Thursday, April 27, 2006

Stupid Shit of The Week™

Every week, I'm going to pick out something that happened in the past five days that was the most assinine, redundant or worthless waste of time and effort. I've been carrying my camera everywhere in hopes to chronicle potential winners. The nominees this week:

  • Military ball
  • MILES Detail
  • Range support
  • Doing nothing all day but getting released at 5PM

And the winner is:

MILES Detail!

For the uninitiated, MILES is a laser tag of sorts we use. Transmitters are attached to guns that fire when you pull the trigger with blanks in the weapon. Receivers are worn on your person or on vehicles, and you 'die' if it beeps. It sounds like good training can come out of this, right? The problem is it never works. Ever. They always malfunction or plain don't work. There are even officials that watch over a mock battle and 'kill off' people who have been shot at. The Army spends untolds millions for this equipment and even has civilians to maintain it in warehouses. This past week was all about unloading them from connexes to make sure everything is there before we turn it into the warehouse. Now there are two things wrong with what happened: they waited until 3PM to start, and the contents have already been checked and confirmed. Twice. It took awhile because the cases are massive and many need to be carried by 2-4 people, and of course higher ranking guys are standing around with their hands in their pockets telling us to hurry up while they tell yo momma jokes. I understand privileges come with rank, but they want to get home quick yet refuse to help speed it along. A very obvious Catch 22.


Above: Soldiers find out what isn't on
recruiting posters.

It doesn't end there. While we're waiting for two hours for the checklist of contents, we're told to clean the equipment on the inside, which had been done after we got back from NTC. After that is completed, we receive word to clean the boxes themselves. The outsides even, though later it's going to be transported in a dirty truck on its way to a dirty warehouse to be stored on the dirty ground. That moment right there sealed the detail for Stupid Shit of The Week™.


Above: Futile efforts.

Get to work!

Foreground: Soldier hard at work.
Background: Superiors fucking off.

It was only a four day work week, mind you.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

"What do you do in the Army?"

It's hard to describe what I do to people who have little or no knowledge of the workings of the Army. Now I have a new way of illustrating what I do every day.

Reenlist today!

If you were expecting a picture of elaborate training missions or a range or finding a cure for cancer, sorry.


First and foremost

Army of Dude:
1. The state of the Army when overtaken by Generation Y kids. Long hair prevails, little or no kneejerk respect shown to superiors and a relaxed work environment that is a fast acting poison in an archaic bureaucracy.
2. The term replacing the advertising slogan "Army of One," which isn't a very slick campaign. There would be more recruits with "Dude, the Army will totally pay for college." They're selling a product, not a career.

After much ushering from a friend to relate my experiences in this man's Army, I decided to create this here blog for e-posterity. I graduated from high school in May of 2003 and had already decided that the Army was what I wanted to experience. I grew up reading books about Audie Murphy and Patton and devouring volumes of war history. I felt it was a needed shot to the arm to my fading motivation and direction in life. I enlisted for three years on August 5, 2004 as an infantryman. I completed training on Nov 24, 2004 and was sent to Ft. Lewis, WA as part of the Stryker Brigade, the new medium weight vehicles recently adopted by the Army. They had just recently returned from Iraq when I got to my unit in December. After two trips to Yakima Training Center and National Training Center and more than a year of training, the unit is going back to Iraq this summer.
But this is not a blog to sing the high praises of my chosen profession, but rather a tool of expression for my disdain for the day in and day out mountains of bullshit and mundanity that I climb every day of the week dear reader, and it is a shame I didn't begin this along with my career. There is an endless amount of moments that could have been recorded that would make the average Joe Taxpayer shake his head in shocked disbelief. But to catch you up:
Today we were issued the last of the equipment that we need before going overseas. This includes superfluous ballistic paneling along the neck and groin that would offer no realistic protection from shrapnel. Armor plates were also issued that are heavier than previous incarnations. Millions in R&D really paid off I'm sure. They're still inferior to civilian alternatives if you were wondering. The plates given to us will crack if dropped right. A Dragon Skin plate will stop an AK-47 round at 20 feet. I figured that issuing everyone Dragon Skin plates would cost more than the life insurance payouts the Army is paying to dead solider's families who would otherwise have lived with better plates. Cold equations. Also included: Uniforms with velcro patches and nametapes, for fast ripping action. Pressumbly during a capture, you can shed any proof you are in the American military, including your flag, unit patch, name and 'US Army' tape. This will leave the enemy clueless about your affiliation. Forget about how the nameless uniforms promote theft, or how it fails to blend into any environment that doesn't look like a blue Atari game.


More to come.