Finally got some access to a laptop and a thumb drive, so now I have some time to sit down and talk about things. We only spent about 7 days out this time, not quite 10, but of course it still feels like forever. Wasn’t quite as hot, and wasn’t quite as humid, but I think the bugs are mutating into something worse than before. The Marine Corps has a solution to this problem, it comes in a little green tube. Doc simply called it bug juice, he said it had pretty good levels of DEET so I gave it a try. Before I went to bed I put it on my arms and legs, a little dab on the back of the neck, a bit on the shoulders, I thought I was good. I laid down, put on my iPod, closed my eyes and prepared for a horribly sweaty 4 hours of shallow slumber. About five minutes into my fitful rest I felt like I was on fire. Literally, I felt like Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights. It was as if he had made me rub extra strength Icy/Hot on, and the thing is, it wasn’t a prank. The Marine Corps answer to bugs lies somewhere in a lotion that’s 50% diesel fuel, 30% camel urine, and 20% God only knows what.
Of course it didn’t help that the houses we were picking to stay in were completely overrun with spiders. I won’t dwell on the spider subject much anymore, but if you can actually feel the exoskeleton of the spider crunch under your boot it’s a bad sign.
I have a killer case of combat tan going on right now. From my neck up and my elbows down I look only 50% Caucasian. Of course then I get back from patrol and peel off my flight suit and shirt and the rest of my body hasn’t seen the light of day in about 6 months, which is NOT good for my return to California.
The insurgents only messed with us once this past week, which was a welcome change of pace. I think they had maybe planned on bothering us a little more, but when they rolled up on our patrol base and fired their AK’s at us, and we returned with a 30 round automatic burst from a MK-19 grenade launcher, they lost their nerve a little. LCPL Wherry was the guy that returned fire, which has only added to his growing legend as "Machine Gun" Wherry, aka "Ma Deuce", aka "Johnny On the Spot With Automatic Machine Gun Fire". You see, Wherry has been behind the heavy guns in just about every major engagement we’ve been in as a platoon. When Windsor was hit, it was Wherry behind the .50 cal, dismantling buildings brick by brick to get us out. Two weeks ago when we were ambushed by the market, it was Wherry that got behind the 240 and put rounds down on the house from about 1,000 meters away. The thing is, he isn’t even a machine gunner, but he’s the envy of the platoon.
I mentioned in a previous post that I have been debating on what to do my last two years in the Marines when I come back from Iraq. In that one I was debating between coming back to Iraq next year leading the squad. I think I have found what I really want to do though. My buddy Muir is trying to reenlist into a new unit called MARSOC, which stands for Marine Special Operation Command, and is the Marine Corps’ first step into the official SOCOM community. They are currently trying to find qualified candidates to fill their ranks since its only 2 years old, and after this deployment I will meet all those requirements. I would only have to extend my contract for 12 months (so I’d do 5 years instead of 4) and I would be stationed at Camp Pendleton, on the coast, far away from 29 Palms. I’m only hoping that I can get my chain of command to let me go, they’re notorious for not letting guys try and get out until they have two deployments in with the battalion. We’ll see where it goes. Right now I’m working on getting my secret clearance, which is the first step.
Well, it’s about time to wrap this one up. I’ve been back in Camp Fallujah for 14 hours, and I already have two showers in. That might sound a little over the top, but I think as much filth came off in the second one as the first, and I feel round three coming up.
PS- if anyone contacts you about my secret clearence, which is a possibility please don't mention the following- Anything that had to do with 206 Marion Street, my employment at Wando's, Sunday Fundays, that curious thing that happened with the Le Claire sign post in high school, having a bar in my front lawn in college, Halloween 2003...just do me a favor and say you can only recall my upstanding citizenship and dedication in the classroom.