The Invasion, Part One.


I was raised Catholic, dragged to 10 am mass every Sunday. This made me grow to really despise religion, as I have always hated authority. There are things about the Universe, and the psychics that it has ordained, that we will never be able to comprehend within our feeble minds. Thus, there is a certain bit of luck involved in things, I try to use math for everything, but there is always the ever changing independent variable. The input that determines the outcome, but is  sometimes often unpredictable, and unprecedented.

You will often hear me on here and on Twitter mention “Odin” or “Thor,” that’s just because I relate my improbable luck, and good fortunes, to outside forces that I cannot understand. Luck is a funny thing, in that it seems to sometimes know more than you. You think you want to put yourself in a high risk situation, but Luck knows the real odds.

I have horrible ADD/ADHD, that I have always had, but my parents chose to ignore. Maybe it is a farce, and I just needed to run around the block a few more times? I was a pretty active kid though, and still murder my muscles (no homo) in the gym, yet have trouble focusing. This causes my thought processes to bounce around like Silly Putty in the International Space Station. My thought processes and future plans have been know to change from minute -to-minute, except in one case.

One of the first things I could do when I could walk/talk, was to pick up a twig and act as if it was a gun. From the time I had any idea what the future was, I wanted to be a soldier, that served in combat. I’m fairly certain Thor and Odin were looking down and smiling at me from the beginning, because what led to me to war, was nothing short of some Hollywood movie script.

I grew up in the “Orange County of the North,” Marin County, CA. I think the exit to my parent’s house was exactly the tenth exit, after getting off the Golden Gate Bridge. Marin is like Orange County in the wealth and caddishness departments, without the Republican values, thus you end up with a bunch of burnouts that don’t want to work hard, and just want to suckle off of mommy and daddy.

I never fit in there. I hate conformity, but I also hate heartless pussies, so I was stuck in some purgatory. I was into Punk Rock and Rockabilly, with a huge pompadour, Mohawk, or shaved head; yet I liked playing rugby, lifting weights, jumping BMX bikes off of roofs, and fighting; win or lose. After talking to my brother, Col Fleischer, Gen Stone, and other friends and family that were active duty Army and Marines, I decided that joining the Army provided me with the best opportunity to fulfill my goals.

I originally wanted to be a Naval/Marine Aviator– read “fighter pilot,” then I wanted to be a Navy Seal– but hated deep/dark water, then I wanted to be a Marine Infantryman– but becoming an infantryman wasn’t guaranteed, and there was no assurance of immediate deployment. Thus, I chose the Army as my choice, with the full idea that I was going to get a “RIP contract,” and go to a Ranger Battalion and go kill the enemy. Unfortunately, when I was at this place called MEPS– where they do physicals, written tests, and background checks on you –they ran my background check, and they discovered that I had already been charged with an assault, and thus, could not obtain the security clearance to get a “Ranger/RIP Contract.”

I was devastated  and my recruiter assured me that I could get an “Airborne Contract,” then go to “RIP” or “ROP,” after I got through the time needed to obtain the appropriate level of clearance. (These are now known as RASP1 and RASP2). I wanted this so bad, it was the only thing I ever wanted to do; I knew it was my destiny. In the middle of all of this, some terrorist assholes decided to fly some commercial airliners into American buildings. This pissed me off even more. So I signed a four year contract sending me to Fort Bragg, NC, as an infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division.

I'm the 82nd Airborne

Here are important dates, bullet style.

  1. I signed my contract to enlist in the Army and be an Airborne Infantryman with 81nd Airborne Division late November 2001
  2. After graduating from high school in mid June 2002, I enjoyed my summer, turned 18 towards the end of July, then shipped out for Infantry OSUT (“One Station Unit Training,” 14 weeks of basic and advanced training for infantry recruits), August 3, 2002.
  3. After going to “30th AG,” and attending “The House of Pain” 2/58 Infantry Regiment, I graduated November 22, 2002.
  4. After 10 days of “Airborne Hold,” I attended and graduated from the US Army Parachute School, with our fifth jump and graduation on December 21, 2002.
  5. I then went home for leave and “hometown recruiting,” –basically, getting to hang out at home and help recruit, while getting paid for it.
  6. I reported to my duty station, Fort Bragg, NC, January 29, 2003.
  7. I was initially assigned to Scouts, HHC, 1/504, that had just gotten back from invading Afghanistan.
  8. They asked for volunteers to go to 2nd Brigade, the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, and I gladly raised my hand.
  9. I was assigned to B Co, 3/325, February 4, 2003.
  10. We had one jump into a JFEX (Joint Forces Entry Exercise), before we got our deployment orders.
  11. I ended up getting Strep, and getting “smoked” until I literally passed out the day of the jump; because my squad leader didn’t believe I had a 102 degree fever, and didn’t like that I had gone to the aid station
  12. I missed the jump, and instead guarded weapons deliriously with a 103 degree fever.
  13. We deployed shortly there after, on Valentines Day, February 14, 2003. We flew to Kuwait on commercial airliners.
  14. Landed at “TAA Champion (an Army ‘tent city’ built on the outskirts of Kuwait International Airport)” on February 15, 2003, then we immediately setup and began training for the impending invasion of Iraq.


Coming up next in part two: Training at Champion, Failaka Island, and the Udairi Range Complex, then running from “Scud Missiles.”

8 Responses to “The Invasion, Part One.”

  1. Rhino, thanks for the story. It takes a lot of guts to candidly talk about one’s past.

    On missing the JFEX jump, it sounds like you didn’t make a great first impression with your squad-leader (not your fault, of course). Hopefully his opinion changed when you were back in top shape and able to perform.

    • His opinion changed when I had to have an IV and the battalion PA (physicians assistant) told him I could have died. I stayed up all night with a 102-103 fever guarding a few M4’s and some NODS. We still talk to this day, he is on a SWAT team in Texas, and in a National Guard LRSD.

  2. This was, and it’s not even close, your best post ever.

    • You think so man? Thanks, now I can’t let myself blow it in the subsequent parts on the series.

      • Not to worry. Given the subject matter for the rest of the story, I’d say the probability of failure is vanishingly low. Looking forward to them.

  3. Good writing, and tough career choices. But, and this is really hard for me to express well without sounding critical or condescending, please be careful about things like “I have horrible ADD/ADHD, that I have always had, but my parents chose to ignore.” I don’t know about your specific situation, but thinking about the past this way uses up precious mental energy, and these parenting choices are rarely clear-cut. My daughter’s school teachers screamed ADHD at us from first grade through sixth grade because she couldn’t concentrate in class, her pronunciation was terrible, she was a year behind in math. She was placed in IEP, they wanted counseling, medication, everything. My wife and I argued the entire time over what to do, and ended up doing almost nothing, which turned out by far to have been the best possible decision. Eventually our daughter basically outgrew the problems and the symptoms (and other associated issues) disappeared. I know parents whose children were placed in counseling or under medical treatment and the outcomes are not better. Not easy being a parent.

  4. The Eye-Talian Stallion

    No guarantee of infantry in the Marines? Possibly the recruiter didn’t want to scare you off.

  5. […] their fair share –he had physical issues, and I had the legal issue, that you can read about in part one. Yet there we were, only a few hundred miles away, but in completely different worlds, and our Mom […]

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