Operation: GTFO (Day 100)

And It Won’t Be Long…

Sadly, I'm not here yet.

Sadly, I’m not here yet.

Today marks the 100th day we’ve been on Title X orders.  I’m pretty sure I’m off by a few days or more, but I don’t think it really matters.  It’s not like this is official record-keeping.  Technically, there could be 300 more days of this.

In a lot of ways, this deployment is vastly easier than my last deployment; but, in other ways, this is so much worse.  I just remarked to 47 that I think I would redo the last deployment before I would redo this one.  The level of drama is very high, so as to be crushing on one’s soul.  On the first deployment, everyone hated me.  It was lonely, but in retrospect, I don’t think that’s a bad thing.  No one wanted to talk to me, and I was not required to speak to anyone else.  I went to work every day, and brought my ass back to that tent and sat in my little cubby, minding my own fucking business.

Would that I could do that here!

I'm having unit T-shirts made.

I’m having unit T-shirts made.

I am beset on all sides by meetings, huddles, and NCO calls.  As a staff NCO, I’m right in the middle.  All the junior enlisted want to complain to me like I have the power to fix something, and all the senior enlisted want to complain like I have the power to fix something.  And then this bullshit about company versus staff.  I didn’t even realize that was a thing.  I thought it was, “Hey, you, do this,” and I do it.  Now, it’s like I have to have permission to do work, to do what I consider being a good NCO.  If you ask me to do a job, no matter how shitty that job is, I should do it, and it doesn’t matter who asked me.  I am smart enough, old enough, and experienced enough to know how to manage my time, so when I am tasked, tasked, and tasked some more I know how to juggle my priorities to get all the work done so no one complains I dropped the ball.  I also know how to say, “I have too much on my plate, I need help.”  I know these are difficult behaviours for some people and maybe that is why there is so much oversight, but enough is enough.

A few of my co-workers.

A few of my co-workers.

I feel like I work in a daycare and circus combined.  Some days I feel like a nanny, having to hold everyone’s hand so they don’t shit on themselves.  Other days I feel like I have to perform.  I feel like a circus act, working for peanuts.  I never feel appreciated, but that is the nature of this beast.  I didn’t come here to get an attaboy, but don’t act like we’re not working hard.  I am not overworked.  I do not have to work 12 hour shifts.  I don’t have shit details.  But I am working hard.  It’s just very frustrating.

And the whining.  Yes, I’m whining on my blog, that’s cuz, it’s a blog.  If you’re reading my bitch-fest, it’s because you want to read it.  You don’t have to, but the level of crybabies complaining about every fucking thing is enough to make me kill myself.  You would think it’s some bitch-ass privates, but seriously, we only have two privates.  They have their fair share of issues, but the serious whining is coming from Higher.  I thought as you go up in rank the more power you have to get things done, to rectify things.  I am learning that is not the case.  The higher in rank you go, the more stymied you are.  If you do not have the balls to make a breakthrough, then you’re just a figurehead—or a punching bag, whichever.

Pictured:  Higher's NCOER.

Pictured: Higher’s NCOER.

The workforce seems to be made up of crybabies, Sad Sallies, bi-polar, menstrual cycle ass bitches who need their hand held to cross the fucking street.  There are all kinds of wild accusations of racism, favouritism, fraternization, etc.  Someone said, “IG,” and I just know it’s not going to work out well for us.  Thankfully, none of these accusations are directed at me.  I definitely feel some kind of heat though, but it’s different than the last time.  I think these bitches hate me, but for different reasons.  Last time I insulted everyone, this time, I’m just doing my job and doing it well.  People will always hate you for your successes and they will try their hardest to pounce on you the minute you slip up.

Introducing the new EPS System.

Introducing the new EPS System.

I trust these people less than I trust the last set of people I deployed with.  At least with them, I knew they couldn’t stand me.  They pretty much said it to my face.  With these people, it’s hard to tell.  Everyone smiles at you while they hold the whip hand behind their back.  I took it as no great surprise that my boss told me that I need to protect my own career.  I will take that advice to heart.  You do not know people until you know people.

Operation: GTFO (Day 99)

Fraud, Waste and Abuse

Have you ever met someone with entirely too much time on their hands?  They appear to be overly stressed out about the tiniest things that do not matter.  Instead of taking the time to apply a little common sense, they hone in on some obscure rule that never made sense in the first place, and then try to enforce it to the fullest extent.

Because there was nothing else to do that day.

Because there was nothing else to do that day.

Yesterday’s shit storm began when several higher ranking members of my unit went to the chow hall for lunch.  They drove their assigned non-tactical vehicle, and when they came out of the chow hall they saw their vehicles had been booted.  Yes, I mean booted, like when you park in a handicap space, or you have too many outstanding tickets.

Higher was in the parking lot along with the MPs, booting vehicles for violating several Army regulations, including AR 58-1, AR 215-1, Army Directive 2007-01 and some other shit I’ve never actually read.  According to these regulations, you are not permitted to drive your military vehicle to a chow hall because it is not official business.  You are also not permitted to drive your military vehicle to your home of residence, either.  When I say military vehicle, I don’t mean a 5-ton or some shit.  I mean, like, a GSA van or some other normal car that is assigned to the government.  Apparently, there is some rule called duty to domicile, and when you drive to the chow hall, you’re just wrong.  According to an email sent ALCON, it’s “fraud, waste and abuse.”

Going to McDonald's.  Anybody want anything?

Going to McDonald’s. Anybody want anything?

So, you know, maybe if I was back home in the States and I was driving my government vehicle up to New York to see my parents, or I’m using a government credit card to buy fuel for my privately owned vehicle while I gallivant across the United States.  That’s definitely some fraud, waste and abuse; but here, on deployment?  Yeah, please get out of my face with that shit.

 

The higher-ranking individuals from my unit questioned Higher and his crew of MPs.  They asked how they were supposed to get to chow.  Higher said, “Take the bus.”

What if the bus is full?

Well, wait till the next one.

What about that one?

There will be another one.

It’s a little bit idiotic because the buses are always full.  One day last week all of the buses were cancelled.  Someone made an announcement over the Big Voice that the buses would be delayed until further notice.  The announcement started around 8 in the morning and went until the afternoon.  So, I guess I’ll tell my boss I can’t come to work because there’s no bus.

I wonder why they assigned so many vehicles out in the first place, if they did not want anybody actually driving them.  I won’t say how many Soldiers are in my unit, and I won’t say how many vehicles we have but we have enough to ensure our Soldiers can get to work and to chow, which to me, is official business.  I’m not driving them to McDonald’s and shit.  We take them to the chow hall at a set time every day and we bring their asses back to work.  Generally, we’re not making PX runs or cruising around this godforsaken base.  Contrary to popular belief, we do have work to do.  If they didn’t want us driving the vehicles, why’d they give them to us?  It would have made more sense that only one or two vehicles were assigned to each unit, and everyone would have to share those vehicles to conduct official business only.

Take the bus?  Bitch, please!  Ain't nobody got time for that.

Take the bus? Bitch, please! Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I fail to understand these people actually want my colonel to get on a bus to get his lunch every day.  You end up wasting a lot of time fucking around with these buses.  My unit is larger than the capacity of a bus so we’d be out there all day waiting on a fucking bus to get to chow.

If we weren’t supposed to drive these to our “residences,” then why does Higher have an assigned parking space in front of the officer living quarters?  Why are the MPs driving to chow?  That’s not official business.  There are assigned MP spaces in front of the chow hall.  Why isn’t there a sign that says, No NTV parking in front of the chow hall?  Why is there a parking lot at the PX, if you don’t want anyone to park there?  You could say Soldiers were going to finance since they are co-located but you wouldn’t need a Wal-Mart sized parking lot for that.  Why is there parking at any of the living areas?

WHY IS THERE PARKING AT THE CHOW HALL?

According to this policy it applies to contractors, civilians and military personnel.

Higher must be bored.  He did not have anything else to do that day but stand out in the parking lot in 110 degree heat looking for vehicles that shouldn’t be parked at the chow hall.  Better still, the MPs didn’t have shit else to do today.  SHARP incidents are down 100%.  Suicide is down to zero.  There hasn’t been any assault, robberies or terrorist attempts on this base at all.  ISIS is dead.  World peace has been solved.

Pictured:  fraud, waste AND abuse.

Pictured: fraud, waste AND abuse.

There was an email that stated the MPs would be staged at both DFACs and the PX to make sure that no one was violating the rules.  I already wrote about the MPs on this base.  It seems their focus is speeding and parking violations, and not really on protection and safety.  I want to get my hands on a police blotter to see what type of criminal activity is going on.  Apparently, this is pure Pleasantville if the MPs don’t have shit else to do.

It’s really quite laughable they would talk about fraud, waste and abuse when the MPs here are sitting on Chargers and Mustangs.  Seriously, this base is a few miles wide and a few miles long.  The max speed anywhere on post is 40KPH.  If no one is supposed to be driving anywhere why are there so many cops in high-octane vehicles?  What high speed chases will they be conducting?

I told you about parking at the DFAC.  You're going to jail, buddy.

I told you about parking at the DFAC. You’re going to jail, buddy.

I love how the government is two-faced in these things.  On one hand, government spending is out of control and we need to rein it in.  On the other hand, we need all this super-high tech bullshit for no reason, so let’s drop some bills.  If I had been in charge of the contract, the MP fleet would be sturdy SUVs that can off-road, since most of the roads are dirt.  The MPs don’t have any jurisdiction outside the post so there’s no need to have sporty vehicles that are designed for performance.  The MPs would also do a lot more patrolling and a lot less staging at DFACs looking for vehicles illegally parked.  That would be the least of my concerns.

Apparently, it’s okay to drive to the MWR for Poker Night because it’s an installation sponsored MWR event, but you can’t take Soldiers to get lunch real quick so they can bring their asses back to work.  Now I know why the Active Duty guys take two hours for lunch every day.  It takes that long to get anywhere on the bus, because they’re sitting out waiting on a bus that isn’t full or delayed.  If I drive to chow I can be back at my desk in 20 minutes.  I go and get a to-go plate and return to my desk because there is work to do.  Occasionally, we sit in, but that’s more of a luxury.  If I had to walk to the chow hall, I’d be gone for at least an hour because I wouldn’t take out.

Here's my exception to policy, bitches.

Here’s my exception to policy, bitches.

This was a situation that seemed difficult to fight.  It’s hard to argue against sheer stupidity.  Every logical argument you could present would be rebuffed with the utmost foolishness.  Senior leadership did try to come up with an exception to policy but the regulation is written in such a fashion as not to be undone.  Higher stated that all cars booted would remain so for a minimum of seven days.  Also, the violators would have to go before the Chief of Staff and explain away their actions.  Once again, these people at the highest echelons have nothing else to do with their time but listen to parking violations.  That is something you assign to some petty judge somewhere in some lesser known circuit court.  If I were a general, I would laugh if my staff came to me with such nonsense.  Then I’d fire them all.  My senior leadership showed amazing aplomb and they tried to deal with the situation as best they could but there’s no winning against stupid.

With the crosswalk rules here on AJ, you could be here all day.

With the crosswalk rules here on AJ, you could be here all day.

I suggest we adhere to this policy to its fullest capacity.  No one drive anywhere.  All Soldiers walk or wait for the bus.  Spend hours sitting at the bus stop waiting for a bus.  Walk three miles from one end of post to the other.  Really, three miles isn’t that far.  It should take you about 45 minutes if you’re walking at a normal pace.  So, waste 45 minutes walking to chow.  Sit down and have a good chow.  Then take 45 minutes to walk back from chow.  If you need to run an errand, ask your boss for permission then walk there.  Take as much time as you need to walk there.  If you are Zone 1, walk to the Zone 6 PX.  If you work in Zone 6, walk to the Zone 2 chow hall.

This way, vehicles on the road are official business only.  When you see a vehicle, immediately jump into the crosswalk and walk as slowly as possible as you can across the street.  Problem solved.

Operation: GTFO (Day 98)

Some say a bird in the house is a sign of bad luck

Some say a bird in the house is a sign of bad luck

Mousecapades

I knew today was going to be an interesting day.  I received an omen.  As soon as I opened the door a bird flew out of the office.  I guess it had been trapped in there all night long.  Poor thing.  You know birds can symbolize so many things, like death……..

We’ve been here approximately six weeks, and in that time we’ve discovered rodents in our office space.  There had been indicators, such as poop on our S3’s desk and bits of chewed up shit all over the place.  Out here in the desert, there’s no way of knowing what kind of rodents were up against.  It could be cute little field mice, or something more sinister like the Rat King.  (If you want to be grossed out, Google Image rat king.)

This was us, pretty much.

This was us, pretty much.

I decided we had to take drastic action after $60 worth of coffee was destroyed by the little bastards.  We came in to work one day to find they had eaten through two boxes of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe.  We were left in a state of despair during the Great Coffee Drought of 2014.  It takes about a week for Amazon to deliver, and although the PX sells Keurig machines, it doesn’t actually sell K-cups (because that makes a lot of sense).  While we were in here suffering caffeine withdrawal, Mickey and Friends were eating their way through pistachios, oatmeal squares and expensive, organic, fair trade breakfast bars.

We thought about buying traps but no one ever did because we were like, “What if we do catch a mouse?  Who’s going to take care of it?”  Our boss flat out refused.  47 and I looked at each other and basically said, “Yeah, no.”  So that idea was a bust.  At dinner the other night S6 told us a story about how his daughter used glue traps to catch a mouse because she thought it was more humane.  He went into graphic detail about how she had to rip the mouse off the glue and its legs came off.

Yeah, no.

All of this is propped up on some cardboard boxes and a bag of Doritos.

All of this is propped up on some cardboard boxes and a bag of Doritos.

There’s a pest control on post, but no one made contact with those people to see how they could help us.  Mickey felt like it was a free for all because almost every day something was eaten up.  We resorted to stacking snack boxes on top of the cubicle walls, but then I wondered if they were in the ceiling or something.

I guess not, because we found Mickey this morning.

We’ve been pretty diligent about taking the trash out, but every now and again we get a little lazy or maybe there’s only one or two things in the can.  This morning 47 is putting trash bags in the cans and she’s like, “Were these coffee creamers always in the trash like this?”  On Saturday, I did throw away from coffee creamer containers, but I had put them in the bag in the trash can.  The trash bag was all fucked up and the coffee creamers had holes in them.  Before I could really answer, 47 saw something dark inside the trash can.  She reached in and then dropped the can and started screaming, “It’s in the trash can!  It’s in the trash can!”  So when someone else starts screaming, I’m gonna start screaming.  We both were screaming, trying to run out the door.  Our S3, who has made it clear that he doesn’t like mice, was on the phone.

This was my boss, except without the dress.

This was my boss, except without the dress.

He said, “Hey, let me call you back.  We have a mouse in the house.”  Then he proceeds to grab a broom and hold it like it’s a 12-gauge shot gun.  Be advised this is a man who has put more than a few bullets down range.  He’s been on multiple real deployments.  He’s probably even kicked in a few doors.  Basically, he’s not some pansy ass soft cake, but apparently, the thought of a mouse crawling around in the office skeeves him out.  He has said on more than one occasion that he doesn’t do rodents.  He also told us a story about how a mouse got into his uniform while he was wearing it and it bit him up.  He might have PTSD from that.

47 ran out of the office to find someone who had previously said he would get rid of the mouse for us, if we ever caught it.  I was so grossed out that I had to go outside.  It was the sight of that gross little body bouncing around in the trash can when 47 dropped it.  Ugh.  I’m going to have nightmares.  I’ve been so freaked out by this whole situation that the other night while I was cleaning up my cubby, my own hair wrap scared the shit out of me.  I was sweeping and the end of my wrap flew over my shoulder.  All I saw was something dark and I thought it was a rat tail.

I'll be back, bitches.

I’ll be back, bitches.

Our S1 came and he thought the whole situation was hysterical.  He reached into the trash can and pulled the nasty little thing out with his bare hands.  I don’t know if it was dead or what because I ran around the corner.  Our CSM was like, “What the fuck is going on?”  She was trying to ask me a legitimate question about a mission she’s going on and I’m screaming like a maniac across the airfield.

I have no idea what happened to Mickey.  S1 asked us if we wanted to just get rid of it, or did we want to kill it.  It could be dead, for all I know.  Or, it could be out there, waiting….

Operation: GTFO (Day 73)

Crossfit: Get Some…Maybe

crossfit scientologyI let 47 talk me into joining crossfit. I know some guys from home who do Crossfit and they’ve sworn what an awesome work out it is. I believe it because both of them are completely ripped. One was always in decent shape, and the other one pretty much transformed before my eyes. Last deployment a bunch of guys got into Crossfit and they all came back sexy (as in body, but not face—nothing can be done for the face. Sorry.)

So, full disclosure: I am a pudgy, lazy somebody who really ought to get back into shape. I say that because you always have to consider the source when you take in somebody’s opinion.

Pros:

  • Although I hate organized PT, I like Crossfit because there are set times with set instructors and set exercises. You know exactly what you’ll be doing that day. You don’t show up and everyone’s like, “Hmm, what should we do today?” It’s not as dumb as organized PT because you don’t have to stand at attention or any stupid shit like that.

    It's really not as easy as it looks.

    It’s really not as easy as it looks.

  • There are a lot of body weight exercises. I prefer workouts that I can do anywhere. I hate having to buy special equipment, or having to go to some place special just to workout. I think I’m the one person I know that works out while on vacation because I tend to stick to exercises that can be done anywhere. As much as burpees suck, I really do like the exercise. I even prefer the way it’s done in Crossfit. The Crossfit pushups are better as well. I’ll be doing those from now on. And the Crossfit sit-ups. Be warned, they’re all painful but they work more muscles and it’s harder to cheat at the exercises. It’s like you have to do it right. Even when you’re at the end of your strength, you’re still getting something out of the movements. AND I AM DETERMINED TO GET STRONG ENOUGH TO DO PULL-UPS.
  • Exercises for time can be done like cardio workouts. Let’s face it: I’m a Cardio Queen (when I’m in shape, that is). If you have to do pull-ups in a certain amount of time, that’s cardio. If you are running back and forth trying to complete exercises, that’s pretty much cardio. I like cardio. I like running, but running every day isn’t good for you and sometimes it can get boring.

Cons:

  • Seriously, guy, put some more weight on that, you pussy.

    Seriously, guy, put some more weight on that, you pansy.

    I hate the weightlifting. I have never liked weightlifting. Every time I start weightlifting I remember how much I hate it then I quit. Is it good for the body? Yes, it really is. Women tend to avoid it because they think they’re going to end up like Arnold, circa 1983. I know that’s not true. I hate weightlifting because I just do. Just like people hate running. I don’t mind working with dumbbells but I hate barbell workouts. Crossfit doesn’t have dumbbells, at least, not as far as I’ve seen.

    Those aren't Crossfit pushups, so just give up.

    Those aren’t Crossfit pushups, so just give up.

  • I hate the sales pitch. If people are interested, they’re going to show up. Some people need an introduction to the product, but every time someone talks about Crossfit they talk about how much better it is than any other workout anybody has ever done. Ever. I don’t know that I agree with that. Crossfit works for a lot of people. Traditional weightlifting works for a lot of people. Cardio works for a lot of people. Being a lazy fat ass works for a lot of people. I think it depends on what a person is looking for, what they are willing to do and what they’re interested in.  Don’t forget that Crossfit is first and foremost a business.  It’s a registered trademark and all the jazz that comes with it.  We’re lucky we’re on a military base with a military manager because otherwise somebody would have to pay to use the term “Crossfit.”  If we were back home, we’d be forking out upwards of $100 or more to belong to a Crossfit gym.  In theory, the workouts can’t really be done everywhere else.  Yes, you can take away bits and pieces of the workout but I don’t know a lot of people who have gym rings set up in their living rooms, or that ab thing or a rower.  Basically, when you go to the workouts they’re going to sell it hard and tell you it’s better than anything you’ve ever done in your whole life because there is no way else to get you to pay $100 a month to look like some of these guys.  Same way with all these fad diets and buzz words like organic and all-natural.  Marketers package this shit like there’s no other way to lose weight or get in shape but whatever they’re selling.
  • I told my kids, Crossfit or prostitution.  It's really about choices.

    I told my kids, Crossfit or prostitution. It’s really about choices.

    The meathead personality abounds at Crossfit.  I’m not sure it really means anything if you don’t like Crossfit, or if you prefer to do a different type of workout.  Some of these guys clearly think you’re inferior if you’re a “gym rat.”  I think this goes into the whole sales pitch thing.  They’re trying to sell why Crossfit is way better than traditional lifting.  Instead of being cool and laid-back about an awesome workout, there’s a lot of arrogance.  The instructors said they experience a surge of new people right after an orientation class, then it tapers off.  One instructor said it’s because some of them probably didn’t have the tenacity to stick with it.  Way to be judgmental.  Maybe they found it boring.  Maybe they felt it didn’t suit their needs.  Maybe they came because they were curious about Crossfit and just wanted to try it out before making an opinion about it.  Maybe they were turned off by your smug attitude.  Maybe they discovered that none of the class times worked for their schedule.  Could be a lot of things.  Some people who want to lose weight and get in shape are intimidated when they go to a gym and find out everyone is already cut.  Someone wrote on the Crossfit page about the “silly Zumba people.” I don’t think it was an instructor who wrote the comment but to each their own, you know.  At least the Zumba people are up and moving, not laying on their fat ass (like me, for example).  Everything is not for everybody.

  • I often feel like I’m forced to lift or do more than I’m actually capable of. I’m not talking about pushing a person to do more, as in, “Come on, you got one more.” That’s motivational. Sometimes you really do have one more in you, but you’re being lazy and you need someone to pump you up. That’s awesome. What isn’t awesome is that it’s my first week and I need to stack 1000 (exaggeration) pounds on everything. Did I not mention that I’m sad and fat and out of shape? Can I actually work on proper form so I don’t injure myself before I start trying to lift the gym? Ooops, I mean, the box. When we went to do the back squats the girl looked at us like we were crazy because we only had 10 pounds on the bar.

    WHY ARE YOU EVEN HERE!?!

    I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!

  • Although I mentioned there were a lot of body weight exercises, there are also a lot of exercises that require special equipment. I don’t consider a pull-up bar special equipment but gymnastics rings, barbells and other shit I have to buy or go someplace to do it. I do better with workouts that don’t require anything. Right now, though, I pretty much suck at everything.
  • As with anything that is athletic and muscle-bound, the amount of testosterone in the building is ridiculous. In the first week, the guy was like, “You guys ready to work out?” Some people were like, “Yeah, sure.” Apparently that wasn’t enough for him. He needed everybody to SCREAM their motivation. Men are very predictable when it comes to stuff like this. You’re not motivated unless you’re screaming like a maniac. Look, I showed up. I’m doing the workouts. I stayed for the entire workout. I also did every single exercise to the best of my ability. I don’t think I need to scream anything, but thanks. When I was in basic training, we had to scream “Hooah” as we ran into the DFAC. If we weren’t motivated enough we had to go to the end of the line and do it again. One time I refused to yell “Hooah.” The drill sergeant asked me why I wasn’t motivated. First, who is motivated to eat slops, and second, is screaming the only way to show you’re motivated? So when it was my turn again, I screamed, “Hooah,” and then I yelled, “I’M ONLY SCREAMING BECAUSE I’M HUNGRY AND WANT TO EAT. YELLING IS NOT AN INDICATOR OF ANYTHING EXCEPT PERCEIVED MASCULINITY.”
Yeah, we Paleo.  Totally.

Yeah, we Paleo. Totally.

Needless to say I had to do push-ups while everyone else was eating. That is how I feel about screaming while working out. It doesn’t actually mean anything.

I guess, for now, I’m going to keep going to Crossfit, maybe once or twice. I’m not pressed and I’m certainly not subscribing to the lemming-like mentality.  I cannot be enthused about anything that is ultra-restrictive and judgmental.  That’s what church is for.

Actually, what I think I will do is pay attention to the WOD and only go on days when it’s body weight-centric, and then I’ll just run the other days. I think I’m going to get my lazy ass to spinning class too. That shit starts at 0500. That’s rough, but I like spinning. I’m already more motivated to get up at 0430 to go spinning then I am to lift another barbell on my neck at Crossfit.  In fact, I’m so excited about it that I might just start screaming.

 

Operation: GTFO (Day 71)

Raise Up! 5-0!

Driving without a license?  I will Ferguson your ass.

Driving without a license? I will Ferguson your ass.

I’m here in the big bad city of Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. A location so dangerous there is one cop for every five persons on ground. It’s that rough, what with all the murders, sexual assaults, and armed robberies going on.

Actually, no, I’m kidding. Nothing happens here except the usual Soldier stuff like fights over the PS4 at the USO, a random beat-down after the Tuesday night bingo game, and maybe someone getting bashed in the head with a frozen water bottle and dragged off to a bunker unknown.

You would think with all the cops here that this is some place out of control, like Ferguson or some shit.  At any given moment there is going to be a riot because of the poor conditions at the DFAC, or some looting at the PX when the iPhone 6 comes out.  Seriously, there really is a cop on almost every single corner, watching, waiting for someone to break the law.

Laws, such as, when a pedestrian is within five feet of a crosswalk, drivers must come to a screeching halt in anticipation this pedestrian might want to cross the street. If the pedestrian does indeed want to cross the street, drivers must wait until the pedestrian is completely on the other side of the street and five feet away from the crosswalk. If you do not wait until they’ve cleared five feet, drivers will be shot on sight.  If the pedestrian just happened to be within five feet of the crosswalk for no random reason, well, just bring traffic to a halt anyway.  It’s okay.  No one has anywhere to be.  The rumour is that a General Officer got ran over because he thought he had bumpers on his ass and just walked out in the middle of a street in front of a convoy of 5-tons.

Somewhere, someone just committed armed robbery, but I got speeders to catch.  Priorities, man.

VBEIDs, terrorists and insider threats?  Not important.  Catching speeders is important.  That’s what I do.

The speed limit on base is 40KPH, unless otherwise posted. Anyone caught driving 41KPH will be beaten to death.  During PT hours it’s 20KPH.  I’m not usually out driving during those hours but this past Sunday I was headed to the office, and the traffic was literally not moving.  I’m thinking, “What the fuck is the hold up?”  Oh, it’s Sunday 0645, so that means 20KPH.  There wasn’t a single Soldier on the road conducting PT.  You know what else is insane?  No one actually runs in the fucking street.  Why  not make it like other bases where it’s a low speed limit when passing troops in formation, or conducting PT, or some such.  If you see some lone guy running on the sidewalk, why the fuck am I at a crawl?  So I can watch him run faster than my vehicle?  Who made these asinine rules?  The rumour is that it’s that same GO who got hit by the 5-tons.  A week before that accident he plowed through some Soldiers on a division run at 100MPH.  They suspect he was drunk off O’Douls but they don’t do DUI checks here so no one will ever know the true story.

And don’t get caught driving without your license. Just ask 47 what happened to her. She still has nightmares about it, poor girl. The bottom line is… don’t get caught without your Kuwaiti license. Ever. You know the one you get at that joke of a driving class, where the instructor didn’t actually teach you anything additional to what you learned from the driving class you had when you were 16—except to say, “Good luck,” if you ever need to navigate a local national traffic circle.  It’s insane how these contracting companies are ripping off the U.S. Government.  You have to line up at 0300 for a class that may or may not be taught later that day.  Despite the fact that everyone on post knows when a huge unit is coming in, the driver’s license people seemingly have no fucking clue and don’t think they should lay on more classes so all incoming Soldiers can get their licenses in a timely fashion.  Not because they need to cruise around Kuwait City, but because they can’t even drive on post without the license.

This guy doesn't stop at crosswalks.  Consider him dangerous.  Shoot to kill.

This guy doesn’t stop at crosswalks. Consider him dangerous. Shoot to kill.

The class is pretty much some guy handing you a book and a test.  He didn’t teach anything at all because “he was busy.”  My class sat down together, flipped through the book and did the test in about 10 minutes.  It actually took longer to fill out the paperwork.  Another Soldier claimed the guy just told him to write his name down on the form and he would complete the test for him.  I don’t know how true that is but I’m inclined to believe it based on what I witnessed with my own eyes when I went to get my license.  I think the point of the examination is to ensure a Soldier knows Kuwaiti driving laws and what to do in case of an accident out in town.  You know how the government could save money?  Fire the contractors who run this debacle and put that shit online like they do everything else.  Bam.  Now we can afford to keep cereal stocked in the DFAC.

SHARP?  Ain't nobody got time for that!

SHARP? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

The police even set up a check point. Not for DUIs, mind you, like they do back home, because you can’t get drunk off O’Douls (I already tried). They want to make sure you have your license. It’s that serious.  Next time I come here I’m just going to photocopy the license I have now, since it’s totally easy to fake these things.  There’s no photo and my license says I’m a 129 pound Asian male.

But you know, since there is all this worry about SHARP, you would think the cops are actually here to create a safe environment for people to go about their business unmolested. I hardly ever see any cops posted up any place Soldiers congegrate.  You ever see an MP at the USO or MWR, just checking to make sure everything is above board.  Do you see them walking around at night by the PCBs, just checking on things?  Nope.  But they’re definitely in the cut, waiting for someone to roll through a stop sign.  So yeah, forget SHARP. Ain’t nobody got time for that.  People need to know they can’t get out of control on base. You go one kilometer over the speed limit, or you drive off when the Soldier is only four feet away from the crosswalk, then you better be ready to pay the consequences.  That’s death by firing squad.

Operation: GTFO (Day 64)

SHARP Is Real

True to form, we’ve begun with the list of stupid rules. I know it’s hard to be in charge of 100 people and know that everything they do is a reflection of your leadership. One thing the Army doesn’t realise is that you really can’t control people. People are gonna do whatever the fuck they wanna do, and it doesn’t matter what kinds of punishments you mete out. There will be people who hesitate in their actions, who consider the consequences, but for the rest, they’re either gonna hope they don’t get caught or they’re just gonna do it and who gives a shit.

Now you guys stay there until you learn how to make responsible adult decisions.

Now you guys stay there until you learn how to make responsible adult decisions.

I detest the fact that, generally speaking, the military does not allow individual Soldiers the attempt to be responsible and that there is a tendency to hold everyone accountable for one person’s actions. Then leadership complains that people do not do the right thing. Well, you never give anybody the chance to do the right thing. You come down hard with the hammer right up front, because you feel like you have to nip bad actions in the bud. That is the wrong way to go. When you come down too hard right away you will get the Soldiers who say, damned if I do and damned if I don’t. You will get an otherwise decent Soldier who feels like he has to break the rules because he cannot succeed any other way. Then you also have those Soldiers who grow up under the oppressive thumb of Big Army and when it is their turn to show some responsibility, they fail miserably.

A lot of you have kids, right? Or you know people with kids. Think of it this way: For all the kids who were kept under lock and key their entire lives, what’s the first thing they did the minute they got away from oppressive adult supervision? Uh, they started acting like assholes. Why? Because their parents never gave them any opportunity to learn to be responsible, so they could excel at being responsible. The parents were like, “They’re kids. They don’t know how to conduct themselves. We’d better keep them in a jailhouse environment or else they’ll ruin their lives.” No, they won’t ruin their lives. You will. And that’s how the Army operates.

Leadership gets all of us together and announces there is a midnight curfew. All Soldiers, including officers have to be in their living quarters by midnight. LOL. Seriously? The reasoning? SHARP is real.

They’re talking about sexual assault and sexual harassment, of course. I really wanted to die laughing, but really, I’m only an E6 and that actually doesn’t mean a whole lot. Because I’m fond of lists, here’s what I took away from that briefing:

  1. Doesn't he know he can't stalk me until after midnight?

    Doesn’t he know he can’t stalk me until after midnight?

    You can’t get sexually assaulted or sexually harassed before midnight. Criminals and perpetrators typically follow all applicable laws and rules. They know better than to harass or attack anyone before midnight. It’s okay for me to walk around as innocent as a sweet baby lamb in broad daylight because nothing bad happens before midnight.

 

  1. If I get raped after midnight, it’s my fault. If I happen to get out of a late movie and I’m walking back to the barracks with m
  2. e and my battle buddies and we get attacked we only have ourselves to blame. Rapists and perverts know it’s fair game after midnight.

 

  1. I am too incompetent to conduct myself accordingly after midnight. Before midnight I’m a genius, but after midnight I turn into a bumbling idiot who runs down the street butt ass naked with the hopes no one will sexually assault me. I don’t know that I should walk with a battle buddy and that I should notify others where I am going in case of an emergency. I’m too stupid to walk from the gym to the barracks, even though the bathroom to my barracks is almost the same distance.

 

  1. These dudes single-handedly took down ISIS; they saved the President from assassination; they also walk their grandmothers to church on Sunday.  But they can't be out after midnight.

    These dudes single-handedly took down ISIS; they saved the President from assassination; they also walk their grandmothers to church on Sunday. But they can’t be out after midnight.

    My leadership failed me. In all my years in the Army no one in my chain of command ever taught me a lick of sense. I never heard of a battle buddy or safety in numbers. I have no idea what SHARP is. I’m a complete idiot because my leadership didn’t teach me anything about protecting myself.

 

  1. I’m being confined for my own good. Even though I have stayed out after midnight on my last deployment (because I worked overnight shift), I really have no idea what to do. Those times I was just lucky. For my own safety, I should probably be chained to my bed. Sexual predators come out from their hiding places after midnight.

 

  1. Almost midnight.  Time to get my sexual harassment on.

    Almost midnight. Time to get my sexual harassment on.

    The Army believes SHARP is more about random rapists then acquaintance rape. Everything I just wrote before was tongue-in-cheek, but this one I’m actually serious about. When we watched that SHARP video at training a couple years ago, I noticed that all the incidents involved victims and perpetrators that knew each other. None of them involved a person walking down the street and some miscreant jumping out at them and raping them in the street. I don’t know the statistics on the incidents of sexual assault in the Army: whether it’s acquaintance or random, but it’s something that I think is valid. I’m more likely to be harassed/attacked by someone I know than some idiot hiding in a bunker, waiting for someone to randomly walk past. At this time I do not believe any of my peers have any nefarious designs on unsuspecting victims, but who’s to say that nothing happens out here on the job site, late in the evening (but not after midnight), or early in the morning, or any fucking time of the day when no one is around?

Or how about that long ass walk to the bathroom? If anyone actually cared about random rape then maybe we wouldn’t be so goddamn far from the toilets. Seriously, I have to pass eight male barracks before I get to the toilets. The living quarters have a key pad for entry, but the bathrooms don’t. Anybody could walk in…. like they did when I was in Iraq….and another time when I was in Kuwait, just two years ago. Dude walked in the bathroom, claiming he didn’t know that it was the female bathroom. This was at 6AM. The dude that was filming through the air vent, that was around 9 at night. So yeah. I guess they didn’t get the memo.

Were it me in charge, I would turn this thing into a teachable moment. Everything in life is a teachable moment, whether you succeed or fuck up. If you’re gonna be hanging around after dark, you need a battle buddy and you need to let someone know where you are. If you want to sit in the USO till 2AM, then hang out there till 2AM. Just don’t go skulking down in the bunkers by yourself with Kuwaiti dinar hanging out your bra.

They say bad things can't happen during daylight, but I'm not so sure about that.

They say bad things can’t happen during daylight, but I’m not so sure about that.

I wish the Army would stop trying to cure the disease by killing the patient. Why doesn’t someone actually be a leader and teach some common sense? You know where sexual harassment happens? At the fucking workplace. Last deployment, the creeper who gave me a gift was at work. He did not show up at my living quarters after dark. You know where sexual assault happens? Everywhere, and at any given moment. A sexual predator is going to take whatever opportunity s/he can to do whatever. You can be assaulted on the way to work, on the way from work, hanging out in the movie theatre, or even here in these PCBs. We have already had two incidents that I know of where a member of the opposite sex was in the wrong PCB. It wasn’t midnight either.

There is no specific magic hour where bad things happen. Don’t ever get lulled into that either. I was never sexually assaulted but I was robbed in broad daylight while walking with a battle buddy. I guess nobody told that guy he wasn’t supposed to attack me until after midnight, or does that only apply to SHARP?

Operation: GTFO (Day 60)

Except for the beer part, this is what I think of when I think DFAC.

Except for the beer part, this is what I think of when I think DFAC.

Everyone Hates the DFAC

My boss came back from one of his meetings and announced that chow hall attendance had decreased significantly. Apparently, the fact that no one eats at the chow hall is a huge shock to Higher. I have no idea if Higher wants to increase attendance or if they’ve just figured out what the rest of us already knew. I guess when you’re a General and can have your meals catered or flown in from a Paris Michelin-rated restaurant you would have no idea what kind of slops are being served to the common Joe. What’s actually more shocking to me is that Soldiers are still eating at the DFAC and haven’t resorted to cannibalism as a viable alternative.

In case anybody cared, I’ve outlined reasons why the chow hall is a fail. I’m sure Higher doesn’t give a shit what I think but since I have nothing better to do at this exact moment, allow me to enumerate:

Reasons Soldiers Don’t Eat at the DFAC

  1. fast foodThere’s enough fast food on post to kill an elephant. Even the health-conscientious Soldier would rather choke down a cantina bowl from Taco Bell over “Taco Tuesdays” dried up ground beef, limp lettuce and funny-smelling sour cream in the chow hall. For the Soldier who prefers cholesterol-hardened arteries, it just makes his decision easier to skip boiled steak night.

 

  1. Get some!

    Get some!

    There are no gluten-free, organic, or restricted diet options. Don’t eat pork? Fuck you.   Vegetarian? Low-carb? Celiac? Fuck you. Fuck you. And fuck you. Vegetarians don’t just want to eat salad, you know. As a person that doesn’t eat pork I’ve gone to the chow hall a few times to find the dinner entrée was either pork roast or ham steak. I opted for a grilled cheese, only to discover that it too had ham in it.

 

  1. Stop giving slops cute names like "Meatballs Mexicana."  Does this even LOOK like Meatballs Mexicana?

    Stop giving slops cute names like “Meatballs Mexicana.” Does this even LOOK like Meatballs Mexicana?

    Everything tastes exactly the same. When you are cooking for a mass audience you do have to be neutral in your spice selection. Not everyone can eat food blanketed in sriracha, but does everything have to be drowned in tasteless cream sauce? Every fish entrée served is smothered in some kind of white sauce. Every pasta dish tastes like spaghetti. There really is no variety to any of the dishes. Let’s look at why this is. Friday is boiled steak night. Everyone knows that. The next night the entrée is “braised beef with noodles.” Hmm, amazingly braised beef tastes exactly like the steak we had the night before. You know what’s for lunch the day after that? Beef pot roast AKA boiled steak with gravy disguise. Every dish tastes like leftovers from the night before. If 100 Soldiers are supposed to eat the DFAC and only 47 show up, what did they do with the food for the other 52? You can best believe they did not throw it away. And stop with the bullshit ass “fancy” names. It’s not Asian Chicken Roast. It’s Chicken from Two Days Ago with Some Soy Sauce. And speaking of sauces, is it possible to get some sauce other than BBQ? There are about 25 varieties of BBQ sauce, and that’s it. I wouldn’t mind some teriyaki sauce, some kind of garlic sauce, or anything to drown out the stale pepper that is dusted over every single dish.

 

  1. FASTER!!!!

    FASTER!!!!

    The DFAC is run like an infantry division. It is not an enjoyable experience to eat at the DFAC. I feel like it’s Basic Training all over again: get it in your neck and get the fuck out. Being deployed sucks; the Army seems to understand that, which is why it provides MWR options for Soldiers. Why isn’t the chow hall part of that whole MWR experience? If you look at most cultures, including the American culture, eating is a social experience. The DFAC does not espouse that at all. You are hit with rule after rule after rule. Don’t show up to the DFAC in your civilian clothes with your sunglasses on top of your head. Fuck you, old man, with your reading glasses on a necklace. The PFC at the door will sic a Rottweiler on your ass. Don’t even think about putting hot food in a small to-go container. You will be slaughtered. What if you want to dine-in but take some fruit or dessert for later? Good luck. No to-go containers allowed at the tables, and if you ask for a plate to dine-in they won’t give you a to-go container. You have to lie, cheat and steal your way out of the DFAC with a handful of grapes for a light snack later on. You want seconds because you’re really hungry? Leave the DFAC completely and come back through the front entrance again. Don’t you dare try to come back through the serving line again; that’s a Class A felony.

 

  1. You're too cool for the DFAC.  Sorry guy, no all-purpose patties for you.

    You’re too cool for the DFAC. Sorry guy, no all-purpose patties for you.

    The DFAC can be inconvenient. Something that really irks me is that bags are not permitted in the DFAC. They say it’s a security measure, but we all know that’s bullshit. I don’t want to get into a whole security thing, so we’ll move on. I want to get chow on the way to work, but I need to carry a bag to work. So I need to first go to the chow hall and eat, then come back to my living quarters to get my bag. It would be much easier to just bring my bag to chow and proceed to work from there. I don’t have a vehicle, and I don’t need one just to carry a bag around. I’m fine with walking. I just want to conduct my business in one swoop without having to walk all over the place just to eat. Same thing on the way home from work. Go home first, to drop my bag and then go back to the DFAC, or leave my bag at work and come back to get it after I eat? It’s just a hassle, so skip the DFAC and popcorn from the USO for dinner it is. And forget about trying to take food out. It would be easier with a bag. I’ve only been here two weeks and three times I’ve seen Soldiers drop food and spill drinks trying to carry out. Just skip the mess and have a Frappuccino for lunch. That’s what I do. Working shifts? Trying to get food for a battle buddy that’s sick or working? You know you can’t get food for that Soldier if you don’t have his CAC. Don’t even attempt to get more than on to-go container. If the Soldier is working and needs his CAC to be logged into the computer, well, he can’t give it to you to get his food, can he? Might as well come with you. Or you know what, forget it. Just get Pizza Hut. You don’t need a CAC for that.

 

  1. Chicken patty?  Veal patty?  Fish patty?  Whatever.

    Chicken patty? Veal patty? Fish patty? Whatever.

    Anything you could want to eat is already gone. Whoever is ordering the food for the DFAC should be beaten. The DFAC has been out of cereal for a week. This morning I received intel that said there won’t be supply of cereal for another three weeks. Three weeks? Cereal is not perishable. It’s okay to store huge supplies of it. When you see your supplies dwindling, how about setting up another shipment so you never run out. We’ve been out of cranberry juice since Day 2. The grapefruit juice on the fountain has also been out of stock since I got here. In about a week’s time there will be a dearth of potato chips. These things seem minor but after a while it adds up and it becomes irksome. I’d been enjoying a bowl of dry Cheerios as a mid-morning snack but now I think I’ll just switch to ice cream and a Cinnabon.

 

  1. 9 of 10 forks will be embedded in a Soldier's stomach.

    9 of 10 forks will be embedded in a Soldier’s stomach.

    Speaking of ordering supplies… this same supply person deserves another beating for ordering the cheapest materials possible. I know that’s the Army way, but at what point does it become ridiculous? I have learned to bring at least three forks and three knives to the table, because guaranteed at least one knife will break while I’m sawing through my three-day old chicken-flavoured patty. I will bet money that I will apply the slightest bit of pressure to my fork with my teeth and a whole tine will come off in my mouth. You can pour yourself 108 ounces worth of Mountain Dew, but only three ounces of coffee in those tiny ass Styrofoam cups. You better not fucking bring your own coffee mug either: you will be shot on sight.

 

    1. It's 1530 and the DFAC is closed.  Since there is all this sand around, I figured...

      It’s 1530 and the DFAC is closed. Since there is all this sand around, I figured…

      You can only be hungry during DFAC hours. Thank God there’s midnight chow, not that I’m allowed to go, but it’s nice to know that it’s there. But forget it if you randomly get hungry around 3PM, or you feel like a late dinner after working out. Maybe you have a funny shift at work. Yes, they’re supposed to let you off for meals, but wouldn’t it be convenient to everyone if you could actually eat when you want to? The limited hours coupled with the ultra-inconvenience of taking food out makes it seem much more reasonable to just head to Nathan’s for a chili cheese dog, fries and a Monster.

To be fair, Soldiers do eat in the DFAC. I go every day. Really, I do.  That’s how I have the right to complain about everything. It would be different if I never stepped foot in the place. Higher, don’t think you’ve scored a victory because you got a handful of Soldiers showing up at the trough. Let’s look at the reasons Soldiers might choose to eat the DFAC.

Reasons Soldiers Eat at the DFAC

  1. They’re forced to. For the Soldier of limited financial means there is nowhere else to eat. There are no kitchens or places a Soldier can cook his own meal. There is no commissary. The PX doesn’t sell anything green. You are trapped and there’s nothing you can do about it.
It's this or Burger King.  Gee, tough decision.

It’s this or Burger King. Gee, tough decision.

And that’s really all I could think of. Really, if the Army would just put a little more effort into the food it serves to the troops it wouldn’t be such a joke. Stop buying the cheapest, lowest quality products. Stop hiring low-wage contractors to cook the food. Ease up on the ridiculous restrictions coming into the DFAC. It’s a great idea to wash one’s hands and ensure clothing is clean, but sunglasses on my head while wearing civilian clothes doesn’t affect anything. Unless you see obvious waste and abuse, don’t restrict how much food a Soldier wants to eat, or how they carry it out. I can assure you, if a Soldier wants a second helping of those sloops it’s because he actually wants to eat it, or he’s bringing it to someone who couldn’t get to the DFAC.

Like a lot of things in the Army, no common sense was applied to DFAC operations. You can’t a write memorandum for everything, or structure everything based on a battle drill. It’s okay to let things just be. I know that in the Army that’s a completely foreign concept. Hence, the reason why no one eats at the DFAC.