This first appeared in The Havok Journal on March 28, 2018.
Today I read an article from the Daily Mail (a UK website) about a piece done in a recent issue of Glamour magazine on a female that is a former U.S. Air Force Public Affairs lieutenant. Lieutenant Lauren Johnson was interviewed on her tale of war and woe, and her journey to finding peace as a civilian. Seriously, this happened.
A fucking fobbit lieutenant complained to some magazine about soggy vegetables and loud noises during a nine-month vacation to Afghanistan. These are actual quotes from the Daily Mail article…
“Before service in Afghanistan Lauren Kay Johnson, a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, said she was a fun-loving woman who would organize potluck and karaoke nights for friends. But when she returned from her nine month-deployment in March 2010, the Seattle native struggled to get to grips with civilian life as the memories of war haunted her.”
“In the November issue of Glamour magazine, she details how ‘long hours’, ‘drab meals of dry meat and soggy vegetables’ and constant ‘paranoia’ that something could happen at any moment, gradually took a toll on her mental state during deployment.”
“Limited internet and phone service added to her feelings of vulnerability as did the fact she was a woman in predominantly a man’s world. Then the pretty brunette said that sexual assault a constant worry for her on the front line, because she ‘knew the stories’ and ‘overheard vulgar talk.’ It was only when she returned home to her Florida Air Force base that she realized how her stint in Afghanistan had affected her.”
“Recalling her state of mind, she writes: ‘nearly every night I get takeout from the same place. I’m too tired to cool and too antisocial to spend any more time in a restaurant than it takes to pay.’ She also found getting to sleep on her quiet army base an ‘extreme problem’, as she missed the white noise of war. The lack of ‘helicopters,’ ‘rumbling armored vehicles’ and ‘chatting smokers on break’, she said, made for an ‘unsettling peace’. And back at her desk job as a public affairs officer, she found it difficult to maintain focus because ‘everything seemed trivial’ in light of what she’d been through.”
Are you fucking kidding me? Seriously, your fucking kidding me… right?
No, apparently this humongous tool bag and waste of actual space has been diagnosed with a mild form of PTSD known as chronic adjustment disorder, which means we are paying for her medical care and sending her a check in the mail for the rest of her life. There are so many PTSD fakes out there that I know we cannot even begin to scratch the surface. That’s honestly not what this rant is about. What it is about is someone, other than the bag of donkey excrement that she is, actually giving her a voice in a largely publicized medium and taking her seriously. It’s an insult to me, it’s an insult to the men I served in combat with, and it’s an insult to those we’ve lost and who’ve given up body parts during this conflict. To be able to call what she experienced “the haunting images of war” is beyond reason, and I just can’t wrap my tiny little grunt brain around it. But let me try anyway. Let’s just go through the haunting experiences of this war-hardened Public Affairs officer one by one.
She had to eat soggy vegetables? So when one gets soggy fries at the drive through at McDonald’s, can that person go to their local VA and claim PTSD? God knows it really pisses me off when that shit happens. Almost makes me want to go back in and yell at someone. But by the time I figure out the fries are soggy I am usually 2 miles down the road and am not willing to drive back to do it. Definitely a frustrating experience, but hardly anything new after spending a couple of years eating at a military dining facility in the states. Hell, the DFAC food is so bad I used to opt for the vending machines during most lunches for a bag of Chex Mix, Snickers bar, and a Mountain Dew. So let’s go ahead and chalk that one up as one of the biggest turds I’ve ever seen drop out of someone’s mouth.
Next, we have the constant ‘paranoia’ that something might happen and the effect it had on her mental state, wearing all her gear, 225 rounds of ammo, and how it made her look “tougher than she felt.” Look, as any combat arms person who leaves the wire regularly already knows and can tell you, paranoia that something might happen does exist. I mean when you’re in an Infantry unit that regularly leaves the wire and loses eleven guys in one IED explosion, it’s enough to make you question the next operation that involves leaving the wire. What about inside the wire? Well, personally I never experienced a full on attack at my Forward Operating Base, just random rocket attacks. We do know it has happened, though generally on the smaller installations not protected by multitudes of Apache Helicopter Gunships and A-10 warthog fighter planes. A few of these attacks have happened. But mostly they come by way of rocket attacks. How did those affect my mental state? Well as a grunt that spent easily two-thirds of his time outside of the wire sleeping in the dirt using just his sleeping bag and a woobie as a pillow, anytime I was in an actual bed sleeping on a FOB was straight gold to me.
So when some Afghani asshole fired a rocket at my base with the accuracy of a blind kid throwing a baseball to home plate from right field; I refused to get out of bed, put on my protective gear, and head to a bunker. Instead, I opted for option B: pull my pillow over my head to drown out the annoying warning siren and try to sleep, saying “fuck it, if they get me at least I’ll die comfortable.” Hardly anything to write home about, and I can honestly remember me and my fellow infantrymen bitching about how we didn’t feel we had earned our CIBs (combat infantryman badge) simply because some fuck stick had lobbed a rocket at our base using Kentucky windage and gave us a pretty light show in our night vision goggles. As far as wearing all that gear goes… tell me about it sistah! I mean I know when I wore all my protective gear, carried my SAW, and about 1200 rounds of linked 5.56 up a 10,000 feet above sea level mountain, I definitely looked tougher than I felt! I mean I had enough ammo on me to conduct ten full frontal beach assaults a la Schwarzenegger in Commando, but I totally felt like a bitch when I started losing my breath at about 8,000 feet.
Limited internet and phone service added to her feelings of vulnerability.” Yeah, totally. I mean, when my company went on a forty-five-day mission outside the wire to help secure voting sites and ballots for the first Afghani presidential election, not having Internet or phones really made us feel vulnerable. So did not being able to shower, sleep in anything resembling a bed, eating something other than MREs, watching a movie, going to bed at night without having to wake up and pull guard at two in the morning for two hours, shit in an actual toilet instead of a hole we just dug, or jerk off while looking at porn. But if your a mental health professional, don’t expect to hear an Infantrymen complain about that while you’re evaluating him for PTSD. If you do, give him a quick kick in the balls from me and tell him I said to take Motrin, drink water, face out, take a knee, and PULL FUCKING SECURITY!
Also, you probably won’t hear anyone from my company bitch about the fact that no shit, an hour from finally returning to our FOB for the first time in forty-five days, the fucking Taliban finally hit something on our base worth hitting. In the same night, they managed to destroy the CSM’s freshly paved basketball court and our MWR truck, crippling our ability to call home or check our MySpace page (it was 2004, and it was totally cooler than Facebook, ok!), or finally prove that white men can indeed jump (not me, but someone can, I mean look at Blake Griffin, he’s half white). Seriously, after forty-five days out, we get the call over the radio… You should have heard the screams of agonizing horror! No seriously…. it. was. horrible. I wonder if I told my mental health professional about that… would it raise my 30% PTSD rating up a little bit?
“Then the pretty brunette said that sexual assault was a constant worry for her on the front line because she ‘knew the stories’ and ‘overheard vulgar talk.” Yeah, that had to be rough. I mean, I know that statistics actually show that men are more victimized by sexual assault in the military than women (don’t believe me? Google it), but of course she should be worried because she’s heard stories and vulgar talk. The vulgar talk was probably the hardest for me to handle during my two tours. Passing time on the front lines (and by front lines I mean outside the actual fucking wire) with a debate about how much money it would take for each of us to participate in <insert crude acts of a sexual nature here> and not care if anyone knew about it… still haunts me today. I learned way too much about some of you guys, I mean WAY too much. (F.Y.I., in 2004 my number was approximately ten million dollars, but due to rampant inflation that number would need to be recalculated, if anyone is interested in paying the recalculated amount, please contact the blog administrator for more information).
All joking aside, if we take this extremely irritating woman’s experience as a model for chronic adjustment disorder or “a milder form of PTSD,” then every single soldier that goes through infantry basic training needs to be on medication regardless of combat experience. Basic training sucked. They made me march with heavy weaponry, carrying lots of ammunition. They made me lie in the dirt and pull security “in case” the enemy attacked us with artillery simulation rounds and blanks. They deprived me of sleep. They made me shit in a hole dug in the ground. They wouldn’t let me call home or use the Internet at all. They kicked me out of the chow hall before I could eat all my soggy vegetables because my heels weren’t being held together properly while I ate. They made me do a lot, and I mean A LOT, of push-ups when I didn’t want to. I wasn’t allowed to have ice cream after my meals, even though they served it in the chow hall. I had to clean and wax the floor for hours on end to make it shiny, even though I wasn’t allowed to walk on it unless I was cleaning it. I had to spend hours organizing my wall locker, only to have a drill sergeant come by and rip everything out and make me start all over again. They made me stay up and pull fire guard in the bay and I had to listen to a bunch of nasty guys burp, snore, and fart all night; and now going to sleep without those sounds (and smells) just isn’t the same. If that doesn’t qualify for Post Traumatic Stress, I don’t know what does.
Wait… wait… no, on second thought I do know. But I’m not gonna sit here and whine about it for attention.