Thursday, November 02, 2006

Conversation in the chow hall

Four men in unkempt uniforms sit down next to me. Three are wearing camouflage while one sports some type of dusty tan mechanic’s coveralls. Their faces and hands are dirty, and they all have that sweaty, mussed up hair that you get from wearing your helmet for long periods.

“How many rounds did you use?”
“We went black.” [referring to the brevity code for ammunition status – “black” means you are out].
All of um? How many is that”
“About 700, I think. If you count the two ready boxes on the floor of the turret too.”
“I’ve never gone black.”
“It took a while, but it seemed like we just couldn’t get out of there. It was scary when we were black, because, like, we couldn’t use the main gun. But they didn’t know that.”
“Was anyone hurt?”
“No, but we was banged up pretty bad. Did you hear that S. from B Company got hit in the jaw last week? They were just coming in off of Michigan [Route Michigan]. He’s okay, though.”
“I thought he went home.”
“He did, but he came back. I guess he straightened that all out, the custody thing.”
“That sucks. He’s okay though?”
“Yeah, he’s okay. Pass the ketchup?”


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