May 26, 2003
In the words of Paul Harvey (if you don’t know who that is, look him up, he’ s a great storyteller), it’s time for the rest of the story. Last time I told you about the Sergeant Major outside the gate at Doha, and now let me tell you about the inside.
Doha is a fairly nice post, considering that I was previously in the middle of the desert. My previous time there (all 3 days) was very nice, and I had no arguments with it. There was even some excitement with SCUD warnings and one VERY loud silkworm missile attack that shook the rafters, so I have nothing against it. Um, well I had nothing against it. During subsequent trips to Doha, I saw that it was becoming more and more congested. Lines for the PX, barber etc were significantly longer than I remembered, and for good reason. There are too many people on that post. At least for my liking. I like small posts with minimal officers and staff-type soldiers (ok, so I’m going to be an officer when I get home, but I’m going to try not to be one of these types).
You may or may not know the type of person I’m talking about - the ones with far too much time no their hands, a power complex and a power point presentation for everything from digging a fighting position (see Foxhole) to jerking off. I know that I’m a remf, and I am proud to serve my country, but I also know that most of these staff-pukes are part of a bureaucratic system that encourages micro-management (see Sergeant Major outside the gate telling soldiers to wear their helmets and body armor). Another example, sure I can do that.
Doha is split into two separate parts: North and South. The North side is for tactical (see Hummers, Tanks, etc) and the South side is for billeting (see housing), the PX and other soldier needs. Mail is on the south side, and since there isn’t enough space on Doha for the troops that are trying to live there as they transition to somewhere else, access onto the South side with a tactical vehicle is severely limited. In fact, you have to get a pass before security will let you drive onto South Doha.
No problem, we’ve got 2 hummers because there is an ass load of mail waiting for us. We go to the permit office (I’d never been there before, but one of the other guys, Dustin, had been) and I’m thinking that this will be no problem at all. We roll in, grab the mail, two guys hit the PX, one guy goes to finance and I’ll watch the gear, mail and the trucks while they’re gone. Simple. Easy. Done. Um, no, this is where part two gets a little retarded.
We were only allowed one permit. I told the Lieutenant (another sign of gross micro-management, an officer acting as a traffic cop) that we had two trucks worth of mail and really needed both vehicles on post, but he was unfazed.
“Sergeant, you should have been picking up your mail on a regular basis, and this would not be a problem.”
Oh, this is how it’s gonna be. “Sir, we have been picking up mail daily-daily, but my commander,” and that son-of-a-bitch cut me off.
“Sergeant, I don’t want to hear it. Make due with what you have, and be off my post in an hour.”
“Yes Sir.” I bit my tongue, performed a right face and walked out of his office. I wasn’t exceptionally pissed off, oh-no. I was way beyond anything so civil as that. While I was visualizing tying that having no common sense prick to a chair and working him over with a pair of my worst smelling socks (now that’s biological warfare!), Dustin steps up and gets me refocused on the situation by pulling a blank pass out of his pocket.
Apparently, Dustin has met this guy before, and being a good soldier, has found a way to adapt and overcome the hostile situation. This looks like a great idea, but there’s only one problem: the official stamp with the Lieutenant’s official signature.
“If I flash it quick, nobody will notice,” Dustin’s logic sounded good and looked great on paper. The bad part, somebody had already been busted with that ruse, and Dustin was denied access to South Doha. Damn.
I had already planned for this contingency. We would meet up back outside the not-so-helpful (does this remind anyone else of Wisconsin?) Lieutenant’s office, transfer the mail from one truck to another then make a second run to the South. No problem, and as Matt and I were loading our hummer with the warehouse (I’m not kidding, there was a ton of mail, and no, no packages for me) of mail, guess who rolls up with the biggest shit eating grin you ever did see. Yep, my pal Dustin.
Seems that Dustin went back to the prick's office, sent in another troop and got another pass by telling the Lieutenant that he was with another (and completely fictional) unit. The Lieutenant bought the story, issued another pass, and told him too, “Be off my post in an hour.” I believe that PT Barnum was right, there is a sucker born every minute.
We loaded the packages, and they filled both the hummers, drove the trucks to the North side of the post, I watched the gear, mail and trucks and the others went and took care of their own personal business. You might be wondering where all these packages came from, considering that we’ve been checking our mail daily. They came down from the Marine unit we were attached to at Camp Coyote. I guess they found all our mail when they were told that they were rotating home in 30 days. Funny how that works, don’t you think? But I was just happy that we got our mail and maneuvered around that Lieutenant.
Oh, but this isn’t the happy ending. The happy ending came on the drive home. Matt was riding shotgun, and a civilian SUV pulls up alongside us with a female driver and 5 girls, the oldest one around 12 and the youngest maybe 6. Matt is an incorrigible flirt, and those little girls didn’t mind waving and pointing and giggling when he started making funny faces and goofing off. It was the first time I’ve seen anyone local to this place smile, and the fact that the mom driving the SUV slowed down so the kids could play along was a good sign. Maybe the next generation won’t grow up hating Americans, thinking that we’re devils and warmongers. Maybe the next generation will remember that we’ve all got little kids in us, and we’re just looking for a reason to goof-off and play. That the real reason we came over here was so that little kids can be little kids, and grown ups can let their kids grow up safe.
I love you all,
PS – While I didn’t receive any packages that day, I have received more than my fair share. I would like to thank all my friends and relatives for their packages and well wishes.
"That the real reason we came over here was so that little kids can be little kids, and grown ups can let their kids grow up safe."
This is probably the best explanation for you guys being over there that I have seen or heard since all of this began. I thank you Will, for bringing laughter and smiles to those of us who keep up with your posts. Stay safe and remember: "Patience is a virtue" You'll be homeward bound soon...all of you will.
Much respect to you from this Marine girlfriend waiting on the homefront...
Man, Will, you write so good......only one problem, not often enough ;-) I love opening my mail to see another post from you and it is always a great story to almost make us feel like we are there with you.
You know, one way for you to get some mail would be to post your address here, I am sure you would find lots of packages then.
Keep safe and keep writing.
The LT. that you mention reminds me of everything that's wrong with the military: They just can't use plain logic for the simple stuff. I'm not knocking the majority of servicemen and women, just the service idiots that you always run into when you forget that the thing you're about to do is only a simple thing when you're a civillian. Best of luck and don't get careless! We want to keep hearing when you back home.
Great ending to the story! I can't write as much as I usually do....I'm making dinner then promised my 7 yr old son we could go 'night swimming'. BTW, dinner is cheese ravioli, some green salad, and fresh fruit salad after swimming. Wanna join us sometime? (See DINNER INVITE STILL IN EFFECT)
Keep your spirits up, your boiling point level, and Godspeed. It almost feels like you're a friend at this point! *waves*
Take care Will...
I'm a new "recruit" on your website and wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading about your adventures. I am so proud of all of you men and women over there! And of course I am damn proud to be an American! God Bless America! Will....you da man! Take care and keep those updates coming! :-)
Great story. Like I mentioned in my last E-mail, Murphy's Law seems to absolutely dictate that what should seem so simple never really is (I hate Mr. Murphy!). I can relate to what you were talking about regarding the micro-managing LT. I have seen more than my share in the Navy. Don't let those people get you down. You have way more brains and talent. Keep up the writing. Hang in there and stay safe.
Little kid? In you? Nah.....
Never fear, package is on the way - unless it got there in two weeks time which I highly doubt. Unless the postmaster was correct when he told me it would get there in 2-3 days (silly rabbit).
Gotta tell you, the "Happy Ending" almost got me going that it was THE happy ending we have been waiting for. Guess we will just keep waiting.
Tell Dustin he is officer material waiting to happen (and I mean that as good officer). Very innovative.
Stay safe my friend. Miss you.
it has been a real happy ending story!
I think your final message represents the sense of responsability which has driven the operation in Iraq. Those one in which american and italian have believed, as others million people too!
I'm sure that great part of those poor people are starting to understand that you're not devils, but maybe the contrary...
MMMM...a strange contrary.. who drinks J.W. scothc..., smokes cuban cigars....but very very responsible!
Waiting for another story,
I'm glad to hear that you got all of your mail. it just goes to show you, where there's a WILL there's a way, no pun intended!! and yes I to thought the good new was that you were coming home, maybe next letter!!. and don't ever lose that kid in you, it's probably the only thing keeping you sane!!
God be with you, Sherri
Great post from the "postman" in more ways than one. You must look like an angel to the guys waiting for packages and letters from home. I hope they appreciate the trouble y'all had to go thru so they could receive their greetings from home.
Your closing sentiments said it perfectly...we can change their lives if they could only trust our motives. Giving the Iraqi people their freedom back is by far the greatest gift we can give them.
My family went to a Memorial Day parade and ceremony on Monday. Patriotism is alive and well in Ft. Wayne, IN. Many tears were shed as we remembered those who have given us so much. I gotta brag too--we had three kids in the marching band all decked out with their red, white and blue. So we are VERY VERY proud of our country and our kids and our soldiers fighting the tough fight.
Keep up the spirits and the good work, Will. What you do is important not only to us but to the people of Iraq too. I fear the next move may be in Iran but be sure they send you home first so you can reguvenate w/ your loved ones before going back into harms way. God Bless you, sweetie. hugs and kisses ~~Kris~~
I have been reading and enjoying your e-mails for the past several months. I read yesterday you went on a mail run with Dustin. Was wandering if Dustin is from Ohio. I'm sure there is more than one Dustin in Kuwait, but a lot of your postings sound familiar. Could it be!!
You are a VERY good writter..also very funny!!! I want to thank you for all you do and have done(even if you are only waving at little kids at this point)!! Like you said, maybe they will remember that!!! Be safe and come home soon.
I just love the way you tell the story (see English Lit Degree)
It's fun to read what you write...truly!
Okay! From a worry wort Mom. With the news this weekend KEEP! that Jacket ON! It way just save your life. I know it is hot. But your Mom can get hotter (See Mom with with high blood pressure yelling at you if your not carefull) Hope you will be home soon!
For those of you still looking to hook up with service members who could use letters/packages from home I know there are still 15 unassigned service people at:
United States Soldier Care Package Exchange
And how do I know this? I am involved with monitoring and updating the site. So, please go there and sign up.
I'm not so sure I want to see all of those Power-Point presentations. “With lotion in hand…” (see head shaking no vigorously)
Anyway, keep the safety gear on and keep your sense of humor. It makes life so much more bearable. Besides, if you go Postal, where does that leave us, your loyal readers? ;)
I sure the 'Happy Ending' wasn't the one your friends and family were hoping for but it sure brought a smile to my face. I hope they hear good news from you soon!
Thanks for being a good-Will ambassador.
your happy ending was wonderful. It made me feel warm and tingly.
the magazine editor in SoCal
I just found your journal page today and had to write and say thank you. Keep it up. You are inspirational and made me laugh out loud. You are a natural.
My boyfriend is over there somewhere, but since I'm not hearing from him, it's sure good to hear from you.
God bless you and keep you safe.
Regarding your last line about kids and grownups - I don't think it gets any more simple or eloquent than that.
Regarding power point, you know what they say about the size of a guy's arrow.....
Be careful - sounds like the bad guys are ambushing supply and/or mail convoys.
Will, you are an inspiration!!! Stay strong and keep your head up!! We civilians are still rooting for all of ya!!
Will - I know you read these comments when you get a chance and something happened at work yesterday that so made me laugh and think of you. We got an e-mail announcing "The New Phone Books are Here!" (I'm sure Navin R. Johnson is a proud man)
Miss getting to laugh about this stupid stuff with ya. Stay safe and come home soon.
Thanks for keeping OUR spirits up! You're a fantastic writer!!!
Come home safe and soon!!
Is there any possible chance that I could elicit the help of some of kind folks in your unit to assist in cleaning my room?
It is not so much hazardously dirty as hopelessly cluttered. At this point it may require an Army type operation to get the task done and get the task done right.
I would be more than happy to provide gourmet good chow and all the beverages y'all can swallow. I am just really in over my pretty little head here.
I never have mastered the art of organization. The rest of the house is in fine shape, just my sleeping quarters where I also do my writing and consequently spend the majority of my time.
Let's just say it looks as if my ceiling fan blew a gale force wind and scattered the contents about.
I do appreciate your consideration in the desperate matter.
Not sure if you will get home in time to "capitalize" on this limited offer. But I feel like I would be doing y'all a great disservice if I did not pass this on:
Brothel Offers Free Sex to Returning Troops
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -
Talk about what (or who) you can do for your country!
In an unusual act of patriotism, a Nevada brothel is offering free sex to troops returning from the U.S.-Iraq war.
The Moonlite BunnyRanch in Nevada, a legal brothel, also plans to extend 50 percent discounts on sex to the military for the next few weeks, proprietor Dennis Hof told Reuters in a telephone interview on Tuesday.
Hof hit on his unique gesture for honoring U.S. troops when BunnyRanch star and former Playboy magazine centerfold Sunset Thomas was flooded with letters from the front lines.
"We were receiving about 20 letters a day," Hof said. "We thought, when these guys are done we'll do something special for them."
The first 50 servicemen and women through the door will receive a sexy knockoff of their military-issued "TA-50" kits of personal hygiene items. Instead of toothbrushes and soap, Hof's kits contain condoms, lubricant, an adult magazine and a certificate for free sex.
Thirteen men and three women in uniform have shown up so far to claim their gifts. All told, the free and discounted sex will cost Hof about $50,000 -- a worthy sacrifice, he said.
"We want to feel patriotic and feel we are doing something for our servicemen," he said. "If we owned a Dairy Queen we would be giving away free ice cream, but ... we own the sex capital of the world. What better way is there to give back?"
What better way indeed. I never knew
TA-50 stood for: t*ts-n-*ss + 50% discount.
My apologies to those who do not have to pay to play.
Just a little harmless kicks-n-giggles,
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