The Sandbox

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Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS |

November 23, 2007

CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS
Name: Kevin
Posting date: 11/23/07
Stationed in: Iraq
Hometown: Oakland, NJ
Milblog url: iraqpartii.blogspot.com

After another good meal the at the Taji DFAC, I walked outside with my friends Alex and Dave to discover that my bike had been stolen from the bike rack. I didn’t lock it up before going into the mess hall because I had left it out there every night for the last few weeks and no one messed with it. That was the first night I'd gone to dinner a little late, and the thief took advantage of the darkness. The bike only cost me $20 second hand from another soldier, so it certainly wasn’t a financial disaster, but I was angry, with the thief and with myself, because my mother had just sent me a bike lock to use. Shrugging it off, I walked back to work and was then made the butt of several jokes amongst my fellow officers.

The same night, my spirits were lifted by the delivery of two care packages -- one from my father and another from my uncle’s friend at Unilever. Since I didn’t want to carry them the half mile back to my barracks, I decided to drop them off using our beat-up old John Deere Gator utility vehicle. I brought the two boxes out to the Gator, absentmindedly dropped them in the open bed in the back, and began fumbling in the dark with the lock on the steering wheel.

I drove back to the barracks, got out of the vehicle to get my two boxes, and realized there was only one box in the back. One must have fallen out! Oh, no. I immediately retraced my path, keeping an eye out for a cardboard box lying in the dirt, but found none. How could this have happened? It must have fallen out on one of the many sandbag speed bumps, or on a sharp turn. Confident that someone must have seen the box in the two minutes I was gone and picked it up in a good-natured gesture, planning to later return it to me, I wrote the box off as lost only for the night.

One week later, I still have not seen my dad’s care package. The pretzels and cookies in it are probably long gone, having found their way through some other soldier’s digestive track. If all of this dishonesty in one night seems improbable, I’ll give the soldiers on Taji the benefit of the doubt. Maybe Explosive Ordnance Disposal found the box, considered it a suspicious package, and blew the thing to bits. But having not seen any singed wet wipes, cookie crumbs, or pieces of The Bergen Record newspaper anywhere along the route I took that night, I have to conclude that the suspicious package explosion thing probably didn’t happen. In the meantime, I hope that the unhealthy cookies cause a serious bout of digestive complications for the person(s) who took my box, and may perhaps contribute in a small way to the growth of a second chin.

After having spent a day checking out every bike that I saw (Taji isn’t that big, after all) and eyeing all bike riders as possible suspects, I went to dinner with my friends. On my way into the mess hall I took a quick look at the bikes in the rack. One on the right side was the same shape and style as mine, only it was completely white. Upon closer inspection, I blurted out to my friends, “This is my bike!” I spent the next few minutes noting all the identical features, including the Krypton headlight I recently installed, the identical brand name, the blue color (underneath the shoddy white spray paint job), helmet, gear shifter stuck in one gear, seat tilted too high upward in the front, etc. I could also see spray paint marks on the tires, indicating that the spray job was very recent.

It was my bike. I couldn’t believe it. I waited outside at a distance for a while to confront the person who might lay claim to the bike, but no one walked over to it. I was hungry, so I brought the bike to the mess hall’s guard shack to have the guards look after it while I ate. The thief may have walked out, seen that the bike was missing, and taken off.

The sheer stupidity of placing the bike in the same rack it was stolen from, with such a shoddy paint job, leads me to believe that the person either 1) slept on it and reconsidered what a dumb idea it was to steal a bike on an Army base, 2) found out it was a bad bike (the brakes stink and the gears don’t shift), or 3) felt bad about it and left it in the same rack so I would find it on my way to dinner. Either way, I sleep here at Camp Taji with the knowledge that a share with this base with at least one moron.

Here is what my bike looks like now. I actually kinda like the new color scheme. Thanks, man!

Framed_kevin_bike_15

Comments

Don't you just hate that there isn't a cure for stupidity? The people that think they are special because they can steal, so stupid and it is so uncurable... Glad you have your bike back, pretty low that they would steal a package in the mail... maybe the thieves will go home soon.

Good story. We here in the rear (far Southern) area of the sandbox have the same problem. Since this is so far back, most of our folks E-4 and above can and do live off-base. One guy leaves his bike, locked, out overnight in the parking area under an apartment building, where any of hundreds of thousands of locals and poor third-country nationals can get at it. So where did somebody steal his lights off the bike? From the bike rack outside the HQ building, on-base. One REMF is a REBF (B = buddy).

well I have adopted a soldier, I have "4 of my own children" but was blessed by soldiers angels on mothers day weekend with "another son justin" at camp liberty, so I hope being the great man that he is,that he will share his care package with some one who,like yourself and others can really use that taste of home, that makes me sad to hear what happened to yours,I want to send my love to all you there for watching & keeping us here safe day& nite! blessings from home, my flag flys everyday for all of you there,*brightstarr from dauphin island,alabama* xo

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