Bubblegum Bomber
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Jan 22, 1998
On January 20, I had my first full military exercise in Korea, and on the very first morning of the exercise, in the first heavy snow I'd seen in Korea, we were recalled bright and early at 6am to run to work, carrying our chemical protection gear in the dark. I was carrying about 60 pounds of it, slung over my back as I trounced through the already-pack snow, when I hit a slick spot, causing my feet to slide forward from underneath me. My reaction was to instantly fling the pack forward off my back, and as I was going down, the pendulum motion from the swinging, heavy pack, pushed me upright, and I didn't fall. It was one of those things I wish I had on video, because at the end I could say,"I meant to do that".

We knew we'd have some chems thrown at us but we all just hoped we didn't get caught outside during a simulated attack. Later that morning I left my building to transmit a message, they pulled a condition black (simulated chemical attack), and I ended up sitting around on the ground for almost an hour with all my chem gear on, stuck inside. I put my mask on too fast, and it was so fogged up I couldn't see. It was like a face-mounted sauna.
The next morning I left my room when the coast was clear, then the sirens went off, I dove for a bunker and had to slap on my gear again in complete darkness with four strangers. My hair went 'Ace Ventura' (or for the less sophisticated--'Howard the Duck'). I fixed the fogging problem, but it was complete darkness, so it hardly mattered. I liked the hairdo.

Trained Killing Machine>>>

On January 22, I left my office for the day. I was half way home when we were (simulated) attacked again! That was the third time in two days for me. I ran for a day care center entrance, donned my ugly mask again, and sat there behind a concrete wall (for protection) with two strangers. I was able to see though. Then an exercise evaluator walked up and asked,"Who wants to be a patient?" The other two pointed at me, and the evaluator took me away.

He tore off a piece of paper and said,"You were riding in the back of a truck when a cluster bomb went off, throwing you from the truck and fracturing your femur." I had to lie on the ground and pretend I was badly injured. Imagine if YOU had to put up with this on the way home from work! After 15 minutes of yelling for help and talking to the evaluator who kept saying,"I can't help you, I'm invisible", six people in full chemical protective gear ran over, picked me up on a stretcher, and dragged me into a hospital garage while tearing off my chemical gear. Suddenly one guy ripped open my flak vest and yelled,"CLEAR!" and all these funny looking people dove behind concrete barriers like frightened little green Ewoks. Then he grabbed me by the vest and yelled at me,"WHAT IS THIS? WHAT IS THIS?!!!" I couldn't see (gas mask, y' know?) and I said,"er,uh, flak vest?" Shaking me he yelled again "Is this a bomb?!"

Dazed I thought,"Uh, buddy, if I was hurting as badly as I'm supposed to be you'd have had a boot to the groin a long time ago". I said,"Uh, chapstick?"

Lick me I'm a Smithfield Ham>>>
He pulled my pack of chewing gum out and snarled,"Did the evaluator plant this bomb on you?!" I politely said,"No, of course not". Apparently his friend had been blown up by a 'simulated bomb' earlier--mind you, I was just walking home from work, minding my own business. I enjoy a chew now and then--please don't hate me.
So I was run into the emergency room and they did all these crazy things to me. I made stupid jokes(when they weren't carrying me...I'm not that stupid). They kept slapping stickers and tags on me like some Smithfield Ham experiment. Looking at all the bright lights and freaks in their gas masks, I asked them if I was in a bad Martian abduction movie. After almost two hours, I was released, with all those tags and stickers stuck on my beautiful, unblemished body. I told them to leave them on--I wanted the world to see what they'd done to me.