Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Life In Tan And Green Is…

The Life in Tan and Green is exciting.

You can be terrified, happy, sad, even giddy. And all at the same time. Seeing new things, meeting new people, going to new places. The ARMY has taken me to 9 countries, 11 states, over 4 continents. I have felt weightlessness, and extreme positive g’s in a C-130 performing a combat landing into Iraq. And the same in a not so controlled crash in a civilian 747 over Alaska’s ice bank. I have cowered as close to the ground as I could possible get and fired my rifle at the enemy all with a white knuckle grip. I have run to the point of exhaustion in the mountains, and relaxed in a pool at one of Saddam’s palaces. No matter what, even when bored out of my mind. It is exciting.

The Life in Tan and Green is scary.

Through Bombs going off in the distance, Rockets landing within feet, and bullets zipping by in the air and combat landings in a land of war, you are sure to be scared. But it is also things like going to a promotion board, your first time stepping into a new country or maybe being on a boat with a broken engine in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. There is rarely a day in this life where I find that I am not scared by something. The funny thing is that everything that makes it scary makes it exciting.

The Life in Tan and Green is painful.

In the past 13 years I have broken 12 different bones with a total of 19 breaks over those 12 bones. I have had 3rd degree burns 4 times. I have been indirectly struck by lightning 2 times, been shocked by 220 volts twice, and 110 volts so many times I can’t count. I have dislocated 6 joints, one of them 8 times. Sprained both of my ankles at least 5 times each. Had to have my skin stitched or stapled back together over 15 times. Been hit in the head by a round casing so hard that I could not walk straight for 3 hours. And been knocked unconscious 25 times before I stopped keeping track. I have been diagnosed with both PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), and have such bad memory loss that most of my youth is not known to me, and if you tell me something now there is a good chance that I won’t remember it in 2 min. Oh and all of my friends. I am sorry I don’t know your name. I have fallen off of a 30 foot cliff. Been in 2 major vehicle crashes, and been shot in the face by a powder (or blank) round causing temporary blindness. This all in the line of duty. Painful? Maybe just a little.

The Life in Tan and Green is satisfying.

I have fed the homeless, fought fires in Colorado, helped to build a school, brought internet to people that recently had never seen a computer. I have had my hand in the freeing of the population, the bettering of a country, and the cleaning of a state. Years ago the men on the Iraq Olympic soccer team knew that going home without a medal meant the death of their families. Now, no matter how well they do they go home heroes of a nation. I helped do that. I was never the one doing it, but I was one of the thousands.

The Life in Tan and Green is lonely.

I have never felt so alone in my life. Standing on the deck of the USNS Bob Hope in transit to Iraq. Looking up at the sky at 0300 and feeling that I am the only person in the world. Driving down the MSR from Balad to Baghdad when a “stray” round hits the side plating. Walking a perimeter in Wyoming on guard duty without a building or another person in sight. Or the same thing on an empty airfield Christmas Eve watching water freeze. Or even sitting in a barracks room in the middle of a building full of people. Struggling through the hours of night, the day that a divorce is finalized. Or celebrating your 18th birthday stuck in a foxhole slowly filling with water for a South Carolina summer storm.

The Life in Tan and Green is almost over.

My goal was to make my 20 but it seems that this goal will not happen. All throughout my carrier I have had to fight to stay in. PT has always been a weak point, and I have always been right on the edge (and sometimes over) the weight limit. No, that is not true. It should read body fat limit. My max weight allowed is 195. I don’t remember when I last weighed that little. As of right now I am hovering in the 220’s. But the ARMY says that I can be over my max weight as long as I fall under a certain amount of body fat %. And that is where I fail. Three months ago I was 3% over my limit. Since then I have lost almost 30 pounds, but due to the way that they measure I am still at 3% over. And that is a no go. The AR (ARMY Regulation) says that due to my struggle with weight it is time for me to go home. So that is what they are going to do. So after 13 years of great service without ever once being in serious trouble I am out. I consider myself to be a great soldier and a tremendous leader. I take a lot of pride in what I do, and I really don’t want to have to stop. But after fighting all that I can it is out of my hands. There are two things that can be done. I can either be removed from service once we get home from deployment, or they can wait until my current contract runs out in two years. But after that the “Life” will be over. I have been barred from re-enlistment, so there is no continuing. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. So what comes next? That I have no clue. I have never had a “real” job. I have never gone to an interview. I have been doing this since I was 17. I truly for the first time in my life feel lost. I am in the dark. And my flashlight is fresh out of power.

The Life In Tan And Green. Thank god there are thin people that can carry the torch.

Back To The Sand

Friday, March 12, 2010

Update 2010 03 15

“Oh the weather outside is frightful….”

And snow is in no way the reason. Mother nature has changed her color and her son B.O.B. is being brutal to us here. We had a few weeks of Iraqi Spring, but that seems to be over and we are moving into what is soon to be hot. For the past few weeks, heck almost a month, we have been having a fun up down up down with the weather. Some days were just downright cold, while others were chilly nights and nice sunny days. And then the wind has been here today gone tomorrow. We are fine without the heavy wind since that brings the dust storms, but the light breezy days are nice. But “nice” will soon be a word that is not in the vocabulary of a lot of us. Yesterday I really started to notice. At 0800 when I was waiting for a bus I noticed that there was a nice bit of sweat dripping down my back. Then at 1400 when my bladder woke me up it was 101 outside. Yep, that’s right. It’s our first day in the triple digits out here in the sand. And the sky is the limit on this one, or that would be the lack of limit. Soon we will be thinking how nice it is at night when it is only 110 outside, just because it was 140 during midday. It’s time for us to really start chugging the water throughout the day.

The Family is doing well. Our little Samantha is two and a half months old and growing like crazy. All of the books tell us to expect a one week growing spurt per month. Well she seems to be going through a one week growth spurt 4 times a month. She is over 8 pounds and over 20 inches tall. I know it is considered long and not tall at this age, but I prefer tall. I have been getting new pics and videos a few times a week from Maria. Every new pic is a great thrill. Really it is what I live for right now.
Maria will be taking Sam on a trip down to see the grandparents at the end of this month. Maria’s Birthday is the 4th of next month and both mothers said they would
come up, but with her not working it is a lot better for Maria to just hop a flight down there. I just hope that Sam does well on the flight. I have made Maria promise that she will not take Sam to Disneyland without me. But I did say that she could go to Downtown Disney and buy her some stuff. But no pictures of her there and no characters.

I have not really had a lot of time to talk to Maria all that much. The time I have available to be on skype in my mornings is a time where there is a lot of internet traffic because most of the people around here are just getting off of work so everything slows to a crawl. And really it all just fails. So for the next 3 months I will not get much face time with the family.

I have a PT test tomorrow. I am not very happy. I don’t feel ready for it and I really don’t think that I am going to pass. And if I fail it might be the end of my military carrier. Yep no more life in Tan and Green. And well if that happens…
Well I have no clue. I have been doing this for 13 years and really have no clue what I am going to do for a pay check. And Maria is still not working because of the baby, so things might end up getting really tight around here. But we will see. Wish me luck and maybe I will be able to stay in for a few more years. I was really hopping to make 20 years, but every day it seems to get further and further out of my reach. We will see.

Back To The Sand

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Things I have learned…

Just about every woman standing nude and viewed from the side is always sexy.

This does not work the same when I do it.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Home is where your hat hangs,
Home is where your heart is,
Home is you lay your head,
Home is where your wife is,
Home is where the ARMY sends us.
Home Sweet Home

Or for now that is CHU Sweet CHU. My CHU is my home. CHU stands for Containerized Housing Unit. Basically it is a rail car made into a room, or set of rooms mattering on which model you live in. Where I live now is the single style room system. My room is about 6.5’x 20’, feels like a hallway, and it sleeps two. It is not luxurious or spacious, but it is home.

This is my CHU. My door is the one on the left.

When I first got here I was living with another guy from my unit who I have an extreme dislike for. But living with him has made it even worse. He is very rude and frequently shows that he does not care about anyone but himself. I do my best to try to be quiet and polite when he is asleep. I don’t turn on the lights or do anything that will wake him unless I have no other choice. He on the other hand is not polite or quiet. He turned on the lights while I was asleep at least once a day. He would turn on his stereo and made sure that he slammed the door every time he came in or out. It was just a great pleasure to share a room with him. Thankfully this past week he moved out so for now I have the CHU all to myself. Sadly that will not last for very long.

I live in sleeping area 6, but the rest of my unit lives in area 7. So I soon will have to move over to be near the rest of the group. It is not a bad thing. The CHU’s in 7 are a little bigger and have a better design. They are shaped less like a hallway and much easier to live in, and not disturb your roommate. The down side is that I will end up with a roommate again. But I guess that is unavoidable. Once I get moved I will get some pictures of my new “Home”.