re: "You Know you have been in Iraq too Long When" list
* When mortars land near your compound and you roll over in bed and think "still way off, I got another 5 minutes"
For me, during my last six months of working midnight shifts, it was hearing the blast and feeling the room shake, opening one eye to check my watch, and as long as it was on the hour or half-hour, going back to sleep, since that was when EOD would destroy munitions.
* When you start humming with the Arabic song playing on the radio on the shuttle bus
* Every woman that reports to your unit starts looking attractive
Reserve component units didn't get new people reporting. You went to war with the force manning levels you had, not the force manning levels you wished you had. No matter how many personnel you attrit during the course of the deployment, there are no replacement killers.
* Every guy that reports to your unit starts looking attractive
Can't say I was there quite that long, I guess. Not that there's anything wrong with that. No, nothing at all.
* You walk an extra 6 blocks to eat at the KBR (contractor run) dining facility to have the exact same food they are serving in your dining facility because you think it tastes better
Can't say I was ever at a place so well served it had more than one place to eat.
* You actually volunteer for convoy security duty because you still haven't seen the country yet
* You start picturing your wife in traditional Arab dress
LOL! I brought Mrs. At-Arms the whole ensemble home on R&R. Don't ask.
* The contractors have more fire power than the military combat units. (This is true)
* You take the time to add your lines to this list
* You've spent $200 dollars at Haji mart on DVDs buying Basic Instinct, 9 and ½ weeks, and Body of Evidence just for the sex scenes
The merchants at my Haji mart had "freaky-freaky" DVD's on sale, they were always trying to get you to buy one along with their other pirated "Haji-copies."
* You drink the water from the tap because you want to drop 20 pounds in two weeks
* Driving around in SUVs with weapons pointed out the windows and forcing cars off the road seems very normal to you
And it still does.
* You can put your body armor and helmet on in the dark in under 5 seconds
* When the organization you work for has changed its name more than 3 times
* When you can actually talk to people in the United States on a cell phone, yet you can't get people on their cell phone a block away
* When you actually spend more time writing e-mail about the dog in the compound versus how to conduct the fight in Najaf
* Your idea of a fun Thursday night is to go to the Palace pool to watch the State Department folks get drunk, naked and try to pick each other up
* When you actually get excited to get a package that contains 3 pair of socks, 12 bars of soap and a Victoria Secret Catalog
* When you start to enjoy the rocking of the trailer every time the MEDEVAC choppers fly over
* You memorized every episode from the 4th Season of Sex in the City
For me, it was the experience of actually watching an episode in the first place.
* You enjoy the audience commentary while watching a movie bought at Haji mart
* You see celebratory fire going over the compound at night and think, "wow the colors are so pretty" and want to fire back
* Your thinking of buying real estate in the green zone
* Your idea of sex is 20 minutes of Instant Messaging with your wife on the computer, OK, 10 minutes, who are you kidding?
* You wake up and think Baghdad, I am still in friggin Baghdad
Close. My morning affirmation was more along the lines of "Oh, sxxx: I'm still here!"
* You make the new guy show you his count down timer just to make you feel better about your time you have left in country
* You're in the Army and you start saying Ooorah* You're in the Marines and you start saying Hooah
* You're in the Navy and you realize you are in the middle of the desert, the exact opposite of being in the middle of the ocean, where one might normally find the Navy.
* You're in the Air Force, and you're on the plane home because an Air Force tour is too short to have been a long Iraq tour. Ignore this list, zoomie, you won't get it.
* You only notice the stench of Haji funk when its not there
Yes! And your loved ones notice the smell on you when you arrive home, either for R&R or for good.
* You plan on removing all trees and grass in your yard when you get home so it will look more natural
* You forget there are other colors than brown that can be found in places other than power point slides
My R&R was in January and the colors still blew my socks off!
* The temp drops down to 102 degrees and you shiver while reaching for your Gortex jacket
Gortex (TM)? Someone was issued Gortex jackets? Oh, right, the Woodland Pattern ones.
* You have noticed a change of season, from long, hot and dry to short, cold and wet.
* When you call home and your kids ask "Who is this?"
* You call home and your wife says hello Bill (your name is Sam)
* When you go on R&R, you duct tape your child to the roof of your car, hand him a pellet rifle, and assign him a sector of fire for the ride to "The Olive Garden."
* When you can comfortably shave and brush your teeth using bottled water, but don't mind showering in the "non-potable" local water.
* While on R&R, you look out the window and find Nature, which leads you to wonder who stole your sandbags.
* When some of the contractors wear their DCUs (Desert pattern camouflage uniform) more properly than some of your soldiers.
Never happen. On the other hand, my idea of "proper wear" of DCUs in a desert combat zone may differ from yours.
* When 12 hours is a short work day
* When, During the BUA, "DIV asked MNSTC-I for the FRAGO that MNC-I was supposed to publish, but couldn't because MNF-I hadn't weighed in, since they were too inundated with MOD and MOI war-gaming the JCCs within the ISF to square us away!" is a valid comment and generates no questions.
* When you start using words like G'day mate, Cheers, and Bloody hell as part of your normal vocabulary
* When you have your opinions printed in the STARS and STRIPES more than 3 times
* When the palace catches fire and instead of helping to put it out you grab a bag of marshmallows and start roasting
* When you step into any office and there are 6 colonels, 12 lieutenant colonels, 15 majors, and 8 captains supervising the work of 1 sergeant
And the sergeant is typing up an award citation for one of the officers.
* When you end every phone conversation with "Out"
I still do that, but mostly when I'm ending a phone conversation with MSG Post #1.
* When you're ordered to get an air mission together on short notice because it's a "Hot priority" only to have the Major call back once he is in the air to ask "Does anyone know where I am going?"
It's sad that second lieutenants get compasses and majors get only "field-grade lobotomies."
* When the weapon buyback program has become so successful that you have issued the same AK-47 to the Iraqi army 3 times
Did no one ever actually write down the serial numbers of these things?
* When you can actually tell the difference between the sound of an exploding car and an exploding mortar
* When on R & R you tell your wife that your weapon status is Red and your looking for the clearing barrel
* When on R&R you go to Church and wonder why no one is wearing body armor or carrying an automatic weapon to the service
* You see an indirect fire attack take out a generator and get angry at the enemy for not hitting the one that powers your computer
* You see an indirect fire attack take out an air conditioner and your vigor to fight is renewed
* You yell at the FNG for shouting incoming when the rounds don't impact close enough to hit your tent with dirt
* You know that you need to run inside immediately after any win of an Iraqi sports team to keep from being hit by celebratory fire
* You decide for that for poops and grins - lets take a run around Lost Lake at Camp Victory to see if we can get shot at by the sniper
* You never worry about oversleeping because if the morning call to prayers doesn't wake you, the daily 0430 mortar attack will (most mornings)
* The highlight of your shopping experience at the PX is to see that they got in a new shipment of Schick Tracer razor blades
* When you send out your laundry and your whites become grayer, your blacks become grayer and your DCU's become grayer - makes it easier to sort loads...
* You get offended by people wearing clean, pressed DCU's
Pressed and starched!
* You decide that it is a better course of action to pull your blankets over your head than put on your body armor during a mortar attack - the woobee will save you and at least you are comfortable
* You make a contest out of seeing who can wear their uniform for more days before becoming entirely disgusted with themselves
* You wonder if the fish served at dinner really was carp caught out of the Tigris or Camp Victory's lake
* You find it completely acceptable to pick your nose while talking to a complete stranger or member of the opposite sex
* A rocket or a mortar really isn't a big deal until the crater it leaves is big enough to trip over in the dark on the way to the latrine
* You go to a social gathering and intermittent gun fire or explosions don't even cause a pause in the conversation
True, but there's this practised cocking of the head as your brain processes the sounds.