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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.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

It's been a while

Hey there select few who travel to this blog. It's been a couple of weeks since I've slapped this site up with an update, so here it goes.

This past week my company spent about four days out in the field doing an evolution that involved a real advanced 'laser tag' system called MILES Gear. We drew out our regular weapons, mine being the M249 SAW, an automatic machine gun, and we outfitted them with lasers on the barrels that sensed every time the weapon fired a blank round, and then sent out a corresponding laser beam that was just as accurate and had the same distance as a normal bullet for that weapon system. Each Marine then wore sensors on his vest and helmet that sensed when he was shot, and a computer kept track of everything.

So we took this gear out about 65 miles away in the desert and each platoon was dropped off in a different sector, where they then did an area reconnaisance and set up a patrol base. From that point on, the platoon conducted patrols from that base, scouting the 'enemy' platoons and conducting raids and ambushes within the whole area of operation, which was about 10 square miles. The terrain was HORRIBLE. Nothing but mountains and hills made of gravel and sand and rock, that wanted nothing more than to slip out from beneath you. Oh yeah, and it got up to about 110 degrees mid day.

My squad made contact with the enemy only once, we spotted them as we were cresting a hill and set up a quasi ambush from about 500 meters away. I was in charge of laying down a base of suppressive fire while one of our fire teams moved into an assault position. After about a 10 minute firefight we had destroyed their patrol. Pretty good tactics by our squad leader.

After a number of days we packed up and loaded back onto the 7 ton trucks to head home, but the trucks had a scheduled 'break down' about 10 miles outside of base, so guess what, we humped home. About half the company ended falling out of the hike, around 10 in our platoon. I made it back on my feet, but one of my toes was bleeding and I had blood blisters on the bottoms of both feet. Don't worry, disgusting pictures will follow below.

This is the saw, the weapon I currently carry.

This is my foot after the hump, if you look, the blister starts at the base of my big toe and extends down into my arch. Yum.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Much Needed R and R

This past weekend I finally managed to escape the doldrums of 29 Palms. Three buddies and I rented a car on base and headed west to LA. We had loose plans to head there and party all weekend, hopefully meeting up with some old friends from Wisconsin, Katie Bodine, whom I knew from the dance team, and Aaron Niay, who I played football with.

Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to meet up with Niay, but me and the boys met up with Katie and her roommates and partied till the early morning hours on Saturday, we then managed to crawl out of bed in time to make it to a UW Alumni event, at a bar of course, to preparty for the LA Dodgers-Milwaukee Brewers game. Eventually, after a couple of PBRs we stumbled over to Dodger Stadium to witness the hometeam dismantle our beloved BrewCrew. However, the Wisconsinites did manage to be the most abnoxious fans in the stadium.

The boys and I actually spent all day on Saturday at Venice Beach, touring around all the crazy things that go on there. One of my friends, Norton, ended up getting a huge tattoo of a Longhorn across his back. He's a proud Texan. Anyways, enjoy the pics.