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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.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


To answer the burning question of how many bugs I ate while at the tracking school the answer is zero. I was tracking, not surviving. In fact, I ate peanut butter-jelly sandwiches every day for lunch out in the field. I made them myself, they were delicious. Everytime we'd take a break from tracking, myself and Sergeant Beidler would look at each other and do the "peanut butter-jelly time dance".

Now I realize that this is going to lead me into another Marine Corps rant. Who paid for the sandwiches?? I did. Why? Because my unit was the only one represented at the school that did not provide its sent personnel with a per diem. Actually, we were also the only ones that did not have our transportation paid for in advance ("keep your gas receipts guys, you'll need those when you get back..."), and also the only ones that had to stay in the world's oldest barracks while everyone else was staying in town in a hotel. The Holiday Inn Express guys were obviously the better trackers. Ultimately, even with the out of pocket expenses, I would still take the school slot again. I joined the Marines to learn how to do crazy things, and this was my first real stab at something outside the box, even if I had to feed myself.


  1. About that per diem and advance pay stuff...

    The USMC does that sort of thing all the time. It's a tradition. There's 2 primary reasons.

    1. Being a Marine means you have to put up with extra crap. If they can't make it hard and/or painful crap, they'll make it silly and/or ridiculous crap. It's all part of the preparedness training. The more your expectations of ease and comfort can be reduced, the less you'll be frustrated and/or de-moraled when things aren't easy or comfortable.

    2. It also serves to remind Marines that pay checks are not just beer ration chits.

    And, about them bugs... I bet you're hiding something.

  2. The last major det I was on before Gulf War I was hurricane relief in Puerto Rico circa 1989. I was part of the wing and we took over operations at Roosevelt Roads for the Navy.

    While all the Navy and Air Force Pouges got transferred off-base into hotels we set up tent city in the grass area right in the middle of the 3 runways (Imagine a big triangle). It was real fun considering the airport was open 24/7 with nothing but F-4's, F-18's and AWACs taking off and landing at all hours.

    Additionally, while our Air Force and Navy brethren received hardship duty pay, per diem, and comrats, we got...wait for it!...that's right! MRE's! Yum!

    Hate to admit it but I actually do miss BS like that.

  3. They still have the old WW2 barracks there?

    I was an instructor at the Army Combat Surveillance/Electronic Warfare School at Ft. Huachuca my last year of enlistment, ’69-‘70. I had just finished 18 months on Okinawa living in quarters that were like living in a motel. I loved the HuchiCuchi area, but the living conditions sucked. We had E-4s, 5s, and 6s living in open bay barracks like we were back in basic.

    Sorry to hear about the deterioration of the border area. I was hoping to buy some retirement property there someday.

    Stay safe!