25 October 2008

Love this place

The only thing better than Iraq is Iraq in the rain.
That is all.
Well, hold on.  The only thing better than Iraq in the rain is Iraq in the rain when, apparently, any time mortars impact within a zillion miles, one has to spend an hour in a damp, urine-smelling bunker with a bunch of squirrely young Soldiers who want to sing popular hits of Journey.
I love this job.

22 October 2008

Your Tax Dollars

are, apparently, being put to shocking good use in Texas - Military hospital opens for dogs wounded in war.

It sounds like a highly spiffy new place, and quite an improvement over the previous arrangement.

Before the center opened, veterinarians treated and rehabilitated dogs in a cramped building that opened in 1968, when the military trained dogs for work in Vietnam.

This is obviously nothing but tail-wagging news. In addition to the fact that I like dogs, we know the contributions they make and the lives they save on today's battlefield.
To treat the trainees and injured working dogs, the new hospital has operating rooms, digital radiography, CT scanning equipment, an intensive care unit and rehab rooms with an underwater treadmill and exercise balls, among other features. A behavioral specialist has an office near the lobby.

That's good stuff.

21 October 2008


We've got this guy.  He's a staff sergeant in his mid-to-late 40s.  He's been in the Army since Christ was a corporal.  He seems to get out from time to time, so he's held a bunch of different jobs.
He's a wiry dude, white, with thinning hair, leathery face and a nifty little mustache.  There's a little bit of the surfer or stoner in his speech and posture.  He chain-smokes and consumes somewhere north of 30 cans of Dr, Pepper a day. We will, when feeling cheery, refer to him as "The 'Stache."
I was sitting at chow last night with a sergeant, a corporal and a specialist, and the talk to turned to The 'Stache.
He's like the smartest guy in the world, said the specialist.  He knows everything.
I don't think he sleeps, I pointed out.  Does he?
The dudes shook their heads.  The 'Stache, apparently, has been witnessed sitting down and leaning against something, and once even pulling his hat down over his eyes, but never actually sleeping.
This one time, remembered the specialist, when Ace left that SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon) in that class?  I saw him get mad, and it was like, whoa...he barely even raised his voice and I felt bad.  I didn't even do anything wrong!
Discussions went on until we'd established that nobody has ever seen him trim his mustache, get a haircut, or engage in PT.  Of course, he's entirely within regs at all times and has never failed a PT test.  He's always got extra cigarettes to hand out, and we'd trust him to perform neurosurgery with a lighter and a pocketknife.
One of those guys that, with just a slightly different personality, you could hate.  But because The 'Stache is The 'Stache, you love him.  You see a lanky figure strolling up in the dark with a can of Dr. Pepper and a pack of smokes, and you hear that west Texas accent starting out with, "well, isn't that some bullshit..."