Sunday, January 29, 2006

This Week In Rock

Earlier this week, as we returned from the gym, ready to get off work for the day, we came back to our company area to find Joes running around like beheaded chickens and pissed off NCOs grumbling. Everyone was directed to the arms room to draw weapons out and start cleaning and not to plan on getting off any time soon. No one had any idea what was going on, but pretty much everyone was pissed. It was at this point that I chose to float like a leaf down the river of military bullshit, and I went along with it.

I am not angry.
I am not self righteous.
I am not tired or sick or hungry.
I need not gratification.
I need not spare time.
I do not feel.
I do not need.
I do not want.
I simply am.

A perfect prayer for an underpaid twenty year old with a bottle of CLP (clean, lubricate, and protective oil) in one hand and a rag in the other, scrubbing the tripod of a .50 cal machine gun that has nothing to do with him. All in all, it wasn't a big deal. Just a bunch of angry people complaining, and lots of hustle and bustle, and eventually, the day was over, and all was grand.

I'm a bit scatterbrained right now, but I'll give you the interesting part of the week, which was pretty much Friday. We woke up at 2 AM to be ready for formation at 2:30. At 3:00 AM we drew our weapons out of the arms room, then my platoon sat in the War Room (briefing room) while we waited for our turn to go to the weapons range. At 6:30, we piled into a Deuce and a Half (generic army truck) and headed out to one of the pop up target ranges.

Let me run that by you again. This is a perfect example of Hurry Up and Wait. We woke up at 2 to be in formation at 2:30 to have our weapons at 3:00 so we could sit around until 6:30. I can go over that again slower if necessary, but I think its apparent. There is no math in that. No sense at all in wasting so much time, BUT what are you gonna do, right?

Once on the range, we headed to the ammo point, strapped NODs onto our kevlars and grabbed two mags of ammo to qualify with our M4s, only in the dark. Most of the boys in our unit have infrared laser targeting whatevers mounted on their M4s. We mortarmen don't. We're a minority like that, and as always, we get stiffed a bit. The NCO briefing us told us to wear our NODs over our non-firing eye. That only works if you have the laser sight, but I went along with it anyway. So one eye is seeing green, the other one is just seeing the red dot from your optical sight, which ISNT a laser sight, just a red dot inside the optic, and it doesnt shine a dot on your target. Not laser. Just want to illustrate that. So one eye sees night vision, the other sees blackness with a red dot. Somehow, this is supposed to work.

I hit one target.

I hear the scores for guys in the other firing lanes, all of whom have those lasers on their rifles. And then I mentally damn them. I went back to get more ammo and get back in line, and as I walked into my new foxhole, I reflected on what had just happened and what I was instructed to do. It was at this point that I decided that I was going to be an insubordinate little baby. Consequently, I switched my NODs to my left eye, which I normally shoot with because its my dominant eye. I also fired left handed, because that's how I'm used to doing it. Being right handed but left eye dominant basically means that you're going to have to shoot left handed.

So I flicked my NODs on and turned the brightness of my optical sight's dot down low so that it didnt cause a glare in my green eye. When the loudspeaker from the Tower instructed us to do so, I slapped a 20 round magazine into my M4 and slapped the side to release the bolt catch. I got good and comfortable, leaning against the front and the side of the foxhole, not even bothering with the sandbags in front of me, which never seem to help me.

My lane consists of different shades of green. My right eye can barely make anything out and its already starting to hurt. The lens of my NODs slowly fog up, and I have to tactically time when to wipe it off with a gloved finger. A target pops up, and there's a light at the base of it that briefly shines to help point it out. I put the white dot (that's supposed to be red normally) on the center of the target and initiate the chemical reaction that slams a 5.56 mm bullet through the target, which promptly drops down. Another one pops up, and I redirect my aim, I squeeze the trigger, the target drops. Soon, I fire at a target, it goes down, but I had also sensed that familiar feeling when your magazine runs out and the bolt doesnt slam forward again, but instead locks itself to the rear. I wait as smoke streaks out of the ejection port. We're instructed to load our second magazine, which I stuff in and smack the left side of my rifle to chamber another round. When I hear the words "Watch your lane," I flick the safety onto Semi and resume my safari. I qualified quite well for night fire.

After that, we waited until the sun came up and it was bright enough to fire without NODs. We then ran through normal qualification, and I shot like absolute shit, always barely qualifying. I soon realized that my sight is slightly off, and had to apply a little Kentucky Windage (compensating for a poorly zeroed weapon by aiming slightly off the target to correct the difference). We were out there for quite a while, and they ran us through firing orders in an extremely efficient manner, which pleased me. I'm sure that was their goal. I kept shooting until I had once again secured Expert Rifleman status. I need that to try for my EIB, which I probably won't get this year, but I'll sure as hell do my damndest. I've spent time messing with a 240Bravo machine gun (which I'll probably become very familiar with anyway), disassembling and reassembling it and performing the functions check, etc, because its an EIB task, and one that I was a little worried about. I still need to master the M249SAW machine gun as well. The 9mm pistol is a joke. As goes for most people, if nothing else gets me in the EIB Trials, it will be grenades. Those bastards are difficult.

That's basically all that's going on. Preparing for EIB and getting people trained on other things as well, though I'll stay hush about it, even though I'm 99% sure it doesn't even matter. Better safe than stupid.

Now to prepare for another week.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Subjectless Ramble

I don't foresee a very interesting week, though I've been wrong before. We didn't do a lot yesterday. Messed around in the motor pool for a bit, but there wasn't much for us to do on that particular day, so we ended up taking care of some paperwork for our buddies, or something. Who knows. I just know that I filled out a lot of forms. Why? I don't know, who cares? Its easy. It requires hardly any brainpower, not at all physically demanding, and its only for a little bit. Sweet.

As I was showering a few minutes ago, I came upon an amazing revelation. I realized that PT is the emotional outlet that all leaders have come to put in full effect. Our platoon leader, for example, who is a very mellow and cool guy, felt it necessary to run us into the ground this morning. I didn't bother to eat chow afterwards, because greasy breakfast food doesn't sit well with my stomach after a heavy workout. Poor little me. I won't bore you with the details of the run, just know that it wasn't the distance, which was the same as our average run distance, but the sporadic intensity of it. Today is one PT session that serves as an example to justify why I feel that our leaders harbor secret hatred for us.

Strangely enough, I feel good, but maybe I shouldn't say anything to anyone about that. Could be catastrophic. My apologies for the worthless post, but I figure anyone who actually enjoys reading my Oddyssey, well, they deserve atleast something. I'll keep you posted on any more misadventures.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Truth and The Field

This is an email that was forwarded to me by one of my relatives. Personally, I like it quite a bit. Granted, on one side, this frame of thinking isn't going to close the gap between us and our "enemies", who I consider to be (most likely) irreversably misguided. It still effectively carries a good point across.

"One Great Letter

The lady that wrote this letter is Pam Foster of Pamela Foster and Associates in Atlanta. She's been in business since 1980 doing interior design and home planning. She recently wrote a letter to a family member serving in Iraq. Read it!

WHAT'S ALL THE FUSS?

'Are we fighting a war on terror or aren't we? Was it or was it not started by Islamic people who brought it to our shores on September 11, 2001? Were people from all over the world, mostly Americans, not brutally murdered that day, in downtown Manhattan, across the Potomac from our nation's capitol and in a field in Pennsylvania? Did nearly three thousand men, women and children die a horrible, burning or crushing death that day, or didn't they?

And I'm supposed to care that a copy of the Koran was "desecrated" when an overworked American soldier kicked it or got it wet? Well, I don't. I don't care at all.

I'll start caring when Osama bin Laden turns himself in and repents for incinerating all those innocent people on 9/11.

I'll care about the Koran when the fanatics in the Middle East start caring about the Holy Bible, the mere possession of which is a crime in Saudi Arabia.

I'll care when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi tells the world he is sorry for hacking off Nick Berg's head while Berg screamed through his gurgling, slashed throat.

I'll care when the cowardly so-called "insurgents" in Iraq come out and fight like men instead of disrespecting their own religion by hiding in mosques.

I'll care when the mindless zealots who blow themselves up in search of nirvana care about the innocent children within range of their suicide bombs.

I'll care when the American media stops pretending that their First Amendment liberties are somehow derived from international law instead of the United States Constitution's Bill of Rights.

In the meantime, when I hear a story about a brave marine roughing up an Iraqi terrorist to obtain information, know this: I don't care.

When I see a fuzzy photo of a pile of naked Iraqi prisoners who have been humiliated in what amounts to a college hazing incident, rest assured that I don't care.

When I see a wounded terrorist get shot in the head when he is told not to move because he might be booby-trapped, you can take it to the bank that I don't care.

When I hear that a prisoner, who was issued a Koran and a prayer mat, and fed "special" food that is paid for by my tax dollars, is complaining that his holy book is being mishandled," you can absolutely believe in your heart of hearts that I don't care.

And oh, by the way, I've noticed that sometimes it's spelled "Koran" and other times "Quran." Well, Jimmy Crack Corn and -- you guessed>it.....!!!' "

Ahh yeah, getcha some. That email got me a little pumped. I figure, if we can't all come to our senses and figure this whole life adventure thing out together in peace and all that happy goodness, and if we're still going to fight these people, we might as well win. At times, I question whether or not there really is good and evil, or just drastically different viewpoints. Honestly, I don't know, I'm only human. But I'll stick with my viewpoint, because it doesn't involve me strapping TNT to my chest and turning myself and a group of other people into tomato paste.

Now that another slice of harsh reality has been delivered, lets lighten things up a bit and talk about my newest adventure "Under God's Blanket", as a friend of mine once said.

We woke up, did PT, big shock there. Drew our weapons and mortar systems from the arms room, and spent a few hours preparing for our grand adventure. Then, we strapped mortar components to our already heavy rucksacks and roadmarched out to the same range we went to last time. Our platoon sergeant was already on the range, assisting the mortarmen from a different company. Only us kids were marching out there, and it was a small adventure.

By now, I'm pretty used to roadmarches, and I just like to get them over with, so I'll ruck as hard as I can, but still at a wise pace. Plus the smuggled iPod helps a lot. Sorry for the product advertisement, but maybe they'll sponsor me. Not. Back on track, we had one guy who had a pretty pissy attitude at the moment, and was lagging all of us behind all the while maintaining a healthy "fuck you all" attitude. I just wanted to get there, because my legs were fine, what hurt was my shoulders and back, because I was blessed with the base plate, which weighs enough to leave me with metaphorical diaper rash. At one point, we had to stop and wait for him, and once he caught up, we stepped off again, at which point he spazzed out, complaining that we got a break and he didn't. Yeah. He kept going on about how his ruck was so much heavier than mine, and the other gunner weighs 50 pounds more, so he could handle it better. At this point, I dropped my ruck and told him to switch with me, but of course he wouldn't, because that would be the logical thing to do.

And yes, I'm aware of how childish all of this was. But to be honest, I was looking forward to getting into a good old fashioned bloody nose and black eye scrap with this dude. Didn't happen, and I was a little sad. This guy is one of those people that will piss you off to no end, but at the same time, you can't stay mad at him for long, because he's also pretty cool. So on that note, maybe after a healthy fistfight, I can take him out for ice cream or buy him a Happy Meal.

Now that you have a fresh dose of middle school drama, at this point, our narrative takes us to the mortar range, where we moved up the hill by the observation point and set up hooches (ponchos draped overhead about a foot and a half off the ground at an angle and held up by 550 cord or bungee cord and nearby trees. A regular Days Inn. Then we attached our NODs (those fancy nightvision goggles I told you about) to our kevlar helmets and watched the other mortarmen fire off infrared illumination rounds, which I couldn't have cared less about because they didn't seem to do much.

Funny story: Right after I had attached my NODs, I was heading back up the hill to the OP (observation point), and they fell right off of my kevlar and hit the ground with the sound of the shattering of glass. I stood there for a minute, looking down at the ground, where the fallen optics lie. At that moment, I recalled signing for the the goddamn thing, and recalled hearing that they cost a couple thousand each. Out-freaking-standing. Hadn't even turned the damn things on yet, and gravity had made a victim of them, and a mockery of me. It was then that my platoon sergeant drove up, and I walked to his truck with a self loathing that rivals the feeling one gets when swiftly kicked in the groin. I told him what happened, and he laughed and said, "Oh well, sucks to be you." Not the pissed off response I expected. I wasn't even referred to as a dickweed.

So I walked to my hooch, completely satisfied that I had destroyed brand new equipment, hoping God was having a good gut laugh right then, and I borrowed a light from a friend to take a look at the shattered lens. It was intact.

Eh? So what's the deal? I shook them, listening for glass shards, because it must be something in the middle. Nope. I shook them harder, and heard the sound again. After a few more shakes and experimentations, I realized that the metal clips that attach to the front and back of the kevlar, connected by a band, were hitting each other, making that sound. Once again, I have proven that I am an idiot. So I stuffed a battery in, expecting the NODs to remain inoperable just because that would be my luck. I flicked the switch, and my left eye was filled with dim green light. Sweet. Too bad everything was blurry and REALLY dim. I asked a buddy how to adjust the brightness, and he told me that you can't. Great, so they ARE broken.

I fidgeted with them, and found a dial that, guess what....adjusts the brightness. But I still couldn't clearly make anything out through these damnable optics. Further experimentation revealed two more dials to adjust focus. So my NODs were fine, and I'm a big panicky baby. Problem with NODs though, is that they suck a lot, and not much comes into focus, and for further sight, they are pretty much worthless. Atleast mine had that issue. They also give you a headache after a while, and weigh your kevlar down a lot. They're flat out awkward, and I pretty much hate them, but they're pretty damn cool.

It was when I was standing in the woods with my roommate, BSing, that I looked at him and myself, wearing full combat gear, M4 slung, wearing nightvision, that we looked like the actual soldiers you see on TV. Then I thought that this was going to be us for an entire year if we get deployed. Pretty crazy thought. As I've said before, the same realization dawns on you periodically.

We spent the next two hours walking with our mortar equipment, and setting up whenever our platoon sergeant would announce a fire mission. No firing, we had no rounds. Just set up, take down, walk, set up, take down, walk, repeat. Operating mortars in the dark, especially with NODs, is like trying to get a cat into a bathtub. Someone's getting hurt. Of course, nothing special happened, but it was yet another flavor of suck, but to be honestly, we really didn't mind.

As we "slept", two of us at a time had to pull guard, which always sucks. During one of my shifts, I kept hearing a sound, and seeing what I swore was the tail end of someone running, always JUST out of sight of my NODs. Always on the left. Freaked me the hell out, as I figured our platoon sergeant or someone was messing with us and trying to steal the mortars. Turns out, a cord connected to the lens cap of the nods would scrape against my helmet as I turned my head to the left, and it sounded like rustling. In the corner of my left eye where my NODs were, was a little piece of the optic or something, I don't remember, but it was black. As you turned your head, it looked like a shadow. I'm such a dork, and I want you all to know that right now.

We roadmarched back and cleaned equipment, and we're all tired and dozing off. I ended up taking a Stacker or whatever those pills are, hence my longer than usual post. But since I'm hungry, I hope you've had your fill, or else too bad. I have tomorrow off because our platoon sergeant re-enlisted, so there probably won't be any news for a few days.

Happy trails til next time, kiddies.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Broken Record

Once again, a day in which we did pretty much nothing, but also didn't relax. More 'hurry up and wait'. That's how this job goes.

In the morning, we're going to head out to that same mortar range again, with all that gear, though we won't even fire. We'll just practice setting the mortars up, take them down, move them to a different location, and setting them up again. At night. So yes, once again we're sleeping out there. Blah, whatever, another day another dollar. I float like a leaf down the river of "Just Go With It". Pretty easy setup.

Send celebrities and pompous pro-athletes to war to earn their pay. Fuck you, Alec Baldwin.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Smell of Carbon

Before I explain this particular day, let me just touch on our afternoon PT yesterday, which consisted of a little trip to the gym. There were two girls, most likely civilian, all prettied up and wearing Sporty Spice getup. I'm sure they didn't enter a military gym at peak hours for male attendance on purpose, no way. Then they walked into the WEIGHT room. Because we all know Barbie likes to build muscle. So naturally, the weight room was packed. They must have been soldier's wives or something.

Now, I'm aware that women like attention, and that's great and everything, but there IS such a thing as overdoing it. And yes, I looked, and yes, I liked. But that shit pisses me off. For one thing, there is almost NO such thing as a single girl on an army post. I might as well thumb through a Maxim. Atleast then, I can say what I want and not get in trouble for it. Insert smiley face with the tongue hanging out HERE to denote the fact that I'm attempting to be funny. Thank you.

Now that I'm done complaining about that, God peed on us a bit as we did PT today, but that really isn't news. Rain in Washington, who would have guessed it. After our 9:00 formation, we drew our rifles out of the arms room, and then pretty much waited until noon. At that point, we wet weather gear and full battle rattle and hopped into the back of a deuce-and-a-half, weaving back and forth and being rocked around until we arrived at one of the rifle ranges.

For the daylight part of our outing, we just had a standard rifle qualification. For the first time, I qualified as an Expert rifleman. I figured I'd be lucky to finally even earn a Sharpshooter badge, so I was pretty fired up. That's one requirement for the Expert Infantry Badge down, lots more to go. After basking in the rainy sunlight of my glory, my friends and I sat in a building on the range and choked down MREs. I was fortunate enough to get the worst MRE man has ever seen for the second time in a row: the cheese omellete. Luckily I thought ahead, and brought along a spare main course (a chicken patty with the grill marks painted on there, for smartass purposes, I'm sure).

Once the sun decided to call it a day, we resumed the firing line with PEQ2 infrared laser sights and night vision goggles. You'd think we'd be given a couple minutes to figure the NODs (goggles) and the lasers out, but nope. Throw 'em on, get in the prone, start shooting. By some miracle, I managed to get all 20 rounds in the target. The stars must have been aligned just right, or karma decided to pay me back or something. Today is going too good, so maybe the barracks will get sucked into a black hole right after I post this or something to even things out.

Once we came back, we cleaned our weapons as always, and our platoon sat in the briefing room (called the War Room) and BSed about anything and everything, up to and including Howard Stern's new radio station or whatever. It was around this time that I was informed that I had been voted as the first of us to receive an award for our mortar performance. When we came back from The Art Of Blowing Shit Up, we all wrote a name down to vote for who we thought did the best out there. I voted for the gunner in my team, because he was kicking ass.

I received the most votes because our mortar section consists of smartasses, and I'm not the only one.

This means that I'll receive some ribbon to wear on my Class A's, and it sounds like a whole big ordeal, and I'm actually not too happy about it. I hate getting attention like that PERIOD, but getting that for something I didn't even earn? That's bullshit. My platoon sergeant laughed, told me to shut up and take it, and that its worth promotion points. This is also the guy who has been designated the Re-Enlistment NCO and (hopefully) jokes that whether we know it or not, we are all re-upping, because he'll do the paperwork for us, signature included. Hah, good luck. I'm no lifer. This is just a four year hobby. Insert winking smiley face here.

Work ended at 8:30 tonight. It begins at 6:30 tomorrow morning. Time for bed, to do it all over again. The weekend should get here quicker this way. Happy trails til next time.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Slow Motion

There really isn't anything going on at all. Tiny little busywork tasks and a whole lot of waiting mixed with canceled tasks and more minor details. What day of the week is it? Monday still? Oh my god. This whole week might be like this. Its almost been a year now, and its gone by pretty quick, but days like these just crawl. I'd like to sleep in my old bed right about now, to alleviate the boredom if nothing else.

But at the same time, you can't come home again. Just like they say. I think I touched on this earlier. I felt pretty out of place during leave. Here, this is all the norm. All the miserable crap, the same faces, same routine, nearly repetitive days and fixed schedule mixed in with the same after hours time wasting and the same conversations. No, we aren't brainwashed, not in the sense of the word people like to think. Maybe conditioned, and not even that is intentional if you ask me. It just happens. I wonder if some of these guys keep re-enlisting because they don't know what they're going to do when they get out. I wouldn't doubt it. Hopefully I won't be that guy.

The army is all right, don't get me wrong, but I did have a life that I planned on resuming after this little pseudo-patriotic endeavor. Its easy to get cynical, and I'm only talking about the day to day crap and the hint of isolation from the civilian world. God knows what deployment is like. Anyone who reads long enough is probably going to find out second hand though.

I think at one point I felt really righteous about us going to Iraq or Afghanistan or wherever we think we might go but probably won't. But now that I think about it, what are we even doing? I mean, I have no idea why we invaded Iraq. I've watched plenty of the news, I've seen Fahrenheit 9/11 and a few other Bush bashing films, and done a decent amount of reading online, but when you get down to it, its really just words. How are you supposed to know who to trust? You can spend your whole life thinking about it, but it probably won't get you anywhere. That's why I don't think I'll ever give a shit about politics. Trusting other imperfect humans to lead us is a huge leap of faith.

At the same time, you've got the dreamers. The John Lennons, who want the whole world to get along, and seem to think that its possible. No offense to them, its a great idea, but not gonna happen anytime soon. Conflict is part of human life. Yeah, it sucks, but what can you do? This is just life. Things are a lot messier than we would have envisioned it. Best thing to do is just drive on, do your job, do your thing when you're off duty, and try not to get sucked into the bullshit more than you have to.

I honestly don't feel like I'm going to make any difference in the (most likely temporary) outcome of Iraq's "struggle for independence", if that's even what it really is. I'm not depressed or anything, but when I actually think about it, the situation of the entire world seems funny to me. We care about the stupidest shit, and don't pay much attention to the important things. No one's perfect though, and no matter what, life will go on. Just a few disconnected thoughts that happened to sneak onto the net through my keystrokes.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Pictures From Mortar Fire





The Art Of Blowing Shit Up

Coming back from leave, I had an interesting conversation with a woman who had married a Vietnam vet. She was an intelligent woman, and a pretty deep thinker it seemed. She was pretty into the whole "universal love for all mankind" thing, which is cool. A great concept. But since it won't ever work because we aren't perfect and neither is this world, I won't waste my time dreaming. Apparently I'm brainwashed, that's what she told me. This was also before I shared any of my opinions with her. She had basically just decided that I was brainwashed, and she was right, and no other way ever will be. After a half hour of attempting to meet her in the middle in terms of conversation, I had to call it quits.

I'm just that brainwashed. Meh, no big loss.

We came back, took a PT test, then we, the totally awesome mortar section, commenced mortar drills and took a new gunner's exam. I got the same score I did last time, in AIT. A 99. So I'm still an expert gunner, but not all the way. Funny thing is, I think I just happen to luck out on these exams. When we're doing actual drills, I get a little hung up. Doesn't matter, I'm an assistant gunner anyway.

Yesterday, we decided that we were going to be the badasses of all badasses and roadmarch out into the field with our mortar equipment, which made me want to whine like a little baby, but luckily I brought my iPod pacifier. The song "People = Shit" by Slipknot really gets me pumped. A lot. Sometimes its important to be pumped. Like when you're roadmarching, or doing training that matters, or doing your job period, its important to be pumped, because it makes you better at it. I remember one time, I had a two liter bottle of cherry coke or something in my fridge, and I wanted a drink of it really bad. The lid simply would not come off.

So I decided that I'd need to get pumped, which I did. I twisted on the lid as hard as I could, to no avail. I used the tail of my shirt, then a towel, then I beat the lid with the handle of my knife, and it still wouldn't work. And then I got SO pumped that I took my knife out and stabbed the side of the bottle, picked it up, turned it sideways, and drank from the neck of it like a vampire or a wild beast. Man, it was sweet. So you see, you can be pumped about anything, and its always a good thing.

Anyway, as I was roadmarching in a reasonably but not very pumped manner, I was pretty much just looking around at the craptastic Washington scenery, and that was cool too. Once we got to the range, we set up our mortars, choked down MREs, and fun was had by all. We layed the mortars in and waited for fire missions called in by our Forward Observers. Mortars are fun.

FACTS about mortars:

1) Mortarmen are mammals.
2) Mortars rock ALL the time.
3) The purpose of a mortar is to be totally badass and destroy stuff.

All Real Ultimate Power references aside, mortars are certainly amazing. Loud and thunderous, plus the anticipation of the falling round also owns. You drop a round down the tube and try to plug your ears and BOOOM!!!, a nerf football from hell shoots through the air, and then you wait, watching in the distance. Then you see an explosion, and shortly afterwards, you hear it.

We sent a lot of rounds downrange that day. When you fire the first round, the base plate isn't dug in yet, so the gunner had to stand on it while the ammo bearer hung the round. Our gunner braced himself against me because he was afraid of the shock. I would have been, too.

All day, it was cold and wet, and the god(s) were peeing all over us. We were miserable except for when we were blowing the whole world up. Most of the time, we weren't though. Hurry up and wait. The other mortar team had probably a 25% misfire rate, meaning the round didn't go off when it was dropped down the tube. Ha ha. Losers.

We also fired some rounds during the night, one gun firing illumination rounds, our gun firing HE. White Phosphorous rounds are also the coolest thing since the mullet. I'll upload some pictures later, because I'm that cool. Until then, its time for me to go back to work cleaning the mortars.

Oh, and we slept out in the field as well. Luckily we found a bunker to crash in, and it was still miserable. And then we roadmarched back. Now I feel awesome because I get to sleep in a warm bed. Peace!