December 17, 2008
Posting date: 12/17/08
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Hometown: Binghamton, NY
Milblog: Cheese's Milblog
Today was my last patrol. Ever. I didn't even realize it until I was carrying my guns to the weapon locker. It was definitely fitting that I end my career in the turret, as that's where I've spent my best time as a soldier. It feels great -- but not nearly as good as American soil (read: snow) will feel under my feet.
The people replacing us are competent and reasonably excited to take over. I'm proud of my guys for not infecting them with the attitude that most of us carry after a tour as SECFOR in Pogueland. I'm guessing that my platoon's new found enthusiasm is in part due to the number of females that are flooding our FOB. This has been problematic for us, though. You may think that you can imagine what kind of conversations take place within an all-male Infantry unit, but you really have no idea. Some call it "infantry f%&k-speak" and it's littered with such horrible topics and obscenities that it could make a trucker blush. It's just how Joes have always been, and it's hard to turn off. Today I heard at least three in-depth conversations about bodily functions or "man-scaping" trail off as our guys realized that we had females in the convoy. "Yeah, tomorrow night I have to shave my...ummm...run time by a few minutes? Phew."
I do have to take a moment to apologize to the new guys for the hell they are gonna catch from maintenance after we leave here. Now, the maintenance guys here know us pretty well and have dealt with our nonsense all tour. As a present to them, we informed the new guys that they need to check the armor every so often for soft spots. This involves pounding the armor panels with hammers, marking the places that give off a dull "thud" with an "X" of chalk, and then bringing the trucks to maintenance to have the soft panels replaced.
About the same time that this is done, the turrets also need to be calibrated. This is done (under maintenance's supervision, of course) by making ten clockwise rotations with the turret. But this must be followed by ten counterclockwise rotations to keep the turrets from unscrewing. Now, this is all harmless, as the maintenance guys will no doubt inform them that it was a load of bull. Of course, knowing them, they'll break the news to some very dizzy gunners as they stumble down from their "X" covered humvees. Welcome to Phoenix, where we've sold our souls for internet and Dairy Queen...