When my platoon moved into our hootch on what would become FOB Volturno another unit had been there previously. I’m not sure who it was but we knew that the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment had operated in and around Fallujah a couple months earlier. They’d left some graffiti on the walls. Most graffiti on the walls of the 55 gallon drum latrines was pissing and moaning about how long the author had been in country and how much he wanted to go home. You’re not going to entertain anyone in the shitter by squirting tears on the walls. This graffiti was four lines on the living room wall, tasteful, written with a careful flowing hand in letters a half an inch high. One simple stanza from a poem that pretty well cut to the quick of things.
“When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.”
I recognized it, I’d received a bit of marital advise from Mr. Kipling, in the same poem. I still wonder if he might have missed the mark with his marriage counseling, I’d be out on parole by now. Something about finding Kipling there made it home. That wall became our graffiti wall, everybody put something on it. As long as it was thoughtful, intelligent and it wasn’t just sprayed tears and sand from their panties.
The videos I found of The Young British Soldier sucked. Bad. But this version of Gunga Din is almost as good as Roger Moore. What the hell, it’s not like you can get too much Kipling.