The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

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.

MEXICAN MARINE |

December 05, 2012

Name: Garrett Phillip Anderson
Returned from: Iraq and Afghanistan
Hometown: Portland, OR
Email: GarrettAnderson0311@gmail.com
Milblog: Iraq/Afghanistan and More

Through heavily accented Spanglish the first thing he ever said to me was, “I am your Corporal and I do not like the dick sucking.” I would come to later find that he had a robot black heart tattooed over his real heart. I was eighteen years old and standing at the position of attention. I replied, “I do like the dick sucking but to each his own, Corporal.”  My roommate was also new to the unit and had Mexican heritage, he bit his lip in fear, but I was confident that the Corporal would not comprehend my translation.

The Corporal was a light-skinned Mexican, he was built of lean muscle, he ran Iron Man competitions for fun, and he was my first real squad leader. I was at home. Somewhere in the not-too-distant future both of the men standing with me in that room would be shot full of bullets in their legs, the squad leader’s leg almost blown in half and my roommate’s calves would look like a shark took a snack as he stumbled into our overpowered house with his finger laying down full automatic survival.
 
Later the squad leader was moved to point-man, after the rest of the unit returned from advanced training. He loved the job and was good at it because he moved like a panther and was born lethal. I asked our point man “Bandito” how he came to America and he told me about walking through the border after several attempts as a teenager. His brother had taught him how to knife fight and he would teach me. He spoke of bandits in the streets of Mexico as a youth and how these bandits knew not to fuck with his knife-fighting brother. During a training operation our unit participated in Okinawa the Bandito’s team was wiped out as he fought through the bottom story of a mock hotel with paint bullets. He called over the radio to inform us that he was carrying on. By himself the Bandito killed every member of the opposing force in the hotel working from the bottom floor to the rooftop. I was glad his service was in the US Marines.

I was his student. In Kuwait in late 2004 he introduced me to a Sergeant Peralta in 1st platoon. The Bandito explained to me and the Sergeant his outlook on the impending Battle of Fallujah. He said, “I am here for the glory, nothing else. A million bullets can rain down and if Mary wants to take me it will be my time, if not it won’t.” I objected to this non-scientific approach and Sergeant Peralta laughed at my interpretation. Sergeant Peralta would later be nominated for a still-pending Medal of Honor when, after being terribly wounded, he pulled an enemy hand grenade under his life-filled body, absorbing the lethal impact, thus saving the lives of the Marines in the room with him. Regular guys who come from Mexico, the Mexican Marine Corps, and an untold story of sacrifice by Mexican immigrants lives to this day in our military, which has always been filled with immigrants, who yesteryear were white, giving generations of Americans a good excuse to avoid service.
 
This machinery is necessary to the American framework, it is not cruel, and tomorrow the Latino immigrants who served become politicians and can serve their non-serving white counterparts with a record that can’t be challenged.  This is the real America, and a new wave of demographic will be our integrated future, like it or not. The truth is, domesticated suburbanite teenagers like I was can’t be killing effective without the hard hand of the immigrant Corporal, who is hard through experience and a representative of every immigrant Corporal from every country to come to America, pick up a gun and fight in a foreign land.
 
After the wounded had been extracted, I picked up the Bandito’s helmet. I looked to a full moon and wondered if there was any significance in this. My hero had been killed and my teacher was off to the hospital. I reached into his helmet and picked out a Spanish prayer card he had tucked into the webbing. I stuck it into the webbing of my helmet and left the war an untouched atheist. I will visit the Bandito in Mexico next month for the first time since we were Marines, where he is fighting for his country in the drug war. He is my last interview for the film.

Comments

"This machinery is necessary to the American framework, it is not cruel, and tomorrow the Latino immigrants who served become politicians and can serve their non-serving white counterparts with a record that can’t be challenged. "

That's nice, considering that as these are illegal immigrants we arm and send them off to fight and die in Afghanistan, without the same background-check not to mention security clearance that you yourself would have to get and keep, to be deployed to a combat zone. Think about it for a bit. Go ahead, take a minute or two and think about your country instead of your own predicament there in Afghanistan. And your hero-worship. And think about the long-term implications for the United States and its national security. Get back to us when you figure it all out.

jfc1, you need to think about the nonsense YOU just wrote. If they are in the military, they got the same background check everyone else did. To date, I have not heard of any illegal immigrant who enlists in the military being a problem. I served with two illegal immigrants, that I know of, and they were two of the best soldiers I ever knew.

I urge you to take your own advise and think about your country instead of your own biases. Get back to us when you get a clue.

jfc1 Lol, you are a schmuck. Next time I'll write about how there could be no possible way the immigrant could be someone to look up to for his sacrifice greater than yours, for a country that he was not born in. Ignorance is bliss, you are the reason I keep writing.

Oh, for heaven's sake. We need to focus on the important. Is nowhere free of trolls? Sigh. And right on, Andy!

I really appreciate this post. I’ve been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thanks again!

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