Winning the Lottery

This is the first article in what will be a long-running series written by me about the time in my life that will most likely conclude my enlistment in the Army National Guard. Some of you already know what this is about. I don't know who I'm really writing this for. I guess I'm writing it for me.

I was standing at the very front of the mass formation because I'm that guy. I don't mind standing in front. Some people do, but not me. They were waiting for the colonel. I was waiting for what the colonel had to say. Most of us knew what was coming. It was just the specific details that were hazy. The young guys couldn't or wouldn't shut up about it and most of us older guys would just grimace when the topic came up.

The captain snuck around the corner of the building to tell the major that the colonel was coming. For those of you unfamiliar with the military, this previous sentence sums up the life of an officer almost perfectly. Or at least that's how I've always viewed it from an enlisted point of view.
The major called us all to attention and turned to face the colonel. He saluted and moved to the rear. The colonel put us at parade rest.
Without great fanfare or preamble he announced that Minnesota's 34th Infantry Division was putting together a brigade combat team for a little trip overseas.

The PFC standing next to me looked like he was going to faint. I just felt my stomach turn upside down. It wasn't a terrible surprise to me"… or rather it didn't upset me as much as it probably should have.
The colonel continued on, only to be interrupted by an M113a3 roaring past. The motor pool isn't the best place to have a mass formation. He looked like he was about to rip the driver's head clean off but he continued on. The essence of the spiel was that a lot of us were going. It's hard to explain the feeling. It's probably like winning the lottery. There's a strong feeling of uncertainty mixed in with the knowledge that your life will never be the same.

The formation broke up a little bit later. That same PFC started yammering at me about how he has plans and a life and everything. Well no sh*t. Don't we all?
Whether or not a Guardsman gets deployed is decided by chance, and by chance, I mean the people making the roster. Those people like me. They like me because they know that I'll do my best not to get the people around me killed and do my best to kill the "bad guys" should the need arise. They grabbed a bunch of guys like me for this little"… hoo-hah. I like that word. It's fanciful.

One of those other guys like me walks up with his ever-present grin. All he says is, "˜Are you buying the hub or am I?' I just grin back. Our biggest complaint last time we deployed to Bosnia was that nobody brought a hub big enough for everybody. My 16-port Linksys shipped from New Jersey yesterday.
I told the PFC not to worry. He's going with the guys he knows. We'll have plenty of time to train. He asked me what was going happen. I told him, "˜What's going to happen? We're going to Iraq.'


Wish you and your people good luck, Reap.


I think I've made it pretty clear to you how I feel about this whole situation so I won't insert the political opinion volcano that's bubbling up.

You better keep your ass safe in that hell whole. You will be missed and thought of often. Godspeed.

Just don't get shot or all blown up. I hear you have to wait a friggin' long time to respawn.

One of my two best friends in the world is shipping out right now - good luck. I think if I was being sent to the desert, I would be dividing all my free time between the firing range and learning conversational Arabic.

Alien Love Gardener with the hilarious/possibly inappropriate humor. Respect to everyone for keeping this thread free of politics.

Swat wrote:

Wow, crazy times Reap. Glad to see you'll be taking a 16 port hub along for the trip however Hope to see you Online in your downtime. Watch out for those crazy spiders.


Don't worry so much about those spiders.

I'd wondered where you were, since we haven't seen you in BF2. Now I know.
Remember your training and do the best you can.

illum wrote:

May you live in thoroughly uninteresting times. :)

Indeed. We need you, and all of your guns back here safe Reap.

When I saw the title of this article and the author, I knew what it was probably about and I just didn't want to read it. I thought you might be getting deployed a while back when you had to go away for a couple of weeks and wouldn't really say what it was about. I hate that you are going to Iraq, and I'm proud of you at the same time, and I have faith in your ability. Stay safe, stay focused, do your job, and know that you have a place in our hearts and prayers and we will be waiting for your safe return. It's good to know that you will be writing to us regularly. Like Deva, I'd love to have an address where I can send you homey comfort type things. Maybe I'll send you a silly rabbit's foot for luck...not so lucky for the rabbit.

Just get your ass back here safe.

Hugs from me too!

Rabbit said it all.

You know.. minus the hugs. You just get a manly handshake from me. And maybe a reacharound. We'll see.

Come back safe man.

You know, I've avoided reading this article for weeks now. It just sucks that much.

Good luck Reap, maybe you can score some time with BF2 while you're over there

Sir, I wish you the best. And I hope that you keep all of your mates alive and take them back home with you when it is all done.

PyromanFO wrote:

Good luck Reap, maybe you can score some time with BF2 while you're over there :)

I know my best friend just got a new Alienware laptop to take to Iraq with him, and he's a BF2 fanatic. I'd say the chances of finding a BF2 scene over there are pretty good:

The picture on that second article looks just like my college experience, down to the haircuts and everything.

It's very difficult for me at the moment to keep my political view out of this (and I don't think I can completely do so), but I just want to add my well wishes to everyone else's, Reap, and hey: if you don't mind, give us an address or something so that those of us who want to can send you "care packages" or whatnot.

If we're lucky, we'll be done with this mess before you actually ship out, but I don't know how close you are to that so I don't know if that's a feasibility or not.

Take care man, may you not have to shank anyone.

Good luck out there, hopefully you'll return only with tales and legends and such.

Good luck, Reaper. Everyone's said all the witty comments and the thoughtful ones already, just just ditto that for me. Stay safe.


Best of luck to you!!! Return safe and sound....Keep your extra frags and ammo policed and don't leave nothing for you know who.....

Good Luck Reaper. Keep you and your boys out of trouble and stay safe.