Penetration Before Detonation

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Going along the line of my last post about boxes full of my Air Force and AMMO shit that my wife got ahold of, I decided that my last post merely scratched the surface of a few topics that I finally decided to discuss. If you didn’t read We Live So Others May Die then this may seem pretty random and might not make total sense, but then again that can be said for most of the shit I write anyway. I had left out my jacket from the last story, I think I got sidetracked or something. But, the jacket pictured is a big part in ways of expressing and explaining how I’ve changed over the last 15 years since getting out of the Air Force. How so? In many ways one might say I matured, maybe grew up is better, since I was 32 at the time of exiting. The things that were my life and priorities were very different only a week later, no more eating all things dangerous for breakfast and shitting tiffany bullets by dinner, providing the enemy the opportunity to die for his country was no longer printed on my business cards. Overnight my life as I knew it was upside down, it was a disaster and a hard first few weeks, and slowly the stress of that job faded.

But let’s go back first, way back. My dad was a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant before I was born in 68. It wasn’t until my teen years that he began to open up to me about his military career. The thing that used to intrigue me the most about his career was him telling me, in a joking manner, that Uncle Sam used to pay him to blow shit up, and I thought that he had to have had the best job known to man. My mind was made up, I was joining the Air Force and do what he did. However, by the time it was time certain jobs had been retired and new ones created. Let history show that I chose to be a 461. Now, we all have heard that Air Force basic training is relatively easy, right? Right. I won’t lie, it was easy. I think it’s easy because they’re not really training “soldiers” or “badasses” by definition, they’re teaching military service as a way of life, like summer camp but with better weapons, because they know one is in the air force to do things on the more technical side. Blah, blah, blah, it was a breeze. Technical school for the 461 was a crash course in how not to end up dead, full of many technical terms, safety, and how one must absolutely positively respect explosives or they simply put your dog tags in an envelope to mail to your next of kin because typically that’s all one can expect to be remaining. All that being said, it stuck with me always, respect. And sure enough I got out with all ten fingers and toes and everything in the middle. I paid the price tho, I drank the kool-aid, I started believing the propaganda as the everloving truth, I would preach it all like the gospel itself. Later in my career I had my wake up call, and at that point I was no longer able to be detached from the horrors of what I helped create.

I wore this jacket everywhere, I wore it with absolute pride knowing if I did my job properly then without prejudice those weapons would function as designed. I mean think about it, without explosives the Air Force is just the world’s largest airline which was even more lore and propaganda, I had a head full of it, it was pounded in until my sweat glands weeped it all back out, it was like the victory lap after being full circle for hundreds of miles yet never going anywhere. It’s a beautiful plan. And just to think that the general population of the United States of America is opposed to the waterboarding of our enemies but it’s OK to brainwash our sons and daughters in the military because we must make stronger soldiers. Bullshit. They break you down and then build the you they think you should be, fuck the real you, the real you is DOA once you sign the dotted line. My whole career was just a dangerous game, I got to dance with the devil and sleep with his daughters all in the name of democracy and the American way. I know this sounds bitter and sarcastic, I’m not trying to, because I actually really loved being in the Air Force. As my jacket reads, I even advertised our services for free every moment I wasn’t in uniform.

Back to present day, this jacket was neatly folded laying on top of everything else in the box, resting for eternity, or so I thought, until I see it has been resurrected. But the emotion I had was not anger for digging up my skeletons, it was a smile and surprise. As soon as I said I would not be wearing it, simply because I had a growth spurt in my mid 30s, my son volunteers to be its proud new owner. Way wrong fucking answer boy, it will never happen. First of all, it is not appropriate to wear to school, I don’t care if he is in the AFJROTC in high school, I really don’t. Sure, it would be cool for him to show off, but all the perverts would find some way of making it a sexual statement. Just say it to yourself and imagine all the meanings. Of course, very few know it is the calling card and slogan for my favorite weapon of all, the BLU-109. Yes, I had a fantastic favorite, seems weird now, stop making it weird people. Plus, its not his “game” to play with people. I can back my shit up, he cannot. Yes, I can remember wanting to wear my father’s uniforms and so forth so I do get the psychology. But the responsible dad part of me just says no to it altogether.

Damn, of course, this story, this little piece of personal history, has gone in so many directions. Oh well, maybe some of y’all get it, and I cannot help the rest of y’all. This reminds me of so much more, I hope this doesn’t constitute violating the terms I signed when I got out, you know the form, don’t ever talk about your job from this day forward or go to federal prison. I knew I would crack one day, I just never knew when. So, until next time boys and girls, remember to eat it every day!

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We Live So Others May Die!

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There is no doubt that over the years I have collected my fair share of AMMO & IYAAYAS memorabilia. Until recently most of which sat in boxes collecting dust in storage. In a way it was me putting my past life to rest and eventually moving on to a civilian life. However, while thinning out boxes, repacking boxes, and deciding what stays and what goes, my wife and son got ahold of everything while I was working. When I came home much of the stuff was hanging on the wall of the hall leading to the master bedroom. It was both a shock and surprise to see most of it. When I asked why I was told that this stuff needed to be out, needed to be seen, and she thought I would appreciate the fact that they took the time to put allot of it on display. I do appreciate the effort, but if I wanted it out of the boxes then I would of done it a long time ago, but no, it remained boxed, hoping until I was dead at least.

I ate, breathed, and lived the motto “We Live So Others May Die” my entire Air Force career and when I got out, my priorities, opinions, and morality changed considerably. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my fucking job every single day, all day long, but once I got out, day by day it just stopped meaning the same thing to me personally. Trust me, there is no better satisfaction than seeing the munitions you had a hand in building get loaded onto an aircraft and not see them come back because when the pilot pulled the trigger the weapons functioned as designed. That was the beautiful part of my job. I always remained disconnected from the damage, death, and destruction because I was in the “supply chain”. We were never the one pulling the trigger.

One day, in an undisclosed place in the mid 90s, I got to witness the true power of what I helped create and happen. I didn’t care for what I saw. I became ashamed of the organization I belonged to. I made up my mind I didn’t want to be a part of it any longer. When I got out I was happy to see the Air Force in my rear view mirror. At that point everything, pictures, memorabilia, uniforms, paperwork, trinkets, and so forth, went into the boxes. I ask myself why I boxed them up instead of burning it all and my answers were clear, I had many great memories of places I had been, people I have met, and experiences I have had. It’s what we do right? We put our memories in frames, shadow boxes, and actual boxes, as keepsakes and so forth. I have always had trouble talking with people in person about my ” job” in the Air Force because it no longer held any “glory” for me. As an example, way back when I was married to my ex, she finally found out what I actually did for a living. Sure, she knew what I did, but she never put two and two together because I never spoke of my job to her, ever. Sure, I had friends doing the same job who we interacted with regularly, most with wives who were friends with mine, but work was never the topic. Then, one day I received a slap to the face as I got told she didn’t want to be married to a baby killer. Yea, I know.

Years later, many years, my boxes full of my past life resurface, now my current wife and 14 year old son have questions. Questions I don’t really want to answer. My wife on the other hand already knew the answers but felt if my son was asking me questions then I needed to be the one answering. How about……. I don’t know…….. maybe……. fuck this shit I don’t want to discuss anything. My son had but one question. He wanted to know what the motto “We Live So Others May Die” meant to me. I’m not going to lie, there were many minutes of silence on my part, as I watched my son reading that phrase over and over on different things now hanging on the wall. What does it mean, really? The simple answer, in my opinion, is that thru training, schooling, education, and brainwashing, we truly were the facilitators of death and destruction, part of a machine which promotes peace through submission. I took great pride knowing that I did my job exceptionally well. However, the me of today is ashamed in many ways to acknowledge that this, in another time, was my life. I should have just burned it all when I had the chance way back when, but I didn’t, lucky me. We also looked at my uniforms, he was particularly interested in my dress blues, as they were still adorned with ribbons, awards, tours, and accolades. Looking now, I had quite the rack. It’s meaningless now I suppose, only because I wonder what it was all for.

I am very proud to have served my country and have the deepest respect for all of the men and women who serve now, have served, or will one day serve. I know it isn’t easy, not during your service and definitely not afterwards, not everyone has an easy transition. The military changes who we are to be who they want and then turn us out back into society. I explained to my son the reason I visit two different Veteran’s homes and the Veteran’s hospital is because I like talking with veterans who don’t seem to have anyone to talk to. I’m not trying to help them nor solve their problems, I just listen and talk, we share our experiences, we smile knowing that we have friends within one another.

After a very long conversation with my son, about the good, the bad, and even the ugly, he stood up and hugged me, it was a deep and meaningful hug which brought tears to my eyes as he whispered that he loved me into my ear. He explained that he wanted me to know he loved me and will always be proud of his dad. He has been going hard at the AFJROTC all year and hopes to one day follow in my footsteps. As much as I would like to desuade him from this career path, I won’t, I want him to fulfill his dreams, I won’t allow my own experiences to be his burden. Don’t know if that makes sense.

I close this post with a final thought, we are who we are, it is what it is, we live our lives as we see fit, hopefully we find some happiness along the way. To all active duty and veterans, I salute each and every one of y’all!

Secrets From The Ancient Scrolls

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In an effort to look into the pride felt by us in the United States Air Force AMMO community, added below is an excert from the ancient and honorable scrolls.

Thus it is written in the talismanic scroll concerning AMMO… in the begininning the universe was formless and void. Then was ordained the “Big Bang” and so AMMO was. Through antiquitity even until today, the world has trembled at the roar of AMMO’s power. The walked cities and the strong towers continue to fall beneath the onslaught of our awsome might. Moving like a mighty tidal wave across the world, AMMO conquered the unconquerable and brought low those weilding indiscriminate power. Our charge for the future is as it has been in the times past: supply those in the right with the power to protect and fight for the right. Until all live as brothers in the world where we have space and peace only, AMMO will live. So it was spoken…so it is written in the scroll…so shall it be…! AMMO

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Posted From Scorpion Sting’s Motorola Droid Maxx!

Reflections Of My Military Past

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My son wanted to have a few words with me about my military service so he could do an essay on a relative who has been in the military. Not unlike my on-line life, I don’t talk much about myself personally and how I was affected by different aspects of my time in the United States Air Force. Sure, I talk about places I’ve seen or people I have met but I rarely talk about the uglier side of having served. Even after all the years I still don’t know exactly how to put it into words and make it understandable. I have never chose to block out certain things but I do put them way back in a dark place where they won’t be bothered. These things make me angry, they make me sad, they still confuse me a bit, and I think they will always be uncomfortable for me to talk about to someone face to face. I asked my son if he would let me take the opportunity to just write down some things and he can pick and choose what he feels is useable and appropriate. The following is what I wrote.

“There are things that I just can’t explain. There are things I don’t yet understand. There are still things that I may never try to comprehend. There are things that one can not understand unless they have been a soldier because they have not been touched in the same way. There are things that I have seen and done which were said to be for the country I have served. I was taken, as many were, to be trained to build weapons which are used to destroy man, machine, land, and structure. We were not trained of the aftermath. We were not trained to witness the destruction of our weapons that have functioned flawlessly. We were trained that it is a great day when our weapons function as designed. We were not trained to see or cope with the awful sights of destruction that was accomplished by the weapons we built. We were not trained how to unsee the things we have seen. We were not trained how to not let these sights keep us awake at night.

I have learned to not discuss the wounds I have, some physical, some mental, and some which can’t be explained. There is not training for dealing with life after seeing the weapons I have built function as designed. The wounds of our bodies heal in time but the wounds to the mind have no cure. I have to live with my demons now and for every day until I pass. I have learned to put my hurts behind me. I still feel things that hurt me deep to my core but I have learned that people don’t understand because they have not seen what I have seen. I have found, not by choice, that there are memories which are blocked because I know I don’t want to remember them, I don’t have a need in my life to relive certain aspects of my prior life. I am very proud to have served my country in the United States Air Force and have very deep respect and admiration for anyone who makes the choice to serve in our Nation’s military. I try not to dwell on friends I have lost, those who have paid the price in full, and I know that it is because of we choose to serve that we protect the future of freedom for many generations to come.”

My son copied word for word what I wrote in seclusion into a handwritten two paragraph essay which he was very pleased to turn into his teacher. He informed his mother, with tears in his eyes, that he did not care what grade he would receive because he just was happy to turn in the words of his dad. He walked to me, reached out to me, hugged me with a squeeze I had never felt from anyone, and then he looked up to me with a sad face to say “I’m sorry dad, I love you no matter what”. I didn’t want to let him go, I didn’t want the feeling to ever end. He gave me a new memory that day, a memory of a son’s love for his father, it is unconditional.