I've lived an interesting life. AMaA.

contactone

Well-Known Member
I was 6 years old. Dad was in the Navy and we were living in Naples, Italy. I was playing at the neighborhood playground and a stranger walked up and told me that my mom had given him permission to take me to the soccer game at the stadium. We walked for a while, and he eventually took me to a stadium and we sat down to watch the game. After the game, we stopped for a snack and while he was buying stuff I decided that this guy wasn't really safe to be around and I ran. Got home a couple hours later, and never mentioned it to anyone until a few years ago. When I eventually told mom, she almost fainted. :rofl:
No BS, my mom doesn't know I was almost a victim of a kidnap/ransom plot while with my dad in Mexico. At this point I don't think I could tell her.
 
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Ranger-AO

Ranger-AO

IED Hunter
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Nov 23, 2004
44,824
A bad place
Hi! Navy pencil pusher here. love threads like these.
Whats it like to be blown up?
injuries sustained?
anything i need to know before i retire in 7/9 years?
whats the first few weeks like after you get out after doing it for so long?
Wars are won or lost by pencil pushers. True story.

Getting blown up is interesting as long as there isn't any blood spilled. Most involved an instant heat flash like someone opened up a furnace door just for a moment. Hard to explain exactly how it goes in the first second. It feels like it was loud, you can feel the shockwave, but all sound after the initial crack is muffled. Like what it sounds like under water. Air turns into instant dust/sand/murk at the moment when you most want to be able to see every fucking thing around you. Usually some confusion, because the world you were looking at isn't there any more. Especially so if you were unconscious for a few moments/minutes. Even more so if your vehicle has reoriented itself and what used to be "up" isn't up when you come to. Radios almost always go out for a few minutes for some reason. Brain sometimes takes a while to reboot as well.

Only physical injury was a stupid accident that happened when one of my Joes decided to fuck around with my knife. Almost sliced my thumb off. Been diagnosed with TBI, but that's like saying "hmm, something is wrong but we don't know exactly what it is." Had migraines for a while, but they have mostly gone away now that I'm hyper aware of everything that triggers them.

Make copies of everything and save them digitally someplace that will survive the end of the world. You'll need medical records when that ache you've been ignoring for the last few years turns into something that we eventually find out was caused by something the military did.

If you've been career military, becoming a civilian is going to be interesting. You've been surrounded by people that have had identical training to your own, have dressed like you, have been required to adhere to the same standards (personal and professional), have been promoted using the same criteria, etc. None of that will be true when you cross over to civilian life. Don't expect anything from the VA. The first few weeks will be empty. You will be starting over, just like you did when you entered the military, with the difference being that you are older, more experienced, and you have extra money coming in every month. Find a job you enjoy, instead of a job that pays the bills, and you'll do well. :)
 

NSX

OT Supporter
Mar 23, 2004
11,658
la la land
The bravest person I've ever met was an Iraqi man in East Rashid, Baghdad, in 2008. He made a point of walking out in broad daylight to tell us where insurgents had placed IEDs whenever we were in his area. We tried to get him to not be so public, and gave him a number he could use to call in tips instead. He said he wanted to do it in public. When we asked why, he said "my neighbors and my family need to see someone doing something right." I can't imagine him living through the ISIS years.


Straight up gangsta. BTW, kicking your kid out in the street was the best thing you ever done for him. That shit must've been hard as hell to do.
 
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wildflower

OT Supporter
May 17, 2002
135,001
No place for older men
I don't think you do. Or maybe you are the only one that does.
You might be right.
Kudos to your career, and I'm not about to disparage it in any way.
But I see the United States in dozens of countries, and it just reeks of American Empire, with soldiers and money thrown to different parts of the world where we have a lot of self-interest. I may be a bit cynical, but thats where I'm at.
 

Kremlin

Melbourne Cup 2021 Subscriber
OT Supporter
Dec 26, 2003
34,275
More than you can afford pal
When my oldest son was 5 he had a hard time getting to sleep at night. Went on for a while. He kept either getting up after bedtime, or asking for stuff, or running around when he was supposed to be in bed. Turns out there was a tree in our back yard and a street lamp was casting "scary shadows" on his wall. We stayed up for hours the night he told me what was scaring him, learning about light and shadows. We went out for a walk around the neighborhood in the dark and learned about what kinds of things make different noises at night. For the next few nights we spent the first hour or so looking out the window talking about anything that he thought might be scary after I left him alone in the dark. I've done a lot in life, but the most meaningful thing I've ever done was to help my son not be afraid of the dark.
cut-onions.jpg


goddamnit. since i became a dad, anything to do with kids gets me every time. good for you man, you sound like someone who has their shit together despite a hectic life, and you concentrate on the truly important things. thank-you for your service to this country. this is the OT i heart.
 
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contactone

Well-Known Member
Just remembered another Italy almost-disaster :rofl:

In my 1st grade class, whenever anyone had a birthday that they wanted to invite everyone to we would all get permission to ride their bus home, attend the birthday party, and then our parents would come pick us up. I was supposed to go to a kids party one day but I didn't really like him much. I got on his bus and when we got to his stop he told me to get off. I didn't like the way he said it, so I stayed on the bus. In a strange area. In Italy. And I didn't speak Italian. :rofl:

When I realized what I'd done I got off the bus, but by then it was too late to have any hope of getting back to this kid's party. I wandered around Naples for hours, and eventually ended up crying my eyes out in some alley behind some apartment buildings. An old man came up and talked to me, but he didn't speak english and I didn't speak Italian. He took my hand and brought me to his apartment and I played with his kids (or grand kids). After a while my parents came and picked me up. Turns out he was an ex-mayor of Naples. He called the Navy shore patrol, who then contacted my parents. I was a stupid shit when I was a kid. :nod:
At that point I think I would have just stayed in the streets. There's no way my parents would have not beaten my ass after getting me home.
 
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Ranger-AO

IED Hunter
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Nov 23, 2004
44,824
A bad place
At that point I think I would have just stayed in the streets. There's no way my parents would have not beaten my ass after getting me home.
:roflw: Dad might have beat me if there hadn't been so much attention on finding me.

That period of my life was almost magical. I was surrounded by chaos, but I was almost completely and blissfully unaware of most of it. I remain amazed that my mother, sister and myself made it out alive. Dad was an abusive alcoholic. Socialists were targeting americans with car bombs, kidnappings, murder, etc. and every time we got in the family car, dad would check the engine area while I looked under the car and my sister looked in the windows for "anything with wires or any bundles that we didn't put there." My grade school had several assemblies each year where someone from the base would talk to us about local threats and terrorist activities. I knew what an IED was and how to report it before I learned to ride a bike. :rofl:
 

tomato paste

OT Supporter
Aug 28, 2014
16,970
Youngest son died when he was 19, the day after Christmas. No more deets on him. Still feels too fresh.

Oldest son was bringing drugs in to the house. I came home from a business trip and the house was full of strangers all passed out, with pipes, spoons, needles and shit all over the place. I told him he could come home at any time, but not if he wasn't clean. He spent several years on the streets and living with other families. He never came back home and he got in trouble with the law a few times. Eventually he cleaned himself up and put himself through high school and then joined the Army. As an adult he has become my very best and closest friend, and I am grateful beyond words for the man he has become.
My biggest sympathies to you and your wife (if you're still married) over the loss of your son. I've been on scene and have lost two young ones, one 8 year old girl, and one 17 year old boy. As hard as that is, it pales in comparison to seeing a parent learn that their child is gone. That kind of hurt is something no parent should ever have to endure. I honestly can't think of anything worse in this world.
 
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Deleted member 50048

Wars are won or lost by pencil pushers. True story.

Getting blown up is interesting, as long as there isn't any blood spilled. Most involved an instant heat flash like someone opened up a furnace door just for a moment. Hard to explain exactly how it goes in the first second. It feels like it was loud, you can feel the shockwave, but all sound after the initial crack is muffled. Like what it sounds like under water. Air turns into instant dust/sand/murk at the moment when you most want to be able to see every fucking thing around you. Usually some confusion, because the world you were looking at isn't there any more. Especially so if you were unconscious for a few moments/minutes. Even more so if your vehicle has reoriented itself and what used to be "up" isn't up when you come to. Radios almost always go out for a few minutes for some reason. Brain sometimes takes a while to reboot as well.

Only physical injury was a stupid accident that happened when one of my Joes decided to fuck around with my knife. Almost sliced my thumb off. Been diagnosed with TBI, but that's like saying "hmm, something is wrong but we don't know exactly what it is." Had migraines for a while, but they have mostly gone away now that I'm hyper aware of everything that triggers them.

Make copies of everything and save them digitally someplace that will survive the end of the world. You'll need medical records when that ache you've been ignoring for the last few years turns into something that we eventually find out was caused by something the military did.

If you've been career military, becoming a civilian is going to be interesting. You've been surrounded by people that have had identical training to your own, have dressed like you, have been required to adhere to the same standards (personal and professional), have been promoted using the same criteria, etc. None of that will be true when you cross over to civilian life. Don't expect anything from the VA. The first few weeks will be empty. You will be starting over, just like you did when you entered the military, with the difference being that you are older, more experienced, and you have extra money coming in every month. Find a job you enjoy, instead of a job that pays the bills, and you'll do well. :)
You ever heard of shift?

https://www.shift.org/fellows

heard about it on this podcast: https://feeds.megaphone.fm/thepitch
 
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Ranger-AO

IED Hunter
OT Supporter
Nov 23, 2004
44,824
A bad place
Sorry - I missed these two
What do you do when you come back to the states from deployment?
There's a bed & breakfast I usually go to for the first few days when I get back. I went there with a girlfriend before my first deployment, and it's kind of become a ritual now to check in there. The couple that run it are the most gracious hosts I can imagine. It's awesome decompression, and good for the soul. There were two deployments that I came back from where I had a lot of people commitments waiting for me the moment I stepped off the plane, and I learned from them that I need some transition time. First one was my oldest son's wedding, right after my first Iraq deployment. Lots of people, most of them strangers, loud music, crowds, etc... It was not the enjoyable experience it should have been. :nope: Spent some time learning to fly a couple years ago.

Didn’t know you were a member of the over 50 crew.
:cool:
My 50s have been busy but nice. You could not pay me enough to go through my 40s again, though.
 
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Ranger-AO

IED Hunter
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Nov 23, 2004
44,824
A bad place
Thank you for sharing all this with us, @Ranger-AO. You are awesome.

I want to ask about cultural differences when it comes to how different parts of the country greet service members.

When we were coming back from Kuwait, and we landed at the New Jersey airport (possibly Newark), no one clapped for us and several people commented on how bad we smelled. When we landed at the airport in Texas, everyone stopped what they were doing and started looking at us and clapping for us. When we landed at our final destination in Denver, Colorado, no one clapped but several people were standing outside offering free things for Soldiers, like free cigarettes, etc.

Why the cultural difference in how different parts of the country react to service members?
It is strange, and hard to reconcile, especially when you are exposed to such extremes over a short period of time. Groups like the Maine Troop Greeters go way out of their way to give soldiers a personal touch and a warm goodbye/welcome home. When I went to Iraq for the first time, we stopped in Shannon, Ireland for a few hours. It was probably 3am when we got off the plane and there was probably 30 or so people scattered around the terminal waiting for their own flights. Not an American in the crowd, but they all started clapping and welcoming us. But there's the opposite extreme as well. I don't know why different parts of the country/planet do what they do. Why does southern food taste so good? It just does. :hs:
 

Janson

OT Supporter
Mar 13, 2003
171,276
Davidson, NC
It is strange, and hard to reconcile, especially when you are exposed to such extremes over a short period of time. Groups like the Maine Troop Greeters go way out of their way to give soldiers a personal touch and a warm goodbye/welcome home. When I went to Iraq for the first time, we stopped in Shannon, Ireland for a few hours. It was probably 3am when we got off the plane and there was probably 30 or so people scattered around the terminal waiting for their own flights. Not an American in the crowd, but they all started clapping and welcoming us. But there's the opposite extreme as well. I don't know why different parts of the country/planet do what they do. Why does southern food taste so good? It just does. :hs:
The answer to your southern food question is butter. Lots and lots of butter :o
 
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Ranger-AO

IED Hunter
OT Supporter
Nov 23, 2004
44,824
A bad place
You've seen a lot, thoughts on marriage? You ever getting married again?
Oof... I think there are four cycles to relationships: infatuation, informed respect, grudging acceptance, and rejection. We all start off with some level of infatuation, gradually move back and forth between the next two cycles, and eventually end the relationship with rejection. The cycles are all fed by the things we let our minds focus on, and the thoughts we allow to run through our heads while we're going about our life. If you can keep your thoughts about your mate moving somewhere between the first three cycles -- and if you have a mate that can do the same -- I think your marriage will be awesome.
 

giantstonemonolith

OT Supporter
Apr 11, 2007
70,034
hell, pa
Thank you for sharing all this with us, @Ranger-AO. You are awesome.

I want to ask about cultural differences when it comes to how different parts of the country greet service members.

When we were coming back from Kuwait, and we landed at the New Jersey airport (possibly Newark), no one clapped for us and several people commented on how bad we smelled. When we landed at the airport in Texas, everyone stopped what they were doing and started looking at us and clapping for us. When we landed at our final destination in Denver, Colorado, no one clapped but several people were standing outside offering free things for Soldiers, like free cigarettes, etc.

Why the cultural difference in how different parts of the country react to service members?

because new jersey is a shithole. it's really that simple.
 
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