My CO and I did not get off to a good start. He was a dual cool Force Recon Sergeant Rock in charge of the FUBB platoon. I was a smart mouthed 27 year old sniper shooter recruited from the Army by the USMC to be their hot-shot tourney winner and put the USMC on the snake-eater’s map. But, why me? Why here? Of all the mudrucker places on earth, why here?!
When I transferred to the 39thTactical Logistics Support Unit, I figured I had really hit bottom. There I was with a bunch of losers; their rep was awful. Brick-butts, barrack rats; a bag of smashed assholes! So I had a bug up my butt big time. I soon found out how wrong I was.
Log Strap (our nickname for the mythical Unit) was not only where we worked, it was our cover. Other than that the team had no name (except The Dirt Bag Dozen as we called it). The unit did not exist. We were to live that cover as though our lives depended on it – and depend on it, we did. Not mom, dad, sis, bro, wife or mistress knew what we did. To the world we were desk jockeys. To the Marines we were REMFs. To each other, we were all we had.
I bypassed selection and induction training, but was the new man in the stall. But they put the “old goat” (CO Dual Cool) in the barn to quiet me down. That man gave me a silenced .45 semi that he had been saving for a “special occasion.” (They tell me some of my range records still stood. I think that’s because some of the guns I used were moth-balled in d**khead museum.)
That didn’t cure my attitude problem. Now, I just resented the Corps for not letting everybody else know we were the real deal, not just s**tmates in Marine Green.
I don’t know why I didn’t get thrown out on my useless butt, but I suppose that’s testament to the patience of my CO, a guy I have called friend for all these years and a man I learned to respect above all others. “Wherever I go, you go,” he said over and over ‘til I wanted to puke the words out of my head. “Whatever I do, you do. How you holdin’?” I didn’t always know, but I said, “light and bright, Top,” and I paid attention to him. I yessed the brass to death, but never him. I learned on the fly, never taking my mind and my eye off the only man who mattered in my world.
We were sent out “as needed.” We were Marine intelligence at a time when we weren’t supposed to be that intelligent. We weren’t SEALS or Green Berets or Rangers or even Airborne. We had SERE training and we practiced amphib landings and underwater demo; we jumped out of Apaches and paid no attention to HQ but kept our ears to the ground for scuttlebutt. We were the logistics arm (yea, right!) and we embraced the suck.
We were supposed to infiltrate, surveil and then turn things over to the “eyes” (CIA, FBI, NIS, etc). The suits never minded to have some folks available for a little chat after we secured the situation, but we were always told to “do what we needed” to come home. We get the job done, the suits get the credit; we screw up, we get court martialed.
I got over my piss-ant attitude problem.
I trained all my life for this moment. God, Fate, the Universe, whatever you call it, conspired to put me – put all of us – right here in this time and place. This is not our own little circumstance. It is the history of the world.
One day, CO Dual Cool called out to me,
“We’re all waitin’ on ya, Sergeant! One hell of an operation by the ‘National Guard’, wouldn’t ya say?”
“Indeed, Sir. Indeed.”