Bosnia Diary – Pg. 18

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18 Mar 96, Mon — Olovske Luke

Saw SSG Ikner this morning. Shook hands goodbye. He wished me good luck and I told him, “Don’t let them get you.” The Scouts are good guys and SSG Ikner and SGT Smith are two of the best.

Pulled my two spare duffels (one nearly empty, the other full of snivel gear I never touched) from the trailer. Inventoried the two duffels I have the keys for, then packed away a bunch of gear. I put some care package stuff into the community food box. Then I prepared the hand receipts to sign the laptop, PRC-127s, night vision goggles and GPS over to CPT Fellinger.

I played “Hearts” and “Solitaire” for a few hours while I listened to tunes. Then I got really depressed. It would be interesting to see what my biorhythm would look like for the past week.

A Muslim lady sold us snacks and Bikini Babe bubblegum out of the "popemobile".
A Muslim lady sold us snacks and Bikini Babe bubblegum out of the “popemobile”.
Cruelty to animals

By CPL Harold L. Martin
Letter to the Editor
Stars & Stripes, 18 Mar 96

When we arrived here at Camp Dallas about three weeks ago, there were animals residing in and around the building that I am now typing this letter in. I love cats and dogs so to me there was really no problem. I did, however, realize that they could possibly be infected and unclean.The next thing I know, I see cats and dogs that appeared to bleeding from the mouth and rectum. I began asking people why, and was very hurt when I found the answer. Hamburger meat had been laid out for them to eat and enjoy. Inside this meat, however, was poison. Suddenly there were no more animals around.

I am not an animal activist, but I can discern right from wrong. It’s too late now, for they are dead, but I wish I would have been given the chance to think of a way to resolve the problem. Anything would have been better than watching them die right in front of you, bleeding so sadly.

I do not share the same views as many people in this camp, but that does not change my view. What’s wrong is wrong. They are living, breathing, walking and eating creatures just as we are. I try not to think about it so as to ease the emotional pain, but I want my stand known, so that in the future if the story is told about the murderers of Camp Dallas, there will be at least one soldier that can dispute that challenge.

I’m not a tree-hugger by any means, but I am so angry that I can feel the heat spreading across my forehead. That is sick and cruel beyond words.

That was me! I just wanted to say hello and thanks! That article was hotly debated and got a CSM relieved of duty as well as an apology from the CDR. The worst part of what happened at Camp Dallas wasn’t even what I wrote in that article, believe it or not…the CSM would walk by the cats (already bleeding from every orifice) and kick them as hard as he could against the wall of the building, laughing all the while. I even asked him to please discontinue this (imagine that! A CPL asking a CSM to stop something) …. anyway, he threatened to write me up. So I took what measures I had too. I didn’t care if I was written up … I just wanted it known what they (this man in particular) was doing to the cats. (Harold Martin, April 2005)

We called them "Bikini Babes". They were like Bazooka Joe, except they had nude girls instead of a comic.
We called them “Bikini Babes”. They were like Bazooka Joe, except they had nude girls instead of a comic.

Good thing I stocked up on Bikini Babes bubble gum this afternoon. 2/68 Armor Strikes Again: They told the Muslim lady who runs the concession stand by the fuel point that she can’t sell them anymore. That is just so stunningly inane that when CPT Fellinger told me that I had to ask him a half dozen times if he was bullshitting me. Aren’t Muslims supposed to be stricter about this stuff than us decadent Americans? If it’s okay for them, shouldn’t it be okay for us? So, let me get this straight: We can’t go out on the town, drink alcohol, look at boobs or avail ourselves of any of the other traditional military pleasures. Are we even allowed to kill anyone anymore? Oh wait, that’s right. Killing is against the rules of engagement. Unless it is of innocent, defenseless animals. Jesus, I’m getting out of here at the right time …


Note: While porting my Bosnia material from my crappy old site, to my spiffy new site, in Spring, 2016, I found the Berserkistan archives, and realized that I had written a letter to the editor, on May 12, 1996, about this incident.


19 Mar 96, Tue — Tuzla Main

Drove to Tuzla Main today to meet up with the other people returning to the States. Some have legitimate reasons — seriously ill wives, civilian job problems, etc. Others are just excess. The fact is that there are far too many CA people in country. For example, before my team moved down here from the quarry, there were six CA teams covering the Zivinice area: One at the west end of the quarry with the 3/4 Cav; one at the north end of the quarry, in Visca, with the 30th Med; us in the middle of the quarry with the 47th FSB; one at the east end of the quarry, in Ðurðevik, with 16 CSG; and two teams with the MP brigade, at Tuzla West airfield, just north of Ðurðevik.

LTC Kilgariff gave me a letter of introduction to COL LaRue, the USACAPOC G-3.

I didn’t bother breaking out my sleeping bag because it’s too much hassle to roll up and store after only one night’s sleep.

20 Mar 96, Wed — Kaiserslautern, Germany
We referred to it as "Operation in the Joint Forever". Niceties like postcards were not available when I was there.
We referred to it as “Operation in the Joint Forever”. Niceties like postcards were not available when I was there.

The GP medium tent we were staying in was heated by two kerosene stoves, but I froze anyway. Not out & out cold, but the sort of barely cold that makes one shake. I don’t know what it is — other than a perverse sense of tradition — that makes me sleep in only a poncho liner the first night in new quarters.

We flew into Ramstein, AFB, Germany. It was the smoothest landing I’ve ever experienced. I didn’t even know we had touched down — I thought the plane was still gliding over the runway.

My step-brother Jonathan is stationed in Baumholder. He’s not in Bosnia with the rest of the 1st AD because he is the NCOIC of range control. Since I was in the area we got together for dinner. Ute, my sister-in-law, served up a delicious meal of steak, fries, cucumber salad and ice cream. Jonathan and I soon got around to playing the ancient military game of “Do you know?” Except for a few years in SF, Jonathan was in Scouts most of his career. We actually knew some names in common, like SSG Ikner and SGT Smith.

I had bought four local brews, but could only finish two. I wasn’t drunk, just dead tired. So, Jonathan took me back to Kaiserslautern.

21 Mar 96, Thu — Ft. Bragg, NC

Slept again in only a poncho liner. For once I didn’t freeze, but then the barracks were well-heated.

We arrived at Pope AFB about 1500. We sat on the tarmac for an hour while they figured out what to do with us. Usually if you have a static concentration of troops for more than a few minutes a roach coach will show up. I was hungry because I hadn’t eaten in eight hours. (The Air Force provides excellent boxed lunches on overseas flights, but I ate mine quickly.) Finally we drove to Green Ramp. Lo, what did my eyes behold? A roach coach! Which I immediately made a beeline for. I love roach coach burritos anyway, but eating that one was near sexual ecstasy.

22 Mar 96, Fri — Ft. Bragg, NC

Today is a training holiday, so the earliest we can begin out-processing is Monday. Some of the guys are pretty upset about that, but I am glad. The three-day weekend is an opportunity to get my uniform squared away, get my film developed, and call people to let them know that I am back.

24 Mar 96, Sun — Ft. Bragg, NC

Ran alot of errands the last two days so I spent today relaxing. When I wasn’t reading books or writing letters (146 since I was activated), I was napping. I would have napped even longer than I did, but I was so horney that I couldn’t stay asleep.

Ft. Bragg's Old Division was in slightly better shape than Olovo.
Ft. Bragg’s Old Division was in slightly better shape than Olovo.
25 Mar 96, Mon — Ft. Bragg, NC

While some aspects of out-processing go quickly, filling out the travel vouchers is a pain in the ass. (It is no coincidence that it is immediately followed by a stress management class.) Finance actually makes you record every stop you made since you left home. As if you can remember that long ago and that many stops.

26 Mar 96, Tue — Ft. Bragg, NC

More out-processing today. I checked on possibly getting a 90-day tour here, but the colonel in charge of such things didn’t think there was anything available. I’ll check again in the morning, but it looks like I’ll be leaving tomorrow afternoon with everyone else.

“We train young men to drop fire on people … but their commanders … won’t allow them to write ‘fuck’ … on their airplane, because … it’s obscene.” — COL Kurtz, Apocalypse Now

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