I joined the military for the same reason a lot of other guys do in these tough economic times. I couldn’t find a job. Of course, I had no viable skills and only a high school education, so that may have had something to do with it. I am not afraid to admit that maybe I am just a tad bit lazy, and my parents were tired of supporting me. I just didn’t have any gumption, as my father constantly reminded me. Joining the Navy was just the ticket for me at that time. It would provide me with a job and a place to live, and really, I wouldn’t have to exert myself very much. Besides, maybe I could see the world on the government’s dime, and that can’t be all bad.
So, after a few months of basic training, I became a Seaman and that is when things started going weird for me. During my first leave I got caught in a police raid at a brothel with a few grams of Chronic and some fake ID I had picked up from some dude outside the bar where the pimp had hooked me up. I guess the courts were used to this kind of stuff and immediately turned me back over to the Navy where I was formally punished. It took me ninety days to clean that mess up, and I was so relieved after that I went out and got drunk and crashed a rental car into the river when I dropped that blunt into my lap and put second degree burns on my penis. For a hot minute I thought the Navy was going to hang me from the nearest yardarm, but instead they did something very strange. They sent me to SEAL school.
Now, I did not want to be a SEAL. I did not harbor any delusions that I actually had the right stuff to be a SEAL either, but the Navy didn’t care. They told me I was being assigned to a special SEAL unit that was top secret. I could go do that, or spend a year in the brig, which is Navy slang for jail. What the heck, I figured, bring it on? So, the next day I was put on a plane to who knows where, and was dropped off in the dead of night at some base that had no name and from what I could tell wasn’t even close to any water. I thought that very strange indeed.
Five minutes after getting off the plane I found myself in a room with several other dudes who looked as mystified as me. We were all given a bottle of water and a baloney sandwich and informed our sergeant would be there momentarily to begin our orientation. As it turns out that sergeant didn’t show up for several hours and in the meantime I made friends with the other special SEAL team candidates in that room with me. It was a rather bizarre group of individuals to say the least.
Corky was the first guy I talked to. He was from Oklahoma and as it turned out he got in trouble for stealing a hundred pounds of beef from the mess hall and selling it to a local restaurant near his base. Corky said it was a perfect caper until his commanding officer, who was eating at that restaurant at the time, spotted him carrying in all that beef and immediately investigated. He tried telling them he hit a cow with his car and just didn’t want all that beef to go to waste, but apparently they didn’t buy his story. They offered him the same deal they offered me, and he jumped right on it same as me.
The next guy I met was, Rex. Rex claimed he was a political prisoner because he got caught smoking pot through the barrel of a 50 caliber machine gun. Because he couldn’t prove he had glaucoma, they arrested him and boom, sent him off to join the special SEAL team. Rex was cool, and could fart on command. I took an instant liking to him and so did Corky.
Haji joined in our conversation right after Gordo had introduced himself. Haji was a black dude and his name was rather unfortunate at the time. He had lied to the Navy about being able to speak Farsi and they got so pissed they sent him along to the special SEAL team. Haji said he didn’t give a fuck about nothing. We liked him immediately. Somehow he had managed to smuggle a bag full of blunts with him and fired one up right then and there. That is what brought the rest of our little crew into the circle.
Gordo claimed to be a mechanical genius. He said he could fix anything if he had the right tools, but his real claim to fame was launching an air-to-air missile from a grounded airplane while still in the hangar. He probably would have been sent to prison under normal circumstances, but his father was a senator or some shit, so instead they sent him to become a special SEAL.
Murph told his story in a whisper. Turns out he never talked above a whisper and was always looking over his shoulder. Apparently he had hacked some database and got his pay increased to admiral’s rate. Murph said he probably wouldn’t have gotten caught except he couldn’t resist buying a brand new Cadillac. I guess the Navy got suspicious when he drove it on the base.
Braxton was indeed a curious case. He was a lifer with fifteen years in the Navy already. Braxton, according to him, was a chopper pilot with an alcohol problem. He’d got drunk one night and snuck some prostitute onto the base for a ride in his chopper and things went horribly wrong. He wouldn’t go into much detail, but he claimed he would do it all again if given the chance. Braxton said he was from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and was a graduate of the University of Michigan where he graduated with honors. He had a tattoo of a helicopter screwing a dinosaur on his chest. He also had a pint of Jack Daniels in a shoulder holster which he shared with all of us.
By the time the sun rose, we were all fairly buzzed and then this spit-shined Drill Instructor marched into the room and started insulting everyone in our little group. This went on for a good ten minutes and then he started telling us how he’d fought in four wars and been wounded ten times and had a steel plate in his brain that got cold when danger was near. He had a pistol strapped to his waist and a boot on one foot and a sneaker on the other. He pointed at his boot and informed us it was for kicking our asses. With his left hand he saluted every time he said the word fuck, which was like every third word out of his mouth, and spit chewing tobacco on the floor after every sentence. Oh, and he was a Marine with twenty-five years of service and his uniform was covered with medals and ribbons and hash marks. When he finally completed his little speech he asked if we had any questions, and we didn’t, and then he turned on his heel and marched right back out of the room.
And then he walked right back into the room and welcomed us to the SEALS, and ordered us to follow him to the chow hall, which we did. Once outside in the full daylight we could plainly see we were in the middle of nowhere. All the land around us was completely flat and brown and off in the distance there were some mountains. That is all any of us could see. The chow hall was the next building over, and like every other building around, used to be some kind of hangar building. We were all surprised to see the gigantic buffet of food set out on the tables for us. Three Mexican ladies stood behind the counter with spatulas and ladles in their hands. They said the food had poor flavor, but it tasted just great to us. We chowed down for more than an hour and could barely stand up afterward. Then Sergeant Gunny showed back up and took us out to do some more orientational stuff at yet another hangar building. Here we were astonished to find what could only be described as a Bass Pro Shop on crack and steroids. While we all stood there in total awe, Sergeant Gunny handed us a piece of paper which contained a long list of all kinds of stuff. The words on the list which immediately jumped out to me were, assault weapon and grenade launcher. Sergeant Gunny started yelling then, and we all listened carefully.
“You will fucking find and acquire every fucking item on that fucking list, ladies. You will fucking pack every fucking item on that fucking list into the fucking operational duffel bags provided in such a fucking manner for easy fucking transport on and off fucking airplanes, fucking helicopters and fucking submarines. You have four fucking hours to figure this out, ladies. There’s a fucking head in the back and a cooler with fucking refreshments next to fucking that. Good fucking luck, ladies!”
We found chilled bottles of Corona in that fucking cooler and then begun our little shopping spree. Of course, most of us went to the weapons racks. Murph was immediately drawn to the combat laptop computers with the miniature satellite dishes and laser range finders. Right in the middle of the weapons racks was a flat screen TV with directions. Rex pushed the play button and up jumped a video on the screen. It was some Army guy who looked like he could kill you with his breath and he was holding one of the guns on the racks before us.
“This is my trusty M4 SOPMOD with M203 Grenade Launcher. I have sent many Hajis to Allah with this weapon system. As you can see the base is the M4 assault rifle, that most guys never get to touch. The bullet stoppers get the M16. This SOPMOD is equipped with a TA-01 model Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight which gives a four time magnification of Haji, a M203 40mm grenade launcher, which can explode as many Hajis as you can squeeze together, a LMT collapsible stock, a AN/PEQ-2A ITPIAL, KAC QD suppressor which prevents Haji from hearing the bullet before it explodes his brains, and the CVL aiming module. The CVL helps in aiming on Haji during daytime and the AN/PEQ-2A ITPIAL generates an infrared laser beam that is not visible for Hajis eyes, and is extremely noticeable in combination with night vision goggles. Another thing that you can notice is the fact that the Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight has a 40mm sun-shader on it. It prevents your optics from flashing and, subsequently, from warning Haji as to your location.
Now, a few words about the uniforms available. First of all there is the custom made 3-color Desert Combat Uniforms. RAIDs are very popular. Moreover, you could see Woodland Camouflage Battle Dress Uniforms and Protective Combat Uniforms, level – 5. Moreover, you can see additions like hats, boonies and fleece caps. The caps are black just like the 300 fleece jackets. Personally I use and combine these aforementioned camouflages depending on the need. You can see such combinations as woodland top with desert trousers, desert blouses with woodland pants, protective combat uniform pants with woodland or desert tops or simply protective combat uniform top with woodland or desert pants. What is interesting, the protective combat uniform is made in alpha green color. All in all, such combinations are a normal practice in the field at this time. When talking about apparel, we cannot forget about gloves. Mainly, two types of gloves are used. The Mechanics gloves and the Oakley SI pilot gloves. The mechanics gloves are usually all black with black marking. The Oakley gloves are sand.
As I have mentioned before you could see hats, fleece caps and boonies on the heads of the guys who were in Afghanistan. But, we cannot forget about protective head-gear. The helmets that we use are the old gen MICH helmet and the Pro-Tec helmet. Although Pro-Tec gives no ballistic protection the trick is not to get shot in your head. That is why we train SEALS to think with their heads. There was a number of modifications on the helmets like Velcro tape, night vision goggles mounts and stuff like that. Infrared markers, light sticks, identification and morale patches. Really a lot of them. All depending on what you needed. Oh! One more thing was noticeable, night vision goggles counterweights. Their job was to balance your helmet once you used you night vision devices. I have to admit that they are very useful. Not enough can be said about a balanced head in combat.
Here comes trouble. You need a MLCS vest. You can choose from a variety of a MLCS Rhodesian Reconnaissance Vest, a MLCS maritime CIRAS vest or a MLCS plate carrier. Of course, the Small Arms Protective Insert Plates are used in vests like the Rhodesian Recon Vest and the plate carrier but no soft inserts are used. Sometimes, the operators combine it with a PACA low profile body armor.
Now, considering that you are a M203 operator you need to choose your vest and pouches, I will make you a list of pouches that I used for a M203 operator load-out. First of all, let me tell you that for a base I have chosen the Eagle Industries MLCS MJK Rhodesian Reconnaissance Vest.
Furthermore, I have used such pouches as the MLCS MJK M60 Pouch, MLCS MJK MBITR Radio Pouch, MLCS MJK Triple M4 pouch, MLCS MJK Canteen Pouch, MLCS MJK Utility Pouch, MLCS MJK Double 40mm grenade pouch, MLCS MJK triple 40mm grenade pouch. All set a configuration for a right-hand shooter that is extremely comfortable for me.
Another thing that we cannot forget about is the MLCS MJK Modular Assault Pack, a 3-color camelback MULE or an Eagle Industries MLCS MJK 3-Day Assault pack. Each of them holds a camelback insert and has place for food and ammo-everything that is enough for a few days survival in the field and for everything that is necessary to fight.
The M203 grenade launcher operator also uses a sidearm. It is the standard U.S. Navy Seal issue – the Sig Sauer P-226 pistol. It is usually carried in a Safariland 6004 holster or in a Uncle Mike’s paddle holster.
Two main types of boots are used, three actually. The Asolo FSN 95 GTX boots, Oakley Assault Boots and ordinary desert combat boots, but those are in the minority. The Asolo and Oakley boots were most commonly used. Personally, I use the Oakley Assault Boots, they are very comfortable, but they lack one thing – Gore-Tex. Here, I have to say that the Asolo FSN 95 GTX boots are made with Gore-Tex. Gore-Tex, which I should note are not made by Al Gore and are not made in Texas, is invaluable in combat. I cannot stress this enough.
So, there you have it. Of course, with each individual mission, you will want to adjust this load-out to your specific needs. For instance on a sniper mission you might want to carry the the US Navy MK11 Mod 0 Sniper Weapon System (SWS) which is based on the highly-accurate SR-25 automatic rifle. It was originally conceived and constructed to meet a requirement placed by the Navy SEALs. The MK11 is a highly accurate and durable, precision semiautomatic sniper rifle that operates like an M16 or M4A1, and can deliver a 7.62mm round out to 1,500 yards. Due to its high degree of accuracy, (.5 inch MOA), it is has won acceptance by U.S. Special Operations Forces as one of the finest semiautomatic sniper rifles in the world.
The MK11 system consists of the rifle, 20 round box magazines, QD scope rings, Leupold Vari-X Mil-dot riflescope, Harris swivel-base bipod on a Knight’s mount, QD sound suppressor, and back up iron sights. The free-floating 20 inch barrel and free-floating Rail Accessory System allow for extreme accuracy. This weapon fires the 7.62 NATO round, and is not capable of fully automatic fire. You can put a round through Haji’s eyeball at 1,500 hundred yards—that’s almost a mile!”
And then the video abruptly ended. Haji spoke first.
Haji: What the Hell have we got ourselves into?
And that was the subject of conversation for the next hour or so. Corky was all pissed off because he couldn’t find any ammo and Murph complained about no batteries for the combat computers. Murph somehow managed to correct his problem, but thank God Corky couldn’t find any ammo. He was three cans short of a six pack, for sure. Gordo took apart one of the guns several times, and was now doing it blindfolded. Rex and Haji couldn’t stop talking about escaping or faking illness or filing a law suit. Braxton finally spoke up and cleared up everything for us, which by the way made none of feel any better.
Braxton: Men, we’re in for some sure enough shit. I used to fly them SEALS in and out of their missions, and there was always shit involved. I am here to tell you, we have fallen into a bucket of shit. And, think about this for a second, if they are so desperate as to make a crew like us SEALS, just imagine how bad things must really be!
That shut every one of us up.
Haji: We’re all going to die.
Rex: Man, I didn’t sign up for this shit.
Corky: Well, if I got to die, I’m going down fighting! We got to find us some ammo!
Then Murph, who hadn’t said nothing in the longest, spoke up.
Murph: I think someone is using nukes in the middle-east.
Murph was staring down at a computer screen on one of those combat computers he wired into the wall outlet using a transformer from a GPS unit. We all huddled around that screen and watched as it flashed and lit up like the fourth of July. We had no way of knowing at the time we were only watching lightning strikes in Nevada. Besides, Murph said it was definitely Iraq or Iran or China, and Braxton admitted to hearing such scuttlebutt some place. So, we all became convinced.
Then Sergeant Gunny came back and yelled at us for not being done with our packing mission, and we spent the rest of the day watching him pack up our stuff into all the contraptions and whatnot, and then strapping it to us like so many suitcases. He informed us our load-out weighed six hundred pounds and had the explosive power of a tactical nuke, and then made us lug all that shit over to the practice airplane where we learned how to walk on and off a C130 Transport plane repeatedly. After that it was dinner time and we were once again surprised at the buffet laid out by those Mexican ladies who once again apologized for the poor flavor of the food. There were steaks and pork chops and roast beef and prime rib and shrimp and lobster and every side dish you could imagine. Once again we ate ourselves stupid then Sergeant Gunny took us for a leisurely walk around our base and told us stories of heroism and military adventure. When we got to the end of the landing strip we saw what looked to be a thousand beer bottles spread out in the sand. On our right was a table full of all kinds of guns and a big wash tub full of chilled Coronas. Let’s have some fucking fun, said Sergeant Gunny with much gusto.
An hour later we were all practically deaf because Sergeant Gunny provided no ear protection, but we were all pretty drunk and buzzed even more from blowing off several thousand rounds of ammo aimlessly about the area. Then Sergeant Gunny rounded us all up and walked us over to our sleeping quarters. It was magnificent to say the least. We each had our own room and bathroom, and each had 60 inch flat screen TVs with DVR’s and Playstation Threes. The common library had hundreds of games and movies. The kitchen had every snack food imaginable and a dedicated beer cooler and a completely stocked wet bar. There were two pool tables and two ping pong tables and a thousand watt stereo. The only thing there wasn’t was a phone and Internets connections. Out back was a full size basketball court and a heated swimming pool with Jacuzzi, and a tennis court.
Braxton: They sure are fattening up the calf.
All of us got drunker than shit that night. The Mexican ladies brought over some poor flavor pizza at midnight, but we ate it all the same. Then Murph managed to hack into some TV porn and a short time later we retired to our rooms, but only for a few minutes. It wasn’t long before the party was back in full swing. Sergeant Gunny marched in at dawn and told us all to take the day off.
We ended up taking the next three days off because the supply plane only came twice a week and there was no more booze left to drink. Sergeant Gunny then took us on a one mile hike to blow up an airplane husk on the side of the runway. He put twenty pounds of this stuff called C4 in that husk, and then rushed us way, way back. Watch this, he says, and the sky went red and orange and the boom knocked us all on our asses and made us deaf again. Sergeant Gunny gave us the rest of the day off.
The supply plane arrived and besides all our supplies there was a General on board, and he wanted to talk to us about our mission. We were all still quite anxious about this part, so we paid apt attention to the words coming out of his mouth. This is what he said:
“You gentlemen! You warriors, have been chosen to perform a mission critical to the security of our Great Nation. You may in fact be responsible for our very existence! You are the SEAL Diversionary Tactics Team. It is your job to keep Haji guessing. We will use you to confused Haji as to the whereabouts of the other SEAL Teams in the world. We will use you to make Haji react to where we want them to react to, and to not make them react when that is the mission. Your mission is so top secret and classified that if any or all of you are exposed, captured or killed in action, we will deny your very existence and arrest and detain indefinitely anyone who inquires about your said existences. Not even POTUS knows of your existence. We will insert you at any time at any place at any speed necessary so as to confound Haji and combat terrorism. I’d like to say more now, but I have to go for a dental appointment. Good luck, and goodbye. Amen.”
And with that the General turned on his heel, walked back to the supply plane, and we never saw him again. Sergeant Gunny told us to forget everything that just happened, then took us to yet another hanger that was full of strippers and inflatable mattresses. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, he told us.
They had to use an abrasive saw to cut through the hangar walls to get us out of there. We’d barricaded both doors with anything we could find and Gordo electrified the doorknobs. Sergeant Gunny ran the strippers off and took us back to our quarters and told us to rest up because our training was about to get real serious. The next day we started what they called mis-information training where we memorized the wrong answer to every military type question you could think of. Braxton kept fucking up and getting answers right and it about drove Sergeant Gunny insane. Finally, Sergeant Gunny used what he called the gun-to-the-head technique, and Braxton started getting answers wrong. We were all relieved.
The mis-information training took so much out of us that Sergeant Gunny gave us the next three days off to recover. A whole new set of strippers was brought to us and the Mexican ladies took to just bringing us our food in our sleeping quarters. After three days we had grown tired of them strippers and asked Sergeant Gunny for some more training. He agreed and took us all out into the desert to conduct combat simulation training. Sergeant Gunny stood us all in a big semi-circle and then gave us our guns and a hand full of ammo. Then, he ordered us to fire off all our bullets as fast as we could, including grenades. Since there were no actual targets set up, we just fired wildly into the sand and sky and yelled all kind of crazy shit like the action heroes do on the TV. When all our bullets were gone, Sergeant Gunny told us to roll around in the sand and get as sweaty and dirty as possible, which we did without a problem. And that concluded our combat training for the day. We all walked back to camp, handed over our dirty weapons and clothing to the Mexican ladies for cleaning, and went back to our quarters for leisure time. Sergeant Gunny told us we did real good, and then pulled a list out of his pocket and started reading off our designated jobs.
Haji, you’ll be the team’s fucking translator and fucking interpreter.
Haji: But I only speak English?
Murph, you’ll be our fucking communications and navigation fucking officer.
Rex, you are the fucking squad commander.
Rex: Do you have to salute me now?
No. Corky, you are the fucking weapons expert.
Corkey: I won’t let you down, Sarge!
Gordo, you are the fucking security expert.
Braxton, you are fucking in charge of overwatch.
Braxton: I won’t let you down either, Sarge.
Pointing at me he said, “You are the fucking wild card!”
And then Sergeant Gunny dismissed us and sent us to the showers. They took the strippers away when we were at combat training, so there wasn’t much to do that evening. We ended up sitting around the big screen TV and drinking beers. Then all of a sudden Sergeant Gunny burst through the door and started yelling for us to ruck up because we were going to war. Now this scared the living shit out of us, but Sergeant Gunny was yelling and cussing so loudly we didn’t even stop to think. The Mexican ladies showed up with our guns and uniforms, all cleaned and pressed, and we got dressed for war. An hour later a big old C-130 Transport landed and Sergeant Gunny herded us onto it like a crazed Shepard gone totally nuts. Get some sleep he said, this was going to be a long ride. We rode in that plane for upwards of twenty hours and finally arrived at a place that was pretty much just like the place we had just left. We were all sore and cranky and Sergeant Gunny had to cuss extra hard just to get us off that plane and onto a helicopter that was there waiting for us. After about an hour on the helicopter, we landed and Sergeant Gunny told us to fire off our weapons just like we did in combat training, and then roll around in the dirt to get all dirty again. Then, he herded us back onto the helicopter which took us back to that airplane which took us back to our base where the Mexican ladies took all our guns and clothes again. Rex had a surprise for us once we got back to our quarters. Somehow he’d managed to purchase a bag of Chronic from the Mexican ladies. Needless to say, we were quite useless for a couple days after that.
Early in the morning on April the 30th, Sergeant Gunny marched into our quarters and we knew immediately something was up. His face was painted like Braveheart and he was carrying a bazooka. After getting us all up out of our racks, and chasing off the strippers, he gave us a speech.
“Men, this is what we’ve been all fucking waiting for. We are going after that fucking son of a bitch Osama fucking Bin Laden. It’s fucking get back time, boys, and you are the fucking chosen ones.”
It was a short speech, and it freaked us all right the fuck out. The Mexican ladies brought over all our gear and we dressed in silence. We knew all of America was counting on us. An hour later we were on a C-130 and twenty hours later we landed some place and sure enough, there was a helicopter waiting for us. Once again we landed in middle of nowhere, fired off all our bullets, rolled around in the dirt and then got back on the helicopter and left. Twenty hours later we landed again back at our base. Rex had smuggled a kilo of hashish, and the strippers were waiting for us. Sergeant Gunny reported that our raid was a complete success and that Osama Bin Laden was in fact dead. Then, Sergeant Gunny grabbed up one of the strippers and left. It was the first time he ever did this, and we were all surprised. We thought he was gay. About a week later, we each got a letter honorably discharging us from the military, and thanking us for our efforts in bringing down the worst terrorist in the world. Sergeant Gunny told us that our diversionary tactics had freed up SEAL Team Six to complete their mission without any interference, and that had been our mission the whole time. We were decoys. Then Sergeant Gunny herded us all onto a green school bus and told us to go home but we could never, ever, under any circumstances divulge our role in bringing down Osama Bin Laden. We were nameless, faceless heroes. Then he saluted us and the bus pulled away.
When I got back home I told everyone what I had been doing in the military, but no one believed me. I just hope you do. That is why I wrote this story.