Thursday, January 19, 2006

Ode to Little Joe

I would like to devote this blog to my friend, Little Joe.

Joe was originally a friend of mine from Hawaii, and he was on my team in Okinawa. He is an awesome drinking buddy and an even better pointman. He would pull routes out of his ass in NTA, Okinawa’s triple canopy that blew my mind, and always got us to where we needed to go. We never got lost with him in the front. And he was a surgeon with his benelli.

Here’s a picture of Joe during a live-fire IA drill that we did in Okinawa. I always thought he looked like The Great Gazoo when he was wearing his Kevlar.

Maybe that’s where he got his powers from.

Anyway, when I was in Afghanistan, I was pleased to discover that he would be coming out and joining me. Here’s a picture of us one night. The blurry photo is very appropriate, because we were drunk. How do I know this? Because I am drinking out of my “Jesus Cup,” which was only ever filled with a vodka and sprite mixture that could inebriate a horse. The night would usually end with a game of “asp-apple ball,” which is where someone pitches an apple to you and you try to whack it with a collapsible baton, and then Little Joe being chased around by reputable members of Kroll Inc after a gravel fight (which is on film). Nice beards eh?

While Joe’s terms of, erm, “resignation” from the company, are anyone’s speculation, and there were many many times that I wanted to buckwheat* him with his benelli, he's still one of my best friends.

So why am I saying this? Well, as any of you know me knows, I like doing impersonations and impressions. Joe recently sent me a picture from when we were in Guam during TRU-EX (Tactical Reconnaissance of an Urban Environment-Exercise) in 2003. During TRUE-EX, teams are constantly subjected to the scrutiny of SOTG (Special Operations Training Group aka Sorority Of Tough Guys aka Stay Off The Grass), and generally each “instructor” has a different opinion of how everything should be done, so you’re always wrong, aka FUCKED UP aka YOU’D ALL BE DEAD. Or they tell you that you did a good job, then launch a smear campaign against your team. In any case, most SOTG instructors dress and act a certain way. While in the hotel room in Guam, I decided to take the opportunity to dress like an SOTG instructor and criticize everyone around me, and someone took a picture of it. I’ve gone through the trouble of labeling the picture so I can point out the characteristics found within. Anyone reading this with military / contractor / law enforcement experience will be able to appreciate it.

Ok, let’s go over the labeling:
  • 1: Goofy ballcap
  • 2: Shooter glasses (I believe “Oakleys” have been replaced by Wiley-X, as the official shooter glasses.)
  • 3: Perma-sneer, from walking around with a dip of Copenhagen in your mouth and constantly telling people how fucked up they are.
  • 4: Polo shirt, usually with some sort of emblem. III MEF SOTG uses blue polo shirts with a golden Special Operations emblazoned on it. Marines (at that time) were pretty self conscious about not having any SOCOMM units, so anytime they could attach themselves to it, they would.
  • 5: Pants/trousers pulled up inappropriately high
  • 6: Must…Have….Cargo Pants….. Usually Battalion Quartermaster 5.11 gear.
  • 7: A fanny pack turned to the front. I didn’t have a fanny pack so I adapted and overcame with a camera case.
  • 8: I decided to point this out too. It’s an enormous hickey on my neck, given to me the night before by Little Joe. For some reason I showed up late to a bar, and when he saw me he ran up to me, jumped on me, and attached to my neck like some strange, human leech. When I finally got him detached, I slapped him in the face as hard as I could.

    When we got back to Okinawa, I sent an email to the SOTG guys. I told them that I was interested in working for them, and named off fictional schools I attended, for example, Ethiopian Frogmen’s Manhole Breacher’s Course, and Canadian Spetznats Acrobatic Infiltration Symposium, etc.. I told them that I knew it was important to “Act As If,” so I attached the above photo (minus the labels) and told them that I had already gone through the trouble of adapting their manners and style of dress.

    The best part is how angry a lot of them got. That was the icing on the cake.

    In any case, I figured this story was applicable, because it happened when I was deployed to Okinawa, which falls within the realm of Adventurepan. Also, Little Joe might come out to visit, so I thought I’d do an intro-blog for him.

    I hope you enjoyed this little jaunt down memory lane with me.

    * - Buckwheat is from Things to do in Denver when you’re Dead

    Anonymous brando said...

    give em one!

    3:37 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    It's spelled Benelli.

    9:51 AM  
    Anonymous brando said...

    Is that you Cullen? I'm sure that Paul's spelled one or two things wrong during his rantings. If you look hard enough I bet you can find some more. Then we can ignore the entire content of the posts in order to make ourselves feel better by sharpshooting spelling. Wheeee!

    10:24 AM  
    Blogger Jinxy said...

    Oy. That is awesome.

    You need to post what their responses said.

    And you forgot one thing:

    You need to have a staineless steel thermos of coffee in your hand.


    10:27 AM  
    Blogger Paul said...

    You mean something like a Tactical Caffeine Transfer Unit??

    I dunno why I spelled it "banelli", considering I had to google "benelli" to get a picture. Oh well. I'll change it.

    10:36 AM  
    Anonymous Joe said...

    1/19/2006 5:19:00 PM

    A note to all readers of Paul's latest blog entry:
    A few points to consider while reading this blog post...
    1. I was thrown under the bus for various reasons while in the marvelous nation of Afghanistan, not the least of which was my less-than-desirable attitude. I learned a great deal about business that summer.

    2.Paul neglected to mention that in times of crisis, I could use my massive cranial protection much like the Giant Galapagos Land Tortoise.

    3. The hicky was entirely not my fault. From my extensive medical training, I noticed thrombocytic activity (blood clot...not boomba clot) in the upper lumbar region of Mister @%$r+&*^'s neck. Lacking any sharp edged tools, I immediately reacted by attempting to suck the clot out. I don't wanna toot my own horn, but it was definately touch and go there for a while.

    4. The above story is total bullshit. I was reacting to the fact that I had just watched something resembling an over-stuffed bag of shit doing a pole dance at that disgusting strip-club we were at...and I may have had too much to drink. Maybe.

    Mister Paul: Aio, quantitas magna frumentorum est!

    10:54 AM  
    Blogger Hammer said...

    "there were many many times that I wanted to buckwheat* him with his benelli..."

    [man blows coffee through his nose]

    Well-written all around. Dude, you are officially a daily read now. Thanks!

    2:05 AM  

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