Firedrayke

Not Specified
from Denmark.

  • Activity

    • [Insert witty title here]

      5 years ago

      Firedrayke

      Long time no see, sorry, not dead, etc.

      I think I've typed up maybe two or three posts in here over the last year, only to never post them. Don't worry, nobody missed anything -- it was basically all whining and not worth posting anyway. I've had the mother of all writer's block for almost two years now, and every time I do manage to bang anything out on a keyboard it all sounds grumpy. Christ.

      It's been an up-and-down sort of year. (Not on the homefront -- recently hit the four-year anniversary with the Pickle-Jar Opener, no kids, got a cat; everything's peachy.) I've just been frustrated with where my career path has taken me. My company was restructured shortly after we got back from our tour, into mixed armored/mechanized infantry (one platoon APCs, two platoons IFVs), and I got offered a spot as one of two intelligence NCOs at our company. That's hella flattering for a lance corporal, and I was getting kind of bored with my assistant squad leader job, so I said yes. Off to sergeant school I go.

      Sergeant school was an easy-breezy cake walk, but still lots of fun -- they run two separate classes, one for conscripts and one for long-term personnel, so we were a merry little platoon of 16 hell-raisers, doing our own thing well apart from the 100+ conscripted hopefuls.

      The subsequent Infantry Squad Leader Course, on the other hand ... hoo boy. The conscript sergeants outnumbered us ten to one, and it was unquestionably the longest three months of my life. I hated almost every day of it. The actual course was fine -- graduated among the top five in my platoon -- it was just the constant interaction with clueless, whiny, submotivated twenty-year-olds that killed me. The only thing I looked forward to was getting back to my company, and being among motivated, professional peers again.

      Getting back was a let-down, though. A lot of the old guys had cycled out during the half year I'd been gone, and been replaced by dozens of new kids, fresh out of basic. For every face I recognized, there was another I didn't.

      My new job hasn't really been all I hoped, either. It's not too bad from day-to-day, but every time we go on exercise, I'm chained to a laptop, either reading or typing up reports. What did I expect? I dunno. I was bored with my old job, and looking forward to a change, but after six months of constantly training to be a squad leader, it's pretty fucking anticlimactic to ... not be a squad leader. I don't care how vital my job is -- when I see my old platoon coming back from a patrol, tired and wet, I feel guilty, because that should be me, too. That should be me getting them squared away and ready for the next patrol, making sure we're 100% on food and ammo, checking that their weapons are clean and functional, making sure they change their socks and remember to get their heads down. Taking care of them is a hard habit to break.

      Except it's not really my old platoon any more, is it? The PL's new, half the NCOs are new, most of the lads are either new or whatever scraps were transferred over from other platoons. Most of them have never been deployed, and maybe they never will. Iraq and Kosovo are ancient legends, we're pulling the last troops out of Afghanistan sometime this year, and it doesn't look like our left-leaning current government is going to get involved in any kind of military conflict anytime soon.

      I feel like a fucking dinosaur. Pay goddamn attention to what I'm telling you, because even if it's not your job, you may find yourself crewing a Carl Gustav at some point. I sent eight HE rounds downrange during a single firefight with some random engineer private as my helper. Wide-eyed giggles. How else are they supposed to respond? What seemed a perfectly natural part of military life for my ... let's call it "generation", for lack of a better word ... is surreal to them. There's no imminent deployment to make any of it seem urgent or real. It's just a fun, relatively easy job that sometimes sucks a bit.

      I'm not alone, all of my old buddies feel the same way, but it's just ... sad. There was a shining moment where we played for high stakes, worked hard and partied harder, basically just living from deployment to deployment, and now it's done. Guys are moving on or getting out, and suddenly the world's populated with people I don't understand. It's just that before, it was mostly civilians -- now they're wearing uniforms, too, but it's like they're from a different country.

      Yeah, so. Like I said, grumpy. There's no real point to this except that I wanted to throw words into the void, and maybe be comforted by the echo. It's not exactly a unique experience.

      So. I'm going to write, and draw, and maybe see if I can rub some experience off on the new kids, and figure out where to go from here.

      And hey, here's a cookie for listening. smiley12.gif

    • Level Up!

      6 years ago

      Firedrayke




      Firedrayke515f2a6f32473.jpg

      Three months at the army's sergeant school done, three months of combat school left before I go back to my unit. Boom. smiley0.gif

    • What what?

      7 years ago

      Firedrayke

      So I accidentally left my "mental English" on while switching between English and Danish tabs on my browser, and I nearly choked on my Red Bull when I saw this ad:
      .
      .
      .
      .
      slutspurt.jpg
      .
      .
      .
      .

      Okay, okay, it means "final sprint" in Danish, and is sort of the Danish advertising equivalent of "Everything must go!", but it's still hilarious and I can't believe I never read it that way before. smiley0.gif

      Bonus info: in Danish Army radio correspondence, the equivalent of "out" is "slut." (It's pronounced sloot.)

    • Not Dead (Not Even a Little!)

      7 years ago

      Firedrayke

      I've been home for about three months now -- kept forgetting to pop on here and say so. Soz. smiley3.gif

      It wasn't a bad deployment. Not bad, but not great either. Nobody from our company got killed or maimed, a couple were wounded but not horribly, we all made it home safe and alive and only slightly the worse for wear and tear and boredom.

      The contrast between my last deployment and this one was huge. The last one was harder in a lot of ways, and more intense -- 50+ patrols over six months, several major operations, lots of contacts, HELICOPTERS, a nice base with showers and a chow hall. This one was ... kinda lame. We spent pretty much the whole deployment spread over two shitty little FOBs literally 500 yards apart, conducting patrols within a (IED-infested) three-mile radius of our bases, partnering with the local military (Afghan National Army), and doing guard duty. God, so much guard duty. smiley5.gif

      We were literally living out of bags the whole time. Sleeping in bags, showering out of bags, eating out of foil bags, taking dumps in rubber bags -- of course, the running joke was that as long as we weren't going home in bags, it was OK. smiley8.gif Apart from eating nothing but MREs and British and Danish rations, I think the worst part was having to do my own laundry by hand. Ugh. What's the point of being deployed if someone else isn't doing your laundry?? smiley8.gif

      On the bright side, though, I read a shitload of books, got a lot of drawing done, baked pies and cookies and bread, solved a hundred crossword puzzles, made a braided rug out of old underpants (true story, I'll post pictures!), pumped some iron, made lance corporal, shot at some dudes, got to be acting squad leader a couple times, and crossed "Hellfire missile" and "GMLRS" off my danger close list. (Fun fact: I was lying on a roof when the GMLRS hit a target 100 yards away. I was super stoked the roof didn't collapse.)

      So, y'know, old lady stuff basically. smiley8.gif

      Anyway, we're back now, we've finished our "Acclimatization and Reintegration" module ("Please don't hit civilians, yes they're annoying as fuck, but don't hit them anyway. Try not to hit the bottle too much either. Or each other. Basically don't hit anything. Here's a number you can call if you feel like hitting stuff."), and we're slowly starting up from Square One again. That basically boils down to no vehicles, no night vision, no weapons, dozens of people being cycled in or out of the unit, and oh, here's forty rookies to train up from scratch while you're at it. Blergh.

      ...

      Aside from being old and bitter and having creaky knees, though, I'm excited to be back at work and really looking forward to the rest of the year. smiley8.gif

      The husband and I will probably be taking a vacation in the U.S. this summer, so if anyone's totally desperate to meet up, let me know where you live and I'll see if we can fit it in our itinerary. Hooray!

      LOVE AND CUDDLEZZZ smiley12.gif

    • 7 years ago

      Firedrayke
    • 7 years ago

      Firedrayke
    • Afghanistan, Part Two

      8 years ago

      Firedrayke

      All that hectic training and shiny new gear? Yep, finally time to put it to good use. I'll be heading out on my second tour tomorrow. smiley0.gif

      My husband's rotation was about a week ago, so he's been enjoying the 40+ degrees Celsius and the ensuing swamp crotch for a few days now. Lucky bastard. smiley8.gif There was some doubt as to where our respective platoons would be stationed, but happily, it turns out we'll be on the same FOB, so I'll be treated to the occasional sight of his thunderous aspect and the distant, dulcet sound of his ass-chewings drifting between the tents and Hescos. Ah, love. smiley12.gif The job comes first, always, but at least we'll be happily busy in each others' general vicinity.

      I'll be in the same general area as last time -- near Gereshk, in the Helmand province -- but exactly what our tasks will be this time around is still up in the air. Our government hasn't exactly set an exit date, yet, but they are in the process of "downsizing" the Danish contribution, so ops seem to have become frustratingly stationary and defensive lately. (I was kind of hoping for something more ... kinetic. smiley3.gif )

      I'm in a good unit, though -- best I've ever known -- and my platoon's morale is out-fucking-standing. Our kit's gotten a lot better, too; in addition to our shiny new rifles, we've also received new helmets, new radios (same as used by US forces... right now, I mean, not back in the '60s), combat shirts (the ones we had the last time were all privately purchased), and some other improved bits and bobs. I even received a special "female deployment package"* in the form of fire-retardant bras and a urinary device -- how nice of them to care. smiley8.gif

      They could've saved their money, though. It's like they specifically went out and tried to find the worst brassieres money can buy. 60% cotton? Sure, it won't burn, but it won't dry, either ... ever. Support: nonexistent, which kind of defeats the purpose. Straps that don't cross in the back? That shit's going to slip off your shoulder at the worst possible moment. Worst of all: huge freaking plastic buckles on the straps, right over your shoulder blades. Yeah, that isn't going to be the least bit aggravating under your body armor and 60+ lbs of gear.

      Conclusion: my "combat issue" bras were purchased by male REMFs. I see no flaw in this logic.

      The pee-standing-up thingy (complete with a hot pink carrying case ... haha, seriously? smiley0.gif ) was reasonably user-friendly, but still vastly inferior to my Device. I'll stick with what I've got, thanks.

      Still, it provided us with hours of fun at the office. "The Army finally issued me a DICK! Wanna touch it? Go on, touch it. Look, it even has an extra tube extension. Can yours do this? Didn't think so." I left it on my platoon commander's desk for public perusal and enjoyment. smiley8.gif

      It's getting a bit late, so I'm going to hit the hay . Just like last time, if anyone wants my Danish APO address so they can send anthrax or letter bombs or the like, hit me up with a PM.

      Cheers!


      * No, not a vibrator. Weaksauce, I know.

    • 8 years ago

      Firedrayke
    • 8 years ago

      Firedrayke
    • I Can Haz New Boomstick?

      8 years ago

      Firedrayke

      Yes, I can. smiley12.gif



      doc-news-c8iur-rifle-3.jpg



      fap fap fap fap fap fap fap fap fap fap fap fap fap

      Holy everloving mother of God, I love my new boomstick. Picatinny rail? Yes please. Buttstock with six positions? Yes please. Ambidextrous safety? Yes please. Free-floating barrel? OH GOD YES. The grouping is tight.

      The Colt Canada C8IUR, designated the M/10 in the Danish military, replaces the M/95 and M/96 carbine. We'll also be getting a stand-alone grenade launcher and new helmets any time now.

      Some days, I love my job. smiley0.gif

      (Canadian article about the C8IUR, bla bla lots of words.)

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