Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fat Boy Sunday

For those of us that are PT Monsters we know that 80% of our body composition has to do with what we eat. But occasionally we just have to get our junk food on. Each week during what we like to call Fat Boy Sunday a bunch of us hit the chow hall and get a little trashy.

Normally my breakfast looks like this:

But on Fat Boy Sunday it can get really ugly:

Note the disgusting waffles drenched in syrup and that ugly blueberry pastry. Sick!

This picture is titled: Straight Butt, Extra Heavy.

For a few weeks in a row we tackled breakfast like this Sunday mornings and then spent the entire afternoon with various symptoms like headaches, nausea, and waffle induced coma. I think it only illustrates how bad this stuff really is for the human body.

Next month a bunch of us are going to lean forward and take on the Primal Health Challenge. That means no more of this trash. I think my body may just thank me for it.

Semper Fi!

America’s 1stSgt

Monday, July 27, 2009

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch

If you have not seen the movie The Siege of Firebase Gloria starring R. Lee Ermey then you are all kinds of wrong. Not only is it a great flick that exceeds the minimum standards ofentertainment including decapitations; excessive machine-gun fire;close quarters machete work; and the killing of godless communists enmass; but it has some of the greatest lines in military movie history.

In one scene, the Marine SgtMaj (R. Lee Emrey) walks the trenches of the outpost with a severed head in each hand. What follows is the greatest lesson on complacency ever put on film:

SgtMaj Hafner: Anyone know who these belong to? This is Corporal Miller. He's dead. Hell, the whole gun crew's dead. And to add insult to injury, Charlie took the fifty-****ing caliber machine gun with him. I don't have any respect for Corporal Miller anymore, because he allowed his troops to relax. They let their guard down for five ****ing minutes, and Charlie took advantage of it. Look at 'em, Goddammit! Pay attention. Stay alert! Stay alive! It's as simple as that!

In another scene one of the Marines is interrogating a wounded VC prisoner in the aid station where a bunch of female Army nurses are tending all the injured. SSgt DiNardo is not being gentle with said prisoner and the head nurse is disgusted with him:

Captain Flanagan: What kind of animal are you?

DiNardo: Animal? Lady, do you have any idea what Charlie will do if he captured this fire base and came in here? They would rape you and your nurses until you're all dead! If the roles were reversed here, they'd use the exact same means of interrogation. As for me an animal? I'm no animal.

The movie takes place in the jungles of Vietnam right before the Tet Offensive. In one scene an Army 1stSgt is talking to the Marine SgtMaj about why he decided to enlist in the armed forces and serve in an unpopular war. What follows is one of my favorite movie quotes of all time:

“There’re a lot of things I don’t like about America; but what I love, I love a lot.”

In the spirit of having something worth fighting for and loving something a lot, I present the link below:

Otto-Cakes has now become one of the reasons for me to return to planet Earth when I am done here. I have even changed the name of the place and having dubbed it Motto-Cakes. For the uninitiated, motto means motivation in Marine speak.

So if asked what in the world Marines are fighting for you can confidently and enthusiastically answer: Cheesecake! American cheesecake. Love it and eat it!

Because if the roles were reversed; evildoers would take your cheesecake and eat it to death without you.

Semper Fi!

America’s 1stSgt

Monday, July 20, 2009

It's A Boy!

No, America’s 1stSgt is not a proud father. But I know someone who is!

The other day one of my S-1 ninja’s wife gave birth to a healthy baby boy. He had been on the phone on and off for hours. She was in labor for 20 of them if that tells you anything!

All morning I’d stick my head in the office and loudly ask if we were a dad, yet.

“Not yet 1stSgt; but I’m ready.” The young Corporal patted a box of cigars he had purchased for the occasion and was anxious to hand them out in celebration.

On a speaker phone he could hear what was going on in the delivery room; the nurse coaching his wife; his wife cursing his very existence; his mother reassuring his wife that today she was allowed to say pretty much anything she wanted about him and receive unconditional amnesty.

Regularly he would call back for an update. At one point the doctor told him that the baby was coming soon and to call back in fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes later he called back just to have his mother announce: “You just missed it!”

Thanks to the miracle of modern technology he was able to hear his baby crying in the background. That was pretty cool. When we asked how the mother was doing the doting father replied: “She was totally done 1stSgt. She could barely talk to me.” Wisely, he had let her hit the rack and promptly handed out cigars.

My only advice to him and any husband returning from deployment was to ensure that he hugs his wife and children FIRST before mothers and other well wishers. Watching one of our sister battalions return from Iraq last year I saw a young Marine’s mother body-check his wife out of the way so she could hug him. My SgtMaj leaned over to me saying: “There’s their first fight.”

The SgtMaj is right. Gentlemen, when returning home from a deployment, stiff arm your mother and hug your wife FIRST. This will probably save your 1stSgt some drama later on down the road.
I mean it.

That afternoon a group of well wishers gathered in the smoke pit for a quick celebration pictured below.
Our proud poppa is seated in the center surrounded by cigar toting well wishers. Congrats Dad! Guess who is handling crappy diapers as soon as you step off the plane?

From left to right are our Battalion Sergeant Major and Battalion Chaplain. There is some debate over which of them is closer to Jesus.

In this picture the SgtMaj is lying.

Thus concludes another ho-hum day in the cradle of civilization.

Semper Fi,

America’s 1stSgt

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Cracking of the Whip

Been having some computer issues of late and I’m not even able to view the Castra Praetoria page from my location. So I finally get around to writing a post and my handler sends me the comments posted by everyone in an e-mail. I respond in kind, but it can get frustrating since I wish I could just see it all for myself.

A day or so goes by and my handler and I have a conversation that goes like this:

Subject: CP Comments

America’s 1stSgt: “Any update on this front?”

America’s Handler: “No, B, but I’m sure your readers are saying the same thing.” The venomous sarcasm of her response drips off the ice cold blade of impatience as it casually impales my innocent question.

America’s 1stSgt: “Just asking. Geez! Not like there isn’t a war on.”

(I mean really; it’s not like I don’t have a job or anything. I dab at my nose with a sleeve just to make sure it’s not bleeding from the shot I just took.)

America’s Handler:"That was said so sweetly. Whatever will you do when you get out of the Corps and there is no war on?”

America’s 1stSgt: “I will write!”

America’s Handler: “Sure, because we both know you never procrastinate.”

America’s 1stSgt: “I’ve never taken the time to look that word up.”

After this the conversation just devolved into false accusations of sloth and the questionable origin of my genetic background. I threw a half eaten banana in the trash at once.

So, sufficiently chastised, I hope to convey to everyone that I will attempt to be more prompt with tales of high adventure! Okay, maybe not high adventure, but with things that are going on around picturesque Al Asad. I did get some good advice from David Stanford over at Doonesbury’s The Sandbox and hope to apply it.

And I’ll try not to be to grumpy about the fact that this deployment isn’t as shooty as our last one.

Semper Fi,

America’s 1stSgt

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Daily Routine

0500: Bounce out of the rack recharged and ready to take on the world! Kind of…

Immediately I turn on the news only to discover that Michael Jackson is still dead.

This is followed by the traditional Marine Corps ritual of shaving my nasty grill and brushing my fangs. The thought that one day I will retire and never, ever have to shave again is so rapturous that I nearly slit my own throat.

0530: PT at Crossfit Al Asad.
This is in a tent stocked with various instruments designed to maximize agony and torment. It’s cool! Well, not while you’re crushing yourself it isn’t. This particular day’s workout involved 45 double-unders, 45 squat cleans with 135lbs, 45 ring dips, followed by a final round of 45 double-unders.

Why am I doing this again?

All that work is to be done as fast as you can without spontaneously combusting into a living candle and melting into a whimpering pool of spittle and failure. Marines being the kind of guys we are we just have to beat everyone else in the room. This leads to a high level of intensity because we hate losing more than we loving winning.

(Note: lazy Army slacker staring at weight while America’s 1stSgt attacks the lift. I told you the competition is fierce.)

Quick! Do that 44 more times real fast!

My time for this particular workout was 15:38. Then I cried all the way to the shower.

0700: CHOW.

Eating is probably the most important training cycle of the day. In the morning I like to hit up the omelet bar, and a bunch of fruit. Sadly, I probably eat better in the dining facility than I do at home. Ahhhh, bachelor life.

The coffee in the chow hall is indescribably foul and unfit for human consumption. Fleeing the chow hall I head into the office.

0730 or so: Coffee!

America’s 1stSgt prefers American grown Kona coffees. Did you know that the only coffee grown in the United States is grown in Hawaii? Charlatans will try and sell you “Kona blends” but that means that there is only 5% Kona coffee and the rest is bought from a foreign plantation run by some big corporation. Patriots should probably take a moment to seek out 100% Kona coffee in support of American farmers in Hawaii when shopping.

Yes that is a name brand container, but it is filled with Kona love!

In the Marine Corps you’re not a real Staff Non-Commissioned Officer until a coffee mug inexplicably grafts itself to your hand. As a Gunny I remember walking through the barracks one morning inspecting rooms when I looked down and noticed a fat black mug of Joseph steaming in my fist. I had arrived.
After wrestling with an unruly coffee pot that wants to pour coffee everywhere, but in my mug I manage to get enough of the precious nectar to lean forward into my next event…

08’ish: Go get butt chewed out by the Battalion SgtMaj
At this point in the day I grab my carefully poured mug of joe and a ballistic shield so I can go find out how bad the rest of my day is going to be. As a side note, since the Camp Liberty incident I tend the keep the shield handy when I counsel Marines as well.

Fortunately on this day no one was on full blast. As much dumb stuff as I have to deal with imagine a SgtMaj with five 1stSgts working for him. Now THAT can get dumb.

0930: Visit America’s Admin Ninjas.
At this point in the day I am ready to spend a little time with the S-1 shop where I usually find out how administratively inept I really am. Pictured above is MSgt Soanes, America’s Admin Chief. He let me know in no uncertain terms that if I didn’t speak well of him my pay could mysteriously stop.

1100: CHOW!

Always a significant training event, the consumption of food has been the meter by with Marines have measured time since Boot Camp. Half way through the day, whooooohoooooo!!

1230 or so: Yell at computer for not doing what I tell it to and vainly threaten it with violence until I break it and then threaten someone from the data shop with violence.

I do not obey computers! You obey me!

1430: Visit Marines!

It’s always a good thing to promote or recognize one of the Marines. Sometimes the CO and I just walk around the area and poke stuff with a stick.

“Devil Dog, why are there ten empty to-go boxes of chow under your rack?”

“They fuzzy dice are not SL-3 components of the MRAP there killer. Remove them now.”

You know, that kind of thing.

And finally…

1600: Mail Call!!!!

Loot! Loot! Loot!
This a picture taken in our Chaplain’s office with all the care packages that we send on to some of our outlying FOBs.

The awesomeness of getting something from the mail room can never be underestimated.

We round out our day with a 1700 run to the chow hall. That more or less polishes off the day. As the sun goes down I amble back to the can to go pass out on my Batman comforter.

Semper Fi!

America’s 1stSgt

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Comm Check

Hey Everyone,

This is not America's 1st Sgt, just a minion.

Seems communication is down for a bit of time due to some computer issues on his end.

While we await his arrival back to camp, I thought I'd put up a video of one of their sister companies, Lima, taking care of business during their battalion's last deployment, 2007-2008. On that deployment, America's 1st Sgt was knocking heads and getting the job done in Kilo, another line company in America's Battalion.

The video gives an idea of where and what some of his battalion's Marines were up to during their deployment to and around Karmah, a town just outside of Fallujah and one of the last hot spots at the time in Anbar Province. I'm sure when Michael returns he can give you a far better low down than I just did.

His last message mentioned while he didn't know how long he'd be incommunicado, there were some movies we could send to he and his Marines. If anyone wants to send him one off the list, email me and I'll send you a title and an address.