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This blog exists only as an archive. It is a journal that serves as a window into my life as a Marine combat veteran serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; it was written with no filter, no politics and no agenda. Please feel free to follow my journey from beginning to end. Welcome to my life.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Good Book

For all my fellow book nerds out there...

If you are into history, especially military history, or if you just want a good old American read, pick up Flags of Our Fathers. It's written by the son of one of the Iwo Jima flagraisers and tells the story of the six Marines that raised the flag on Sirubachi, their lives before and after. It also gives a great account of the battle for Iwo Jima. Quick read, good read.
Well another week at the School of Infantry has passed. The slew of cool things to shoot and blow up has slowed down a bit, this week we spent out in the field doing day and night land navigation and some live fire squad assaults, the latter of which will be one of my topics to write about.

Live fire squad assault
translation: Take a 13 man squad full of Marines, most of whom aren't the sharpest tool in their respective shed, give them M16s with live ammunition, and attempt a coordinated assaulted on an objective, with individuals rushing foward of the line and the remaining individuals providing live cover fire over their heads.

what this means to me: I'm sitting on the line ready to do my assault, I look down the firing line to the left and right and see that my squad consists of the "who's who" in dumbass world. Then I realize that they all have 30 rounds of 5.56 ballpoint ammunition that they plan on shooting over my shoulders while I'm running. Needless to say, my pants almost developed a wet stain.

Enough of that. I'm currently writing this from a USO in San Diego. I would say sunny San Diego but I was walking through downtown earlier today amidst a hailstorm. Yes, a HAIL storm. Pretty funny to see a bunch of Ron Burgundy's running around not having any idea what it means to have ice falling from the sky. I think they thought it was Armageddon.

Did you know they have actual Ben and Jerry's shops? Yeah, I would get real fat real fast if I lived too close to the one here.

Attention Nathan Suh- you have to send me your email address so I can actually reply back to your posts!

Peace out world.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

School of Infantry

Well, its been quite some time since my last post. I have been pretty locked down since reporting to the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton, but, I have finally gotten a chance to sit down and let you all know whats going on with me now.

I picked up with an Infantry Training Battalion about two weeks ago, I'm now a Bravo Company Marine. This past week has been pretty amazing, let me give a summary-

Monday-Hand grenades
Tuesday-M16s and Grenade launchers
Thursday-M249 SAW machine gun and AT-4 Rocket Launcher
Friday- Claymore Antipersonel Mines
Saturday- Night vision goggles and infrared laser sights.

You know how everyone has that list of things they HAVE to do before they die? Well, last week I knocked out about half of them. First things first. Ever pulled the pin on a live hand grenade with a kill radius of 15 meters, just to sit there and stare at it in your hands? That'll pucker up the old sphincter muscle pretty fast. Have you ever seen Scarface? You know, the part where Pacino comes out of the room with the M16 that has the grenade launcher underneath the barrel? "Say hellllloooo, to my lihhle fren'"??? Yeah, shot one of those too. Felt like Schwarzennegar in Predator. Then, I discovered that happiness comes in the form of a belt fed weapon. I found this as I was laying behind the SAW with 100 rounds of ammunition on a belt, spraying bullets down field at the rate of 200 per minute. *DEEP BREATH* And then the rocket launcher, you know, the bazooka. Yeah, the shoulder fired anti tank weapon that shoots an 18 inch, 84 millemeter rocket with a 440 grain warhead that can penetrate 14 inches of homogenous steel. Yeah, that arouses me too. Since they cost about $10,000 a piece our company only got to fire 6, and I was one of the lucky six out of 300. Then they put freakin' laser beams on our freakin' rifles, handed us night vision goggles and 50 founds of 5.56 for our M16s and turned the firing range into a freakin' Star Wars movie. Did I mention freakin' lasers?

Needless to say the training is awesome, but its super hard. We have to hike wherever we go, and that always includes our packs and gear, not to mention that someone has to carry all these weapons. When we went out on Tuesday it was pouring rain, I had my 65 pound pack, my rifle, helmet, and flak jacket, plus an AT-4 and M249 SAW, about 105 pounds of gear, but who's weighing? It's only going to get better from here. I cannot believe that Uncle Sam sends me a paycheck to do this stuff.

I'll post another update next week hopefully. Stay tuned.