4/2 Stryker pull-out of Iraq. Newsweek.
- The Exodus
...I figured it would be better to put some real'ish photos up instead of just the fishing ones. So if you scroll down past this post you will see some random fishing photos and a post by Giunta.
- The Exodus
...Giunta will mainly be writing the introduction for the book we've been working on, so I'll try and keep this month going with photos from the last mission and more portraits.
- The Exodus
29 JULY 2010
Kalsu has a fishing pond. You can rent out some fishing poles and bait your lines with chunks of hot dogs and such. The PX has cases of near beer and you can steal ice from the water coolers and have a nice little time of it. So we did.
There were four of us out there, all sitting cross-legged by the pond and holding a couple of cheap toy poles that wouldn’t cast on their own. We were pulling out the lines by hand and throwing them off into the water. And we were sipping on beers that, no matter how fast or how many we drank, wouldn’t do us any good or get any of us drunk. The view on the other side of the pond was the FOB’s fence-line, with guard towers popping up here and there. The experience wasn’t quite like docking the boat off some tiny island in the inner coastal, but still, I felt at home by the attempt to create a peaceful evening out on the water.
It was a good setting for random and disconnected daydreams. On our push the night before we trucked through a part of town called New Baghdad. First I was fixed on scanning the rubble for IEDs, and I was thinking, they could be anywhere; I’ve seen them paved under the road and shoved up a camel’s ass. Now I’m on Easter Egg hunts at St. George’s Catholic Church, in Newnan, GA. And I think we had a Priest who looked like Beetlejuice. But the streets cleaned up and there were tall, evenly spaced palms and fresh paint on buildings and electricity shining through every corner’s street-lamp. Once you cross the city limits into Boca Raton, the grass literally becomes greener and the air fresher, I always thought that was funny. And suddenly I craved a mojito and the company of a Florida girl dressed for the tropical air, which is hardly dressed at all. The push had been to FOB Hammer from VBC, twenty miles roundabout. It took us six hours and I had imagined an army on bicycles zipping past and beating us to the gate.
At VBC I had seen a Battalion-size element of Ugandan soldiers, formed in columns of two and marching into chow. I decided VBC was something to the sort of their Basic Training area, remembering how, when I was a baby on Sand Hill, the Drill Sergeants used to file us into the DFAC just the same. And many of them had a little red ribbon tied to their blouse and I thought maybe their instructors used it to monitor their water consumption. We used a string of parachute cord, tying knots every time we finished a canteen. And, I thought, what if we just kept training these Ugandan folks, who we already use for tower guard and such. We could assemble a countless mass of them, our own clone army, and have them go off and do all our army stuff, while we sip boat drinks with our old lady in her favorite bikini and so on.
I was interrupted just then by an orange-strawberry Gatorade, and painfully remembered the time I said, “shit” or “fuck” or “cock sucking, douche bag,” and my mother locked me in the bathroom with scented soap in my mouth. I’m sure I felt sorry to have sworn then, but now, all I remember is the nasty fucking flavor of orange-strawberry soap in my damn mouth. I don’t swear much aloud anymore. Maybe I should be made to hold bars of soap in my hands until they write clean words?
I daydreamt of measurable change too. We had to take a partial load at VBC and another at Hammer and still some more at Kalsu. Another CET we ran into drove up north to JBB to pick up a load of nothing, and had to be re-routed here and there to find lost items for downgrade. I imagine it was all disorganized efforts on someone’s part to earn a merit badge for quantity of work rather than quality, or their inability to communicate simple numbers through the complicated new technology that is a telephone. Yes, that sounds right to me, and it is much more believable than measurable change.
These are the sort of things I thought about while the four of us fished a desert pond, sitting next to bold-print signs that read: DO NOT EAT FISH. The sign, well intended, didn’t matter anyway. We didn’t catch anything, which is fine.
- The Exodus