An open letter to our troops


To all our men and women in Iraq:

Well as you know, much has been going on in the world news. I am sure you all know about the tsunami. It was quite a horrific event. Something I hope never to see again. The repercussions of that earthquake have been worldwide. On the East Coast water levels rose three feet and fell “six” feet all the way to the mountains. Even Alaska experienced its affect.

Our troops in Indonesia have done an amazing job. They have shown the world another picture of the American Soldier. Of course, with Indonesia being the largest Muslim country in the world, it was inevitable that politics would come to play. But, the government there is in a critical position. They need to assert to their people and the world that they are in charge and can now handle things. More importantly, they need to show the Muslim world they don’t need the “infidels” help.

I think if the press early on hadn’t made such a big thing about what Americans ought to expect from the Indonesians as a result of our help this all might have been delayed a bit more.

Well, on to other things. Any of you guys who like Jamie Fox will be happy to know he has just been nominated for “three” Golden Globes. This is something that is a first for an entertainer.

I have been sick for the past several weeks so I have not done any blogging. I also haven’t been up to reading any of the soldier’s blog. So I have some catching up to do.

I must confess though that I have been taking some quick checks on “American Soldier’s” blog. He is on his way back to Iraq, so I have been following his blog closely. He is my favorite soldier blogger. I’m still trying to determine if it’s his way of writing or the fact that the song “American Soldier” has come to be representative of my nephew, who was killed in Kuwait last March by terrorists.

It’s kind of hard to know what to write to someone in a combat zone, especially if you don’t know the reader. I mean I could say how much I keep you all in my prayers. I could say all the other be safe things, how proud we are things, and a whole lot of like things. But, you guys all get that all the time. So, anyone of you who may have read this blog has been victimized [lol] by a wide range of things. Many are reminiscences from my own days in the military, away from home.

That was my first time away from home. I don’t guess you guys have much time to think about some things like this because of the fighting and the fatigue you feel at the end of the day. I have never been in combat. So the only understanding I have of what you are experiencing is what my buddies used to talk about during my tour in the Corps during Vietnam. So, if my ramblings seem trite or meaningless, don’t be afraid to say so.

I was at Quantico for most of my tour. We had many Vietnam returnees come through my shop. They were there to be “deprogrammed” and either get out, which was mostly the case , or ship on to another assignment. There was always such a drastic change in the guys from when they first arrived and when they left. So, I think I will talk for a while about those guys. For obvious reasons, I won’t use any real names or identifying facts. I’ll also do some other stories about some of the other men and women I met there.

All units get one Pvt. Bilco type. We had ours. Our Pvt. Bilco wasn’t as sharp as the one in the movie though. But he did keep us all in stitches wondering what he would do next. Bear in mind as you read my stories, that most of our troops then were drafted, or at least a big number were. They had no great love for the military. Many were there to keep from going to jail. They had done something stupid and the judge gave them a choice, jail or the military. But we did also have our share of “lifers!”

Pvt. Bilco was always late. He always had a crisis. His uniform always looked like he slept in it. Every now and then he would grow this peach fuzz pencil mustache. He was married and I think he had a kid. He had absolutely had no couth. One of the things that always comes to mind when I think about him is when he came to work one day and then had to go to the dispensary.

Amazingly, Pvt. Bilco was a bit of a ladies man. I guess his success was due to the fact that he always seemed to need a mother to take care of him, lol. When he came back from the dispensary, he asked the “Top” if he could talk to him for a minute. Well, he didn’t appear to need any privacy because he didn’t ask for any. Anyway, the next thing we all heard was Top saying, “for Gods sake, Bilco, don’t you have any pride at all. You ought to be talking about this in private?” Bilco just smiled and said, “Christ Top, I just got the “clap!”

Well, the rest of us just leaned down toward our work and chuckled under our breath. He wanted to know how to tell his wife, or actually how to avoid it if possible and get her treated without her knowing. Turned out that she got it first and gave it to him. [lol]

The two of them got past their “clap” episode and I guess they may still be together. Pvt. Bilco was with us for a while. Things with him were never dull. But, he managed to get an honorable discharge.

There was a young woman stationed there at my barracks at the time. She had a name that in itself was quite a burden to bear and it fit perfectly with her extra circular activities. I’ll call her Marilyn, after Marilyn Monroe, though there was no physical resemblance.

Marilyn was as nice as she could be but she really liked the guys. She had a playboy bunny tattooed on the inside of her upper thigh. We used to take bets when news guys reported in as to how long it would take for her to show the new guy her playboy bunny. I don’t think Marilyn was suited for the Military. She finally got discharged. She was caught taking a shower with one of the guys in the men’s barracks.

Any discussion of my time at Quantico is incomplete unless I mention the woman Capt. who worked for our CO at work. She was the XO. She was a short, pudgy, pale prude who wore the brightest red lipstick she could find. Because she always appeared to have a permanent pucker, her lips always stood out like they were just put there. She always squinted her eyes so she reminded me of a mole that had crawled out of its hole and never adapted to the light. I wish I could tell you her name, too, because it fit her and her appearance to a “tee.” She wore these black glasses that made her look like a geek, but she was anything but a geek. She was a bitch.

She didn’t like other women if they got along ok with the guys. She didn’t like my Top. So, if you were a woman and he liked you, you were on her shit list. So, I guess you know where she had me, at the top of her list. I didn’t like her much either but I made sure I didn’t give her any room to harass me. She was good at this if she didn’t like you and you were a Woman Marine. She also was one of the members of the “Gay” officers who went around harassing the lower ranks about appearances and how we had to look like ladies so the public wouldn’t think all WM’s were gay or tramps. Her friend was this “dike” Colonel. She always thought none of us knew but it wasn’t hard to figure it out.

It took her three years to get me, though she tried often. She only succeeded then because the Major who was CO retired and she was temporarily acting CO. She gave me a low rating. When I asked her about it and mentioned I had never had such a low rating before, she told me that she had always felt that this was what I deserved but never been in a position to give me a rating before. My Top went to talk to her and before it was over I saw him do something he never did before. He told off a superior officer. It was a pretty sight, but I really had to watch out for the bitch after that.

My only consolation was she looked so much like a fat puffed up mole with red lips and huge eyes because of her ugly black glasses that just looking at her made me laugh to myself and not let her get to me. She could never figure out how to get to me and she never stopped trying.

I always thought of her as Lt., then Capt. “poof ball.” When she got angry, her face turned bright red and she puffed up like a frog. She looked like a balloon full of air just before you let it go to fly all over the place. So when she was angry, it was hard not to laugh at her because all you could see in your mind was a balloon as it flew through the air in an erratic way as it shriveled down to nothing.

My Top was the greatest guy. He was married with six kids and several tours in Vietnam. I often wondered when he had time to make babies, because he had spent so many ours in Vietnam. He celebrated two wedding anniversaries.

When we asked him about this he would always say he celebrated one because it was his original marriage date to his wife. He celebrated the second one because she divorced him, and he grew up and they remarried and it reminded him how lucky he was that she remarried him.

He was a very unusual guy. He loved his wife and kids. He said his wife was no nonsense and took no “crap” off him. When he returned from each of his tours in Vietnam he acted liked an animal. He didn’t care about anything. He cheated. He did whatever he wanted and was totally irresponsible. Then he would always say she saved him by divorcing him and making him see he had to grow up and be responsible. After that they had a great marriage and they were also the best of friends.

He used to tell the younger guys, love and sex were great but if you took time to also be friends with your wife then you really had something. I think he was a little ahead of his time as a far as men go. After that, when he went to Vietnam, he had a lot less trouble readjusting to be back home.

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~ by devildog6771 on January 13, 2005.

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