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Serving In Iraq...


- Mortars land near your compound and you roll over in bed and think "Way off. I've still got another 5 minutes".

- 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.

- Every guy that reports to your unit starts looking attractive.

- 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.

- 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.

- The contractors have more fire power than the military combat units. [This is sometimes true]

- 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.

- You can put your body armour and helmet on in the dark in under 5 seconds.

- When the organisation you work for has changed its name more than 3 times.

- When you actually get excited to get a package that contains 3 pair of socks, 12 bars of soap and a Victoria Secret Catalogue.

- When you start to enjoy the rocking of the trailer every time the choppers fly over.

- Your thinking of buying real estate in the green zone.

- 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 [Marines say "Oooorah"].

- You're in the Marines and you start saying Hooah [Army says "Hooah"].

- 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 understand it.].

- 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 colours than brown that can be found in places other than power point slides.

- The temp drops down to 102 degrees and you shiver while reaching for your Gortex jacket.

- 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?".

- 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." [Duct taping guys with rifles to roofs of vehicles is done in Iraq, as a way of adding firepower to the vehicle. Duct tape will stick anything down if there's enough of it.].

- 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, and you find yourself wondering who stole your sandbags.

- When some of the contractors wear their DCU’s [Desert pattern camouflage uniform] more properly than some of your soldiers.

- When 12 hours is a short work day.

- When, during the BUA, the statement "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 JCC’s within the ISF to square us away!" is a valid comment and generates no questions from anyone.

- When you start using words like "G'day mate," "Cheers," and "Bloody-ell" as part of your normal vocabulary.

- When you have your opinions printed in the STARS and STRIPES more than 3 times.

- 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.

- When you end every phone conversation with "Out".

- When the weapon buyback program has become so successful that you have issued the same AK-47 to the Iraqi army 3 times.

- When you can actually tell the difference between the sound of an exploding car and an exploding mortar.

- When on R&R you go to Church and wonder why no one is wearing body armour 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 vigour 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. ["FNG" is short for "F'ing new guy"].

- 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 that for fun - let’s 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, and you aren't surprised by the empty shelves because you understand that the local employees used the ration cards given them illegally to buy all the goods intended for you.

- When you send out your laundry and your whites become greyer, your blacks become greyer and your DCU's become greyer - makes it easier to sort loads...

- You get offended by people wearing clean, pressed DCU's.

- You decide that it is a better course of action to pull your blankets over your head than put on your body armour 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 or it falls to pieces on their body from sweat-rot.

- You wonder if the fish served at dinner really was carp caught out of the Tigris or Camp Victory's lake.

- 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.

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