know why? My dick is wet.”
Our Humvee. In the rain.
Fall fashion, infantry style.