Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Combat Roll

LT asked me to do a combat roll, and I obliged. The roll is probably useless in real battle, and it would be near impossible to pull off in body armor. That said, it's a decent exercise, serving to disorient you. It's a little better than practicing a draw in front of a mirror, in completely tame conditions. It would be nice to actually be able to *shoot* from the draw like that though. I'd like to note, there was no magazine in the pistol, and the chamber was checked multiple times before completing the roll. Try this at your own risk.

Note, the roll starts at 2 seconds in. I land at the 3 second mark, my hand already on the pistol, as I was reaching in mid roll. The weapon is in my hand, up and ready, in about another half second. I think I can get faster though.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mouse: 1 Jimmy: 0

Sorry for two porta-john posts in a row, but I've got to work with the material I'm given...

Following the rule of no porta-johns in the daytime, last night I headed out, flashlight in hand. The temperature had dropped from about 140 down to 100 or so, meaning downright comfortable in my Pt shorts and t-shirt. I stumbled around in my flip flops, which are too small for my Goliath feet, swearing under my breath each time my big toe found a rock that wanted to make friends.

Eventually, I made it back to the latrine row, and entered the one with the best latch. Some of the doors are closed by string, others tend to crack open a bit, which makes them look unoccupied and leave you susceptible to being bothered by some other soldier attempting to gain entry.

I had just settled when something ran across my foot. It took a moment to register. Bugs were out, I was itchy and sweaty. My skin had plenty of stimuli. When I realized that something had indeed run across my foot, I shined the flashlight downwards. I was half expecting, half hoping for a beetle, but in the back of my mind my brain noted, those were furry, mammalian feet. that had just pitter-pattered over me. My flashlight beam fell upon a mouse scurrying away for the corner.

Now, it should be noted that I'm not scared of mice. I am, however, not a big fan of being trapped in a 2x2 foot *box* with said mouse. I'd like to tell you that I calmly cracked the door, let the mouse outside, and drove on. That would make sense, that would have been the rational, and manly thing to do. I didn't do that. Remember Ace Ventura in the bat cave? (The applicable part is about 1:30 on the video)

I yelled...I thought it sounded like a loud, manly, mice-scaring bellow, and promptly exited the porta-john in the most ungainly and clumsy fashion possible-that included my feet stomping a bit, struggling with the lock, and just about falling out the door backwards-and note that I hadn't taken the time to pull my shorts up.

I did recover quickly, and by the time a few other soldiers made it around the T-wall, my shorts were up, and the mouse was gone. I figured they'd come in response to my loud and thunderous war-cry.

"Hey, Kelly, what's going on? We thought we heard a woman screaming over here!"

Looks like the mouse won that round. But this aint over!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Porta-john humor

Right now, I'm in the middle of nowhere in Iraq. It's kind of like camping, and I don't mind being on the smaller outpost. We happen to be in the middle of a heat wave though, and I wouldn't be surprised it it broke through the 130's. Plus, at our location there's humidity to contend with.

Being on the smaller outpost, we don't have the luxury of flushing, indoor toilets. Just porta-johns. Porta-johns cleaned out every few days by Iraqis. Andthere used by soldiers, who are largely not concerned with things like aim or cleanliness. And they bake in the hot Iraqi sun. Gross.

So naturally, its a pretty fast rule that you don't use the porta-johns for any length of time in the daytime. Doing so is supremely uncomfortable, and results in more sweating than working out in the sun-the temperature in those things is just insane.

The other day, however, one of our guys needed to break the rule.

Rule number two, of course, is that, if you must use the john in daylight, don't do it around anyone else if you want any peace.
In order to finish the story, I also have to explain something about MRE's

The military "Meals, Ready to Eat" come with water activated heaters, which work decently well. If placed inside a plastic bottle, they also cause a pressure spike which causes the bottle to pop. These are called MRE Bombs. MRE's also come with Tabasco sauce, which contains similar chemicals to CS gas or pepper spray. You can see where I'm going with this...

We quickly loaded a bottle with a couple MRE heaters, and Tabasco, then poured water inside, and let it drop down the tube in the top of the porta-john. The only sound from within, before the pop was the poor soldier muttering, "F**k". He took it well, but I'm watching out for retribution.

Soldiers are cruel, funny people.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

July 4th, 1776

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

On July 4th, 1776, delegates from the 13 colonies under British rule in North America signed their names to the Declaration of Independence, and became a nation. Though battles with the British had already been fought, and patriots had already died, this was the beginning of the United States of America, as a nation. The men who signed it knew that they signed their death warrant for treason, should the revolution fail.

I won't delve into the particulars of the text-there are so many more with far more knowledge of it than I have. The quote above sums up what I feel is the most important part: that each man be given an equal chance in the world. Everyone born is entitled to their life, and the freedom to live their life as they so choose. It is for life and freedom that I fight for now-for Americans back home, plagued by the shadow of terrorism, of men who would take their lives and and freedom from them. I fight for Iraqis, that they may know the prosperity and the chance of a long and productive life.

The pursuit of happiness does not guarantee happiness-it is a fact often overlooked. Everyone, however, has a right to seek it out, regardless of where or how you were born, your social class, or the money that you have. No person, nor any government, can take that quest away from you.

These items in the Declaration of Independence were predecessors to the Bill of Rights in our constitution, which came later on in our history, but are no less sacred. A *right* cannot be taken away, revoked, or restricted. Our rights are not granted to us by the government, but a product of birth. The governments job is simply to provide the framework so that our rights remain in place-lest the strong arm of tyranny take control. It seems that some of our elected officials, not even 250 years later, have forgotten this. They seem to think that it is their job to regulate our rights, and tell us what is best for us, like over-protective parents. This attitude must change, or our rights may quickly become "privileges" for the favored, and ruling class. Isn't that why the United States was formed the first time?

**I do not advocate revolution, or any violent actions against the government! I'm simply noting that our rights must be protected from those who can't understand what a right is!**