Bosnia Diary – Pg. 10

Green Bay to Bosnia LogoMired in a Mine

Wed, 21 Feb 96 — Ðurðevik

Thankfully no bora last night, just an inch of snow. The chaplain’s prayer at the evening staff meeting must have worked.

More Bora aftermath.
More Bora aftermath.
Fri, 23 Feb 96 — Ðurðevik

Good thing I’ve been keeping a journal or I wouldn’t know what to write my friends about. The mail system here sucks. Yesterday I got a letter addressed to me at division HQ (and where we have a team that is supposed to be watching out for our mail), but I got the letter via our team at division rear. Someone had scribbled “unknown” on it. That means my incoming mail could be anywhere — it could be scattered all over this country or even being returned to sender. Oh, but wait — it gets worse. Today I was at division HQ. Right after I let our people there have it about hosing our mail I find out that my letters to a friend in Canada are being returned. It seems that even though Canada and the U.S. are Siamese twins, a G.I. with nothing else to live for cannot even get a goddamn letter delivered to Canada without a fucking stamp like I can to the U.S. Like that major said four weeks ago, “Springtime in Bosnia means guys like to go out and kill each other.” Spring is just around the corner. I’m a frustrated sonofabitch. I hope some motherfucker tries something because I got some serious anger to work out.

Sun, 25 Feb 96 — Ðurðevik
Enjoying morning coffee & cigar.
Enjoying morning coffee & cigar.

I saw a copy of Soldier of Fortune at the 2BCT meeting. Cover article on how the U.S. really is a big, bad dog ready to bite if the locals even look at it cross-eyed, that this isn’t Somalia. Anyone who’s actually read the ROE knows that isn’t true: In typical Clintonian fashion they have been designed to allow plenty of wiggle room. If some poor shmuck makes a mistake they are going to do their best to nail his balls to the wall. Scenario: A hand SUDDENLY reaches through the window of your Humvee. It’s react or die time. You blast the person at the other end of the hand. According to SOF, and all the other media, fear for one’s safety is sufficient justification for a shoot. But what if it turns out the hand was attached to a kid trying to snag a ‘lunch bucket’? If the hand had held a grenade you would have been history. To me that’s unfortunate, but still justifiable. I guarantee you that poor troop will take it in the shorts. Because that exact situation happened in Somalia and that’s exactly what happened to the soldier involved. I expect that sort of myopia from the regular media, but it’s a sad day when SOF buys the party line.

SP4 Beth Brink showed me a clipping her parents sent her from the Appleton Post-Crescent. The article, written by a third member of our unit, pissed me off so much that I wrote a letter to the editor. I eventually decided not to mail it, the issue was of personal, not public, importance. If I had sent it, it would have sounded like whining, and if published would have only served to cause problems within our unit. One point in the clipping is, however, salient: a quote that “Mail seems to bring smiles daily.” What mail? I have approximately 20 magazine subscriptions and almost 30 people writing me. I’ve written — literally, I’ve kept count — 100 letters since we were activated. I would expect 2-3 pieces of mail on a daily basis, but have received only a dozen since I’ve been here, most of those in one lump two weeks ago. I’m far from the only one in this predicament. The situation is just laughed off with comments like “It took General Nash 37 days to get a letter.” If that didn’t light a fire under someone’s ass to threaten the military mail system with the rolling of heads, then what the hell will? The problem is that the mail system is an abortion and no one with any rank cares enough to put some command emphasis into getting mail to the troops.

Mon, 26 Feb 96 — Ðurðevik

We got two letters today: One I mailed this morning to a friend at the 2BCT HQ and another for MAJ Robinson, one of the CA guys at 30th Med. Brought a real big fucking smile to my face.

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