Sergeant Bushmaster and Boot were on a covert mission that was so classified that we cannot talk about the details of the mission to this very day. I can only say that because of their heroism and valor many lives were saved that day.
As the shells were falling and the smoke filled the air the noise was deafening. The smell of napalm was so thick you could taste the trouble in the air.
Then, as quickly as the bombs had arrived there was silence. Sergeant Bushmaster and Boot walked through the smoke to recon the situation. As they moved forward they heard nothing. After a few more steps they noticed that the smell had changed to the sweetest smell they had ever had the pleasure of being around.
Sergeant Bushmaster notices something moving at their 11 o'clock. He motions for Boot to stop. Then they heard someone say, "By your leave."
Looking intently at the man, Sergeant Bushmaster is shocked to his bones as a cold chill ran up his spine. "Kappmeyer is that you? It can't be! You were killed back in......" He now realized why the noise was gone and the smell of napalm was not dominating the area!
Paul J. Kappmeyer had been killed more than a year ago. He had received the Silver Star as well as many other awards posthumously for his actions in Vietnam. But somehow they were face to face again. They had went to boot camp together and then served in the Nam. There was a lot of history and good times between these two.
“Sergeant Bushmaster, I know you have a lot of questions but let me tell you something first. You and this young Marine are where all combat Marines go when they die in battle. Heaven has plenty of guards for now so you two will get a special mission. There is a war that happened after you left your world. This war is in Afghanistan and has been going on for about 8 years. God is sending you two to help out. You will serve with many different units. You will be moved around a lot. You can not get hurt any more so you can do a lot of good. The most important thing to remember is you can not tell anyone that you are in the Marine Angels. While serving in the Marine Angels you will use the names given to you by your birth mothers and the Corps. Except you Boot. You will always be a boot.”
“Can we fly?” asked Boot.
“No. You will not have heavenly powers. You will look and act like living marines on earth. Now Boot don't mess this up! It won't just be Sergeant Bushmaster that will have your hide!”
“Any questions?” asked Kappmeyer.
“Will I be able to come back and see you? We got a lot of catching up to do.” said Sergeant Bushmaster.
“Better than that, I am coming with you. You're going to need a lot of help with this boot. Besides I got some pull with the Big Guy! He still laughs about that time we put those baby ducks in that sailor's pitcher of beer!”
“So get some rest. We're moving out at first light!”
Liberty At Last
Sergeant Bushmaster, Boot, and Stucky were at the EM Club having a cold adult beverage when Sergeant Bushmaster asked, “Boot, where are you going on liberty?”
“Nowhere, I'm broker than Chow-co the day before payday!” Boot replied.
“Why don't you come with me to my old stompin' grounds? We will go to the VFW and the American Legion. You will have a great time! Stucky, you come too!”
“I will go anywhere they serve a good shot of Crown,” Stucky said. “Boot, did I ever tell you about the time the Tin-Man pulled me out of…?”
“As you were Stucky! Boot, don't you listen to Stucky when he is drinkin' Crown. He is a lying SOB when he is on that stuff.”
A few days later they are walking in the American Legion. “Hey Sergeant Bushmaster, who are your friends?” asked Doc, the bartender.
“This is Stucky and Boot everybody. They are on liberty with me.”
Sitting at Combat Corner were Swoop, Bay-Rat, J Icer, and Geno. These guys were all Army. Joining in with them, Sergeant Bushmaster, Stucky, and Boot ordered a cold adult beverage.
Boot asked, “Stucky, what was that story you were tellin' about the Tin-Man pulling you out of…?”
Sergeant Bushmaster interrupted, “As you were Boot. You need to listen more and talk less.”
Walking in the door came Big Gun. The tall, deep voiced Marine panned Combat Corner and could see the 4 Army guys and the 3 Marines. In keeping with the finest traditions of the USMC he sang out in his highly skilled karaoke voice, “WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?”
Everyone at the bar looked over their right shoulder at Big Gun and all together sang out, “WHO? WHO? WHO? WHO? WHO?”
Boot was shocked by the outward display of intimidation toward the Army guys, but was non-the-less impressed with the honed vocal skills of the Marine.
J Icer looked at Boot and said, “Welcome to Post 145!”
Trying to fit in, Boot asked J Icer, “How did you get your nickname?”
J Icer replied, “I will tell you what I told the President when he asked that same question. You don't have that clearance, Sir!
But, I can tell you that Swoop got his nickname by swooping into Grenada with the 2nd and 75th Rangers.”
Swoop replied, “Yeah and Pipes got hers from singing karaoke.”
Pipes was sitting next to Big Gun and asked, “How did you get your nickname Big Gun?”
“That my dear, is classified. That is known only by me and a certain young lady that shall remain nameless in the interest of all covert missions. But, I can tell you that Bay-Rat is from Erie, Pennsylvania. He has spent a lot of time with the ladies on his boat on the bay.”
Boot asked Swoop, “Who is that girl over there?”
“That is Ace.”
Curiously Boot inquired, “How did she get that nickname?”
Bay-Rat interjected, “That is not her nickname. That is her real name!”
“What about you Sergeant Bushmaster?” asked Boot.
Stucky said with a smile, “He is the Tin-Man, Boot, because he doesn't have a heart. As for me, I got Stucky because I got stuck in the Swamp in Vietnam and the Tin-Man had to pull me out. He said, ‘Stucky, don't you get me killed. Now grab this sling.’ He loosened his M14 sling strap and slung it to me. I grabbed a hold of it and he pulled me out. He still had his finger on the trigger as he pulled me out of that mess. I'm telling you the truth Boot, the Tin-Man has no heart!”
Sergeant Bushmaster said, “I've heard enough of this stuff. Bartender, I need to buy Stucky a shot of Crown and Boot another beer. These two never have any money.”
Boot said, “I’m going to talk to Ace.”
“Sit down Boot!” bellowed Sergeant Bushmaster. “You are not man enough for Ace. Bay-Rat you handle this mission. Boot, you need to watch and learn!”
As Bay-Rat walked over and sat down beside Ace, J Icer looked at Boot and said, “Welcome to Post 145!”
Boot and Sergeant Bushmaster were enjoying a little time off with Stucky and Bayrat in the rear at Kandahar. They have been at it for several weeks and were ready to relax. Afghans don't drink so a cold adult beverage is out of the question.
Boot and Bayrat were swapping stories of the local girls that they had seen and lying to each other about how they were going to get the prettiest girl to go out with them. Sergeant Bushmaster said, “You two need to settle down to reality. These girls in afghan don't even hold your hand in public. You have to give her father several thousand dollars before he will even let her go out with a guy. Besides you two don't have any money anyway!”
Stucky chimes in, “I got this bottle of Crown Royal that my brother sent me. I say we act like real Americans and have a toast to our buddies that aren't here and to getting the heck out of this place!”
Boot and Bayrat reach for the bottle as Sergeant Bushmaster says, “Stucky, you beat it all! You could get into a lot of trouble having this bottle here. We all better help you get rid of this thing. I wouldn't want to put you on report for having contraband!”
In walked a young Sergeant and said, “Sergeant Bushmaster, Captain Wantabee needs your team back at the CP. We got a real hot mission!”
“Roger that!” said Sergeant Bushmaster. “Guess this R&R will have to wait. Saddle up boys we're moving out!”
Stucky takes a quick drink and recaps the bottle, “This dumb war is really cutting into my drinkin' habit!”
Sergeant Bushmaster and his team were going out to help the 5th Marines on a ghost mission. The 5th Marines had made contact with a group of insurgents a few days ago. Somehow this band of sheet heads keeps slipping away to the mountains to stir up trouble for the Afghanistan units in the area. Now, the Captain was going to find these guys and make an example out of them.
Sergeant Bushmaster meets up with Captain Wantabee then tells his team about their mission. “We are going to capture these Yo-Yos for the C.O. They have been losing them at the Helmand River.”
“What's the Helmand River?” asked Boot.
“Boot, did you just get here? The Helmand River is the longer river in Afghanistan. It goes from Kabul in the northeast mountains in a southwesterly direction all the way through the Dashti Margo desert to the Iran border. It is a big one. It is dangerous as it goes thru the mountains. You need to get with the program or you may find yourself swimming back to the world!”
As they get into the Hindu Kush Mountains they locate and engage the enemy. They fight their way to the river and Captain Wantabee says, “Damb it! Their gone again. How do they do that?”
“Sir. Why don't we split up and track them both ways? Once we local them we can regroup and kick the shit out of 'em!” said Sergeant Bushmaster.
“General McChrystal wants these guys alive. HQ thinks they can get some good Intel out of them. If you find them don't let Boot and Bayrat shoot'em all. Those two get a little trigger happy sometimes!”
So they split up and looked both ways. After an hour they all regrouped where they had lost them at the river to set up camp.
Boot and Bayrat slipped off to the river for a swim in the cool water. “Sure is a nice river to swim in”, said Boot.
“Yah, but we better be quiet and stay down in the water so Sergeant Bushmaster don't hear us”, instructed Bayrat. “Let's see how deep it is!”
Swimming under water Boot finds a big dug out area and investigates it. Soon he and Bayrat locate a cavern that is deep and wide. They decide to go back to the camp before they get caught. Just then Sergeant Bushmaster says “Boot, you and Bayrat get up here and out of that river! I knew you guys were up to no good! Do you want me to have to write your family and tell them you are POW/MIA?”
Back at the camp Boot is telling Stucky about the cavern they found while swimming. “You should have been there. It is huge and goes deep into the river bank. We went back in under water and then it came up into a cave. We didn't go any farther because we didn't want Sergeant Bushmaster to catch us.”
“We better tell Sergeant Bushmaster about this. This might be where these sheet heads have been hiding!” Stucky said.
The next morning they took a patrol deep in the cavern. It was a cave that leads to a large area that the enemy was holding up in. They quickly captured them without much trouble. The insurgents realized that they were trapped with no way to get resupply or water. Captain Wantabee was very happy to report to HQ that he would have 15 insurgents to go to the famous "CHICKEN FARM".
"Good job Sergeant Bushmaster! I knew your team would catch these guys!” bragged Captain Wantabee.
“It was Boot and Bayrat that found the cavern while on a LRP yesterday evening. They are the ones that deserve the credit,” said Sergeant Bushmaster. “This will be a nice flock to add to the Chicken Farm.”
Later that evening Sergeant Bushmaster is talking to his team, “Boot, you and Bayrat got lucky not getting caught or shot in that cavern! All in all it came out ok. Stucky, you still got that bottle of Crown Royal?”
“You know I do Sergeant Bushmaster. Let's get back to what I do best!”
Letters From Home
Sergeant Bushmaster called his team together for mail call. As he handed out the letters everyone’s eyes and ears was tuned to his every word. “OK you bunch of Neanderthals, listen up! Some of you have people back in the world that still think you are alive. I am giving you permission to show some compassion and read these letters and write them back. After you have done that, I don’t want you moping around thinking about your little chippys or your dear mothers while you are on the next mission! Marines don’t need families, but families need Marines. For that reason only you are at liberty to receive mail.”
“Stucky, it seems your mother still has faith that you can learn to read! Get someone to help you with this letter and this care package.”
Sgt. Noshow! Where is Sgt. Noshow? He is always late. Someone give him this letter but not till after he gets done with the cleaning detail in the mess hall for being FTR. I have this picture of him that you can post on the duty board.
Private Malone! It seems your mother has written you again. Be sure you write her right away. The way you are always day dreaming about your 66 Corvette, I can’t guarantee you’re going to be here from day to day.
Boot, there has been a mistake with the postal department. Someone has sent you a letter posing to be your mother. Read this poser’s letter and let them know your mother is the Marine Corps! I have got too much time in training you to have someone turn you into the weak pansy momma’s boy that you were when you got here!
“That is all the mail,” said Sergeant Bushmaster as he tucked a single letter into his pocket.
“Is that a letter from your mother too Sergeant Bushmaster?” Boot asked.
“This is a letter from the President himself Boot. Thanking me for keeping all you Combat Marines from breaking the hearts of your dear mothers by getting killed over here! Now go read your mail before I have you all cleaning your weapons and digging foxholes for my entertainment!”
They all went away to read their treasures from home.
Private Malone opened his letter and found enclosed several pictures of the 66 Corvette that he bought on his last liberty. He loved this car and Sergeant Bushmaster was always after him for daydreaming about what he would do with it when he gets home.
Boot opened his letter to read: “Son, I hope you are fine as you said in your last letter. I am glad that Sergeant Bushmaster got you a safe job in communications. I hated thinking that you were with Private Malone fighting the enemy. Private Malone’s mother stopped by last week to show me the pictures of his car he asked her to send him. It’s a nice car but it looks too fast for you boys to be driving. I want you to thank your sergeant for helping you out. I will …..” and she went on and on about the local people and what was going on so he would not miss anything.
Stucky opened his letter from his mother to hear much of the same things about... “we miss you ...be careful...your cousin got married…” and things like that. Quickly he opened his care package that was sent by his brother, who was a Marine, that had served years before and knew what a Marine needs in a care package. As he opened it he looked to be sure no one was around….
Everyone was done reading mail and enjoying their down time.
Everyone but Stucky. He had put his care package in his hiding place to protect it but now it was gone. As he was moping around Sergeant Bushmaster came up and said “Stucky, I found some contraband in a secret looking area. Do you know anyone that might have a family member sending them adult beverages?”
“I can say with certainty that I don’t have any! I am not concerned about it though. I have come up with a better way to protect my adult beverages that my brother sends me. It will work for sure. Check this out.” Stucky shows Sergeant Bushmaster a picture of the device his brother used on his 2nd tour.
Sergeant Bushmaster said “Stucky that looks like a great system. As for now I have this adult beverage that could get someone in trouble with Captain Drycounty. What do you say to helping me get rid of this bottle?
Boot Does It Again
Sergeant Bushmaster and Boot were relaxing in their rock pile that they stayed in when they were not fighting al-Qaida on some mountain in the north eastern region of Afghanistan. Sgt. Kappmeyer and Stucky were also there sharing a bottle of classified contraband and a story when they heard the familiar sound of the runner say, “Sergeant Bushmaster! You have a mission. You are needed in the CP for a mission briefing A.S.A.P.!”
After reporting to Cmdr. Mightyman he went to the team to brief them to move out. Without any hesitation Sergeant Bushmaster said, “We have a classified mission to capture or kill OBL. The Special Forces working with the CIA have confirmed his location. We will be providing security for DevGru aka Seal Team 6. They have been training for the last week at Bagram Air Base here in Afghanistan. Our ride into this mission will be provided by the 160th Soar. The Seal Team will go in the three MH-60’s. We will ride into the fire in a CH-47 Chinook. Sgt. Kappmeyer, you and Stucky get the gear together and do your best to tighten the loose screws on Boot. We can’t have him messing this up!”
While sitting on the tarmac waiting to load on the Chinook, Boot spots a fresh tattoo on one of the seal’s arms. “Is that a row boat tattoo?” He asked.
“No,” replied the Seal. Curling his arm to flex his muscle he said, “It is the USS Carl Vinson.” As Boot looked at the once row boat he could see the clear and distinct picture of the USS Carl Vinson. “Wow! That is cool but why did you pick that tattoo?” Boot inquired.
The Seal took a puff from the cigar he was smoking and blew a perfect smoke ring. In the center of the smoke ring was an image of a burial at sea! As the smoke ring broke up he said, “Classified!” Then he just walked away.
Excited about the tattoo Boot said, “Sgt. Kappmeyer, did you see that tattoo he had? He blew a smoke ring with…”
Sergeant Bushmaster quickly interrupted and said, “Boot, we don’t have time for more of your exaggerated daydreams. We are going on a classified op. You need to get your head in the game!”
As they loaded up to fly out MgySgt. Slim Ketchum said, “Remember your air safety briefing. Do not touch anything in my aircraft. You will be told when you can load your weapons. We are going to do this thing like WE THE PEOPLE. Are there any questions?”
Boot asked, “Why is a MgySgt. in charge of this aircraft? Doesn’t it belong to the Army 160th Soar?”
“Wing Nut, this is a classified mission,” replied the marine. “That Intel is above your pay grade. Are there any intelligent questions? Hearing none, this aircraft is cleared to fly.”
As the aircraft went to land in the target compound Boot inquired, “What is this lever for?” As he pointed to the lever the aircraft auto rotated and his hand moved the lever. The helicopter lost hydraulics to a part of the aircraft. The pilot was forced to make a hard landing.
Everyone got out of the Chinook and the mission was on. Due to the mission’s classified nature it cannot be spoken of further. The mission was a success but they had to destroy the downed helicopter. Someday the details of this mission may be released.
Back at the F.O.B., Sergeant Bushmaster said, “Well boys that was a great mission. You all were part of American history in the making. Your names will never be known to the world but you can be proud of your part in it. Everyone but you Boot. You will never fly again! If the Navy won’t give you a ride home you will have to walk.
“Sgt. Kappmeyer, what is that tattoo you have on your arm?” Boot asked trying to change the subject.
“That is the Statue of Liberty. Watch what happens when I flex my muscle.” Sgt. Kappmeyer curled his arm and the Statue of Liberty rose to a 3D Statue and in the hand of Lady Liberty was the head of Osama bin Laden.
“That’s cool! Where did you get it done?” Boot asked excitedly.
Sgt. Kappmeyer took a puff from the cigar he was smoking and blew a perfect smoke ring. In the center of the smoke ring was an image of Lady Liberty! As the smoke ring broke up he said, “Classified!” Then he just walked away.
Hurrying to catch up Sergeant Bushmaster said, “Kapp, where did you get that cigar?”
At Forward Operating Base Delaram Sergeant Bushmaster had been enjoying the benefits of the electricity and warm running water to clean off the smell of combat. As he listened to the water running down the drain he was thankful for Highway 1 aka Ring Road that connected Delaram to the major cities to the south. It was nice to know that the other troops were able to secure the base and the roads to transport supplies so his team could relax for a short while. Without that road he would not be enjoying the hot shower and hot meal not to mention the resupply. He was hoping that he might find some fresh vegetables and maybe even get a salad with his meal. These were things that his team never saw in their remote position in the Hindu Kush Mountains.
Boot said, “Stucky, check out this hot food! We are eating like kings.”
“Roger that Boot. It would have been nice to have gotten some fresh vegetables for a salad. I think I have forgotten what salad dressing tastes like!” replied Stucky.
“That will be enough whining about salad,” said Sergeant Bushmaster. “I would think you guys would be grateful enough to not have to eat out of a bag with flying bullets as your dinner music. If you have to complain, I want you to think about your buddies that are doing your job today so you could come down the mountain and whine away your time off! You need to tighten up. You are starting to sound like a bunch of Army soldiers.”
Sgt. Kappmeyer said, “You’re right Sergeant Bushmaster. We got no right to complain. Stucky, did you get us hooked up with a C.A.B.?”
Stucky says in a low voice, “Well boys, I have this bottle of …”
Interrupting, Sergeant Bushmaster bellows, “That will be enough talk at the table about your special logistic skills Stucky. You and Sgt. Kappmeyer are going to lead Boot into trouble and ruin all of the hard work we have done trying to make a real Marine out of him. Besides, we are picking up a new boot today, so you two need to learn to lead troops in combat not to hell. I am going to pick him up now. Stucky, you’re in charge…wait…Sgt. Kappmeyer, you’re in charge. Stucky, you go get your logistics done.”
Arriving at HQ Sergeant Bushmaster sees all of the new boots sitting outside talking. He decides to listen to their conversations before making his pick.
A couple marines are engaged in a conversation with an army troop that is sitting with them. The soldier says, “I don’t like marines and I don’t like the smell of them either.”
One of the young marines said, “We are all here for the same war. We don’t need to fight among ourselves.”
“I’d just as soon fight the war myself as have to carry you marines till the end of it,” spouted the soldier.
One of the young marines stood up and said “I see no need to wait to get to our unit to fight. I will hit you so hard you will get a speeding ticket as you re-enter the United States.”
Sergeant Bushmaster steps in, “There will be no fighting out here unless I am in it. I believe I would find a better fight in tying my boots. I have been listening from over there and I must say I am proud of you two marines that held your military bearing and kept your mouths shut. You are fine examples of the Marine Corps. As for you soldier, I hope you get to your unit and soldier up. You need a good NCO around you. You will need a lot of help to make it home.”
“Now as for you young marine,” barked Sergeant Bushmaster as he grabs him by the stack and swivel, “if you wanted to help your brothers in arms get speeding tickets, you should have been an MP. Since you are a grunt, I am going to put you on my team where I can do your mother a favor and see you make it home. Do you have a nickname marine?”
“No Sir. Just the name my mother gave me. Private Zac Garland. You’re not going to call me boot are you Sergeant? I hate that nickname!”
“Well Private, you can keep the Private and lose the Zac Garland. You will be known here as Sandals,” stated Sergeant Bushmaster.
“Sandals!!! Why that nickname? I rather be called boot!”
“You don’t have enough leather in you to make a boot Sandals. But you do have enough fight in you and I am going to show you how to use it for the good of the Corps. Come with me,” said Sergeant Bushmaster.
Sandals quickly followed. Stopping to look back Sergeant Bushmaster said, “Stop! Get your gear Sandals. God must love young marines! How did you get though your Basic! Well, I can see you are going to make me regret my favor to your mother! But a Marine is a man of his word so go get your gear and try not to get lost walking too far behind!”
Meeting the rest of the team Sergeant Bushmaster introduces Sandals, “Men, this is Sandals. Sandals, this is Sgt. Kappmeyer, Sgt. Sweeney aka Stucky and Boot.”
Sandals quickly saddled up with Boot and asked, “What is your real name Boot?”
“Sergeant Bushmaster said I can’t use my real name until I prove myself on the team. But everyone calls me Boot and I don’t mind. We are all lucky to be on this team. We take care of each other. What’s your name Sandals?” Boot asked.
“Well, I guess it is Sandals. I may be a private but I know who’s in charge. I don’t want any more trouble with Sergeant Bushmaster.”
“Boot! Get your Sandal and your gear. We are going back to the bush. You two can talk about ice cream and lollipops the next time we get in the rear. I hear that al-Qaida are in the area and they are looking forward to seeing their virgins. Now move out!”
Sergeant or Corporal
Sergeant Bushmaster had been on a mission that had gone bad. Some people in a village had reported that he had interrogated some villagers and broken SOP for gathering Intel. Cpt. Uptight was furious. The CO called for an investigation and was setting the stages to make him a corporal again.
Sergeant Bushmaster stood his ground stating in his defense, “I was adapting to overcome. I am a combat marine and my integrity can withstand the accusations of any goat herder.”
Meanwhile the war goes on…….
At FOB Delaram, Sergeant Bushmaster and his RECON team are being sent out to Feyzabad. Feyzabad is a city of about 50,000 people on the Kokcha River in northern Afghanistan with an elevation of 3900 feet.
There is a guest house called Lapis Lazuli which houses expatriates. Intel says the Taliban have key personnel staying there and transporting money and supplies to local insurgents. Ring Road runs through Afghanistan from the southeast to FOB Delaram. There is no connection to Feyzabad so they will use a MH60 Blackhawk to get into the harsh terrain.
Sergeant Bushmaster knows that this will be a tough mission so he sets out to brief his team. “Listen up! We are going to visit the Lapis Lazuli. I Corps says there are some people of ill repute supporting insurgents staying there. We are going to relocate them to the famous Chicken Farm. You need to bring your “A Game”. There are no friendlies in this place. This is high elevation but you need to pack heavy. We will not be getting any support on this one. It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Sgt. Sweeney, that means you will carry water only. Do you copy?”
“Roger,” Sgt. Sweeney replied noting that Sergeant Bushmaster did not call him Stucky.
“Boot, you and Sandals are going to start earning your pay on this one. You two will either marine up or go home in a bag. We have got no time for chit-chat and daydreams. If you get yourself messed up out there you will be jeopardizing all of us. This one will take a full team to get in and out. So pop your zits before we get airborne,” Sergeant Bushmaster stated in a stern voice and with a sincere look.
“Sgt. Kappmeyer will be my 2nd on this one. So, if he tells you to jump, ask how high on your way up! Remember your training but remember this is not training. There is no prize for 2nd place in a combat mission. You either win or your family will wish you had. Sandals, here take this,” Sergeant Bushmaster says as he throws a new lensatic compass in his lap.
“Thanks Sarge, but I‘ve got a GPS,” replied the young private.
Fear and common sense sat in quickly but not quick enough. “Private! You will address me as Sergeant Bushmaster! I am in charge here and I will cut your tongue out and use it to pad the heels of my boots if I every hear you speak to me or any other Sergeant with disrespect again! Do not mistake my kindness as weakness! Now, what would you do with a GPS in the bottom of a ravine in the mountains and heavy trees of northern Afghanistan? What if the Satellite is off line? What if your batteries are run down because you were using them with a jump wire to run your mp3 player to listen to music like some other privates have done?” bellowed Sergeant Bushmaster.
“Sorry! Sergeant Bushmaster,” replied Sandals as he looked at the floor.
Now they are in the mountains coming home from this successful mission with a chicken in tow. Sergeant Kappmeyer is leading them to an extraction point for pick-up. “Stay alert and keep your intervals. We aren’t home yet! The chickens have not all gone to roost,” warns Sergeant Kappmeyer.
The words were still wet on his lips as a heavy firefight ensued. Sergeant Kappmeyer and Sandals received some flesh wounds. Sergeant Sweeney was hit in the arm but could still fight.
Sergeant Bushmaster led a flanking maneuver with Boot and took out the two big guns even though he had been hit in the left thigh and the right side. His actions on that mountain saved the lives of his men and retained a vital chicken for the farm.
After the firefight was over, Boot helped Sergeant Bushmaster on to the extraction helicopter. “Are you going to be alright Sergeant Bushmaster? You’ve been hit pretty badly in the side and the leg!”
“I’ll be fine Boot. I can only walk on one leg at a time anyway. For the record, you need to tell the wounded that they will be fine. You have to show strength and optimism in the face of tragedy. You did good out there today. I am proud of you.”
The team made it back to the FOB and everyone was fine, everyone but Sergeant Bushmaster. Only the doctors at Kabul can help him now….
Cpt. Uptight said, “RECON, you guys did a great job! Your team went against the odds and beat them. I am proud of all of you!”
Sergeant Sweeney said, “What about Sergeant Bushmaster? Is he ok? Will he make it?”
“We have to let that go and leave it to the medical team at Kabul. They are good at what they do too,” said Cpt. Uptight.
“What about your stupid investigation on Sergeant Bushmaster? That was all bull and you know it Sir! With all due respect, I mean Sir, he saved our lives out there! Right, Sergeants?” Sandals responded with the sound of esprit de corps in his voice.
Before everyone could answer Cpt. Uptight said, “Let me say this about that. That has all been settled. As Sergeant Bushmaster said, he is a combat marine and his integrity can withstand the accusations of any goat herder and he was right. Now, let me say this, I am going to put him in for a Silver Star. Boot, I spoke to Sergeant Bushmaster and he said some good things about you too. You all did a great job!”
After being dismissed Sandals asked, “Sergeant Kappmeyer, can you show me how to use this compass?”
A Little Fish Story
It had been a long time since Sergeant Bushmaster had been on liberty. Now, Sgt. Kappmeyer was coming with him to his home town for a good rest and maybe a cold adult beverage. They walked into the local American Legion Post 145 and were greeted by Commander Bruce Curry.
“How are you young marines doing today? We are glad you stopped by again Sergeant Bushmaster. Where is Boot?”
“We left him back at the base cleaning weapons and the head. He needs discipline and direction, besides he is always broke, he can’t afford liberty,” explained Sergeant Bushmaster. “This is my friend Sgt Kappmeyer. We are going to have a beverage and then go fishing.”
“If you’re goin’ fishin’ then you might want to come with me,” said an ole one eyed navy vet that sat at the lead seat on combat corner. “My name is Edwards, “Catfish Jack” Edwards.”
“Pleased to meet you sir, we just might do that. We don’t know where to fish at around here. We have been around the Khanabad River around Kunduz Afghanistan but we were too busy to fish,” said Sgt Kappmeyer.
So off they went to enjoy wetting a line and listening to stories of the ole one eyed navy salt. After fishing for 3 or 4 hours Catfish Jack said, “I have been being polite and was waiting on you two boots to catch the first fish. Seeing that you two lack the skills to do so I will show you how and then let you catch up!” Pulling his line in he proceeded to bait the hook and said “Oh ma-day-pa” three times as he twirled his finger around the bait like a magic wand. “You two see that log over there? There is a catfish laying 10 feet to the south of that log and I will introduce him to you in just a minute.” He cast his pole and as it landed in the exact spot he had spoke of, a nice size catfish hit the line and he landed it in front of them saying, “There you go boots, now this is Fish #1!”
They fished that day and then left Catfish Jack to go into town promising to return in a few days. Their liberty had gotten the best of them despite their good intentions so they missed seeing Catfish Jack at the river. They decided to go to his house and hear about his grand fishing adventures and enjoy his story telling skills.
“Did you two go to the river? I just left there. I had to come back to resupply and clean these fish.” Catfish Jack said as he held up a stringer of fish.
“Yes we did. Those are nice fish you have there,” said Sgt. Kappmeyer. “But that stringer is light compared to the fish Sergeant Bushmaster caught this morning. It was so big we had to hook two 4-wheel drives to his belt to pull it in. It was so big that when we got it out of the water the river dropped a foot all the way back to Lafayette.”
“Well that sure sounds like a nice fish you caught Sergeant Bushmaster. But let me give you the Paul Harvey on my little fish. I fought this little fish for 20 minutes in the dark last night and accidently knocked my new Coleman lantern into the river. Being on a fixed income I used a stick to get it out of the river about 0700 this morning.”
“You mean you found it after it had been in the river all night? You were lucky the current didn’t wash it away!” exclaimed Sgt. Kappmeyer.
“That ain’t the half of it young Sergeant. As I pulled it out of the river with that stick, the water was running out of it and that lantern was still lit up!” said Catfish Jack.
“Now Catfish, I can’t believe that. You are just going too far with your Paul Harvey,” said Sergeant Bushmaster.
“ Well, Sergeant Bushmaster,” Catfish said, “if you will get this young Sergeant to get rid of those two 4-wheel drives, put that fish you caught back in the river and raise the water level a foot all the way back to Lafayette, I’ll blow out that lantern!”
Who Is The Leader?
FOB Salerno is an active firebase located in the south eastern province of Khowst, near the city of Khost in Afghanistan. It is often called “Rocket City” because of the large number of rocket and mortar attacks that it receives. This camp was built by the 505th Parachute Infantry from Fort Bragg for use by the Special Operations Command.
On 1 Jan 2002 the FOB had been rocketed and mortared in retaliation for the large number of Taliban that had been turned over to the American Special Ops at the base. Jan Baz Khan was a local militia leader that got paid to provide Intel and locations of the Taliban in the region. He had turned over a dozen people and the Taliban were determined to get them back.
Sergeant Bushmaster and his team were going on a mission to locate and destroy the Taliban’s ability to rocket Salerno. This mission would be supported by the HMLA-773. This unit flew in AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters with M89 feeders to support the 20 mm nose cannons. Having them in the air could make a big difference in the event that they got in trouble.
“Sgt. Kappmeyer, we are going out to fix the local noise problems that we have been having around here. It seems that some Taliban are upset about the chickens we got for the Chicken Farm! You and Stucky get Boot and Sandals squared away. We will be going out with a SF Team to talk to the village leaders about getting more chickens. This mission is a SF mission, but you knuckleheads will answer to me,” said Sergeant Bushmaster.
“I heard these guys don’t wear rank and are not just quiet, they are crazy,” Sandals added.
“These blacketheads will not be wearing names or rank so we will assume that they are all Privates. Boot, you and Sandals don’t need to talk to these guys. I don’t want the Marine Times to have to write a story about you two getting your asses handed to you in a paper bag. Besides, these guys are here as linguists. You couldn’t understand them anyway,” Sergeant Bushmaster stated.
As they headed out Stucky said, “Boot, you stay behind me. Sandals, you will follow Sergeant Bushmaster. Keep your interval. We don’t need you two talking all the way there and back.”
“I thought I was to answer to Sergeant Bushmaster. Isn’t that what he said?” Sandals said as he noticed Sergeant Bushmaster’s eyes turn toward him. “And of course both of you Sergeant’s,” he continued.
The SF was there to translate and communicate with the local village leaders. It would be the marine’s job to collect the chickens. Sergeant Bushmaster broke up the squads so they could mix the SF members into the fold. This would allow the linguist to be separated and protected. If they were attacked they would not lose the entire linguist and could still complete the mission.
After looking at the village location on the map Sergeant Bushmaster said to one of the SF, “Private, I think we should take one way in and another way out. We don’t want to get ambushed going home with our chickens!”
The SF member that he spoke to said nothing. He just looked at one of the other SF members and walked away. The other SF member said, “Sarge, this is a SF mission. We are in charge here even if we were privates. Now, I don’t want to hinder your leadership of your team but you are in our house now. I like the way you think though. You have good combat skills. How do you “feel” about coming back over these mountains? They would never think we would do that,” he said as he pointed to the mountains on the map.
“I “think” that is a good idea. My team is very experienced in mountain terrain. We will recon the village and set a couple men on our path home,” said Sergeant Bushmaster.
“Good. I suppose you would “think” it is a good idea to bury some ammo in our most vulnerable spot on our path home, just in case we do get ambushed?” asked the blankethead.
“That is exactly what I would do Private. You sound like you have some good mission planning skills. If we get ambushed on our way home “my team” will be happy to show you our combat skills. Then, I can tell you how I “feel” about yours. Now, if you ladies are ready these marines need some action!” Sergeant Bushmaster said as he took point.
This is all that can be said in “From the Chronicles of Sergeant Bushmaster and his Boot”. The names and content in this story were changed to protect the men and their families that are still serving in the United States Military. You can read more on the real people of this mission by looking up SFC Nathan Ross Chapman. He was the first American to die in Afghanistan. He gave his life for his team members and his country on 4 Jan 2002.There is a FOB in Afghanistan called FOB Chapman or Camp Chapman just to the south of FOB Salerno.
May our country and its people never forget the price of Freedom!
M.L. Buys A Round…..Again!
“I sure am glad you let me come with you and Boot on liberty Sergeant Bushmaster. I don’t have anyone to run around with at home. My friends all have to go to work and the wives of the ones that don’t work won’t let them hang out with me,” Stucky said.
“I love it when you go with me on liberty, Stucky. You know how to have fun without spending all my money. Boot here is like an orphan child, I guess I will be buying his beer when he is in his 40’s. Unless he gets himself killed daydreaming with Sandals,” replied Sergeant Bushmaster.
As they walked in the American Legion Post 145 Commander Bruce Curry said, “Welcome, Sergeant Bushmaster! Glad to see you stop by. You must be here to get a cold adult beverage. Grab a seat we got room here at combat corner.”
“Thank you!” Boot said as he turned to Sergeant Bushmaster and asked, “Who is that guy in the cowboy hat? It looks like he has a marine pen on his hat.”
“How are you doing Sergeant Bushmaster? Bartender, I want to buy these fine marines a drink. I like to see America’s finest enjoy their liberty,” said the man in the hat with a big friendly smile on his face.
“Boot, this is a friend of mine and a friend to all marines. This is M.L. Vance,” stated Sergeant Bushmaster. “He has American history pinned on his hat and hard bark under it!”
“M.L. is an American Hero of WWII vintage, Boot. He is a Legion icon and a friend of mine as well. Not to mention, his is a fellow combat marine,” included Da Nang Dale who was also a marine.
“Well, I don’t know about all of this BS they are throwin’ around in here but I am a member of this American Legion and a proud marine. These dumb asses in here are my friends Boot and now you are too. Let me see if you can guess who’s in this picture,” M.L. dug around in his wallet and pulled out a small picture and handed it to Boot.
“Well, I don’t know for sure but he looks like a cowboy too. Is that your brother?” Boot answered.
“No son that is Roy Rogers. I used to fly him all around the country. He and his family are very good friends of mine,” M.L. said as he put the picture back into his wallet. “I sure love to fly!”
Big Gun said, “We got several pictures of M.L over here on the computer screen. We got a lot of picture of him here in the post. We even have a picture of him as “Grand Marshal of the parade” a few years ago.”
“Now that is enough talk about that foolishness! What I want to know is what you all do in the Corps,” M.L. asked.
“Well, I’m in communications,” Boot stated. “I send 7.62mm messages to the Taliban to let them know the Marines are here and we mean business.”
“As I’m sure you know M.L… I am a cook. Someone has to keep these marines full so they don’t start whining!” said Sergeant Bushmaster.
“I am in logistics, sir. I can get almost any kind of cold adult beverage into Afghanistan,” Stucky said. “Well it isn’t cold when I get it but I can fix that!”
“M.L., he means almost any kind of supplies into Afghanistan. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about the Marine Corps of today. We don’t smuggle contraband into combat zones!” clarified Sergeant Bushmaster.
“You don’t need to cover up…errrr I mean…..explain the Marine Corps to me young sergeant. I had my share of good times in combat too! But I’m not going into to that now.” M.L. said with a look of mischievousness.
“Are you wearing a necklace?” Boot asked. “Sergeant Bushmaster told us the only necklace we could wear is our dog tags.”
“This is my K-Bar necklace that Big Gun and Da Nang Dale gave me. They called me up in front of everyone and presented it to me. It means a lot to me and I always wear it.” M.L. said as his eyes turned toward the wall. Then he said, “Bartender, let me buy another round for these guys!”
“Wow! That is nice,” said Boot. “Can I get one Sergeant Bushmaster?”
“You have to earn the right to wear one first Boot. It is only for marines with hard bark,” said Sergeant Bushmaster.
“So when do you wear yours Sergeant Bushmaster? I never noticed you to have one on,” Boot said looking puzzled.
“Now Boot, you are interrupting this fine marine in the middle of his stories. You need to show some respect for a WWII Marine. Besides, I have got to go to the head,” chastised Sergeant Bushmaster.
As Sergeant Bushmaster went to the head Stucky said, “That is a very nice K-Bar necklace M.L. Boot, I think Sergeant Bushmaster was just kidding you that only Marines with hard bark could earn one. I’ve never seen one before.”
At the very second his words left his lips Big Gun, Da Nang Dale and M.L. all unbuttoned their shirts and pulled out their K-Bar necklaces and Big Gun said, “WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?”
The whole legion replied, “WHO, WHO, WHO!”
“Now that is like “WE THE PEOPLE” ya’ll!” stated Big Gun.
Kokomo Or Bust!
Sergeant Bushmaster, Boot and Stucky were at the EM Club having a cold adult beverage when Sergeant Bushmaster asked, “Boot, where are you going on liberty?"
“I am going to Kokomo Vet Camp,” Boot explained. “I hear that it is a great time.”
“It sure is Boot. I went a few years ago with Sergeant Bushmaster. There were over 44,000 vets camping and telling stories of their time in the service. There is nothing like Kokomo!” Stucky replied.
“That is correct. I have been there every year since it began, except for the times I had to deploy of course. But Boot, you can’t afford to go to Kokomo. Where would you get the money?” asked Sergeant Bushmaster.
“I have been saving up!” Boot said proudly. “I also have made an investment into Stucky’s new business! It is about to pay off big time, right Stucky?”
“Well….about that Boot, I have been meaning to tell you that I rolled over your investment into the big payoff. So it will be awhile before we can get to it,” Stucky said nervously.
“I don’t know what you’re up to Stucky, but you better not let me catch you hustling the Privates. You’re supposed to be helping them and training them!” directed Sergeant Bushmaster.
“Oh! Don’t worry Sergeant Bushmaster, he is. He let me collect some investments from Sandals and the other privates so I would have people investing under me! Then, I turned all that money over to him and he set them up too. We are going to make a mint!” Boot boasted.
“Stucky, you had better square this young private away with some money for liberty. You and I will talk about your wild Wall Street investment ideas later. Now, as for you Boot, you’re so poor the only investment you ever made was the time you hocked your underwear to get beer money! As I recall, that didn’t work out to well for you. You got the runs from that cheap beer you bought and was chaffed from going to the field commando style,” laughed Sergeant Bushmaster. “Now, you two go get a haircut and let’s get to Kokomo.”
On the drive to Kokomo Stucky says, “There’s bridge construction ahead. We will have to make a detour.”
“We don’t have time to detour if we are going to help carry the holiday flag….STOP the car!” Sergeant Bushmaster gets out and opens the trunk to retrieve a PRC77. “I will call my buddy. He is going to be flying an ol’ Huey to do fly over’s this week. He will come and pick us up.”
Keying the mike, Sergeant Bushmaster says, “Klondike, Klondike, Medivac 6, this is 03 Actual. Do you read?”
“03 Actual, this is Klondike. I read you five by five. Over,” the radio said.”
“Klondike, this is 03 Actual. We will need a dust off at my grid…” Sergeant Bushmaster paused and put one hand over his eyes to shade the sun and looked at the horizon. Panning his head left to right he then said, “November Golf, tree, four, six, niner. There is a hay field to the south of the road that will make a good LZ. Over.”
“Roger 03 Actual, we are airborne. Our ETA is 25 mikes. Out.”
“Wow! Now that is radio skills at its best! How did you do that without a map?” Boot asked.
“Boot, don’t you know how to use your compass to fix a location? I will have your sorry ass peeling potatoes for the next millennium.
What I have just done is above your pay grade, so I see no reason to explain to you the things that the weight of your collar will not allow you to understand. Secure this equipment and get it on the aircraft…..you are about to go to Kokomo!” commanded Sergeant Bushmaster.
As the helicopter landed on LZ Camel Toe, Stucky looked over to see the shock and awe in Boots face as he was taking in the atmosphere of 44,000 veterans enjoying the camaraderie of Kokomo Vet Camp.
Boot states as he looks all around, “Wow! Look at all those campsites! It’s like houses in a row.”
“Boot, I built my first house when I was 19 years old with nothing but a flack jacket to use as curtains,” said Sergeant Bushmaster.
Stucky replied, “But that was in Romset Special Zone in Vietnam and you used a poncho to create your Palatial Estate.”
“Boot, we don’t have time for your daydreams and zit popping experiences or any of Stucky’s exaggerated delusions. Keep your head low and unload this aircraft. ….it’s time to Marine Up….YOU’RE IN KOKOMO!”
Boot, Stucky and Sergeant Bushmaster got the base camp set up and were enjoying a cold adult beverage while they cooked a large pot of chili on the open fire. Sergeant Bushmaster had started the fire in the traditional Marine Corps way, with C-4. There was a sea of people walking around from camp to camp sharing stories of the other guy in their unit being a goof and finishing off with how they single handedly saved the world while they were fighting in the wars of the past. Everyone got along regardless of what branch of service they were in.
After dark they all went to listen to the live bands, which would be their excuse to go see the ladies. As they stood by the fence at the band stand, a very attractive young lady asked Sergeant Bushmaster to dance. “I would never dance with a lady willing to dance with the likes of me! However, Boot here would love to dance,” he replied.
“I don’t know how to dance,” Boot started to say as he was interrupted.
“You get out there and Marine Up Boot! Just maybe you should think of someone other than yourself. I can’t teach you everything. Now move out!” commanded Sergeant Bushmaster.
Boot attempted to dance while the others laughed. Later, Boot brought the young lady back to the base camp but Stucky took her away in the early morning hours. The long day and the sea of cold adult beverages proved to be too much for Boot. However, he was content listening to the stories and watching the fire. The next morning Boot was exhausted from staying up all night so he went looking for a cup of coffee. After a few cups, Stucky came looking for him. “We’ve got to go back to the camp…Sergeant Bushmaster is getting out the Snake Juice! You don’t want to miss this!”
When they got back to the camp there was a huge crowd of people gathered around and they were all taking a taste from the bottle. The bottle had a Cobra, a Two Step snake, and several Bedal eggs in the bottom, filled with a special adult beverage.
After some of them tried it and others refused, a Green Beret took a taste and asked what the mix was. “Well, this is a special mix. It is so special it takes two Marines and a Green Beret to even make it,” Sergeant Bushmaster explained. “First, the two Marines have to drink about 12 cold adult beverages. Second, they mixed 3 shots of Jagermeister, 3 shots Crown Royal, 2 shots of Vodka, and 2 shots of Moonshine. Then, they stir it up and pour it into two glasses and the two Marines drink the mix. Now last but not least, this is where the Green Beret comes in. Kneeling on the ground the Green Beret holds the bottle close to the top while holding it at a 30 degree angle. The two Marines, as accurately as possible, urinate into the bottle from 6 feet away. So, that’s how we make this stuff plus it also explains why a Green Beret washes his hands after two Marines urinate.”
The crown loved the story of the bottle. Boot was glad he got to go to Kokomo, even if Stucky took his girl! “Boot, I can see you had a good time here in Kokomo but I got to ask…where did you get that hair cut?” asked Sergeant Bushmaster.
“I got it back in San Diego. I got it real cheap too. Stucky hooked me up with a Chinese guy. Here’s his card,” Boot said. Looking at the card Sergeant Bushmaster laughs, “It looks like a lawn mower ran you over Boot. Look at this guy’s name! Some Ting Wong. Stucky, we got to talk!”
Bearly Made It!
Sergeant Bushmaster, Boot, and Stucky were on their way back from Kokomo Vet Camp when Stucky said, “We ought to stop in Crossville Tennessee on our way back so I can see Mary Jo Beth. I haven’t seen her for about 5 years!”
“That is a good idea Stucky. We can go to the VFW and have a cold adult beverage for the Marine Corps Birthday! Then, we can go play some golf at Fairfield Glades. I got a buddy that has a condo there. He stops there with his buddies for a week of golf and to pay his respects to the birthday of the first military branch of our country!” Sergeant Bushmaster said with excitement.
“That would be great! I might get a chance to whip a big ol’ bear while we are in the area,” Boot responded.
“You better leave the bear whippin’ to me Boot unless you want to spend the rest of your life as the wife of some poppa bear! Young Marine or not, a bear is not something to mess with in these mountains. Besides, you won’t be so full of yourself if you see one,” Stucky said with a tone of seriousness.
“I remember when I last seen Mary Jo Beth. I was lying in her bed and she asked me to leave her something to remember me by. So, I took out my k-bar and carved a notch in her big tall headboard.”
“That will be enough talk about your little filly around the boot Stucky. He is not ready to get that training!” interrupted Sergeant Bushmaster.
They went to meet Sergeant Bushmaster’s buddy and were invited to golf with them and then get a cold adult beverage at the V. As they started their game of golf, Stucky opened up the morning with several Bloody Marys. As they got to the 9th hole Boot said, “I got to find a head. All this beer and Bloody Marys for breakfast is going straight thru me.”
“Boot, you need to adapt and overcome. The world does not have to cater to your every need. Just step back in the woods there and hurry up so we can get to the VFW,” Sergeant Bushmaster scolded.
In the woods Boot hears a noise and looks over to see a young cub rolling around in the leaves. In just a few minutes he returns to the green with wet pants to share his story.
“Wow guys! I saw a great big bear over there. He was getting in a bee hive with a million bees in it. The bees started to swarm around and sting him when he broke into a unique style of Jeet Kune Do of the likes only seen in the movie Karate Kid. As that big ol’ bear went to kickin’ some bee butt, I got swarmed myself. I had to run and jump into that pond back there just to keep from being stung to death!” Boot explained as he tried to catch his breath.
“Boot, you never saw any “GREAT BIG BEAR” in the woods! You were just afraid to step in there by yourself. You have got to marine up! Now, go wade in that pond you saw so you won’t smell like an unattended one year old when we go to the V. Stucky, you have got the boot scared to death,” laughed Sergeant Bushmaster.
“I DID see a bear,” mumbled Boot as he went toward the pond.
At the VFW, Stucky introduced Boot to Mary Jo Beth and her friend Wilma. As the night went on boot asked, “Why are the lights so dim in here? I can hardly see across the table.”
“Don’t worry Boot, that big ol’ bear won’t get you in here. It is the Marine Corps Birthday. Just have a cold adult beverage and enjoy the ladies.” Stucky said.
Sometime later, Stucky left with Mary Jo Beth. Boot was talking to Wilma, her Sister Cousin Mable and her Uncle Daddy when he realized he was alone with them. Feeling somewhat concerned about Wilma’s missing front teeth; he got a cold adult beverage and went back to the condo.
They all had a good time at the VFW on the Marine Corps’ Birthday and golfing at Fairfield Glades. On the drive back to Paris Island Boot asked, “Stucky, did Mary Jo Beth live in the same house she did 5 years ago?”
“No Boot. But she still had that same old bed and headboard. I was a little surprised though to see that she had carved the entire headboard into a grandfather clock!” He replied.
“Why did she do that?” Boot questioned.
“Lets just say she has a lot of talent,” said Sergeant Bushmaster.
“She sure does,” Stucky answered as he drank out of his bottle of Crown Royal, “She sure does!”
Boot saw a souvenir shop on the side of the road and wanted to stop. Stucky agreed, “This is a good one to stop at. They have bear wrestlers here sometimes. Boot, now you can see a real bear up close!”
Sergeant Bushmaster said, “Now Boot, don’t be sticking your hands in the cage. This bear is real, not like the GREAT BIG bear you “saw” the other day.”
As they approached the cage, the bear wrestler was announced. “Ladies and Gentlemen! We would like to introduce Wilma, the Bear Bouncer! She will pin this giant 800 pound bear, known as Melton the Mountain Mangler, in under 2 minutes.”
“Wow Boot! That sure looks like your date from the VFW the other night,” Stucky pronounced.
“Yes it is! I guess that explains the missing front teeth,” laughed Sergeant Bushmaster. “Maybe next time she can golf with us so you won’t get scared in the woods Boot.”
Noticing Boot in the crowd, Wilma took the microphone and said, “Howdy everyone! I would like to introduce my boyfriend Boot. He is one tough marine and a good kisser as well.”
Everyone clapped as Boot turned beet red. “Well Stucky, I guess you better explain that headboard story to boot now. It seems he is into these mountain women too!” Sergeant Bushmaster said as he slapped Boot on the back.
Our country is in need of Sergeant Bushmaster and his team again! This time it is because of a man named Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He is claiming to have shot down a RQ-170 Sentinel Drone. This is a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) that uses very sophisticated reconnaissance equipment to record data of importance to the U.S. Defense Missions around the world. Sergeant Bushmaster is being briefed on the mission as his team prepares to deploy.
“This mission is of the highest priority and must remain on a need to know priority only. You can tell your team only the mission essential Intel. We have to be very sure that no one knows what we are doing. This comes straight from the President himself!” instructed Col. Tightlips.
“No problem sir! We will get this mission completed and no one will be the wiser. My team is packing up as we speak Sir!” confirmed Sergeant Bushmaster.
“How can your team be packing up if they don’t know where they are going yet?” asked Col. Tightlips.
“With all due respect Sir, this is a need to know only mission and that Intel is not in your need to know Sir,” said Sergeant Bushmaster as he popped to attention and wanted to dismiss him.
With a tense brow and a slight nod of his head, he then came to the position of attention and dismissed the sergeant. After Sergeant Bushmaster left the briefing room Col. Tightlips turned to his junior officer and said, “Major Missesalot, did you see that? There goes one hell of a marine! He has just what it takes to do this mission. Well, I bet he even has a membership card from Combat Corner! He sure has hard bark. Yes sir, he is the right marine for the job!”
“If you say so Sir, who was that Sergeant anyway?” asked Major Missesalot.
Thinking about the fact that Sergeant Bushmaster had just reported for briefing in this very room Col. Tightlips responded, “Never mind that. Let’s just say you, Major, are also the right marine to have been in this briefing!”
While the team was on the aircraft in route to their drop zone, Sergeant Bushmaster briefed his team. “Ok men, listen up! We are going to Iran to find and recover this RQ-170 Drone they say they have. We did our briefing only on this aircraft so Boot would not tell the world before we left. This is a need to know only mission. No one needs to know! Do you all understand?” bellowed Sergeant Bushmaster.
After everyone assured him they understood, Sergeant Bushmaster asked Boot again. “Boot, who needs to know about our mission?”
“No one! Sergeant Bushmaster,” Boot replied with a smile.
Sergeant Bushmaster then gave the team the mission essential Intel so everyone would know what to do. After they parachuted into the location they hoped to find the drone, the team took up their positions. “Boot, I want you to walk into the village and bring me a cup of Café Breva.”
“What? But you don’t drink those sissy coffees!” Boot said not sure he had heard correctly.
“Just hurry up and go get it!” bellowed Sergeant Bushmaster. “And Boot, don’t forget no one needs to know we’re here so don’t talk to everybody!”
“Yes Sir, Sergeant Bushmaster. You can count on me!” Boot answered as he hurried off.
At the local coffee shop, Boot enters and looks around to see if he was noticed. Being certain that his disguise was working, he went to the counter and ordered the Café Breva that Sergeant Bushmaster wanted. As the older gentleman took his order Boot stood at the counter. A young man came up to Boot and said in broken English, “It is a nice day for a Café Breva. Do you drink them often?”
Not wanting the attention Boot just nodded. Trying to be friendly the young man asked, “What is your name?”
Again, trying to not bring attention to himself he just said, “Terrett. Who are you?”
“Oh, I am No One. ….” as he looked directly at Boot.
The old gentleman gave Boot the Café Breva and took his money. Before he could make change, Boot took the coffee and quickly left. As Boot cleared the village and entered the tree line Sergeant Bushmaster appeared. “Did you get the coffee?”
“Yes,” Boot replied.
“Did you talk to anyone?” inquired Sergeant Bushmaster.
“I only talked to the café guy,” Boot said, “and some nosey busy body. He asked my name and I just said Terrett. I made sure no one followed me!”
“Good job Boot! I wasn’t sure you got what I wanted you to do,” Sergeant Bushmaster said as he looked over Boots shoulder. “No One, good to see you, I guess you didn’t have any trouble pickin’ Boot out in the café did you?”
“Not at all Sergeant Bushmaster, Boot did just what you said he would do,” said No One.
“So can you get us to this RQ-170?” said Sergeant Bushmaster. “We are on a tight schedule.”
“Absolutely!” said No One.
No One informs them that the RQ-170 Drone had crash landed in a rural area of Iran and had been moved to a secret hanger at the Omidiyeh Air Base. It was under 24 hour watch by the Iranian soldiers and No One was permitted access.
“That is great!” said Sergeant Bushmaster. We will go with you to the Air Base and will wait until you have entered the hanger. At the appropriate time we will come in and do our job.”
Things went as planned. No One got into the hanger and Sergeant Bushmaster’s team was in place. Then music started playing on the load speakers. This was the call to prayer. All Muslims go to a proper place with their prayer rugs and bow toward Mecca. Everyone went to pray. The guards left their stations. No One went even though he was a Christian so that no one would be the wiser!
Quickly, Sergeant Bushmaster’s team slipped into the hanger and rigged a special helium balloon and harness on to the drone. Then, they pushed it outside of the hanger and launched the helium balloon. The drone slowly lifted into the air and was now 1500 feet above the air base. With the computer control module that Sergeant Bushmaster got from the Army Special Forces, the drone was now in the control of the U.S. Air Force.
As the guards came back from prayer, they were shocked to see the RQ-170 Sentinel Drone was gone! They went outside and could see the drone far off in the Iranian sky.
Back at the Pentagon, the team was debriefed. They were informed that Iranians had not breached the aircraft security and that our drone technology was safe. They were also told that our government would continue to negotiate the return of the drone and deny any claim that the United States had recovered the drone.
Back at the local VFW, the team was enjoying a cold adult beverage when Boot had a puzzled look on his face. Stucky was used to this look from Boot but asked anyway, “What’s on your mind Boot?”
“Why didn’t the Iranians just blow the hatch off the drone and look inside?” Boot said. “God knows they wanted the technology!”
“Didn’t you see that plaque on the hatch Boot? It was written there for the whole world to see!” said Sergeant Bushmaster.
“I did see the plaque but I couldn’t read it. It was in some foreign language,” Boot replied.
“That was Luri and Persian, two of the most popular languages in Iran. It said, any incorrect codes entered into the keypad will immediately detonate the “P.I.G. Dirty Bomb,” stated Sergeant Bushmaster laughing.
“What is the P.I.G. Dirty Bomb?” asked Boot.
“That stands for Pork Intestine Gotcha Dirty Bomb. No Muslim was ever going to try a code that might not work!” Stucky explained.
"We have gotten some cool missions in our time boys, but this one was the coolest. We could never tell anyone about this mission because they would never believe us anyway," said Sergeant Bushmaster with a smile as he took a drink of his cold adult beverage.
Boot was lying on the ground next to a big rock when he heard a noise. He took a hard look to see if it was a misguided local or opposition forces. Not wanting to break the sound discipline of the mission, he unsheathed his K-bar and couldn’t help but notice the steadiness of his hand as he prepared to hold his position. As the shadow came closer, he could see the bearded man was carrying an AK-47. Boot slowly rose to a standing position, to eliminate the intruder, as Sergeant Bushmaster placed his hand on Boot’s shoulder.
“Easy now Boot! You don’t want to get a war started here. This is just the Special Forces Team coming back from gathering Intel. They may be noisy but they are still on our side,” said Sergeant Bushmaster.
“You weren’t going to stick me with that, were you Boot? We are just stopping in to get some salad dressing to go with our fresh lettuce,” stated the bearded man.
“No sir. But, how did Sergeant Bushmaster know that you guys were the SF Team? You never identified yourselves,” Boot inquired.
“Sergeant Bushmaster was about 150 yards ahead of your position when we met him. He said he didn’t want us to scare you because you would probably pull out your K-bar and lose control of your bladder. I guess he was right,” the Team Leader chuckled.
Boot then noticed the warm spot on his pants and said, “I spilled my canteen just before you got here. It’s an Army canteen. I got it at Camp Chapman. I shouldn’t have to use inferior equipment in a war zone,” Boot replied.
Sgt. Kappmeyer heard Boot’s response and covertly spilled his canteen on his pants as he walked up, “Boot, when we get back to Camp Leatherneck, remind me to get us real canteens! These army rejects leak all over the place!”
“Maybe your momma’s should have taught you how to drink out of a canteen before she let you ride on the short bus to go to Paris Island!” blasted the bearded guy with det-cord hanging around his neck.
“Let’s stop all this ladies lip service and get you guys back to the FOB so you can look for that salad dressing you came after. Boot, you and Sgt. Kappmeyer DX those Army canteens for real combat equipment before you embarrass our beloved Corps,” commanded Sergeant Bushmaster.
As they started back to the FOB, Boot was happy that he was on Sergeant Bushmaster’s team. He knew that everyone had his back. He now could walk back with pride despite his canteen story. He also knew that there would be a private dethroning from his perch when they got back!
As the SF Team got back, they hurried to take advantage of the showers and mess hall. It had been over a month since they had been blessed with modern accommodations. Then, they went to see Cpt. Hidesabunch. “Okay, you guys are going to be going on a roundup mission to get the new number 3 Al-Qaeda leader. Sergeant Bushmaster, you and your team will be fire support for the SF beards. They will do the extraction operation. You just get them in there and get this yard bird down to the Chicken Farm in good enough condition to speak. Don’t let Boot or Stucky shoot this one! It was two months before the last one was healthy enough to talk. All of his Intel was useless by then,” instructed Cpt. Hidesabunch. “You will be in the bad lands all the way. There will be no support to get you out if something goes wrong. So, nothing will! Am I clear?”
“Your team is experienced, aren’t they Sir? We can’t be stopping to tighten these guys up along the way. This is a get in and get out mission or you will need to order body bags for all of us!” stated the SF Team Leader.
“Don’t worry about my Marines sergeant. They have humped more mountains and bled more Al-Qaeda than you SF guys could count even if you took your boots off!” said Cpt. Hidesabunch in his command voice.
“Good,” said the bearded team leader with a smile. “But, with all due respect Sir, you don’t know my rank. So, I would prefer that you address me as Sir, as I do you, so we don’t offend each other.”
“That is fine sir. But, don’t you forget that you are all a team now……not that YOU are an A TEAM. My Marines will get you in and out. You guys just do whatever it is you do and let’s end this war. I would love to go out there with you on this one but I have got a lot of paperwork to do from the last event that Stucky and Kappmeyer had on R&R. You would not believe how hard the brass is looking for that alcohol peddler here at the FOB. Anyway, you men get your heads together and work as a team or I will find SOMEONE who can find out your rank and then I will have all your asses!” said Cpt. Hidesabunch.
“Good luck with that mission Sir. Don’t worry; we will leave the wire with our heads and asses wired together. Hell Sir, we will even have on dry pants,” smirked the SF Team Leader.
“If that is all Sir, I need to draw some combat supplies for my team before we move out,” said Sergeant Bushmaster.
The new A Team got their equipment rigged up, the SF restocked their supply of things that go boom and off they all went. The two team leaders promised that the team was united and squared away.
They were off to Eshkashem, just to the north of the Hindu Kush. This was true Indian country. No one trusted anyone in this area. It was just south of the Tajikistan border and an Al-Qaeda strong-hold and supply line. Sergeant Bushmaster and the SF Team Leader knew this was no place to be picking at each other. They just wanted to get in and out as fast as they could.
They soon reach the objective. It was a khuneh that was in a remote area. The team went in at 0400 hrs, the hour of fatigue in the combat world. It proved to be true in this case as all of the guards were busy stealing a few minutes sleep at their post as Sergeant Bushmaster’s team crept pass all defenses. The SF team breached the house and a young woman ran at them saying “ana bahabek ya Allah” which means I love Allah in Farsi. The SF team leader said, “Mo’afagh bashed” (meaning congratulations) and fires two taps. As they cleared the khuneh they were wrapping up #3 and preparing to move out when Boot noticed that the SF beard with the det-cord was missing. Seconds later he appeared with a smile at the team leaders and gave a nod. As they left the village to the awaking guard, there were a series of explosions that made a smile return to the beard that had been carrying the det-cord. On the way back to the FOB, Boot spots a guy in a tree with a rifle taking aim at one of the SF beards. Not wanting to break silence, Boot throws his K-bar and man fell silently from the tree landing a few yards from the SF beard. The SF troop whispered “Mamnoon Baradaram”.
Back at the FOB the Marines take #3 to the Chicken Farm then return to camp. Later that evening, Stucky and Boot are sharing a bottle of secret contraband with the SF beards when Sergeant Bushmaster said, “Boot, you need to tighten up out there in the bush. You about got our EOD shot by that yard bird in a tree! Good thing SGT. Kappmeyer taught you how to throw that K-bar. If you would have missed, we would have been cleaning SF candy ass out of those trees for a week!”
Boot turned to the SF beard and asked, “What did you whisper to me back on the trail? I didn’t understand.”
“Mamnoon Baradaram. Its means Thank you my brother in Farsi Boot. Sergeant Bushmaster, I think you guys pick on Boot to much! He did me a solid and I want to drink to baradaram,” he said as he held up his drink.
They all held up their drink as Boot said, “Mamnoon Baradaram!”
Then they all said, “Mamnoon Baradaram!”
After Sergeant Bushmaster’s team had captured the Number 3 Al-Qaeda leader, Cpt. Hidesabunch asked Lt. Col. Afraidtago to give his team liberty. It was agreed they could have liberty in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “Sergeant Bushmaster, it is imperative that you keep Boot from doing anything that will embarrass our Corps!” commanded Lt. Col. Afraidtago.
“That, I will do, Sir! I will have Boot, Stucky and Sgt. Kappmeyer walking the plank if they get out of line. We will be fine Sir, you can count on me,” said Sergeant Bushmaster.
So, they flew to Rio and got settled in at the Rio Othon Palace. It was perfect. Just 0.8 miles from the Copacabana Beach and still just 4.8 miles from the airport in case they needed to make a quick exit from this paradise.
As the first day opened with a hardy breakfast and a walk down the beach to observe the fine scenery, Boot was stricken by the young ladies sporting the newest bikini styles and promoting their services.
“Boot, don’t step on your tongue and fall down. We are not here to spend good money on a bad disease. We are Marines and you are going to be in my sites the whole we time we are here!” instructed Sergeant Bushmaster.
After the brisk walk down the beach, Stucky and Sgt. Kappmeyer wanted to check out the hotel bar on the beach to see if they had any Crown. “Kapp, I am telling you, they got some great cold adult beverages here and the ladies can hook you up with anything you want,” Stucky continued. “Why, the last time Sergeant Bushmaster and I were here, we got four of the finest young ladies around to….”
“That will be enough talk about the last time we were here Stucky. You’re going to spoil all the surprises for Boot. This is his first time to see Corcovado,” interrupted Sergeant Bushmaster.
“What is that?” asked Boot.
“That is where you can see the Cristo Redentor (means Christ the Redeemer). It is the giant statue of Jesus. It’s cool but that is not what I was talking about. I was talking about the four ….” Stucky stops as he is interrupted again.
“Great! The bar is open! Stucky, you go get us a drink and I will buy since Boot doesn’t have any money,” said Sergeant Bushmaster.
As Stucky gets to the bar, he sees an ol’ salt with the Marine Corps emblem on his cover. “How are you sir? I see you’re a Marine,” stated Stucky.
“Is a forty pound red bird fat? Is a hog’s ass pork? Does twenty pounds of flour make a big biscuit? Hell yes, I am a Marine! How are you brother?” said the tall deep voiced marine.
“I am great sir. I’m Sgt. Sweeney but my friends call me Stucky. That is Sergeant Bushmaster, Sgt. Kappmeyer and Boot at the table. Would you like to join us?” Stucky asked.
“I would love to,” said the tall marine.
As they approached the table, the tall marine said, “Sergeant Bushmaster? It is you. Well, I haven’t seen you for a long while!”
“Everybody, this is my ol’ Master Gunnery Sergeant, Slim Ketchum. He has spent a lot of time in our beloved Corps,” said Sergeant Bushmaster. “Do you want a drink?”
“Hell yes, I’ve been to Dallas!” said Slim as he gave the official signal that a cold adult beverage would be appreciated. “Hey, did Sergeant Bushmaster tell you guys about the last time we were here? We got four of the most attractive young ladies to ….” stopping as he was interrupted.
“Let me send Boot to run and get us another round of drinks before you finish your story. It’s hot out here," inserted Sergeant Bushmaster. “Boot, get us another round and run back to our room and make sure you locked the door. I don’t want to see you get all your clothes stolen and have to fly back to Camp Leatherneck in the buff!”
Boot goes to get the round of drinks and hurries off to the room to check the door. Meanwhile, the Master Gunnery Sergeant tells the team about the adventure with the four young ladies.
The day slipped by with a long list of stories of the days in combat, somewhat embellished, but none the less as accurately recanted as their drinks would allow them to remember.
They decided to take a break and report back to the same location for the after dinner dance at the pool. Slim let them know that the young ladies were especially nice to the tourists at the after dinner dances!
As they returned to the dinner and dance, they each quickly found the attention of the young ladies. Sergeant Bushmaster had the first lady to accompany them. She was a young beauty that was impressed with his command voice and the respect that his team had for him. Sgt. Kappmeyer had a blonde beauty from America that was doing summer work for a local doctor. Stucky was talking with two of the finest young ladies the country had to offer and Boot was listening to the history of Rio de Janeiro as told by the grandmother of Stucky’s twins. Slim was enjoying the scenery and smiling as big as Texas as he watched the events of the night unfold.
After grandma went home, Boot’s mind wondered about the history lesson he received. Things picked up a bit when Sgt. Kappmeyer received a brisk slap to the face as his acquaintance hurried from the table. As all eyes at the pool dance focused on them, slim bellowed, “Who let the dogs out?” which was replied by all the military at the pool, “Who? Who? Who?”
Slim went to talk with a young lady and was soon sitting at the table as Slims guest. Stucky ran out of money to buy the twins a drink so Slim offered to cover the tab for the night. “How can you afford to pay for everyone?” asked the boldest of the twins.
Slim pulls out a large wad of cash from his pocket and says in a suave and debonair manner, “Why, my ladies, this is Master Gunny money. It never runs out!” Then in a loud voice he says, “Who let the dogs out?” which was replied by all at the pool, “Who? Who? Who?”
The beautiful blonde asks, “How late can we stay here?”
“The dance and pool closes at 0300 hrs,” said Sergeant Bushmaster.
“If it takes all night, it will be alright,” added Slim.
As the pool was closing, Slim invited the young ladies to come to his room and continue listening to the many adventures of his military career. The twins and the beautiful blonde all walked off with him. As he strolled away with the ladies all around him, Boot heard him say, “Ladies, have you ever seen the sun rise between the mountains in Hawaii?” Their voices got faint as the walked away. When they were at the other side of the pool, they all heard Slim bellow out a noise that sounded like an elephant as he raised his arm up in the air.
Sergeant Bushmaster said, “Who let the dogs out?” hearing no response he said, “Since I am the only marine left with this young lady, I must escort her home. You men need your rest. We will be renting a boat for a sea adventure tomorrow. Sgt. Kappmeyer, you keep an eye on Boot while I’m gone.”
In the boat and away at sea early the next morning, Stucky was Captain of their vessel as Sergeant Bushmaster rested on the deck from his long night. “Why didn’t the Master Gunnery Sergeant come with us today? He can really bring the party,” Boot asked.
“He probably had to walk those young ladies home last night. He must be beat. Look how tired Sergeant Bushmaster is from just walking one home,” said Sgt. Kappmeyer.
“That young lady lived 10 miles away. That made it a 20 mile hike, nothing for a hard core combat marine like me. I just out rank all of you boots. Anyway, Kapp, you better stow those lines before you trip on them and end up in the drink!”
A half a day into their trip they see a 54 foot Sea Ray. “Sergeant Bushmaster, I think this boat is approaching us,” Stucky said.
Sure enough it was. As it got close, they heard a bellow on a blow horn, “Who let the dogs out?” Then, the Captain of the vessel handed the blow horn to a group of young ladies which replied “Who? Who? Who?”
The boat came over as Slim said, “Sergeant Bushmaster, come aboard the “USS Ketchum if you can” and have some fun!”
Sergeant Bushmaster said, “Sgt. Kappmeyer, you’re in charge of the boat. I will see you back at the motel tonight.”
“Why don’t I come with you to captain the vessel so you and Slim can entertain with the ladies?” Sgt. Kappmeyer asked.
“Good idea! Come aboard. Stucky, you and Boot follow us but be sure to stay back a safe distance. I don’t want you two to rink that dingy in our wake,” informed Sergeant Bushmaster.
“Stucky, do you and Boot want some cold adult beverages for your trip back?” asked the Master Gunnery Sergeant.
“Hell yes, I’ve been to Dallas!” responded Stucky.