• April 28, 2009
  • 25

A Need to Know Basis

The list of things I do not need to know is long and varied. But in particular I do not need to know certain things while deployed to areas of the world with a vested interest in my violent death.

I appreciate that you are worried about me. However, letting me know that you have a bad feeling right before I go on a road trip through IED infested roadways has an adverse affect on my whole lower GI tract.

Recently a friend said something like; “Be careful out there, I’ve been having bad dreams about you.”


Now you’re getting ready to head out the wire when it abruptly dawns on you, “Hey! I’m MORTAL!” The next forty-five minutes are spent seeing if anyone has an extra SAPI plate they want to give up.

There’s nothing like a well meaning friend to cure your constipation. Imagine a sphincter clenching three hour road movement punctuated with thoughts of, “Is the IED going to hit now? How about now? Now? Wait for it…NOW!”

Or, “When the RKG hits us; I wonder what part of the MRAP is going to get it?” Just the thought of shape charge munitions rending my body to so much pulp gives me that warm tingly feeling. Or is that pee?

Then of course, during the helo lift back your only thought is wondering how spectacular the crash will be after the RPG takes out the rear rotor. “Oh man, oh man, oh man, it’s going to hit us in the squishy bits! I KNOW it!”

So friends, please, we who are forward deployed do not need to know about your palm reading at Madam Voodoo’s and how she prognosticated the imminent violation of our earthly bodies. By all means, keep that crap to yourself. Not only is it so much BS but it is liable to produce the opposite affect that you intended. Namely, it will take our mind off the mission at hand which is more likely to lead to something going wrong than all the tarot cards in the world.

All we need to know from you guys is when the brownies and chocolate chip cookies are coming in the mail.

And for those who need to know, I made it back to Al Assad in one piece. No thanks to you.

Semper Fi,
America’s 1stSgt

/ / / /


  1. Top, you can’t die. You’re too damn pretty. You know that.

    Heh, I can feel your blood pressure rise from here knowing some Ex-ARMY officer just called you Top. Tell you what, when you get back, if you make it up to Boston, I will walk willingly into a well deserved cap of whoop-ass. Then, if I can walk, I’ll buy the beer.

  2. Do people really share their doubts/concerns/tarot card readings with you? Crazy. I make it a point to only tell my buddies that I hope they are doing well and the care package is in the mail…

  3. I shall take your words to heart and make sure I do not commit that same error with any of my adopteds.

    That said, next time someone has a bad dream about you, just comfort yourself with my dream about you. . . well, comfort might be a bit strong. . .see, I read your Arnold post then got to surfing the net reading about Crossfit. Then that night, I dreamed you get back from the wars all fine, get challenged to a Crossfit competition that Ah-nold is also competing in and well, you take center stage with the help of Day care center of preschoolers that your run in your spare time. (I confess, I ate oriental and italian cuisine at the same meal that night) . . . Is it too late to change my name and enter witness protection?

  4. Not to worry. We all know that 1st Sgt’s do not bleed. They don’t have time to bleed. That’s what 2nd Lt’s are for. 1st Sgt’s are too busy telling their minions that they do not have permission to bleed. However, if you do happen to have that warm and tingly feeling too much, then I will send you a box of Depends. Otherwise, tie it in a knot.

  5. Happy to see you are having such a good day Top. Top is an Army term for 1st Sgt (Top Sgt) I don’t know if you Jarheads use that or not. I would have never thought of IED as a cure for constipation, I suspect it would work very well. I haven’t called on my palm reader so I can say “stay safe my friend”

  6. Top,
    Here’s what I do when some nice citizen sent me an e-mail or, today says something stupid like that:
    Nice citizen: “How long were you in Iraq?”
    Me: “Too long.”
    Nice citizen:”How many people did you have to kill?”
    Me: “not enough, why did you want some?”
    Nice citizen: “Will you have to deploy again?”
    Me: “That’s like asking somebody who’s had cancer surgery if it’ll come back—you dumbass, don’t ask things like that.”

    Top, don’t forget, before convoys, brief you troops: “Men, don’t forget to have a full breakfast– I mean eat it all…eggs, bacon, coffee, milk, juice, toast, muffins…eat as much as you can…
    because you can’t shit your pants in fear with an empty stomach.”

  7. Hi 1ST/SGT Burke.
    I hope you and all of our young men are safe as safe as one could be over there.

    When you get back to the states
    and you get a weekend leave come over to Bullhead,city AZ and My wife and I will take you out for drinks and dinner.
    S/F F.L.Heckerman from the Geezer squad Mike 3/3/3

  8. Oh, stop it. Of course you made it back. Dragon slayers aren’t mortal. Did you say all that to ask for brownies? The lengths you will go…

    Roller Dude…will you add some of these acronyms to you last post please? 🙂

  9. Admiyo, pretty? Ruggedly handsome, perhaps. Never pretty. So far I have let the ‘Top’ remarks slide. In the “Old Corps” 1stSgts were referred to as Top as well. Not sure when we stopped doing that. Many WWII Marines have called me Top and I certainly wouldn’t even think of correcting the likes of them. No offense is meant so I don’t take it that way. Customs and courtesies might be the subject of another post.

    Karie, that’s what I’m here for, comic relief. Hey, wait…

    Red, you must keep in mind that when I tell stories they are laced here and there with some exaggeration. Excessive worry does get a little over the top sometimes. And I have to admit that I have ticked off people back home with stuff like, “Oh yeah, um, remember when I had to get off the phone the other day? Yeah, it was because we were being hit with mortars. Sorry.” I think my non-chalance about being in physical danger is what really hacks my friends and family off.

    Ally, time to seek professional help. I’m not convinced your diet is thecause of your weird dreams so much as that funny jacket you wear to bed with the sleeves tied in the back. 😉

  10. Coffeepot, 1stSgts don’t bleed? Tell that to the vicious paper cut I got sitting behind this desk at H&S Company.

    Sarge, explained above that many old time Marines still use that term. Now days we tend to use it in reference to Master Sgts. Some of them don’t like much themselves. During my dad’s tenure in the Corps you could go back and forth from 1stSgt to MSgt (not any more). He had a plaque on his desk that showed a spinning top on one end reading, “This is a top.” The other end of the plaque had MSgt chevrons that read, “This is a MSgt.”

    CI Roller, the proper response to “How many people did you have to
    kill?” is to give them the 1000 yard stare right between the eyes and say coldly, “Not enough.”

  11. Southern- Et tu? So not only do you hear imaginary voices now, you are also seeing imaginary comments? *grin* Off the meds I see! lol

    I will admit, I do have nightmares from time to time, but they are an associative function and occupational hazard of dealing with Burke on a regular basis.

    I’m glad I never have to deal with you two at the same time.*gheesh* Does all this abuse mean you’ll throw in a few extra pictures when I get around to picking them out off of Flickr?

  12. Hi 1ST S/GT Burk
    In answer to your question about the other Geezer being jealous
    I hope so . they can come too but they have to buy there own food and drinks LOL .

    Tell the other troops hi for me.

  13. Southern, although Hope does worry like an overprotective mother at
    times she has never said to me, “You died in my dream! Don’t go onanother patrol!” Actually, no one has said that.

    Hope, your nightmares are your own affair and I have no influence on
    them. Did I mention I was chased by a rabid pack of wild striped hyenas yesterday?

    Katherine, sadly so do I. Hmmmmmmmmm…brownies.

    Buzz, if it will give you more ammo at the next Geezer social I’m allfor it. Will pass the word to the boys.

    Grasshopper, around here messing around with brownies and choc chip
    cookies will incite bloodshed.

  14. See Burke? It’s all about the brownies…hahaha

    Careful not to bite any hands that feeds ya those brownies.
    Cuz that dream about the rabid pack of wild striped hyenas is scarey.
    I personally think the battlefield is safer…

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