Dec 06

CONUS Battle Drills Interview- Dysfunctional Veterans Radio

I had the distinct pleasure on Saturday night to sit down with the guys from Dysfunctional Veterans.  If you don’t already own their gear, I bet you’ve probably seen someone walking around with DV stuff:

The interview was a lot of fun and they gave me plenty of time to really discuss our project here at CBD.

My sweet mother says I cuss too much…she might be right.  Don’t worry, I don’t do it in front of my kids.  Anyway, enjoy the recording.  Warning:  Lots of language.

Dec 05

“Did you ever kill anyone?” -The question you should never ask

Does your mom like anal?

I’m sure there is a veteran out there that doesn’t mind this question, but the overwhelming majority of us never like to answer.

If You Actually Killed Someone

Seeing someone die stays with you.  I might not remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, but I’ll never forget watching the pink mist appear behind a dude’s head after I told my men to shoot.  You may think that the only reason someone suffers mentally from combat is because of what they saw, or a matter of the things they experienced, but for many guys what bothers them most is what THEY DID.

Finding out what you are capable of can be scary.  Snuff out a few lives, smoke a cigarette, eat some chow, and then sleep with a smile on your face.  The knowledge that you can take a life so easily, and be happy about it, celebrate it even, can be difficult for some men to deal with.  It isn’t until you stand over the lifeless body of your friend where the only consolation is that you killed as many of those fuckers as possible, that you realize just how thin the line is between hero and monster.  To stand up and cheer when the A-10, Apache, or AC-130, do a gun run and and watch those giant rounds rip right through the enemy positions sending body parts flying and painting the terrain red is unsettling to many.

Yeah.  That’s what you are bringing up.

Every soldier has a beast inside, a ferocious murderous beast.  His capacity for violence is the only thing that kept us alive.  Admitting that we took a life, and we relished in making the grass grow can make many people uncomfortable and we know that.  We know that our honest answer is going to appall you, and our relationship will never be the same.

If you never killed anyone

If, on the other hand, you never killed anyone, well now there is a qualifier set to your service.  The question, by it’s very asking, implies that doling death is the only way to be soldierly. It’s as if the sacrifices you made, the time away from family, the stress of serving, and even the deployments you went on were for naught because you didn’t take a life.  You weren’t a “real” soldier because you didn’t have to make that fateful choice.

A medic that rushed into a burning vehicle to save his fellow soldiers may have never taken a life, but he knows the pain of working frantically to save his friend to hear, “I’m going to die Doc.”

What a slap in the face to that dude.

Just don’t ask

Just don’t, ok.  If someone wants to talk to you about it, they will, but you’re going to have to earn a certain level of trust that doesn’t come from a shallow relationship.  I have friends that are closer than family and we don’t talk about it, for the same reason we don’t talk about what kind of sexual fantasies our wives have: that shit is not my business, and I don’t want to go there.

-LJF

 

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Nov 27

A Day in Fidel Castro’s Cuba

There was a loud knocking and banging on the door.  She looked up at her children and could see terror come over their faces just by the nature of the sound.  She forced a smile, “I’ll get it.”  As she unlocked the door it flew open sending her stumbling backwards into the wall nearby.  “Mommy!” her daughter yelled running to her mother as the man walked in wearing a soldier’s uniform and a beretta on his hip.

“By order of the Communist Party and Fidel Castro, this house is now property of the Revolution.  Get out.”  She was now holding her daughter who was sobbing loudly, “Where is my husband,” she asked.  “He’s being reeducated,” the soldier stated staring at her lasciviously, pausing at her breasts before meeting her eyes, “you have five minutes to pack one suitcase.”

The woman sprung to action, heading towards her bedroom.  “Mommy, I don’t want to leave, I like this house.”  She comforted her daughter by squeezing tighter, but the words didn’t come.  She sat the little girl on the bed and began to pick out clothes.  “Go get your favorite toy ok sweetie,” she gave the instructions as tears welled up in her eyes, seeing the little girl made her want to break down and cry.

As they walked out of the house, she held onto the suitcase in one hand and the little girl in her arms.  It was her first glance at the madness in her neighborhood.  A caravan of soldiers had pulled up and were kicking people out of their homes.  A soldier walked up to them and stared at the little girl who clutched tightly to her favorite doll as she continued to cry.  He stood blocking their way, “I need to search you, to make sure you aren’t stealing anything of value from the revolution.”  She put down the girl and the soldier began to run his hands all over her body.  She was standing with her legs spread facing her house as they placed a sign on the door, “property of the communist party.”  She flinched and shut her eyes tightly as his hand slid into her pants and his fingers went inside her. “We gotta be thorough you know,” he whispered into her ear as tears began to roll down her cheek.

“Alright you’re good, need to search her now.” He pointed at the little girl, “No please, she’s just a child!”  The soldier raised his voice, “She’s a fucking worm!”  He reached out and ripped the doll out of the little girl’s hand, “You hiding diamonds in here?”  “No, please, that’s my favorite toy,” the little girl’s voice screeched as she reached helplessly for her doll.  “Please don’t,” the mother’s voice was low and defeated.  The soldier smiled as he ripped the toy apart, sending doll stuffing floating into the wind.  She grabbed her daughter tightly and could barely hear the soldier laughing over the screams of the little girl.

As she made her way down the street, she was stopped by a commotion as a neighbor’s door flew open and a man was thrown down the stairs.  She pressed her daughter’s head into her shoulder so the little girl wouldn’t see.  The man got up to his hands and knees attempting to stand, when a soldier reared back and kicked him hard in the mouth.  The sound of the boot cracking the man’s face made the little girl flinch in her mother’s arms, but the sight was much worse.  The force of the boot sent the man’s head flying backwards shooting a stream of blood onto the soldier’s uniform.  It flipped him completely onto his back, and he struggled to get air as shots of blood flew into the air with each exasperated breath.

“Now you got blood on me,” the soldier exclaimed as he kicked the man again in the side.  “What’s the problem faggot?  You like to take it in the ass, but you don’t like it when Fidel fucks you?”  He looked over to the crowd that was forming and stepped quickly towards a man who was visibly angry at the scene, “You got a problem with what you see, Nigger?”  The man stayed silent as the soldier drew his sidearm and leaned in closer.  Just then, the man on the ground let out an intelligible sentence.

The soldier spun around, “What’s that faggot?”  He bent down next to the naked man’s head.  The man sat up, leaning on his arm, “I said, Viva Cuba Libre!”  He defiantly yelled it loud enough for everyone to hear as he stared at the soldier, their faces were not more than an inch apart.  The soldier stood up, pressing the barrel of the pistol right into the man’s head, “Viva Fidel, Maricon.”  The shot rang out loudly in the street.

– – –

Although this story is fictional, every event did indeed transpire, just not in the same moment.  In Fidel Castro’s Cuba political dissidents were routinely murdered, homosexuals were persecuted, and blacks were treated as an inferior race.

My grandmother was evicted from her own home with only one suitcase for her and her children.  My mother had her only toy ripped apart in front of her.  Without any legal source of income, my uncle sold croquettes on the street at age 7 because his mother, a teacher, wasn’t allowed to work, and his father was placed in a concentration camp.  My grandfather entered the concentration camp at 6 foot and over 180 lbs.   He was forced to work as a slave in the fields and when he got sick, he was given no medical attention and left to die.  He survived and when he was finally released, he had dropped to a sickly 120 lbs.

This is the legacy of Fidel Castro: slavery and torture.unnamed-10

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My father’s father was a doctor and a Major in the revolutionary army, but when he refused to join the communist party, he was stripped of his rank and degree and also forced into a labor camp.  He eventually escaped via a raft, but left behind my grandmother and my father, a 14 year old boy at the time.  When my father was jailed for arguing with a teacher about the perils of communism, he too escaped and was alone in Mexico for a year as a teenage boy before he was able to earn enough money to fly to the US.

This is the legacy of Fidel Castro: fear and oppression.

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My uncle Tony was a star athlete, but was ousted from the Cuban National Baseball team because his views were “too American”. He was forced to escape and leave his family behind.  He would routinely send back items so his family could survive like fishing hooks.

His brother was jailed for stealing a government cow (the irony isn’t lost on me), and died in prison.  His father’s fishing boat was confiscated, and when he died, my uncle wasn’t able to visit him.  It would be 25 years before my uncle saw his sister again.

This is the legacy of Fidel Castro: broken families.

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These are just some of the stories of pain and suffering Fidel Castro left in his wake.  His legacy is a Cuba in ruins while he lived in palaces. A people in fear of their government, while he operated with complete impunity.  A place where ideas and thoughts can get you tortured, imprisoned, or killed.  A place where blacks and gays are considered inferior.

 

 

 

This is why when people like Jesse Jackson, Jill Stein, Barack Obama, Justin Trudeau, and Jesse Ventura praise or whitewash the sadistic, evil, son of a bitch that Fidel Castro was it pisses me off so much.  It is an affront to all those who suffered under his brutal reign of terror that still continues today even after his death.  It shows a great ignorance and moral bankruptcy to praise or even diminish the evil that was Fidel Castro.

It is a sort of beautiful irony that I have this medium, as a child of Cuban immigrants, with which to reach thousands of people and say…

 Fidel Castro was a coward and a piece of shit.

 

 

It’s also why I proudly wore a uniform and placed myself in harm’s way for the USA.  Folks, the United States is the last stand for freedom in the world.   Although my parents and grandparents had a place to run to, me and my children don’t.  This is it, and I will ferociously fight to protect it.

God Bless the United States of America!

Airborne all the Way!

Viva Cuba Libre!

-LJF

 

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Nov 22

A Rangeriffic Thanksgiving

“I’m going to do you a favor, Ranger.”

The words of the Bravo Company 1SG in Mountain Phase of Ranger school hit me like a ton of bricks.  His “favor” was letting me re-do mountain phase to clear out the plethora of major minuses I had accrued in the three weeks prior.  Let’s face it, the moment I acquired my 4th major minus two days into the first field exercise, I knew I was going to recycle the phase.  I spent the next 15 days trying unsuccessfully to earn a major plus (my only hope to salvage my performance); it didn’t happen.

Somehow word of my demise had reached the boys coming to join us from Darby and my best friend Chad Shields flew off the bus with a smile calling out my name.  I was devastated when he recycled Darby, he was elated to find out about my failure.  I sat on his bunk for a few minutes laughing with him and vividly describing the pain that was to come:  the blueberry pancakes are awesome, the terrain is terrible, the RI’s are worse.  Chad shrugged it off, “eh, it could always be worse.”

We made it through most of the phase without incident, but as we stepped off to start our second field exercise, it began to rain…

It was November 2004 on the Appalachian trail and the rain did not quit.  We lived through Forrest Gump style “every kind of rain”.  At one point we came down from the mountain and were told to fall-in to formation.  I remember the rain was coming down violently and the Ranger Instructor (RI) was yelling some instructions that I couldn’t hear.  I leaned to my buddy and asked what we were being told.   “Change your socks.”  I laughed hard as I watched my boot fill with water and hail while i put on “fresh” socks.  Chad looked at me, “It could always be worse!”

The rain on it’s own wouldn’t have been that terrible, except that the temperature kept dropping.  It felt like it was just above freezing and soaking wet.  My body began to ache in places I didn’t even know I had.  My hands and feet went completely numb, and I could barely feel pressure.  It felt like my big toe was missing which actually made walking a bit tricky.  My hands swelled up and cracked open and the blood froze on my skin.  I had tons of frozen cuts and scratches.  We learned to work around the violent shivering as it was a sign that we weren’t hypothermic yet.  Chad smiled at me, “It could always be worse!”

Finally on the night before Thanksgiving, the rain stopped.

It was amazing.  I looked up at the clear night sky and let out a sigh of relief.  That would be very short lived though.  Once the rain clouds were gone, the cold really began to set in.  I could feel it crawling around my skin and penetrating my bones.  When I stretched out my arm, water would drip off my uniform onto my hands and it felt like little daggers, the only sensation coming from my hands was pain.  I looked around for my buddy.  Through his chattering moon-lit teeth, Chad forced a smile, “It could always be worse!”

I have never stared so expectantly at the horizon as I did that morning.  If my will would have had an effect, the sun would have risen hours earlier.  Instead I searched for the first ray of light that would bring at least some warmth as I reached the brink of giving up.

As the early morning light finally pierced the darkness and landed on me, I looked down to notice a sheen across my uniform that didn’t exist the day before.  I reached for my chest and the uniform began to crack.  That sheen was ice.  I stared down in disbelief and began to crack and sweep the ice off my body.  Then guys began to quit.

 

I smelled the new RI’s before I heard or saw them.

My nose picked up the scent of Pantene and Irish Spring coming from the base of the mountain.  It meant fresh instructors, and it also meant the “fuck-fuck” games were about to start.

The next hour is a blur.  Instructors were yelling, guys were quitting and dropping out; some had frostbite, some had frostnip, more yelling, it was pandemonium. We were ordered to start three warming fires and to change our uniforms and put on polypropylene and gortex. I was on a machine gun, so no warming fire for me.

As I began to undress I felt a wet drop on my face, then another, then another.  “You’ve got to be kidding me!  It’s way too fucking cold to be raining,” I yelled in the general direction of Chad’s position as I unbuckled my pants and dropped them to the ground.  I heard his distinct laugh and I looked up in a rage when I saw it.  I was right, it was too cold for rain…it was snowing.

So there I stood, completely naked in the snow wringing out my polypro when I made eye contact with Chad.  He was now in full on laughter and it was infectious. I wanted to be angry, I really did, but as I stood there hopping from one bare foot to the next dreading the thought of putting on this sopping wet clothes, I couldn’t help but join Chad in laughing at how ridiculous this whole thing was.  “It can always be worse?” I asked him.  “Oh no dude, it’s all downhill from here,” he bellowed with a deep and honest laugh.

I’m Thankful for…

I was excited to finally start our movement, and within the first hour my body heat had dried the uniform; I was thankful to get moving.  The sun somehow beamed through the near foot of snow and actually felt warm against my face; I was thankful for the sun.  As soon as the mission was over, we loaded up in trucks and started heading back to the base to get ready for our next phase; I was thankful it was over.  On the ride back I sat next to Chad, and together we laughed with the others that made it; I am thankful for my friend, nay, my brother.

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-LJF

 

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