Letters from Fallujah (1) Arrival

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I’ve been avoiding telling stories from my time in combat areas.  You never know when something is gonna set off a shitstorm.  I’d just as soon avoid that.  Remember the Marine Sergeant who was giving blood wings to his Marines who’d made their first jump with a Marine unit?  Poor bastard got kicked out, all he was doin was living up to a tradition.  You shoulda seen my airborne school graduation, there were half a dozen Paratroopers in my Company, they made my blood wings memorable, I can still see the scars.  As it should be, I’d joined an elite fraternity.  Unfortunately not everyone see’s such things as they are.  I’m already out and there ain’t a damn thing the internet can do to me but thats not true for all of my Soldiers.

Additionally, I’m going to run out of stories eventually, twenty years makes for a shitload but sooner or later…

I’m going to start telling Iraq stories with fiction, stories I lived through with my men, stories my friends lived through with theirs, fiction based in fact.  It’s nothin new.  You just won’t know who did what and the characters are just composites of every good Soldier I ever knew.

Try to imagine the writer speaking rather than writing, you’ll recognize the Army accent, I hope you enjoy the “tales.”


August 17, 2003

Uncle Hank,

I was supposed to be getting out but they told us a few days ago that our unit was going to Iraq.  I re-enlisted.  I was really looking forward to seeing you an everybody but I couldn’t leave.  I’ve heard you talk about why you went back for your second tour in Nam, “I’m good at my job, if somebody has to fight it oughta be the best.  I’ve got a better chance.”  That’s me and my p’toon.  I had to go, I had to stay, I’ve got brothers here..  I know you understand.  Maybe you can explain it to Mom.

They told us a few days ago, I had to jump through hoops to cancel all the ETS shit but my P’toon Sarnt helped get it pushed through after I asked him.

We flew all the way on a C17, got to watch a mid-air refueling.  That was cool as hell.  They did this high speed approach to the airfield, 30,000 feet to 3000 feet in three minutes, it keeps enemy AA from targeting you.  I loosened my seat belt partway into it and we were actually weightless.  I just floated off the seat, what a trip.

The Air Farce opened the tailgate when we landed and it was like steppin into a Thanksgiving oven cept it smelled like shit, not turkey.  The heat hit like a fist.  I ain’t never imagined anything like that sh*t.  It’s brutal.  It doesn’t even cool off at night, just f*ckin africa hot, so hot Tarzan couldn’t stand it.

We’re livin in tents right now while the bigshots figger out where we’re goin.  The tents do have AC so that helps until you have to go outside and there ain’t no helpin that shit.  I’m the P’toon Sarnt’s gunner on the Ma’Deuce, we got some sweet new mounts for the vehicles with shock absorbers and a chicken plate.  We painted a number Nine on ours ‘cuz my Sarnt Spear is a rabid “Million Dollar Bill Elliot” fan.  There’s some new kid drivin Bill’s car but Sarnt Spear don’t seem to care.  He was tickled pink.  Life is always easier when your P’toon Sarnt is tickled pink, lord knows it doesn’t happen often.

We’re livin in this big ass tent city beside BIAP, it sucks ass.  The Brigade S3 Sarnt Major is kind of in charge but he’s a paper pusher and a stupid piece of shit, at least that’s how Sarnt Spear refers to him.  Everything has to be dress right dress and here we thought this was combat, not basic again.  One of the FNG’s in our platoon backed a hummer into an electrical box and blew the power to half the camp last night.  Dumbass.  The Sarnt Major came raisin hell, dumbass got a good scuffin’ from the Sarnt Major then another from Sarnt Spear.  LOL, we ain’t got no tv but we still got entertainment.

We were in the POG mess hall last night and this POG pieceashit came walkin past in his pt uniform with his shirt untucked and Sarnt Spears jumped him about it, he says, “tuck your f*ckin shirt in Turbo, you look like a rag-picker.”  The kid started raisin hell, “You can’t talk to me like that, that was racist, you have to treat me with respect.”  The drill sarnt vein on Sarnt Spears forehead stood at attention and started throbbin.  He was up from the table in a flash leanin over him from about three inches away.  I looked at Jonsey, our driver, he rolled his eyes and shook his head.  That stupid kid  just poked the bear.  “I’ll treat you with all the gawddamn respect you earn, standards are there to be met, when they are you earn respect.  Maybe your NCO’s are afraid to make on the spot corrections in your unit, maybe your NCOs don’t have enough personal pride to enforce the standards, maybe they’re all rag pickin piecesofshit like you but Paratroopers ain’t!  Now unfuck yourself.”  The volume and the speed of delivery increased from start to finsh, by the time he paused to take a breath you coulda heard a pin drop every eye was on Sarnt Spears leanin over the kid who was tuckin in his shirt like his life depended on it.  It might have at that point.  The kids NCO showed up then and escorted him out of the mess hall.  Sarnt Spears sat back down and says, “F*ckin pogs ain’t got no damn discipline.”

The S3’s driver and a buck sergeant spent all day today coverin their hummer with mud to camouflage it.  We brought all our stuff from Ft Bragg, it’s green, duh.  Then they realized the mud in the middle of this huge fuckin desert was formed by the drainage of a sewer pipe.  You’d think they’d have noticed the mud smelled like shit.  We did as soon as they drove up.  Cheesy bastards would rather suck a Major’s dick than think a little bit.

We just found out we’re going to Fallujah, late tomorrow or the next day.  I have no idea where the f*ck that is but its s’posed to be terrorist central.  That’d be why they needed the eighty-deuce there.  The LT and Sarnt Spears are going on a leaders recon tomorrow morning, I’ll know more then and I’ll let you know what I can.

Tell Mom what you can but don’t worry her.  More later.



About the Author:

I joined the Army in 1988, served in the 25th IL (L) , 24th ID, The Infantry Training Brigade, The 82nd Airborne Division, Ft Polk and again The 82nd Division until I retired in 2008. I was a mortar maggot and retired with the rank of Master Sergeant.
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  1. Vassar  July 20, 2018

    Sweet. Had to look “pog’s” up. I did one of those nose dive landings in Seoul, Korea. Cool, once I’d cleaned my shirt.

    • Allen  July 27, 2018

      LOL, it’s just “Personnel Other than Grunts.” Generally speaking Grunts are the ultimate in elitism. We execute the final 3-500 meters of US Foreign Policy. The thing I always tried to teach my Soldiers was that there were only two Military Occupational Specialties in the Army, The Infantry and those who serve the Infantry. After that qualification you digress to tabs, patches, badges, awards and finally dick size. LOL


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