Ask An Infantryman

Ask an Infantryman

Infantrymen, your counsel is requested:


DEAR ABBY: I am a female member of the military, stationed for the past nine months in Iraq. I recently received a letter from a friend who is having problems in her marriage. She has asked to move in with me when I return to the states in about three months. She says it's only until she gets back on her feet.

There's no way I can let that happen. She has too much drama in her life, and I have grown accustomed to living by myself. When I get home, all I want is peace and quiet. How can I tell her that I don't want a roommate without hurting her feelings? -- PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Your advice in the comments below, please.

Ask an Infantryman: "Depressed Jody"


Things are very busy in Uber Pig land.  Otherwise known as Berkeley.  So it's hard for me to find good questions worthy of your time and consideration.  But I think I've found a gem, via Dear Abby:

DEAR ABBY: I was "The Other Man" for 30 years. I was a teenager and still in high school when I met "Sue." She was in her 20s, gorgeous, and I was earning money mowing lawns. I was a virgin. It started with me rubbing suntan lotion on her back. Her husband was in the military.

One day she told me she was lonely because her husband was gone so much and their 5-year-old was in kindergarten. She asked me to be her "special friend." After high school she paid for me to go to trade school. For 29 years I followed her wherever the military sent her husband. I even had a vasectomy so I wouldn't get her pregnant. I lived my life for her.

Her husband has now retired from the military. She has time for me now maybe once a month. What we had is fading more each week. She is my first and only love, and I'll never find anyone to love as I have loved her, or father children of my own. Is my life worth living? -- DEPRESSED OUT WEST

Your advice in the comments below, please.  Also, please email me with questions you'd like to have answered by the Blackfive community at enlistedswine at gmail dot com -- and also if you're on the Left Coast go ahead and let me know if you haven't already done so, so I can continue compiling our Blackfive Left Coast Beer Fest mailing list.  And then, you know, plan some good times, or at least help put you in touch with each other to set up your own good times.

-- Uber Pig

Ask an Infantryman: 16-year-old boy in the Middle


Something about this question, culled from the Interwebs, struck a chord in me. I know a kid like this, and I know what advice I already gave him. But I'd be curious to see if what you have to say tallies up.

DEAR FALSCHIRMJAEGER: I'm a 16-year-old guy who has hit a road bump in life. My parents divorced when I was 12 and are still fighting. I get involved in their fights because I feel I have to, but it stresses me out. I live full-time with Mom because Dad and I fight too much. Mom and I are also at odds nonstop. She has had several different boyfriends since the divorce. Three of them have moved into our house.

Mom and I have different opinions about her present boyfriend, who she calls her "fiance." He's the biggest reason we fight. Mom has told me her kids come first and if I really don't like him she'll ask him to leave, but I don't want her to do it if she's truly happy with him.

What should I do? Mom deserves to be happy, but I don't think this man is best for her. Please help. -- COLORADO TEEN

As always, your advice in the comments below please. -- Uber Pig

Ask an Infantryman: What to Send my Brother in Ranger School?

Infantrymen, Your counsel is requested:

Dear Infantryman,

My brother is about to graduate Captain's school and will be entering Ranger School later this month. During his deployment to Iraq, I enjoyed sending boxes of food and candy and letters of encouragement. I would like to send care packages to him this summer, but I don't want to make him a target for more than the usual amount of attention -- should I stick to short notes in plain white envelopes? if I do send a care package, what should go in it?


an Army Sis

Your advice in the comments below, please. If you can answer the question about Ranger School specific care packages, great. If you can't, be sure to make it clear to the reader that you don't know about Ranger School but that you've found x or y to be a successful gambit.


-- Uber Pig

Ask an Infantryman: What Needs Fixing?


This week's question is perhaps the most useful one so far, and while I enjoy stupid infantryman humor more than any 14 of you readers combined, I must confess that this question, recently submitted, is making me feel a little bit warm inside. Here you go:

What Needs Fixing?

Dear The_Bleachman: I am a Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Cincinnati and as part of our program we are required to design/build some project as a proof of our skills before we may graduate. Rather than make some useless toy that would amuse me, I'd like to design something that would solve a problem you Soldiers may be dealing with right now. In other words, I want to contribute something useful and needed. However, I'm not in the thick of things as you all are/have been and consequently I am not familiar with all the various annoyances you all have to deal with. What I'd like to get from you is a list of problems that need fixing, big or small, and I'll try my best to solve at least one of them. Don't worry about the difficulty level of the problem or what skills would be needed to solve it, I've got the time to research and acquire the requisite abilities before I'll be graduating.

Thank you all for your service, and I look forward to your responses!

I, too, look forward to your responses. And no, you can't request a hybrid humvee. They already built one of those.


--Uber Pig

PS: Looks like we have about 10 folks who can come to a Left Coast Blackfive Bierfest. I'll be putting an email out on a list soon to you all who have written in, but if you're anywhere near the SF Bay Area send me an email at enlistedswine at the G. as in, the

Update: Have had lots of interest in the Left Coast BierFest. Also some questions about whether or not I started this whole "swine flu" thing. And while I've known some real sows in my day, none of them have been to Mexico City in years.

Infantrymen, your counsel is requested:


DEAR ABBY: I am an armed forces veteran who spent a tour of duty in Iraq in 2004. My wife and I separated three years ago, and she and our four children now reside in another state. Neither of us has "moved on," and we may reconcile later in life. I am writing about my oldest son, "Jon," who is 18 and not yet out of high school due to poor grades. He and I do not have a good relationship and have very different views regarding life and politics. Jon was, and still is, bitter over his mother and me separating.

When I returned from Iraq on mid-tour leave, I gave him the uniform jacket I wore in combat with all the rank, flags, name tags, etc., on it as a gift. I know from my own youth that I would have been proud to have had something from my uncles or father that they wore during the war. Jon started wearing it as soon as I gave it to him, and I was proud of him to do so.

I have not seen him much since my return to the United States from the war. However, I did see him a little over a month ago and noticed that he's still wearing the jacket. My wife says he wears it often. He has written an anarchy symbol in permanent marker on the American flag on the right sleeve under my combat patch. I am angry and disappointed, but I didn't make waves. I am not sure how to handle this, and I'm afraid that a returning soldier may take one look and vent his problems from combat tour of duty on my son. -- AMERICAN VET IN ALABAMA

Your advice in the comments below, please. -- Uber Pig

Ask an Infantryman - Too Disturbing to Describe


I just don't know what to say:


DEAR ABBY: I am trying hard to rebuild my marriage. My husband and I have three young children. Four months ago, I met a man (I'll call him "Jack") who made me feel like I haven't felt in a long time. We have not slept together. We tried several times to stop seeing each other, but unfortunately, my attraction to him was too strong. This week my husband and I separated. I saw Jack this morning. Before things went too far I told him that I had herpes. Abby, he practically had a heart attack -- and ended it on the spot!

The thing is, what I said wasn't true. I just could not think of another way to make him stop being available so I could concentrate on my marriage. I feel like such a coward, and I am heartbroken. Not only do I miss Jack terribly, I also can't bear the thought that someone who made me feel so happy would just turn his back on me.

Would there be any point in telling him that I lied, or did I do the right -- albeit cowardly -- thing? -- WAVERING IN THE SOUTH

Your advice in the comments below, please.


Uber Pig

Ask an Infantryman: Are all con-men this stupid?


Again, one of our number solicits your advice:

Dear AAI,

So, my parents called me the other morning on her way out of town to tell me of an unusual meeting she just had. A supposed soldier was walking down the road, gas tank in hand, looking for a ride. He was in full DCU's (Desert Uniform, circa 2004) with what my mom described as a "maroon beret." Being the patriotic Americans my parents are, they picked him up without a second thought. During the 15-20min ride, he described that he was from Boston (we're in TN), how he had just come home from Iraq, had went to see his girlfriend and get his car, only to find out she was 7mo pregnant from another guy. He was trying to get home to Boston, and his flight was going to be paid for, but he had to pay the "$63 Homeland Security Tax." Instantly, the red flags started to go off, and my parents dropped him off in the middle of town, where he continued to walk with his gas can and DCUs.

Red Flag: He was 45mi from the airport, the location of his supposed girlfriend was another 50 from the location he was currently at. Homeland Security Tax? Even if there is such a thing, how could that not be paid for when the plane ticket was? This upset my mother greatly, because she felt like she was taken advantage of by someone representing a group that she loves to death. Being a former NCO, I was naturally pissed and wanted blood, so went looking for the guy unsuccessfully.

So, my question is, what does one do with someone who impersonates a soldier for their own gain? What does one do with someone who impersonates a soldier for a possible violent act? Thanks.


Pissed in TN

Your advice in the comments below, please.


Uber Pig

Ask an Infantryman: "Should I Join Spetznatz or just play in a cover band and do paintball on weekends?"

Infantrymen, your counsel has been requested, once again:

Dear Froggy: I'm a 17 year old American of Russian extraction. I play paint ball with my friends every weekend, and wear camouflage clothes as much as I possibly can, because they make me look cool and also, dare I say, a bit dangerous. Plus, it's harder for the assistant principal to spot me in the woods, smoking my Djarum cigarettes. Long story short, I used to dream about becoming a Navy SEAL when I was younger, because Navy SEALs have really cool movies made about them, especially that one with Charlie Sheen, and the men in the recruiting videos all appear to be very good looking, with chiseled facial features, rock hard pecs, and washboard abs. Plus, it looks like the Navy gives them plenty of time to surf, and gaze soulfully at sunsets, when they aren't playing golf or water polo. But then I found another, competing dream: Music. My new and, I think, one true love. Music is my Aer-o-plane, to paraphrase the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And let me just say that unfortunately, I do not remember anywhere in those SEAL recruiting videos, watching the SEALs rock out with guitars or drums, or even a xylophone. I mean, sure, there's the occasional power ballad playing in the background while they're doing an insertion onto some sandy beach at night, under a full moon, but no: The power ballad you're watching is just a soundtrack to their normal SEAL training, and not part of the actual training itself. Maybe saltwater and the electricity from a guitar amplifier just don't mix? I don't know. Perhaps one of the Ask an Infantryman readers can knowledge me with the answer to this?

So anyways, yeah, I kind of decided to put that Navy SEAL dream aside for my music.

But fast forward to the other day, when I was using the Google machine to look up music videos that were especially masculine. After looking at some Black Sabbath and some Danzig and some Tool -- "Die Eier von Satan" was particularly testosterrific -- I came across Rammstein's "Du Hast Mich," and I was like: "Wow, cool German dudes can rock almost as hard as Maynard James Keynan, my hero -- but they have a whole different language that they rock in!" Let me tell you, Froggy, it was a real eye-opener. And then it got me to thinking: Are there any rock hard bands that rock in still different languages, other than English (Tool)?, or German (Rammstein)? And the Google machine was like: "Hellz yeah, Vladimir, you should check out this video for this crazy Russian band called "Spetznatz.""

So I clicked on that shit, of course.

And in the Spetznatz video, the lead singer is this hyper-masculine looking older dude, wearing a blue and white t-shirt that looks kind of French and hip, underneath a set of camouflage fatigues. And you can tell this lead singer guy for the Spetznatz band has been around the proverbial block; like you can totally imagine him rocking out back in Afghanistan on a Central Asia tour back in the 80's, before there was all the violence; and he probably has like, a ton of scar tissue from all the mosh pits and the stage diving. But in addition to the scar tissue, he has this awesome masculine voice, and he's doing this Russian singing/rapping thing, and there's this catchy guitar, riffing off in the background, along with what sounds like either clapping, or maybe some stomping of boots? I can't tell which. Anyways, let's just say that even though I don't quite understand the lyrics, it made me very curious, and a little bit tingly, sort of like the way I felt watching that one scene in "The Hunt for Red October," where the Captain, played by salt-n-pepa Sean Connery, starts the crew off singing some kind of Gregorian-chant-like business -- but even more awesome, and more Russian, and more, dare I say: Primal.

Anyways, while this dude is singing, there are more of these hypermasculine guys in his band. Like, hundreds of them. And they look almost exactly like the lead singer, sporting the same blue/white t-shirt underneath camouflage fatigues motif; but you can tell that they're younger, more wiry, and perhaps a little less buffed out; also, they seem to have fewer facial hairs, and fewer badges on their chests. And of course they aren't singing, because there's only one singer -- the older, lead alpha-dude, who kind of reminds me of what I wish my father looked like. Instead, they're going through this extremely tough-looking obstacle course, doing the kinds of things me and my paint ball brosephs here in Florida only wish we could do. I mean, these guys are HARD core, and they're using real guns -- like, AK-47's, and some other old skool hand cannons, that look incredibly dangerous. And they're just firing that shit from the hip, while running over walls, and fences, and corrals, and jungle gyms. All the while stuff is exploding, and smoke is wafting around like they're in the middle of a Kiss concert.

And then about halfway through the video they're all, like, "Whoah, comrades: Let's chill out for a bit in Red Square, and do some Tai Chi." But it's this very stoic version Tai Chi, and it's done in formation, with a soundtrack. And then they stop doing Tai Chi for a bit, while some of their brosephs start running around demonstrating their karate chop prowess on each other, with the occasional ballet broseph doing these awesome David Blaine/Chriss Angell style magic flying kicks. Seriously, watching this Spetznatz band was like watching a cross between Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jet Li, Justin Timberlake, and one of those new Japanese robots.

And then it dawned on me: "Spetznatz" isn't actually a band.


It turns out that Spetznatz is actually, like, the Russian version of Navy SEALs. And how bad ass is that? I mean, just think about it: You're some ugly, fat, Muslim terrorist, who wants to force women to wear sheets after surgically removing their clitoruses (clitorii?), and you're just chilling out with your goats in Chechnya or something, noshing on some dried figs and hummus, you know? And you're reading a translated Tom Clancy novel to pick up ideas on how to deliver a suitcase nucular device into the Port of Oakland, right? And all of a sudden: This music starts playing, all slow at first. And the hairs on your neck stand up. And the music sort of builds, and builds, and builds. And you can almost imagine this barrel-chested, sage older Spetznatz warrior dude, hiding out behind a berm somewhere, as he begins rapping/singing the manliest of lyrics, foretelling of your impending destruction. All the while, one of those sweet Russian Helicopters is up above your whole situation -- an Mi-28, just like in "Red Dawn," with Charlie Sheen (Who was also in that Navy SEALs movie). And this barrel-chested bassist, and wiry-assed drummer dude, are hanging off the side of the helicopter, on this crazy looking wooden pod/soundstage, with their blue/white T-shirts, going all Alexander Nevsky with their yoked up power chords, and your fear just continues to build. Because you've heard about this shit in your terrorist chat rooms on the Interwebs, about how just before Muhammad al Amriki got popped, he texted one of the faithful about just such a soundtrack interrupting his nap time in his downtown Karachi hotel. So you're starting to get real tense. Because you know that within a few minutes time, some hard as nails Russian commando with a faggy looking t-shirt is going to tai-chi your ass into submission. I mean, one second you'll be standing up, anxiously looking around, trying to spot some movement in the treeline, and all of a sudden, whoah: Flying bat-shit Russian warrior boot heel coming out at you from the mothaf!@@in ether, snapping straight into the small of your back, propelling you 30 feet forward, and you're lying with your face in the dirt, out of breath. And then you pass out. And then you wake up and you're hog tied, and some dude named Pavel -- who smells like a combination of sardines, caviar, and Elizabeth Taylor's "Black Pearl" fragrance -- is whispering/yelling in your ear: "Where is the mothaf!@#%ng suitcase nuclear device? You stinky, goat-loving, clitorus-cutting terrorist?"

Except Pavel will be speaking in Russian, right? So your fear will be geometrically multiplied? Because they don't teach Russian at your little weak-sauce madrassah? And you'll be all freaking out, because for all you know, Pavel is saying: "I'm going to rape you now?" And you'll be all clenching up? And trying to avoid that (being raped)? Because rape is unpleasant? And then you'll pee yourself, and crap your pants, because that's what they say to do in the rape defense classes -- anything to make you less attractive to the rapist?

Anyways yeah, Froggy, my question is, after watching the following video, do you think I'd be better off joining Spetznatz (I have dual citizenship), or just starting a band with my paintball brosephs and going to Junior college next year?

Thanks in advance, -- Vladimir in Sarasota

Your advice for Vladimir in Sarasota in the comments below, please.

Much Love,

-- Uber Pig