October 12, 2007

Name: Eddie
Posting date: 10/12/07
Stationed in: Iraq
Milblog url:

With my leave coming up just around the corner, I figured I would talk about the paranoia that seems to go around right before people get ready to head home on leave. It's something I always laughed about, and even though I know it's wrong I've used it to slightly play on people's fear. I know, I'm a horrible person. I guess Karma is a bitch and has come to stake its claim on me.

Basically, right before people are about to go on leave they try everything they possibly can to get out of heading outside the wire. This is due to a variation of short timer's paranoia. Worried that something might happen, people tend to snake out of patrols and missions that take place in the last few days before they are to turn in their weapons and go on leave.

It's not a totally unfounded idea. Back when I was in my old squad, during the time when we still had a bad area, we were on a mission to provide security for some engineers as they did some work. I was the TC (truck commander) for a vehicle, with my automatic rifleman as driver and a grenadier from the other team in my squad as the gunner. The gunner was to be going on leave in like two days, and this was his last mission to do. He had the paranoia that something was going to happen, and sure as shit it did. We had someone hop out of an alleyway and throw a grenade at our truck. Fortunately it did not go off for some reason, but it solidified the paranoia.

Well, like I said, in the past few months when my friends would be getting ready to go on leave and would be experiencing the paranoia, I would play on their fears and give them a hard time about everything. The content of our humor is not normal, so I will not go in to the details (those of you deployed now or in the past know what I'm talking about!), but I used to take pleasure in seeing them suffer in agony.

Now Karma has come back with a vengeance. As my time approaches I really haven't been that worried, at least not like some people. But then I realized: The last 10 days of Ramadan, which are the potentially the worst 10 days to be in Iraq as a US Soldier, just happen to be the last 10 days before I go on leave. Hahaha, how awesome! So yeah, now I've got the worry warts. I guess there really is a force that balances out the good and evil in this universe.


Your words; "The content of our humor is not normal, so I will not go in to the details (those of you deployed now or in the past know what I'm talking about!), but I used to take pleasure in seeing them suffer in agony."

Nawww. It's tradition. Survivors rule! And, yeah, the mind plays tricks. You will see parallels that imply your imminent doom, completely obliious to others.

It's just a mindset. . . unless it really is your turn . . .

Now it is time for those who you got to get their revenge. Payback can be hell.

That's the thing about being in a combat zone: you get dispassionate towards others, you have to. Somehow you need to survive and your compassion towards others, even those in your unit, your fellow soldiers, erodes. What can you do to take care of yourself, do what you must to survive and continue to maintain the human side that says that could or can happen to me. I might react that way.
Have you learned anything?
Vietnam 1970-71

In Vietnam, we called these dudes "short timers." We even had a caldenar made up so that we could cross off the last 100days in country. The calendar was usually a line drawing of a naked women, partitiioned like a puzzle, with each partitiion representing another day. Each section was colored in until the day we left. and, yes, a lot of guys caught it as short timers, and therefore the paranoia.

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