|YOU KNOW YOU HAVE BEEN IN IRAQ TOO
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- You wonder if the fish served
at dinner really was carp caught out of the Tigris or Camp Victory's
- 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.