• April 16, 2009
  • 12

How the Spartans Were Conquered

Been on deck nearly 10 days and this deployment may prove to be darkest night as compared to last year’s glorious days of ruggedness.
Last deployment I had a rifle company that lived in an OP that looked like something out of the Road Warrior. Watchtowers festooned with machine guns and grenade launchers overlooked the maze of obstacles littering Entry Control Points.

The Marines lived in conex boxes which were converted shipping crates covered in sandbags and Hesco barriers. The Company Commander, myself, the XO and our air officer all lived in one room together that used to be some kind of meat locker.

Indirect fire from insurgent mortar teams was pretty regular until we killed them all.

The chow sucked. It was something known as UGRs or some such acronym. I suspect the name has something to do with the sound troops make while trying to choke down a mouthful of it. “UhhGGhRR!!”
Physical violence nearly erupted the week we ate the same dish seven out of ten days. America’s 1stSgt was leading the way. The box was labeled chicken fajitas but I suspect it was composed of chicken colons. Marines were only able to pry my hands from the cook’s necks with a case of Dr. Pepper.

Mail from home was a most coveted item. We received mail twice a week and sometimes took as long as two weeks to reach us. Knife fights were known to break out over a package of homemade baked goods. Premium cigars were treated with nearly as much reverence as one’s personal weapons.

Air conditioners were appropriated and installed with sledge hammers. Marines also constructed their own phone center and computer stations. This was considered pretty high speed for us jarheads. Spaware was set up and the boys were able to call home and e-mail regularly. There was even a large screen TV and DVD player. We couldn’t get Armed Forces Network television, but as grunts we thought we lived in the lap of luxury.

Lean, hardened Marines exited friendly lines multiple times a day looking to take the fight to the forces of jihad. It was hot, miserable, sucky work and I remember it fondly.

We were totally ready for the Zombie Apocalypse.

This year I am completely disgusted with myself.

I have Headquarters and Service Company and we live on an air base that looks more like a small town. (Que Mr. Rogers theme music)

The Marines live in air conditioned trailers we call ‘cans’ and fit two to a room. They have electricity, mattresses, cable for AFN television, and even wireless connections are available for internet use!

My can has a TV that is rarely watched. My laptop is KIA so that is not an option, no big deal there. I even have a small leather couch that does quite well as reading area.

It’s sick!

Mail is picked up daily and takes five to seven days to get here. I haven’t seen a knife fight in over a year.

On base, there is a Subway, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Burger King, KFC, and a stinkin’ Cinnabon! There is a Green Bean Coffee Shop, though I see no reason to bad mouth that fine company.

Then there are the dinning facilities. The food is pretty good eatin’ if you ask me. There is the main line for meals, a short order line for burgers and such, a sandwich line, salad bar, and the dessert bar. Yes, dessert has its own bar replete with various types of cookies, cake, pie, ice cream, and other fat pills.

The movie theatre shows two movies a day, there are USO comedy nights and Charlie Daniels is doing a show this week. The PX sells, music, DVDs, potato chips, candy, and everything America’s 1stSgt doesn’t stand for.

The forecast for me leaving friendly lines in an effort to confront the forces of evil is not looking so good.

The base is totally inundated with Army, Air Force, Navy, KBR workers, and third country nationals.

It IS the Zombie Apocalypse.

Semper Fidelis,

America’s 1st Sgt.

/ / / /


  1. I hope you go to the Charlie Daniels show. He is great in concert, and I know he truly appreciates what you and all of the men and women of our military do.

    Hang in there. A little air conditioning and Taco Bell never hurt anybody – yet.

  2. Holy crap, what has happened to the Jar Heads, I thought you guys with bite the head off a snake and eat it, taco bell, burger king, coffee shop and I saw an Ice Cream Cone, I wonder what the Marines of Khe Sanh would think of todays war. Just kidding sarge, you guys deserve a break now and then.

  3. Be careful what you wish for, Top.

    Since the duty is easier this time, maybe some selected Taliban bad guys will volunteer to come around and allow you and yours to arrange a meeting with them and Allah.

  4. Southern, I didn’t make the Charlie Daniels show. But those that went told me it was great. As the band took the stage a sand storm blew in. Charlie Daniels came out with goggles and a surgical mask. He is quoted as saying; “They want me to shut it down, but if Marines can eat and live in this I can at least play a guitar in it.” The Marines told me that the band, drums, keyboards were covered in dust by the end of the
    concert. Cool.

    Sarge, all that stuff is provided by our friends in the US Army. I don’t eat in those places when I’m in the States let alone deployed.

    Coffepot, not complaining that there isn’t enough action. But there are Marines in mortal danger somewhere in the world. That is where I belong. Complacency this deployment is our number 1 enemy. It is still dangerous enough here to get you killed if you get caught sleeping.

    T, I’ll take all the preferential treatment when I get back. 🙂 Really,I don’t begrudge the boys any comforts they can get. It still sucks

  5. Yes, Top, there are those Marines somewhere in harms way, and that is their lot right now. They also have their own hard-ass 1st Sgt. wiping their noses and kicking their asses. I understand you are a combat warier, but there has to be someone to guard the back side, too. That is your lot right now. Just keep on keeping on. The fact that you are on the other side of the ocean makes you a hero to me. Any boys from Georgia that needs a email pal, put them on me.

  6. Akelamalu, you have to figure that a Marine’s perspective is somewhat skewed when it comes to luxury. Not sleeping on the ground sounds pretty good to guys like us so what we have now seems over the top.

  7. Top your with a POG unit what did you expect? My daughters boyfriend had similar stories when he came back from his second combat tour last fall with D company 2nd LAV. He told me when they came back to the FOB after a 22-day patrol outside the wire and the first thing his platoon did was head to the chow hall. He tells me laughing that POG’s in the line complained that ‘you guys smell what have you been doing?” I actually felt kind of sad, REMF’s who apparently had no clue what was happening out in Al Anbar. Hang in there with any luck you can pick up a good grunt company and make the next show up in Afghanistan.
    Semper FI

  8. billmill, we are an infantry battalion but somehow we got the Task Force MP mission. I spit in the eye of anyone who complains about how we are living. We have pretty much decided that for all the times we have lived like crap we’ll enjoy the luxury while we can.

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