Spring has sprung on LZ Jerry

There has been the typical “Good Infantry Weather” here at LZ Jerry for the last few days, cold, wet, drizzle, and fog. Today however, a change has come.

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It started yesterday afternoon with an abundance of sunshine and, although cool, a clear blue sky. As I followed the sentry dogs on the afternoon perimeter sweep around Lake Jerry, I noticed that the frogs have also determined it is spring. There will be tadpoles everywhere in Lake Jerry very soon.

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This morning I saw the first rabbit out in the front yard eating the freshly sprouting green grass. I am sure this will also bring the hordes of bugs of all shapes and sizes, to include my all time favorite, the Georgia Gnat; The official bug of Fort Benning.

To top off all this grand gesture of nature, the pollen has also arrived, much to the detriment of my eyes, nose, and throat.

This time of year, up in the mountains I so dearly love, the pollen becomes overwhelming. My eyes water, my nose runs, my throat feels as if it is clogged with it, and it also affects my ability to breathe.

I know there are medications to counteract these symptoms but I just don’t like taking any kind of medicine.

All this is a small price to pay for the joy of feeling the hot sun on my skin. I do love this time of year. Watching the brown landscape turn a vibrant green, soon to be dotted with white dogwood flowers and the blue, yellow, orange, red and purple of all the other competing entries in nature’s collage.

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I realize that soon the cool mornings and the warm days will turn to the almost unbearable heat of the Georgia summer, but even that is a welcome change from the cold of winter.

Life is good on LZ Jerry! Or as I like to say; It just don’t get no better!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think it’s beer thirty…

A Short Story; A day in the jungle

Its 0400 hours.

I don’t even need an alarm clock anymore. How long have I been doing this? I’m thirty four years old. I think I may be getting too old for this shit.

Don’t turn on the light. Don’t want to wake up the family. I have to be at the classroom at 0500 hours to brief the lieutenant on today’s patrol.

Coffee! Got to have some coffee or I can’t make it through the day. At least that’s what my brain is telling me.

0430 hours I am still on time. It only takes about ten minutes to get there on my bicycle. I never thought I would be riding a damn bicycle to work, especially at my age.

One hundred percent humidity, light rain, typical start to the day during the rainy season here in Panama. The funny thing is I don’t really think about it much anymore. I will be wet for the next twelve to eighteen hours anyway.

I’m the first one here, as usual. That must be the platoon leader and platoon sergeant coming up the steps now.

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I have been teaching here at the US Army Jungle Operations Training Center for almost three years now. I have been in the Jungle Warfare Branch since day one and would not have it any other way.

Sure the guys teaching at the NCO Academy have great hours and never go out in the jungle but I would go nuts doing that.

The other thing of course, is my problem of not playing well with others.

That’s why I love/hate my job of teaching jungle warfare. If I do my classes, patrols, turn in my twenty five page evaluation after each patrol, and never break the unwritten rule; don’t get anybody killed, I only have to see the boss once a month.

Since I teach the rappelling, vertical extraction, and helocasting, I always work with the training unit’s scout/recon platoons.

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This is another thing I like about my job. Usually they are the best motivated and don’t get lost or injured as much, which makes my job easier. At the end of the cycle I will spend five to six days with them in the jungle.

This week however, it is the luck of the draw. It could be any platoon and today it’s not the scout/recon platoon.

Good morning sir. My name is Staff Sergeant Roberts from the S-2. Your platoon will be under the operational control of the S-2 for today’s mission…

Now that the briefing is over I check my watch and see it’s about 0550 hours. While the platoon leader issues his warning order I calculate I will have about an hour to go back to my quarters for some more coffee and a pop tart or something, and then get my cammo on.

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If everything goes as planned we will start to get on the helicopters at about 1000 hours and the insertion should be complete by 1030-1045 hours.

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That’s when all the variables start to kick in. I can usually tell, by now, how the patrols will go by how the training went during the rappel classes.

I train the entire battalion on the tower the first week, and then do helicopter rappelling with the scout/recon people and sometimes engineer detachments if they have them.

It’s funny how much can be learned about a group of people at a thirty four foot tower.

As I put on my war paint, I am thinking; another day in the jungle and never a dull moment.

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A short story; LZ Jerry SitRep June 9,

This morning, around 0300 hours, I woke to the sound of thunder (reminds me of a Bob Seger song).

Mack, my Black Lab, is not overly concerned by thunder, however Dash, my Sheppard mix, is terrified by it.

So, it’s pouring down rain, lightning is flashing, and thunder is rolling through the entire area, and like I said, its 0300 hours.

I’m just too damn tired to care, so I rolled over and went back to sleep.

About an hour later, the rain is now coming down so hard it woke me up.

Of course Mack is beside the bed. If he could talk I imagine he would have said; OK Jerry, what do we do now?

I told him to go back to sleep. I can’t see Dash in the dark but I know she is hiding in her bed.

It is now about 0630 hours, and the lightning is hitting really close and Mack is sitting there beside the bed staring at me while Dash is nervously pacing around the bed.

Ok I give up.

As I roll out of bed, and my feet hit the floor, I hear a loud crack and there is a bright flash of light.

That was real close, in fact it must have hit on LZ Jerry, but to my surprise, I still have power.

It looks like an all day event of thunderstorms and heavy rain.

Lake Jerry can use the rain but I could really do without the lightning.

By 0700 hours I have had a pot of coffee and I’m feeling much more positive about the day. I just checked the backup generator, added a little oil, and it’s good to go.

After a large amount of bacon, eggs, toast, and some orange juice; I’m all, bring it on!

The rain has paused and it’s now about 0815 hours.

I know Dash needs to go outside but she will not go without me when the weather gets like this. I got on my rain jacket and my hat, put a leash on Dash, and then Mack and I took her outside so she could take a piss.

It’s almost 1000 hours now and I have done my chores.

In the distance I hear more rumbling and the sky seems just a little darker.

It’s OK, we can handle it.

Life is good on LZ Jerry…

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Writers Block

Ya know, for a while I was getting a little concerned that I had contracted a case of “writers Block”.

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I wanted to sit down and write a meaningful dialog or perhaps some humorous comments, but found myself staring at the blank page before me, with an equally blank mind.

More often than not my mind would be swirling with metaphors, and sardonic comments of some current event.

Now however, even the nagging, primordial question that has been on my lips since 2008, “how can people be that fuckin stupid?” no longer seemed to matter.

It was then I had an epiphany.

I don’t have writers block!

I have succumbed to the insidious disease affecting a large percentage of the adult population of our country.

In a word; “apathy”.

The American public is not stupid, just traditionally, politically apathetic.

We assume that whoever is in charge will always have the good of the country as their number one concern. We believe in our hearts we could never elect someone who would intentionally do harm to the country for political or ideological gain.

Our greatest danger exists within us, apathy!

But then again, who gives a shit.

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Jerry’s Five Rules for the Internet

As a public service, since it is the weekend, I thought it would be a good time to share with you my personal rules for using the internet.

I call them “Jerry’s Five Rules for the Internet”.

Rule Number One;

Never get online when you have been drinking.

Rule Number Two;

If you violate rule number one, never ever post anything, period.

Rule Number Three;

If you violate rules one and two, the next day post that you have been hacked and to disregard any post you made.

Rule Number Four;

Your real friends will know the truth and forgive you

…the rest can go fuck themselves

Rule Number Five;

Always assume any post made after 2300 hours or on weekends are alcohol related.

I hope you will find this useful.

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Life lessons or; An Avalanche of Epiphanies

“I have learned that there are many important things in life and that I am not one of them…”  Author GM Roberts

Lately I have been busy from the time I get up until the time I finally sit down in the evening to relax from the day’s activity.

It is during that time I sometimes find myself reflecting on my life and seeing events of the past, with a totally different perspective.

This is a fairly recent thing for me. It began after I started writing my last book.

During the first two books I was simply telling stories, some of which, I have told many times before. When I started the third book, I tried to be as accurate as possible with, in most cases, nothing but my memory to reference.

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It was then that I began to see my part in the story in a different light.

I guess you could say I had an epiphany, or maybe I should say an avalanche of epiphanies. Each story seemed to take on a different meaning than the one I had always assumed it had.

At first I found it a little unsettling, but after a while I found it was often a source of, for lack of a better word, peace.

Now, four years later, during those quiet times, I will remember an event and see it from the perspective of the man I have become and not the man or boy I was at the time.

I must admit I sometimes do not like the realization of what or why I may have done something, but I am glad to finally understand it.

I hope people can relate to what I am describing because I really can’t explain it any differently.

This morning I woke up to a cloudy day with the suggestion of rain in the air. Most of the things I wanted to accomplish today don’t really have any urgency to them and are “outside work”.

So, instead I decided to put on to paper, so to speak, my thoughts on this unexpected change of perspective.

I, like many men my age, am a veteran of the Vietnam War. Not a day goes by that I don’t remember that fact.

I’m not complaining, only saying it to explain why my thoughts went the way they did this morning.

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There are many things that can make a person feel insignificant in the grand scheme of things, like seeing the stars on a clear night far away from civilization. I am pretty sure we all, at one time or another, have felt like that.

This morning it occurred to me that, in January 1966, at nineteen years old,

Had I died in Vietnam,

I would have been just a name on the Vietnam Wall,

Which no one living today,

Would know or remember.

It made me wonder how many of those names on that wall are like that…

A Thought on Words

Look, I know I’m a little strange.

In fact, I’ve been called much worse than that.

Am I the only one who hears a word, and maybe not even know what it means, but instantly love the way it sounds?

The other day I was writing something and used a word, and then I stopped to look it up to see if I had used it correctly.

I don’t even know where it came from.

It just jumped into the sentence, but it just made the sentence sound so right.

I believe that subconsciously, when I was in school and sleeping in class, with my head on a book, I was absorbing knowledge.

One of my teachers once asked me if I expected to learn by osmosis.

If I could go back to that very instant, I’d say; hell yeah!

Well, there Must be some explanation for it, and I kind of like that one.

Ok, it was just a thought…

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