Letters from a Foreign Land | Part 1

By October 14, 2008Military

Dear Friends,

So here we are again. I’m a few thousand miles away from everyone I love, and doing things that make…well…life worth living. I think the last time I wrote you all I was elaborating on the eccentricities of the FOREIGN LAND culture. I continue to enjoy the kamikaze flies that have some special hydrogen and oxygen vision that allow them to spot moisture from miles away. In particular, their suicide-bombing missions into your eyes (which I think they learned from the indigenous Homo sapiens) are a blast. Apparently, they do this because the only moisture for miles resides in Americans’ eyes.

Well with every new place that I get to go to, there is always something “special” to enjoy. I’m not going to numerate them for you, but I will highlight some of the extraordinary elements of this diverse culture. First off let me caveat this with saying that I am not the “ugly American.” I appreciate the diversity of many cultures, and I will only be commenting on the things that I believe would be universally frowned upon, even though the locals might disagree.

Anytime I travel on your dime I prefer to transverse the globe. In this case that included some time in Germany, Turkey, The Krygyz Republic (say that three times fast…or for that matter, even once), and finally to FOREIGN LAND. I’ve been to a lot of places and done lots of things, but FOREIGN LAND has a very special element – an unbelievable, but constant stench. I was told that I would get used to it. I instantly blurted out, “I don’t want to get use to it,” and then quickly explained that because of the unfreezing process, “I have no inner monologue and CAN’T CONTROL THE VOLUME OF MY VOICE!!!” Luckily, I did not have to get used to it. My wife came through with some reeds, candles, and a bunch of other stuff that the other guys made fun of me about at first, but have since come around to the superiority of Midnight Jasmine and Summer Sage to Recycled Ass and Rotting Bog.

Regardless of my victory over the locals odoriferous emanations, this “you will get used to it” line became a common theme, and one that I resented more and more every time I heard it. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I was informed that the nocturnal blood sucking predators that the local people endearingly referred to as “bedbugs” was something else I would get used to. Really guys? I get the smell part. I get the sand. I get the lack of deodorant. But do we really need to get #^$%!!! used to demon blood sucking bugs of the night dive-bombing painfully into our open eyes and injecting a stinger into them? Can’t we do a smidge better than that?

I thought I could.

So I did what any warm blooded American would do: I issued my declaration of independence from eye bites and declared war on the vampire bugs! As a seasoned vet of several campaigns, I realized that in any successful combat operation one needs standoff (distance between you and the enemy) and clear lines of fire, so I took EVERYTHING out of my room. The locals already think I’m insane because they have been seeing me run around the compound dragging tires everywhere I go and starting off most my workouts in the morning pounding a tire with a sledgehammer. So the prospect of me carrying out my desk, dresser, rugs, carpet, bed, and mattress I’m sure didn’t come as too much as a surprise to them.

At this point I went down to the NBC/ Chemical war department and asked for everything they had that could kill anything. They didn’t take me seriously at first, but they soon realized after the twenty minutes of uncomfortable silence as I stared at them unflinching that I wasn’t joking. Nevertheless, they went on about how no one was going to give me any chemical munitions (apparently we don’t use these anymore), so I went to the medics. The Medic station was a little more compliant and gave me some DEET, lice/tic/chigger powder, and 4 cans of Permethrin.

I entered my bare room with a hint of glee in my eye and some spring in my step, as I sprayed every crack, hole, nook and cranny. When that mission was accomplished, I put powder on all of the equipment and clothing that I had. To make sure everything would work to my satisfaction I left it all out in the sun for two days rotating everything every other hour. I was at the top of the world, but I would soon fall hard.

The first night back in my room I was attacked yet again. “Charlie” had broken through the wire.
Considering the fact my bed was the only thing left in the room at this point and it had been tactically placed in the direct center with no contact with the walls, and I used the powder, DEET, and Permethrin at the legs of the bed, walls, and floor, I had a new found respect for these bugs. They were my bug equivalent. I conjectured that they must have crawled up the outside wall, slid in through the roof, climbed down the light above me, and then HALOed from the light down onto my bed…

My hat off to you, bugs. You have won the first battle, but the war is far from over.

In other news, I have been working my butt off evaluating the capabilities of other special operations units in country, and it is a blast. Being in a room full of FOREIGN LAND soldiers is awesome…all my jokes that everyone in the States thinks are dumb are a huge hit here.

Also, I’m finally able to do all the things that my wife never lets me do. I listen to awesome 80’s music and sing it at the top of my lungs while I workout-did I mention that the locals think I’m crazy/dangerous? I’m sure you all agree with me that the song Amanda by Boston is TIMELESS! “I’m gonna take you by surprise and make you realize Amanda”.

As if that isn’t awesome enough, I get to wear Ranger panties everyplace I go (pictures included), and never shave. This may sound stupid to some people and…well…that’s all I’ve got.

Anyway, I appreciate everyone’s concern and I just thought you all would like an update on my recent activities.
Looking forward to getting home to the States, eating some great food, and getting ready for my next fight!

Tim “TKO” Kennedy

Tim Kennedy

Author Tim Kennedy

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