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I Too Have Seen Weird Shit as a Marine: Convoy

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πŸ“… Published on January 19, 2019

"I Too Have Seen Weird Shit as a Marine: Convoy"

As a Marine, I too have seen weird shit in the Marine Corps: Convoy.

This was back in 2008 or 2009. I was in Iraq. Not with Tracks, but as a provisional rifleman.

Narration by: NaturesTemper

AUDIO TRANSCRIPT (MAY CONTAIN ERRORS)

this is back in 2009 or 2009 I was in
Iraq not with tracks but as a
provisional rifleman that basically
means you stop doing the job you were
trained for you’ve run through six
months of training to do ground pounders
shit and then be deployed to do someone
else’s job it can go either way
sometimes it’s fun you get to do some
cool shit sometimes end up sitting and
watchtower staring at the same patch of
desert for months at a time ordering
some lame-ass gopher errands this was
during the troop surge in Iraq was
fairly tame at that point but still shit
going on bad guys were still moving
around doing bad guy things random
garbage on the side of the road was
still exploding but the overall amount
of violence was dramatically decreased
you might think that’s a good thing
and for the people of Iraq I can concede
the point that it probably was well for
dude in his 20s who had Marine Corps
tattoos a gun and a bad attitude
it was almost depressing he got trained
to do a job and you want to do that job
you want to smoke check a bad guy and
blow some shit up but such are the whims
of war I guess I found myself rolling
back to Camp Ramadi a largest former
Iraqi army base it had been taken over
by the US Marine Corps now company of
Amtrak’s had being attached to grunt
battalion which men we all did the shit
that they didn’t want to do
we’ve been out doing large runs to the
satellite compounds that was situated in
controlling positions around the city of
Ramadi and out in the surrounding region
he’d been a long day of driving all over
Al his creation and I was ready to get
back and get some sleep oh I should
clarify that the large runs are
definitely a bullshit gopher errand run
ammo and myelin to some middle of
nowhere patrol base run hot Chow to an
entry control point compound take this
there and that back here let you get out
and move around some shirt but it was
tedious as all hell
there are three trucks in our convoy an
up-armored hmmwv rolling behind us in an
mtv our or seven-ton behind that truck
normally we would have had a fourth
truck with a mine roller on it and a few
more bodies but we were spread thin as
it was and somebody above us figured
that with the low in violence it would
have been okay I’d like to punch that
guy square in the dick that was driving
an MRAP or mine-resistant Ambush proof
vehicle the Multan known as a buffalo to
be exact big ol six wheels seven ton
truck armored two fuckin back with a
v-shaped hole designed to deflect blast
outwards it feels like driving an almond
womb though for me at least it’s not
super tight on the inside but it still
feels a touch claustrophobic for a
bigger dude like myself the truck is
loud so loud that you have to wear a
headset to talk to the guy next to you
if you don’t want to yell it’s the big
ass engine rolling along in front of you
in the low drone of six massive tires
rolling on asphalt when you put the
headset on and mutes all external sounds
to a dull roar that resembles the
product of a white noise machine on top
of that I was wearing body armor I was
felt nice and snug like I’d been tucked
in after a Thanksgiving dinner
after a long day on the road driving
around a fucking roll in ASMR video I
was getting pretty damn drowsy which
isn’t rare people fall asleep at the
wheel all the time in those damn things
I wasn’t the only one feeling it I know
that much as a glanced up at the Humvee
behind me in my side mirror I could see
that the truck was starting to lag
behind a little opening up dispersion
between vehicles which usually meant the
drivers not enough and reflexively
letting off the gas get her to pick up
the pace the convoy leader a staff
sergeant we called twiddles behind his
back at least who happened to be sitting
in the passenger seat next to me
chastised over the radio no one in the
Humvee responded but the truck picked up
at little speed
fuckers who fall asleep on us the convoy
later growl over the trucks intercoms
can you say I blame them I replied over
the headset I’m hurting to stare
sergeant well it’s a good thing you had
the fucking discipline to keep your
fucking eyes open then ain’t it
Sudan voice that prophesized
unimaginable torments if I fail to
comply with the implied threat it is
indeed Staff Sergeant I said heaven
Blane in the military for a few years at
that point
the threat of a smoke session lost most
of its threat to me but twiddles could
be a real pity son of a bitch when he
wanted to paint you’ll wake up there
fitty I asked the marine riding in the
turret during some of the fire off of me
are we there yet was all fitty reply
about 15 minutes later is Staff Sergeant
twiddles snoozed in the passenger seat I
was doing my level best to fight off the
sleep monster you don’t want your
driving while tired and you start seeing
movement out the corner of your eye I
was starting to get that truckers call
them black dogs and they mean it’s time
to get your ass off the road and get
some sleep
I think that’s why I initially dismissed
him at first as a figment of my tired
brain a mere mental ghost at the side of
the road I’ll beg salt for the yield of
the radio I got someone on deck and all
right you know I brought the truck to a
halt checking my rearview making sure
that the trucks behind me weren’t about
to slam into me we’ve returned my
attention to the road ahead of me in the
surrounding areas I look for anything
that might be a threat and someone calls
a halt to a convoy u-haul may save your
life
Steff sergeant twiddles came awake to
some reach up to his headset on the
corner
did you just stop a fucking convoy for
one dumbass hitchhiking Iraqi out
looking for his next goat to fuck
Twitter Syd groggily over the net I
think he’s an American or a Brit Staff
Sergeant who deceived from his perch in
the Torah his gear looks like ours and I
think he’s alone I got my NV G’s on and
I can’t see no one else he’s alone
stiff sergeant widow’s looked perplexed
to that an American much less a Brit
wouldn’t be out hitchhiking Iraqi back
roads at balls o’clock at 9:00
especially not long maybe a Georgian
those dudes are fucking wild this was
something we’d have to check out can
leave a brother get kidnapped and
tortured to death on al-jazeera data
wand Gator 3 the Marine in charge of the
seven-ton at the rear the convoy came
over the net why we stopped my gunner
City so lost crunchy on the side of the
road Gator – you see anybody yeah I got
eyes on him he’s on the deck about
halfway between my truck and yours
vehicle commander of the Humvee
responded you want me to check him out
what’s he doing he’s just standing there
staring down into the desert all right
all vics 5 and 15 staff sergeant said
over the net which meant that he was
telling the crews of the three trucks to
conduct an inspection the area 5 feet
around vehicles to make sure whoever got
out their truck didn’t step on a
conveniently placed ID after that you
expand your search for exploding
bullshit to about 15 feet if it looked
clear you approached the door inspect
the ground directly below you if it
looked okay you get out Gator to driver
and TC dismounting back me up
Gator 3 let the CLC know that we found
what looks like a lost coalition
personnel we’re going to check him out
bring him in Stef sergeant whittles
looked over at me and nodded another
buck and shut down the truck normally
the gunner and the drivers stayed with
the truck at all times but we were eight
guys in three trucks and we didn’t have
dismounts so the drivers went walking
you got to do what you got to do with
what you got sometimes and climb down my
side of the truck and walked around to
Staff Sergeant twiddles
who was busy yelling at fitty up in the
turret keep your fucking eyes open don’t
let me get tagged by some fucking mud
sniper because you weren’t paying
attention free to respond with a thumbs
up which transitioned to a middle finger
as soon as the staff sergeants back was
turned I rolled my eyes and turned to
follow our beloved later
it was a quiet walk and there was a bit
of tension in the air
stiff sergeant Whittle said his pistol
out and my rifle was at the ready as we
approached the men standing on the side
of the road the Marines from Gator two
were approaching from the opposite
direction had their rifles up as well
they both had nerve shown in their
posture but I couldn’t say I blame them
then she was quite frankly weird and he
had a lot of potential to go stupid at
any moment we all stopped about 30 feet
from the guy just in case he might have
exploded or something silly like that
and that point of town was mostly
peaceful in our AO and at the end of the
day we were still or so best to be
worried of exploding people the night
was quiet as desert nights tend to be
with only the rumble in a gated fries
diesel engine as it pulled a three-point
turn so they could watch her back the
way we came in in the distance drifting
towards us on the light breeze I brought
my rifle up and flipped on the surefire
flashlight affixed to the rails of my
rifle the sudden bright light
illuminated our mysterious friend it was
weird
the guy was in American gear alright
just gear from 20 years ago
dude head on old-school Marine Corps
uniform which featured a camouflage
patent known as chocolate chip he wore a
green 1980 style flak jacket which was
adorned with an old-school load-bearing
vest he also had an old m16a2 service
rifle slung over his shoulder
looked like a Desert Storm reenactor one
of those nerds who dropped a couple
grand on ear of appropriate gear just to
go out and play soldier for the weekend
thing was this man had a defeated air to
him he didn’t look like he was about to
go pretend assault some fake Republican
Guardsman or go pound some brewskis with
the boys at TGI Fridays afterwards he
looked like somebody just shot his puppy
arms hanging down and his side’s
shoulders slumped and head hanging low
chin on his chest shoulders shook
slightly and I realized he was quietly
sobbing nobody said anything for a
moment just watch the southern man who
was dressed in old gear and carrying an
old gun looked over at the Marines from
Gator to the driver a guy who went by
the name turbo on account of how fucking
slow he was had a concerned look on his
face his rifle was at the ready but I
was willing to bet he wasn’t eager to
use him I caught his eyes we both shared
a shrug the southern men was weird but
he didn’t throw off a threatening vibe
just the opposite in fact he had clearly
been through some shit hell I almost
wanted to hug the morose motherfucker hi
Steph Sargent widow’s called out trying
to get the southern man’s attention the
man didn’t turn around didn’t
acknowledge him didn’t do nothing that
indicated that he knew four armed men
were standing around him Hey are you an
American no response from the night
twitter’s took a step towards the man as
if he was about to walk up to him
but then he thought better of it instead
he knelt down picked up a chunk of
highway concrete the size of a Hot
Wheels car he stood back up and for
anyone could ask him why he was about to
throw a rock at a man who was crying he
threw a rock at a man who was crying the
rock bounced off the man’s shoulder at
first it looked like I was about to keep
knowing this but eventually the South
man’s head shifted in our direction a
little he paused like that for a moment
as if weighing out what to do next he
found he stood up straight and put in a
hand on his forehead and turn around
towards me and twiddles his anguished
face had a red hue to it like he’d been
crying for a while I noticed that
besides the red face he was paler than
shit
he ran his hand across his eyes trying
to wipe away tears it’s truly a pathetic
sight to behold fucking left me back the
man gets down between Hitchin breaths
with tears rolling down his face the one
that said he was born and raised in one
of those flyover States defined by corn
and flatness left me as the words left
his limbs I felt a pinprick of ice run
up my spine like someone ran the corner
of an ice cube of my vertebrae the man
had a normal face
normal voice normal eyes there’s
something off about him the voice in the
back of my mind piped up and said ya
ain’t supposed to be here I wasn’t sure
of that man he wasn’t supposed to be out
here on his own or just on this plane of
existence I was leaning towards the
lighter but I didn’t know why something
told me we needed to back off of this
student just let him be let him keep
crying into the desert well there was no
way in hell that we could do that
leaving an American out here by himself
was the same thing as sentencing him
death alright stiff sword and twiddles
responded in what was his version of a
soft tone we’re gonna get you out of
here the man locked eyes with twiddles
and repeated his catchphrase they fuckin
left me
widow’s looked over at me but an
expression that landed somewhere between
holy shit and want the fuck this was bad
the implication was that there was a
union out here leaving guys behind and
for some reason they were rolling around
in desert storm gear what’s your name
bud
tweedle sir well taking a few more steps
towards the southern man I noticed that
he hadn’t holster his pistol he wasn’t
aiming it at the man but it wasn’t quite
down by side either
I shared along beside twiddles I had my
rifle up and pointed the man’s direction
I told myself that was just because I
wanted to keep him illuminated with my
gun light and looking back on it it was
posted because this dude was an unknown
and I wasn’t fully ready to relax just
because he was an ugly crier the man
ignored twiddles his eyes shifting away
from him and looking into mine a
friendly noticed that he didn’t try and
block the light from my surefire like
the brightest gun light in his eyes
wasn’t bothering him remember wondering
if it was one of the effects of shock I
figured that might of being what was
bothering me about him besides
everything else I mean I tried to
reassure myself that that was in fact
the problem but I knew it wasn’t as you
may or may not know I had dealt with
some pretty weird shit in my military
career up until that point and I got a
feeling this was about to be some more
weird shit this was years ago but I
remember those eyes as if I just looked
into them
they were sad hurt haunted even my
buddies had left me to die in the desert
I’d be pissing fire and ready to tear
somebody’s dick off not having an
emotional breakdown in an Indian country
some people cope differently I guess
twiddles move closer to the men and I
followed the Marines from Gator to
Merida’s from the opposite position the
south man kept me in his gaze and for
some reason my mind wandered back to the
little girl on the RAM the one I spoke
about in my first story and briefly
entertained the notion then this was her
father and he was crying because he
missed her I’m brush that one out of my
mind is a bit of silliness I’m not
worthy or thought I’m bond reached in
the man he broke his unnerving stare and
shifted his gaze back out to the desert
looking away from me I remember feeling
in a vague sense a relief that he’d
broken out contact the man’s lips were
moving and I realized he was whispering
his fucking words again over and over
again
this dude’s cheese had clearly slid off
his cracker widow’s realized that as
well and motion towards his slug rifle
boss looking at me leaving disarming an
emotionally unstable person to one of
his guys and not doing the job himself
classic twiddles move I know what I’d
saw when I reached out to take the man’s
rifle an m16 a to service raffling good
and serviceable condition
when I grabbed the rifle by the barrel
and slid it off his shoulder it changed
as soon as it broke contact with the
man’s body it was like somebody had
switched the rifle in my hand for
something that had just been drugged out
of the desert
I don’t mind explaining one minute the
thing was a fun example of an
american-made colt long gun the next was
a completely different pony the hand
guards were brittle and sun-bleached the
middle are being stripped off a bluing
was now rusty and pitted a carrying
handle was mostly rusted away the boat
stock had a big crack in the shape of a
lightning ball attempt to clear it but
the magazine releasing button wouldn’t
budge and neither would the charging
handle and things looked like had been
sitting outside for last 20 years at
least the rifle was on safe I would have
to do but shit I felt like I need a
fucking tetanus shot just from holding
the damn thing
Steph’s ardent twiddles looked over at
the Marines who represented gator – I’m
gonna put him in your truck leprechaun
twiddles told the Marine who was in
charge of Gator – his nickname was
leprechaun because he was an absolutely
massive walking slab muscle masquerading
as a human bein if he starts getting out
of line
you pop him on and turn him down we’d
put him in the back of Buffalo but it’s
full of gear right now leprechaun didn’t
say anything back to twiddles just gave
him a blank look before slowly nodding
at him in the affirmative the way
twiddles had issued his decree about the
southern man riding in the Hummer was
telling
they were both valid reasons leprechaun
would in fact be able to handle the man
if he lost his shit and the Buffalo did
in fact have equipment in it but the way
the words fell on the staff sargeant
mouth and a slightly quicker paced and
usual pain in a clearer picture of the
nervous energy twiddles was infected
with the maine could have written in our
truck but I don’t think twiddles would
have had let that happened in I mean
shit and I would have been eager to have
him sitting behind me in the truck
either when he was obviously passing the
book on this one
good Lestrade breaking through to the
southern man one more time hey buddy you
gonna be okay gonna get you back to camp
Ramadi the Saba man looked back at
twiddles he didn’t even say his
catchphrase this time he just gave his
hair to first rated shake widow’s looked
up at leprechaun and told him to get the
Sultan man loaded up leprechaun put his
hand on the man’s shoulder and urged him
towards the Homer the southern man took
one look back out of the desert
finally he dropped his head and turned
to go with leprechaun and turbo the man
kept whisper in his motto they fuckin
left me a little bit smoky as we walked
back to our truck trying to let the
nicotine calm me down
sneaking glances of the man over my
shoulder twiddles was eager to get back
on the road – kept reminding I think it
was mostly pretty eager to get the
southern man off his hands not to
mention then it was never a good idea to
spend too much time stopped him on place
well outside the wire for all we knew
Terry Taliban was dialing in on our
position with his trusty mortar and
trying to get his best pal al anak I ADA
to sneak up on our position with the
trusty RPG
fuck both of them I remember thinking I
look down at the battered old rifle in
my hand the thing was a fucking relic
and looked every bit of one I’m still
fucking with me the fact he looked
almost knew on the man’s shoulder but
now it looked like the gun Fred
Flintstone had learned to shoot with I
told myself there was just my mind
fucking with me but I knew I was lying
to myself because why would this guy
have even been outside the wire with the
rifle in such a shit shape he’ll most
the locals would have turned the noses
of it we mounted back up in the truck
and put the rifle on the console next to
me Twitter’s didn’t say much he just
waited on me to get settled in my seat
before he keyed out the radio all the
Exile Vic’s brought you up when you’re
ready to move gators 2 & 3 notified us
that they were ready to move staff
sergeant twiddles told everyone we were
stepping off and notified our COC that
we were getting back on the move with
the plus one and got back on the road to
Canberra muddy we hadn’t gone more than
a mile or so before leprechaun came over
the net Gator wad Gator to the pecans
voice came booting off their headsets
starting the shit out of me as I’ve been
lost in a moment of deep thought this
what you tend to fall into on the long
drive get her to go for Gator 1
Stewart’s starting to freak out
leprechauns said over the net I could
hear the sobs of the man in the
background his head and he’s down there
screaming about getting left behind / I
looked at the up-armored hmmwv and
mossad nur an onus that had been closing
up and dispersion between our vehicles a
little closer than woulda liked turbo
may have been trying to make up for his
general lack of speed or it was eager to
get the movement over with no no which
Roger that if it gets too bad we’ll pull
over in how time but I’d rather not have
to do that Roger that Gator one
leprechaun rumbled back over the radio
we’ll try it leprechaun was cut off
right is the world behind me had hooked
up with noise and violence there was a
bright flash in my rear view and it felt
like a giant kicked my truck square in
the ass must a reflexive occurring
the steering wheel something because the
next thing I know the end of the truck
is whipping around I swear I’m up on
three wheels without thinking I cranked
the wheel out of the spin and managed to
pull his back down on all six the whole
truck jolted violently as a touchdown I
heard some of the crunch and I felt more
than I heard the engine quit doing its
job the truck lurched to a stop side
waits across the road my whole body
screamed in protest at the spin cycle
did just being put through everything
was fuzzy and my head was banging felt
like I was going to vomit
not sure how men just keep that big
bitch with its high center of gravity
from flipping the hell over I realized I
still had my boot jam to the brake get
her main cater MOBA we just got hit we
just got hit bad I heard a voice say
from far off in the weights I realized
it was twiddle speaking into his headset
letting the COC know that we were in a
bad way
his voice was out the calm eye looked
beyond him out of his window all I saw
was smoke in the darkness little blood
panels of lights from the truck fit it
was no longer up in his torrid I knew
because his head was poked out from
behind us like a my view of the shoot
show outside the window he looked over
at me I could tell it was having trouble
focusing on me you okay bro man he says
me his words were slurred and he was
talking a lot louder than he needed to
blood was spouting out of his nose but
later found out that his eardrums were
ruptured and he had a monster of a
concussion since he had been in a turret
he caught some of the shock wave of the
blast and had been slammed around but
the trucks had tend to begin a
motorcycle he’s missing teeth and blood
was spilling out of his mouth
I think his face had burn introduced to
the buttstock of his machine gun not
sure how it didn’t go flying out of the
turret I’ll give him credit though
they’ve even taken a baton like that the
first thing on his mind was to check on
us next few hours were a blur
trying to make sure it fit he wasn’t
going to die moving went to the crater
in the road that used to be gauged –
looking around for my friends they were
just short of vaporized looking at the
remains of the up armored gun truck and
knowing that my friends wouldn’t have
survived that find an unidentifiable
piece of human body trying to set up
some kind of security cordon while being
so drastically undermanned the Sun
coming up QRF arriving Korman told me to
sit down at some point it was all some
sort of blurred days the truck was
thrice not to the extent of Gator – and
it wasn’t gonna be rolling under its own
power the IAD that we had managed to hit
had been designed for an MRAP ORN abrams
it was at least three 155 shells wired
to a pressure plate we must have just
missed it Makeda – sure shit found it
the blasts have been massive would have
blown the turret out of an ingress dome
they never stood a chance
at some point I got to the back of one
of the QRF trucks the Humvee actually if
I wasn’t so tired and punch-drunk um
might have objected to it but as it were
I was just ready to get out there if it
was long gone at this point they’re cold
in a case of Ekberg for him in the
marine it was riding the gun on Gator 3
the kid we ended up : Scarface on the
count of the wicked scar and piece of
Gator – it left in his cheek they flew
him to the shock trauma unit in Baghdad
City survived there’s still a lot of
activity on the road as we were getting
ready to leave and they maintain
Hercules was extending its crane so it
could load the remains of the Humvee
onto a lowboy trailer Marines were all
over the deck providing security picking
up pieces of the Humvee I saw two
Marines looking for certain things
amongst the wreckage wearing surgical
gloves it would stop take a photograph
or something make a note logbook bend
down pick up another thing they found
place it in a black trash bag and resume
their search they were picking on piece
of my friends I looked beyond them
standing on the side of the roads were
full Marines they didn’t do anything
nobody seemed to notice them they just
watched with blank faces this – Marines
from grapes registration went about
their job one of them stood out from the
others he wore different gear than they
did altered gear I felt the driver put
the Humvee into gear and start to pull
out I took one last look at the full
Marines on the side of the road I
remember thinking for leaving them
behind

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