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The SAW at night

The SAW at night

This is my weapon. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

More on the M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon at Wikipedia, for the interested.

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The Illustrated Turret Gunner

The Illustrated Turret Gunner

A helpful guide to the modern turret gunner for those of you following at home.

It left a neat crater in the truck, though.

It left a neat crater in the truck, though.

To the insurgent who attempted to shoot me out of the turret during the convoy the other day:

You suck. About five feet too low, assclown.

Very respectfully,

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Time to play the game

Time to play the game

This is one of the special forces trucks that were providing a scouting and pathfinding element for a convoy we were on. Note the open back--our humvees are almost invariably of the uparmored "turtleback" variety--and the extra weaponry on the back. Punisher logos are rather common out there.

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Peerless Leadership

Peerless Leadership

Our fearless team leader after a few weeks on the ridge. Each day brought a new blasphemy on his uniform--note the cuffed pants with inspirational message, decorative artwork on the t-shirt (with sleeves cut off), the new folds and "Sheriff" star on the hat. When we got back to Bagram, I hardly recognized him in a proper uniform with a cap and uniform top and everything.

Not that I was a paragon of AR 670-1 (the uniform reg) either, but still...

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Field shower

Field shower

During our 18-day camping trip, it was mostly sunny. Very sunny. Oh how I hate the sun. Early in July, however, we had a few cloudy days, and once it even rained for about four minutes. This was not quite long enough to shower, but that did not stop my Navy petty officer team leader from trying.

Actually, it was more like a billion icy daggers into our skin than what this Washington son would call "rain," but it was worth a shot.

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Mounting up at sunrise

Mounting up at sunrise

I'll be honest--I really don't know what this vehicle is. A big truck of some kind. One of my Navy teammates is shown here walking toward the camera from this truck, which he had been riding in.

We had been in a large convoy--100+ vehicles plus 3 or 4 circling helicopters--for a day at this point, and having gotten kind of stuck/lost/confused/angry/tired by 2300 hours, we circled the wagons and slept for a few hours until daylight made our new path clear. This scene is from shortly after sunrise as vehicles and crews get ready to face a new day with what I had dubbed Task Force Moses--because we were probably going to be wandering the desert for 40 years.

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Overwatch at the end of the world

Overwatch at the end of the world

Two soldiers from C/2-87 INF keep an eye on the valley below. The drop below their feet is about 80 meters.

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Portrait day on the mountain

Portrait day on the mountain

My wife complains sometimes that I don't get many pictures of me taken, so occasionally I shanghai one of my teammates into taking a shot to send home later. This was on the ridgeline--the same one as the castle--toward the end of our 18-day stay there.

I had posted a smaller version of this picture attached to a blog post earlier, but it was hard to find and not very high res.

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My office

My office

During the last big op, Operation Mountain Thrust (worst. name. ever.), this was my team's office for 18 days on a ridgeline. It didn't become this grand and fancy right away, of course--it took hours and hours of digging, lifting, carrying, and adjusting to make a habitat this fine.

I slept in a hole in the dirt about 10 meters to the left.

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