Post R&R Rut

16 06 2009

Maybe you think I am simply a whiner, simply using this blog as a forum to voice my complaints and gripes, or perhaps you think that war is so terrible the only things that could ever be truthfully written about it is negative. Either way I can assure you I am caught smack dab in the middle of a post R&R rut. It could be that things back home were so great that everything over here is viewed in the weeks immediately following R&R in the harsh light of reality, however I tend to think I have just hit a patch of hard luck…

It started a few days ago while out on patrol on the streets of Baghdad with one of my Iraqi National Police counterparts, a fellow Lieutenant. He said that it was his birthday that day and that, “he wanted to stop and get some felafels to celebrate.” I’ve had plenty of food with Iraqis so far in this deployment and none of it has hurt me so far so I don’t know if it was the felafel (which was in fact quite delicious) or just a stomach virus going around my company. Either way two days ago I was hit with what is affectionately referred to by the gruff men of the Infantry as the ‘Hershey Squirts’ or if you are a civilian a rough bout of diarrhea. This would be no mild inconvenience in normal day to day life, but I run around on the streets of a foreign land without gas station restrooms wearing body armor on a daily basis. Even when I am back at base there are no air conditioned restrooms with flush toilets. Just some odoriferous porta-johns baking in the 120 degree heat…spend much time in one of those in mid afternoon and you may never make it back out.

Then yesterday my platoon gets tasked with escorting some VIPs to a FOB which is a solid hour and a half drive away. Not a problem, but still it was going to make for a long day considering the day would begin at 0500 and I felt sicker than a dog. Things went smoothly on the way out to the FOB, but on the way back, while eagerly anticipating returning to base to catch up on some sleep in my sweltering room (the terrible plan for air conditioning my outpost is a subject for another post) the call came over the radio…”My vehicle is overheating and the engine fault light is on.” Great I think, and we pull over to the side of the road to assess the situation, we see that the vehicle is going to need towing back to base, not a problem we have another large vehicle in the convoy capable of towing it. It backs up to the disabled vehicle and as the process of hooking it up for towing begins the tow vehicle inexplicably dies and fails to restart. Great, we now have not 1 but 2 disabled vehicles, a solid 45 minute to 1 hour drive from the nearest place that has assets to tow the vehicle. It will take some time to get the recovery equipment out to us and then to get us back, and then more time to get our vehicles fixed. I have diarrhea and will be sitting in the sweltering heat in my vehicle not going anywhere for hours and all I want to do is get out of my hot vehicle, fall asleep and try to kick this sickness.

Needless to say last night I was happy to get the day past us as my platoon finally made it back to our base at nearly 2100 after what had turned into a 16 hour ordeal. One of my Joe’s unknowingly jinxed us as we returned all dog tired joking, “watch the CO will give us a 0400 patrol.” “Naw, I said, he wouldn’t do that, he knows we need a good night sleep after a day like yesterday.” Sure enough no sooner do we get back than we find out we have a patrol going out at 0400, which means we had to be up at 0300 which meant I was getting another 4 hour night sleep.

The patrol wouldn’t have been too bad except for my continuing saga of bad luck. As we were driving over a little bit of rough terrain one of my HMMWVs has a major part of its suspension snap, completely snap. Then as we tried to tow it ourselves back to base the towbar itself snapped so we had to sit and wait for a wrecker to come out and get us, and that took hours as well. Then to make matters worse we had to take it to a location nearby with better mechanical facilities than our actual base. Once we made it there we learned this wasn’t going to be a quick fix and it would still be hours before we made it home…that nice long nap that I wanted, so I could sleep off this sickness slipped a little further away…

You tell me: is it not that bad? Am I permanently cursed? Or have I just hit a patch of rough post R&R luck?




One response

16 06 2009
David M

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 06/16/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

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